"Our TR - Now with 100 % less POFQ!" - Nov 10th-20th(3/5-Last Day & Final Thoughts!)

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by skier_pete, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. FosterA

    FosterA DIS Veteran

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    Kinda sad that your trip is coming to an end....well the TR anyway. It just went so fast!
    First of all....I love the face paint. That is crazy how fast they do it. That would take me forever to do!

    I also really like the full body photo of you and your wife with the blue bug. Ya'll look like teenagers! Is that a magic photo pass pic?:laughing: I want one of those!

    Seeing your EE pics makes me miss AK. I just love this park, probably even the most of all the parks:cloud9:
     
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  3. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Awww...she stars again! :thumbsup2

    Gorgeous tiger paint job...and awesome PP pictures.
     
  4. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Yeah, considering I think you pay about $35 for the same thing at the Pirates League, right? I still would insist she get it done in the morning if she wanted to do it again. It gets smudged as the day wears on, and comes off pretty quickly when washed.

    Don't worry, it'll be a few more weeks before it's done. I need more time to focus on my new PTR, though!

    I looked back at the pick with Flik (see what I did there). DW hairstyle does make her look younger. Me, I just noticed I got an awful lot of gear on me!

    And I also love AK (I think I used the word love about 20 times in the review), I tend to get very defensive about the park, as a lot of people really dislike it. Not me though!

    I promise more updates before the week is out!

    SP
     
  5. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Once the FoW show was over, we had two things we sort of wanted to squeeze in before lunch, and we had about an hour and a half to do it. The first was Maharajah Jungle Trek. This is my favorite of the animal trails, mostly because I love the theme-ing of the ruined temple, but also because the tigers are just so beautiful. I know my DM would’ve liked to spend more time here – but DD is all about moving through.
    Kimodo Dragons:
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    Some kind of asian duck:
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    Fruit Bats:
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    And Tigers:
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    Oops – the real Tigers:
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    Other Deer:
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    Love the Aviary here too. Love the bird feeders. Why can’t we get one of these:
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    Can you spot the wild snow leopard?
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    We then headed over to revisit the safari with our FP – again the two weeks flew by.
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    These were White Rhinos that had apparently just taken a mud bath. It was kind of cool. One of the fellow DISers, “FosterA” I believe, went on the Safari slightly earlier the same day and the Rhinos she snapped weren’t covered in mud, so it must have been a fairly recent event:
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    We just made it out of the Safari when we had to hit our ADR at Tusker House.

    Don’t know how much of a review this will be – cause we just LOVE Tusker House! Our favorite Buffet at Disney World by far. Love the ethnic food, love the building, love it all. The biggets problem is we don’t have enough room in our bellies to eat as much as we’d like!
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    And again the food didn’t disappoint. Still have Samosas, which are an Indian fried pastry with a potato/pea/curry filling. Uh…so good. One of our friends at home makes these, and hers are of course better, but these are still pretty good. The other foods are also good.

    I also must comment to say our waitress was very friendly and very attentive. I also asked her about the upcoming change to making lunch “character dining”. I don’t mind the addition of characters, but if they take away the great ethnic food I think I’m going to kick somebody.

    After dinner, we left with a pass in hand for priority seating for the Finding Nemo show. This was a great perk of Tusker House (that I hear they are eliminating with the switch to character dining) and the first time we’ve taken advantage of it. What it did was allow us to be let into the theatre right before they opened it to everyone else. So, we were able to get seats down towards the front, and what we ended up doing was sitting directly to the right of the main ramp that goes from the mid-point of the theater down onto the stage, which the characters occasionally run up and down.

    This is our third time seeing this show, and while it is far from a favorite of mine and DW, DD likes it a lot. The previous two times we had sort-of lousy seats, and I have to admit with the closer seating we enjoyed the show much more. The costumes/puppetry are amazing, and the songs are gradually becoming less irritating with each listen, if not quite catchy. There’s no denying the CMs are working it in this show!
     
  6. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Once this show was done, DW and DD called it a day and headed back to the hotel. DM and I headed towards the tree of life. One of the things I love about Animal Kingdom is the way they incorporate Animals in all the designs. I didn’t take pictures, but if you pay attention, each of the pavilions in Flame Tree BBQ is themed off of a predator/prey relationship. Likewise, in Pizzafari, each room is decorated with animals with a common theme. (For instance, all striped animals.) The building around the Oasis/Tree of Life area also are covered with animals:

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    DM really wanted to see It’s Tough To Be a Bug as it was a favorite from her only visit to AK. We hadn’t seen it since 2000, as it would scare the bejesus out of DD, even at 8 years old and she hates 3D shows anyways. We just got across in front of the parade before they cut off the entrance, so we knew it would be a pretty empty theater. Seeing it for the first time in a few years, its still pretty intense. Like everything else at AK, the design of the theater is amazing. Still, I think it’s a very clever show, and I wish DD would give it a try. Maybe in a few more years.

    Small bit of Disney Trivia: The only Disney attraction in the entire world that opened PRIOR TO the movie that it was based on. ITTBaB opened with the park on Earth Day (April) 1998, while the movie didn’t open until November of that same year.

    When the show was over, so was the parade, and we headed out of the park with the crowd. We spent the evening at the hotel and using the pool. I’d like to say it was a slower paced day and I suppose it was but as the week wear’s on we are getting pretty beat down by this point, and it didn’t seem like it was a more relaxing day. Another note on the evening, I noticed that there were a LOT of people around, and I kept overhearing people saying that they just got here. This makes a lot of sense, as Friday was the last day for free dining. If you checked in on Friday, you could get FD for the entire week of Thanksgiving. However, I just kept thinking “Uh oh…I shouldn’t have saved MK for our last day!”

    Day 8:
    Characters Met: 1
    Rides/Attractions seen: 9
    Waits of > 5 minutes: 0

    Totals (8 days to date):
    Characters Met: 21
    Rides/Attractions seen: 74
    Waits of > 5 minutes: 2

    Up next, our final day at MK , or “Oh, here’s where all the people are…”
     
  7. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    That's a fantastic set of pictures for DAK. Love the tigers and the tree of life. And I love Tusker House too.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  8. FosterA

    FosterA DIS Veteran

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    I just love the Maharajah jungle trek too, for the same reasons. I think the crumbling temple effect is awesome! I've never done the other "gorilla" trek though so I'm not sure what that one is like.
    I don't remember if it was in my TR or not, that I had a photo of the rhino's.:laughing: I'll have to hunt it down and go take a look.

    Right now I'm starving so the Tusker House food photos look yum! Thanks alot, now I need to go eat something.

    It's funny that so many people are scared by the Bug Movie. It doesn't seem scary to me at all because everything is so cartoony. I mean kids scared is one thing because you know how they are....but alot of adults are freaked out by it and I don't get it all since it's so cartoony:confused: Before my trip I head alot about Mickey's philarmagic but I think the Tough To Be a Bug attraction is waaaaaay better as far as 4-D movie attractions at WDW.

    now what day is this update on again? I noticed an upsurge in people coming into the resort probably on the Monday before Thanksgiving.
     
  9. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Thanks, I am sometimes surprised at what good pictures I get out of that little point-and-shoot. Of course, some of that is I have some training on photo composition, and some of it is that I only post the better pictures.:thumbsup2

    You do have pictures of the Rhinos, and they aren't as muddy. I remember thinking you only must have been on there an hour or so earlier than us, so they must have just rolled in the mud.

    I agree that I don't know how adults could be "scared" by the Bug's Life movie, but I can easily see how kids would. It's one attraction I haven't pushed our DD to see because she doesn't like the 3D effects anyways. (I think she more doesn't like the air/water shooting at you.)

    This day was actually Friday. I wasn't that the resort seemed crowded, I just kept hearing people talking about having just arrived, or first day tomorrow or something, and made me think "Uh Oh!"

    Hey, by the way, did everyone hear they are modifying the safari ride to have additional savannah at the end and an area for the zebras? Right now, you might not notice the zebras, they are way off to the left right after you go over the "collapsing" bridge. Speaking of which, this was the first trip in ages where the "collapsing" bridge actually was working. I was glad to see it, because it is kind of a neat little effect, especially if you are not expecting it.

    SkierPete
     
  10. Moodyzblu

    Moodyzblu DIS Veteran

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    Wow ... Great pics from AK ! I love it when it's so beautiful out and the sun is shining so bright. :love:

    My boys refuse to do ITTBaB as well. Funny, they'll go on EE but won't do that little 3d show. :rolleyes:
     
  11. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Another beautiful day dawned, and we headed out for the 9 AM opening. I knew right from the start that this was going to be trouble. The bus was very crowded, and although we got to the gate about 20 minutes before opening, the place was packed. The area beyond the ticketing turnstiles was completely and utterly full. I plan my trips to avoid the crowds, but I made an exception for today. I wanted the last evening at MK, and I never should’ve done it. In the end, it wasn’t a terrible day, but I must say it was probably the most crowded park day we’ve ever had, with the possible exception of the

    So, fortunately I took some notes, so I can recall some of what went on today. First up we headed to Fantasyland again. Really once we got through the entrance, the crowds did thin out for the first hour or two. We hit Peter Pan first right after I grabbed a FP for later. (Yup, a fourth time on this ride – what can I say, a family favorite when you don’t have to wait in long lines.)
    Then, DW and I did Snow White Scary Adventures one last time, while DM and DD sat and had a snack. We followed that up with It’s a Small World for the 2nd time of the trip, and with that we had cleared out what we wanted out of Fantasyland.

    There weren’t a lot of pictures from this day, as you get towards the end of the trip, we always spend less time with the camera out…however, we did get a shot of DD working the Sword in the Stone:

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    Apparently she is not the next King Of England…

    I was ready for another FP and so we headed towards Liberty Square. DW had wanted to meet Tiana for a few trips, so I told her to head there and I would get FP for Big Thunder Mountain. We got back to Tiana – no more Prince Naveen it seems – and it turned out the FP photographer’s camera was broken. We decided not to just stand and wait, so we just took the picture with our camera. DD was being shy, but Tiana talked with her about her favorite foods and got her to appear in the shot.

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    Next off, we headed into Adventureland, on the way we ran into a FP photographer – perhaps the one missing from Tiana. Got a few shots:
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    We headed for Jungle Cruise. The wait was pretty darn short and we got through it within a few minutes. (It was only about 10 AM at this point.) I then made the choice to go see the castle show – Dream Along With Mickey – don’t know what I was thinking here, breaking my own “rides first” rule! I so much wish they would change this one up – it’s been going for 5+ years! It’s OK and all, but we’ve seen it an awful lot. DD still likes it, though. We then posed for an additional castle shot:

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    We came back to Adventureland, and the choice was Pirates or Tiki Birds. DD wanted Tiki Birds, and I again went against my “rides first” perhaps because I was so happy the original show was back, we went with it. When we came out though was close to 11:30 AM, and the crowds were getting HUGE. We headed over to Pirates since we hadn’t ridden it on our previous day, and the wait time was listed 25 minutes. And for sure that’s what it was. My DM is a bit claustrophobic but she’d been doing OK up to this point, but us packed in that dark queue for 25 minutes really bugged her. She was ready to go back to the room. We decided to get some lunch first and stopped at a family favorite: Columbia Harbor House. The food here is generally excellent, and in addition there is a TON of seating, so even though the lines were long we had no problem getting a table. The food was great as usual, with the adults getting either the fried shrimp or fish, and DD getting chicken nuggets. I love the Apple Cobbler here, one of my favorite desserts in WDW. However, the only food picture we got was this one:

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    During lunch, I ran over to Tomorrowland to get FP for Buzz Lightyear. We were now sitting on 5 sets of FP! (I took this prior to the 5th set…don’t know why I didn’t wait. I’m gonna miss being able to do this if the rumored FP restrictions really come through.)

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    So, after lunch we decided we would go ride Splash Mountain while DM watched DD again (DD said she didn’t want to ride Splash) and then get in line for Haunted Mansion.

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    Well, DD decided she really wanted to ride HM first – basically because she didn’t want to walk over there and back – so we told her that she would have to ride SM with us if Grandma went back to the room. She agreed, so Grandma left and we went and got in line for HM. Again, the line was pretty bad, it said a 30 minute wait, and it was all that. We wanted to check out the new queue, not realizing that the line to by-pass the queue was MUCH, MUCH shorter than it was. However, the queue was pretty neat and kept you reasonably entertained while waiting.
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    We also got the bad fortune of a breakdown on the ride, right near the beginning by the paintings. We were stuck there a good 5-10 minutes before restart.

    Next we headed over to use our first set of FP – BTMRR! The wait with FP was very short, we were on in < 5 minutes. It was now time to ride Splash Mountain, and would’nt you know it, DD had a fit and refused to ride. We were furious, since now we would either have to switch off or not ride it. We were so annoyed, we just wanted to go back to the room. I know we punished DD with something (took away her TV I think) but DW kept saying she played a “dirty trick” on us, and that’s what it was. So instead, we got on the railroad and headed back to the hotel. On the way back through the train station, I saw this poster:

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    I am not as sentimental as most, and with a few exceptions think any ride should be eligible for replacement or update…however it is still sad to see any original park ride close…at least there will still be a SWSA in DLR!

    Well, we had stayed much later than planned, it was probably near 3 PM by the time we got back to the room. We had a 6:40 PM ADR for Cinderella’s Royal Table. We did go down to the pool for a little while, but there wasn’t really too much time as it was getting dark and it got rather cold. We were back at the hotel for a few hours break though which was nice.

    To Be Continued
     
  12. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    I'm gonna miss the collecting of FP for later use as well.


    Despite the DD meltdown, it still sounds like a reasonable morning at MK despite the crowds. Waiting to hear how the day ended.
     
  13. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    The changes to FP are a huge bummer!! We didn't always use them late, but it was nice to not have to really pay attention to anything beyond the opening of the window. As long as we would still be in the park at that time, we took the FP. TSM was one we almost always used late so we could ride once in the morning, and take our second ride with FP later on in the day.

    We really enjoyed the new queue at HM! We did go through it on our first day, but from there on out, we took the shorter line to get right on the ride. :rotfl:
     
  14. FosterA

    FosterA DIS Veteran

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    It's amazing how the crowds picked up this last couple of days but I'm always impressed about how organized and scheduled you manage to keep the family in order to be able to do SO much!

    We ate at Harbour House too when we were at MK and I LOVED it. We also had no problem finding a nice quiet table somewhere. YUM!

    Bummer that your DD pulled a fast-one on you guys! I also saw that you said your DM was feeling a little claustrophobic at one point. I imagine towards the last day or two of a long vacation, everybody starts getting a little more grumpy. I know we did on that last day or two. Around day 5 my kids weren't quite as cute as usual. :laughing:

    I like all your Haunted Mansion photos. That attraction is BY FAR my favorite at MK and it brings back such good memories to see pics and hear about it. I wanna go now!
     
  15. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    In hindsight, it wasn't too insane...just didn't help that my DM doesn't like crowds and had already been a week of "crowds" - though not real bad.

    I'm definitely going to miss the late FP use if it truly does go away. Though, I do have to say, if I can pre-book my FP for the day, an uber-planner like me would have no problem taking advantage of that. (Of course, I really believe that the majority of people will NOT want that kind of service.)

    We almost always used FP late since we first heard about it back in 2006, though usually not so late as we were going at the end of the day. As I've posted elsewhere, I have no problem with Disney eliminating the late FP usage, as long as they do so consistently, but I will be a little bummed at the restriction involved, and it will definitely change our touring strategy.

    I thought the new queue was fantastic, but I don't really like the set-up where you can by-pass it and use a shorter line. I shouldn't have to wait in a longer line to see the line. If I didn't have a child, I'd probably never go through the interactive one again, because I am of the mind that shorter line >> interesting line. (Why I've never seen the supposedly awesome queue for Expedition Everest - I always go single rider.)

    Well, the rope drop thing is even more critical on those crowded days. We really were still able to see a lot in the morning (plus the FP for later). Oddly enough, the crowds in the evening did not seem extra heavy, though admittedly we were mostly doing things during the run-up to MSEP, so most people were waiting for the parade while we were riding rides.

    Oh yes, love Harbor House, very much the favorite QS location at MK. I was shocked at the size of the lines when we walked in, but there was still plenty of seating, and we didn't even try upstairs, which is almost always deserted.

    Ohhh...we were so furious at DD. Splash Mountain is my favorite ride at MK, and I really wanted to ride it right before going back to the room in case we got wet. Instead we had to ride it later that night. There was definitely the fatigue factor setting in. We've learned how to pace ourselves to make it through a 10-day trip, but it still starts to get to you towards the end. One of things I find most amusing on those last few days is watching people who are on there first day. They are so easy to spot, being all bouncy and full of energy. Meanwhile, I'm thinking "Yup, I remember those days! Just you wait, you'll be draggin' a** like me in a week!":rotfl:

    HM has moved up my list of favorite attractions, and is currently my 2nd favorite at MK behind Splash Mountain. (Though the re-done Tiki Room has special exemption as a #1 in the nostalgia category.)
     
  16. solana131

    solana131 DIS Veteran

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    Oh no! I didn't know it was going to close! That is one ride we just never got to last week. Bummer. The line was just always so long and there were other ones DS wanted to do first. Oh well, I guess there will be other things opening to take our mind off all we missed this first time.
     
  17. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Yeah, they are replacing it with a Seven Dwarves Mine Car Ride, so there will still be a Snow White ride, and I expect it will be a better ride as well, but it is always sad to see something go. Too bad you missed it. There's always YouTube (or DL!)

    SP
     
  18. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    So around 5:45 PM we headed back to the park with 4 sets of FP in our pocket. This time the ride was very quick, and we got there early enough that we had time for a quick ride before our ADR. We wanted to catch JC in the dark, and it was really more like dusk, but it can be a slightly different ride at night. Coolest park was though that DD was asked to drive the boat through the cave/root canal! She took it very, very seriously (of course not knowing the boat was on a track) and was rewarded with an honorary skipper card at the end of the ride. Very, very cool!

    We headed over to Cinderella’s Royal Table. This will be our 3rd visit to the castle, all while under a free dining program. I like CRT, but in a place where prices are outrageous, the price hear is beyond ridiculous. This was our first “dinner” here, since previously they didn’t have the princesses for dinner back in 2007/2008. The way it works is after you check in, you first are greeted in the castle “courtyard” by Cinderella herself:

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    (I liked that they finally give you the Photopass ID with the pictures. It used to be you had to know the “secret” to look at the corner of the “free” pictures to get the Photopass code.)

    We were seated pretty close to the windows, maybe two tables over, which was neat looking out on Fantasyland at night. The first thing to note is the food. It was actually quite delicious. I neglected to take pictures of the Appetizers. DW and I had the “Royal Tasting of Cheese” which was 3 little bits of cheese with a small side of flavor for each. (One came with a dab of honey.) DM had the “Mix greens salad” which was quite large and serviceable – not much to say about a big bowl of lettuce. The dinners were served, and DW and I again had the same thing, the “Roasted Beef Tenderloin - sliced roasted beef tenderloin with Duchess potatoes, asparagus, and a tomato Hollandaise”. This was quite delicious and a decent portion as well – though again clearly not worth the $53 price tag.

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    DM had a special which was “Grilled Rock Shrimp over flat noodles and vegetables” (not the official name), and this was also very good and a pretty large portion.

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    DD had the Pizza, yawn:
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    For dessert, DD had the “Make your own cupcake” which of course was a big hit even though she just ate the toppings off of it:

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    DM and DW had the chocolate Mousse:
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    And I had the Chef’s Dessert Trio, which included the mousse, a small cheesecake and a pecan (I think) tart. It was all very good:
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    The character interaction was for the most part pretty good. The way they work it there is they sort of have seatings, where once everyone is seated, then they announce each of the Princesses in turn, and they start their rounds of the restaurant. They actually weren’t spaced all that far apart, but it was OK, the first came out when we were eating our Appetizers. First up, Snow White, who was of course very pleasant.

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    Next was Princess Aurora. When are they ever going to fix that hideous dress of hers;
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    After our meals had arrived, we next were visited by Ariel. I have to say, she was far and away the most fun of the princesses. She acted like she was completely new to the human world and was all excited and running around the restaurant. Very, very, friendly with the kids as well.
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    Last but not least was Belle. I know I tried to strike up a conversation with most of the Princesses, but I only remember with Belle, I asked why all the other Princesses got to dress up in their ball gowns and she only came in her regular dress. She said that she was planning to go the library after dinner and did not want to wear such finery for that purpose. I of course figured she would have an answer ready, but was impressed that it sort of made sense. (And of course, Snow White is actually in her regular “run through the forest and clean the Dwarves cabin” outfit, so technically not EVERYONE is in their nicest outfits.)
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    They had the wishing ceremony somewhat late in the meal, but DD was still into it:
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    Next up, the final rides of the trip…
     
  19. FosterA

    FosterA DIS Veteran

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    wow, what a great update! Probably the most detailed I've ever heard of the castle dinner. Great photos too. I could totally dig that shrimp dish. yum!!

    oh and that's pretty cool about driving the boat at the Jungle Cruise. I really really wanted to do that ride in the dark but never got the chance.

    Looking forward to the next segment of your report....popcorn::
     
  20. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Excellent review of CRT. I've never eaten there and at that price tag, I doubt I ever will. The DP prices are also getting ridiculous and I think we might see if TiW works better for us in October next year. There's a DisMeet of some gamers happening and I'm planning on heading over with the family. Given that we will probably be looking at two 'home cooked' dinners, I'm going to need to see if DP would still work for us or not. More Disney Fuzzy Maths to look forward to.
     
  21. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Thanks for the compliment! We did enjoy the castle meal. The meat was actually very good as well.

    There's really not much left to go...I should have it wrapped in the next week or so...I need more time to concentrate on our big trip this summer anyways.

    Yeah, we've eaten at CRT three times, but all 3 were with Free Dining. It's a lot easier to justify the stupid price tag when its "free".

    The DP prices are pretty bad, but compared to actual restaurant costs its still a big savings. We sort of plan our trips around free dining, because that's still the biggest discount you can get, at least for values/mods. It usually works well for us: In this case, the 8 days of DDP would've cost us $1200 for 3 adults and a child. The actual amount of food we got out of it was $1478, so about a 23 % benefit. In additon, we spent another $573 OOP - though more than $300 of that was on the two days before we were on the DDP ($225 at California Grill alone) and another $75 spent at Food and Wine.

    I didn't think you could get TiW without being an AP holder? Can just anyone buy it? We looked at it back in 2009-2010, and it may have marginally been worth it as we had two trips without free DDP - but the one thing I noticed is it doesn't work at a lot of CS in the parks, so didn't think it would've been a good investment. We stuck with OOP for one, and the DDP for the other.
     

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