The Disney Finale: WE'RE CANCELLING CHRISTMAS! (Dec. 2-10, 2009)

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by pixleyyy, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. praisehisname

    praisehisname DIS Veteran

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    All caught up and loving it!
     
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  3. *Seanaci*

    *Seanaci* DIS-obsessed and proud!

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    Can't wait to read some more...enjoying this one loads!
     
  4. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for all the kind comments! I just got back from meeting my cuddly 10-day-old nephew and have plenty more to come. Hang on...
     
  5. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    ½ an inch? That’s not very much? What was I thinking??? I’m from Oregon and I should know better. ½ an inch is indeed a fair amount of rain... especially if it ends up being more than ½ an inch. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to the beginning…

    This morning was Animal Kingdom. We enjoyed the extra sleep (the whole ½ hour we got! LOL) and were up at 7:30am. Again, it was breakfast in the room. We were out the door by 8:05 and waited only about 5 minutes before a bus for Animal Kingdom came. The ride to Animal Kingdom was much quicker than expected and we were there by 8:25am. We stopped to grab photos in front of their big tree, which was favorite of all the parks.
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    We were the first ones in our line and we chatted with the pleasant cast member while we waited. It was a bit chilly but we knew it would get warmer later in the day. It would get warmer, right?!?

    The gates opened at 8:45am and we went straight to the rope that would get us closest to our first ride of the day: Expedition Everest! We watched Minnie, Goofy and Pluto, who arrived in their holiday attire to open the park.
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    When the rope dropped we got right up front at the next rope, the one leading us to Expedition Everest. We got on the first train of the day and were on our way to see the Yeti! I totally love this ride and I LOVED the great view from the top. I reminded myself to have one of the cameras out for our next ride so I could get some photos of Animal Kingdom from way up there. Let’s just say that didn’t work out. But I loved Expedition Everest, as did the boys. Brian maybe not so much. The backward coaster just isn’t his thing. The ride was over too quickly but we loved it so much that, of course, we got Fastpasses for it!

    Next up was Kilamanjaro Safaris. The wait time said 20 minutes but in all actuality it was a walk-on. We loaded right up and got to see tons of animals on our adventure. This giraffe in particular was so neat! Not browns and tans like we've seen at the zoo, but black and grey spots! Totally cool!
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    Brian and I both sat on the ends so we could get good pictures with our cameras. Tristan was next to me with his video camera and Chase had his camera out too. Poor Carissa was stuck in the middle and had no hope of getting any pictures with her camera. She was so frustrated! She tried and she tried but it’s hard when there are people moving in front, behind and to the sides of you.

    After the safari we took the Pangini Forest Trail where we saw gorillas and all sorts of other creatures.
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    Next up was the chance to get pictures with some of the characters in their Christmas garb. We had to decide between Mickey and Minnie or Goofy, Donald and Pluto. We went for the latter mainly because Goofy was in a Santa costume and looked so adorable! The line wasn’t too long but we had to wait a bit for the characters to take a break. While waiting in the line it started to sprinkle. So we all just pulled our hats up and waited. The kids traded pins with some nice cast members, as they had been doing along the whole trip. This is always so much fun!

    The trio of characters returned and it didn’t take long before it was our turn. This was the first time the kids had gotten up close to a character this trip and they jumped right in, smiling, waving and hugging them.
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    Carissa in particular was very fond of the characters this trip. 2 days after this photo was taken she came up to me and said:
    "I don't know why and I can't believe it but I think I'm Donald's favorite." Yes Rissa, I'm pretty sure you are!
    The Photopass photographer got some pictures, as did I. Then Brian and I joined in and the photographer took some more. Hopefully these will turn out well. I’m excited to see them.
    Edited to add: Here’s my fave!
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    By the time we left the character greeting line the rain had started steadily falling. Is this a sign of things to come???
     
  6. MAJ RN

    MAJ RN Mom to Tyler and Alex!

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    Great update! Awesome to be on the first train of the day on EE. I love that ride but cannot get anyone to ride with me!! Love the pics of the kids with Goofy, Donald and Pluto. I hope you did not have too much rain, can't wait to read more.


    Melissa
     
  7. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    We decided to duck into the nearby Festival of the Lion King show and hope that the rain would pass.
    We sat in the warthog section this time, having been in the elephant section the last trip.
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    The kids traded pins with nearly every cast member in the building while waiting for the show… and there were a lot of them! The show finally started and it was fabulous! I got goosebumps a couple of times. I just love the costumes, the characters, the performances – everything about this show! The singing is just spectacular too! What a talented cast of performers!
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    The kids were chosen to take part in the finale, following characters around playing instruments and singing. So much fun for them! They got picked to do a lot of things this trip and it just makes those moments even more special.
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    When the show was over we were ushered outside and into the rain. Ugh! We stopped at the kids station on the way out of Camp Minnie-Mickey and then at some shops on the way, hoping that the rain would pass. No such luck.

    Everyone was hungry so we ran over to Restaurantosaurus in Dinoland. The food here was pretty decent. Brian and I had the bacon double cheeseburgers and fries, Chase had the hot dog and fries and both Tristan and Carissa had chicken nuggets and fries. Now, I know both Tristan and Carissa must have been pretty hungry because they ate all their chicken. That’s pretty good for them. Oh, and I’m sure the incentive of chocolate mousse for dessert didn’t hurt. It was all pretty tasty and the dessert was a nice end to the meal.

    With happy bellies we went outside and into the rain, which was falling much harder than before. Thankfully Dinosaur wasn’t too far off. It was a walk-on and we quickly made our way onto a ride vehicle and into the Cretaceous period. I don’t know why, but this ride always scares me. That part where they pop the scary dinosaur at you always gets me, even though I know it’s fake and I know he’s coming. The ride photo this year is almost exactly the same as our previous trip. I’ve got my eyes closed and am cowered down with my head in my hands. LOL Chase looks nearly as scared as myself, so at least I’m not the only coward in the bunch. ;)

    When we get outside things are really wet. The rain hasn’t let up since about 10:30 this morning and the ground is puddles of water. The kids have been wanting to ride Primevel Whirl so we head over there and they ride alone, as neither Brian nor myself is fond of the tiny, twisty rollercoaster, especially when it’s in conjunction with a spinning ride vehicle and pouring rain. It’s like the teacups on steroids. No thank you! Brian and I stake out a semi-dry spot undercover while we wait for the kids. They walked right onto the ride but it still seems like forever until they come back out. And when they do they are soaked! Tristan, whose coat doesn’t have a hood, has a hat nearly soaked all the way through. Chase’s shorts are wet everywhere except in the crotch area and it looks sort of funny. Carissa, the poor girl, doesn’t have an ounce of fat on her and is freezing cold. We seriously consider leaving right then and decide to walk and talk about it.

    We do decide to put ponchos on, but I quickly learn that sticky plastic poncho over soaking wet jacket doesn’t help keep you warm. So I later duck into a shop to take off my wet jacket and do better with no jacket and just the poncho.

    We really want to see Nemo before we leave, as this is our only day at Animal Kingdom. We walk that way and hope that we can wait for the show in an undercover area. No luck - the queue is totally outside and it’s still 45min before the show.

    We keep walking and bypass Expedition Everest. We learned our lesson at Disneyland in 06 – you don’t ride rollercoasters in the rain. When the rain smacks you in the face while you’ll hurling along the track IT HURTS. No one wants that so we sadly opt not to use our fastpasses.

    Brian decides that since he’s soaked already he may as well ride Kali River Rapids before we leave, mainly in honor of his father, who loves all the water rides and who wasn’t able to come with us on this trip. Well I’m not interested, as I’m cold and soaked too. Chase and Carissa decide to pass also, though Tristan is excited and braves it with his Dad.

    Chase, Carissa and I find a semi-dry area nearby in a store that is more like a lean-to. No heat, no warmth, but dry. We look around for a bit, then huddle together to share our body heat. Sounds miserable and it was to some extent. But it was also wonderful to share that with the kids, to remember us standing in a lean-to shop, huddled together in our wet ponchos and hugging to stay warm, giggling about how silly it all is.

    It seems like forever before Tristan and Brian come back, soaked even more than before. No one in their right mind is riding Kali right now so they got to ride twice in a row. In exchange, Tristan has agreed to see It’s Tough To Be A Bug, which he really doesn’t want to see. I think maybe it scares him? I don’t know but he’s been adamant that he’s not watching but decided to do so when Dad rode on Kali a second time with him. Just as a side note, riding Kali in the rain with Tristan ends up being one of Brian’s best memories of the trip.

    We decide to make the most of the rest of our day here so we rush to make it to the Finding Nemo show. We hustled our way to the theater and got some seats off to one side in the lower section. We were all pretty soaked but it felt good to sit down, take off the ponchos and try to warm ourselves. We did get somewhat drier while sitting down for the show, though there was no help for our soaked shoes.

    As always, I loved Finding Nemo! The puppets are just my favorites and the music is fabulous. It’s such a great show. I wish I had searched for a CD of the show. One song in particular Nemo sings about how proud he is of his Dad and it makes me think of Brian every time.
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    By now it is about 3pm and we had a showing of It’s Tough to be a Bug to see. We just missed the show but were among the first to be let into the waiting area. We ended up in the first row which, in my opinion, didn’t give a great view at all. The screen and 3D effects were blurry. But Tristan valiantly sat through the whole show while his little sister anticipated when the termite was going to spray and hunkered down out of the way to miss it.

    We had had it with the rain and decided it was time to head back to the resort to dry off and warm up, even though we hadn’t been able to take our final ride on Expedition Everest or walked the Maharaja Jungle Trek. We made one last stop to grab pins from Animal Kingdom for the kids pin canvas’ at home then made our way to the bus stop and waited for our bus to come. It was a bit of a wait but it finally arrived and we happily boarded. It wasn’t too long before we arrived at our stop and came up to the room.

    We kicked off our wet, soggy shoes and sent the kids into hot showers. Brian and I took showers too and we all kicked back a little and munched our brownies from yesterday. I tried drying out our soaked shoes by placing the hairdryer inside them for short amounts of time. Unfortunately, I let them sit in Brian’s shoes a bit too long and melted his insoles! LOL Thankfully we had 2 pairs of good walking shoes per person so we had dry shoes for tomorrow. I will never go on a trip without that extra pair of walking shoes. A lifesaver!

    We were hungry so discussed our options, which included going to Downtown Disney for Rainforest Café or The Earl of Sandwich, eat at our resort (not really an option given the first nights food and service) or stay in the room nice and dry and order in Giordano’s pizza, which is supposed to be fabulous. We opted to stay in and out of the rain. The pizza took FOREVER to come and it wasn’t exactly piping hot when it did, but it was nice to have a low key evening.

    We watched the news heard that we ended up with ONE AND ONE HALF inches of rain today. No wonder we were soaked! The good news is that it looks like the rain should be passing through by 9:30am tomorrow so our day at Hollywood Studios will hopefully be a bit dryer than today.
     
  8. Charlefours

    Charlefours DIS Veteran

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    :wave:

    Just found your TR. I have subscribed so I can keep following along. Your photos are gorgeous! I am enjoying tagging along and looking forward to the next edition. :surfweb:
     
  9. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    Glad to have you here! I've got plenty more to say and plenty of pictures to go along with it. Thanks for joining in. :)
     
  10. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    Well, the big stormfront has moved through but left us a last little bit of rain to contend with this morning. We just decided to go with the flow and hoped it wouldn’t pour on us anymore. We even contemplated taking extra shoes with us into the park, since having wet feet is the worst part of the rain. But in the end we had faith that it would pass quickly.

    We got up early for am Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios. We dressed, ate a quick breakfast and then set out with our hoodies and ponchos for our day at the park. Although we arrived at the bus stop at 7:15am, it was a very long wait for a bus. We didn’t actually make it onto a bus until about 7:45 and weren’t dropped off at the park until about 7:55. We tromped through the misty rain towards Hollywood Studios.

    There was no way we would make rope drop, especially since arriving that late meant we had more people to contend with. We got through security and the ticket gates and were finally in the park at about 8:05. We headed straight for Toy Story Mania, hoping to ride early before the line got too long. While the wait wasn’t as quick as we hoped it was only about 20 minutes. Nothing like the 90 minutes we would see later in the day.

    This was our first time on Toy Story Mania and it was a big hit! Everyone really loved it and would have ridden it again, yet the long line (it was now about 40 minutes) kept us for going again so soon. We did grab some Fastpasses for later, which was a good idea since the Fastpasses were gone by noon today.
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    Once outside we realized that the misty rain was still falling so we kept on our ponchos (don't we look sweet in our ponchos and cool 3D glasses?!?). Would the rain ever go away?

    Next up was our fave ride in all of Disneyworld – Rock n’ Rollercoaster! The line was pretty short and we were in our limo within about 10 minutes. Can’t beat that! We loved it, as always, and opted for an immediate re-ride. I just can’t tell you how much we love this ride! Doesn’t hurt that Aerosmith is blasting in your ears the entire ride. Gotta love it! We did have to take a short stop so Chase could buy an Aerosmith t-shirt from the ride store. Rock n' Rollercoaster is the best!

    Well, my tummy started getting a little squirrely from all the rides already this morning but the Tower of Terror was right next door so we decided to go for it.
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    This was also a walk-on. Gotta love the low crowds! The kids loved the ride and wanted to go again right away. Unfortunately, the ride was a bit too much for me. I had to leave the gift shop and get some air because I was not feeling very good… not good at all. That’s the closest to hurling that I’ve ever come at Disney, so we decided not to re-ride right now and find some calm, quiet place to be for a bit.

    We headed for the Magic of Disney Animation building. I don’t think we’ve ever been in this building but now that the kids are older we can do some of these things. Well, I didn’t know what we’ve been missing! We went to the movie, where the cast member announcing the show had a speech impediment that made her very, very hard to understand. We were thankful when it was time to move on.

    First thing we saw was Tigger, who we quickly got a picture with. The rest of the character lines seemed a little long so we passed those up. I knew we wanted to go in and draw with an illustrator so we got in line for that.
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    Carissa and I sneaked over to get a quick meet and picture with Minnie. At this point she had a really-have-to-go bathroom run. Brian took her and they got back just in time to join us and we all filed into the animators studio.
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    The illustrator taught us how to draw Sorcerer Mickey. It was so much fun! I really enjoyed learning how to draw him and listening to the tidbits the animator had to share.
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    We all came out with unique versions of Mickey and the kids all want to go back and draw with an animator again. It’s on our to-do list for our next day at Hollywood Studios.
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    (The kids are all holding their own drawings on top. Chase is holding Brian's drawing on bottom and Tristan has mine on bottom.) I carefully rolled up the drawings and we brought them home. I'm not sure what we'll do with them just yet, but I'm definitely keeping them all.

    Up next: Walt or Ariel? Who will reign supreme? Tune in to find out...
     
  11. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    Happy New Year!!!
     
  12. accountingbabe08

    accountingbabe08 DIS Veteran

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    great trip report I'm subscribing. Your kiddos are precious.
     
  13. MAJ RN

    MAJ RN Mom to Tyler and Alex!

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    we have never been to the animator's studio before either. All of your drawings look great!! Can't wait to read more


    Melissa
     
  14. ramsfootball92

    ramsfootball92 Mouseketeer

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    I'm in awe of the attention to detail that many of you supply to your trip reports. I can't wait to read what happens next popcorn::
     
  15. princess.chell

    princess.chell <font color=blue>ǝɯ oʇ uǝddɐɥ sıɥʇ pɐɥ ʇsnɾ ı<br><

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    Just read your TR, and I can't wait for the next part!

    A tip for what to do with the drawings: frame them and put them either in a community room or in their own rooms.
    I had done the animator's studio all the time when I was little, but then took a few years off till 08. My mom dug out my old drawings it and was hilarious to see how I've progressed. I've got the 08 one framed in my room right now. It's so cool to look at.
     
  16. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    I did think about framing them but they are a little on the big size. It might be hard to find affordable frames that fit, but I'm going to take a look around and see what I can find. They are adorable and I love what everyone did.

    My middle son didn't feel it was right for Mickey to be without a body so he added a body on both of his drawings, including Mickey's cute little shorts with the buttons. So adorable!
     
  17. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    Thankfully at this point I&#8217;m feeling a little better. We decide to head over to the Great Movie Ride, one that I personally could totally pass on and never miss a thing. But Brian and the kids want to go so we do it. Eh, it still doesn&#8217;t change my mind. Not a fave at all. The coolest thing about the ride, for me, is the cool costumes and props in the queue line. Hey, but we did get to stop by a Photopass photographer on the way, so at least I got a good picture out of it!
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    It&#8217;s about 11:40 by now and we have lunch reservations for 12:20. Carissa really wants to go see The Voyage of the Little Mermaid, which is just about ready to start. The boys really don&#8217;t want to see it. Chase asks to go see One Mans Dream instead and in the end we decide to split up. The girls go see The Voyage of the Little Mermaid and the boys go to One Mans Dream.

    Carissa and I sat front and center (well, 2nd row and center) for the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show. She was just entranced. It was a cute show and she was really happy when we left there.

    The boys had a great time at One Mans Dream too. Chase is our huge, huge, huge Walt Disney fan and Tristan has also done a research paper on Walt Disney, so they were both interested in learning more about him. They loved walking through to see all the tidbits and facts about Walt, his office and the desk where Mickey was created.
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    Chase &#8220;learned about the original ideas for some of the parks &#8211; Adventureland is WAY off! I also learned a lot about the man himself, like how everything he had, including his family and the Walt Disney studios were all in debt when he created Disneyland making it a huge leap of faith.&#8221; Tristan liked the movie they showed at the end, the teeny-tiny models of the parks and the robot he got to play with. Hearing them so excited made me wish I&#8217;d had a chance to see this exhibit.
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    By now it was just about lunch time. I took us on the &#8220;scenic route&#8221; to the Sci-Fi Dine-In (meaning I went the wrong way and took twice as much time and effort to find where we needed to be). The restaurant was busy and we were all hungry. I, quite frankly, was getting quite snarky and was looking forward to a little down time. Thankfully they got us in fairly quickly. We had a wonderful server who brought our drink refills without prompting and was quirky and fun. The food was pretty decent too. Brian had the ribs, Chase and I had the turkey and bacon sandwich, Tristan had a grilled cheese and Carissa had a cheese pizza (which she did not like! Apparently some Disney pizza is better than others...). We all ordered dessert too &#8211; hot fudge sundaes for four and a chocolate shake for Chase. Yummy!!! The ambience of the restaurant was awesome too and the kids enjoyed a little bit of mind-numbing television while waiting and eating.
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    By the time lunch got over it was 1:40 and Beauty and the Beast was scheduled for 2pm. We hightailed it over there and got some pretty decent seats for the show. I love this show! I love the songs, I love the singing and I love the costumes! Carissa loved it too. Everyone else dealt with it.
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    We decided that now was the perfect time to use our Toy Story fastpasses. The standby line was 70 minutes and the fastpass line took about 20. Sheesh! I like the ride but I couldn&#8217;t believe the hoards of people willing to wait that long for one ride. Guess that&#8217;s why I love the slow times at Disney. Brian beat us all yet again but everyone did fairly well. Our arms were all tired from pulling the darned string on the gun though! LOL

    There's still a lot of day left and plenty more we did. We pretty much closed down the park today so stay tuned for my favorite part coming up...
     
  18. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    We meandered our way over to the other side of the park for Muppetvision. Again, not much of a wait and they only asked you to move ¾ of the way through the theater, since they were never full. We learned our lesson sitting too close on It’s Tough to be a Bug and sat about 2/3 up this time. Much better view of the 3D effects.

    After getting out we rushed over to the 4:10 showing of Lights, Motors, Action. We have never taken the time to see this show before so weren’t quite sure what to expect. I had heard it was a fun, action show but I wasn’t so impressed with it myself. They start and stop the show to reveal how the stunts are done. Then they take some time and move on to another stunt. The show was really long – maybe 40 minutes? – and I would have rather been in the parks. The kids thought it was okay but nobody was really impressed with it. This definitely isn’t on my must-see list for a future trip.

    At this point we still had Rock n’ Rollercoaster fastpasses to use. It was worth the long walk to the ride and the fastpasses got us in fairly quickly.

    Next up was Osborne Lights. We’ve heard such wonderful things about this and we weren’t disappointed. By chance we showed up just a few minutes before they turned the lights on. We got a spot toward one end of the street and stood there, counting down with the huge crowd. When the lights came on there was a huge “AAAAAHHHHH” from the crowd. The sheer amount of lights was awesome and the colors and designs were so impressive!
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    The sun hadn't quite set in the west, so I got this photo looking down the street with the glow of the sunset in the background.
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    Immediately after lighting the lights started dancing, meaning that they played a song and the lights blinked off and on in time to the song. I would have loved some classic Christmas carol, and indeed we heard some later on in the evening, but the first song we saw them dance to was a crazy version of Jingle Bells. It was almost like a Chipmunks song, going way too fast for it’s own good. Jingle Bells on speed. And, of course, it’s stuck in your head all day. And even though I’ve heard the song only that one time I can still remember how quickly it was being sung. Crazy!
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    The lights are beautiful when they dance and even more beautiful when they are on to admire. We walked down the street, stopping to admire our favorites and searching for some of the Mickey heads hidden amongst the lights.
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    We stopped for a Photopass photo of our family with the lights too. Those lights were absolutely beautiful!
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    In all we spent about 25 minutes in the Osborne lights area. There were, however, tons of people and we finally made our way out of the area. We walked by later in the evening and there were still tons of people there. I must admit, this one was worthy of the praise and popularity. I’ve never seen anything like it!

    We walked around for a bit, knowing that our day was winding down. We were hungry and stopped to eat, only to find the restaurant closed. We walked next to Pizza Planet, finding again that it was closed. I didn’t know that the counter service restaurants closed before the parks so was unprepared for it. I asked a cast member at the counter of Pizza Planet if they were closed. She said they were and I asked where we could find an open counter service restaurant. She directed me to the other side of the park. Oh man… another walk.

    As we were walking away she called me back and asked what we were planning on ordering. I said that we were going to order a pizza for each of us, probably cheese for the kids and pepperoni for us. She told us to wait and then gathered a tray and loaded it up. They were out of pepperoni but she gave us 5 cheese pizzas, drinks and desserts. When I asked where to pay she said “Compliments of Pizza Planet”. Wow… how this made our day! Not only did we not have to walk to the other side of the park but we could finally sit down, rest our tired feet and fill up on pizza. It felt so wonderful and we were so thankful!

    We headed towards the sorcerer hat in the center of the park, which was beautifully lit up, especially with the spotlights shining in the sky behind it. I took some shots of the hat itself, which turned out nicely.
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    But then I tried to take shots with people in them. Brian tried too. We even stopped so a Photopass photographer could take our photo in front of the hat. Unfortunately none of those pictures turned out well at all. I was quite disappointed, but not much to be done about it.
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    We thought we might do a little shopping at the end of our day but the stores were too packed to shop. Instead we just headed out of the park and waited for the bus from Coronado Springs. We waited. And waited. There was a pretty long line of people waiting for the bus so when a bus finally came we were lucky to get on. Some of us had to stand, but at least we got home. It was a quick bus ride for us. We relaxed at the hotel for a while and made the kids finally do their journal entries for the first few days of our trip (they kept “forgetting”… this was their homework).

    When we heard Illuminations fireworks going off outside (we can see the tops of them from our room window) that signaled bedtime for the kids.
    Tomorrow is our first Epcot day and we have both the Princess Breakfast and steak at Le Cellier to look forward to. The weather has turned up and the forecast looks good. I can't wait!
     
  19. serrotak

    serrotak Mouseketeer

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    Just found your TR. It is great. We are staying at POFQ in Feb and can't wait. My 12 y/o son really likes to draw so I think we will have to do the animation lesson.

    Looking forward to more.
     
  20. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    Feb 6, 2006
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    1,314
    Welcome! Glad to have you along for the ride.

    If your son likes to draw then he'll love drawing with an animator. Make sure you have a place to bring home the drawings though. The animator will give you a rubberband if you ask so that you can roll them up and rubberband them for easier transport.
     
  21. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Messages:
    1,314
    Today was set as a “relaxing day” at the parks. It was our first day at Epcot, a park that really isn’t one of our favorites and we anticipated that we really wouldn’t need 2 full days for this park. Instead we planned to sleep in this morning, eat lots of good food and just spend the day at a more relaxing pace than our first few days.

    We did end up sleeping in this morning to some extent. I woke up on my own about 7am and then went back to sleep until 8. Tristan and Carissa woke about the same time as me so I guess we all must be pretty well adjusted to East Coast time about now. Our alarm wasn’t due to wake us until 8:30am so we really just bummed around this morning. We didn’t eat much, as we had breakfast reservations, but we hung around, the kids played a few games and I curled Carissa’s hair. She dressed in the beautiful, understanded Disney Princess dress that she’s been saving for just this occasion. About 9:10 we left our room and headed to the bus stop. 2 minutes away from the room Carissa shook her hair and all the curls just dropped right out. Ugh! All that work for naught!

    The bus didn’t take too long to come – maybe 10 minutes. It was a good thing it wasn’t there right away as we had forgotten Tristan’s hoodie and Brian had to run back to the room for it. We’d need it because we planned on staying out late tonight.

    Anyways, the bus finally came and it was quickly apparent why I like rope drop – there’s not as many people! The buses this morning were full and when we arrived at Epcot there were huge lines for the security people and other huge lines for the turnstiles! So by the time we finally entered the park it was after 10am. Brian took 2 of the kids with him to get Soarin’ fastpasses while Tristan and I trekked all the way to the International Gateway to stow our bag of hoodies and blankets in a locker. This was a strategic move on our part, knowing that we would probably need them tonight when we stayed for Illuminations and also knowing that we’d want them in World Showcase and not clear up in Futureworld.

    Tristan and I busted butt, got a locker, stowed our gear and strolled up to Akershus at 10:27. Just in time! We had 10:30 reservations for the princess breakfast. This was a treat for our daughter, who has endured 3 Disney vacations (well, 4 actually but she was only 9mos the first time) without ever having dined with the princesses. We’ve gone to other character meals but none with her favorite characters – the princesses.

    They called us in for breakfast right at 10:30. It was then that I realized that I had failed to adequately prepare the boys for this. The first thing they do is take photos with a princess, in this case Belle. So, of course, one is just Carissa in her beautiful dress and with Belle. The other is a family photo. However my 11 year old DOES NOT want to be in the picture. Brian just tells him that I really want us all in the picture, but he insists he doesn’t want to be in. He’s politely told to get his rump up there and smile and he does, but it was like pulling teeth to get him there. Chase just sighed and walked up to pose for the picture. He knows the drill and he knows that the quicker you grin and bear it the quicker it’s done.
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    Once picture time is over we’re seated at a glorious table near the cast member entrance. I say glorious for two reasons:
    1. I was able to seat Carissa at the table in a place where the backdrop included a window and a flower arrangement.
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    Much better than having some other family in the background of all of our pictures.
    2. We were the 3rd table to meet the princesses, meaning that we were able to meet them after breakfast and then be on our merry way. No extra waiting!

    Breakfast was pretty good – if you were me. If, however, you were one of the other members of my family breakfast was possibly not as good. For some reason I had the notion that they served waffles and pancakes and such here – not the case! They served a family-style tray of hashbrowns, eggs, sausage and bacon. Then there was a buffet with granola, yogurt, fruit, bagels, croissants, muffins and danishes. I ate just about everything! I had a tiny bowl of granola with raisins and pecans, raspberries, pineapple, croissants, danishes, eggs and a sausage. It was so good and filling! My picky family, however, wasn’t so impressed. They were all slightly disgruntled at my obvious lack of knowledge about the breakfast menu (namely no Mickey head waffles!) and ate much smaller amounts of breakfast. But in the end everyone had some fruits and pastries and sometimes more. We got the bill and I was sooooo thankful we were on the dining plan. $150 for breakfast??? OUCH!

    I must admit that this was one of the best things we did this trip. Not for the food and not for the boys, but because Carissa was so absolutely thrilled and excited. I’m so bummed that this picture wasn’t in focus on Carissa, but it still shows how excited she was the entire meal. She could hardly stop to eat. She was watching and waiting and thrilled to meet each and every character.
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    She got to meet Belle as we walked in. Cinderella, Ariel, Aurora and Mary Poppins all came to our table.
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    We left with copies of both of the photos they had taken at the beginning of the meal and they weren’t as bad as I feared. Tristan doesn’t look too ticked off in the photo. LOL

    Carissa and I made a bathroom run and while waiting for us Chase saw the Hidden Mickey’s book he’d been eyeing in a nearby gift shop. He finally broke down and bought it. He spent his whole day (edited to add: more like the rest of the trip!) with his nose in the book and reading about where to find the hidden Mickey’s in each place we visited. I think this book is going to get a lot of use in the next few days.

    Since we were already in Norway we rode Maelstrom as soon as we left the breakfast. It was a walk-on, which wasn’t too surprising given that World Showcase had only opened 30 minutes before. After the ride the kids all dressed up in Viking gear to help slay the giant troll in the gift shop.
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    Next up was to head for a fastpass for Kim Possible Missions, which instructed us to go to Norway at 12:30 for our mission. And since we were in the area we decided to stop for a photograph with Epcot’s big Christmas tree.
    [​IMG]

    We headed into Mousegears next, as Tristan still hasn’t spent a dime of his money and it’s burning a hole in his wallet! We left the store emptyhanded though, as all he really wanted was one of those ridiculous Vinylmation Mickey’s. I’ve been trying to convince him to pass on them but he seems pretty steadfast. I think we may have one of these residing in our house sometime soon.

    Stay tuned... this was a long day of magic for us.
     

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