crazycatperson's April 2014 Pop Century trip report

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crazycatperson's April 2014 Pop Century trip report

We're back, and happily not feeling any post-WDW blues since we've already booked a trip in November that I can spend the next 6-plus months planning. More on that elsewhere.

As for the trip we just concluded, here are a few highlights before I start the day-by-day report.

I love Pop Century! I thought the theming around the resort was really cute, and very nostalgic for me since, old fart that I am, I remember every one of those decades (okay, not a lot of the 1950s, but enough so the 50s display items didn't seem like ancient history). I would happily return to Pop on future trips and can understand why it's so many people's favorite value resort.

I guess I went into Pop with really low expectations due to things I've heard in the past - the values are noisy, the rooms are small, the amenities are few and far between. But we lucked into a room overlooking some trees and a very small parking lot (90s building, the wing closest to the bus stops), so we had no problems with noise. Occasionally we'd hear footsteps or someone running the shower, but that was it, and even that wasn't loud enough to be annoying.

As for our room, I found it somewhat larger than I expected based on all the reports of tiny rooms. Certainly large enough for the two of us, although a family with two young children and a baby in a crib would probably have space issues. Because we're accustomed to a queen bed, we ended up sleeping separately and had plenty of space to sprawl. And I found the beds quite comfortable, not too hard for me. The WDW pillows were, as always, too huge and soft, but this time I shoved my own flat-as-a-pancake pillow into my large suitcase so I didn't have to deal with the resort pillows.

The two things I requested when doing online check-in were an upper room (we got second floor, which was fine, I just didn't want to be on the ground floor) and proximity to the buses (we were reasonably close, just had to walk across the large 90s parking lot and there we were). That also put us close enough to the food court, so we invested in a couple of those refillable resort mugs and used them as often as possible. I got hot tea every morning and again nearly every evening after we returned from the parks, and on departure day we filled up on soda, drank some, and filled up again to carry along on the Magical Express. As for other amenities - hah, I wouldn't have used them anyway.

This trip has reinforced my newfound belief that staying in a Disney resort is absolutely worthwhile. Our October 2012 trip was our first time at a Disney resort; prior to that we did timeshare exchanges to non-Disney resorts and thought it was just fine. Nope, not any more. I love just hopping on the Magical Express and not worrying about our luggage, taking WDW transportation everywhere and not worrying about finding our way around and trying to find an unfamiliar rental car in a huge parking lot. I also love staying in the bubble 24/7. We'll probably have to stay offsite the next time we bring my sister and her family along (no way we can exchange into a 3-bedroom DVC unit), but otherwise I'm staying in WDW resorts on all our future trips.

I also enjoyed meeting LuvAllDisney and her hubby and Mandy Friday for Dole Whips (but so sorry to miss DisneyDoc due to her injuries) and getting together with AliceMouse again and meeting her hubby and parents. More on all of that later.

Finally, my own hubby got me a new digital camera for Christmas, and although I'm still learning how to use it, I got some really good photos, especially of parades. Probably my best parade photos ever. So I'll be posting them just as soon as I figure out how to get them off the camera. In the meantime, I'll post a few cellphone photos in just a few minutes.

King Fergus

Glad you had a magical time..Looking forward to your pics..We recently bought a new digital SLR..So looking forward to snapping away in October...

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Thanks, Your Majesty. My camera is just a little pocket-sized digital, nothing fancy but still got some pretty fair photos out of it.

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Here are a few cell phone photos that I took around Pop Century on departure day. Because it was raining I didn't want to pull out the real camera.

At the end of each building wing at Pop there are stairwells featuring some iconic item from the decade - bowling pins for the 50s, yoyos for the 60s, eight-track tape casettes for the 70s, Rubiks cubes for the 80s, and cell phones for the 90s. I also took photos of a cool Goofy statue both without and with hubby posing (Goofy is his favorite character) and some of the theming in the 70s section. Finally, there's a photo of the Magical Express bus that had just dropped us off at the airport. Ours was the one that was actually painted up as the Magical Express - so glad we got to ride a real ME bus and not one of those boring yellow Mears buses.

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Enjoying your report and photos awesome

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Glad you had a great time! Looking forward to the report and jealous you are already planning another trip!

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My home away from home. Glad you loved Pop. Can't wait to hear more.

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I am so sorry to have missed you guys too!

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Okay, I'll start with a little background so you don't have to go back to the pre-trip report. This is the trip that wasn't supposed to be - we had a trip scheduled for November 2013, but I had to skip it last minute because of a sick kitty cat (and if you've been here a while, or can READ ENGLISH and see my user name over there to the left, you should know kitties trump even WDW for me). Hubby went without me and had a great time, and I lived vicariously through the trip report I wrote for him (see link at the bottom of this post). Before he left, he proposed an early spring trip to make up for my missing the November trip, something we almost certainly would not have done had I accompanied him last fall. Well, Disneyphile that I am, was I gonna turn down that suggestion?

I was unemployed at the time, living off unemployment and the many weeks of vacation time I hadn't used at my previous job (I'd been there over two decades, accrued over 5 weeks per year, and never used them all). Then in February I got a job - actually, an independent consulting job, but the job market being what it is it was almost certainly the best opportunity I was going to get without moving. So I nixed the idea of taking a full week's vacation, not wanting to be unavailable for work for that long. (Could've done it, as it turned out; the workload has not exactly been heavy so far.) So we were looking at taking a really long weekend - six days total, with Thursday and Tuesday as travel days. We decided to book Pop Century based on positive reviews from many of you. And the trip was set. The ADRs were booked (slim pickings at such a late date, but we still managed to get a great Yak and Yeti time and a pretty good 'Ohana time). The air and Magical Express reservations were made. The cat sitter was scheduled. We were ready to go.

Departure Day, Thursday, April 3 - All the preparations leading up to departure went smoothly. We got our bags packed, loaded up the truck, said goodbye to the cats, and hit the road. Our flight was scheduled to leave a bit before 3:00, but the airport is 1 1/2 to 2 hours away, or even more if traffic is bad, so we headed out around 10:30 and stopped at the McDonald's drive-through to get lunch to go. And they messed up our order - we'd ordered a double hamburger for me, a second double hamburger and a McChicken for hubby, large fries to share, and a large Coke also to share, but first they gave us double cheeseburgers instead of hamburgers (I loathe cheese), then we realized they'd also forgotten our Coke. The manager was great at customer service, though - first she reimbursed us for the burgers, then gave us a coupon for a free sandwich as compensation for forgetting the Coke. When we finally started eating, we discovered that they'd ALSO given us two McChickens, not one. But by then we were driving, so we just kept it - they would've just thrown it out anyway.

The drive was uneventful, we had no problems at the airport, and the flight was on time and only a little bumpy. A Magical Express bus to Pop Century was there when we arrived, although we did have to wait a bit on the bus for it to fill up. Of course the in-transit entertainment got everyone excited, and when we finally approached those magical gates heads started to peek over seat backs and the little girl in front of me exclaimed, "We're here!" Pop Century was our first stop, and since we'd done online check-in the final check-in process went quickly. Disney seemed to have forgotten we already had Magic Bands from our November trip; there were two nasty ugly gray bands waiting for us, which we turned down in favor of the lovely colored bands we already had, green for hubby and blue for me. We'll have to remind them prior to our November trip. And with that done, we were in our room in no time at all.

After our unusually cold and snowy Northeastern winter, Florida felt like summer to us. We changed into shorts we'd packed in our carry-on backpacks and, since it was still fairly early, decided to spend the evening in the Magic Kingdom, which was open until 11:00. We did notice that bus service is not as convenient at Pop as it was at the DVC resorts we'd stayed at in the past (Old Key West for both of us and Saratoga Springs for hubby), but that may have been because we'd lucked into units close to bus stops at the DVC resorts. At Pop Century, all the park buses pick up in front of Classic Hall, where check-in, the gift shop, the food court, etc. are located. Each park has its own bus stop in front of the building, though, unlike OKW, where all buses stop at the same stops around the resort.

We arrived at MK around 7:00 and immediately found the lone ticket sales window at MK (as opposed to the TTC) to upgrade my 7-day park hopper to an annual pass! Hubby already had one, upgraded last November when he went without me, and now it was my turn since the AP will be less expensive than paying separately for park admission on this trip and our upcoming November trip. Once that was accomplished, we headed inside the park. Of course, I experienced the usual thrill upon walking into our first park of the trip.

I voted that we have dinner at Casey's because I wanted to try the corn dog nuggets, which hubby had raved about last November. And they were good, although not quite as good as the corn dog nuggets they sell at the Nathan's stand in Hersheypark's Boardwalk section (an incredibly rare instance when a non-Disney park does something better IMO than Disney does). The fries tasted better than they looked, but I was glad we bought one to share - the portion is pretty generous.

Because we weren't sure we'd arrive early enough to visit the park, we had no FastPass+ reservations (a mistake I won't repeat next trip - I'll make the reservations, and if we don't use them, we don't use them). With only a few hours of park time that evening, we looked for lines that were relatively short. We passed by Jungle Cruise, almost walked onto Pirates of the Caribbean, and passed by Splash Mountain without even bothering to check the standby wait. Around this time hubby decided he wanted a funnel cake. We were approaching Liberty Square, and I thought Sleepy Hollow did funnel cakes in addition to those waffle sandwiches, so we tried there. But once hubby discovered the nutella and fruit waffle sandwich, he changed his mind and was glad he did - he loved it. I sampled a bit and yes, it was good! Hubby also got a Coke float, but I stuck with water at that point - don't like caffeine after midday.

By the time hubby had finished eating it was 8:40. We skipped the Electric Parade and did Haunted Mansion, once again practically walking right on, then did the same at It's a Small World. We passed by Peter Pan's Flight due to the long line, and then I finally got to walk through the gates of New Fantasyland. On my last trip in October 2012 they were doing occasional soft openings, but I never lucked into one. We passed by Enchanted Tales with Belle (again, long line) but were able to walk onto Under the Sea, which is a really cute ride in the same vein as other Fantasyland dark rides. I won't use a FP+ on it for future trips, but I will definitely ride it again. Around this time the fireworks were about to start, so we waited a bit and watched from a spot in New Fantasyland between Cinderella's and the Beast's castles. This was fun, like watching a tennis match - first there were fireworks on our left, then on our right, then on the left, and so on. We didn't get the ideal perspective, of course, but we had a really nice close-up view of everything.

When the fireworks ended, we tried Enchanted Tales, since the standby wait had decreased. We waited a few minutes inside Maurice's cottage along with a fairly small group of people when a cast member announced that they were having technical difficulties (never explained what they were) and half the group left. We moved up in line to fill the gap, tried to read the open book in French (hubby minored in French and I know a little, but we needed to be told it was the story of Cinderella), and I bemoaned the fact that, based on the marks on the wall, Belle was taller at "14 ans" than I am at, well, old. (Later during the trip, I wore my "Year of the Horse" T-shirt, which represents the year I was born. This happens to be the Year of the Horse. In the unlikely event you don't know how the Chinese zodiac works, their cycle runs every 12 years. So, you do the arithmetic.) After another couple of minutes the CM told us they were still having technical difficulties, they would let us in when they could, but since the park closed in less than an hour they suggested we not waste our time in line. We took the hint.

On our way back into "old" Fantasyland, we noticed the FP+ kiosks and tried to change the FP+ we had Friday for Under the Sea, but were told we would have to wait till the day of the FP+ to do it. (Later problems convinced us that we need to get smart phones before our next trip so we can change passes on the fly. Either that, or bring a laptop so we can at least modify them each evening in our room.) We checked the Peter Pan's Flight standby line again, and again it was still too long, so we decided to head for the exit and try to beat the crowds that would hit the bus stops once the park closed. We made it onto the second bus and thankfully got seats - we were pretty tired after a long day of travelling and an evening of touring. Also, thanks to the aforementioned harsh Northeastern winter, I hadn't done nearly as much exercise walking as I normally do, and my legs were a bit on the sore side. Also my feet, since my best walking shoes were in my checked suitcase.

Once back at Pop Century, we checked out the gift shop and purchased a half gallon of milk (we brought cereal in my suitcase) and two resort mugs, which we filled with hot tea (Twinings, which surprised me at a value resort). We found our checked bags waiting in our room, somewhat worse for the trip - they'd been stained a bit in transit, which perhaps is a lesson learned - next time don't buy light-colored suitcases. We unpacked, relaxed with our tea, and watched a little television.

That evening, I discovered that having an annual pass lessened the urgency I usually feel to do AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE during every moment of every day. If I missed something, so what? I'd be back in November and could do it then.

I'll close this by mentioning that on this trip I brought a small notebook and jotted down notes on each day's activities, so this trip report should be a bit longer and more accurate than my past reports.

Coming up on Day 2, our first full day - we originally planned to spend Friday at Magic Kingdom, but crowd estimates had been revised upward and we decided to spend most of the day at Epcot instead, with a hop to MK mid-afternoon to use our MK FastPass+ reservations and to meet up with LuvAllDisney, Mandy, and (I thought at the time) Disney Doc at Aloha Isle, and then back to Epcot for the evening and EEMH.

Photos will be posted soon, I hope.

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Great TR so far! Can't wait for more mickey
Are the crowd calendars you're using the touring plans one?

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Spook wrote:
Great TR so far! Can't wait for more mickey
Are the crowd calendars you're using the touring plans one?

Yes. That's my go-to source for crowd information.

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Day 2, Friday, April 4, Epcot and Magic Kingdom - In spite of getting to bed quite late and not sleeping very well (that's me, hubby could sleep through Armageddon), I woke up around 8:00 ready and eager to get going. I attended to the usual morning tasks, walked over to the food court to get a hot beverage for both of us (I always got tea, hubby sometimes got coffee). We ate cereal with milk and raisins in our room and, wearing our matching Grumpy Cat T-shirts, headed over to Epcot, arriving around 10:00.

Inside the park we found a long line at the FastPass+ kiosk, so we passed it by and headed for Test Track, getting in the single rider line to speed things up. On the single rider side the "design your own car" process is simplified - you get to choose your most important feature (responsiveness, capability, I forget the others - I chose responsiveness) and then you can select one of several finished car designs. That's it. Once we reached the ride vehicles, we were split up but got to ride in back-to-back vehicles, so we stayed close together. They were having some kind of minor technical problems because both of our cars stopped briefly a few times - and mine stopped for several seconds on one of the steepest banked curves on the outdoor track, with me on the high side of the car hanging there sideways. Fun times! Throughout the ride, my predesigned car came in first at all of the various design checkpoints except the final one; since I had chosen a responsive car it did well indoors but not so well out on the speed track.

I must say, I like the new Test Track. It's sleek and fun and futuristic. But I can't say I like it better than old Test Track. Both were/are cool. What would be really great is if we could have them both, I think.

We headed back to the FP+ kiosk again. The line was a bit shorter, so I decided to give it a try, and then discovered that I couldn't change Magic Kingdom FP+ reservations at this Epcot kiosk, or at most of the other kiosks. I was directed inside Innoventions to Guest Services, but it seems that the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing because the person we talked to inside directed us right back outside. Eventually (after trying at a couple of different FP+ locations over a couple of hours) we ended up right back inside Innoventions, but this time we found the correct person, who cancelled our Under the Sea FP+. Unfortunately the earliest Peter Pan's Flight FP+ opportunities were fairly late in the evening, and we wanted to return to Epcot for dinner, so we chose Buzz Lightyear instead.

Sometime between Test Track and finally getting the FP+ changed we visited Club Cool to sample the new soda flavors. Of course we started with Beverly, which we both enjoy, then moved on to the sweeter flavors. I took a picture of one of the Club Cool beverage dispensers, and once I've got it off the camera I'll mention which flavors I liked best (besides Beverly). I know I liked the pineapple soda and an African soda called something like Spa Berry (?) as well as a couple of the other flavors. All told that day, we visited Club Cool three or four times (I lost count) and tried every flavor at least once. Somewhere along the way, I overheard some middle-aged women dissing Beverly and I advised them to always sample Beverly first, and then try the sweet stuff. I explained that it was supposed to be a nonalcoholic aperitif, so think of it more as a glass of wine you'd sip before dinner than as a soda you'd guzzle with a burger and fries. I don't know whether they came to appreciate Beverly on their next visit to Club Cool, but I hope they did.

Through all of this, we were checking out (and I was photographing) some of the Flower and Garden Festival topiaries and checking out other flower displays. Very nice. This was our first F&G Fest, and while IMO it doesn't measure up to the Food and Wine Festival, it was still pretty cool. And now, it was time to make our way to the Outdoor Kitchens to sample some of the food! From the bridge between Future World and the World Showcase we headed left and started our tour with Urban Eats, where we shared the eggplant "scallop" with romesco sauce and spaghetti squash and also the ghost pepper-dusted tilapia with crisp winter melon slaw. Hubby liked the eggplant and especially its accompanying spaghetti squash; I wasn't thrilled with it. We both liked the tilapia, although hubby listed it among his top two or three dishes where I would rank it more like fourth or fifth. Still, very good. Next, while hubby took a tobacco break, I headed over to Jardin de Fiestas and tried the taco al pastor and did not share; when hubby joined me he had the quesadilla de hongos con queso all to himself since I don't like cheese. Neither dish ranked near the top of my list or his; I could eat the taco again, but it wasn't nearly as good as the tacos I've enjoyed at the Food and Wine Festival.

Next up was Lotus House, where we shared the spring pancake with grilled chicken and green apple and the vegetable spring rolls. The spring rolls were good and the pancake was AWESOME! We both agreed it was the best thing we ate all day, and I highly recommend it. Over at the Joy of Tea stand, hubby got himself one of his favorite adult beverages, the mango gingerita. I had a sip, and it seemed potent but good, but I was saving my alcohol allotment for the kir imperial over at Fleur de Lys. Instead I walked up to the African Outpost and got a free cup of water.

By this point we weren't hungry anymore, so we passed by Florida Fresh, planning to sample the shrimp and stone ground grits later. We also passed by Primavera Kitchen with no plans to return; neither of us is a huge Italian food fan, plus every single menu item had cheese in it (yuck). We also saved the Smokehouse and Hanami for later.

On our way past the American Adventure stage we checked show times for the evening's band, Paul Revere and the Raiders. They were a favorite of mine when I was a junior high school teenybopper, but I had the pleasure of seeing them live fairly recently (they appeared at Hersheypark a few years ago), so I didn't feel the need to schedule our afternoon or evening around making sure we got into one of the concerts. Others did, though; a few diehard old farts were already camped out at the head of the line, and the first concert was still several hours away.

At this point we were ready for something in the dessert category, so we stopped at Taste of Marrakesh for the baghrir (a Moroccan pancake with honey, almonds, and argan oil). It was okay. Not bad, not great, not something I would probably get again (unlike the baklava from the Food and Wine Festival, yum). Then, while hubby took another tobacco break, I got that kir imperial from Fleur de Lys. Made with sparkling wine, Chambord, and black raspberry liqueur, it was delicious and definitely worth waiting for. I found a seat within sight (but not smell) of the smoking area along the walkway to the World Showcase gate and saved a couple of sips of my kir for hubby to try. He also liked it.

Continuing around the World Showcase, we bypassed Buttercup Cottage and stopped at Pineapple Promenade to try the sweet potato cinnamon waffle with pineapple soft serve, which was excellent. If Aloha Isle offered this, I would never get another Dole Whip Float again.

I should mention that our walk around the World Showcase took a good deal longer to achieve than it has taken you to read about, so you won't think hubby is a chain smoker. He smokes way more than I like (what I like is NOT SMOKING AT ALL), but he's hardly a chain smoker at maybe half a pack a day. But anyway, he stopped for another tobacco break and I took a couple of flower display photos while I waited. On our way back to Club Cool to try some more international sodas, we stopped at the Butterfly House. There were flowers, there were butterflies - very pretty, but I've seen butterfly houses before. The most interesting bit was seeing a couple of new butterflies, one almost out of its chrysalis, the other drying its wings prior to its first flight.

Then it was back to Club Cool, after which we found a bench and took a sit break while trying to decide what to do next. We still had time before we needed to leave for the Magic Kingdom, but not hours and hours. (This, by the way, is when I finally got that Under the Sea FP+ changed to Buzz Lightyear.) We finally decided to take a rest and air conditioning break in Ellen's Energy Adventure - it was quite hot for early April, even by Florida standards. On our way through the covered walkway/tunnel past Innoventions, a FastPass+ kiosk attendant ran toward us all excited, congratulated us on wearing matching shirts, and presented us with buttons that read "I'm Celebrating Matching Shirts." They had the buttons all made up and were just waiting for two people to walk past wearing matching shirts. Apparently the demand for FP+ changes had died down and the CMs were bored. So we laughed, they laughed, it was all fun. At first we pinned them to our shirts, but then decided they'd work better on our hats.

The wait for Ellen's Energy Adventure was short, and I confess I nodded off just a bit during the show - I think I heard all of it, but I know I didn't see everything. But it was a nice way to take a load off and rest a bit. And now it was time to catch the monorail to the Magic Kingdom. One our way back past the FP+ kiosk, the attendants noticed we had our buttons on our hats and cheered and waved as we walked by. We left the buttons on all day, too. Of course we confused quite a few cast members over the rest of the day - they weren't entirely sure what we were celebrating.

At the TTC we skipped the express monorail to MK and took the ferry instead, which was fun. We had a little time to kill before our first FastPass+ reservation at Splash Mountain, so we hopped on the train and rode it all the way around the park back to Main Street and then one stop further to Frontierland. We had just a few more minutes to go, so we waited near the entrance and got in the short line a minute or two before our FP+ window opened, hitting the scanners just as the clock clicked to 4:20, our time. As we made our way to the ride, we overhead a young boy loudly complaining that they shouldn't let people have FastPasses because it's NOT FAIR! Tough, kid. Not my fault your parents got passes for other rides, or didn't get any at all.

This was my first time on Splash Mountain since it was refurbished, and I must say they did a fine job. I may have missed something, but it seemed to me that everything is in good working order again. I've never seen the movie Splash Mountain is based on. I know it contains elements that are offensive by 21st century standards and is not something most people would want their children to see, but sometimes I wish I could see that movie just to get a better feel for the ride's origins. Even without that understanding, though, it's still one of my all-time favorite rides and is proof that a theme park attraction done well can easily and successfully outlive the movie on which it's based.

Once off the ride, we headed directly to Aloha Isle for the meet-up. LuvAllDisney found me quickly, and this is when I learned that poor DisneyDoc had broken her wrist. LuvAllDIsney mentioned that Doc was going to be at Epcot that day and let me use her smart phone to send Doc a quick private message in which I said we were heading back to Epcot later that day and included my cell phone number in case Doc wanted to try to meet up there. Mandy arrived in the middle of all this, and I tried to explain what was going on, but I was a tad flustered at that moment so I'm not sure I expressed myself very well.

I got the message sent, returned LuvAllDisney's phone, and then we got down to the business of getting to know one another in person. The Dole Whip line was very long, so we had plenty of time to do it! Finally we reached the counters; hubby got an all-pineapple Dole Whip float, but having recently enjoyed that sweet potato waffle with pineapple soft-serve, I decided to get a root beer float instead (and also I needed a little caffeine after the nap I half-took in Ellen's Energy Adventure). We took our snacks over to a shady spot near Pirates of the Caribbean and chatted a bit longer, then hubby and I needed to head over to our next FP+, the Buzz Lightyear that replaced our original Under the Sea FP+. LuvAllDIsney's hubby took a quick photo of the three of us with my camera, and we were off. Great meeting all of you, hope we can do it again on some future trip.

After Buzz we had our last FP+ at Enchanted Tales with Belle. I can see why this attraction would appeal to children, especially princess-obsessed little girls, and I'm glad I've experienced it, but it is not something that's going onto my "must do every trip" list. We also had seating issues - you know how people are, they tend to sprawl, and hubby, another guy, and I couldn't find seats. One of the CMs asked a man to move over, making room for two people - and then he directed the other standing guy to sit there, leaving hubby and me still standing. And then he AND ANOTHER CM both kinda half-barked at us to sit down! We were both a bit annoyed by this point, so I barked back, "Where?" At which point the CMs urged other people to squeeze together a bit so hubby and I could take a seat. Having seen the show, I understand why they needed everyone to sit down, but they could've handled it better. Anyway, there were a few cute moments with the children - one very little girl elicited a collective "Awwww!" from the adults in the audience when she got her personal moment with Belle and we all realized she was carrying her own little Belle doll along with her. So sweet. And another very little girl really, really, really wanted to have her own personal conversation with the princess - she kept leaving her seat and barging into other kids' photo moments and constantly had to be shooed back to her (very inattentive) parents by the CMs on that side of the room. Not the kid's fault; she's just a child, after all, and didn't really understand. Once that was done, hubby took another tobacco break over by the castle while I took a photo of my hand touching the slipper.

Around the time we left the Dole Whip meet-up to go to Buzz Lightyear, hubby decided he would head back to the resort after our last FP+ and meet me at Epcot after he took a rest break. (His feet were absolutely killing him. For the first couple of days he thought it was because he wasn't used to walking so much, since he rarely walks for exercise. Sunday he decided to wear his athletic shoes instead of the sandals he'd been wearing and discovered that was his problem - he's just too old to walk all day in anything but sturdy shoes that provide good support.) But by the time we finished with Belle, hubby realized there wasn't time for him to return to Pop - we would just have time to get back to Epcot to sample some more Outdoor Kitchen offerings before the kitchens closed at the regular park closing hour of 9:00 - so we headed back to Epcot together, taking the monorail all the way this time.

Our first stop was Club Cool again, after which we circled the World Showcase counterclockwise. We started grazing at Buttercup Cottage this time around. Hubby got the field greens with strawberries, almonds, and Stilton cheese. I might've gotten the lemon scones, but at that point I wanted something a little more dinner-like, so I tried the pork and apple sausage roll (since that and the lemon scones were the only options that didn't include cheese). I loved the sausage roll - I'd say of all the things we tried, my favorites were the Lotus House spring pancake with grilled chicken, the Buttercup Cottage sausage roll, and the Pineapple Promenade sweet potato waffle with pineapple soft-serve. Hubby enjoyed the field greens, adding that the cheese was what made the dish. Our next stop was Taste of Marrakesh, where hubby tried the lamb brewat roll and I tried the harissa chicken kebab with couscous salad. Hubby enjoyed his lamb, and frankly, even though I generally don't care for lamb, I liked his dish better than my chicken. The couscous was the best part of the harissa chicken offering. At Hanami hubby had the temaki chicken hand roll and I had the hanami sushi; we each tasted the other's dish and each preferred his or her own. Our final Outdoor Kitchen selection for the day was at the Smokehouse, where I got the pulled pig slider with cole slaw and hubby got the smoked beef brisket with collard greens and jalapeno corn bread. Once again we sampled each other's selections, and once again each preferred his or her own.

We had planned on spending EEMH at Epcot, but right around this time, just minutes before Illuminations was scheduled to start, I began to experience what I will delicately describe as gastrointestinal distress. Fortunately we were near a restroom over at the American Adventure, but I pretty much knew that (1) I was not staying for EEMH and (2) I was going to try to make it to the bus stop before the post-Illuminations crowds poured forth from the park. Thanks to a second restroom stop near Spaceship Earth, I was unable to get out of the park before Illuminations ended, but fortunately most of the Disney resort guests must've been staying for EEMH because the Pop Century bus stop was not overly crowded. I was even able to secure a seat on the first bus out.

Because of our premature exit from the park, we had to skip the Epcot attractions I'd planned to experience during EEMH. We were scheduled to return to Epcot for a few hours on departure day, which should've given us a chance to experience at least some of those attractions, but thanks to rain Tuesday that was quite heavy at times we cancelled those plans and ended up doing none of the standard Epcot attractions besides Test Track and Ellen's Energy Adventure. This is where I breathe a sigh of relief and remember that we have annual passes and will be back in less than seven months. We also missed out on the remaining Outdoor Kitchen dishes we'd planned to try, but we console ourselves with the knowledge that the Food and Wine Festival will be running when we return in November.

Back at Pop, we noticed that Mousekeeping didn't take the tip I left, which surprised me since I left it under the little tent card announcing that the room had been serviced. I guess she didn't notice the tip, because it disappeared on all subsequent days. Hubby collapsed on his bed fully clothed and fell asleep almost immediately; I walked over to the food court to get a cup of tea and then took a little time to write my notes for the day. Later that night, after I'd gone to bed, he woke up, took a hot bath, and fell asleep again in the bath, waking up a good couple hours later in cold water.

Coming up on Day 3: Animal Kingdom, our first meal at Yak and Yeti table-service restaurant, and a park-hop back to Magic Kingdom for the evening.

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Fun tr! I experienced some of those things before the injury! I am enjoying reading about your trip. mickey

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Love the TR so far! The kir imperial sounds really yummy! I'm adding that to my list of drinks to try next month awesome

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Great read so far, CCP! We also didn't spend nearly as much time at EPCOT as I hoped to--more on that in my TR, but there's always another trip!

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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alicemouse wrote:
Great read so far, CCP! We also didn't spend nearly as much time at EPCOT as I hoped to--more on that in my TR, but there's always another trip!

For you, that means next month! yay

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I'm working on downloading photos right now. In the meantime, here are a couple more from my cell phone - the "celebration" pin we got from those bored FP+ CMs, and a couple of towel animals that have found a new home.

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So cute!

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Okay! Got those photos downloaded from the new camera. Here's the The Club Cool soda fountain. Beverly (Italy), my favorite, is on the left. I usually down two cups of Beverly before trying something else. I think my second favorite was the second from the left, the Fanta pineapple Fanta from Greece, odd since it might be the sweetest soda in the fountain. I also liked the melon Fanta from Thailand and the Sparberry from Zimbabwe. I wan't overly fond of the Inca Kola from Peru or the VegitaBeta from Japan, and South African Bibo and Brazilian Guarana Kuat were okay.

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A few of the topiaries around Epcot.

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I love reading your trip report and all the details! Keep it coming! Can't wait for more of your photos!

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And a few more:

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Future World done up for the Flower and Garden Festival, and hubby stops to smell the flowers (they didn't smell much at all, he reported).

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From left - crazycatperson, Mandy, and LuvAllDisney.

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A couple of moments during Enchanted Tales with Belle, and my hand touching Cinderella's slipper.

And that's it for Friday.

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Awesome pictures! What kind of camera did DH get you?

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It's a Sony Cyber-shot. Tiny little thing, which is exactly what I wanted. It's small enough to fit in a pocket, but has its own little carrying case that I can strap onto my belt. Because if it doesn't fit in a pocket or otherwise attach to my person, I won't carry it into the parks. I do NOT do the bag check lines.

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I forgot to mention that I laughed out loud about those 'matching shirt' pins! Lol if I were a CM that sounds like something I would do! And the topiaries look beautiful!

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Great TR so far. I am so glad to finally put a face to a name!

King Fergus

Wow..Towel animals..I thought they were a thing of the past..Great trip story..

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PirateGirl wrote:
Great TR so far. I am so glad to finally put a face to a name!

That is my photo to the left with Marie. But it was taken four years and, oh, 15 pounds ago, and I confess I, um, "improved" it a bit with Photoshop. silly So I'm happy to have provided a photo that's up-to-date and accurate.