"Surprise! We're going to Disney World today!" -April 22-27 TR (6/15 - 2 NEW Posts!!)

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by skier_pete, May 2, 2010.

  1. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Welcome to the second of three TRs in the "Year of a Million Disney Trips". Here’s the deal for those not hopping over here from my last TR.

    The three characters:
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    Me, SkierPete, 40: I will say I am a planning nut. I have a 20 page spreadsheet with costs, park hours, ADRs, day plans, the whole shebang. I’m an engineer and do planning as part of my job, one of my favorite parts perhaps. I also love to ski (hence the name) and travel in general, as well as spend time with DW and DD whenever I can. Originally from Western Massachusetts, but have lived North of Buffalo, NY for 15+ years.

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    DW, age to remain secret, though she already celebrated her big 4-0. That's her on the right...I didn't really get any real good pictures of her this trip. Originally from Rochester, NY. We met through a mutual friend 14 years ago (damn!). She is a good match to me in most things, and a perfect match in Disney trips.

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    DD, almost 7. This trip is really about her, as you will see below. She is a good child, though she can be very stubborn and emotional. While she loves Disney in many ways, she is not much for trying new things while there. Most of the time, she is pretty easy to follow the schedule we set, but when in the right mood, she just wants to do what SHE wants to do. It doesn’t matter if you CAN’T do it now to her A lot of going to Disney with her is about battling with her. In addition she is definitely NOT a princess, preferring animal characters to people, no BBB for her.

    Our little family of three bought Annual Passes for a December 2009 and October 2010 trip. When the 2009-2010 school calendar came out, I noticed that DD school vacation in April (19-23) was much later than Easter (4th) and I said to DW…”Hey, what if we could get a really cheap airfare and fly out mid-week for just a little mini-vacation to Disney. The tickets would be free, we could stay at a Value resort and even skip the meal plan and just eat QS. What do you think?” Not one to turn down WDW, DW was OK with it…so when the fare dates opened up on SWA, and I was able to swing $145 round trip (!!!!) we were preparing for another trip! We also decided that instead of telling DD, we would keep it a surprise until the morning of…

    I’ll skip the boring planning part. While I typically plan out a lot of the day, I didn’t really do that this trip. The intention was to (A) let DD lead the decisions, and (B) no TS meals, so we would not be tied to that either. The only thing I plotted out was which parks which days:

    Thursday (Arrival day): DHS
    Friday: AK
    Saturday: Water Park
    Sunday: Epcot
    Monday: MK
    Tuesday: Fly home

    So, we were all packed and ready to go. She had been off school all week home with mom, but I had been working. She had asked every day if I could stay home. I said, “No, Daddy has to work.” On Wednesday night she asked again as I was leaving to play tennis - I play every Wednesday night – and I said “Well, If you are really good for Mama tonight, tomorrow I will stay home and we’ll do something fun.”

    So, Thursday dawns, and we get the car packed and ready to go. It’s 6:30 AM and we go into DD room with the videocamera running, and here’s what transpires:
    Me: “So mama said you were a good girl, so I am staying home. So what should we do today.”
    DD: “I don’t know”
    Me: “How about the zoo?”
    DD: “Umm”
    DW: “How about the Aquarium?”
    DD: “yeah”
    Me: “Nah, we just went there. How about the Bird Kingdom?” (Open air bird sanctuary in Niagara Falls, CAN)
    DD: “OH YEAH!”
    Me:” Nah, something else…..how about if we go see the Indiana Jones Stunt Show?” (DD has been into Indiana Jones since December, and plays Lego Indiana Jones every chance she gets.)
    DD: “But that’s at Disney!”
    Me: “Oh yeah, What do you think mama? Should we go to Disney World?”
    DW: “Sure, let’s go!”
    Me: “All right, let’s go to Disney!”
    DD “ You’re kidding!”
    DW: “Nope, the plane leaves in two hours!”

    You might expect your kid to jump up and down like a maniac when told they are going to Disney World later today…but a big happy smile was all we got. She was definitely thrilled though – and for the next hour she frequently said “I can’t believe we are going to Disney!”

    I will skip all the boring airport/flight/ME stuff, as I severely doubt anyone cares about that…let’s get to Disney. Let’s just say, DD was awaken at 6:30 PM, and by 1 PM, less than 6 hours later, we were checking into our hotel room at Pop Century.
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    This was our second trip to Pop Century in just a few months. Before that, we had only stayed at POFQ, which we really liked a lot. We are by far not hotel snobs in any way. While we are in financially good shape, we also can’t afford to regularly be spending $3000-$4000 for our Disney trips, so I always said to her that at some point, we might need to choose the Values over the Moderates to keep going. (Our POFQ trips were free dining.) Well, I have to stay after two stays there, we really, really like the Pop Century hotel. It might have a TON of rooms, but it doesn’t feel that big when walking around. This time, we didn’t even get a preferred room, and I didn’t get my requested building (again). We were in Building 6 in the 70s and we were on the back-side, but were in the room right next to the ice machine and the elevator.
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    We were a little closer to the flower pool than the computer pool, but both were less than 3 minutes from our room. The bus stop was about 5 minutes, as was the lobby / food court. I think the only building that would really stink is if you were on the extreme end of Building 2 or 7. This was the the view from our elevator:
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    I don't think that qualifies as a "hidden Mickey". Our courtyard was made up of a giant Mickey phone, foosball table, and a really big "Big Wheel".

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    We spent a few minutes in the room to get our fanny packs / camel-bak loaded and to catch up on what Stacy was doing...(Still doing the "must-dos"!) And then we headed out to the bus stop for our destination for the day...Disney Hollywood Studios!

     
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  3. MK2010

    MK2010 Mouseketeer

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    I like your TR. We suprised our kids with a trip to Disney too. (See We're Going to Disney? But I Want to See the Alamo!) We didn't exactly get the response we were looking for either. I was the big planner for ours. It was our first ever trip and I had the 20 pages of spreadsheets too! It was great that you got such good rates for airfare. Its amazing when you have to pay almost as much in airfare as you do for the parks! Looking forward to more!
     
  4. LuvEeyore

    LuvEeyore DIS Veteran

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    Lovin the trip report. Signing on.:rotfl::rotfl:
     
  5. JLR

    JLR DIS Veteran

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    Hey Skier Pete,

    I'm glad you got started. What an excellent surprise! I love your pictures. That saturated color is what I wanted in mine. That is just so Disney! Excellent score on the tickets!
     
  6. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Thanks...just a simple Nikon Coolpix point and shoot. Nothing fancy, I find the key with outdoor pix is just making sure you hold the camera still. It is much too easy to have the pic be slightly blurred.

    Pop makes it easy to get color saturation though...everything is SO bright!
     
  7. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    So, I didn't mention this in my first post...but DD had been asking for a while to go to WDW for her birthday...especially since our last trip was for my birthday. We told her this trip could be to celebrate HER birthday...since it is only a month away. The only thing is, she didn't want to lie and say it was her birthday, or that she was 7, when it was actually in May. So we told her if someone asked to say that she was "Almost 7" and if anyone enquired further we would just explain a little more. Since Disney doesn't care if it's your actual birthday, we figure no problem with this. (You can see her proudly wearing the birthday button in the photo below.
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    Back to the trip: We got to the bus stop and caught a DHS bus almost immediately. (We had EXTREMELY good "bus Karma" this trip, as I like to call it. I think we only waited more than 5 minutes for a bus twice, and only more than 10 minutes once.)

    DHS is without a doubt our families least favorite park. DD only likes about 5 things in the whole park, DW doesn't care for much besides TSM and the Muppets, and while I like larger parts of it, I find the park as a whole too disjointed in design and theme. (Is it "old hollywood" is it "backlot"?) Last trip we spent about 6 hours total in this park, and this trip we would have about 5 to spend, which we thought was more than enough. This is essentially the reason we did the park today.

    That said, the park was as empty as I have ever seen it. Very, very light crowds coming in and throughout the park all afternoon. It was kind of a theme of the trip. Considering we have been going at supposedly uncrowded times (early December, late-August and late-September) the crowds this trip were either lighter or just as light as any of those trips.

    First thing, DW bought DD a balloon. DW wanted to do this last trip and never got a round to it. Personally, the balloon mostly got in the way, but DD like it, so whatever. First thing she wanted to do was her favorite thing...the "Ant Playground". On the way, I had tried to get FP for Star Tours, but the FP machines were shut down, so I caught up with DW and DD at the playground. I got a few requisite shots of DD:
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    It was quite warm as it was mid-day, and even with fans blowing we were pretty warm. After 45 minutes of crawling around like a bug, we decided to try and catch the Muppets and Star Tours before hitting the 4:15 PM Indiana Jones show. We made the mistake of trying to find the "Singing in the Rain" umbrella, which wasn't working, though we were told it was. By the time we looped back to the Muppets, we had *just* missed them letting people in, so they were holding people outside. We decided there just wasn't time to wait a full two show cycles. (One in the pre-show area, and one for the show.) and headed over to Star Tours.

    At this point, DD was protesting that she didn't want to do Star Tours. A new special treat she gave us for this trip...she now decided that rides she had previously liked were now too scary to ride on. :confused3 Since we had basically decided this trip was for her, and missing things were not going to be a concern - we were going to skip it...but I wanted to ride it one last time. So, DW got DD a popsicle and I did a quick trip to Endor and back. (There was zero wait for this ride.) DW and DD also caught the end of block party bash while I was there.

    Next, on to Indiana Jones. She had been always afraid of this show, but since the last trip when I volunteered for the show, she had really gotten into listening to the Indiana Jones music and playing the Indiana Jones lego game. (She likes adventure-type games.) So, she wanted to see the show, even though she wanted to hide for the "part with the boulder". We watched the show, and it turned out there was another family from Buffalo behind us, who I chatted with before the show. (The Sabres were still in the playoffs at this point, so we were comparing hockey notes.) I still enjoyed this show a lot, even though I've seen it about 6 times now. One of the few shows that doesn't get stale to me.

    On the way out, we were walking under some trees when we heard a *fttssssssss*. Somehow, DD balloon had gotten a hole poked in it from a tree branch. A janitorial CM nearby helped us out by getting some tape from a near-by vendor. They said we had to go to the front of the park and they would give us a new one. The tape seemed to do the trick, and we wanted to catch the next Playhouse Disney show. I volunteered to go and replace the balloon while DW and DD watched the show. (Talk about a show going stale - I can't stand this show anymore.) But, DD wanted me to stay. Isn't it time you outgrow this show, kiddo?

    So it was 5:30 PM by this point, and we had decided to try out the "Magic of Disney Animation / Learn To Draw" Tour. The Animation show was OK, showing how the animators came up with the concept for Mushu. After that, we were let out into the animation hall...and I we were completely floored. There were characters everywhere! And they were changing out so fast. DD just wanted to draw, and even though we had 15 minutes before the next class started, she wouldn't see any characters. But, let me tell you, this was the total character motherload. Here is who we "saw" in about a 20 minute span. We didn't actually wait in line to see them, but this is just who was available.

    Mary Poppins and Penguin
    Aladdin and Jasmine
    Mr and Mrs Incredible and Frozone
    Captain Hook nd Mr. Smee
    Pinnochio and Geppeto
    Lilo and Stich
    Carl, Russel and Doug (from Up)
    Minnie Mouse
    Pluto
    Goofy
    Chip and Dale
    Mickey Mouse (as Sorcerer Mickey)
    Donald and Daisy
    The Queen (from Snow White)

    No lie, all within a 15 minute timespan we saw these characters! I had heard that on Fantasmic days you can get a huge surge of characters by the Hat late in the day. Perhaps they've move that inside, but there was no fantasmic tonight. I don't know if this is a regular thing, but if you are at DHS and looking for characters...this is the place to go. Most lines were only 3 or 4 families deep.

    We *had* to see the Queen. DD went and pouted in a corner. So, when I got up to the Queen, I told her that DD is afraid of her. So naturally, she *had* to go over and talk to her. When she saw her Birthday Button, she commanded that everyone present must sing "Happy Birthday" to her, so of course everyone sang. She also insisted on a picture, which didn't come out very well as there was too much backlight:
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    We also stopped by to see Pinnochio and Geppeto (am I spelling those right?) I told Pinnochio that his was the first Disney movie I ever remember seeing, and that Monstro scared the crap outta me. (Not in those same words though.) Pinnochio was shaking in fear at my mention of Monstro! After he signed my book, he played keep-away with it with Geppeto, who got really irritated with him. We got our picture, too.
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    Next up, learning to draw the Big Cheese himself.
     
  8. xanphylus

    xanphylus DIS Veteran

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    Sweet deal on keeping the trip a secret from the DD! My DD wants to go to Disney or Univeral for her birthday and I already told her it will never happen- her birthday falls on Presidents Day weekend usually..... but I never told her we wouldn't go the week before! Lol! I am already planning to take her to Universal (she's a Potter fan) for her 10th Birthday!!! :lmao::cool1:

    Can't wait to read more!!
     
  9. LuvEeyore

    LuvEeyore DIS Veteran

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  10. If U Had Wings

    If U Had Wings DIS Veteran

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    I'm in! :)

    I can't believe how many charcters were out and about. How cool is that?
     
  11. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Thanks for joining in, glad you could join the party.:cheer2:

    I was super-cool. To bad DD was being such a poop-head. I've already told her that our next trip, we are going to do some character meets whether she likes it or not!
     
  12. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    So, it was six o'clock and we headed in for the drawing class - which I just looked up and is officially called the "Animation Academy". Basically, it's a room full of drawing Tables, and an animator in the front shows you how to draw a character. We ended up drawing Mickey Mouse. I didn't get any pictures of the class, as it was pretty dark inside. If you are into drawing, I highly recommend this. DW, who was a commercial design major in college *loved* it, and DD liked it a lot, too. I think DW could've spent the whole day in here.

    Combining the treasure trove of characters with the Animation Academy...this is something I love about Disney world. We were on our 5th trip in 5 years, most of which went for 9-10 days, so we've probably spent about 40 days in Disney World, and I consider myself pretty knowledgable...but we had NEVER really realized this was here...and it was totally awesome. The fact that after all these trips you can still come across something new and different...one of my goals of any trip to Disney World is I want us to do something we have never done before every day, and this most definitely qualifies.

    After the class, it was 6:30 PM, and we had an ADR at the Sci-Fi Drive In for 6:30 PM. We were doing this trip with no meal plan, and limited TS...but I had decided we would do a couple sit-down meals. Since this is one of MY favorite restaurants...I chose to eat here:
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    Even though she had eaten here before, DD became a bit frightened by some of the movie trailers. (I admit as a 6 year-old, some of those old movie monsters would've creeped me out...but they are absolutely histerical.) For me, I love them because I am (was) a huge fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000...for those of you that never saw the show, it was in summary a bunch of guys talking over old Sci-Fi movies making jokes...though it was quite a bit more than that. So, the funny thing is that many of these movie trailers...I have seen the actual movies. So, we had to spend much of the time consoling her while we ate our dinners. DD and I sat in the front. I had the Reuben and a Oreo Cookie shake...DW and the Chicken sandwhich and a duplicate shake. DD had Pizza, but wouldn't finish it. She took the ice cream to go.

    On the way out, we stopped at Guest Services about our balloon. It was still inflated, the scotch tape had held out for us, but since all the balloon vendors were gone, they gave us certificate for another balloon. (The park had "closed" long before we finished eating.) We then headed to the bus stop, where a bus was waiting for us. (GOOD BUS KARMA!)

    We got back and our bags had arrived...we unpacked, went for a short swim. (It was quite warm in the daytime, but the air chilled quickly after dark. The pool was plenty warm though.) After that it was bedtime...we had an early date with ANIMAL KINGDOM!
     
  13. If U Had Wings

    If U Had Wings DIS Veteran

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    I'm trying Sci Fi for the first time in Oct. I can't wait to check out the film clips. I used to love Mystery Science Theater. :thumbsup2
     
  14. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Possibly my favorite restaurant for theming in all of Disney World, and regardless of the reviews I've never had a bad meal there (I think I've eaten there 3 times over the years)- it's just very standard fare so nothing spectacular. They show trailers for movies and then have other things where they show clips of movies edited together..I am such an MST3K geek that I can name many of the movie clips in these montages. The clips are on about a 1-hour loop.

    My favorite was the clip showing "the future is now" where they were demonstrating the video-phone. I joked to the family in the next car: "I wonder if anyone back then had predicted the actual future if they would have been thought as crazy: 'Someday...instead of talking on the phone....the technology will be available that we can TYPE to eachother!!!! And then, the person on the other end can READ the message - and TYPE back!' Bet no-one thought the future would be a personal portable telegraph.

    Make sure when you go to check out the hall "outside" the main Drive-In. When you walk in, the entire restaurant has halls down either side that are dressed as if it is the backstage of a movie set...but there are all kinds of props and poster stashed around in the rafters. Don't miss the jar of eyeballs up high on the shelf.
     
  15. MK2010

    MK2010 Mouseketeer

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    I am so jealous that you saw Sorcerer Mickey! He is my favorite Mickey! I'm keeping track of reasons to go back and this has become reason #5!
     
  16. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Yup, and at times there was absolutely no line for him! We were going to get in line to see him, but it was running up on the Animation Academy start, but we couldn't. It is cool to see him in the Sorcerer outfit (Actually - i guess technically the Sorcerer Apprentice, right?)
     
  17. JLR

    JLR DIS Veteran

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    Lovin the TR! I especially like the photo of you and your wife with Pinnochio and Gepetto.

    MST 3000! :lmao: I haven't thought of that show in a long time. I miss Comedy Central.
     
  18. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    I thought as my 2,000th post I should dedicate it to my TR...and I actually have a little time today...so here goes.

    Today, our first full day, we were off to Animal Kingdom. This is DD favorite park, which she told me was "because it has animals". Myself, it is my 2nd favorite behind MK.While I still think it could use a little more / better "rides" the themeing and overall feel of the park is nearly-exactly right. We could easily spend too full days at this park, never ride and "ride" and still not be bored. (I use "ride" in quotes because I don't really consider the Safari trek a ride, but some do and it is one of the best things in this park.

    It was a pretty nice day...low eighties and a bit humid. AK is always hotter than any of the other parks anyways, but it was not the worst weather we've ever spent there.

    So, we arrived at the gate in time for rope drop. In fact, we walked up just as they were letting people past the turnstiles. (GOOD BUS KARMA-MA-MA!) It was interesting that they were having the rope drop show back here at the entrance to the Oasis. Every other time we've seen it in the last 4 years, it was at the tree of life location. Don't know why this was, but we were able to get a better view.
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    This had to have been the smallest rope drop crowd at AK I have ever seen. This park always feels quite crowded, but overall, this is the least crowded day we've ever had at AK. I was originally thinking I would FP the Safari and we would let DD play in the Boneyard first thing. She loves the play areas, but this one gets HOT, and we wanted to do it earlier, rather than later. However, a check of the times guide showed that it didn't open until 10AM, so we decided to go for our two-week trek:
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    As usual - the safari was great - it always makes the two week trip feel like it goes by in 20 minutes. I usually videotape a lot of this...but we've got enough video, so I tried my hand at still pix. I had some real crap ones but got a couple of good shots.

    These guys were right next to our ride vehicle:
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    Our driver told us to say this was a picture of two giraffes! Can you see the second one?
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    Yup, the second one is INSIDE the first one. It's a pregnant giraffe!

    Some Tommies (Thomson's Gazelles). Don't you just want to have a couple of these in your yard? (Better have a high fence.)
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    Surprisingly, the Lions were no where to be seen this time around...We got off the ride, and there was an enclosure near by with a gorilla in it...I hadn't noticed it before, but he was really close to the front chomping on some leaves:
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    Next, we headed down the Pangori (sp?) Forest Trail. Not my favorite trail (I prefer the Jungle Trek in Asia.) but we did get up close with some Okapi.
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    I told my wife "It's my favorite crossword animal." The name is very popular with crossword writers! One thing I love about the forest trail is the way all the signs appear to be hand written training instructions, such as this one:
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    It's like the whole area is a research station and we are there to study the animals. This is what I love about this park..the excessive level of details, and how there are CM EVERYWHERE to teach you about these animals. They also love to talk to you, as I think the vast majority of patrons just rush on by to get to Everest.

    We also saw our good buddy Timon!
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    Must've been looking at the "Jesus Loves You" skywriting. (Oh dear, am I going to hell for that joke?)

    It was just getting to 10 AM when we got to the Africa Discovery Kids station. There is one of these stations in each "land" and they teach you about various animals. DD loves these, and always wants to get all her stamps. She also got several pins for the movie "Oceans" which had opened the day before. (We missed the AK 12th anniversary celebration by 1 day, too.)

    We figured since the boneyard was open, we would head over there next.
     
  19. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    So, when last we left our intrepid explorers we had exited the Pangori Forest and were heading to the boneyard for some excavation fun. WE decided to take the short-cut across the back of the tree of life so DD could get the Discovery Island Kids Station stamp. Along the trail, there were several birds that were sitting right up close to the rails:

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    I also got what I thought was a cool shot from the back of the tree of life. I wish they put out a guide to tell you all the animals on the tree...I suppose someone on the internet has done this. I should probably try to look it up sometime.
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    So, we eventually made it to the boneyard. I ususally use this time to ride EE. DW does not like the ride, and DD is not yet up for it, so I go and ride in the standby line. The wait was only about 5 minutes, but I think standby couldn't have been more than 15. (Did I say the park seemed very uncrowded?) After that, I went over to the Kali River Rapids FP machines. It would only take two of our APs, my wife's was saying "Not Valid", which is odd for the fact she got into the park that morning. (As a sidenote, these APs are a royal pain. They seem to be really really fragile.) Well, our plan anyways had been to just have one of us go with DD on Kali while the other stays dry with our stuff, so I just took the two passes. Then I headed over to Discovery Island...I had heard hear on the boards that they were giving out FP for the 3 main shows at AK using the ITtbaB FP machines. Well, they were...and if you think people are confused by regular FP machines, you should have seen this place. The interesting thing is, you could get FP for EVERY show at the same time...but it was for a specific show. The FPs being given out were for the 1 PM FLights of Wonder, and the 2:00 PM Lion King show, so I got both...again my DW pass wasn't working, but the FP attendant was good enough to print it out for me...I think she was just happy to meet someone that understood what was going on.

    I just need to put in another sidebar here: You constantly see people posting on this site how the service at WDW has gone downhill, CM don't care..etc. etc. We have now taken 5 trips in the last 5 years, and I have YET to see ANY evidence of this. Are some CM more helpful than others? Perhaps, but we have NEVER seen any evidence that the service and treatment of guests is more than top-notch. I always think that its a case of "You get what you give", where if you bully a CM to get what you want, then what you get back isn't so good...

    ...but I digress...So I made it back to the boneyard, where we stayed until it was about 11:45 PM.

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    That was supposed to be me holding up a pallet of bones, I'm not sure it came off that way at all. What do you think? I do know I successfully show off my gut, though!

    So, we had decided to have lunch before going to see Flights of Wonder. I was originally going to suggest we try Yak and Yeti instead of our usual Flame Tree, but I looked at the prices, and said we should wait until we are on the DDP for Yak and Yeti, as it is more expensive. Flame Tree BBQ is quite possibly my favorite QS restaurant in all the parks. DW and I both got the chicken salad, which was excellent. DD got the awful hot dog on wheat bun. Blech! She ate the dog and left the bun. She mostly wanted to throw leaves in the pond. I gotta say, I also LOVE the seating area for Flame Tree. Very restful except for every two minutes the "ahhhheeeee" of the people riding EE. This one will be a hard one to skip next time.

    We headed over to Flights of Wonder. No pictures, sorry, but I we do like this show. It's not the best ever, but I'll give it this, every show we've been to, they change up the birds acts a little bit, so it's always slightly different. For those interested, the FP method worked pretty well, they had a separate queue for the FP people, and let them in first. The fact was, all it got you was a slightly closer seat, as the show was far from full.

    Next up, Dad makes a rare tactical error at WDW.
     
  20. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    6,207
    So, I had heard here that the old "Pocahantas and her forest friends" show area was being used as a Meet and Greet and also they were having a sort of presentation there as well. This only happened for a short time during the day. So, I wanted to go over there after Flights of Wonder to catch it, and then see the Lion King show with our FP. Well, DD was pretty insistant that she wanted to go to Rafiki's planet watch. I really wanted to check out the Pocahantas thing...knowing the DD was in no mood for characters this trip...so I made us trek across the park to Camp Minnie-Mickey.

    Well, we got there, and wouldn't you know it, there WERE characters in that area, but they were just shutting it down for a break. This was all much worse and DW and I, as we still bring a stroller to push DD around in. While I refused to take it to the airport, we checked it in our luggage, and she got to use it starting today. It just makes everyone's life so much easier, and it IS kinda nice to have the storage area underneath.

    Anyways, so we went to Rafiki's Planet Watch. I like this area a lot, but HATE the fact that you have to take a train to and from there. DD loves the petting zoo. DW and I like the ability to talk to CM that work behind the scenes at the parks. They also have some great small animal demonstrations. Even better, if you come by in the morning, you can catch them performing vetranary services on the animals. We only caught one demonstration. First was a hedgehog they brought out...and second was this guy:

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    Yup, that's right a porcupine. How these animals don't rule the world I have no Idea...what predator would possibly go near that thing!

    [​IMG]

    DD wanted to buy some stuff at the gift stand. She is a HUGE stuffed animal girl. (I am scared to count how many she has but it is well above 100 - I guess I get what I deserve here, because I had almost as many as a child - many that she has WERE mine.)

    After Rafiki's planet watch - DD was very excited to use the Kali River FP. We were running out of time to catch FotLK, but we decided we would do Kali and have to skip Maharajah Jungle Trek (booo! I hated missing that, but unlike most people, I believe you can't do AK in a day.) We ran into our first crowds of the day at Kali. The standby was listed as 45 minutes, and the FP return was pretty long...we waited about 15-20 minutes to get on this ride. I personally think this ride is a HUGE miss for Disney. Nice theming and all, but is probably the WORST river rapids ride I've ever been on. Our local Amusement park has what I consider a better Rapids Ride...which says something. But DD had only ridden it once before when she was 4, so she wanted to try it because she didn't remember it. We stripped our gear and gave it to DW...luckily we were not the ones that got soaked on the big fall.

    It was getting pretty hot by this point, and the park was feeling pretty crowded. DD was starting to wear down too. We wanted to see FotLK, so we headed back across the park when we ran into the parade: DD wanted to watch it, so we got some cool beverages and stood back while she got to the front.

    [​IMG]

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    We first saw it in December with the Christmas overlay. It is still very charming and my favorite parade. I want to know how you become a "family" in the parade! That seemed very very cool!

    We made our way over the FoftLK. DD was starting to melt down a bit...so I decided to tell her about our surprise. I got an ADR for the Rainforest Cafe for dinner! Well, she was less than excited. She had seen the one at DTD the previous trip, and wanted to eat THERE! Well, I explained I couldn't get an reservation there, and they are the same inside. Nope, she just wanted to go back to the hotel and eat. In the end, I didn't care, it saved me money, and I don't think RC is anything special. (We have one 20 minutes from our house in Niagara Falls, CAN.) So, we watched the show (no pix this time) and headed for the exit. First we had to stop at guest services for:
    (A) To get DW annual pass reissued - which wasn't working in the FP machines and
    (B) To complain about PIPA being taken away. For those not in the know. PIPA is the talking recycle bin that used to be out at Rafiki's Planet watch. She is the sister of PUSH - the talking trash can at MK. They took her away last year, and while in Rafiki's we complained, and they said to say something at guest services. I figure if enough people complain, maybe she'll return.

    We hopped on the bus and headed back to the hotel, where we ate dinner, and then went over to try out the computer pool. Then it was time for bed. Tomorrow we had an early morning planned...which in hindsight I am not sure I would attempt again.

    Oh, and I almost forgot, as we came back to our room, we saw this in the window:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Mousekeeping had taken DD stuffed animals, and arranged them on a chair with her balloon, so our window looked sort of like a store display. We were commenting that people walking by will think we did it, when another family was coming out of there room said that's what they thought - that we had done it, and they had taken a picture of it, too! Horray for Mousekeeping! And when I walked into the room, they hadn't even taken the tip I had left for them! (The next day I added more and left a note!)
     
  21. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    Messages:
    5,551
    Wow, I have missed so much already!! I guess I was waiting for your old TR to pop to the top of my subscribed list with the links! Oh well, I am here now & enjoying it!! I so wish someone would just come to me one morning and say, "Hey you want to go to Disney World today?" :rotfl:

    I'm so glad y'all did the Animation Academy!! We just couldn't get enough of it in December. We had to talk each other out of going to class after class. :laughing: And HOLY COW at that character list!!! I have never seen so many in there. Y'all must have gotten lucky. :wizard:

    I'm thinking of how hot AK was in December, and would not like to even think of how hot it is in April. But you got some great Safari pics! And I love the walking trails too. There is so much information to be found in AK!

    Looking forward to more. :goodvibes
     

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