A Little Bit Of What You Fancy Does You Good

Discussion in 'UK Trip Reports Board' started by dolphingirl47, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Day 18

    Our stay at Vero Beach had passed all too quickly. Suddenly it was morning and time to leave. We got up around 9:30 and finished packing. I wanted to get some photos around the resort. So I headed off. I took some photos of the lobby first and then headed out to the pool area. After I had taken the photos there, I headed out to the front of the building, as I wanted to take a photo of the giant wreath in that area. A cast member saw me with my camera and offered to take a photo of me with the gator topiary. I took him up on the kind offer. I thanked him, took the photo I had come to take and then headed inside again. When I got back to the room, Graham and our luggage had gone. I headed down to the garage, but he was not there either. After a couple of trips up and down, we did catch up in the garage and we got going. We filled up the car on the outskirts of Vero Beach and then we headed towards Orlando.

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    This time round, we did not have to stay on the Florida Turnpike for too long before we switched onto Highway 192. The first part we drove along was pretty grim with pawnshops and bail bondsman at every corner, but everything beats the Florida Turnpike. Soon enough we entered the tourist areas with motels, gift shops, restaurants and some low-key attractions. We took a little detour as Graham wanted to show me downtown Kissimmee. Unfortunately there is a lot of construction going on in the area. There were a lot of diversions and nowhere to park. So we just took a loop around the area and then pushed on. I have to admit though that I liked what I saw. It was kind of a real life Main Street USA and I would definitely not turn down the opportunity to come back to do some exploring.

    Our next destination had been on my bucket list for a while and I was glad that I finally had the opportunity to cross this off. We were heading to the town of Celebration. I got a pretty good first impression while we were driving round trying to find a parking spot and I loved what I saw. We managed to find a paring spot near the Celebration Hotel and then went exploring. The first order of the day was getting some food. We ended up at Starbucks. Graham had a Caramel Brûlée Frappuccino, a spicy Chorizo, Monterey Jack & egg breakfast sandwich and a slice of lemon pound cake. I had an iced Chestnut Praline Latte, a spicy Chorizo, Monterey Jack & egg breakfast sandwich and a slice of chocolate marble cake. This definitely hit the spot.

    After we finished our brunch, we went exploring. I took some photos of the Christmas tree and then we headed past the Celebration hotel to the lake that is behind it. When we got about halfway around it, there was a path leading to some woodland, we headed down this path and this led us to a chain of lakes. We saw plenty of birds and some turtles. We were just debating if we should push on to the next lake when one of the locals came up to us an asked us if we were looking for alligators. We were not really, but she said that there was one not far away and offered to show it to us. So we took her up on the offer. The gator in question was not fully grown and was lying on the bank of the lake sunning itself. It was neat to see. We thanked our guide and said goodbye. We hung around a little longer and then retraced our steps. When we came back, we went around the other side of the lake that was closest to the woodland. There was an island near that side and there were turtles and quite a big gator.

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  2. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    When we came back to the lake in the centre of Celebration, we carried on around the lake. We saw some more interesting birds and also saw somebody exercising some ferrets. We thought that this was either brave or stupid, as we had seen birds of prey in the area. Once we had completed our loop, we had a look at some of the quirky shops that are in the centre. We did not pay anything, but it was nice to have a look around. We also watched how they were making artificial snow. This was absolutely fascinating.

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    After a while, we headed back to the car and continued our trip to Orlando. I wanted to stop at the Vineland Orlando Premium Outlets on the way. As we got nearer, the traffic picked up and this should have been a warning. The car park was absolutely packed. There was a rather large SUV parked in the middle of the road so that we could hardly get past it. Graham did manage and just after we passed the SUV, we saw somebody pulling out of a parking space. So Graham pulled in only for the guy in the SUV pulling up and shouting at us that he had waited for that spot for 2 hours! Graham told me to head in and he would wait for me somewhere in the area. He managed to find another parking spot shortly afterwards and waited for me near the entrance closest to the parking area. I headed in. I just wanted to have a look at the Disney outlet in the hope that they may have some interesting Dooneys. They did not have any at all, but I got a Run Disney Star Wars t-shirt and a DCL Alaska t-shirt. I paid for my treasures and headed out again to find Graham. I somehow had got turned around, but I eventually made it back to where I had left Graham and he was sitting on a bench near the closest entrance waiting for me. We then pushed on to Saratoga Springs.

    When we got there, the person checking us in was surprised that we had not received a text or email telling us that the room was ready as apparently it had been ready for a while. It did not matter as this fact would not have changed our plans and we needed to go to the front desk anyway to get our Magic Bands. They had met my requests of Congress Park and close to the walkway to Disney Springs. This really worked very well. We headed over to Congress Park and unloaded the car. I took a few photos of the room and then we settled down and relaxed for a bit. Graham did not fancy driving again so he suggested that we get something to eat at Disney Springs. I have never seen it so busy. The line for Earl of Sandwich snaked all the way to the Pin Trading station. We tried to convince Graham to push on to the Town Centre, but he was done. So dinner did not happen that evening. We headed back to room. On the way, we saw the end of the drone holiday show, which was really nice. When it was finished, we headed back to the room. I had one of my Orange Cream Sodas and read for a bit. Then we had an early night.

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  4. tiggrbaby

    tiggrbaby <font color=deeppink><marquee>We must work harder

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    The Vero Beach resort is very pretty!

    Celebration looks very nice, but I vaguely remember reading that there have been a lot of complaints about inferior construction.

    Your room at Saratoga was adorable! Sorry that dinner was a bust, but the drones were cute.
     
  5. Pinkocto

    Pinkocto DIS Veteran

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    Great pictures of Vero Beach, I could imagine being right there looking through your photos. I must get back to that resort one day.

    You managed quite a lot at Celebration. I've never even seen pictures of it, it looks lovely. Lots of beautiful wildlife as well. Kind of that person to show you the alligator.

    Excellent about Congress Park, it's a very convenient location. The line for Earl of Sandwich sounds insane!
     
  6. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Vero Beach is a real gem.

    I loved Celebration. That is not good about the construction issues. I am sure that buying property there is not cheap.

    It was not the first time this happened and I am sure it won't be the last.

    Corinna
     
  7. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    We are definitely planning a return visit.

    It is a beautiful and quite quirky town. I am glad that I had the chance to visit.

    We loved the location.

    I thought so, too.

    Corinna
     
  8. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    I haven't been to an IHOP for breakfast in years! It seems to me that I have seen you both order these same breakfasts on a previous trip! ;)

    Nice you had an excursion planned with M&M. Sounds like a fun one. And it was cool the Captain gave you a tip where you would find manatees.

    Olive Garden always gives you too much food, but I don't usually mind since I like having the leftovers for breakfast.

    Nice that you got to hang out again later in the evening.
     
  9. tiggrbaby

    tiggrbaby <font color=deeppink><marquee>We must work harder

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    Glad I'm not the only one who likes leftover dinner for breakfast!
     
  10. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    Sounds like you had an interesting trip from Vero to Orlando. I've never been to Celebration before, although it seems like a popular destination for a lot of folks.

    Sounds like the mall was a zoo! I can't stand places like that, but come to think of it wasn't Thanksgiving just a couple days before? That would explain it.

    I would not have been able to go to bed without dinner! The one thing I cannot do on an empty stomach is sleep!

    I like that same area of SSR for its convenience to Disney Springs.

    And Yay! I'm finally all caugh up here!
     
  11. kittymamma

    kittymamma Mouseketeer

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    Have you made your gown choices yet ?
     
  12. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    We do not have anything like this in the UK, so or me this is a real treat.

    Yes, they are our go to dishes. Just my pancake selection tends to change as I like to go for one of the seasonal options.

    It was really nice.

    That was a definite bonus. I was so glad that we had the opportunity to see some manatees.

    We should have taken our leftovers back, but I did not even think about this at the time.

    It really was.

    We normally don't take leftovers, but I have to say I did like having leftovers for breakfast on Thanksgiving.

    Celebration is a really pretty and interesting place.

    Yes, it was.

    I cannot speak for Graham, but the funny thing is, I did not feel like I was going to bed on an empty stomach.

    And you will stay that way until Sunday. I am officially behind.

    Corinna
     
  13. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Yes, I have and I will share them very soon (within the next 30 minutes or so) on my pre-trip report.

    Corinna
     
  14. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    I am sorry that there was no update yesterday. Real life is really busy at the moment with loads of stuff to be taken care of before we leave for our next trip. I was running around like a woman possessed all day yesterday and then had a dinner commitment in the evening. I should be able to post the next update on Sunday.

    Corinna
     
  15. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    We always take our leftovers home, and often times they just go in the bin, but I've been eating leftover Chinese for the past three days. And we just made plans to go to an Olive Garden for dinner tonight as we have gift cards and it's on the way to a show that we are seeing tonight.

    Thanks for the break! I can stay caught up here until Sunday, and then I'll get behind again because we'll be at DCA all day tasting wines. :banana: I still have two or three other TRs to catch up on.
     
  16. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Here in the UK, portions are not as big as rule and when we are in the USA, we don't tend to drive and therefore bringing back leftovers is not always practical especially if we are heading somewhere else before going back to the hotel.

    From this point forward, I need to be disciplined or else I won't be able to get my trip reports wound up before we leave for the next adventure. Then you will have a break for 2 or 3 months as far as my trip reports are concerned. We are gone for nearly a month and then I need a month or two to get organized.

    Corinna
     
  17. Paula Sedley-Burke

    Paula Sedley-Burke Proud to believe in Rainbows and Unicorns...

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    Lovely photos as you left Vero.

    That Mall the parking is always crazy! Road rage...

    We love Celebration! Often eat at the diner on Main Street. It is veey good. Shame about dinner. Funny thing about EoS. Even though the line comes out the door it is worth lining up. Never takes as long as you think.
     
  18. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Thanks.

    This was a new experience for us. We don't normally have a car when we are in Florida. However, this time we needed one to get from Miami to Vero Beach and then on to Orlando and it just made sense to keep it for our time in Orlando as we were planning to have two days at Universal.

    I loved it, too.

    We looked at this, but it looked very busy so we went with Starbucks instead.

    I was not willing to try it out and Graham felt even less inclined. He does not do crowds at all.

    Corinna
     
    Paula Sedley-Burke likes this.
  19. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Day 19

    We had a bit of a lie in that morning, as I knew I would have a long day. We got up slowly and had a bit of a wander around the area near our room. We found the quiet pool, which looked really nice. We then headed back to the room to have some coffee. Then we headed over to Disney Springs. This morning it was a lot quieter. There was plenty of wildlife on the lake and not many people around. This was a much more pleasant state of affairs than the evening before.

    Graham suggested that we could go to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch. I had no issue with this, as I like the Rainforest Cafe. However, I suggested that maybe we should give T-Rex a try, as this is part of the same company and has a very similar menu, but the theme is different. Graham was up for this and we headed over in that general direction. It was a little early yet so we stopped a couple of times to have a look at something like the giant Lego sculptures and some wildlife in the lake. When it was opening time for the restaurant, we headed over there. There was a short line at the podium, but it did not take long until we had our details taken and we were asked to wait just off to right. They have a strange setup there and every party seemed to be told something different. Some people were told to wait inside and others to wait outside. For a short while, nothing seemed to be happening, but then they called people in quick succession. We were only about 5 minutes behind the first party to be called. We were seated in the fern forest. Our server came to take our drinks order and then gave us some time to study the menu. Graham had a sweet ice tea and I had a Coke. He chose the French onion soup for his starter. I only had one course as I had an early dinner reservation that day that I did not wish to miss. We both went with burgers. Graham had the Doublesaurus burger with waffle fries. We both liked our burgers. It got a little noisy whenever the dinosaurs woke up, but we should be used to this from Rainforest Cafe.

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    After lunch we decided to go exploring a little. This was our first visit since Disney Springs had been completed. Although most of the shops do not really appeal to me, I loved the overall feel and thought they had done a great job with this. Graham did not agree and said he felt like he was having his soul sucked out by a Dementor. I had a look at a couple of shops, but did not buy anything. I was amused by the concept of a cupcake ATM. I had every intention to come back to get a cupcake from this, but I never got around to it. We then pushed on to Westside. Graham found himself a bench in the sun while I went to have a look around the Coca Cola Store and got some photos with the polar bear. Once I had my photos and they had been added to my Magic Band, we went to the Westside boat dock and took the water taxi across to Market Place.

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    I had read about Festival of Trees shortly before we left for this trip. I used to love the character trees at Camp Minnie Mickey at Animal Kingdom and was very upset when this area closed to make room for Avatarland. So I was delighted that there would be character trees again. I had expected that they had just transplanted the trees from Animal Kingdom to Disney Springs, but only two were familiar. All the others were new. I still loved them though. There was snow and a Photopass photographer was roaming in the area. I had a look around and then got a photo with one of the trees before taking photos of all the trees.

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    Once we had looked at all of them, Graham headed back to Saratoga Springs. I wanted to have a look at a couple of the shops at Market Place. My first destination was Cherrytree Lane at the Market Place Coop. I was delighted when I found an area that was labeled “dry dock” that had DCL merchandise including some DCL Dooneys. I then headed to check out what Dooneys were available at Cherrytree Lane. None of the patterns that I had hoped for were available, but there was one I really liked. After a quick look in Tren-D and World of Disney, I headed back to Saratoga Springs, too.
     
  20. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Graham had headed for the swimming pool and I quickly went to see him before going back to the room to get myself organized and then I went to the bus stop. Just as I got there, a Magic Kingdom bus pulled in. I could not justify Disney tickets this time round, but I did get tickets for two evenings at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and this was the day of the first one. I got there before 16:00, which is normally the earliest you can enter with a party ticket, but they had already started to let people in. This time there were no separate turnstiles for etickets and they just scanned my Magic Band. This was a lot better than the system at the Halloween party in 2015. Once I was inside, I was given my wristband and then I was free to explore. I cut through some shops to check out the Dooney’s they had and also some of the party merchandise.

    I had a 16:20 reservation at Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen. I had wanted to try this ever since it was announced. I would have preferred something a little later, but this was all that was available and I took it. As we had a proper lunch, I did not feel like a full meal. So I decided to go with an appetizer and dessert. I got there a little early, checked in and then was escorted to the skipper’s mess. Shortly after I was seated, my server came over. He may just have been the best server I ever had. He was very attentive, but also a lot of fun and stayed in character all the time. They have the Melon Frosty Fanta on the menu that they also do at Club Cool at Epcot. Of the present line up at Club Cool, this is my favourite and I was delighted that I could just order a glass of it. My server kept bringing me more and I think I ended up with four glasses in the end. For food, I decided to go with the S.E.A. SHU MAI, which consisted of a blend of pork, shrimp, edamame beans and spices wrapped in gyoza skin and then steamed. They were very flavourful and just the right portion size. The definitely hit the spot. For my dessert, I had the Coconut Bar with Pineapple-basil Compote and Vanilla Cream, which was vanilla chiffon cake with coconut and lime-white chocolate ganache. This was a feast for the eyes and the tummy. It was quite light, but an absolute riot of flavours. I would happily go back just for this. Once I was done, I took a few photos, paid and then headed out.

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    I had managed to make two Fastpass reservations for the cutover period. The window for my first Fastpass was about to open and I headed over to Fantasyland. This was for Peter Pan’s Flight. The Fastpass line looked pretty long, but it moved very quickly. I did enjoy the ride and when I came out, I still had plenty of time until my next Fastpass window was due to open. As this was at Town Square, I headed back in the general direction. I had enough time to get the special party card for The Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and got my progress updated on my Magic Band, as I could not find my Magic Band from the previous year when we left for this trip. Then it was time to go and see Mickey. I did not have to wait long. Essentially I was directed straight to Mickey’s rehearsal room and when I got there, there were two families ahead of me. I enjoyed my interaction with Mickey. At some stage I had received a text from my friend Pam letting me know that she was running a little behind. We were going to spend the party together. I told her that was no problem and I would use the time to finish the easy level of The Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. So I headed towards Liberty Square for my first mission. When I was attempting to walk up Main Street, I was redirected to a backstage area by a cast member as soon as he saw my wristband. They had the area decorated and there were Photopass photographers around. I stopped for a quick photo. At the opposite end, they were giving out snowman sugar cookies. I did not fancy it then and put it in my bag. I did eat it a few days later and it was very nice.

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    I then embarked on the mission of defeating some villains. I had three missions left, although I could have sworn that I did one of them before. Never mind. I started out in Liberty Square and Frontierland where I had to defeat Dr. Facilier. With him taken care of, I then crossed over to Adventureland where I dispatched Yzma and Jafar. I then had to play a final mission to finish the game. While I was playing, Pam and I were texting backwards and forwards. By the time I played the final mission, she was in the park and heading towards Adventureland. I texted her every time I was heading towards a new portal and we met up as soon as I was done. This was perfect timing. We were pretty close to Pirates of the Caribbean and we decided to head there first. The posted waiting time was 10 minutes, but it was actually a walk on. While we were navigating the line, we caught up with each other. The last time we did this ride together, the ride had broken down twice and we were talking about this. This time there were no issues and we just got to enjoy the ride. We then headed over to Liberty Square and did Haunted Mansion with next to no wait. There was a photographer near the exit so we stopped for some photos. We got a Magic Shot with Zero from A Nightmare Before Christmas.

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    We then pushed on to the first character interaction of the party, Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws. The line was quite long and moved slowly, but we had plenty to talk about and time passed quite quickly. It was here that I first realized that all was not magical in the kingdom. Our interaction with Sandy Claws was fantastic and we had a lot of fun. However, when we asked the photographer to scan both of our Magic Bands, he rolled his eyes at us. I am really not sure what his issue was as this took a matter of seconds. However, I got the message loud and clear that I was no longer at Disneyland Paris where all the cast members are amazing.

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    After meeting Sandy Claws, we went to one of the treat locations. This had changed since I had last been to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in 2013. At that stage, every treat station offered the same: hot chocolate and cookies. This time round, every treat station offered something different. The one on Liberty Square offered eggnog and ginger cookies. I had never tried eggnog before, but really liked it. I was not quite so impressed with the ginger cookies. They also had gluten-free cookies for Pam. We were planning to head to Fantasyland next, but got held up by the earlier of the two parades. So we had no choice, but to watch. Once the parade had passed, we headed to Fantasyland. We wanted to check out the characters there and also go to Big Top Gifts at Storybook Circus, as this was the only place that had the t-shirts and the pins. On the way, we rode It’s A Small Work, which only had a minimal wait.

    When we came out, we headed in the general direction of Storybook Circus. We saw Mary Poppins and Bert on the way. They did not have much of a line, so we decided to stop to meet them. We were lucky as a cast member closed the line just after we got in it. There was no Photopass photographer around, but one of the cast members in the area took photos with our phones. Mary Poppins and Bert were great fun and I am glad we stopped. By then, it was nearly times for the fireworks. I had watched fireworks before on the path near Storybook Circus and quite liked the perspective. We had decided that we were going to watch from Fantasyland and found ourselves a spot pretty much halfway between the castles. Wow is all I can say. It actually felt like we were in the middle of it all with fireworks erupting all around us. It really was a completely different experience and I am glad that we tried this.

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    Once the fireworks were over and the lights had come back on, we decided to check in on some royalty. We knew that most princesses had their prince with them so that was too good to pass up. On the way, we stopped at another treat station. There they offered snow cones and a different kind of cookie. I passed on the cookie, but had a snow cone, which I enjoyed while we waited in line. We had the choice between Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder plus Tiana and Prince Naveen or Princess Elena of Avalore plus Cinderella and Prince Charming. We decided to go and see Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder plus Tiana and Prince Naveen. We had about a 20-minute wait, but it was so worth it. At some stage we had both royal couples together and there was a lot of banter between them. It was an absolutely riot. Eventually Tiana and Prince Naveen went back to their area and we got photos with Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder before moving on to Tiana and Prince Naveen.

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    We wanted to go and check out the Winnie the Pooh characters and also wanted to ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. We headed towards the meet and greet spot first, but were advised that the characters would go in after they seen the people already in line and would be out again about 40 minutes from this point. We were given the option of being first in line for the next set if we wanted to wait or come back later. We decided to come back later. We headed for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh first and did this with a few minutes wait. I have to say this ride will never be the same for me again after reading the Kingdom Keepers books. Once we had finished the ride, we headed over to Storybook Circus to have a look at the merchandise.

    We were the only people there. We had a look at the pins. I got one plus a couple of t-shirts and Pam got a pin set. The two cast members there were on the college programme and really nice. We spent a while chatting to them. Then we headed out again to meet Winnie the Pooh and friends. The characters had not come back out yet, but they arrived shortly afterwards and there were not too many people ahead of us. This had worked out rather well. Once we had met them, we headed over to Tomorrowland to ride Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin a couple of times. By then it was nearly midnight and we headed in the general direction of the exit having a look at a couple of shops on the way. I did not find anything that took my fancy. Then it was time for Pam and I to say goodbye. She headed back to her car and I went to the bus stop.

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    I did not have to wait long for a bus and even got a seat. I was glad about this as I was pretty tired by this stage. When I arrived at my bus stop, I got turned around and nearly ended up in the wrong building. I did find the right building soon enough and got ready for bed. I checked that I had set my alarm for the morning and then I settled down to sleep.
     
  21. tiggrbaby

    tiggrbaby <font color=deeppink><marquee>We must work harder

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2004
    Messages:
    4,333
    I have to agree with Graham about the changes to DTD - not a fan. However, I do really like T-Rex.

    What a great evening at MVMCP! How nice that you were able to meet up with Pam. As usual, you manage to accomplish quite a bit!
     

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