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

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

  1. serrotak

    serrotak Mouseketeer

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    I understand... but

    You Better!!!!!:mad:

    I am enjoying it alot. You see my little countdown thingy...
     
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  3. princess.chell

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

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    =( It's almost over.
    I am totally enjoying reading about your family's trip. I love all the pictures you include.

    That's such a cool idea to write a paper about Hidden Mickeys! Disney has so many options for cross-over into school; I love it.
     
  4. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    Our final full day at Disneyworld is already here. In many ways this trip seems like it has been very long, while in other ways it seems that it has passed very slowly. The good news is that our vacation has been long and we have so many memories of a wonderful time together. The bad news is that we soon have to return home. Today is out last full day so we’re making the most of it.

    We were all looking forward to visiting the Magic Kingdom again because, as Chase says, it’s “classic”. It’s just a great place to experience all the magic that Disney has to offer and for that it’s one of our fave parks at Disneyworld.

    I came this morning with a plan of attack and, as usual, it went awry. That’s okay though, we had fun and accomplished all that we had planned and then some. We got to the park after rope drop, having just barely missed it because we got out of our room late and the buses weren’t running very quickly either. No worries though, as that didn’t really affect our plan much for today.

    Our first stop was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, where we quickly walked right on the ride. It would end up being our final ride on Big Thunder Mountain this trip.

    Then it was over to Splash for another walk-on ride. I snapped photos along the ride this time.
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    I really wanted some pictures going down the falls and braced myself to take them. I got this one just as we're getting to the top of the big drop.
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    As soon as we crested the hill I started shooting but about halfway down I chickened out and stuffed my camera under my shirt. I didn’t want it soaked! I love this camera! The pictures I did take came out pretty good though. (They are in sequence on our way down)
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    And here's the kids at the bottom of the hill, happy and wet.
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  5. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    Thankfully today was fairly warm as I walked away from the ride with a totally soaked backside. Didn’t look so good, but it dried up rather quickly. We grabbed some Splash fastpasses for later in the day, when it would be hot and we would be looking forward to getting wet, then made our way to Pirates. Pirates was also a walk-on. I love arriving to the park early because getting in lots of good rides is a breeze!

    We had been collecting coupons from the bottom of our food receipts that entitled us to 20% off in the big shops as long as we shopped before noon, so we decided to head the Emporium for some shopping. Tristan got a watch, we picked up the last of the kids pins for their pin boards and I purchased 2 more Mickey head ornaments for the display stand I purchased. Gotta love the 20% off, especially when using the merchandise credit that we purchased at 30% off the face value. Double discount. YEAH!

    At this point Carissa makes it clear that she is STARVING. On this trip I have learned that she is usually either starving or in need of the bathroom… sometimes both! And you don’t want a hungry Carissa walking around… it’s not pretty! LOL. So we take a quick detour to Main Street Bakery where we get one of their big cinnamon rolls for the kids to share.

    I didn’t find all the ornaments I wanted so I head towards Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square while Brian sat with the kids and waited for them to finish. I searched and searched the Christmas shop for this beautiful orange ornament that I’d seen in another shop. Just when I thought I wouldn’t find it, I finally did, clear in the last corner of the shop that I looked at. Whew! I purchased that as our fall ornament and a silver Mickey head that sort of reminded me of a birds nest for our spring ornament. I now had an ornament for each season so I can be reminded of Disneyworld all year long.
    (L to R: Summer, Spring, Fall, Winter)
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    Brian and the kids caught up with me and since we were so close we decided to head to the Hall of Presidents.
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    We only had about a 7 minute wait until the show so we sat down and relaxed for a few. We hadn’t seen this attraction at all in our previous trips as a family. We always passed because we thought the kids were too little or that it would be boring. Well this proved us all wrong! This show was amazing! It really touched both Brian and myself. It made me feel more proud of my country, more understanding of where we came from and the people who helped us get here, more thankful for those people that helped us become the nation we are. It was just amazing.

    We walked towards the castle next but quickly realized that the stage show was going on so took a hard left and took the little path around the castle to Fantasyland... a way we'd never gone before. It was neat to see the castle from the side and walk around it.

    We got to Fantasyland and since there was only a 5 minute wait we jumped on Snow White’s Scary Adventure, which was neither scary nor an adventure. *snore*

    We did take a sidetrack to the Tinkerbelle's Treasures shop, where Carissa got to see another little girl "wake up" Tink. Carissa was in awe. A cast member then sprinkled that girl and Carissa with pixie dust. Days latter we found bits of pixie dust still in her hair and marveled at the magic of it all.
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    At this point we were headed toward Tommorrowland and saw that the speedway had only a 10 minute wait posted. This is not a favorite ride for Brian or myself because we inevitably end up riding with one of the kids who drives us back and forth from one side to another, banging on the sides of the track they are on and nearly giving us whiplash. This year was no exception - the kids still drive as badly as ever. But they really wanted to ride so I’m glad we got this done. And Chase, being the oldest and thus closest to getting an actual license (2 ½ years… save me!) got to drive his own car. He thought he was the king. LOL
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    I rode with Tristan... it was pretty dicey there but I think most of it was on purpose!
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    Brian rode with his little princess, who needs some more lessons before she gets a carriage of her own.
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    We only had about 20 minutes before our lunch reservation at the Plaza so we headed over a bit early hoping to get in earlier. We did end up waiting about 15 minutes for a table, but that was really the longest wait for dining we had this trip. Not too shabby. While waiting Chase and I snuck over to the castle to get a picture of him with the Walt and Mickey "Partners" statue.
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    Plus we got to watch a bit of the “Celebrate” parade as it passed down Main Street. Carissa stood there and waved at every single character on the floats, yelling out their names like they were her best friends. “Donald! Donald!” *wave, wave, wave*, “Goofy! Goofy!” *wave, wave, wave*. It was so adorable!
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    Lunch at the Plaza was pretty good. I had the steak & cheese sandwich which was delicious. Brian stuck with his chicken sandwich and the kids all opted for grilled cheese this time. The real reason to come to the Plaza is not just the good food and quick service. It’s because it’s attached to the ice cream shop and you have such yummy choices for your dessert treats. The boys and I each had the brownie sundae – 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream, 2 fudgy brownies with chocolate pieces in them, hot fudge, whip cream and a cherry. Yes, I posted this photo before but it’s so delicious that it deserves a second look. YUMMY!
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    Brian enjoyed a thick chocolate milkshake while Carissa had a Mickeylodeon, chocolate ice cream in a cup with chocolate pieces for ears and a cone on it’s head. We all thoroughly enjoyed both of the meals we ate at the Plaza and will definitely eat there again if we get to come back to WDW.

    Oh, and there were a rousing 6 rounds of Happy Birthday sang this time. What’s with people coming to The Plaza for their birthday? It’s a tiny restaurant and nearly half the tables got sung to! It must be the free birthday cupcakes. They did look scrumptious.
     
  6. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    Happy MLK day readers! I'm enjoying my extra day off and will see about finishing our day report this afternoon. :hippie:
     
  7. duckDH

    duckDH in a fowl mood since 1962 !!

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  8. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    :thumbsup2 Welcome.
     
  9. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    Full and happy, we headed back to Tomorrowland for Stitch’s Great Escape, which Tristan says is his favorite attraction. It’s only his favorite because it has Stitch and not because it’s so exciting, but regardless we all decided to watch it again for him. This was my first time in the attraction and I thought it was okay but not one I need to do again.

    Next up was Monsters, Inc. Laugh floor. The kids, especially Carissa, were really into it and took part in everything, laughing loudly. Unfortunately, we hit exactly the same show as we had the last time we were there, same characters, same jokes. Usually they mix it up a bit but maybe we were just unlucky enough that we hit the same one twice. We were lucky because, yet again, the kids were picked to be on screen and talked to about their fashion sense. They were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. They all said that they didn’t know so Marty said “I know what you’ll be! Grown ups!!!” It was cute and nice that the kids got to be on screen again. Wearing Mickey ears and sitting in the row behind the desk lamps seems to work for us. We’re 2 for 2 this trip.

    Now it was time to use some Space Mountain fastpasses Brian had grabbed for us earlier (when I was escorting Carissa, yet again, to the restroom). It was nice to bypass the stand-by line but we ended up riding the right side again, while Brian prefers the left side. Oh well. Space Mountain is pretty darned good either way.

    We had also grabbed fastpasses for Buzz Lightyear and used those.
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    Unfortunately I got a faulty gun (no, really I did! I’m usually decent at these games) so Brian kicked my rear end something fierce.

    We decided to head back to Main Street because Tristan was dying to go look at more watches. We realized that the watch he’d previously bought was not waterproof. There is no way my kid is going to remember to take his watch off each time he washed his hands, so we decided to exchange it. It took a while for him to decide which of the water resistant watches he wanted but we finally got it taken care of. And I must admit that it’s pretty nifty looking. If he leaves it lying around the house I may have to confiscate it for myself. ;)

    Next up was a train ride from Main Street to Frontierland. We did have to make a few stops along the way for Fastpass pictures. We took quite a few of those today and I was thankful that my family was tolerant of my need for massive quantities of pictures.
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    It was 4:30pm and pretty warm so we used our fastpasses for Splash. I almost felt guilty walking by all those people waiting in the 30 minute standby line… almost guilty but not quite. The fastpass line led us right through to the front and on the next boat. Wow! We got in the back of a boat and we got wetter than any of the other trips, but it didn’t bother us too much since we knew we’d dry off fairly quickly.

    A funny little tidbit to add: while walking the Splash queue Carissa looked at me and said “I don’t know why, but I think I’m Donald’s favorite!” Awwwwwww! She hugged him in Animal Kingdom our 2nd day, hugged him again and again when we saw him at Chef Mickey’s last night and then she waved to him and called out his name when she saw him on the Celebrate float today.

    We headed over to Pirates again but this time for some shopping. Chase had finally decided that he wanted a Pirates hoodie as a souvenir and Brian found a Nightmare Before Christmas jersey that he purchased. With those goodies out of the way we decided to head towards Main Street to find a spot for the castle lighting, Spectromagic and then Wishes.

    We flitted around Adventureland for a bit and the kids got a little wet while playing with the spraying totem poles.
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    Then we hopped into the Tiki room for a little entertainment from our feathered friends. The kids liked singing along but none of us were too impressed.

    Still walking towards the parade route, we saw Lilo & Stitch and just had to stop. We didn’t have a picture with Stitch yet this trip and the line was short so we went for it. Tristan got to go see him first, all by his lonesome, before I let the other 2 go. That was nice for him.
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    Now we were in a hustle to get to Main Street. The “Celebrate” parade was out so the streets were pretty packed. Once again, we got the see the parade pass by and hear the music. We fully expected people to move on and make room once the parade passed, yet that didn't happen. That’s when I realized that these people were already in line at 5:45 for the 7:00 Spectro. Sheesh! We were lucky to get 2nd row spots right off the hub. We laid out some ponchos to sit on and just waited.

    (Coming up - the 3 big events of the evening: the castle lighting, Spectro and Wishes, all with lots of great photos. Stay tuned...)
     
  10. mla1977

    mla1977 I dream of living in Bay Lake Tower for the rest o

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    I love your report so far! I'll come back to read more tonight!
     
  11. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    The castle lighting was at 6:15pm and it was pretty darned awesome. The fairy godmother arrived and asked Cinderella how she wanted her castle decorated for Christmas. Cinderella replied that she wanted it to shine like her glass slipper. In true Disney fashion, the fairy godmother made her wish come true. Pieces of the castle lit up one at a time and finally it was all lit up. It was beautiful! Carissa was just in awe and so into what was going on up there. It was adorable!
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    After the lighting we got a quick picture from a photopass photographer and Tristan and I took off to get food. After eating we relaxed and waited for Spectromagic to begin.
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    Spectro was next and we all stood up when it started. The floats are beautiful and amazing and it’s nice to see so many characters. Carissa stood and yelled to all the characters again, hoping to catch their attention. “Cinderella” she’d yell and then wave and wave and wave. “Minnie!” she’d say and wave and wave some more. She was so entirely into connecting with the characters this trip, especially when she saw them out and about.
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    After the parade some people did move on and we tried to gather ourselves up a bit more to be prepared for Wishes. Just before the show they let us out onto the street and we found a great place to stand in the middle of the street looking straight on to the castle, halfway between the hub and where Main Street begins. It was a pretty perfect viewing spot.

    When the music started Carissa and I put our heads together and sang…
    “Star light, star bright
    first star I see tonight
    I wish I may, I wish I might
    have the wish, I wish tonight
    We'll make a wish, and do as dreamers do
    and all our wishes...will come true.”

    I got choked up right then. It was such a perfect moment. Standing in my favorite place, with my favorite people, watching my favorite show and just loving every single thing about this moment. Brian said “already!” because he just knew I’d be crying at some point tonight, he just thought it would take me a bit longer. I did however make it through Wishes without tearing up any more, though I did get choked up a couple of times. That one moment is the moment I will remember most about this trip – standing there with my family, arms around them singing the little song, listening to the music and watching the awesome fireworks. I can’t tell you how deeply engrained into my soul that moment is. I will remember it forever.
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    When Wishes was over we followed the hoardes out the park gate. Once outside Brian had everyone come over and we all just stood there and had a huge family hug. One of the kids said “thank you for bringing us here” and I started crying again. So Brian had the kids hug me again so I didn’t cry and that caused me to cry more. I’m crying now just typing this.

    As always, Wishes is a fitting end to our vacation. Tristan has put away his video recorder because he wants Wishes to be the last thing on it. The kids have packed the pin necklaces that they have carried the whole trip. It really and truly is coming to an end.

    We do have ½ a day tomorrow so will be making the most of that but will have to leave at lunch to make our way back to the resort and on a bus to freezing cold Oregon. *sigh* Do I have to go back??? Or can I stay in this magical place forever?
     
  12. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    *sigh* There it is. The last installment of our final full day. I have just a little more for the few hours we were able to spend there before we flew out. I can't believe it's almost over...
     
  13. serrotak

    serrotak Mouseketeer

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    I have really enjoyed your TR. The pictures and details were awesome. I am so sad it is just about over.

    I will be leaving in 3 weeks and before then I will post a PTR then a TR when I get back. So make sure you come and see mine and WDW through my family's eyes.
     
  14. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    I most certainly will! I've got to get my Disney fix some way. :idea:
     
  15. KatMark

    KatMark DIS Veteran

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    I have to admit that due to a "broken computer" for three weeks that I have not read every single page of your report which I wanted to do. But I have skimmed it and I absolutely loved what I read and I loved your pictures with the family at the parks, etc. (did you take any pictures at CSR -- did I miss them)?

    Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us.
     
  16. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    I took a few pictures at CSR, which can be seen on the day we went to the pool (can't remember which day... look in the index on the first posting and it's the last posting of the day that mentions the pool in the title). I didn't take pictures of the inside of the room, mainly because it was so messy all the time! LOL
     
  17. Disney Bunny

    Disney Bunny DIS Veteran

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    This has been such a great read. Thanks for sharing your trip and photos with us.

    Judy
     
  18. Ferry Joy

    Ferry Joy Been there. Done that. Can't wait to do it again!

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    I agree, thank you. This was a great report!
     
  19. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    I do have our last day, which was just a few hours at Disney then the trip back home. That's coming today so stay tuned...
     
  20. standleyent1

    standleyent1 Mouseketeer

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    I just measured the frame I used for my DD's picture from MGM (sorry still can't get used to DHS) and it is 21" x 17" and it leaves about a 3" border around the edge that you can decorate with stickers or autographs or anything of that sort. I bought this frame at Wal-Mart and I think it was around $11 its not the prettiest frame in the world but it gets the job done and its the picture that matters here, right?
    :banana::banana:
     
  21. pixleyyy

    pixleyyy DIS Veteran

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    We woke up early this morning and the first thing I thought was “oh man, we have to go home today!” I really didn’t want to go home. We’re having such a wonderful time! This has really been a time to reconnect as a family, time to appreciate the little things in one another that make us special and that make our family work. And going home means going back to school, work, extra-curricular activities, phones, televisions and video games. It also means going home to our pets, all 8 of them (each with a Disney-character name), whom we do miss and do want to see. So there’s the one upside.

    We trudge out of bed this morning and hurriedly dressed. We packed all of the last bits of dirty laundry, found a bag to store all the hoodies and waited for bell services to arrive. They knocked right on time and quickly escorted all of our bags out of the room, to be safely stored for our pick-up later in the day.

    This morning is early Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom and we’re going to take advantage of them to finally ride all the Fantasyland attractions. We arrive to the Magic Kingdom in plenty of time to watch the park opening, the throwing of the pixie dust and the dropping of the ropes to let us once again wander in this magical place.
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    We stride up to the castle and wait in it’s pathway for the rope to drop, hurriedly getting in line for Dumbo. We’re on the 2nd group of Dumbo riders. The boys decide to ride together and Carissa on her own. For the first time, I am sitting out of Dumbo. Too many icky feelings after riding early in the mornings have made me wary. But the kids are excited. The boys choose an aqua Dumbo, Carissa chooses the coral one. They spin around up in the air, going higher and lower and I stand there watching them, snapping pictures and wishing this day could last forever.
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    Next up is Cinderella’s carousel, which we board right away. The kids watch the previous ride ending and carefully pick out their horses as it passes. When the gates open they head right to their chosen mounts and are ready to go.
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    We’re in and out of this one in no time too so decide to head to Peter Pan. The sign says it’s a 10 minute wait but it’s more like 5. We find some hidden Mickey’s in the queue, even without Chase toting around his book (which is packed until we return home).
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    Brian and I ride in our own flying pirate ship, while the kids share one behind us. I love this ride, love how the city below you is so small, how the story is brought to life. All too soon the ride is over and we’re moving on, this time to see PhilHarMagic one last time. We walk right in, sit down and enjoy one of our favorite shows in all of Disneyworld. And look what we found while waiting for everyone to sit... another hidden Mickey!
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    We've now hit everything we needed to in Fantasyland and really in the whole park. By the time we get done it’s not quite 9am. The only other thing on our agenda is to visit Mickey in Toontown and finally get a photo with him, but Toontown doesn’t open until 10am. Brian mentions that maybe we should just head to Downtown Disney and spend the rest of our merchandise credit. Since we have to spend it somewhere, we decide to forego Mickey and make our way out of the Magic Kingdom. I’m a little sad that we never got to see him in his Mickey clothes this trip (we did see him in his Chef outfit at Chef Mickey’s) but I think waiting around an hour doesn’t make much sense either.

    On the way out we make one stop in Tinkerbell’s Treasures so Carissa can wake up Tinkerbell (if you look carefully you can see that the bell used to wake Tink is clutched in her hand). She saw a girl do it the day before and wanted to do it herself. The cast member today wasn’t as into it, finally allowing her to do it but not even offering up a magical sprinkling of pixie dust. I remind her that she still has some left over from her previous sprinkling and that helps. We head back down Main Street towards the exit.
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    Walking towards Main Street I see an ice cream cart and realize that I still haven’t had my Mickey head! I just can't leave Disneyworld without having at least one. It may still be breakfast time, but I’m doing it anyways! We grab 2, one of which the kids devour, the other which I savor a bit more slowly. YUM! I realize later that I’ve actually dropped a big chunk of chocolate on my hair and it’s melted both on my hair and to my shirt. I go to the bathroom and wash most of it out, but now I’m bringing some chocolate Mickey goodness home with me!
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    My family cooperates with me and we stop for a few pictures of Brian and the kids in front of the castle.
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    A couple comes up and offers to take the camera from me so we can all be in the photograph. Again, I love how considerate the people here have been.
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    We also grab some Photopass photos on the way out, smiling for one last time with the castle behind us (though I like the ones taken on our camera better).
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    When I walk through the gates and out of the park I am sad but don’t cry, not like last night at least. I’m sad to see it go, sad to know that we may not ever make it here as a family again, but happy to know that it exists, that it’s there if we ever make it this way again and that we have so many happy family memories to look back on.

    A boat arrives at the dock just as we are leaving so we decide to hop in it and ride it to whichever resort it’s headed towards.

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    We end up at the Grand Floridian again and marvel at how huge and beautiful it really is. We keep walking and make it to the bus stop to catch a bus to Downtown Disney. They have nice benches here and we take a load off, commonly being interrupted in our reflections by the animated station attendant and his not-so-funny joking attempts. We sit and wait … and wait … and wait. By now Brian is thinking that it wasn’t such a great idea to leave the parks and head to Downtown Disney. We toy around with the idea of heading back and just going to our resort, but in the end decide to wait for the bus. It finally arrives about 30 minutes after we get there and we quickly board, hoping for a speedy ride to DTD.

    Once at Downtown Disney we take a few photos at the Christmas display, which we’ve passed many times this trip but never stopped at.
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    We then hurry our way to Earl of Sandwich for one of my favorite meals. Our last trip I had the Hawaiian BBQ Sandwich here and fell in love! It was soooooo good that I took a picture of it and completed a scrapbook page about it. This time I got it again and it was just as good as I remembered. Even better, it came with a yummy brownie which I saved for the trip home. Brian got a meatball sandwich, which he liked, Chase had a chicken salad, Tristan had a pizza sandwich (cheese and pizza sauce) and Carissa had a cheese sandwich. Everyone got dessert and I bagged those up for the plane ride home. We never did eat them on the plane, but enjoyed them a day or two after we got home. Those brownies were so delicious! After eating we decided to use some of our left over counter service credits and both Brian and I got a sandwich to eat on the plane. He got roast beef and I got – surprise – the Hawaiian BBQ.

    Time was quickly running out, as we really needed to leave DTD by 11:30am. We traversed the now-rainy DTD and went to Once Upon A Toy. The kids shopped for a bit and picked out gifts for one another for Christmas. Chase happened upon just the most perfect Webkinz – a dragon for Tristan and a guinea pig that looks exactly like Koda, Carissa’s pet guinea pig. He grabbed those while Tristan snuck in an Imagineering book for Chase.

    Meanwhile, Carissa was playing with the make-your-own lightsaber. The boys and Brian all got one last trip but she didn’t and she really wanted one. Sadly, she was out of money but she just had fun playing with it. Brian and I planned it well though, and Brian sneaked it to the register while I distracted her. It’s now safely wrapped under our Christmas tree. After all that we had finally used all of our merchandise credit. $1000 in 8 days. WOW! But seeing as how we didn’t pay near face value for it and we’re coming home with loads and loads of goodies to show, I think it was a good deal.

    Holy moly, it’s 11:15 already and we still have snack credits to use! We go to Goofy’s Candy Company, where we each pick out one snack credit item. The boys each do the make-your-own marshmallows, but Carissa and I decide to pass when we’re told they only have dark chocolate right now. ICK! I end up with a huge piece of English toffee while Carissa and Brian each choose a decadent looking cupcake – vanilla with vanilla frosting for Brian, chocolate with chocolate frosting for Carissa. And the frosting is piled high on these things… it’s like a huge bouffant of frosting. I convince the cast member to box them up for me and we head on our way to the bus stop, moving as quickly as we can with all the new bags and food in tow.

    It takes only a few minutes before a bus for Coronado Springs arrives and whisks us away to our resort. We arrive in plenty of time and go see the concierge to check whether we’re used all our meal credits. We have 3 more counter service credits, which we use to get individual pizza’s to go for the kids. We also have 2 snack credits so grab a cinnamon roll and one last chocolate croissant (I think I ate 3 or 4 this trip… yum!) to go.

    By now we’re loaded down with food, drinks and snacks and have emptied out our credits. We have nothing left to do so head to the luggage room and check our luggage out. We spend some time repacking, as we have 6 drink bottles that can’t be carried past security at the airport and have to be packed. Then there’s all the toys we purchased at Once Upon A Toy. It takes some work, since we’ve purchased so much this trip and all of our bags are stuffed, but soon we’re all packed and ready to go.

    A Disney’s Magical Express bus arrives at about 1pm, but it’s the 12:45 bus and we’re on the 1:15 bus so we don’t board. We wait and wait. Another DME bus arrives but it’s dropping off. Then another one, then another one, all dropping off. The clock ticks and no bus. The cast members just keep saying “it’s coming” but we just keep on waiting. And waiting. And waiting. By the time 2:00 rolls around I am scared that we’re going to miss our flight. A cast member in a suit walks by and we mention it to him. He says he’ll figure it out and let us know. While he does I call Disney’s Magical Express myself and ask about the bus. I’m put on eternal hold and hang up at 2:10, when our bus finally rolls up and we board. Brian loads the luggage (we’re flying Southwest so have to check our own luggage) and the kids and I grab seats right up front in the bus. We are on our way home.

    Along the highway we see why our bus never arrives. An accident has blocked the highway. We count at least 6 Disney's Magic Express busses in the backup, along with 6 Disney Cruise line busses and hoards and hoards of other tour company busses. I never realized just how many busses there were here! LOL

    By the time we get to the airport it’s 2:40 and we leave in just under 90 minutes. We have to grab our luggage but forego the man waiting with a luggage cart, who would haul us up to curbside check-in but would then expect a tip. Since we have no time to wait in the counter line we know we're going to have to hit the skycap and tip them and we don't want to tip twice for so many bags. Instead we each grab 2 pieces of luggage, our backpacks, food and carryons and run for an elevator. We run to curbside check-in, thankful that we purchased earlybird check-in and have good boarding numbers.

    Next we run for security and things come to a screeching halt. Someone checks our ID and airline tickets and then we get in this huge cattle-call line of people shoulder-to-shoulder, no lines, trying to get through the security scanners. Holy cow! I have serious questions as to whether we’ll make our flight or not until a kind stranger mentions that they have a family security line, makes room for us and lets us pass to that line. Thank you kind stranger, whoever you are! We had no idea there was a family line and it saved our bacon. We got in and out of that, although it was a huge pain in the butt, as it always is. I swear, the airport is the most stressful part of the vacation for me!

    Once through security we all sit down, put our shoes on, catch a train to the terminal, find our gate and then finally sit down to breath a sigh of relief. We made it. We go purchase drinks and then eat our not-so-hot-but-free food. Our plane boards and we get great seats towards the front. We stow our carryons, including all my breakable Mickey-head ornaments, and hope that they make it home in one piece. Thankfully they are all perfect when I unpack them at home. YEAH!

    The flight to Denver is uneventful. We watch the sun slowly set, as we’re flying west towards the setting sun. When we arrive in Denver we’re a bit late but not too bad… until we’re told that there is a problem with the plane. Thankfully they don’t tell us until after we’ve safely landed, but our gyro meter isn’t working and apparently it’s pretty important. We’re let off in Denver for a few minutes to use the restrooms and when we return we’re told that we’ll have to change planes. We disembark with all our gear and wait for an hour or so before a new plane comes. Then we wait for them to refuel and do all their checks and such. By the time we leave it’s about 2 hours later than expected. But we arrive in Portland safely, albeit very late.

    We quickly collect our luggage and head out. It’s a balmy 10 degrees and we’re all in shorts and capris with just hoodies to keep us warm. Thankfully my Mom meets us at the airport with our warm van and the coats inside. It’s 10:30 Portland time, 1:30 in the morning Florida time. We’re tired and chilly, cranky from the long flight and delays and, by the way, the dash lights in our van quit working while we were gone. Welcome to the real world… I think I prefer Disneyworld!
     

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