THE CAST: MKFan-PR: Me, 34. Disney nut since my parents took me when I was 5. This is my 10th trip overall, number 6 with my DW and number 2 with my DD. Carmen: DW, 38. Her 7th trip (6 with me). Knows a little English but enjoys Disney a lot. Larissa: DD, 3.5. This is actually her 2nd trip, but this is the first that she will actually have memories of. Has been excited about the trip ever since she saw the vacation video. We live in Puerto Rico, so a trip to Disney involves quite some planning and investment; it is very difficult to go more than once a year. With Larissa starting school this will be the first time that our family will NOT be going off-season, and who knows when we'll be able to return, so this trip is extra-special for my DW and me. 8/9: Day 9-Shopping & the Mickey hug To all who have read the reports and posted... thanks! Sorry for the delay, but it's been crazy at work and I haven't been able to post from home (Darn! Back to the Real World!) Well, here we go... Woke up at 9:30AM. Did the breakfast drill, then we headed to the Belz Outlets to do some shopping. Not much to say, just a simple morning at the mall (won't go into details; after all this is NOT the Belz Factory Outlet board! ). After shopping, we went back to CBR to park, then took the bus to MK. It was about 1:30 PM when we went through the gates. The weather was excellent: a nice combination of sun and shade, and not too hot. First things first: lunch! We headed for a place I always wanted to try but just kept missing (because it IS easy to miss!): The Plaza Restaurant. Waiting time was about 25 min., so we waited. We were actually seated in about 15. Our server (Arrrgh! Forgot his name!) was very nice. The Plaza is basically a well decorated sandwich shop. But the atmosphere and that corner of Main Street make it a nice place to have a meal. Carmen and I had a Club sandwich, while Larissa wanted to try the mini-hot dog/mini-burger combo. It was nice. Larissa didn't care for the mini-burger but she loved the mini-hotdog. It looked cute! For dessert Carmen enjoyed a capuccino, while Larissa and I shared a Vanilla/Caramel sundae. Now this is where this place stands out! I thought it was way too big, but once we tried it, we couldn't stop! It was delicious! Instead of her dad, I looked like Larissa's brother: we were both scraping the bottom of the cup fo the last few drops of caramel sauce! After that, we headed off to Tomorrowland, where we quickly grabbed a FP for Buzz. We thought about riding the Astro Orbiter, but since the line was too long we opted for relaxation: TTA and the CofP!. We fist rode the nice, cool loop of the TTA, taking a couple pictures of the castle when we saw it (I brought a zoom camera for this trip, and when I developed the pictures at home, all the castle zoom pictures looked fantastic!). After TTA we decided to go on the COP. I just love this ride! It brings back a lot of memories from my childhood trips. I've heard it could be torn down. I'd be so sad to see it go. It's a classic! Well, after gushing so much about this ride in the previous paragraph, I must now confess that... since I was so full, I fell asleep and missed fifties part! . Oh, well... I told you we were going for relaxation! LOL! Our FP time for Buzz arrived and we went on with no wait. I won, but I couldn't get the 100,000 target in the robot at the beginning of the ride (once your past the robot, turn the car around and you will see it) !. Larissa was a bit nervous with the turning at first, but after just a few seconds she was into it and actually shot quite well! I decided to skip the FP in SM, since I didn't want to ride by myself today, and we went straight for Mickey's Toontown Fair. Went through the Minnie and Mickey houses, where Larissa played around in Minnie's kitchen, and we took some hilarious pictures of Larissa showing us the rooms like she's a Century 21 agent! We then went into the line to meet Mickey in the judge's tent. Now, all through the line we kept reassuring her, and 'reminding' her that she said she would give him a kiss and a hug this time. When we were close to entering, Larissa announced it was pee-pee time! But daddy and mommy saved the day, and immediately produced a diaper! (learning from previous mistakes, we took our bag with us instead of leaving it in the stroller). With some deft handiwork and the help of a poncho, we fashioned a 'changing room' where Carmen changed her into the diaper. We finally entered with a small group to the 'Mickey Room', where we eagerly anticipated our turn and... Yes! DD is a lady of her word! As soon as we get close to Mickey, she plants him a big kiss on the nose and gives him a beautiful, tear-jerking hug ever!(for Carmen, not for me... I'm a... I'm a... Oh, so what, I'm a wuss! I cried too! Are you happy?!! ) We went out, where Larissa spent her energies in the playground, while Carmen and me watched her on the benches. After that, we went into Goofy's Barnstormer. When we were going up, Larissa was covering her eyes. I told her: 'If you cover your eyes, you won't be able to hold on'. So she tried as many combinations as she could to hold on AND cover her eyes at the same time! It was hilarious! She finally opted to hold on with both hands and leave the rest to God! (She could have just shut her eyes but I wasn't going to tell her that! ). She loved the ride just the same. We played around a little in Donald's boat (the water wasn't on), when we realized it was about 7:00. We wanted to go to DQ, so we thought about riding the train in a loop and end up in Main Street to exit, but since we couldn't take the stroller we decided to walk instead. When we reached the Mad Tea Party, we decided then to ride it one last time, as a sort of farewell. We did, and did it the way we liked it: full speed on the turning! All dizzy but happy we exited the ride, then exited the MK with a fond farewell ('till our next trip!), then headed to the Monorail. We took the Monorail to the TTC, thinking that we could get a bus there for DD, but we were wrong! No direct buses to DD from the TTC! SO instead of grabbing a bus to the WL for another bus transfer there, we decided to go to the Poly. The options were walking ar reboarding the Monorail, so, since we're on vacation, and extra walking for us is prohibited on vacation, we headed to the Monorail. There we met a nice couple from Tennessee, who were there on their first trip without kids. They had just arrived earlier, wer staying at AS-Mu and were just going from place to place, just enjoying the atmosphere. My kind of people! We had a nice conversation, then we boarded the Monorail, to the Poly. We went down the stairs and to the bus stop, where the DD bus arrived. After a quick stop at the GF (it's still my dream to stay there!), we were off to DD. Once at DD, we took a nice stroll through the West Side, en route to DQ. Passed Bongo's, which was such a dissappointment when we were there on a previous trip. It wasn't too bad. But if you have tasted real Cuban or Puerto Rican food (they bothe are very much alike), you will be very disappointed! Anyway, we enter DQ at about 9:00PM , when we are ecstatic to read that it's open till Midnight! Yes! We explore around, get a Game Card for the ticket games, where we all enjoy a nice time playing around and getting the tickets. We then grab a bite to eat at the Cheesecake Factory (?) in the top floor. Carmen and Larissa play some more while I ride the Pirates of the Caribbean 3D ride (awesome!). I go with about 4 more kids (none older than 13). We win (I show them how to work the cannons like a machine gun, and we did great!). Later, I saw one of them tell a friend how they did great at the ride thanks to an 'older guy'! OLD! WHAT! I'm 34! IT FEELS LIKE I WAS 15 LAST MONTH! I told Carmen and we had a big laugh with that! I played around in the 'Ride the Comix' ride and a couple more (to me, DQ is very difficult to describe! You have to actually experience it. If you like arcades and electronic gizmos and stuff, you'll love it here! If you don't, give it a try if you have UPH's). we spent our final minutes playing the classinc arcade games in the Replay zone, until closing time. We again strolled relaxedly through DD to the Bus Stop, where we took ours back to CBR. Larissa was sound asleep now, so we freshened her up with moist towelettes, changed her diaper and into her pajamas (she didn't notice a thing!) and put her to sleep. We freshened up, did some advance planning for our departure on Sunday ('It's just two days away? Already?'), then went to sleep. Just one more full day of magic left! Next - Our last full day and... Finally! Fantasmic! Stay tuned!