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I just graduated BECAUSE of Disney celebration trip! 1/25-2/2

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by nightshaderose, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. nightshaderose

    nightshaderose Mouseketeer

    Joined:
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    Hi! I'm Liz. Pleased to meet y'all. This is not my first trip, but it is my first trip report. Feel free to prod me if I'm not updating regularly. Sometimes I get distracted.

    A little bit about me: Out here in the real world, I have a tendency towards cynicism and snark. I came to liking WDW kind of late, after it came to my attention that there were things there for people older than 10. My favorite Disney movie is “Lion King” with “Lilo & Stitch” a close second, but I’ve never been much of a fan of the classic princesses. My favorite thing about Disney World is that when I’m there, I can completely suspend my disbelief and a lot of my cynicism, leave the worries and stress at home, and just relax. I tend to take things at face value while I’m there, including a lot of the Magic.

    Prologue (I'll get down to the nuts/bolts in the next post)

    I decided to start doing reports with this trip because it's ...special. Let me tell you a story:

    (tl:dr version--3 years ago, a CM used a story to change my entire outlook on life, allowing me to accomplish things I never even dreamed were possible, including finding my true calling, and graduating from my college program.)

    About 3 years ago (Nov. 08) I was in a very ...lost... place in my life. I’d mostly just been drifting up to that point, starting things and then quitting when it started to look too hard, and I’d recently realized that I really should have figured out what I’m doing with my life by that age (32). In this mindset, I fled to Disney World in hopes of forgetting for a few days that my life was kind of a disaster.
    I was there mostly for F&W, because I’m kind of a foodie, but I also spent a lot of time in AK, because it is, hands down, my favorite park. This was also during the (second) Year of a Million Dreams promotion, so I’d periodically see groups of people wandering the parks with dream fastpasses/lanyards/ears/etc. Eventually, as I was wandering up into Asia in AK I spotted an actual, live Dream Team CM. I went up to him and started a conversation. I’m pretty sure my lost-ness was obvious to him, because when I said I intended to check out the trails around the Tree of Life since I hadn’t seen them yet, he promptly offered a personal tour. Of course I agreed. The tour was fantastic, and he pointed out design and creatures that I might not have noticed on my own. As we came around to that little cave with the bench, he pointed to one of the little holes in the cave wall and told me to look through it. I did and it turned out to be a tiny telescope that focused on the carving of the ant on the Tree. He then told me the story of how the Tree came to be there, surrounded by water and lush gardens in a land that used to be desert. To summarize (since I’m really not that good of a storyteller) it all started with the Ant, and his dream, and how, when he was given the literal seed to grow his dream, he worked hard to make it grow. This massive tree was here because of an ant, a seed, and a lot of determination. Then Justin (the CM) pulled out this little metal container, opened it to show me what looked like empty, and said that it was full of pure Dream, but Dream is useless until it’s given form. Then he handed me the container and said to think about what I want most in the world. I did, and when he took it back and opened it, it was now full of glitter. He said that was ok, but I needed to try harder. I needed to concentrate on my dream so hard I could feel it in my bones. So I did. When he opened the container again, there was a translucent orange acorn. He handed it to me and said “This is your Dream Seed. It’s not going to grow into a tree like this one, since that was the Ant’s dream and not yours, but if you care for it and nurture it, it will grow into your dream.” Then he filled out a magical moment certificate, we finished the tour and we went our separate ways.

    [​IMG] This is my certificate.
    [​IMG]and this is my Dream Seed.

    Fast-forward 3 weeks. That story, in that place and at that time was apparently exactly the kick-in-the-pants that I needed. I’d finished the vacation and come home, and that acorn had not been out of my sight for the entire time. I’d been thinking about what I could do to nurture this dream, and I decided to go back to school, with the intent of becoming an architect: something I’d been fascinated with since I was 4yo but never pursued because everyone always told me that the required calculus class was hard. A friend encouraged me to get tested for learning disabilities upon hearing of my math fears, and it turned out that I have a symbol-processing deficiency (like dyslexia, but weirder) that neatly explained my trouble with math and could be worked around. Once I’d managed to pass the calculus class (B+!) at a nearby community college, I checked with the architecture school to see what else I could do to improve my chances when application time came around again. They said they were looking for folks with an art background, so the next quarter I took 3 studio art classes: Drawing, Ceramics, and Jewelry. Drawing will never be a favorite thing of mine. Ceramics was fun, but heavy. Jewelry and metalwork turned out to be my true calling. I love it even more than architecture. I’ve since started my own jewelry/accessories/metalwork business and become the first person to graduate from Jewelry/Metals Certificate Program at my college (which required passing a class on business accounting, which is *another* math that I’ve been terrified of my whole life). I love my life & where it's going, and I love what I do.

    My dream, BTW, was to find my place in the world.pixiedust:

    This trip is specifically in celebration of my graduation.
     
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  3. nightshaderose

    nightshaderose Mouseketeer

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    So, here we go!

    First, there's me. I'm a native Texan and current Seattleite, DVC member, and the big WDW fan in the house.

    [​IMG]

    The pic is a few years old, and I've got new glasses but the look of disbelief is a pretty dependable thing with me. As I said before, one of the reasons I like WDW is that I can put the disbelief aside for a little bit and have my fairy tale. (It's one of the adventure-type fairy tales, BTW, not one of the ones where the girl sits around being sweet and obedient, waiting for some rich dude on a white horse to rescue her.) I don't generally take a lot of pics, but I do usually keep a travel journal while I'm there, so I intend to update the TR daily (or nightly) during the vacation.

    (ETA: I can't believe I forgot to mention that I'm also a major foodie and a bit of a drinker!)

    For the most part, I go to WDW solo, but sometimes I bring friends:

    The other 2 characters this trip are my roommates, JP and James, whose pictures I don't have permission to post. I've known JP for 13 years. He brought James into the household 3 years ago, and they got married last September. JP last joined me at Disney 4 years ago, and was pretty good about putting aside the serious face and being a kid again. James hasn't ever been with me (went with his family *many* years ago and has spotty memories), so we'll see how he reacts. He's also noticeably younger than anyone else in our circle of friends, and we give him a hard time about it constantly (but all in good fun). :)

    Given that I live with these guys and see them every day, I've arranged for a certain amount of separation and independence while we're on vacation. I'm flying down on 1/25 (holy crap! slightly more than 6 days!) and taking up residence in a lake view studio villa in BLT. They're coming down on the 27th, and taking up residence in a standard view studio at BWV. Hopefully they get one of the studios with the Epcot fireworks views. On the 29th we're all moving into a Club Level 1BR at AKV, because JP wants to see what club level is like (and I love AKV. :love:). They're going home on the afternoon of 2/1, and I'm staying an extra day and going home on the evening of 2/2.

    Well, that's it for the basic schedule!
     
  4. nightshaderose

    nightshaderose Mouseketeer

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    I'm Back! I had to go missing for a few days there because I had a show this weekend. Good news is I sold enough stuff to justify doing that show again next year!

    Good gods! Am I really only 2 days out from Disney? I really ought to unpack from the show, so I can re-pack for Florida. This is actually cutting it close for me, since I'm a bit of a compulsive over-planner. I actually had to move a copy of the spreadsheet to Google Docs this year, so the guys could do some of their own planning. The thing, though, is that once I'm on the ground at WDW, the Schedule is NOT gospel. I've been known to chuck whole days out the window if I get up in the morning feeling like doing something else.

    Now, on with the plan!

    Tue. 1/24: The Day Before
    Finish laundry/packing. Try to see if it's possible to get everything without checking a bag. This may or may not work, as I'm attempting to bring a travel french press in hopes of avoiding the travesty of Nescafe.
    Check in for flight (try to score a cheap upgrade on the really long first leg if possible. It's looking like a *very* full flight, so maybe.)
    Try to get some rest.

    Wed. 1/25: Arrival Day!
    2:30-3am PST: Drag butt out of bed, brush teeth, last "do I have everything?!" check
    3:40am PST: Airport Shuttle
    6:20am PST: Takeoff!
    Somewhere in here is a 45 min. layover.
    4:30pm EST: Land at MCO! Pick up some Chick-fil-A at the food court and get on that Magic Bus.
    ~6pm EST: Arrive at Contemporary, check in, make my way over to BLT.
    Wednesday evening: Take it easy. Food, Drink, and Fireworks from Top of the World Lounge. I am also attempting to arrange a tiny custom cake for that night. I may be cutting the timing a little close, so that may not pan out.

    Thurs 1/26: Day 2
    Up early and off to Animal Kingdom!
    Commune with the Tree :worship:,
    Visit the Tigers,
    Pay my respects to the Yeti (maybe if I wish hard enough, he'll magically be fixed and moving again :sad2:)
    Ride the Safari as many times as I can.
    After closing, if I feel up to it the plan is to go over to POFQ for some beignets, and then boat down to DTD to figure out dinner (possibly snacking my way though all the CS bars/windows) and maybe a movie...and definitely some drinks. I really liked the sangria at P37 last time, and I'd like to see what Raglan Road has.

    Fri. 1/27: Day 3-the roommates arrive tonight
    Sleep In, get up when I feel like it.
    Breakfast Buffet at the Wave, if I haven't slept in too long.
    Explore hotel and environs, see where the whims take me.
    Head to Epcot when I start thinking "lunch", grab some CS (nibble around WS, maybe?)
    Afternoon/Evening at Epcot
    Pay respects to the Fountain of Nations :worship:
    Ride TT, wander WS
    Dinner somewhere around Crescent Lake (Beaches & Cream?)
    7:30pm-hit up BW bakery. Acquire desserts/pastries for all of us.
    ~8pm-guys arrive. get them checked in, request an Illuminations-view room.
    9pm-Hopefully pixiedust: watch fireworks from the balcony with pastries (and maybe champagne)
    After Illuminatoins-Head back into Epcot for EMH

    Sat. 1/28: Day 4
    7am-Up early for EMH at the Studios. Grab some coffee and a croissant or something to tide me over until breakfast proper. The guys may be up early enough to join me here, but maybe not.
    Ride Toy Story as many times as I can
    10am-breakfast at Kouzzina with the guys
    Might go back to the Studios after b-fast for a couple of hours to visit the Muppets and ride the Tower, and see what else there is to see (maybe Lights/Motors/Action. Never seen that before.)
    Afternoon back at AK: FotLK, more safari, Dinosaur, more time with the tree, etc.
    The guys will be heading to Epcot in the afternoon, and have a Date Night at Bistro de Paris.
    My evening will be spent attempting to nibble/drink my way around the Seven Seas Lagoon (plus Wilderness Lodge for a bonus). I see a pineapple full of rum (AKA Lapu Lapu) in my future! :drinking1 There may also be Wishes from the Poly beach. I picked this night in particular because MK is open until midnight, so there will be ample transportation around the lakes.

    Sun. 1/29: Day 5-Moving Day!
    7am-get up, get bags to bell services for transfer, grab breakfast
    8:15am-Starting Early with Keys to the Kingdom Tour
    That afternoon, we'll wander off for a 3:45pm Tea at the GF
    Afterward we'll go over to AKL and check into our CL 1br villa. I think most of the rest of the afternoon will be settling in and taking a break. Then back to the MK area for
    8:30pm-dinner at 'Ohana (more rum! maybe as a Back-scratcher this time), then EMH at MK

    To be continued ...

    (in the next post: plans for continuing adventures from our new base at AKL)
     
  5. nightshaderose

    nightshaderose Mouseketeer

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    OMG, I'm well under the 2-days-out mark, and really starting to get excited. It looks like the tiny cake for Wednesday night will be a no-go, but everything will be wonderful anyway. The cake would only have made me fat(er). :)

    So where were we? Oh, yes, settled into AKV and ready to finish out the week.

    Mon. 1/30: Day 6
    From here on out we'll probably just be grabbing breakfast in the CL lounge on our way out in the morning.
    Today I intend to get up early for AK EMH, and more safari and Yeti (and tigers). This day will involve a lot of walking slow, sitting/watching, and taking it easy. The guys might manage to join me, but maybe not.
    2pm: Lunch at Yak & Yeti
    After the parade, it will probably be nap time, and then dinner time. The guys have a dinner reservation at Marrakesh, and I'm trying to decide whether to go for sushi at Kimono's (my usual plan) or check out BlueZoo instead. I have a Restaurant.com certificate for Kimonos, but BlueZoo looks really interesting. I only paid $2 for the certificate so I won't be out much if I decide to skip it...and I really sound like I'd rather do BlueZoo, so BlueZoo it is!
    After dinner, it's off to the Studios for EMH there, and more Toy Story and Tower.
    You may have noticed that the last few days have been a lot of early mornings & late nights, which is why the next day is...

    Tues, 1/31: Day 7-The Day Off
    well, for me at least. The guys want to hit up AK in the morning and Epcot in the evening. I'm going to guess that they're not going to do anything before 11am. The only things on my schedule for the day are
    11:45am - Lunch at Sanaa, and
    8pm - Dinner at Boma
    Current weather predictions suggest that I'll be spending most of the rest of that day poolside, sunbathing.

    Wed. 2/1: Day 8
    They guys are going home today. We'll be spending the morning at DTD, since we've got
    11am - Lunch @ T-REX (JP requested this because he thinks it looks interesting)
    ~2pm - Guys catch their magic bus back to MCO. I smile and wave because I have another day to myself!
    Head over to Epcot
    7pm - Coral Reef
    Pay final respects to the Fountain, toss in my offering (coinage) to ensure a magical year until I can return (yes, I'm ridiculously superstitious).

    Thurs. 2/2: Departure Day :sad1:
    Up early-ish
    Bags to bell services for check-in and/or hold
    Off to AK to say goodbye to the Tree/Tigers/Yeti
    ~2pm come back to Jambo House, have some consolation Zebra Domes
    ~3:30PM Catch the magic bus back to MCO
    Fly back to SEA, shuttle home, collapse and sleep well into the next day.

    Well, that's the plan. Questions/comments/off-color remarks?

    Elizabeth
     
  6. nightshaderose

    nightshaderose Mouseketeer

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    until I lock the door behind me and get on the shuttle! I'm mostly packed, and have gotten everything in my carry-on, but I'm seriously reconsidering whether it's worth the extra $25 to check the heavy stuff. I'm 5-foot-nothing, and lifting a full bag into the overhead bin is no picnic. Dinner is well in progress (yes, I still have to feed the household, even when I'm about to leave), and I'm about to go put on Fantasia to get in the mood. I got up Very Early this morning, so hopefully I'll be exhausted by the time the movie's over and actually manage to get some sleep tonight. Then it's up at 2am for a 3:20 shuttle and a 6:15 flight!

    My leopard-print ears are already packed!

    Elizabeth
     
  7. nightshaderose

    nightshaderose Mouseketeer

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    I got up at 2:15am, made it to the airport in good order, had breakfast
    [​IMG]
    Yes, that's eggs, bottles, biscuit, and sushi), and am now bouncing along 33,000 feet above the Montana/Wyoming border (and I do mean bouncing. The turbulence is impressive). I've left the wet chill of Seattle behind and I'm on my way! :cheer2:

    [​IMG]
    This is what it looked like as we left the gate

    [​IMG]
    This is the first blush of dawn from high over Idaho and Montana.


    By the way, I am open to questions and comments.

    Elizabeth
     
  8. nightshaderose

    nightshaderose Mouseketeer

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    So I got checked in to my room at BLT without much problem. This is the evening view rom the room:
    [​IMG]

    Now, I'm at TotWL, waiting for Wishes. I have in front of me a Bay Lake Sunrise:
    [​IMG]
    And the pretzels:
    [​IMG]
    All is yummy and I expect there to be more food and booze tonight. I'll report further tomorrow.

    Signing off for now,

    Elizabeth
     
  9. nightshaderose

    nightshaderose Mouseketeer

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    So, Wednesday night continued to go well. After Wishes, there was more food,
    [​IMG] (shrimp cocktail)
    more drink,
    [​IMG] (mojito)
    and cremè brûlée.
    [​IMG] (there will likely be a theme of forgetting to take the picture until after I've started eating).
    I came back to the room, and had just gotten out of the shower when there was an awful lot of noise coming from outside. I looked out to the lake, and what do you know, it's the electric water pageant! I had a decent view.
    [​IMG]

    After that, I went to bed and slept like a rock. I woke up in the morning, just after the crack of dawn, without the assistance of the alarm clock, and felt fantastic. I stopped for breakfast on the way to the bus stop,
    went to AK, and had a great day. There were a lot of doubles. 2 safaris, 2 everests, even 2 parades. I only had 1 drink at the Dawa Bar, though. :)
    I've acquired a celebration button, and have been telling my story any time anyone asks. There was a rope drop in the morning, but no show.
    After AK, it was back to the room for a break and a costume change. Freshened up, it was off to Downtown Disney...well, sort of. On the incoming, it was straight through DTD, to the boat to POFQ, to do something about my begniet craving.
    There was live music so I stayed and had a drink, too.

    Funny story: as the bartender was making the drink, I dug in my bag for kttw card to charge the drink, and ID in case he asked. I found the room card, but not the ID, so that really was the end of my drinking. That bartender didn't ask for it, but someone eventually would have. Also forgot the DVC card, so no shopping either.
    By this time, it's 10pm and I haven't actually had any real food since lunch, so it's back to DTD. I eventually landed at Cookes of Dublin
    and then made my way back to the room.
    I finished the night by watching Meet the Robinsons. It seems appropriate for the location.
    As a side note, there seem to be construction walls everywhere. They're working on something in front of WoD in DTD, and the entire main courtyard at French Quarter is blocked off.

    More pics will be added when I have time.
     
  10. Aulika

    Aulika Mouseketeer

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    i hope you are having a great trip ! :goodvibes
     
  11. Stitch2244314

    Stitch2244314 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the great story and trip report so far! Have a great rest of your trip!!
     
  12. nightshaderose

    nightshaderose Mouseketeer

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    Aulika & Stitch,
    Thanks for tuning in! The trip is going wonderfully so far and I still have lots more of it left!
     
  13. ZehnJahren

    ZehnJahren DIS Veteran

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    Congrats to you on your graduation! What a great story. I hope you enjoy your entire trip - take it all in, you deserve it!
     
  14. nightshaderose

    nightshaderose Mouseketeer

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    ZehnJahren- Thank You!

    So I'm running a day behind in the updates now. Hopefully I won't get too much further behind. I still think I'm doing pretty good for only having a smartphone and a tablet here instead of a proper computer. :)

    Let the record show that I started drinking at 10:30 this morning.
    [​IMG]
    The buffet at the Wave is nice. And they've got bacon cheese grits, too. I told the server that I was celebrating my graduation and they comped the mimosa! I like this celebration button.
    After that it was off to Epcot. I grabbed a Test Track fastpass, and went to ride the golf ball. I was a little concerned when I was coming into the park because the wait for SE was 20 minutes, and that seemed excessive for this time of year, but as I walked up the second time I saw one of the tour groups getting off, and figured the wait times probably weren't that bad. They weren't. I was on in 5. Still, things do seem a little more crowded this year overall.
    After the golf ball, it was off to the World Showcase to wander. I finally got back to see the waterfalls in Canada, and the hedge maze around the gazebo in the UK. In France, it started raining, so I pulled out the umbrella and kept going. I took a breather in Japan and sat on a ledge for a bit to rest and then went into the department store to poke around. I ended up having conversations with the pick-a-pearl folks and learned so much about the subtleties of pearl-setting, just from watching them for 5 minutes! I might go back later and get a pearl to set into something I make later. ... I just had the most awesome idea! I need to make a brooch of a tree, that has a "root"cage at the bottom to hold my Seed, and then get a pearl or charm or something to add to it every year as leaves. Ok, I think it needs some refining, but the base idea is sound.
    Anyway, by the time I got out of the department store, the rain had stopped. The drummers were performing, so I watched them for a bit, then moseyed on down the promenade. I finally took the time to look at the USA pavilion, and got to see the fife and drummers and the Voices of Liberty. I didn't stay for the main show because I had, quite frankly, had all the rousing patriotism I could eat for the time being. Maybe later.
    I continued around the lagoon, not stopping much because I was starting to feel a bit hungry. There was a surprise 11-piece mariachi band in Mexico though.
    [​IMG]
    I listened to them for a bit, and then made my way back to the worlds largest slot-car run because my time slot was up. I had a fun run on the track, but by the end of it I was definitely in need of some food. Time to head over to the Land and Sunshine Seasons for a very light lunch. And a boat ride. I really do love that one. Science is Fun!
    By that point the afternoon was starting to get on a bit, but I still had a couple of hours to kill before dinner, so back to world showcase. I fetched up in France for a bit with an apple turnover and a Grand Marnier slush.
    [​IMG]
    Much tastiness. Out of respect for Morocco, I finished my booze before heading over. I spent some time exploring the alleys, and just as I was coming out, a Mo'Rockin show was starting. I like them, so I stuck around for that, then started making for the international gateway, and the boat to the Swan for sushi at Kimono's. I didn't get a pic of the sushi, but I did have a bit of an adventure ... So, I don't usually carry a credit card with me at WDW since I room charge everything. I forgot this morning that I was planning on dining somewhere "off the grid" as it were. So I got there, placed my order, and then realized that I didn't have the card. Embarrassment ensues. The server asks if I can remember the number (most, but not enough), and I end up having a conversation with the manager. He says if I can confirm who I am and where I'm staying (np, I have room card and ID), then he'll trust me to call back with the card # that night. Ok, we're all good. As I finish the meal, the guys text to say they're off the plane, and I ask JP if he remembers what the missing part of the card # is, since he's good at remembering these things. He does! Now I have the whole # and can pay! All is right with the world!
    After sushi, I stick to the plan, Boardwalk Bakery for pastries, and off to the BW lobby to meet the guys. So, guys arrive & get checked in. I'd put in a request for a fireworks facing room in the 4th floor. They got a 3rd floor room that was way off around the bend, not facing Epcot. We got to the room and it was musty- smelling, and as we were getting into he pastries, JP saw a big spider over by the bathroom sink. Did I mention yet that James is irrationally afraid of spiders? Upon further exploration of the room it was discovered that housekeeping had neglected to remove the kitchen trash from the last occupant. This was not Boardwalk's best face. JP brought these things to the attention of the front desk, but didn't ask for a different room, since it was only for 2 nights. Front desk sent maintenance for the spider, and housekeeping for the rest of it.
    James wanted to go out and do something, but JP was tired and wanted to crash. We eventually went walking out on the boardwalk in search of food. JP didn't find anything particularly attractive, so the guys crashed, and I hiked back to/through Epcot with intention of catching a bus back to BLT.
    Upon arrival at the transit area at about 10:30, I was surprised to find the monorail operating.
    [​IMG]

    I asked the CM at the platform whether I was likely to find the resort loop also still running when I got to TTC. She said probably but she didn't know, and offered that the monorail might be staying open for EMH due to bus problems, and it normally didn't do that. When I got to TTC, the resort monorail was indeed operating.
    [​IMG]
    The monorail driver said that the reason the monorail was still open was that the nighttime construction that interferes with monorail operation wasn't going on tonight. I did get home in good order and promptly crashed.
     
  15. nightshaderose

    nightshaderose Mouseketeer

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    Fairly early morning today. I grabbed coffee and a breakfast sandwich from the coffee bar and caught a bus of EMH at the studios. I got in a Toy Story and a Tower and picked up a Toy story fastpass before time to meet the guys for breakfast at Kouzzina.
    Breakfast was good. I had my usual stacked plate, and the guys had sweeter things (waffle and french toast, I believe). I completely neglected to take pictures, but everything was tasty.
    After that, it was back to the studios, but with the guys in tow this time.
    [​IMG]
    So I got them to stand still for a picture. James is the taller one and JP is the other. We grabbed some Tower fastpasses, the guys got in line for Rockin' Roller Coaster, ant I went to use my earlier TSMM fastpass. I keep track of my scores on these things, and ive been steadily improving. Pn this particular ride, I got the vehicle high score! When we were done with the rides, I met them back by the tower and we did the drop together. The picture was so hilarious that I got the digital download, and will be posting it here later. Seriously. They both have their eyes closed, JP looks like he's hanging on for dear life, and there I am, right in the middle of the front row, hands in the air, screaming and laughing for all I'm worth. I look like I'm having the best time of anyone in the car.
    Anyway, I then drug them back to TSMM, to wait in line for an hour for their first ride. I'd said that I'd be willing to wait for 1.5-2 hrs, and they didn't beleive it was that good. On the way out, JP said he could understand the willingness to wait. Also, even though I got an even better score this time, I didn't get the vehicle high. I was defeated by JP's beginners luck.
    By that time, it was getting into the afternoon, so we abandoned HS and made for Saratoga Springs, since JP had forgotten his DVC card and needed to get a new one printed out. Also I wanted to see the Aulani model.
    When we were done with that, we parted ways, with the guys going to Epcot and me heading back to the room for a breather before my big quest for the evening: drinking and eating around the monorail loop. I was kind of hungry right then though, so I stopped at Paradiso 37, for guacamole and sangria.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The quest was originally supposed to be all 4 major hotels in the MK area, but I ended up scaling back due to time and tired. So, I took a breather, then boarded the monorail for the Polynesian. There I had a backscratcher
    [​IMG]
    and crab cakes.
    [​IMG]
    Quite tasty. Also unbelievably crowded. I had to wait and stalk to get a seat at the bar. At the GF I had sautéed shrimp and a rum & coke. The band was playing and it made me wish it had someone to dance with. There was also a lady at Mizner's who was celebrating not only her birthday but finally, after 17 years, leaving her a-hole husband. She was quite drunk, but she was a fun drunk. So overall, I think Tambu has more entertaining drinks, but Mizner's has the better atmosphere. When I got back to my room, I had to pack and organize because tomorrow was moving day. I also had to get to bed at a somewhat reasonable hour because we also had the 8:30am KTTK tour in the morning.
     
  16. nightshaderose

    nightshaderose Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2005
    Messages:
    205
    Just wanted to let everyone know that I'm still alive. The days have just gotten the better of me. :) coming soon: more pictures of food, tales of Club Level, playing my celebration button for all it's worth, and other grand adventures. Also I'm going to publicly post my TSMM scores for all to see.
    Hopefully I'll get another day or two done on the plane tomorrow. Everything else will have to wait for over the weekend while I'm recovering.

    Elizabeth
     
  17. nightshaderose

    nightshaderose Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2005
    Messages:
    205
    So I'm back in Seattle now. :sad1: I've mostly gotten Day 5 written up, and it will be posted as soon as I get the pics slotted in. One of the big things I've learned this trip is that if I want to do any serious writing while I'm traveling, I need to get a keyboard for the iPad. :)
     
  18. nightshaderose

    nightshaderose Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2005
    Messages:
    205
    AKA day of early morning KTTK tour. Actually, I didn't have to get up any earlier than I had been, since I was so close to MK.Nonetheless, I got to see them bringing out one of the ferryboats from my window.
    [​IMG]
    I got there early, the guys were almost late. We were difficult and had them change names on the name tags (mine had my legal first name, and JP's had his whole non-abbreviated name, slightly misspelled). The tour got underway just on time. Our guide was Robert, and he was awesome and energetic.
    [​IMG]
    We had a great time and learned a lot. Particularly entertaining was watching "The Running of the Tourists" at park opening time. We got back-doored onto the Jungle Cruise before lunch and Haunted Mansion afterward. Speaking of lunch, CHH was reasonably tasty,
    [​IMG] (this is about half of my fried shrimp basket.)
    and the bell-ringing town crier was a hoot!
    [​IMG]
    Somewhere mid-tour, I realized that I'd left my water bottle in the kitchenette back at bay lake, so when we were free again, I ran over to see if lost/found had it. The keeper of found things was at lunch, so the desk guy said if they found it he'd send it over to AKL. for me. I went back to MK. I ended up meeting the guys in Tomorrowland, after they'd gotten a space mountain FP and I'd gotten one for Buzz Lightyear, and we'd both ridden TTA. We did Buzz once as a group and then split up to do our respective FP's. Now that I'm starting to get decent at TSMM, Buzz isn't nearly as fun as it used to be. We met up again after since it was getting on toward tea time. On the way out of Tomorrowland, JP had to dodge a very serious stroller-pusher, and referred to it as "playing Super Mario Stroller". We did eventually make it out.
    So, Tea Time. The guys were suitably impressed with the GF lobby. We got to relax in it for a bit while we were waiting for our table. I like that they still switch off between the piano and the band all afternoon, but I did notice that the band was a lot more mellow than last night when I was at Mizner's. Our table came up and we had an excellent tea. When asked what I was celebrating, I gave my standard answer (very first person to graduate from the jewelry design program at my college), and was given a rose for my accomplishment. JP ended up getting a custom tea blend mixed for him. All was tasty, and much fun was had.
    Finally, it's time to go check in over at AKL. We take the bus over, I send the guys to fetch the bags from bell services while I hunt up someone to tell club level that we're here. It turns out that they accidentally sent their bags to Kidani, so only mine are available to get at the moment. We go up, start snacking, and check in. We get into the room, and it's not like the other 1brs I've been in. I don't quite get to figure out the room because I get distracted by the bag on the table with my name on it. It contains another celebration button with graduation written on it, a congratulatory note from the CL staff, a carved wood pen with an elephant on it and a blank book made of elephant poo (poo paper is interesting stuff).
    [​IMG]
    I'm suitably impressed. I finally figure out the room when I go into the bathroom: it's the wheelchair accessible room. Sadly, this is a little less convenient for us since that means no kitchen island and only one sink, but it's a nice, big room anyway.
    We only have about half an hour to breathe before its time to turn around and go back to Seven Seas Lagoon for Wishes from the Poly beach, followed by 'Ohana. We made the dock just in time for the fireworks, so the planned Lapu Lapu had to be put off till afterward. Fair enough. The rum-filed pineapples were had at the bar before being called for our table.
    [​IMG]
    It was a great table, by the way. View of the castle and everything. The food was fantastic and we stuffed ourselves. The guys were amused that they showed you the bread pudding first, until they saw the actual amount of food that came to the table. After dinner, we were stuffed and tired, so it was back to the room to crash.
     
  19. nightshaderose

    nightshaderose Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2005
    Messages:
    205
    SO, I was planning on finishing and posting the write-up of day 6 this evening, but that is not to be. I was out sailing with some friends and had a bit of an accident* that resulted in an emergency room visit, many tiny stitches on my forehead, and a nasty headache, so I can't really concentrate on the writing.
    So instead, y'all get my Toy Story Midway Mania scores for this trip.


    1/28
    9:15am
    Score: 144,700
    Accuracy: 29%
    12:00 pm
    Score: 152,300
    Acc: 36%
    Best in vehicle!
    2:00pm
    Score: 156,800
    Acc: 48%

    1/31
    3:00pm
    Score: 165,500
    Acc: 42%

    2/1
    5:10pm
    Score: 137,400
    Acc: 33%
    Best in vehicle!

    *The "Official" story is that we were attacked by pirates pirate: on the high seas (of Lake Union) and I gained my head wound while valiantly defending the boat. The actual story is that just after we had tied up back at the home dock after dinner, I tripped and went head first into a winch (big round piece of metal) on the deck :headache:, and proceeded to bleed all over the place. The friend who owns the boat ran me to the ER, while the others stayed behind to clean up. I have profusely thanked everyone for their assistance. I'm also mildly disappointed that, for all the blood and stitches, this isn't likely to result in an awesome scar to make up stories about. :)
     

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