ITS a POP-O-LICOUS Thanksgiving

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by mikkiwikki, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. mikkiwikki

    mikkiwikki DIS Veteran

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    HELLO - Can you DIG IT....Welcome to the most
    Heavy... Far Out:hippie:
    Fantastic:goodvibes
    Gag me with a spoon trip report you can get your hands on.:)

    Where: POP Century ....(and Contemp to end) This is a SPLIT stay for us...

    The Players?

    Myself - Loving Mom to two dahhhh - rrrrling children folk & a very Dedicated Disser. Its true! (You should see my lime green baggalini - then you would know Im not making this stuff up)

    Hubby - Mr. GrumpyPants. He basically is along for the ride, but is very resourceful, as youll see

    Aidan - 8 yo and our child who fills us with questions every day, and just as much joy an admiration. LOVES all things furturistic

    Sandy - 6yo - Deeply ingrained in the child pop psychology phase - (aptly named) "IfnyousayYESIllsayNO-ism...and vicey versa". Loves all things princess, and fairies. Tink being her all time fave...although Sleeping beauty is currently edging her out of the fave spot


    We arrived 11/25 at POP century and transferred to the Contemporary on the morning of 11/29
    We will be there until December 7th. Yes that is right 12 glorious days at disney

    APPENDIX OF FOOD REVIEWS...(as I post Ill activate links)

    California Grill (D)
    Sunshine Seasons (L)
    Flying Fish (D)
    Brown Derby (L)
    Crystal Palace (B)
    Pop Food Court (D)
    PizzaSafari (L)
    Citricos (D)
    Kona Cafe (B)
    Contempo Cafe (B)
    Chef's D'France (L)

    CHEF MICKEY (D)
    Narcosees (D)
    Liberty Tree Tavern (L)

    __________________

    Our family has been traveling to WDW on Thanksgiving for the past 3 years.
    2008 makes it the fourth (and last) year in a row - Not because we did not have a blast - because we DID - Simply, because my Husband's work schedule is going to change which will no longer permit the Turkey day trek to Disney - :sad1: boo hoo!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Anyways - Onwards and Forwards...

    Day ONE - Arrival Day! 11/25/08

    We left a COLD wintery NewEngland to arrive at MCO...fairly overcast....enroute to >>> Pop Century !!!! <<<

    First after our uneventful NONStop - JetBlue plane ride - [​IMG]

    Intent daughter sporting the kewl JetBlue headphones
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    We jump on our Magical Express Bus a few pics - Note my sons exceptionally artistic Pop shirt.... I made it myself...He's checking out the pixie dust on the ME seats. Sparkly!!:wizard:
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    Looking at video
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    Magical Express Whisks us to Pop with such ease - (as they have delivered us to various disney resorts ....on the three trips past) ....that I recall finding myself wondering *why* anyone would pay to travel from MCO...but I digress.

    We as a family have NEVER stayed at a value resort before and this is our first attempt AND WE ARE VERY NERVOUS. Let me just say that this resort eliminated any worry of us ever NOT choosing this category of hotels again. We LOVED POP.

    We are happily greeted by the famous sign...
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    When we get to front desk checkin, I recall looking around the lobby and being very impressed with how very cheery and bright everything is...The kids were having a blast in the TV/cartoon room, and check in goes very smoothly. I had asked for QUIET as a top priority - I didnt have any preference to being close to main food court, I just wanted quiet..and facing the lake. Well I got BOTH requests. Room 6241

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    The view was perfect! And we had no neighbors for the first 3 days. It was SOOO QUIET. We didn't have a single sound...(for the first three days -more on that later.)
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    When I had mentioned we will be transferring to the Contemporary on the 30th...the front desk clerk mentioned..."The contemporary may have more amenities than PopCentury, but I bet you that your kids will have more FUN here!!!"

    I wasn't sure if she was just overly certain of her resort's ability to entertain. However I must say - looking back - she was totally correct! I can't believe how much we liked this resort, because I was really prepared to be disappointed. We had only stayed at moderates in the past. The kids really loved it at POP and are already asking when we will be back to POP. (not much of a mention of contemp - much to my pocket books relief!)

    After walking through the lobby and turning around outside I took this pic
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    sign seen on the way to room
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    We were assigned to the 70s building....second floor lake facing.

    As we make our way to our room - we turn around in the stair case and see this. :) My daughter yellls - it's MICKEYS BUTT!! :rotfl:
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    We find our room - note the enthralled look on hubby's face. He was pleasantly surprised - as he always swore we would never stay in a value.

    The room was much better than we anticipated - I think we were blowing it up in our minds that it would be a closet...and the beds were VERY comfortable. I would venture to say we had beds more comfortable than our stays at both POR and CBR! I was surprised (althought I know they have recently performed a remodel)
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    The kids saw the pop jets on the way back to the room and immediately want to change so they can check them out - here is a pic.
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    Of course we need to check out the pool briefly...but no swimming today.
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    Everything is very clean bright and cheery. Nothing like some of the stories I read on the DIS that had me terribly nervous before my travels.

    For Dinner - We have a reservation at CALIFORNIA GRILL - and it does not disappoint! Up Next!
     
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  3. mikkiwikki

    mikkiwikki DIS Veteran

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    We decide to take a cab over to CAli Grill for my wonderfully planned 5:30pm
    dinner ressie (they open at 5:30)...its a perfect time with younger children.

    So we go to the 14th floor and meet the receptionist - who checks her list to ensure that we are not great big FAKERS - imposters - posers...- insert some other hip word here. We are NOT - I say to her - we made this ressie like a YEAR ago...ring us in please! And thankfully she finds our ressie with ease...and is very pleasant and kind, and shows us up to our floor - floor 15!!:goodvibes Did I mention its gorgeous up there.

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    And whilst they are getting our table ready we are shown to the lounge for a drink - this is our view :banana:
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    Hubby perusing the menu.
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  4. DisneyLifer87

    DisneyLifer87 DIS Veteran

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    :thumbsup2 sign me up! We're staying at the POP in January. I love the pictures and am glad to hear the rooms are impressive. Looking forward to the food pics! :cool1:
     
  5. mikkiwikki

    mikkiwikki DIS Veteran

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    Hey DisneyLifer87 - I tell ya its true! I really was impressed. Glad I have a reader...;) Welcome!

    NOW - where was I ?!?!

    Oh yes - Daughter & son are loving the view.

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    I tried to take a picture of the menu but failed miserably [​IMG]

    So here is the menu from allears
    http://allears.net/menu/menu_cg.htm

    Then the waiter came over and spread a little pixie dust:wizard:
    Hubby thought this was very cute.

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    We are quickly shown to our table and the food starts to arrive...Hooray!
    There was bread and Olive Oil to start - which we thought the oil was a bit tangy tasting. Not bad, just tangy. ;)

    FIRST COURSE
    I ordered "Hearts of Romaine with Roasted Garlic Dressing, Marinated Anchovies, Olives, Aged Parmesan and Croutons $9" This was very good, the olives were salty but not overly so. a nice compliment. to the dressing.

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    A quick pic of the bread/oil
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    My husband started with the
    Yellowfin Tuna Three Ways - Poki, Tartare, and Tataki $20

    My husband said this was amazing. He loved it.:love:
    The wasabi was super fresh and had "a great dry heat" as my husband put it and we love sushi, and know good wasabi. He mentioned the 'Poki'? The Tuna with the green caviar on top....he said was so good - " I could have eaten a bucketload of it" His words not mine ":laugh:. The tuna tartare was a first for him, on the upper right in this pic. He said it was ok would try it again. He liked the Tataki at the bottom better than the tartare.

    Overall a smashing success.

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    the kids were just drawing at this point and hadn't received any food.

    MAIN COURSE
    I had the Yoshie's Deluxe Sushi Platter - Maki and Nigiri $24
    I really loved the salmon - super fresh, and tuna. The white fish was my least favorite. The sushi wrapped with rice paper was a nice change as well.
    Everything was excellent.

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    My husband had the
    Oak-fired Filet of Beef with Boniato Mashed Potatoes, Sauteed Haricot Vert and Teriyaki Barbeque Sauce $41
    (however it wasnt haricot Vert - it was brocollini - we saw this everywhere down there)

    MY HUSBAND LOVED THIS STEAK - as a matter of fact - all Filet's were judged based on this steak for the rest of the trip. Per hubby it was a 11 out of 10. It was that good - and he's a butcher - he should know.
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    My daughter ordered the steak from the kids meal -
    "Oak Fired Rib Steak with Yukon gold potatoes and seasonal vegetables $11.00" This was the only thing we did not like about this - it tasted burnt - charcoal flavored, and charred in places. My daughter really didnt like it. We probably should have mentioned it to the waiter, but she was happy with the green beans and potatoes.

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    My son got the mac and cheese - He REALLY liked this and ate almost all of it. I was worried when it came out that It might be too dry ...or he might not like the texture of the noodles, but he scarfed it down. Excuse the piece of sushi on the side...He wanted to try some of mine and then decided it wasnt for him.
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    Then for desert - They surprised us by bringing this out for free for my daughter@! It was excellent:cloud9: so it way made up for the kinda overcooked inedible kids steak (which I guess I really should have sent back- i think i was focused on my excellent sushi):confused:
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    Hubby got "The Original" - The California Grill's legendary butterscotch creme brulee with a duo of banana cakes, and caramelized bananas $10.00
    He said it was perfect- sweet but not overly so. very tasty - kinda blurry pic.
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    I got the Apple TArt - I remember it being very warm and just fabulous. It was a pastry with apple /cinnamon and sugary syrup ...just great.
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    My son got vanilla ice cream (daughter had the cake and was way full)
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  6. mikkiwikki

    mikkiwikki DIS Veteran

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    Now I spend a fair amount of time planning our trips...after multiple changes around where we were going to travel on this date, we finally settled on Epcot, because my kids - after 3 trips decided that the big golf ball park was kinda special, and wanted to go there first! Much to my surprise.

    My daughter was DYING to go on soaring again, and had been pleading for weeks - while my son just wanted to go on spaceship earth. Little did he know that it had been completely remodeled since the last time he went.

    Now my kids were so excited they were up before the sunrise. Literally. It was 5am...iM NOT KIDDING. My daughter was so excited there was no calming her down.

    I tried to take pity on my husband, and somehow got my son to go back to sleep. But I decided I too couldnt sleep, so I dressed threw on a baseball cap and head out the door with dear daughter and our recently purchased YOMD muggs to get the room coffee and some breakfast goodies. So I drag dear daughter out into the darkened night (much to her delight)

    HOWEVER I was to discover that the food court doesnt open until 6:00am.

    SIgh...WHAT TO DO....I decided to head to the lobby, where I found other guests in a similar predicament :smile: Luckily the TV room was open - so we hung out there until the food court opened. here are some pics. Note the BLACK sky outside the windows. yes it was that early.

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    I just loved this cartoon room so bright and cheery. The kids loved it!
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    You can see my YOAMD mugs on the floor as I stumble around trying not to fall asleep.
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    Check out the cool decorations!
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    We get to the food court get the breakfast goodies - back to the room ...all the while daughter slowing me down pointing out all the things that catch her eye (and there are a ton at pop) We dress - and bus it...off to EPCOT...blurry pic leaving POP for Epcot.

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    After we arrive at Epcot - very close to 8:30 we are pleasantly surprised that there is hardly any crowd. We line up with like 3 people in front of us. Of course the line grew closer to 9:00am which was park opening. We hear the countdown...then line up for soaring.

    DS in line for Soaring.
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    After Riding this and Living the land, watching Circle of life, Jumping over to the Imagination Pavilion for Journey into your Imagination ...The kids are complaining about being hungry - We decide to go back to the Land Pavilion to grab some FPs in case we want to do Soaring again. So we lunch at Sunshine Seasons - our all time favorite counter service.

    I ordered from the Grill section
    "Grilled Salmon with Olive Pesto sauce and two sides $9.99"
    I asked for the carrots & mash. The carrots were very good steamed with I think maple syrup.
    The kids were eating them off my plate they were so tasty. Mashed Potatoes had skins in it which I know is the hip way to make them, but I like my mash peel free. Oh well. It tasted fine otherwise. They give you the pesto sauce on the side. Salmon was grilled nicely and tasty _I took a tiny bite before i remembered to grab my camera. Sorry about that. For 9 bucks you cant beat this.
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    "Children's Selection: Mini Sub and Beverage $4.25
    There was a slice of turkey, slice of salami, and a slice of ham. There were two cheeses.
    The kids could make the sandwich the way they wanted. They liked it. Again sorry for the bite out of the food, I was slow on the draw with the camera this meal.
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    My husband got the "Half Rotisserie Chicken with two sides $9.99" Rice & mash...he must have really needed some starch...:rofl:
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    KIDS finishing up...they were hungry!
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  7. Candikayne

    Candikayne Missing the House of Mouse!

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    You're so lucky your kids wake with ease. I have to try repeatedly to get them up....even when at WDW. I take pity on DH and dress all the kids before he wakes. That's the trade off....because I love the rope drop....and try to make as many as possible.

    Great report....keep it going!
     
  8. rentayenta

    rentayenta <img src=http://photopost.wdwinfo.com/data/500/dm.

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    :thumbsup2 I am loving your report. We'll be ending our trip this May with 2 nights at the POP and I am so excited! I just love how kitschy is!
     
  9. mikkiwikki

    mikkiwikki DIS Veteran

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    HI Candikayne -

    Wow its funny how everyone is so different. Man I guess that would bring a very different set of problems. I just wanted to sleep in one day but guess that is never going to happen - at least until my kids become teenagers...(which would bring with it a NEW less pleasant set of problems - so guess Illl suffer through "the lack of sleeping in" issue for the next decade..haha...2015 I might get to sleep in because they do the same thing on the weekends truth be told.:laughing: < why am I laughing you ask?> sleep deprivation. :eek: kidding. - well kinda. Anyways onto my report!)

    So the kids want to go back to JIYI (journey into your imagination for the acronym impaired.)
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    We ran into this lady at the kodak station who was just phenomenal. She had me cracking up so hard with questions the kids were asking about her 'laboratory' She was saying things like she has 3 experiments going in the background - one was how to read minds...and that if it worked she could read what was in my daughters head...and she made some comment about she knew she had called her brother a name at some point in the last day. My daughter was like WOW. I cant remember the entire dialogue and looking back I wish I had written it down because I was laughing so hard by the end of our exchanges. She also took a picture of our family with her big camera - which I dont have because its not digital....I guess I could scan it. She was telling us about how it was a super powerful photo and we could spill hot soup on it etc and it wouldnt hurt it or anything. I was immediately like uhoh what are they selling but she didnt sell us anything. :rolleyes1

    Then we went to play in the fountains outside
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    ds GETTING ready to get soaked with the jumping water:woohoo:
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    Then we decided to make our way over to the Norwegian Pavillion. The kids love maelstrom the ride. After the ride we are routed through the gift store. Where we take our traditional viking photo...
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    My son became attached to a viking hat for whatever reason....which we ended up needing to purchase...funny what kids 'have to have':confused:
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    After going on ElrioDelTempo - (I love the Mexico pavillion but I didnt take any pictures here for whatever reason) My daughter announces she doesnt want to see any more countries....and wants to go on Test TRack NOW. Right now. My son however freaks out and says he doesnt want to go on test track because its too twisty. Much to my surprise because he has spent the last 6 months watching youtube video of testtrack, and I assumed he would make a beeline there..kids! :confused3

    So while DD and hubby are on test track we hang out in the cool station.:sad2: boooring. I must say they need a better alternative activity.
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    Flying Fish Cafe for dinner ! stay tuned
    http://allears.net/menu/menu_ff.htm
     
  10. mikkiwikki

    mikkiwikki DIS Veteran

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    We take the boat over to the boardwalk from Epcot. Perfect way to end the day...Dinner at the Flying Fish.. As I check in at the podium hubby plays tag with the kids:goodvibes

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    After some waiting & checking out the atmosphere ( our ressie was for 5:30pm) we are shown to our table.

    I just love the decorations in here.
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    We ordered drinks - I got a Mojito :) This was very fragrantly minty, kind of overpowering to me. However, but I had never had one of these before. Not sure I would order one again, but some people love them.
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    For the first course I had ;) The Salad - it was divine!

    Fresh Mozzarella di Bufala, Heirloom Beefsteak and Yellow Tomatoes - Radicchio, Balsamico Syrup, exotic tiny basil, and Sicilian Olio Verde $15.00
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    Hubby has the calimari -
    Crispy Sesame and Togarashi-scented Calamari - spiced green papaya and fragrant vegetables, Asian dipping sauce $14.00
    Hubby said it was very fresh & he really liked the dipping sauce...the sesame oil was very "present" & tasty.
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    My son ordered the pasta with tomato sauce
    "Bowl of Mickey Pasta with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese - $5.50"
    Childrens pasta dishes can be kinda tasteless, but I have to say my son finished this entire bowl, and I had a small taste and for a childs dish this was very flavorful, and the pasta was aldente. Cooked just right.
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    Hubby and I for the Main course - BOTH got the signature dish.
    Potato-Wrapped Red Snapper - Creamy Leek Fondue and Red Wine and Cassis Butter Sauce $36.00

    This was SOOOOOOO GOOD. If you like White fish this is the bomb.
    The fish just is steamed perfectly, inside the thin potatoe wrap, that is mildly salty, and the creamy reduction is the perfect complement. I could have eaten three of these...Haha:rotfl:

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    Another angle
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    Here was my daughters "Grilled Cheese with roasted potatoes and vegetables $5.50 " She is used to less textured bread of course, but this was ok. I think they tried to get to fancy smancy for a kids meal haha. She wa slike THIS ISNT GRILLED CHEESE. And I reluctantly had to agree somewhat. :cutie:
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    Desert was a double expresso for hubby
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    Nutty Irish for me
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    The kids deserts were SO cute...check out the puzzle pieces. It came with a paint brush that you could paint the puzzle with. Very cute.:cutie:
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    After dinner we ROLLL out of the restaurant, and THINK about taking the boat back to epcot, but the boat is no where to be found. We turn around walk through the area we were previously playing tag, and wave a cab...and we are off to Pop.

    Pic taken of our return to POP
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  11. mikkiwikki

    mikkiwikki DIS Veteran

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    Agreed! This was our first stay at a value, (this was a split stay for us we exit to the Contemp on the 30th) We are already planning another trip - to POP exclusively in August! The kids LOVED pop :goodvibes
     
  12. Sabrina90744

    Sabrina90744 DIS Veteran

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    Your report is great!!!! Can't wait to read more!
     
  13. mikkiwikki

    mikkiwikki DIS Veteran

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    :lovestruc Geez Thanks Sabrina! Im trying my best...(and Im a software engineer, so story writing is not my strong suite, but carry On I will! ;) (for the love of the mouse:laughing:
     
  14. mikkiwikki

    mikkiwikki DIS Veteran

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    Ok so Im already ahead of my attempt to write a trip report from last year.
    You see last year I typed about two pages, and then christmas overtook my ability to maintain focus. This year I am committed to write at least a day of the trip per evening, and so far so good!

    If I dont continue you all may hunt me down and whip me with a wet noodle.:thumbsup2

    Ok Onwards! Today is THANKSGIVING. Last year we ate at Artist Point for this fantabulous meal, so this year I wanted to try something different. According to all my research DHS was supposed to be a good choice on this date, so the best sit down in this park was Hollywood Brown Derby! There Ya go!

    Ok looking back on this report Im sure you guys must think Im a total food fanatic...Well I guess Im just ITALIAN. Not to totally stereotype my ethnicity but ~~~~ Ive never met an Italian who does not love good food. Im sure they are out there - I just havent met any of them! :)

    Anyways - Our big Yank for today is we want (like everyone else) to go see Toy Story Mania...and I was not prepared for the stampede that we would have to endure...:scared1: Stay tuned!
     
  15. GorshGoofy

    GorshGoofy Mouseketeer ~ DIS Dad #337

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    I'm enjoying your trip report too. I especially like the food photos with description and prices. I'm looking forward to your description of Toy Mania.
     
  16. amaxwell

    amaxwell Earning My Ears

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    Thanks for sharing your trip! We are staying at POP for the first time in March. We were hesitant at first booking a value, but have heard some wonderful things about it. Thanks for the pictures!
     
  17. mikkiwikki

    mikkiwikki DIS Veteran

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    Thanks GorshGoofy! Ill get to the description right away! :goodvibes

    Hi amaxwell - Yes we were very very very worried about staying in a value - based on the reports on the dis I envisioned pop as having rock hard beds, smokers everywhere, and a food court that was untenable. I can gladly report that none of the above is true, and its simply a delightful place to stay. As Ive mentioned in other threads... as a child we only stayed at the poly so I was pleasantly delighted!
     
  18. rentayenta

    rentayenta <img src=http://photopost.wdwinfo.com/data/500/dm.

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    :thumbsup2 I think The Pop looks like so much fun! Did you find the split to be a hassle?
     
  19. mikkiwikki

    mikkiwikki DIS Veteran

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    HI Rentaenta -

    It was great fun! :thumbsup2

    I thought the split stay would be a problem but it really wasnt.
    The biggest hassle was just repacking, but not too bad.

    You check out of your room right from your room...ie you dont have to go to the front desk, and can review your bill online before leaving. As long as you agree to the charges they will deliver a bill to your door by 8am checkout day, or you can pick up a copy at the front desk.

    We opted to just cab it over to Contemp after checking out but I know many people just bring their luggage to the front desk and tell them where they need to go. We just didnt want to 'wait' so a cab to the front of Contemp worked like a dream.

    I liked saving a little money, and the kids got to see two hotels. It was like two vacations in one.:cloud9:
     
  20. mikkiwikki

    mikkiwikki DIS Veteran

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    Ok so as I said - we arrived bright and early at MGM I mean DHS. ;)
    We prepared with much anticipation, at the gate for what was coming. Our very first ride on ToyStory Mania. Below is a Quick pic of us arriving. We are hussling to line up in front of the Brown Derby for the rope drop.

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    As we lined up there with many other quests the CMS tried to talk to the crowd but I couldnt hear a word they were saying to be honest. And there were many people that tried to cut in line, which made me a little perturbed, but not going to let it spoil my magical day!:laughing: Just dont cut infront of my kids! Or Ill take you out! Just kidding.:scared1: No maybe Im not.. Ok onwards!

    Finally - they say 10-9-8-7-6 etc and drop the rope...and we all start shuffling towards Toy story mania. Which I didnt mind until people started RUNNING. It was really quite silly. Anyways. A bunch of people just are stampeding for the FP machines. Hmm...Magical? :wizard:
    And then a line forms in front of the ride itself. We get in line and are in shortly. Here are some pics after we got into our car

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    Well suffice to say - I had read some descriptions of this ride beforehand, but we all were so impressed with the special effects of this ride. We loved it! It seemed like the objects being 'shot' from the midway games were SO real, and the 3d glasses were not inconvenient at all. The sound effects were very clear, and understandable, Very very cool. The kids wanted to ride on this ride again and again.

    This is us leaving the ride
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    This is my favorite sign
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    Next we took the kids to see Playhouse Disney- Sadly the kids are getting a mite old for this show, and it didnt please/excite/entertain as much as it did when they were littler.

    :sad: My babies are growing up! Boo hoo!
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    We went to Backlot tour
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    Walt's Plane - it just glitters with pixie dust doesnt it?
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    And next it was off to HollyWood BrownDerby. I had made all my adrs years in advance ( I jest)
    So we were in like flynn. Whatever that means. We were quickly shown a table after a short wait with the kewl magical brooms.

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    Pic of the movie star sketches.
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    Hubby in our very nice booth - Thanksgiving WITHOUT relatives. Doesn't he look relaxed?
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    Then I get relaxed - IM forgetting what this was called. (it was that good) :laughing:
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    Kids got Chicken noodle soup to start nothing special

    My & Hubbies soup - This was very tasty. Creamy. There was an oyster in the middle of the plate, mine was a bit chewier than I thought it should be - but hubbies was reportedly fine.

    Cold Water Lobster Corn Bisque - with truffle creme fraiche and snipped chives $8
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    Adults Thanksgiving meal- Gravy, and potatoes & squash were excellent., The turkey was a bit dry.
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    Kids Thanksgiving meal was exactly like the adults minus the squash :weird:

    Kids desert - gummy worms,cookie and icecream.


    My desert - a pumpkin cheesecake that was unbelievably yummy. The peanut brittle was a mite to brittle, but had chocolate on one side. The cheesecake was so good my daughter had a small bite and then wanted forgoe her desert and share mine
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    up next MK
     
  21. DisDreamz

    DisDreamz Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Messages:
    112
    Great report, can't wait to read more! TSM is my all time favorite ride. My kids get ultra competitive over who can get the best score (usually ds).
     

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