Matt's October, 2014 Reunion Trip Report (with Mickey's Halloween Party)

whoever

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Apr 7, 2013
2014-10-22

06:49.. Katherine and I were the first ones out of the room today. Amy was having a hard time getting Charlotte and Victoria up and going, so not wanting to miss rope drop, we just went on without them. Six minutes later, we were in line at DCA, and at 07:04 we were in the park, and off for Radiator Springs Racers. By the time we had made it into Cars land, the line was backed up all the way to Sarge's and not moving particularly quickly. There couldn't have been that many people in front of us. All I can think is the Grand's entrance must have opened up sooner than the main gates and people got there first.




















Eventually we made our way onto the attraction. We were placed in the loading queue with a single lady. When we went to get into the car, she just sat down in the first seat and refused to move even though I said you have to keep going in, pretending she didn't understand English. Katherine and I were forced to climb over her at much trouble, which caused a delay in getting us in and buckled up. What a weird situation and very frustrating. Off through Radiator Springs we went, but alas.. we didn't win the race, which was a bummer. I think our win percentage has become a single digits after all the times we've raced.





 

whoever

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Apr 7, 2013
07:34 We were off RSR, and the rest of the family was still nowhere to be found. Katherine and I decided let's hit Screamin’ before anybody shows up and get in some good runs. Nine minutes later we were literally walking onto the attraction. After looking at the pic, we decided that the second seat of a car wasn't going to work if we wanted a good pic, so we waited two trains for the very first car on our second go-round and made sure that we were in the front of a car on our third go-round.


Quite the beautiful view in the early morning before the park is bustling.
















Can you tell I'm digging that PhotoPass Plus? Ride pics galore.








After a good time on Screamin' we decided to hit Toy Story Midway Mania as it was now 08:09 and the park would be filling up quickly. Katherine is coming along, and I'm sure in a few years she'll be able to best my score. She has much better accuracy.





By 08:23 were off, and just so happened to get in queue again with the rest of the family, and Lindsey and Reese were there too. I was still able to hold my best of party lead despite sliding a bit.



 

whoever

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By 08:36 were done with our second time on TSMM, and decided we should probably go grab some RSR fast passes for later in the day. After a short wait, we collected the passes and decided heck, let’s go ride RSR now. Amy and the crew got in queue at 09:12 and grabbed a rider swap pass so that I could go back and ride too after Amy had the first go on the attraction. Lindsey, Reese, and Katherine were split up and put in another car somehow on both times through.



Once out, I took Charlotte back through with the gang again.











We exited the attraction at 09:30 and headed over to Flo's where Amy had secured a table and ordered us up two American Breakfasts to split and some much needed coffee for me. After breakfast, we headed back to the Pier, and noticed that TSMM had such a short wait we jumped in line and went for another spin through the midway. Once done, we headed towards Mickey's Fun Wheel of DOOM!!! and jumped in queue at 10:18










Upon exiting at 10:39, we headed towards the Silly Symphony Swings, and who do we see along the way but Jesse. Just as we got in line, they cycled her out and Woody took her place. The girls were a bit bummed, but it was a good M&G. My pics turned out better than the PP photog's, but it was nice to have some backup pics nonetheless.



 
  • whoever

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    A quick spin on the swings at 10:50 and it was time for a bathroom break for all the girls and a beer break for me. I selflessly manned the stroller with Victoria not letting her know it was me pushing it and not Amy. She really didn't like anybody but Amy pushing her. Amy, Lindsey, and the girls went for a quick jump on the Jumpin' Jellyfish, and this was the first time that Charlotte was finally tall enough to ride this one.

    When they were done with the Jellyfish, they all went over and learned to fly the Goofy way. I was otherwise engaged with the DVC cart guy oogling the Aulani and Villa Grand Californian pictures dreaming. I got a sticker for my lens cap as a consolation prize and at 11:21, all the girls went for a spin on the Zephyr. I caught the Phineas and Ferb parade while I waited in the shade and observed from afar.













    A quick swim under the sea put us at 11:43. We continued to make our way North and passed by Grizzly peak. We'd save that for later, and progressed on for some gliding via Soarin', but not before the older girls met pilot Minnie.











     

    whoever

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    We seldom do Soarin' as the line tends to get up there, but its still a great concept. Unfortunately though, the projection was looking a bit rough and the screen had some sort of stains on it like somebody threw a coke at it or something. I'll be curious to see what they can do with new, extremely high-end projectors (Not a whole lot beats 70mm IMAX, but maybe they can team up several synced 4K projectors to get a truly immersive experience in digital after they shoot it with multiple high-res cameras stitched together). Time will tell.

    Once our gliding trip around the varied landscapes of California concluded, we had some snacks and did some shopping up and down Buena Vista Street. I always love the theming in all the shops. Some of the best in any of the parks IMHO. We made our way up, crossed by the chamber of commerce, and headed back down, leaving at Elias and Company where as we stepped outside, we ran into a Chip and Dale M&G.












    A quick trip by Grizzly Falls and it was time for the girl's reservation at Ariel's Grotto.








    After a brief wait, I took the girls down, snapped some pics, and then went on my way. They had a great time with the princesses.













     

    whoever

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    Now as much as Ariel's grotto is somewhat of a tradition for us, I've only done it once or twice. The princess M&G just isn't my thing. My personal tradition is while the girls are down hanging out with the princesses I go to one of my favorite establishments in DCA... Cove bar.

    Why is Cove bar one of my favorite establishments? It’s got three of my favorite food and drink items in DCA...

    Exhibit 1: Tower 10 IPA. This is a Karl Straus brew, and those unfamiliar with Karl Straus, they are a local (San Diego area) brewery. I only recently learned of the back story of this specific brew, and I find it a very appropriate fit for the Disney mindset (Mission Beach, the late 1980s. Amid a sea of neon bikinis, Tower 10 marked the spot where two college grads and a 75 year-old master brewer drew up plans for the first local craft brewery in San Diego since Prohibition. Named in honor of our first good idea, Tower 10 IPA is brewed to inspire the next one). The fact that the Hearthstone Lounge has taken Tower 10 off of tap nearly brought a tear to my eye. I used to love to swing by for a draught at the end of the day.



    Exhibit 2: Lobster Nachos. I can't describe how awesome these nachos are. The serrano peppers are an interesting twist you don't often find on nachos. Their very green flavor and hotter than jalapeno bite make for a truly palate pleasing treat. Of particular interest is the Chipotle Crema. Its combination of smoky heat mellowed by the tangy cream really add a unique flavor profile to the dish. There is never anything left but an empty plate all but licked clean.



    Exhibit 3: Cove Bar Mojito. I'm a real fan of Mojitos in general, but the inclusion of Agave Nectar substituting for the usual simple syrup in this one makes for a real twist on such a classic drink. There's just something about fresh lime and muddled mint which is just heaven in a drink.



    A few of each of the drinks and the nachos always leaves me both satiated, and in a much better mood after a few long days in the park. A veritable spring in my step when leaving refreshed and ready for more. The decorations are great, and these two in particular are something I can't agree with more:






    By 14:48, I was ready to go see how the girls were doing. I arrived just in time to use my AP for the bill... perfect timing. We wrapped up and headed back to the room to change for the next adventure.

     

    whoever

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    A quick jaunt back to the room and the girls were outfitted in bathing suits and shorts/pants/skirts. It was time for some serious rapids running, and we weren't going to stop until oh... 10 or 12 times through. That would just be silly.







    I think this was a first for Reese and Charlotte. Katherine and I had run this up to 12 times in a row on past trips though. Its a fun one. Reese got a good soaking on the first time through. and Katherine couldn't contain her enthusiasm.












    Katherine was managing to stay amazingly dry despite both Charlotte and Resse getting more and more soaked.












    We took a quick break to check in with the mothers... we still had the green light for a few more runs...





     
  • whoever

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    I got some really nice shots of the Grizzly Peak area from the queue and the raft. Disney really knocked it out of the park on this particular land. I could live in a cabin here I swear..
















    Once we were getting done being soaked, the girls were all shivering so what better way to warm up then a quick dunk in the Grand's swimming pools. I made a quick stop at the Rushin' River Outfitters on the way back to the Grand and picked up a really neat canoeing T-shirt.





    By this time, it was time for us to go our separate ways. Lindsey had to take Reese to get dried up and she had to change for our night out. We took our kids up to the room and I ran down to get a quick dinner from White Water Snacks for all the little girls to eat before it was time for Amy, Lindsey, and I to go have some adult time.
     

    whoever

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    After arriving at the room at 17:50, we relaxed for a bit, and then started to get dressed for dinner. Our dinner reservation was for 20:30, and we expected the sitter a little before 20:00, so it was a good break to wind down. Lindsey and Reese showed up maybe 19:00 or so, and we fed the kids and got them all dressed for bed and a movie on.

    Martha B, our Destination Sitters, sitter, arrived promptly at about five to eight. She had called earlier while we were down at the pools to give us her contact info and request the room number. My only complaint of the arrangement was I couldn't hear her at the pool, and it took going to the very quietest part of the pool area (outside at White Water Snacks) to be able to finally just BARELY hear her voice mail. Wish they'd just text you the info. At any rate, I had returned her call when we got back to the room and provided her the information she needed. She was a very kind woman of 50, and showed up with games and books and ready to play with the girls. We found out upon our return later that evening that she didn't really get to play much with the kids as they crashed out pretty early. She seemed sad that she didn't get more interaction time with them. Total bill for the night for the sitter for the four girls for 3.5 hours came to $124 after tip, which was about $9/hr/kid. Relative bargain I think for the opportunity for some much needed adult time.

    We left for the lobby promptly after she arrived and made our way to the fireplace hearth in the lobby and secured some chairs. I took the lady's drink orders and went to the Hearthstone Lounge and grabbed them a Sidecar each, and I, one of their signature Manhattans. The ladies, not normally being drinkers got a pretty good zing off of the drinks. The Sidecar was a new experience all together for Lindsey, but Amy had become acquainted with them on our Dapper Day trip the month previous. We had a great time sitting by the fire sipping our drinks and discussing what a wonderful trip this had been, but that it would be over too quickly, which made us all a bit sad.



     

    whoever

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    We walked in the door of Napa Rose five minutes before our allotted reservation and were immediately taken to our spot which was the Chef's table on the right hand side of the kitchen. There were four stools, so it looks like you could have a nice couple's dinner there. With just three of us, it was a good excuse to stretch out a bit and watch the show. We were quickly greeted by our Waiter/Sommelier, Mickey (yeah, how awesome was that name).

    From what I've read, Mickey is one of the regular waiters for the Chef's table and one of the best. At Napa, all waiters in the restaurant are sommeliers. More on that in a bit. Mickey asked us the customary on whether we had dined here before, and when we said no, went into explaining how we could order. We could either order off the regular menu, the Vintner’s Menu (which is a prix fixe menu), or go with the Vintner, but place our selections in the hands of the chef. As this was probably the only time we'd get to do Napa Rose anytime in the near future, we all opted for Vintner with the Chef selecting our dishes. This option is only available when dining at the Chef's counter, so obviously we had to opt for that over the other two options. I added the Vintner’s wine pairing to mine as good food is enhanced by good wine. For the evening, we'd be expertly attended to by Mickey along with Sous Chef, Daniel Perry, and the Chef de Cuisine, Gloria Tae.

    Before I begin, a few comments and observations. Firstly, while I'm usually all about pictures, when it comes to fine-dining I try to focus on enjoying the company and experience as opposed to taking pictures, so I refrain from my usual level of photography in such dining situations. Some haute cuisine chefs take extreme insult to photographing the food as well, so it’s best to show respect to the artist for the creation they have made you buy refraining from photographing the food. If you've read my other trip reports, you'll see very little along the way of photographs from my times at Club 33, and this dining experience at Napa will be similarly devoid of pictures. You'll have to take the two pics of the food I did sneak, and my descriptions and use your imagination.

    Second observations, the Vintner’s menu as the Chef's Choice. I must admit when I actually learned how it was to go (when the food started coming out), I was a bit disappointed. It had always been billed to me as an Omakase style offering, which is a Japanese phrase that means "I'll leave it to you" derived from the Japanese word "to entrust". You'll find this offering at many a sushi establishment, and the chef truly creates something not on the menu. In the case of Napa Rose Chef's Counter, it's just the chef picking each course of your meal off the menu for a fixed overall price. I must admit I expected more from such a lofty dining destination.



    OK on to the meal.

    After Mickey had taken our orders, he asked whether we would like sparkling or purified water to drink. I didn't inquire but I assume the sparkling to be either San Pellegrino (which I do enjoy) or Perrier. We opted for the purified, which is nothing other than Anaheim’s finest tap water put through an RO filter. Given that I find the tap water at the resort to be just fine, purified it was for our group. We were promptly served our drinks and provided with some bountiful bread baskets of all manner of bread and some heavenly soft butter. A significant amount of will power was needed to not fill up on the bread given what we had before us. While we were enjoying the bread, Chef Perry came over and asked us if there was anything we didn't like and if there were any food allergies. We are all pretty wide open when it comes to food, with me having a few things I'll eat by prefer to avoid, which are sour cream and fennel/anise. They both have their places, but I prefer my dishes not to be overwhelmed by either. In addition, Lindsey is not a fan of tomatoes.

    As if on cue, we were brought our amuse bouche. I believe we all received the same item for this, which was a duck pate with huckleberries. While not usually a fan of pate, I enjoyed this one immensely. I had never had huckleberries before either. Very tart little fruit. While I was consuming the amuse bouche, my wine pairing for my first course was presented. It was a Brut Sparkling wine from California (sorry, didn't get much of the vineyard info for the wines, but they were all great).

    Up next was the first course plates for the group. I was selected a Carpaccio of American Buffalo with Fava Bean Tapenade Bresaola, White Truffle Oil, and Shaved Carmody Cheese. YUM!!! The buttery cheese the perfect complement to the strong flavored meat. For Amy, she was presented with a plate containing a Curried Crab and Avocado Taco, Shrimp in Cucumber Wrap with Lemon Dill Creme, and Seared Ahi Nacho. I didn't get to try any of it, but it looked remarkable and was completely consumed. Lastly, Lindsey was presented with a Crab and Pear Salad. That one intrigued me. I've never seen pear paired (see what I did there?) with crab. It must have worked because it was completely gone in the blink of an eye.

    Before I knew it, Mickey had popped up with a glass, and was promptly filing it with Sauvignon Blanc. This was a good sign as what immediately appeared before me, but the Orange Basil Grilled Swordfish with Tender Spanish Octopus, Potatoes, Capers and Heirloom Tomatoes. Double YUM!!! I'm a huge swordfish fan, and also love both Octopus and Squid. The saltiness of the capers and citrus/basil bite made for a thoroughly great dish. Amy was presented with the Pan Roasted Diver Scallop on a sauce of Lobster and Lemon accented with Tahitian Vanilla. She still talks about it to this day. Marvelous dish. Lindsey was presented with the Blackened Grouper and Tempura Fried Lobster. It looked GOOOOD. I'll have to let her chime in on some of these as well, as I could only feast with my eyes on their initial selections.

    For the Third course, a glass of 2007 Williams Selyem Russian River Valley Pinot Noir was poured, and the bottle left as there wasn't another full glass left in it. I must say this was a pretty darn good for a Pinot given my palate. I actually had to finish my glass from the previous course as I was too busy eating and being in pure culinary ecstasy to keep up with the generous pours of wine I was getting. My plate for this course was to be the Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast with Spitzenberg Apple Coulis, Almond Gnocchi and Pomegranate. The duck was served as all duck should be, med-rare, and the apple coulis sauce provided a nice bit of acid to the plate. The pomegranate brought the sweet and it rounded out nicely with the nuttiness of the gnocchi. Another glowing compliment to the chef from me. Amy was presented with Hand Crafted Pappardelle Pasta tossed with Sautéed Golden Chanterelle Mushrooms, Applewood Bacon, Poached Petit Egg and Roma Tomato Sage Sauce. She left me with a few bites, and it was pure heaven. It almost presented as a carbonara to me. Delicious. You can tell the ladies were getting full, which was a boon to me as I started to get to sample some of their dishes. Lindsey was presented with a Braised Rabbit Fricassee of Sonoma Rabbit and Bacon Cheddar Dumplings. I don't think I got any of it. It looked and smelled great though.

    Sitting at the kitchen, we did get to observe quite a bit of the goings on. I must say it was a VERY efficient operation. One question we had was the 90/10 container of oil. The chef commented that it was 90% canola, 10% olive oil. Reason behind it was the taste of the olive oil with the high smoke point of the canola. I've never seen that before which given some of my teen vocations is a bit surprising.


    As the Fourth course rolled around, I was presented with a glass of Amarone della Valpolicella. I'm still out on the pairing with the dish I was presented as the raisin sweetness was extremely forward, and somewhat contrasted vs. complimented the plate I was presented, which was the Provenal Herb Roasted Colorado Rack of Lamb with Artichoke Bottoms, Poached Radish, Sugar Snaps and Cabernet Jus. The lamb, perfectly cooked (the flash in the photo makes it look a bit over into the medium range, when in fact it was medium rare).. The Jus... heaven. The root veggies added a good earthiness to it all with a bit of caramelized sugar sweetness. Loved it. The wine pairing... I could have done with the Pinot from the previous course over the Amarone. Just didn't fit my palate. Amy was presented with the Grilled Angus Beef Filet Mignon with Parsley Root, Black Kale and Red Pumpkin Essence. It was exactly what you'd expect in a steak, and cooked to perfection. I got about 1/3 of the plate to try, and while I know she struggled to fit more into her stomach, she had to relent and I was able to savor such a wonderfully cooked piece of meat.





    For Lindsey's Fourth Course, she had Thanksgiving Dinner. I had watched them make these while we were eating, wishing I could sample them. Basically they had cut turkey up into pieces, packed it into a tall ring mold, and filled it with a sauce or thick stock and roasted it in the oven. Watching them get the rings off the roasting pan, out of the ring mold, and onto the plate was very interesting. The turkey was paired with a cranberry relish, a bread and vegetable stuffing/dressing, and some roasted root vegetables all with some delectable turkey gravy drizzled across the plate and setting on a bed of a pumpkin reduction sauce. Lindsey was suffering from the same state as Amy, which was the mind wanting to continue to eat and the body refusing due to fullness. Thankfully for me, this meant I got to experience the dish I had been salivating over watching the chefs make. Whew... I was in seventh heaven.




    We needed a break between the last course and the dessert course. When it was time, I opted for the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Paté with Hazelnut Crème Anglaise, which when selected, triggered Mickey to present me with a delicious Ruby Port to emphasize the fruit and chocolate of the dish.



    Both Lindsey and Amy decided on the Pumpkin Caramel Crunch Whoopie Cakes with Pumpkin Soda. Plates came with some more of those tart huckleberries which when combined with the sweet cakes make for a very good combination. They weren't able to finish these plates either, but Lindsey took them for breakfast the next day as I was completely stuffed too. Both said the pumpkin soda while "interesting" wasn't their thing after about half the glass. I tried some and tended to agree with their assessment. Interesting, but not something I'd really seek out.




    I must say, that had to be one of the best meals of my life. I really only had one regret, and that was not getting some truffled mac & cheese as one of our dishes. I really love this place and can't wait to get back for another dining destination experience. My pocketbook is still reeling though at about $450 after tip for the three of us.



    By the time we were done, the restaurant was all but deserted and we took a very slow stroll back to our room (have I mentioned how much I love staying at the Grand?). We got through the door at 23:30 to find Martha reading a book and the kids completely passed out. Lindsey opted to leave Reese to spend the night, and we said our goodbyes as she had a long walk back to her hotel across Harbor. It had truly been a night to remember.
     

    whoever

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    Apr 7, 2013
    2014-10-23

    With the previous late night, Thursday started off a bit slow for us. Between little sleep and having to doll up four girls, we had our work cut out for us and didn't manage to get out of the room until 8:40.





    Victoria got a bubble gun to amuse her during the lines today. Thank heavens they run out of solution quickly....




    By 8:50, we were through the turnstiles and headed down Main Street for the Anna & Elsa M&G line. By the time we got there, they weren't taking anybody else for the pre-line. We'd have to wait with the rest of the people for official rope-drop which meant we were going to be waiting a while.










    By 9:05 I was WAYYY back in the corner of Fantasyland in a line moving slower than none I had yet to experience on this trip.








    FINALLY at 9:28 I received our seven A&E fast passes. Unfortunately, the passes were for an 11:20-11:40 return time which was going to interfere with our character breakfast reservations. Andy, the CM handling secondary adjustments to the return time windows was kind enough to move these to 13:20-13:40 for us. While I was waiting in line, the girls got to do Alice, Dumbo, and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Once we reunited, we all went for a trip down the rabbit hole...Victoria wasn't in the greatest mood.










    The older girls and I decided to go do Snow White's Scary Adventure while Reese and Lindsey took Victoria on the carousel.









    The ride went 101 on us shortly after we made a few turns, and we sat... and sat... and finally the CM came on the speaker and said they'd be exiting us from the ride. Pretty sure that was the kid's first walk-off. We hit the exit at 10:06 and decided we'd go see about the Fairy Meet and Greet. On the way, we ran into Peter Pan. Katherine had a fun time telling him how she had been Peter Pan just a few days prior.



    We hit the queue for the Pixie Hallow at 10:15 and waited... and waited... this queue was moving slowly. Amy called and said that she had scored us an earlier time for the character breakfast, so with no end in sight for Pixie Hallow, we jumped out of line and went on over to the Plaza Inn.




     
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  • whoever

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    Apr 7, 2013
    After we got the whole crew together for Minnie's Breakfast at Plaza Inn, we waited... and waited.. and finally were allowed to go up and start the process. Went up, Paid, and was upsold by the cashier on a Minnie Tightrope Stretching Painting. Hey.. I'm a big HM fan. We were taken to a table by our hostess, and then proceeded to take trips to get food while one parent stayed with Victoria. All in all, the food was OK. We are HUGE fans of the Chicken Dinner at the Plaza, but the breakfast was just OK. Ariel's seems to have a better breakfast if anybody is torn between the two (we did both this trip).

    Up first, was Tigger. The girls would see each character way off by the center of the restaurant as we were seated up against the windows on the far East side. They would hardly be able to contain themselves while the characters made their way over.



    Next up was Dale. Katherine made sure to get EVERY character's signature.









    Katherine spotted hook while he was coming from backstage outside the restaurant and then was unable to get in through the door. She went over and let him in, for which he was very grateful.






    Hook and Dale had a battle at the empty table in front of us with the salt and pepper shakers. It ended up being a draw.

    About this time, we were done with breakfast and decided to seek out all the rest of the characters instead of waiting for them to come around. Next up was Chip back by the path to the bathrooms.



    We found Minnie up front. Victoria lost her mind... Minnie is her absolute favorite and has been saying MIMMIE probably as one of her first few words.











    Next up was Eeyore out at the far NW corner.



    And lastly... Pooh at the West end.

     

    whoever

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    Apr 7, 2013
    After the last hugs and signatures, it was 11:27 and we headed over to Space Mountain to use some previously collected Fast Passes. I went first with the girls and then Lindsey and Reese found us and they went with Amy and the girls





    Eighteen minutes later, we were looking for some attractions to burn some time. Amy and the girls went on Autopia while Reese and Lindsey went to hit Fantasyland for some dark rides. I held down the fort at Tomorrowland Terrace trying to keep Victoria occupied.

    After Autopia, the girls went for one last trip on Space and by then it was 13:13 and time to head over to the A&E M&G. We met Lindsey and Reese and attempted to get in line at 13:18 for our 13:20 return window. We were promptly denied. Anna and Elsa is SERIOUS BUSINESS and one does not simply get in queue for A&E even one minute early.



    The queue was in and out of the sun and it was a pretty toasty day. We tried to pass the time as we INCHED along through a portion of the Pinocchio queue which had been roped off fanning ourselves with our park maps, hats, whatever we could.







    Charlotte Practicing




    And FINALLY!!!
















     

    Disneyluvr2

    I'll never out grow the kids table!
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    Sep 19, 2007
    Great trip report, whoever!! Your girls are adorable and I can't wait to see everyone spiffed up for Dapper Day!:thumbsup2
     

    whoever

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    Apr 7, 2013
    After the long, hot, wait it was time to finish up Fantasyland. Amy, Lindsey, and Victoria went to ride King Arthur's Carousel while I took all the girls (for real this time) on Snow White. We got close to the front of the line and it went 101 AGAIN!!! We waited for a bit hoping it would reset, but eventually gave up. We went for Pinocchio instead, and had a similar experience... get towards the front of the queue and it also goes 101. We again waited, HOPING... to no avail. On the way out, we noticed Snow White was back up, so we jumped in through the exit as offered to us on our original walk-off earlier in the day. The gal working the exit queue recognized us immediately (one wonders how with as many Annas and Elsas running around the park these days) and promptly go us a ride vehicle queued and we were off.







    Once our daring journey was completed, we contacted Amy and Lindsey and found out they were sitting on a park bench in the hub. The girls wanted a Boysen Apple Freeze and a chocolate twist from Maurice’s, so we grabbed those and met up with the crew in the hub facing the castle. While there, the zipper pull popped off of Amy's brand new HM Dooney Letter Carrier... So sad to see the quality has gone down compared to the original HM Dooneys. She still has yet to send it in for replacement/repair (the corners are getting the infamous flaking too, after only a few days of use compared to YEARS of hard uses for her other pristine HM Dooney is even more disappointing).





    Afterwards, it was a few minutes to three, so time to swing by the room via DCA and freshen up a bit. On the way out, we snagged a DLR PP Photog and had a few pics snapped in the hub. See if you can guess which ones are from the Photog vs my camera...







     

    whoever

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    Apr 7, 2013
    Now refreshed and out of costume, we left the hotel at 16:05 did some light shopping on Buena Vista Street and down Hollywood Boulevard and slid into the Aladdin queue at twenty after. Those who have read my previous trip reports know that I absolutely love this show. This was my third time to be seeing it and Amy's second, but it was a first time for all the girls and Lindsey. We selected Mezzanine as the Orchestra section will have you miss out on some of the awesome wire work, and the balcony is just too far away from the action. We got some seats on the left side about 6-7 rows back from the edge. Would have preferred to be closer, but we didn't exactly get there terribly early.









    Being the most respectful of Disney guests, I obviously had my screen off, and no flash, but on previous trips had found no way to stop the memory writing green light from coming on. A few stickers doubled up over it solved that on a previous trip and served well on this trip as well to ensure I did not impact anybody's perception of the show. I am glad I decided to rock my f/2.8 zoom lens over my f/1.4 primes, but I think I could get some really great shots with a nice, long 85mm-f/1.4. One of these days...



























    Love the view of the Hollywood Tower Hotel on exit...


     

    whoever

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    Joined
    Apr 7, 2013
    Once the show was done at 17:43 we made our way over to Disneyland, caught the popcorn cart for two Zero dog house popcorn buckets. They only had enough popcorn for one of the buckets, but told us to take a notated receipt to any other popcorn vendor and they would top it off. A quick bathroom break for the girls and we found our way over to the Splash Mountain queue at 18:42. We had a decent wait but were off twenty-six minutes later after getting our own log for our entire party. We decided to go for a Big Thunder run... and then decided the wait was so low we'd do it back to back and walked off the second time at 19:49.













    After Big Thunder, we went over to Stage Door Cafe, grabbed a Fish and Chip, Corn Dog, and a few Power Packs and split it up and ate. This was where our trip got sad. Lindsey and Reese were go catch an airport shuttle at 0-Dark-Thirty the next day, so we had to say our goodbyes as they had to go back, pack, and get some sleep. Everybody said their goodbyes and they were off...

    Now two members short of our party, we wandered over to Magnolia Park, filled up our popcorn bucket, and headed back for critter country. I handled Victoria duty as the girls and Amy went on Pooh at 20:30. Once they were done with that, the girls pleaded for another trip on Splash, so I manned up and we got in queue at 20:44.







    Once through with Splash, we made our soggy way over to the Spanish Main for a 21:10 trip on a Pirate ship. Seventeen minutes later we were done and made our way through the Adventureland Bazaar on our way out of the park. I noticed Shrunken Ned was missing, or at least I was unable to locate him. I hope it is merely a temporary thing. We squish squished our way back to the Grand and hit the room at 21:42. We'd have some packing to do tonight as tomorrow was to be our last day with an 11:30 checkout to prepare for.
     

    whoever

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 7, 2013
    Friday, 10/24/2014

    Friday morning had us up pretty late, after we packed most stuff. We rolled out of the room at 8:01, and were through the turnstiles at 8:06. As we made our way through town square, we noticed Goofy, so we stopped for Katherine to get a quick signature and photo op.







    Fifteen minutes later, we were waiting for the Astro Orbiter, and we took a few trips around on them.


















    Up next was a trip on Astro Blasters for Katherine and I while Amy, Charlotte, and Victoria went on Nemo. By 8:47 we were reunited and we all did another round on Astro Blasters together. Nine minutes later, it was time for yet another spin on the Astro Orbiter. After exiting the attraction at 8:56, I realized I had left my hat on my shuttle. The CM assisted me, but the dude in my previous rocket was totally trying to steal my C33 cap (he was hiding it in his lap when the CM came up to look for it and pretended he didn't have it when asked). Very uncool. Shame decency is so few and far between these days.
     

    whoever

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 7, 2013
    After spending the first hour of the day in Tomorrowland, some Adventureland was in order. We wandered into the Jungle Cruise queue for a trip down the rivers of adventure.










    The light this early in the morning was especially nice for giving that jungle feel.












    Sixteen minutes later we were back to civilization. I thought it was supposed to be five exciting days and six romantic nights. Hmm... I may need a refund on our tickets. We soon found ourselves in New Orleans where another boat trip was in order, but this time for a leisurely float down the bayou... what's that rushing sound I hear?




    In my professional opinion, I think he's been doing a decent job of flossing. I didn't go to dentistry school, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn once.





    I was wondering why this guy looked so sad even though he had all that gold when Katherine chimes in with a pearl of wisdom "All of that gold is cursed so you would not want to touch it"





    Auctions... very dangerous... you go first. I wonder what the P.B.S of A is?







    After forty something years, can you believe this guy finally washed his foot off?



    I don't know if I trust these guys shooting around crates marked explosive. I think they may have had a bit too much to drink.

     

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