I'm in a Sunshine State of Mind (updated 20th Nov!)


Jun 16, 2012
Thursday 16 July – Time for Tea!

We had our breakfast at the Sassagoula food court and then caught the bus to Magic Kingdom. It was this morning that the heavens opened, just between us getting off the bus and going through the turnstiles, and when I opened up the backpacks to get out our waterproof ponchos, I realised I hadn’t packed C and J’s ponchos (doh)! :oops:

We were right by the waterfront, with nowhere to take shelter and the rain was bouncing off the pavements, it was like standing in a powerful shower, so there was nothing for it but to be a bit inventive, so we shared a huge adult orange poncho each, one adult one child in each, with the kids having an arm hole to see through!

:rotfl2: We were killing ourselves laughing as the two, two-headed, one-armed, four-legged orange monsters tried to synchronise movements to make their way up to the park! :crazy: We managed it, and, pretty dry, we shuffled in to the bridge and the shop underneath the Main Street train station to buy two kids’ size ponchos!

It was here that the kids noticed the portal/magic mirror thing for the Sorcerers game so we went to the fire station to get inaugurated into the game and get some cards, which we'd play later. But first, we had to go driving, as we had fastpasses for the Tomorrowland Speedway.

It was still pouring, so we decided to take a ride on the PeopleMover and see if the rain would let up… The PeopleMover is great, the kids loved that they went through Space Mountain!

And the plan worked, and as we exited the PeopleMover the rain had stopped, which meant we could remove our plastic packaging and we’d have a much nicer drive around the Speedway track which is not undercover. C drove his own car as did granny and J drove me, but I had to do the accelerator pedal. The boy racers just loved this, being able to drive at 8 and 10 years old!

A little exposition is necessary here…I’d booked for C and J to have tea with the Mad Hatter at the Grand Floridian later today. They were going to go in fancy dress, as they had Halloween costumes from last year when C was the Cheshire Cat and J was the White Rabbit.

Now, only kids are allowed at the unbirthday tea, but granny and I had got into the ‘Wonderland’ spirit with an appointment to have a posh Grand Floridian tea and had put on our ‘sort of’ Queen of Hearts clothes, stripes and hearts and, of course, gold crowns! #ridiculous!

So, coming out of Tomorrowland and discovering a Wonderland mural with >:( an angry Queen of Hearts picture >:( was just too tempting an opportunity to pass up.

Cue – silly poses!

And then what else could we do but have a spin in the tea cups:

And then get our little Wonderland creatures their own character cakes from the Cheshire Cat Café. The White Rabbit cake cup for J and the Cheshire Cat cake cup for C:

The cake cups were alternate layers of cake and frosting, yummy but really, really rich and sweet – we shared two between the four of us, and still weren't quite able to finish them!

Then it was time to take Monorail to Grand Floridian, and C and J got changed into their costumes in the GF loos.

We dropped the cat and the rabbit off for their tea, and had to sign really crazily over the top waiver form to be able to leave our kids in Disney's care... (Danger Danger! Icing cup cakes!).

The boys had a great time, they said Mr Hatter and Alice were very silly and good fun. They got to ice cupcakes (and then eat them) have ‘tea’ (apple juice), make photo frames, and play croquet:

Meanwhile, Granny and I enjoyed our Champagne afternoon tea in the Garden View room.

Hooray! Jam Tarts! The Knave didn't steal them all! :

Don’t we look regal and posh…not for long …:lmao:...

Now, the fabulous Billy Connelly once said:

“Never trust a man who, left alone with a tea cosy does not try it on”

In that spirit, I think both Granny and I can be trusted ( ;) ) :

Next Up: Nobody’s Perfect!
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Jun 16, 2012
Thursday 16 July - Nobody's Perfect

After our wonderful Wonderland tea experiences, we had a wander around the Grand Floridian lobby. Then we dawdled around the grounds and the beach area, telling the boys how it was modelled after the Hotel del Coronado that is featured in Some Like It Hot. The boys had never seen it so I told them what I could remember of the story of ‘Daphne’, ‘Josephine’ and Sugar Kane and of course we added it to our list of movies that we had to watch when we got home.

Then we made our way to the boat dock to get the boat over to Magic Kingdom. We were in luck, as a beautiful wooden boat approached just as we got there, let lots of passengers off, and let us board.
No one else got on, so we had the boat all to ourselves. The captain asked the boys to come up front with him to help him by sounding the horn, and we were off!

Granny and I sat at the back and amused ourselves by pretending we were on a millionaire’s yacht heading away from the Hotel del Coronado and trying to remember these lines:

Jerry: … Osgood, I'm gonna level with you. We can't get married at all.
Osgood: Why not?
Jerry: Well, in the first place, I'm not a natural blonde.
Osgood: Doesn't matter.
Jerry: I smoke! I smoke all the time!
Osgood: I don't care.
Jerry: Well, I have a terrible past. For three years now, I've been living with a saxophone player.
Osgood: I forgive you.
Jerry: [tragically] I can never have children!
Osgood: We can adopt some.
Jerry: But you don't understand, Osgood! Ohh...
[Jerry finally gives up and pulls off his wig]
Jerry: [normal voice] I'm a man!
Osgood: [shrugs] Well, nobody's perfect!

[Jerry looks on with disbelief as Osgood continues smiling with indifference. Fade out]

I love that movie.:-)

Our private boat (!) dropped us at the Magic Kingdom and we got the train around the park to Frontierland station to use our fastpasses for Big Thunder Mountain. Granny waited in the shade, she wasn’t keen to ride this after she had hated 7 Dwarves so much.

C & J & I had a 5 minute wait (compared to the massive standby queue) and then we were on and thundering down the mountain! We loved the ride! C had been a little hesitant but then declared it his second favourite ride (after 7 Dwarves).

We found Granny and then we wandered up Main Street doing a bit of window shopping and had some photopass photos:

Then we did a few of the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card portals around Main Street. The kids really loved these, it is a cool game!

It was time to say farewell to MK as we made our way out of the park to the lagoon again to hop on a boat to Fort Wilderness for our dinner at the Trails End restaurant. My camera had died at this point so there’s no photos I’m afraid, but this buffet is a favourite of ours – great, plentiful buffet food and wonderful service. :thumbsup2

Then we wandered up to meet Chip n Dale and make delicious Smoes ("they’re Smores, Buzz!") at the Fort Wilderness campfire, before getting the boat back to MK and the bus home the POFQ.

Up Next: Lions and Tigers and Naked Mole Rats, Oh My!
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DIS Veteran
Jan 14, 2015
Still loving your trip report! The boys looked like they had fun at the Mad Hatter's tea party, and you and Granny can DEFINITELY be trusted! haha
  • Velvetia

    Jun 16, 2012
    Friday 17 July – Animal Kingdom

    We were heading to Animal Kingdom today... and before we even got to the food court for our breakfast we had an animal encounter as finally, after days of trying, C managed, very gently, to lure a friendly hotel lizard to climb on to his arm.

    He was really chuffed!

    After brekkie and a very quick bus journey we arrived at AK shortly after opening.

    We headed straight to Dinoland USA. We had it pretty much to ourselves:

    We ventured into the Dinosaur Institute…

    Guess what... my little palaeontologist adored it in here and took hundreds of photos - here's just a few!

    Then our Professional Dinosaur Science Guides (who in no way resembled Mrs Cosby and Hodges from CSI… - wink -) introduced themselves.

    Then not-Hodges, against orders!, sent us to the unsafe meteor crazy time on our mission to go back in time to save a dinosaur. The Carnotaurus plays a starring role in the ride, which is C’s favourite ever dinosaur, so he was very very excited by this ride!

    We all look like we're really flinching from the appearance of the Carnotaurus here!:

    We then spent a fair amount of time in the Dinosaur Shop. Seems we were in a silly photos mood today – (what do you mean so, what’s new!?)

    Before we had a spin in a flying Triceratops:

    We went out of Dinoland through Asia – under the shadow of the looming Expedition Everest. None of us were brave enough to go on the ride :scared: but we did our best yeti impressions:

    It was getting hot and sticky (and busy) now so we stopped at an ice-cream cart.
    I had a gorgeous Frozen Banana – one of my absolute favourite Disney foods (that's my wow I'm happy look!):

    And J had a tub of little ice cream chocolates.

    As we were buying our treats, granny had a tap on the shoulder and turned round to be frightened out of her skin by Baloo wanting to get past, accompanied by King Louis, on their way to a meet and greet. It was so funny! There really are animals everywhere you turn in this kingdom! :rotfl2:

    C & J found somewhere to make some noise!:

    And then we turned a corner to watch how it should be done!:

    We had fastpasses for the Safari, which was a walk on in the FP queue.

    We Loved it. Especially the Lions, lazing on the rock.

    Up next: More Animals!
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    DIS Veteran
    Jan 14, 2015
    I'm still here and loving every post! What a magical time you had! I've put Some Like It Hot on my must-see list; it sounds like it's right up my alley!


    Jun 16, 2012
    I'm still here and loving every post! What a magical time you had! I've put Some Like It Hot on my must-see list; it sounds like it's right up my alley!
    Yay! Thanks for still reading along Kivara and for the post...:wave2:Hope you like Some Like It Hot!
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    Jun 16, 2012
    Friday 17 July – More Animals

    After our Safari we took the Pangani trail. It was a very pleasant trail, through a tropical type landscape. After around 5 mins of walking you enter a large wooden structure which has various tank of animals inside. We wandered in and spotted a tank containing a huge bullfrog, that’s an ugly looking creature…BUT turning away from the bullfrog tank…Oh My Goodness :scared1:…a whole new world of weird…a whole wall-sized tank of Naked Mole Rat Babies! :scared1: Oh My! They are in equal measure really ugly and really cute looking. They are such intriguing animals. We were all fascinated by them and spent a long while standing and watching them go through all the burrows in their home.

    We continued on the trail and all adored watching the great big Silver Back Gorillas:

    Then we went to find Zuri Sweets candy shop as I’d read about the chocolate animal poop that they had recently started selling and this appealed to C&J.:rotfl2:

    Well we found the shop but – Aw :( - they don’t do the poop anymore, so instead J and I had caramel apples, C had some chocolate fudge G had some peanut butter fudge. All on the Disney Dining Plan as credits and all were delicious so all's well in the end, just no poop to eat for us today! :rolleyes2

    We wandered over to the Festival of the Lion King theatre and ate our goodies whilst we stood in the queue. We had to wait here for around 20 minutes and then they opened up the doors and we got great seats in the Elephant section.
    We all absolutely LOVED this show. :simba:

    I just love Pumba!

    The Tumbling Monkeys were just incredible, such athletes... and the one nearest our section looked just like Ben Stiller in a monkey costume! :rotfl:I love Ben Stiller (can't wait for Zoolander 2) so the Ben Stiller lookalike monkey really added to our enjoyment of the show. It was really funny when he was goofing around with the audience!

    The Birds of Paradise acrobat couple are amazing, jaw-dropping strength and elegance. :worship: In fact all the performers are just fantastic.

    I really would say: Do not miss this show! I can’t imagine there’s anyone out there who wouldn’t love it! :lovestruc

    We came out of the show and made our way towards the exit of the park, stopping for a Photopass shot:

    Shortly after which, C decided he absolutely had to go all the way back to the Dinosaur institute so he could buy J a “sapphire” – a blue gemstone that J had been eyeing up earlier. Well who am I to stand in the way of “precious jewels”…so we left Granny in the shade on a bench and hot-footed it over to the total opposite side of the park to buy the gem…

    We didn’t have much time as we had a lunch reservation so we swiftly picked up granny. We caught a glimpse of De-vine on the way to the exit, you can just see her long viney legs as she's going away here:

    We headed to the bus to AK Lodge, first stop on the bus is Kidani Villas…we were headed to Sanaa! :yay:I'd read so many good reviews of this place I was really excited to go!

    The bus pulled up at Kidani Villas…Wowee! We loved this resort, it is sooo beautiful, I would love to stay here in the future. I will keep buying those lottery tickets! :rotfl:

    You go downstairs from the foyer to Sanaa. We checked in at the restaurant and took our pager out on to observation deck to sit on the rocking chairs and watch the wildlife out on the savannah!

    It is so beautiful here. I could have stayed here for ages…

    We were buzzed very quickly and shown in to Sanaa and seated right next to the large windows!

    A crowned crane kept us company outside the window:

    The meal was incredible – one of the top three meals we had on our holiday…and it’s 1 table service credit on the Disney Dining Plan!

    So, just what are my top three meals for the trip? For me it would go:

    (Spoiler alert!)

    1) Teppan Edo, 2) Sanaa, 3) Be Our Guest

    (So, at the time of eating, this was no. 1, as we hadn’t been to Teppan Edo or BOG yet!)

    We started off with the Naan bread service and all the dips. Phew, that jalapeno one is hot hot hot! Luckily I had a glass of the sparkling rose wine to cool me down! (wink)

    Then I had the curries: Durban Spicy Shrimp, Paneer Tandoori and Basmati Rice. Sooo tasty!

    Granny had Butter Chicken, Paneer Tandoori and Basmati Rice:

    C & J both had cheeseburgers from the kids menu.

    Everything was delicious!

    The desserts were gorgeous too:

    Granny and I both had the Dessert Trio - Tanzanian Chocolate Mousse, banana cheesecake and seasonal kulfi :

    Our server was fabulous, he took lots of time to tell us all about the wildlife through the window. Fittingly, he was called Critter, short for Christopher, and had been at Sanaa since it had opened in 2009.

    He was really friendly and knowledgeable.

    Critter told us about the giant tortoises they have here, 2 males who had been brought into the USA illegally from Madagascar and seized at customs and then sent to live at Kidani Villas!

    We went to visit them on the way out:

    Then we went upstairs to the outside viewing platform where we saw Giraffes, Antelope, Goats and Crowned Crane:

    Such a beautiful resort, we really loved it here.

    Reluctantly we said goodbye to the animals and headed to the bus stop to head to the Animal Kingdom bus stops and change buses there to head homewards to POFQ.

    Up next: Horror in Hollywood!
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  • Velvetia

    Jun 16, 2012
    Friday 17 July Horror in Hollywood!

    Back at POFQ we had a swim and a rest in our room. It was good to have a little post-curry siesta! :faint:

    Then went caught the bus to Hollywood Studios for the evening.

    Were going to go to Pizza Planet for dinner, at the boys' request, but when we got there it was closed, :guilty: oops not so well timed by me, so we went to the food stalls up by Rock n Roller Coaster and got the boys pizzas which they ate at the outside tables. Granny and I weren’t hungry after our huge Sanaa lunch, so just had coffees.

    C was really keen to ride the Great Movie Ride, he'd really liked it a couple of days ago... so we headed there only to find it was closed as they were setting up the fireworks in that area.

    Uh, oh :guilty: we weren’t doing very well so far, no Pizza Planet, no Great Movie Ride…what’s that they say about unfortunately things coming in threes :scratchin …well we walked back towards the main street and joined the crowd, we were all looking forward to see the fireworks show and OH DEAR :guilty: …the third unfortunate thing…the voiced intro to the show came over the sound system...

    And so, our story begins... let us travel to Arendelle....

    C and J looked at me, the uber planner :confused:

    I hadn’t known :o


    You see, C and J cannot stand FROZEN! Yes, they totally play up to not liking it! :D To be fair, they have had two years of all the girls in their classes, and their own girl cousins singing Let it Go at any available opportunity.

    They're not brattish about it though, in a way that's quite amusing, C and J play up to not being able to stand it, fingers in ears, eyes closed tightly shut, loudly humming Star Wars tunes instead :lmao:.

    So, we're in the crowd, the show starts, Anna and Elsa and Olaf come on stage, and the boys look like this:


    Granny and I loved the whole Frozen show though, especially all the fireworks and the ‘snow’ on Main Street. It was quite magical! I think the boys - though they wouldn't admit it in a million years - might have quite liked it too!

    After the show, we joined the mahoossive crowd as it moved up the Hollywood Street towards the Fantasmic! stadium, for the second scheduled show – tonight it started at 10pm. I had warned Granny, who hadn’t seen Fantasmic! here before that it is vastly different from seeing it at Disneyland California, but she could not believe the scale of the stadium. It is humungous! :eek: !

    We found good seats towards the middle. The second show is definitely easier to get in to. The stadium was maybe 2/3 full.

    We all really enjoyed the show, it is magical :smickey: …but for me, just not quite so magical as being up close as you are in DL and we missed the pirate ship and the battle between Pan and Captain Hook – that is awesome in the DL show, but the HS show has the Pocahontas section which I really love…

    So, both are good, its Swings and Roundabouts, but for me the DL show just edges ahead.
    After the show we sat for a little while to let the crowds disperse and then made our way home…

    Up next: Swimming with Sharks…
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    Jun 16, 2012
    Loving your trip report. Thanks for doing it.
    Thanks for the comment, stephenmum. I'm enjoying doing the trip report, to be able to relive such a brilliant holiday. It's just tricky finding the time to do the trippie but I am still determined to finish the report, after all I did solemnly swear...

    I'm glad that you're enjoying reading along.


    Jun 16, 2012
    :rotfl2::hyper:Saturday 18 July Swimming With Sharks!

    This morning, we had a lie in after our late night at HS last night, waking up at around 9am…

    After a breakfast at Sassagoula, we caught a bus to Typhoon Lagoon – wow, that is the shortest Disney bus ride journey ever, we were there in less than 5 minutes!

    The sky was looking ominously dark, and I think that must have kept the crowds away from TL, as we arrived around 10.30 and it was very quiet. I though being a Saturday, it would be packed. We hired a locker and towels and got changed.

    We knew that we wanted to swim with the sharks, so we headed to that area and we found some beds in a cove sandy area near the Shark Pool. It was quite quiet, which was nice. I got a snorkel and mask, but the boys after trying theirs on, decided they didn’t like them so didn’t want to wear them. :confused3

    The Shark Pool is really well organised, there’s a life guard where you go into the pool and they only allow a few people at a time to swim across.

    Both boys liked this, but once was enough for them. They love having I Swam With Sharks bragging rights! I think they both thought they were Steve Backshall levels of brave!! :rotfl2:

    We then headed to the lazy river and went round all the way once. This is really lovely, but you do get quite wet, there one part where you go through a cave tunnel and a pretty cold waterfall comes down on you…brrrr!

    For lunch we headed to Typhoon Tilly’s. The server was a girl from Scotland who was doing a college programme to work at WDW - it was nice to chat with her. The food I remember was good. I think we all had burgers. The kids meals came with cute plastic buckets and spades.

    We sat on a bench at the communal seating area and chatted to a lovely older couple who had lived in Orlando for 30 years…they were very interesting and told us how when they moved here all their family thought they were crazy as there wasn’t so much in Orlando then and it was so stormy! I love to chat to people on holiday and get a new perspective on things…

    After our lunch, we headed over to Ketchakiddee Creek which the boys had loved last time we were here, but in true Dr Who style time lapsing realisation, it became really clear that whilst it was the coolest place in the world for the then 4 and 6 year old J and C, for them both now at 8 and 10 years old, they agreed with each other that it was pretty lame. :hyper2:

    We lasted 2 minutes there and then headed towards the wave pool and jumped a few waves in the shallow part. Then we returned to our loungers and chilled out for a while and we built some sandcastles, using the buckets from the kids’ lunches.

    At this point, the skies were darkening even more:

    ...so we decided we’d have a quick last go in the wave pool and then head home.

    A lot of people had had the same idea as us, as the bus stops were packed with people waiting for buses. Luckily, there was a bus right there which waited for us as we rushed up…As we got on to the bus, the heavens opened – it was a downpour! :umbrella:

    It was still raining when we got back to the hotel so we rested in our room for a little while and then got ready to go out for our evening at the Magic Kingdom.

    I was bursting with excitement about our dinner reservations…couldn’t wait…:hyper:...

    Up next…Magic Kingdom
  • Velvetia

    Jun 16, 2012
    Saturday 18 July - Magic Kingdom

    We arrived at Magic Kingdom to find the main street lined with people ready for the parade – good timing! So, we join the crowd, ‘Before the Parade Passes By’….(Hello Dolly!), just outside the candy store on Main Street. I love parades, I always well up a little, and spend my time waving manically at all the characters #embarrasingmum!, as such I didn’t take too many pictures but here’s a few:

    After the parade, as we were at the candy store and had so many DDP snack credits left, we just had to go in and get some goodies!

    C chose a Mickey Sugar Cookie and J a bright blue (of course!) Mickey Cake Pop. Our dinner reservation time was coming up, so we put them in the bag for later.

    And now, I’d been waiting for this and looking forward to this for so long…we were headed to Be Our Guest for dinner.:hyper:

    WOW from the very start it totally outlived all my high expectations…

    We checked in at the gorgeous little gate house to the castle (such a sweet detail) and were given a pager, then we waited on the bridge for around 10 minutes:

    This fella reminded me of my ex-husband! :rotfl2:

    C and J are posing here so they look like they’re hanging off the top of Notre Dame, their idea... (they were getting quite into it! :rotfl:):

    Our pager buzzed and we made our way up to the impressive castle entrance where we had another 5 minutes to kill – not a problem at all for us in such a photogenic place:

    And then our courtier greeted us and opened up the heavy castle doors for us, we followed him inside

    We entered…and were all dumbstruck with awe… WOW this place is incredible.

    We were led through to the huge, gorgeous Ballroom and seated! The snow was falling at the window, the chandeliers were twinkling, I was in heaven…the photos do not do this place justice:

    At our table, the napkins were twirled into little roses:

    We were still all kind of awe struck but managed to gather ourselves to choose from the fabulous menu and order some gorgeous food:

    I had the Sauteed Shrimp and Scallops in Puff Pastry :

    Granny had the Herb-Crusted Lamb Rack:

    J had the Grilled steak:

    And C went for tomato soup and a cheese toastie…not fancy but what he fancied…

    OMGBOG!!! It was all so delicious! Granny and I both had a glass of wine and we all sat and ate our gorgeous meal. We just loved this place!

    And then an announcement was made and our benevolent host, the Beast himself walked through the Ballroom, right next to our table and into his library! So cool.

    The dessert trolley was so pretty:

    We all chose our desserts, Granny and I had the strawberry cupcakes,

    J had the chocolate éclair:

    And C had ‘the grey stuff’ to go…

    After our meal, we had a wander into the enchanted spooky room and the other room:

    And then we went to say thank you for having us, to our host:

    We kind if didn’t want to leave, this place is so awesome, I really really loved this place – what a wonderful experience!

    … but we waved farewell to the castle and headed off to our Fastpass for Seven Dwarves Mine Train (Granny declined...and waited on a bench near the ride for us)

    Then we had some pictures taken outside by a photopass photographer

    Then we paid a visit to Gaston’s:

    So, if you’ve been following this trip report along you’ll know by now that we can’t ever pass up an opportunity for stoopid photos can we, so…Gaston’s Chair hmmm…

    We decided we’d get some cinnamon rolls for breakfast the next day, so I ordered two, thinking Granny and I would have one each, and the boys would have their cake and cookie that they bought earlier for breakfast.

    Well…two of these gargantuan things came out:

    The HUGEST cinnamon rolls I have ever seen, wouldn’t be surprised if these were in the Guinness World Book of Records or Ripley’s Believe It or Not!!

    The photo above is one roll cut into 4! Even a quarter is still huge!

    Wow – we had to go into the store next door to get a plastic carrier bag just to cart these things away!

    Then we made our way to our next FastPass, the viewing of the fireworks in The Rose Garden.

    This was a lovely place to sit and smell the roses and we had a great view of the Electric Street Parade:

    Uh - oh - watch out boys it's your brides to be!:

    I was absolutely knocked out by the amazing light show on the castle…I didn’t take any photos as I was enjoying it so much – it was amazing, very much one of the highlights of the trip!

    The fireworks were gorgeous too, but the castle lit up telling so many Disney stories was just incredible.

    Uh –oh…fireworks over, we joined the huge crowds to exit the park. The rest of my party had convinced me we didn’t need to wait it out in the garden until the crowds had dispersed a bit….big mistake…huge... I had big time anxiety leaving, the crowd was just crazy. This was a ‘low-light’ of the holiday for me… But I tried to suck it up and I ignored my gorgeous boys’ amusement at their panicky mummy and got over it once I could breathe again at the bus stops, and we caught a bus straight away.

    Phew out of those crowds! And home to a good sleep at POFQ…

    Up next: Pirates at Large!
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    Kevin Stringer

    Chat Host
    Mar 3, 2000

    I'm enjoying your report very much. I didn't realise the area in front of the castle had changed so much. The new firework viewing areas look really nice. I might be tempted to try them out on our next visit (not until late 2017 unfortunately).



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