Pixie Dust in Your Eye Hurts! -- Aug. 2010 -- update on 2/25: Epcot Photopass!

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by wlake, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. wlake

    wlake DIS Veteran

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    We haven't even been home 24 hours and I'm already longing to go back. So I think I'll relive our trip with a nice, long TR. If you'd like to read the PTR, you can find it here.

    The cast of characters that went:
    me -- a school teacher, older than she's going to admit to being
    DH -- a mechanical engineer. If I tell you how old he is, you'll be able to guess my age.
    DS8 -- our son who thinks and thinks before he leaps. He has a sensory processing disorder which helps determine how we spend our days.
    DS5 -- our son who careens from being completely impulsive to completely anxious.

    The short backstory behind the trip: We weren’t planning on going. My mother’s family had a big reunion planned for July and that was going to be our trip for the year, despite it meaning that my DH would be spending a week living with roughly 20 in-laws. Then spring came and was incredibly difficult for my family. My FIL passed away suddenly, we were forced to make an unwelcome change in childcare arrangements (and so my DS5 lost a huge support network), a flood changed our small rural town forever, and my DS5 developed an ongoing medical problem. There were a few comparatively small illnesses and issues, as well as the continuing saga of settling my FIL’s estate and making sure my MIL, who lives a couple of hours away, is ok. We needed some time together as a family where we could just have fun. We got a room at my beloved POR and the free DDP, so we went!

    When DH and I went in 2001 before the boys were born, I was a park commando. It killed me to spend an afternoon sitting by the pool. When we took the boys in Aug. 2009, I knew I had to be different and planned accordingly. I think I managed that again this year! :)

    Sunday, August 15th:
    We live about an hour from the nearest commercial airport, so a 7:15 AM flight meant being out of the house around 4:15. So, we put the boys to bed super early, in their clothes, and I packed muffins and juice bags to have as breakfast in the car once they fully woke up. We loaded the car the night before (and if you're one of the three people who read my PTR :rotfl:, all of DS5's underwear was in that load of wash!) and had nothing to pack that morning except for the boys' stuffed animals. Everything went according to plan, except s-l-o-w-l-y. We didn't leave the house until about 4:40. We left the car at the lot and got the shuttle to the airport. We were ok for time, but I almost panicked when I saw the huge security line. It wasn't even 6 AM on a Sunday, for crying out loud! Still, it moved quickly and our flight even boarded and took off on time (a first for us, as Southwest went 0 for 4 for on time flights for our family reunion trip in July). We landed in Philly as planned and headed to our next gate. We were supposed to take off at 10:10, and around 10:00 an announcement was made that there was a "maintenance delay" and the flight would be ready to go about 10:30. All I could see was my time in MK vanishing! :eek: By 11:00, we had been shifted to another gate, the plane had been switched for a smaller one, and everyone had been asked to recheck in. My DH grabbed his bag with the boarding passes and ran for the counter, along with a thundering herd of other people. I'm not just being poetic, either -- you could hear the thundering of feet dashing to the counter!

    In case you're curious, if US Airways has to switch to a smaller plane, their policy is to reassign seats on board the new plane based on your seat on the old plane. People towards the front of the old plane get seats on the new one, while people in the back of the old plane are bumped from the flight. We didn't know that at first, so the rumors started flying around the gate. People who were bumped were put on a flight just after 3 PM, then when that was filled, one after 6 PM. Things were getting bad at the counter and an armed security guard arrived to try to keep it calm. Then the news about their seating policy made its way around and the rumors went like this: people after row 20 weren't getting on, people after row 22 weren't getting on, people after row 18 weren't getting on. That's when I started to get really worried -- I had heard that the 6 something flight was filled and we were sitting in rows 19 and 20! They were giving out $350 vouchers, but even the idea $1400 wasn't making me feel better (although I did think it might cover most of the hideously expensive tickets to see my cousin in Idaho). Making matters worse, I realized my DH wasn't at the counter anymore and I couldn't see him anywhere. I finally found him at another counter and my heart sank. I figured we were off the plane and not able to fly out on the next two flights either. He came back and had the precious boarding passes for the (formerly!) 10:10 flight! :woohoo: Our first brush of pixie dust!

    The flight finally left around noon, so we were about an hour and 45 minutes late getting into Orlando. We hurried to the MME line and were on a bus about 25 minutes later! The driver even slowed down for people to get a photo of the gate, but we were so far back in the bus and my DS5 had the window seat, so my pictures weren't good. Within 45 minutes, we were at POR and checking in. The online check in service worked smoothly this year so it took about 5 minutes, as opposed to the 45 minutes it took last year. We even got our request for a close building and were in Alligator Bayou lodge 15! More pixie dust! pixiedust: We got our mugs and drinks, dropped our carry on bags, and caught the bus to MK. We were walking in the gates of the Magic Kingdom by 4:30, only 12 hours after leaving home.

    Here the boys are with the Mickey icon in our room.[​IMG]

    Our tradition (even if we've only been twice as a family, we've done it both times) is to get on the train and ride around the park first. We did get off in Toontown this time to get Buzz FPs first thing. The teacups had a 10 minute wait posted, so we decided to hop on. It was a great omen for our trip -- we were on, rode, and were off again in less than that! We never waited more than 15 minutes for any ride, and most of the waits were shorter than what was posted. Even more pixie dust! We managed to get on the Speedway (one of DS8's favorites!) and Buzz before our 6:35 ADR at the Plaza.

    Here I am with DS5 on the Speedway -- he even steered![​IMG]

    Dinner at the Plaza was one of the few disappointments of the week. Despite checking in 20 minutes early, the CM wasn't overly polite and we weren't seated until about 7:00. The food was fine but the service was slow. However, the boys loved their Mickeylodeons for dessert!

    Even though we really needed to head back and get the boys to sleep, one of the things DS5 really wanted to do was ride the Liberty Belle riverboat. It was closing the next day for maintenance, so we knew we needed to get on that night. We should have done it before dinner, but we were focused on the short waits on other rides. We got on the 8 PM boat just before it left the dock, which was more pixie dust -- it was the last boat of the day! We hurried back to POR and rushed the boys to bed right after arranging a Mickey and Stitch wake-up call the next morning. We collapsed not long after!

    Coming next: our first full day and lunch at Chef Mickey's!
     
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  3. tankgirl427

    tankgirl427 DIS Veteran

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    Sound great so far! I can't wait to hear more. Glad you found DS5's undies!:laughing:
     
  4. airforcemomof2

    airforcemomof2 Mouseketeer

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    I want to hear more! Hurry up, we leave on Wednesday morning! :lmao:
     
  5. KYCruiseCrazy

    KYCruiseCrazy <font color=blue>I'll be drooling and dreaming<br>

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    Any chance of larger photo's? :confused3

    The TR is so far so good. More more more!!:hippie:
     
  6. wlake

    wlake DIS Veteran

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    Welcome! Glad you're enjoying it. The pictures are a stumbling block for me -- sometimes I can remember how to make them smaller and sometimes they end up the size of the screen. The tiny ones are clickable to make them bigger. I tried something different with this next post, so hopefully I've got it right. :)
     
  7. wlake

    wlake DIS Veteran

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    I actually slept reasonably that first night, despite the fact that I hardly slept at all last year. The music that surrounds you everywhere in WDW sinks into my head and I hear it all night long. Even though I brought an entire bottle, I forgot to take the Advil PM, but it didn't matter that night.

    DH and I got up before 7, but the boys slept almost until our wake up call at 7:30. We got dressed, had breakfast, and headed out the door for the bus. For the most part, we had pixie dust on our busses too and rarely waited more than 15 minutes for a bus. We were at MK by 8:30 and got a great spot for the welcome show at 8:50. I love the welcome show!
    [​IMG]
    Because we were right at the wall, we hung out there for a few minutes afterwards waiting for the crowds to move. DS5 waved to Mickey and Mickey waved right back at my boys! When we got in under the train station, Pluto and Pinocchio were doing meet-and-greets in the town square. Since there was almost no one in line for Pluto and he’s one of DS5’s favorites (Goofy is the other one), we jumped in line and got photos. [​IMG]
    Now that we’re home and I’m looking at the PhotoPass ones, I’ve learned you can add that character’s signature to the picture! I’m so excited!

    After we saw Pluto, we realized that the horse-drawn trolley was waiting for passengers. We hopped on with two other people -- that was it! The trolley started for the castle and then the Dapper Dans jumped on! They sang for us and we chatted. It was lovely.[​IMG]
    (All of my photos of them actually on the trolley behind us are too dark -- bummer!)

    Big Thunder Mountain Railroad had a 5 minute wait, so we got a child swap card (DS5 hates rides where you go fast or slide on the seat) and took turns riding with DS8, who loves it. It was the first roller coaster DH had ever been on (back during our 2001 trip), so he likes it too. [​IMG]
    (DH and DS8 are in the last row of the third car. I can’t believe I got the picture!)

    Afterwards, we headed for Adventureland and saw the Tiki Room show. The boys love the song, which they have on their MP3 player, but I don’t think they were overwhelmed by the show. It was ok, but it won’t make my “must do” list again. After the Tiki Room, we rode the flying carpets. It’s not a ride we’d go out of our way to do, but it was right there and practically a walk on, so off we flew![​IMG]

    By that point, it was time to head to the monorail. We had an 11:15 ADR at CM to get to!

    Coming next: Lunch (really breakfast) at Chef Mickey’s!
     
  8. tankgirl427

    tankgirl427 DIS Veteran

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    Okay I know I've said this before, but your boys are really adorable!
     
  9. lexmas

    lexmas DIS Veteran

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    Ack! Somehow I missed that you started a TR! I was going to go to sleep, but now I'm going to catch up instead!
     
  10. wlake

    wlake DIS Veteran

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    Thanks! We think so too! :)

    There's not too much yet, so it shouldn't take long! ;)

    School starts tomorrow for the teachers, and with the challenges of the new position, I figure this TR will take me approximately forever to write! :) I'm going to try to work on it for a little bit each day because I don't want to forget all the things I didn't think I'd need to write down. My grandmother used to say "If you can't keep up, take notes." I can't take notes fast enough to keep up! :lmao:
     
  11. lexmas

    lexmas DIS Veteran

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    All right, caught up now. I had been wondering, "why hasn't she started a TR yet?" when I was just missing it, apparently.

    Sounds like you lucked out with your flight. I always sit in the very last row if I can so I'm disturbing the fewest number of people. That sounds like it would have cost me!

    You got a lot done the first day, especially for only having less than half a day there! I'm glad you got to ride the boat! Newly there and showered with Pixie Dust already!

    Day two sounds like fun. I hope to be able to get there for the opening ceremony. It seems like fun! Your boys must have been so excited that Mickey waved at them!

    How very fun that you rode the trolley with the Dapper Dans. I LOVE main street, and that just makes it even better. It's like you were in a musical! :lmao:

    I'm not crazy about the tiki room, but I do it anyway. There are worse ways to spend your time than with singing birds. I'm actually in the minority, because I like the re-do much more than the original.

    We did the carpets at MNSSHP on our last trip, and it was the only time we rode them. Fun, but just not something I really think about doing. It is the no-wait version of Dumbo though!

    Can't wait to hear about your lunch at Chef Mickeys!
     
  12. wlake

    wlake DIS Veteran

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    A musical -- that's exactly it! It was perfect for DS5 because he's fascinated by live music. We stopped for every piece of it in WDW -- I had no idea there was so much! :lmao:

    I so agree with you about the Tiki Room and the carpets. DS5 loves those types of rides though, especially when he can control them.

    I love the welcome ceremony so much! We got to see it three times while we were there. I didn't think they did it for the EMH rope drop, but they do!
     
  13. wlake

    wlake DIS Veteran

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    The boys were excited about taking the monorail and getting off at CR. Every time a monorail passes, they point it out and yell what color it is (makes for long days in Future World in Epcot!:lmao:). As usual for this trip, we waited just a couple of minutes. DS5 passed the time by asking the CMs for transportation cards, but had no luck getting any. When we got to CR, we had to wait in quite the line to check in. The boys kept looking at the food court area and wondering where Mickey was! :) We got our buzzer and headed over to the window area where we could see the lake as we waited. The buzzer went off right around 11:15, and the waitress led us to a table by the windows! Pixie dust for sure! We watched people play in the pool and on the splash pad as well as the monorail while we ate. DS8 loved watching the monorail go by inside.
    [​IMG]

    Pluto was the first of the characters to stop by. DS5 was wearing his shirt with Mickey and Pluto, and Pluto made a big deal about being on the shirt! It was very cute. This photo is of him poking his picture on the shirt.
    [​IMG]

    All in all, Pluto stopped by our table at least three times, although he usually just waved at us after the first stop. Goofy was our next character but he wasn’t as lively as the one we saw last year at Tusker House.
    [​IMG]

    Donald Duck came over after Goofy, and he really played with the boys, especial DS5 (which is probably because DS5 plays more with them!).
    [​IMG]

    By this point, we were pretty much done eating and waiting for Mickey and Minnie. Mickey showed up and stopped just long enough for one photo before he left. He barely even greeted the boys, so we were really disappointed. In fact, it left us with a negative impression of the entire meal, and we probably won’t go back. [​IMG]

    Pluto came and played with the boys again, and then the napkin song started. Did they ever have fun swinging their napkins around!
    [​IMG]

    Minnie finally stopped by and was very sweet to the boys, although I didn’t get pictures of her smooching them -- rats.
    [​IMG]

    We had decided to head staight to AK after lunch. We had a hard time finding the bus stop outside of the CR and finally had to ask for directions! We had a quiet moment at the Mickey topary and a cool metal Mickey and ears sculpture while we were lost though.
    [​IMG]

    Our pixie dust returned, because an AK bus pulled up almost immediately! (Sometimes I think bus pixie dust is the best kind!) As we climbed on, DS5 asked yet another person for transportation cards. He finally lucked out and the bus driver not only had some, but he had the cards for all three buses. He even gave a set to DS8. We had to stop at the Poly and Blizzard Beach, which the boys thought was terrific. They were excited about the idea of park hopping to begin with, and then getting a look at Summit Plummet was almost too much for DS8. He had read lots about it in his guidebook, although I know he would never go down!

    Next up: the wonderful yet stormy afternoon at AK!

    School has started again for teachers, so I need to start focusing on my new class, leaving me less time for my TR. I’m going to try to post a new update every couple of days, so please bear with me!
     
  14. tankgirl427

    tankgirl427 DIS Veteran

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    That picture of your DS with Donald is precious! I'm going to get BF to wear a Donald shirt I got for him when we have breakfast at Tusker House. I can't wait to read more!

    Hopefully you get a few more posts up before I leave!
     
  15. TinksThree

    TinksThree DIS Veteran

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    Hey, I am onboard! Even if it takes you awhile!! I love long reports!! :cool1:

    Your sons are adorable and the pictures at CM are way too cute!!

    Main Street is one of my favorite things about Magic Kingdom! The Pluto pic is great!! I can't wait to hear more!!
     
  16. wlake

    wlake DIS Veteran

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    Welcome! :flower3: Thanks! We really had a good time on Main St., especially since my dad brought the slides and projector over just before our trip and showed us the pictures from our 1973 trip. There were little alleyways on Main St. that I had never noticed before, so this time I was on the lookout for them.
     
  17. wlake

    wlake DIS Veteran

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    When we got to AK, the sky was clouding up, but I only saw that as relief from the burning sun, which I later realized was a mistake. We probably would have done things differently, but oh well.

    In DS8’s eyes, the most important part of the entire trip to WDW was riding Primeval Whirl. Last year, he was only 46” tall, 2” too short to ride. He has just barely cleared the 48” mark, so all he wanted was a ride on Primeval! Our first stop (after a PP pic!) was Dinoland. As we were getting close, the thunder started. We decided to ignore it and headed to Primeval. I had thought it had FPs available, but the FP machines have been closed until after the ride gets a refurb this winter (I think. I can’t remember exactly when the CM said it would be.). When we got there, the line was 40 minutes long. I knew we’d have to wait in it, but the thunder was getting worse. I went to talk to the CM about the chances that it might get closed, as I hated the idea of waiting in line for any amount of time just to have the ride closed for weather. He told me he was fairly certain that the ride was going to be closed any minute and that the best time to come back would be 7 PM. I ended up sharing the whole story about DS8 not being tall enough to ride last year and that we needed to be getting back to go to bed so we couldn’t stay that late. The CM told me to wait right there and came back a minute later with a rider swap card!! pixiedust: I think this was the best piece of pixie dust we got during the entire trip! The CM then told me that the card was good all day and that I should wait until the storm passed before we got in line. (I wish I had written down his name because I've forgotten it now!)

    We decided to explore parts of Dinoland we hadn’t seen last year. We walked down a small side trail that had dinosaurs along it. DS5 enjoyed these, which surprised me. Here’s a photo of one they climbed on, and we even found a hidden Mickey on it! (It’s just below DS5’s left hand.) I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before during this TR, but I really wanted to find hidden Mickeys on this trip and even got the guide for my birthday. I probably won’t mention the hidden Mickeys again during this TR, because it turns out I’m terrible at finding them, even with the clues! :confused3
    [​IMG]

    After this, they stayed in Dinoland while I zipped over through Asia to Kali to see if I could get FPs for that, but it was shut down as well. Then I checked out the safari to try for FPs there and I was successful! While I was doing all of this, DH and the boys were watching the gibbons in Asia. They really enjoyed them! While all of this was going on, it started to rain. We eventually gave in and broke out the ponchos. DS5 retreated to the stroller and we put the rain cover on. (I love, love, love my Maclaren!) Not 5 minutes after we put on the ponchos, the rain and thunder stopped and we headed back to Dinoland to get on Primeval Whirl.

    DH and DS5 decided to hang out and watch us while we rode PW. DS8 and I turned in our card and walked up the ramp to the line. I could tell the DS8 was really nervous and didn’t really want to ride. We talked a lot about other rides he was unsure about and then loved and about sometimes needing to push past your fears, as well as our strategies for handling the movement of the ride. With DS8’s sensory problems, we had a list of how to manage if he decides part way through he hates the ride. We waited about 5 minutes and were still 20 people or so back when the call went out for a group of 2. We were the next one! We jumped ahead and climbed on. Here we are, distracted by something inside the car, and you can see the uncertainty on his face. You can also tell we’re still damp from the rain!
    [​IMG]

    Off we went! I hate drops, so I was closing my eyes (strategy number 1!), but by the second one, he was so excited he left his open! Then we got to the spinning back and forths, and we were both thrilled! What a great roller coaster!!! Now DS8 has a problem -- which ride is going to be his favorite, Test Track or Primeval Whirl? What a problem to have! :lmao:

    It was time for our safari FPs, so we headed through Asia to Africa. We waited for a few minutes and off we went! It was a tiny bit cooler after the rain, so we lucked out with the animals. We saw birds which I can no longer name, alligators, the usual grassland horsey-type animals (I can never remember their names either!), flamingos, elephants (including the baby!), rhinos, the lions, and the warthog. The best two animals of the trip were the giraffes and the hippos. The baby giraffe was wandering close to the vehicle, and the mother got between us and the baby. The baby wandered over to her and started to nurse! It was adorable! When we got to the hippos, we got to see one yawn and then another one submerge to get a bird off of its back. I like hippos. Anyway, here’s a photo of mama giraffe heading off the baby!
    [​IMG]

    Even though it was almost time for the parade, we decided to leave and head back to POR to rest for a little bit. That didn’t work very well as the boys couldn’t seem to stay still, but I got the unpacking done and the suitcases stored in a corner. Mousekeeping had left us an interesting towel creature! We’re still not sure what it is -- any thoughts?
    [​IMG]

    We had dinner at the food court, sharing a couple of meals to save a few CS meals for later in the week. After dinner, we looked around the general store and the boys traded a couple of pins from the huge pin board they have there. DS8 discovered another speedway pin. Last year, he got both Mickey and Donald driving the cars, and he found another one here, but I don’t remember which one.

    We headed to the pool and swam for a bit. DS8 loves the waterslide and DS5 even got brave enough to put his face in the water. We didn’t stay long and managed to get the boys showers and into bed by 8:15, what would turn out to be the earliest bedtime all week!

    Two rather random pictures that I took that night: one of POR that I love and the boys by our window decorations. They look rather small in the windows, so I’ll have to go for something bigger next time!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Up next: An 8:00 ADR at Tusker House with a 9:00 park opening time!
     
  18. lexmas

    lexmas DIS Veteran

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    Riding the monorail into the Contemporary is always so much fun. And that sounds like a great place to sit, with a great view!

    How cute that Pluto made a big deal about being on DS5's shirt! And that's sad that Mickey didn't stay for long. Character meals are so hit and miss sometimes. In fact, we had such a great table and character interactions at Ohana last trip, I won't go back! I just know that we couldn't get so lucky again, and I don't want to ruin my impression of it!

    That metal Mickey sculpture is really awesome. I'm glad you stumbled across it! (Not glad you were lost though! At least you asked for directions. We probably would have wandered forever...:rolleyes1)

    I'm glad your DS5 is persistent and that he finally got those transportation cards! Do you have a picture of them? I don't know what they are. But free things to collect are my DS's favorite, so I am interested!

    That is so wonderful that the CM gave you a rider swap card! It's the little things that they do that make disney so special!

    Too funny that you had a hard time finding the hidden mickey's with the clues. They must be very hidden!

    I'm glad your DS8 was so brave and rode primeval whirl! What a relief that he loved it!

    Nursing giraffes! :lovestruc That would have made me so happy!

    That is an interesting towel animal. I don't even know how to guess at that one. Did you keep it?

    In bed by 8:15? That is quite the accomplishment! They must have been tired from the day!

    POR is so beautiful. Your window decorations look great...those are just some big windows that you had! :rotfl: It's so nice to have something that makes your room recognizable, isn't it?

    I hope work is going well! I know you said it would be a big change for this year!
     
  19. tankgirl427

    tankgirl427 DIS Veteran

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    Okay somehow I completely missed that you were on page 2! I've been waiting for an update. I just never saw Page 1 of 2!

    I did primeval Whirl while my mom watched, she was too scared. It was me and two little kids who I didn't know.

    We had giraffe pass by us too last time I was there.

    I have no idea about that towel animal, but it sure is festive!
     
  20. TinksThree

    TinksThree DIS Veteran

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    That was so awesome of the CM to give DS a rider pass card!!

    I loved the giraffe picture...they are my favorite animal!!

    The POR picture made me long to be back...ahhhhhhhh, I miss it so much! :cloud9: We nver got a towel decoration and I have no clue what yours is! Very tropical!!

    We had an 8am ADR at Tusker House also!! Can't wait to hear how yours went!! :goodvibes
     
  21. wlake

    wlake DIS Veteran

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    Here's a photo of the bus cards. I'm not sure where the monorail cards are right now, but they're basically the same. Each card has a different character on it to help you tell them apart, but they're numbered too. We managed to collect 5 or 6 of the 18 cards, but we still haven't ridden a boat that has them! There are 3 bus cards, 11 monorail cards and 4 boat cards (I think). I left the picture large so you could get a good look at them!
    [​IMG]

    Here's the nursing giraffe for you too! :)
    [​IMG]

    The towel animal was a mystery all week long! :confused:

    Thanks for the best wishes -- today was the first real day. I survived!
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015

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