Friends Reunited - TRIP REPORT!! - COMPLETE

BethEJo

<font color=blue>I left the house at 5.45am - that
Joined
May 27, 2008
Just caught up my DH loves Living with the Land we have to ride every time we go to Epcot:faint: , I booked him the Behind the seeds tour last year and it was fab. Looking forward to reading more :goodvibes
Glad to hear the tour is good :goodvibes

The next day will be up shortly :cool1:
 

BethEJo

<font color=blue>I left the house at 5.45am - that
Joined
May 27, 2008
30/4/2013: WE’RE OFF TO HOLLYWOOD!​

Although we should have been at Hollywood Studios yesterday, after the little mix up, we managed to rearrange the 50’s Prime Time ADR were headed there today instead.

I woke up very early this morning to a thud… it was still dark in the room and I couldn’t figure out what it was. I got up, turned on the table light, and found Emma crumpled in a heap IN her suitcase at the bottom of the bead – turns out she had gotten out of bed to use the loo, but had tripped and fell in! Luckily she was OK, but I couldn’t stop chuckling to myself at the image that lay before me when I turned on the light! :rotfl:

I turned off the light and we went back to bed. It couldn’t have been much later, when I was disturbed my Jo getting out of bed – it was still super early, so certainly not like her at all! Jo was a I’ll-get-up-ten-minutes-before-we-need-to-leave kind of girl! She got out of bed, muttering something to herself. She walked up to the door, opened it, and then climbed back into bed and carried on sleeping. I had been waiting for her to start her sleepwalking/talking antics! We would have to keep an eye on her! A little creeped out, we settled down again and woke up later than planned, at around 8.30-9.00am.

We had a more leisurely morning today, took our time getting ready, and I enjoyed the cinammon pretzel that I had bought yesterday. It was so darn good, and I vowed I would have to get another at some time during the next two weeks (unfortunately, I didn’t get round to it!). :sad:

We headed to the bus stop, and of course the first bus to arrive was for HS – it always was! On the journey, we got chatting to an American lady who was sat in the spare seat next to us. We were telling her how we were now on holiday after working here briefly a few years back and she told us that she wished she could force her kids to do the College Program, but they weren’t interested! :crazy2: She was also telling us about the tour of the UK she had done recently; when I mentioned that I was from Wales, she got quite excited and said that she had visited there! I was quite surprised, because most Americans I speak to have never heard of Wales, let alone have visited it! Although, saying that, when I asked her which part she had visited, she replied with: “the bit where the prince in a helicopter lives”. Um, I think you mean Angelsey, my love! :goodvibes Such a small world though, because I had literally just spent some time there myself the week before, whilst I was on placement in Bangor – when our group in Bangor had found out that we had passed our exams and were now qualifying as doctors, we were given the afternoon off, and so headed to Newborough Beach on Angelsey with a couple of bottles of cheap plonk!




Anyhow, I digress. Back to the TR!

With it being close to 10.30, the bag check lines were quite lengthy. We joined them and waited our turn. Right at the front however, I couldn’t find my room card and realised that I had left it in my other park bag that I had left in the room! What is it with me being so disorganised here?! Not having stayed in a Disney resort before, I just assumed that I would have to head back to the room to pick it up. I was just about to leave the girls and head back on the bus to OKW, until the security guard overheard us and told me that I could get a new card printed at Guest Relations! Hurrah! However… I had to go back and join the end of the evergrowing bag check line again. Bummer! I tried to urge the girls to head on into the park – they were so excited to get on Tower of Terror, and I was happy to meet them inside but they insisted on waiting. I felt so bad.

We headed over to Guest Relations to get my card reprinted – there were some issues with the computers this morning however and so it took a while. Fine by me though, it will teach me in future to just keep my card safe in my purse! Since being refused alcohol in MK due to only having a driving licence on me, I had taken to carrying my passport around – just what the Guest Relations CM needed, and I was glad I had it! Soon my card was printed, and we were off! Before I left the line however, the family in the line behind me wanted to know where I was from as they thought I had an unusual accent – I wish people liked my accent this much back at home!

As we headed in, we had some Photopass pictures taken along Hollywood Boulevard, and headed towards the Sorcerer’s hat to meet some characters!








On our way, we also spoke to one of the Policemen, who commented on Jo’s current hairstyle, asking her how she made her hair look like a fountain :rotfl:, and also Ben Appetit, who showed us his cherry ‘pi’!






Check out his π

We noticed that Minnie, Daisy, Donald and Stitch were all out at the same meet at the hat – I was so excited for this!! I looooove stitch!! We joined the line, but by the time we had reached the front, they had switched, and it was now Chip, Dale, Goffy and Pluto we were going to get cuddles with! Squuuueeeeeeee! Whilst waiting, I took our room cards and got some Fastpasses for TSM.


Next on the list, was Tower of Terror, and as we walked down Sunset Boulevard, we had more pictures taken.


I love this ride, but it really does make me feel squiffy… :worried: one go on it, was going to be enough for this holiday. I’ve always suffered with travel/motion sickness. Recently, I have even gotten nauseous whilst I’m driving! I blame the worsening on a trip to Diggerland – some friends and I went to Diggerland last year for my birthday. And it’s exactly what it says on the tin – a JCB/digger park. On one ride, called the Spin Dizzy (I should have guessed really...), we were sat in the bucket of a JCB. It lifted us up and then proceeded to jerk us up and down and spin us around. A lot. I had never felt so ill in my life – it genuinely wiped me out for a week lol. I swear, my head has been more out of whack ever since that fateful day!


The Spin Dizzy at Diggerland

I don’t know if it’s a psychological thing, but during this holiday, I had been taking a Bonine motion sickness tablet each morning. It had worked well thus far – I managed to ride SM and BTMR in MK without any messy incidents! However, the magic didn’t work for me so much on this ride. I don’t think you need any more information lol!

Continued in next post...
 
  • BethEJo

    <font color=blue>I left the house at 5.45am - that
    Joined
    May 27, 2008
    I definitely needed a sit down after ToT, so we perched on a shaded table near to the Anaheim Produce stand, and people watched for a bit! We all started to get a bit thirsty as it had been a hot morning, and I managed to squeeze in a frozen margarita! These were nicer than the ones at Epcot yesterday, but I can’t really remember what the difference was... :confused3




    It was now time to check-in to 50s Prime Time for lunch. We had never eaten here before, but loved the sound of the jokiness of the place! I also loved the theming – when my brother looked at my holiday snaps, he asked me whose house had we gone and eaten in lol! :rotfl:




    We couldn’t tear Emma away from the TV


    People in America are always confused by my name: Bethan John. This turned out to be the first occasion of many this trip that I was addressed as John – I got bored of correcting them, and let them carry on… “your name is John, miss??”… “yes, yes it is.” But really, on the seater tickets, it always prints your last name first followed by your first name… why, oh why, would they think that this has been reversed just for my ticket and think that Bethan is my last name?! Anyhow… I digress… we didn’t have to wait long before someone announced “Bethany kids”… I thought I’d best go and check, and yes, it was meant for us!

    Our server was great – so dry and sarcastic! My favourite type of humour lol! He instantly had a go at Emma for having her elbows on the table: “Mam, do you wanna look like Quasi Modo all your life?”

    I ordered Grandma’s Picnic Punch; it was nice and strong, and I love a glowy ice cube!!


    Grandma concocted a wonderful drink for the family picnic with Skyy vodka, peach schnapps, creme de cassis, light lemonade and pineapple juice

    I went for A Sampling of Mom's Favorite Recipes. I’m terrible at choosing one thing on menus, so thought a mixture would be the way forward! It was just nice, simple, filling food – again, I struggled to move after finishing it!


    Crispy-fried Chicken, Fork Tender Pot Roast, and Traditional Meatloaf with all the fixings

    Not having learned to say no to dessert yet, we all went for Dad's Brownie Sundae. This was like my dream dessert – in fact anything with popcorn on is!! I really wished I wasn’t so full now – I would have loved to have demolished it! I did manage a few spoonfuls though – I couldn’t leave without trying it! Now I’m thinking about it, I could definitley do with one of these right now! Whilst tackling the dessert, my parents Whatsapp-ed me to check how everything was going – I sent them a picture of my dessert, where my Mam then announced that I certainly was no child of hers if I couldn’t finish that haha :rotfl:


    Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream, Hot Fudge, and Caramel topping

    As we were fit to pop after lunch, we looked for something quiet to do until we could walk and function normally again! We wandered over towards the Backlot through the Streets of America, stopping off in the Honey I shrunk the Kids playground - I was back home! This is where I used to work, and it was strange coming back here without having to explain to guests that this was in fact just playground and not the 3D show that no longer exists! This place sees a lot of College Program CMs working here, and so unfortunately not many permanent CMs – there was quite a high chance that I wouldn’t recognise anyone. It was still nice to be back though, and I remembered that I certainly didn't miss how busy it used to get in there at times! I chatted to some of the current CMS, reminisced, and of course, explored!


    Has it always been called the “play set adventure” on this sign? I swear it used to be called the “movie set adventure”? Maybe they changed it due to general guest confusion haha!




    The dog’s nose is my favourite bit out of the whole playground!


    We then did the Backlot Tour – this also brought back some lovely memories, as I overlooked my old breakroom whilst watching the special effects show! Us “Honey” lot shared a break room with the Backlot CMs and I recognised a few of them dotted about. I enjoyed the ride as usual, especially passing the cars rehearsing for the Light Motors Action show! As you know, as you come off the trams, you are herded into the American Film Institute exhibition before the gift shop – this was completely different to how I had remembered it since being refurbished. One of our tasks on the “Honey” rotation was to stand in the AFI exhibit – sometimes this was a blessing on a roasting hot day, but most of the times I dreaded it. It used to be so black, dark and cool in there, and was bad news if you were remotely tired. Which was like all the time :rotfl:! I can’t tell you how many times managers used to sneak up on us leaning against the walls when the exhibit was empty! They were not happy!


    Who on Earth left the taps running again?!


    Now it had been refurbed and was a bit more light and colourful – I spotted someone in the ol’ yellow Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground shirt (you really can’t miss them!), and was happy to find that it was Gerard! I had worked with Gerard at Honey in 2011, and he was still here – he loves it so much and never wants to transfer to anywhere else. He just loves the kids! It was so great to see him – we are friends on Facebook and since 2011, I noticed that he hadn't been having the best of luck with his health. He told me that he’s had five cardiac arrests since I saw him last – that’s impressive :scared1:! Whilst he’s a long way off from being completely well, it was just nice to see him well enough to be back in work at least. Gerard is also the king of stickers in WDW, so before he waved us off, he sorted us out and asked why we weren’t plastered in Disney stickers already?!

    It was now time to use our Fastpasses for TSM, and it felt great going into the FP line and not having to wait 90 minutes! We followed it up by meeting Woody and Buzz – I love all the little photo opps in the line to meet the characters here, and I realised that I had worn the most perfect t-shirt today! Buzz also loved it!










    Continued (again) in the next post...
     

    BethEJo

    <font color=blue>I left the house at 5.45am - that
    Joined
    May 27, 2008
    As we were wandering over to now do Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, we made some more use of the Photopass. In one of the photos, I lost my balance for no reason at all and did a bit of arm flapping. The photographer asked me what I had been drinking, and told the girls not to let me have any more haha! I was a little more composed in these ones…




    RnR was great – again, just like TT, I forgot how fast it went! We still managed to do the obligatory rock star photo at the beginning though! I wish I had a boost like that to send me on my way to work every morning – it’d soon wake me up! I suppose I just need for Aerosmith to be late for a concert where I work, so that their moany manager will send over one of them super stretches… I’m working on it!

    After RnR, it was now perfect timing for the Beauty and the Beast show – can you believe I had never managed to see this show yet?! A crime, I know! I thought it was great! It also made me realise that I’m developing a crush on Gaston! Apologies for the bombardment of Beauty and the Beast photos that follow…
















    And my favourite one:

    On exiting the theatre we had seen that it had been raining and noticed that the sky still looked a tad grey and unstable. We decided to head to Star Tours and ride that for some shelter. I love how it’s different each time. There was no wait, and we practically walked on – I wasn’t used to this, but I certainly wasn’t complaining! This particular sequence was great – I can’t remember exactly what happened, but we were in some water for a bit, and right at the end of the film, as we were parking the ship thingy (sorry!), we skid, and the nose of another vehicle came through the screen. Well, at that point, I let out the loudest scream… and it seems I was the only one as Jo just turned to me and laughed! I just wasn’t expecting it lol – I bet these people thought that this was the first time I had ever seen 3D!

    After a quick browse in the shop (there were some great t-shirts in there by the way; my faves were ones showing Darth Vader outside the castle, and one of a Stormtrooper on the carousel – see below), a Photopass lady gave us a lightsabre, positioned us and asked us to look angry. I hadn’t seen these magical shots before, and didn’t really know what I was posing for lol! When it was my turn, I got into position, but did some kind of squatting thing… I’m really not good at doing anything in photos except from standing upright lol – the photographer asked me if I needed the bathroom haha. This is just copied off the website until the photopass CD comes back, but yes, here I am squatting in front of Darth Vader!


    These are the kind of images that were on the T-shirts in the Star Tours shop:


    It was still eerily quiet in this area, and we decided that whilst we were here, we may as well watch the Muppets. This is another love of mine – I never get tired of it. Beaker and Bunsen Honeydew have always been my favourite! As we left, it was blowing a gale and pouring with rain; the sky was black. Emma and I already had ponchos but Jo and Tanya hadn’t, so we sprinted across to the Muppets store to get them some. Tanya was livid – she hates ponchos with a passion! In the entire 6 months that she spent in WDW on her College Program, she managed to survive without a poncho! I have no idea how, because Emma and I were there for half the amount of time and pretty much lived in ours during the summer! Sorry, there are no photos of Tanya in a poncho – she would have murdered me if I’d tried!

    There was only one showing of Fantasmic tonight at 9pm. Seeing as it was now around 7.30, we headed over to Sunset Blvd to grab some dinner. I settled on a pizza and salad from Catalina Eddie’s, but ended up leaving most of it after our mammoth lunch.




    We entered the Fantasmic theatre at around 8pm, and even now it was hugely busy. We were sat on the side in the Ursula section - it was a good view and we were closer than we’d ever been before. It was definitely going to be a full house tonight though!! There was a group of crowd entertainers keeping us all going – there were singalongs and quizzes! It was great fun! Are these entertainers new? I had never seen them before but thought they were a great addition.

    The weather hadn’t really improved during the course of the evening. It had stopped raining heavily for the most part, but we still had the drizzle. At around 10 minutes before show start, there was an announcement that the show might be cancelled due to the inclement weather. There was a collective groan from the audience. To keep everyone going though, the entertainers got a Mexican wave on the go. Who doesn’t love a Mexican wave ‘ey? Eventually at 9pm, the lights dropped and they got us to do the same thing but now with the lights from our phones/cameras/toys etc. It was great to watch and so pretty; it was pitch black until all the lights started twinkling in a big wave across the stadium.


    This is the practice run before the stadium’s lights were turned off


    This photo really doesn’t do it justice – it was just amazing to watch the twinkly wave move towards us!

    At 9pm on the dot, the show started and there was a huge cheer! I was so excited! It all started well, until the part where the water screens appear – at that point, the whole thing shut down and the lights came on in the stadium – well that was the quickest Fantasmic that I have ever seen! Did I pass out?! The announcer stated that due to unforeseen circumstances, the show had to be stopped and that they would endeavour to continue ASAP. Was there a problem with the water screens? I would have loved to have had been in the technical box during all this!

    No more than five minutes later we were told that the show would continue. Again, a HUGE cheer from the audience! The lights dimmed and the screens appeared!

    The show as usual, didn't disappoint, and I of course shed a tear at the end – “that’s some imagination, huh?”! Ask me tonight, and this is now my favourite nighttime show :) I love everything about it: the films it contains, the dragon, Pocahontas and John Smith, Mickey’s firework gloves, his little dance….arrrrgggghhhh EVERYTHING! On my notes I made for this day, I have written down that the ending was slightly different than usual – wish I could remember why I had written that! I wonder if it was something to do with technical difficulties that we'd had earlier.














    After being herded out with the masses, we had some photopass pictures taken around by the hat – the photographer asked for our “craziest faces”! That’s going to be an interesting one when the CD arrives…

    We ended up waiting quite a while for a bus to OKW – the wait seemed even longer considering we were behind a group of really annoying high school-aged kids. Now I know that I’m getting older when I find myself complaining about teenagers lol! They just kept singing, and then hand slapping, and then chanting… pleeeeeeeeeaaaasssseeeee ssssshhhhhuuuuuuutttttt uuuuuuppppp! The gentleman in the line behind me heard me and the girls moaning at each other I guess, and asked us where we were from – he said he sensed that we weren’t American. 10 points! We told him we were from the UK. “Cool” he said. A few minutes later, the guy tapped me on the shoulder and asked what “the UK” meant… I’m never ceased to be surprised here sometimes! I had many a time when I worked here, trying to explain where Wales was, even trying to convince one lady that Wales wasn’t in Spain, and no, I did not know her friend Mike from Paisley in Scotland!

    Once back in the room, Emma and I headed down to the filling station to refill the room’s mugs – it really is a shame that we weren’t just a little bit closer, we would have put them to so much more use. We got back, and it didn’t take me long to drown my phone in pink lemonade. Luckily it was OK, but it wasn’t the only time that my phone would be taking a bath this trip! We checked out all of our pictures from the last two days and then called it a night.
     

    Chilly

    RIP Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Apr 25, 2006
    We've obviously got different tastes as Fantasmic is my least fav, I'd put Wishes top then Illuminations. I still really like Fantasmic though but I prefer the Disneyland version.
     
  • darthtatty

    Been There, Done That, Going Back!
    Joined
    Apr 14, 2008
    great update and dont apologise for too many photos-you can never have too many. :goodvibes
    My son & husband would love the Star Wars photopass picture. Hopefully theyll do them when we are there next summer.
    Although im sure theyll buy loads of stuff from the shop. We easily spend about an hour in that shop :rotfl:
    Im surprised you did Star Tours ok, Like you I suffer from motion sickness.
    Some rides im not too bad on but Star Tours affects me.

    Very jealous, id love a girly holiday. I wonder if I can get my sisters to go on one with me. ;)
     

    BethEJo

    <font color=blue>I left the house at 5.45am - that
    Joined
    May 27, 2008
    We've obviously got different tastes as Fantasmic is my least fav, I'd put Wishes top then Illuminations. I still really like Fantasmic though but I prefer the Disneyland version.
    I can't wait to visit DL at some point! Would love to see World of Color!! :goodvibes

    Another great day! I love all the photos (really im just nosey) so keep them coming :)
    Haha, I'm exactly the same when I read TRs! Will do :)

    great update and dont apologise for too many photos-you can never have too many. :goodvibes
    My son & husband would love the Star Wars photopass picture. Hopefully theyll do them when we are there next summer.
    Although im sure theyll buy loads of stuff from the shop. We easily spend about an hour in that shop :rotfl:
    Im surprised you did Star Tours ok, Like you I suffer from motion sickness.
    Some rides im not too bad on but Star Tours affects me.

    Very jealous, id love a girly holiday. I wonder if I can get my sisters to go on one with me. ;)
    Definitely ask about those shots when you go!

    I know I'm surprised by being OK on Star Tours too - don't get me wrong, just once is enough, and I couldn't go on it straight away again afterwards, but I was fine this time! :goodvibes

    A girly holiday is great fun! Especially doing all the character stuff - when we did breakfast at the castle, they were kind of looking at us as if to say "where are the kids?" lol! When they realised there weren't any, they brought us round a wand each :rotfl2:
     

    Linda67

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2009
    You really are doing a fab job on this TR
    I just love the photos and they always make me smile :goodvibes
     
  • BethEJo

    <font color=blue>I left the house at 5.45am - that
    Joined
    May 27, 2008
    01/05/2013: GOING WILD AT ANIMAL KINGDOM!​

    Again we woke up a bit later than planned this morning, and started getting ready at around 8:30am. It was the first time that we hadn't all randomly woke up at 6:00am and had a chat about dole whips!

    Seeing as we had done Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios thus far, the plan for today was Animal Kingdom. Out of the four, this is probably my lesat favourite park, but that’s not to say that I don’t still love it!!

    We got to AK just after 10:00am. As we were walking towards the turnstyles, Jo thought she might have done a ‘Bethan’ and left her room card back in OKW. She had a good rummage through her bag though and found it – we all cheered, and the CMs at the entrance who had been watching us also cheered! It was so funny – they must see it all the time!


    It was very cloudy today, and even at around 10:00am, there was a little nip in the air! We decided to do the Safari first, having never seen the animals in the morning before and wandered over to Africa. Along the way we indulged in some pretzels for breakfast. I tried the jalapeño and cheese one, and oh my god! How good are they?! Well happy! Made a nice change from old desserts for brekkie!




    We waited around 30 minutes to do the Safari. Our driver was a bit rubbish – he had no enthusiasm whatsoever and sounded like he’d rather be anywhere other than driving that truck! It was still good though, as it was my best safari ever I think! We saw lots of animals and got so close to some! I’m not sure if Emma and I are a bad omen on this ride, but everytime we’re on it, we always have to stop due to some animals deciding to chill in the middle of the road! Also, I wasn’t dreaming about the poacher bit in the storyline in the past was I? I was seriously doubting myself – when we rode it last, I’m sure that something used to come over the radio warning of poachers etc etc, and now there was nothing. I had a bit of a Google when I returned home, to find that the ride had in deed changed due to it possibly being a little too frightening for children. The link is here. BRING BACK SIMBA 1!










    Next we decided to do Expedition Everest. The Fastpass return was only 30 minutes from now, and so we decided to get one to ride again after this. A great ride as per usual, but I totally forgot about the head compression that you get on this ride when you're going fast backwards! Do you know what I mean? I got off feeling a tiny bit drunk haha! I decided it wouldn’t be best for me to ride this again straight away, so I hung back. I waited for the girls before we all headed off to get some lunch.






    After checking out the options on the My Disney Experience app, we settled on the Flame Tree Barbecue for lunch where I had the smoked turkey sandwich. It was lovely, but the key lime mouse I had for dessert… not so much. Sickly sweet, but I think it’s more my preference than a problem with the dessert. I’m not really a sweet person! :lmao: As we were ordering food, it started to rain – luckily we found a table in the sheltered seating area before the masses of other guests arrived!


    After lunch, we headed off to do Dinosaur – Jo and I love this, but Tanya and Emma hate it with a passion! Everytime we used to ride this Emma just used to keep her eyes closed and head down for the entire ride - yawn :rotfl2:! We tried to get a funny ride photo where Jo and I pointed and looked in the complete opposite direction.


    Next was a wander around Dinorama. The girls decided to have a go on Primeval Whirl, but not being a fan of the ol' ‘rotational’ rides, I decided to sit this one out. I had been on it before when at WDW with my parents in 2009, and so wasn’t really bothered!


    Whilst waiting for the girls, I decided to check my university e-mail account as since finishing placement it had sort of slipped my mind. Lucky I did, as I opened an e-mail about something I had to fill in by Friday, and which was compulsory :scared1:! Luckily it wasn’t anything too complex, just an evaluation of the course seeing as we had now finished, but decided I’d best do it as it really wasn’t worth getting into trouble over something so minor! Waiting for the girls gave me the perfect amount of time to sort it out – it’s just that my answers turned out very short and sweet!

    After the ride, we decided to get something to drink. We passed Trilobites and saw some blueberry/rum/lemonade thingy on their menu – it sounded perfect! On the first sip, I got a big slurp of pure rum, catching me on the back of the throat and triggering a coughing fit! I assured the lady on the till that I did like the drink – honest!!




    As we drank, we wandered over to see Finding Nemo The Musical – this is another favourite soundtrack of mine! I love the show so, so much and just wish it was four times as long! We planned on seeing Festival of the Lion King (which is our ultimate fave!) today too, but unfortunately it wouldn’t be possible due to our dinner ADR later. Never mind though, it was something to look forward to on another day :goodvibes

    The show finished not long after 3:30, giving us a few minutes to try and catch the parade from somewhere. We decided that Discovery Island would be closest and made our way there – it was extremely busy, with strollers everywhere, and so I didn’t manage to get the photos I wanted! I still enjoyed it, but it’s not a patch on the MK parade!


    After the parade, we left AK to catch the bus back to OKW. We had a dinner reservation at Chef Mickey’s tonight, and we definitely needed to freshen up beforehand. What is it with AK always making you feel that bit more clammy!? Sorry, too much information there… We had literally just missed a bus, and so waited quite a while for the next one! I’m so looking forward to hiring a car the next time we head to WDW!

    Continued in the next post...
     

    BethEJo

    <font color=blue>I left the house at 5.45am - that
    Joined
    May 27, 2008
    We ended up getting back to the room at around 5pm, showered and got ready, and was back at the bus stop at 6.45. We caught the first bus that arrived (which was not Hollywood Studios, for like the first time ever!), and then another onto the Contemporary. We had a little look around first – this is where Emma and Tanya used to work, and like exactly how I felt when back at Honey in HS, they said it was just weird! Being in these places becomes so routine to you, so that when you’re back, it feels like you’ve never been away!


    We checked in and didn’t have to wait long before being paged. I decided to go for a couple of skinny coconut mojitoes tonight – they were soooooo good! The food was also very good – you can’t go wrong with a buffet can you?! I know lots of people don't really rate Chef Mickey's for dinner, but we had no complaints; everything tasted hot and fresh, and there were lots of options! However, I tried way too many things and had no room for the dessert!






    The character interaction was also good – it seemed they spent more time with us than what we had experienced in the past at character meals, and it’s an easy way to get lots of pictures! Goofy was particularly funny, spying Jo’s glowy cocktail and then just staring at it for ages! I really enjoy character meals, but the constant up and down and waiting for the characters just puts me on edge sometimes! Our server was also great; I was so in the habit of calling everyone Ma’am since arriving at WDW, that I accidentally addressed our MALE server as that. He laughed it off, came back with my drink and said: “here’s your drink Sir”. We’re even now! :lmao:












    Donald’s having a great time swinging his napkin…


    …I swear I am too!! :lmao:

    After dinner, we had a better look around the shops in the Contemporary, and Jo bought a tonne of Buzz Lightyear stuff for her boyfriend’s son. He’s a very lucky little lad! It was also now approaching 10pm so we headed out onto the side balcony to watch Wishes. 10:10pm came but there were still no fireworks; Tanya checked the schedule online and realised that Wishes had actually taken place at 9pm tonight! Such a shame! There was a really funny drunk family with us on the balcony who were also waiting for Wishes – they really wouldn’t believe us that we had missed it and said they would happily wait a bit longer in the rain. Please yourselves!



    We decided to call it a night and jumped on the monorail to do a loop around to MK and then catch a bus to OKW from there. We were going against everything Tanya and Emma used to recommend to guests – why take a whole loop on the monorail when it was just a short walk to MK along the path?! It was raining and my feet were still in agony, that's why! :rolleyes:

    When we got back to the room, we could hear some music banging away! I assume it was from DTD? Then, dead on 11pm a bunch of fireworks were set off! We could even see them from OKW… were they from DTD too? I doubt it as I couldn’t find any info about fireworks anywhere on this time or date, so I wonder what that was all about?! :confused3

    The weather over the past two days really hadn’t been great; quite chilly in the mornings and evenings, and very grey. We were gutted as we had Discovery Cove booked for tomorrow, and wanted it to be hot, hot, hot! However, we checked the forecast online and it didn’t look too terrible – just showers in the morning and cloudy for the rest of the day. If only that turned out to be true :sad1:. I rang front desk to organise a taxi to DC tomorrow morning, packed my bag ready, set the alarm for 6:30 and went to bed.
     

    strawberry blonde

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 9, 2009
    Looks like a great couple of days with the girls. Only the other day a friend said we should all have a girlie holiday. Not sure what DH would think :goodvibes

    As it happens, she's now spending the second week of her holiday with us in Orlando after her Mexican cruise :cool1:

    Looking forward to more :)
     

    BethEJo

    <font color=blue>I left the house at 5.45am - that
    Joined
    May 27, 2008
    AK is def the hottest park, I think it must be all the plant life.
    Glad someone agrees - even though it was quite cold in the morning, I still left feeling all sticky!!

    Looks like a great couple of days with the girls. Only the other day a friend said we should all have a girlie holiday. Not sure what DH would think :goodvibes

    As it happens, she's now spending the second week of her holiday with us in Orlando after her Mexican cruise :cool1:

    Looking forward to more :)
    Ooooooh, I hope you have a great time with your friend! I'm just writing up the next day as we speak!
     

    BethEJo

    <font color=blue>I left the house at 5.45am - that
    Joined
    May 27, 2008
    02/05/2013: HOW MUCH FOR THIS DOLPHIN?

    I can’t believe that we had been here almost a week today! Where does the time disappear to in WDW?

    We had an early start this morning and were up at 6:30am ready for our taxi at 7:15am from Hospitality House to Discovery Cove. After getting ready, we walked down to the front desk, as it would probably turn out quicker than waiting for a bus to take us all the way round the resort! As we walked down, it was still raining and grey – we were disappointed but knew we had to suck it up and enjoy the day nonetheless! Besides, better to be out in the rain in Orlando than back at home, and we’d be getting wet at Discovery Cove either way!

    Tanya didn’t want to do DC, so she spent the day at Universal with an old coworker. She had never been before and so was really looking forward it! They were both going to meet us at Ale House this evening.

    We arrived at DC not long after 7.30am – we pretty much were some of the first people there! We checked in, and I just stood in the reception area thinking how pretty it all was! I’d been pretty much waiting for this day since I learned about being able to swim with Dolphins in Florida when I was a little girl – it was a first for all of us! Check in was quick and painless, and we presented our IDs so that our passes could be labelled to allow us to get alcohol today. Well, we’ll need something to warm us up! We also had our photos taken for our passes, but they were quite dark – we had complaints about the darkness of the photos all day, but it wasn’t our fault! Half the time, the servers questioned whether that pass was actually mine as they couldn’t tell from the photo! We were given the first dolphin swim of the day, at 8:30am in the Sand Dollar Cove.


    We tried to get our bearings before biting the bullet and getting sized up for wetsuits. I loved how the staff just looked at you, and were like “you’ll take this size honey”! That’s some skill! We dubiously took our newly acquired wetsuits and headed into the changing rooms to get changed! We were the only ones there, and so didn’t feel too bad about the noises we were making struggling to get into these things :rotfl:! The people at the changing rooms said they had to give us a small suit as it expands when in the water, but gee, this was something else! This was seriously tight – I seriously broke out a sweat trying to get my arms in! Once in and zipped up with the help of both Emma and Jo, breathing was slightly restricted, but boy did these wetsuits give us a good silhouette. I might start taking to wearing these under dresses! :scratchin




    Seeing as it was cold out, we decided on getting the wetsuit for the initial dolphin swim, and then possibly change to a vest for the rest of the day. After squeezing ourselves in and learning how to walk in such a restricted garment we headed to get some breakfast. I couldn’t possibly sit down and eat in this, so had the girls to upzip me for the time being. I was really impressed with the selection for breakfast. Lots of both hot and cold items to choose from. I had some Southwest scrambled eggs (which are apparently scrambled eggs with peppers and ham in – lush!), breakfast potatoes and sausages. II hardly touched it though, due to a combination of the excitement and a tight wetsuit!

    After breakfast, we made our way to the cabana, read the paperwork and signed our life away before watching the video. I was so psyched for this now!!! One of the trainers then arrived and gave us a bit of a talk. Before finishing she asked if any of us knew how to tell the age of a dolphin. No one said anything, and I hate those awkward silences after someone’s asked a question so I piped up, and jokingly said: “cut it half and count the rings!”. She seemed quite surprised and asked how did I know that… ummm, I didn’t! Turns out I was close, and that to tell a dolphin’s age, you can count the rings if you cut their teeth! Who’d have thunk it!? :thumbsup2

    We were now led off by our trainer to join our group – we were all from the UK apart from a newly wed American couple. We were a really good group, so excited, even this early in the morning, and everyone was so nice!! The water was slightly nippy, and the floor slippery and rocky but we soon got used to it. In the mean time however, I was walking wobbly and all over the place, and the trainer joked that I had been on the margaritas already! The second person in the same week who thought I had been drinking hahahahaha! :lmao:

    We got in our line, and had great fun with the our first dolphin Kyla who was 5 years old. It was great stroking her and watching her do all her tricks and sounds – she was really playful! At one point, she came out with a raspberry noise, and it just really tickled me for some reason! I was weak, and crying with laughter – our two trainers were creased! They said it was nice to have such a bubbly group first thing in the morning and was part of the reasons why they really loved their jobs! Soon it was time to switch over dolphins but not before our obligatory kissing picture! We then said goodbye to Kyla, and in the mean time, we got some time to start asking our trainers lots of questions – our trainers today were Gina and Deirdra. In my opinion, we really lucked out, as they were superb! Very friendly, and up for a laugh – couldn’t ask for better!




    Soon after, another dolphin joined us – now we were with Tyler who was a 15 year old male and much bigger than Kyla! Tyler would be the dolphin who would be pulling us back to shore at the end of the session! As soon as he joined us however, he swam straight back off! Gina explained that Tyler was the dominant male in the group and at the moment, he was probably more interested in the girls! He was probably off making his dates for later! He soon joined us again though and we rewarded him with some fish. We had a nice little lesson about the dolphins with Tyler and the trainers – learning about their teeth marks, their fins and how their tails are like their fingerprints. These creatures are magnificent! I have always been intrigued and in love with marine life and the sea, and all this was just perfect for me! I couldn’t believe I was now standing here with a dolphin swimming rings around me, pretending he was a shark! This would have been one of my ideal jobs! I was so jealous of everyone here!

    It was now time for our ‘dolphin swim’ and I was the last person in the group to get to do it! I couldn’t even begin to explain my excitement at that point!! I really didn’t know what to expect, but was told to hold onto the fins and relax – before I knew it, I was being pulled along!! It was just so calm! I take it back; I no longer want to have the RnR to shoot me into work each morning, I want a dolphin to pull me in instead! One of my photos from the swim was hilarious – Gina said it was probably the biggest smile she was going to see all day! Emma and Jo were creased… they said the dolphin and I were pulling the exact same face! I was reminded about this photo for the rest of the holiday, and the girls had great pleasure pulling the ‘Bethan Dolphin Face’ on random rides! We also got to have some extra interaction with Tyler considering he swam off at the start, so that as a nice way to finish things, before they all decided to absolutely drench us with their tails!


    After the swim, we all got out and spoke to Gina for a while, asking her lots of questions. Our group ended up talking for ages – it was really nice! We especially had a lengthy discussion about dolphin sperm and uteruses and artificial insemination – considering my background, and my interest in the obstetrics and gynaecology specialty, I found this particularly interesting :rotfl:. They explained that in February this year, they had their first artificial insemination baby dolphin born! What I found particularly interesting was about how they collected dolphin urine samples (that’s not a sentence I’d ever thought I’d hear myself say!). They’ve actually trained the dolphins to pee on cue when they tap twice on the dolphin’s genitals – can we train humans to do this?! We also had a laugh asking about the difference between the dolphins here in captivity and those in the wild – Gina told us if they were to add a single live fish into the dolphin pool here, the dolphins would probably be petrified! But they’d eventually figure out that they could eat it… Finally, we had a discussion about how to enter into that type of career, before saying our goodbyes :sad:.

    We were freezing and very wet after the dolphin encounter so decided to head to the Oasis to warm up – the water in there was lovely and really did the trick! We took one of the pool noodles each and made our way into the avery! This was great, but we just made a conscious effort to try and avoid the bits of water which the birds were pooing in :crazy2:! It was also a good opportunity to try out the underwater digital camera which my friend had lent to me.










    After a full loop, we got out to grab a towel, a coffee and a snack – another cinammon sugar pretzel, hurrah!


    Soon 11am hit and that meant bar service began! Not that we had been waiting or anything! We grabbed a few beers and some seats at the dolphin coves to watch some other guest’s interactions. Our trainer Gina saw us and came over to have a little chat before making us promise we’d have a beer for her. We finished our drinks and then headed back to the Oasis to see the marmosets and otters. The otters were so cute and funny and we watched them playing and climbing all over each other.




    Jo found a new dolphin to ride – faster Flipper, faster!






    Continued in the next post...
     

    BethEJo

    <font color=blue>I left the house at 5.45am - that
    Joined
    May 27, 2008
    Next we decided to head to the Grand Reef for some snorkelling! Before heading into the cold water, Jo and I decided we’d drink something to warm us up – we ended up opting for margaritas rather than coffee though! I took a sip of what I had been given, and swear it was just a cup of straight up tequila! The bar man saw my face and laughed, claiming “we make sure we make ‘em good here!”. We then grabbed our snorkel gear and headed in – wow, wow, wow!!! I Love sting rays so much – I always make a bee line for them in Seaworld! We spent a good while in here and got some great photos! I couldn’t believe I was swimming with these – at one point, one swam right underneath me, scraping my belly! It gave me a jolt as it came out of nowhere but it was spectacular – they’re so velvety!










    I was trying to catch a stingray to bring back home!

    After swimming around for a good while, we decided to go and get some lunch whilst grabbing some extra towels to wrap around us and warm up along the way. Lunch was as excellent a selection as it was for breakfast, and they had all sorts available – I was quite hungry now and plumped for a burger, some chicken tenders and a dollop of mac ‘n’ cheese! All washed down with fruit punch and Bud Light (but not at the same time!). We managed to get a seat in the shelter and near an outdoor heater and so were pretty darn happy :) Half way through lunch however, the heavens opened along with the thunder and lightening. It was horrible, and an announcement came over and said that all park operations had been shut down, including paths, and guests needed to find shelter immediately.


    It’s raining, it’s pouring!

    We sheltered for a good while, and sunk a few more beers waiting for the rain to finally ease off! It was now around 2:30pm, and we used that as our cue to dry off and get dressed. On leaving the park, we picked up our entrance photo and couldn't resist but to buy our dolphin interaction picture CD. It was pricey at around $150 but how can you not!? Plus, I needed my dolphin face picture! We then headed out to wait for a cab back to OKW – we did consider the bus, but really couldn’t be bothered to get to the bus stop in the rain!




    Goodbye Discovery Cove – hopefully see you again soon!

    In a nutshell, Discovery Cove was one of the best days of my life – seriously! It really captivated me, and I just couldn’t tear myself away from it all! I would love those trainer's jobs more than anything – interacting with people from all over the world and dolphins… what more could you want?! It was such a shame about the weather; I bet it looked a completely different place in the sun, but I’m sure it would have been a lot busier too! Never mind, I’ll just use that as an excuse to go back. But not that I need one! Everything about the whole day was great, but the trainers really made it! A day I will never forget!

    We arrived back, and the rain had stopped. So whilst the girls started to jump in the shower, I decided to head to the Filling Station to fill our resort mugs. All was well until it started pouring down on my walk back – I didn’t have a poncho or an umbrella! I got drenched and even dropped my iPhone in a big ol’ puddle – see I told you getting covered in pink lemonade wouldn’t be the only time my phone would be taking a bath! On getting back to the room, I tried drying my phone off with the hair dryer before jumping into a hot shower! My phone was OK on the whole, but there was now no sound coming from it :headache:! Oh dear – I was gutted, I rely on my phone way too much and don’t know what I would do if it were to break completely! How sad is that ‘ey? :rolleyes1

    We just chilled for the rest of the afternoon and watched a bit of Maury where the guest's husbands had slept with their sisters. This was gonna be gurrd!

    At around 7.30pm, Nick picked us up to take us to the Ale House. Nick was an old co-worker of Tanya and Emma's. He was on the College Program the same time as us, but was now on the Professional Internship program. It was similar to the CP, but on the PI you are a CM in a management position – very fancy! On the journey, he was telling us how good it was to be a leader at Disney; in his current position, he leads a number of shops at DTD. Nope, not jealous at all Nick… Grrrrrr! :rotfl:

    We got chatting about the new Disney Springs development, and he told us how the management CMs found out about it… all leaders were called to the AMC cinema. They were given food and asked to sit down – randomly, Tom Staggs then walked out on stage saying “You guys know that if I’m here talking to you, then it’s going to be about something big”! And that’s how it was released to the leaders! Nick also told us that he had seen some of the Imagineer's mock ups of the new shops and that there’s something ‘very exciting’ happening at one of his stores, but that’s all he could possibly tell us!

    We got to the Ale House and got the drinks in – I started on the raspberry mojitoes. They were sooooo good!


    Not being able to leave all of Nick’s insider info lie, I wanted to know more :p! Nick started talking about the new Magic Bands. As I mentioned in a previous post, you can use your room keys to charge by touching them to the Mickey touch pad at the till, which is also set up for use with the bands. One thing that CMs have noted so far is the few problems they have had with the strength of the bands against the touch pad. Apparently, they needed to change the bands and add an amplifier or something, as people were really having to bang the bands against the reader/pad to use it.

    I started to get a bit tiddly from here on in and so I finally started to leave Nick alone! It also means that my recollection from this evening isn’t the best either – Jo has most of the photos from this evening on her camera so I don’t have much to jog my memory. However, I did find receipts for many pitchers of white wine sangria and a couple of buckets of Bud Light. We also had some Mountain Melts to share, but pretty much inhaled them before anyone took a picture! I did find this on my phone though…


    Lots of Tanya’s and Emma’s old Contemporary co-workers came and it was a fun night! We just had a shopping day planned for tomorrow, so I wasn’t worried too much about being up bright and early! Apologies for the lack of photos of this evening!
     

    Linda67

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2009
    Wow, lots of updates

    Isn't DC just the best?!

    We've only been there once but it was on my 40th Birthday and the trainers got one of the dolphins to sing happy birthday to me .... It was the best thing ever!!!

    Really glad you enjoyed it - oh by the way, I meant to say, those wayfarers really suit you :)
     



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