It's Too Hot! (April at Animal Kingdom Lodge)

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crazycatperson's picture
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Somehow I got a duplicate of the previous post but not the photos - I'll leave it like this for now and edit to make this the beginning of the next day.

LOL and then forgot to do it.

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Just caught up on your TR all those food photos are making me drool!

I'm glad the heat broke for a few days for you. It sounds like an amazing trip Smile

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I am absolutely loving this trip report!

I wish I could have seen Robyn flirting with the Stormtrooper. muchlove

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Kristen K. wrote:
I wish I could have seen Robyn flirting with the Stormtrooper. muchlove

Yes, me too!! wink

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Okay! Thursday, April 27 was our split-up day. Hubby wanted to try riding ALL the roller coasters again, and I do not do most coasters because they make me hurl. Since we split up, most of this will be just what I did.

I woke up at 7:30 and headed straight for Magic Kingdom, where both of us had our FastPasses. I arrived at MK right around opening and discovered wait times were so short I didn't need FPs in the morning, so I immediately rearranged things, changing both attractions and times for all my FPs. (Hubby had Space, Big Thunder, and 7 Dwarfs and kept all three, but he also arrived much later than I did.)

My first ride was Pirates of the Caribbean, which was originally a FastPass but which I rode standby and literally walked right on. Next up was Splash Mountain with a 5 minute posted standby time, but again I walked right on. The five minutes was the time it took to walk the queue. Haunted Mansion had a posted 10-minute standby wait, which was again an overestimate; this was also a FastPassed ride that I did standby instead. Next up I headed for Fantasyland and did the Little Mermaid standby. Finally came my new first FastPass, Winnie the Pooh, and by this time there were enough folks in line that I was glad to have the FP.

I was about ready for lunch by this time, so I headed for nearby Cosmic Ray's, although at around 11:00 they only had one of the three bays open. I got a burger and fries, not bad, not awesome either.

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At this point I had FastPasses for Peter Pan and It's a Small World, but had some time to kill before the first, which I accomplished by visiting the Mickey's Philharmagic attraction on standby. Once that was done my Pan FP window had opened, and the moment I had scanned my Magic Band, while I was still in the FP line, I got on My Disney Experience and changed the Small World FP window so I could literally walk across and ride it as soon as I got off Peter Pan. I love MDE! Then, once I scanned in for Small World I got back on MDE and made a fourth FP for Enchanted Tales with Belle, then once I scanned in for Belle I made a fifth FP for Buzz Lightyear, although that FP window was far enough off that I was able to ride the People Mover and see the Carousel of Progress before my Buzz window opened. And then after I scanned in for Buzz I made a sixth FP for Monsters Inc.

Although it was hot this day with high temperatures of 95 F/35 C, the humidity wasn't bad (yet), and I found the heat largely tolerable, although spending a lot of my time in indoor attractions helped a great deal, I am sure. But after doing Magic Kingdom commando style, I was ready to be done with the heat and head back to Kidani. It was only 3:00 in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, hubby made it to Magic Kingdom, got lunch at Casey's, and did his three roller coasters, then also headed back to Kidani for a break - stayed there. So much for his coaster marathon.

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After taking my air conditioning and shower break back at Kidani, I was ready to go to Epcot for more Flower and Garden Festival food. Hubby did not want to come, so I left him behind and headed for the bus stop. My first food stop was La Isla Fresca, where I got the sugar cane shrimp skewer. I was not particularly impressed. It wasn't bad, but I've had much better shrimp dishes at various Epcot food festivals. Next I went back to Lotus House for more of the delicious veggie spring rolls, can never get too many of those. After that I made my first visit to Bauernmarkt for the potato pancake with applesauce. It was better than I expected; the pancakes were quite tasty and the applesauce had an interesting spice blend in it, much better than your average bland jarred grocery store applesauce. I expect a lot of children wouldn't much like this applesauce, but I did. Next on the menu was more of the ahi tuna poke at Hanami, followed by more baklava from Taste of Marrakesh. This was a day to enjoy my favorites, although I was also saving a few new things for when hubby joined me another day.

Although it was a bit cooler in the evening and of course the sun wasn't beating down on me, I felt hotter at Epcot than I had during the day at Magic Kingdom, probably because I spent absolutely no time indoors at Epcot other than restroom breaks. Once I was done eating for the evening, I was ready to call it a day and head back "home."

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I can't believe how many rides you squeezed in at MK before lunch, that's amazing!

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I'm dying over your Splash Mountain picture! rolling And I totally agree, Magic Kingdom is just the best for working that MDE FastPass+ system!

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Allie wrote:
I'm dying over your Splash Mountain picture! rolling And I totally agree, Magic Kingdom is just the best for working that MDE FastPass+ system!

She totally worked it like a BOSS!!!

BTW - one of your picture is named "potpancake" laugh I can't wait to see what sort of spam that will bring. laugh

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Kristen K. wrote:
Allie wrote:
I'm dying over your Splash Mountain picture! rolling And I totally agree, Magic Kingdom is just the best for working that MDE FastPass+ system!

She totally worked it like a BOSS!!!

BTW - one of your picture is named "potpancake" laugh I can't wait to see what sort of spam that will bring. laugh

I love that pic too!!!! And potpancake made my day!!!!! laugh laugh laugh

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The splash mountain photo is the best ride photo I think I have ever seen it is brilliant clapping laugh

It sounds like an amazing day hitting all those rides!

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Allie wrote:
I'm dying over your Splash Mountain picture! rolling And I totally agree, Magic Kingdom is just the best for working that MDE FastPass+ system!

danijrod wrote:
The splash mountain photo is the best ride photo I think I have ever seen it is brilliant clapping laugh

LOL that's my standard back seat Splash Mountain pose. I wouldn't do it in any other seat so as not to obscure other people's faces. Now that I think of it, I don't have a standard front or middle seat Splash Mountain pose, guess I need to think one up.

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Kristen K. wrote:
BTW - one of your picture is named "potpancake" laugh I can't wait to see what sort of spam that will bring. laugh

Pot as in POTATO!!!! LOL!

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On to Friday, April 28. Back to Epcot.

We met Robyn at Spaceship Earth. She was alone; Simon had elected to stay behind and her friend Ali was over meeting Joy and Sadness from Inside Out. We had FastPasses for Spaceship Earth but used the disabled entrance instead since Robyn was using her scooter this day. We changed the FPs to Figment - a real waste of FPs but the tiered system at Epcot doesn't give you much choice.

After riding, we headed over to the Joy and Sadness meet to rejoin Ali and got to see that meet-up as well as Baymax for a bit. Joy and Sadness are adorable, but there are no FastPasses and the line is longer than I care to wait. Ali is a huge fan, and even had homemade Sadness ears on especially for the meet-up. No photos, unfortunately.

Our next FastPass was the Epcot character spot right across from the Joy and Sadness meet-up. For that, I have Photopass photos. In the first photo, we have Ali, me, Mickey, hubby, and Robyn. LOL Goofy liked my hat, which is covered with Disney cat pins. And hubby was very gallant with Minnie.

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After the character meet, Robyn, hubby, and I headed over to Nine Dragons in China for a lunch ADR; Ali went her separate way since she doesn't care for Chinese food. We decided to share everything and ended up with four appetizers and one entree among us: the starters were pot stickers, vegetable spring rolls, Sichuan chicken dumplings, and General Tso's chicken buns, and the main dish was Kung Pao chicken. We all agreed that the veggie egg rolls out at the Flower and Garden festival booth were better than those in the restaurant, which is not to say the Nine Dragons version were bad - just not as good. I think we all had different favorites, but everything was delicious, although the Kung Pao was a bit different from the better Kung Pao we've had back in the Mid-Atlantic region and what Robyn gets in England. In all our years of vacationing at WDW, we had never eaten at Nine Dragons before, mainly because I kept reading mediocre to horrid reviews. Just goes to show that you should always judge for yourself. No, it wasn't the best Chinese food I've ever had, but it was better than what we can get in East Podunk, Pennsylvania and just as good as a lot of the stuff we've had in the bigger cities of the region.

Although I usually prefer to stick with savory dishes at Asian restaurants, hubby wanted to have dessert; he got a slice of ginger cake, which I tasted and found quite good, but I would still rather save my appetite for the appetizers and entrees. Oh, and apologies for having taken some of the photos after we'd dished some out.

The placemats depicted the evolution of Chinese characters as well as different writing systems currently in use - I had no idea there was more than one set of characters in use today.

Golly, looking at these photos makes me want Chinese food for dinner!

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Once again, it was a HOT day. Miserably so in my opinion.

After lunch the three of us headed over to the Imagination pavilion for our Figment fastpass, then up to the DVC lounge to escape the heat, where we stayed a good hour enjoying the complimentary beverages and the blessings of air conditioning. Next up we headed over to the Rose and Crown to fetch Ali, who had happened upon some friends from back home in the UK, and they had a Rose and Crown reservation, and they invited Ali to join them, and how do you tell your friends that this Florida version of your nation's cuisine is crap when they apparently think it's just fine? So Ali got to eat at Rose and Crown, lucky her. Afterward, she and Robyn met and posed for photos with the daughter of friends of theirs who is working at the Rose and Crown as part of that international exchange thing, whatever it's called.

Next up we trudged across the World Showcase for our Frozen Ever After FastPasses. Normally in that horrendous heat I would not have bothered, but since the FPs are hard to get I figured we should do it. Ali didn't have a FP at the same time we did, and hers had expired, but lucky for her the ride had been closed temporarily during her FP window, so she got to ride with us anyway.

Once we'd finished up in Norway, Robyn and Ali drove us back to Kidani, where we showered the sticky off, watched animals, did laundry, ate leftovers, and relaxed. At one point I heard fireworks in the distance, went out onto our balcony, and got a glimpse of the highest of the Star Wars fireworks - I knew that's what they were because of all the lasers.

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Saturday, April 29 was our last full day staying at Kidani Village, although we still had several more days in the trip. We were scheduled to meet Robyn and Simon at Magic Kingdom, where they would be participating in Dapper Day. (Hubby and I are not dapper.)

I was the first to arrive sans hubby. When I walked into the park I spotted the double decker bus boarding passengers. This was something I had never done before! So I got in line, got a seat up top surrounded by very dapper people, and we headed out.

I took a video of the whole ride and posted it to YouTube:

https://youtu.be/HLhS0d61Kgw

I also have a few still photos, below. Once we reached the hub I discovered a fire truck had been following us.

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I think hubby arrived shortly after I finished the bus ride. We were supposed to meet Robyn and Simon for a Buzz Lightyear FastPass, but they were running late, so we went on without them, then headed for Haunted Mansion, and finally I killed a little more time by playing Pokemon Go and seeing Mickey's Philharmagic (again) while hubby smoked.

We met up with Robyn, Simon, and several of their dapper friends at Be Our Guest around 12:40. This was Robyn's reservation; she just made one for a crowd and then invited people along, the result being that we had one person more than the reservation was made for, but it wasn't a problem. Hubby ordered the tuna nicoise salad, which I'd had and enjoyed on a previous visit. I ordered the roast beef sandwich not realize that the horseradish sauce was BLUE CHEESE horseradish sauce. When I specified that I didn't want any cheese, it meant no horseradish as well, which surprised me - I kept expecting horseradish as I ate. It was still tasty, but next time I'll either ask for mayonnaise instead of the horseradish sauce or I'll just get the turkey sandwich.

Several people had ordered Grey Stuff cupcakes. Robyn offered me a taste of her Grey Stuff, and while it tasted much better than I expected, I would not go so far as to say it's delicious. Not something I would order for myself, at any rate.

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I also took a few photos of our dapper dining companions and one of hubby.

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After lunch, we encountered a woman doing a dapper version of Ursula and I had to get a photo. Then Robyn, Simon, hubby, and I headed for the Little Mermaid ride, where we had FastPasses. At some point this afternoon, their friend Ali joined us, although I'm not sure exactly when. Next up we headed for Mickey's Philharmagic (my third time this trip) just to get out of the heat, which once again was miserable.

Somehow I managed to write my trip notes without mentioning where the Festival of Fantasy parade fits into all this. No matter. I have a YouTube video of that, also.

https://youtu.be/wOaysNL8rAM

Ali had a return time on her disability card to meet Rapunzel and Tiana; we all headed over and were rejoined by Robyn and Simon's lunchtime friends - meaning that we had more people than the pass allowed. Hubby and I volunteered to sit it out, but the CM on duty let us all in anyway, advising us not to make a habit of it since bringing in extra people would not be permitted at many attractions. Every time I meet Tiana I ask her for her gumbo recipe. Every time she refuses to give it to me but adds that I should just add a few shakes of hot sauce and my gumbo will be the bee's knees. Someday I'm gonna get that recipe.

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At this point I'd had my fill of the beastly heat, so hubby and I said our goodbyes and headed toward the exit. We went via a roundabout route because I really needed a bottle of water and hubby decided he really wanted a Mickey ice cream sandwich. We ended up at a cart in Tomorrowland, where I got a Mickey ice cream bar in addition to water. Once they were gone, we finally got out of the park. Our plan had been to head back to Kidani for a shower and cool down, but hubby decided that since we were so close to Bay Lake, we should walk over and ask about combining our two reservations this fall (one is 7 days and the other is an additional 1 day). We had a very nice chat with a CM there, who made a note that we wanted to stay in the same room all 8 days and also explained the room categories there - most are considered lake view, only a very few are standard view, mostly the lower levels facing Magic Kingdom, which are too low to be considered park view.

Once done with that, we'd again hoped to get back to Kidani for a shower before heading to Epcot for a late dinner reservation at Tokyo Dining, but by this time we really didn't have time, so we walked to the Contemporary and caught the monorail to the TTC and then to Epcot. Once there, I headed straight for the DVC lounge, not realizing it closes at 6:00. Instead we headed over to the Land pavilion, got drinks at Sunshine Seasons, and just chilled there for an hour or so.

Around 7:30 we slowly made our way over to the Japan pavilion for our 8:00 reservation. We ordered the exact same things we had on our first visit in the winter - bento box for me, tonkatsu for hubby, but we added the calamari appetizer, which was delicious. Since we were close to being done for the day, we also had drinks (I don't remember what they were called, but mine had gin, yum) and hubby of course had dessert (no photo). Illuminations began before we were finished, and we had a fairly good view from our table, although they do not play the music in Tokyo Dining.

And now we were absolutely exhausted. We bussed back to Kidani, where we decided to leave packing till morning and went to bed.

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Dapper Ursula is amazing!

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Seriously, that Dapper Ursula costume is incredible! Loved the videos, too. It's on my bucket list to ride one of those Main Street vehicles!

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Sunday, April 30, time to check out of our beautiful studio room at Animal Kingdom Lodge and move into an off-property hotel. Boooo! Hisssss!

The reason, if I haven't already mentioned - we got a free three-night stay at a Holiday Inn in exchange for sitting through a timeshare presentation. We were hoping for the Holiday Inn near Disney Springs, but got the one right next door to the Universal parking lots. Well, okay, then, we would just throw a little Universal into our stay.

But before we get to that, we have some more Disney to deal with. I woke up before my alarm went off and set to showering and packing (packing is easier when you're just hauling your stuff to another hotel and not putting it in the belly of an airplane). Meanwhile, hubby also packed and hitched a ride to the Disney Car Care Center, where an Alamo rental car was waiting for us. We vacated right at 11:00, then stopped at the front desk to tell them we'd forgotten to take down our do not disturb sign. No problem, they said. I guess at 11:00 housekeeping assumes you're either gone or you need to be reminded to get the h*** out by a loud knock on the door.

It has been a long, long time since we drove into a Disney park's parking lot in a car of any kind (last time would've been my own car, which I Auto Trained down to Florida in 2011). Felt weird. So did the tram. Our first stop was Hollywood Studios, solely to use that paper FastPass hubby and Simon got when Tower of Terror broke down on them several days earlier. Sadly, I did not get a kitty this time. On our way out, we saw the First Order march by and stopped for a PhotoPass photo.

Here's the First Order video:

https://youtu.be/DrRo4sHHVpk

Then we drove to Epcot, parked and trammed again, and met up with Robyn, Simon, luvalldisney, and Mr. luvalldisney in the DVC lounge. Luvalldisney and hubby were staying at the Boardwalk and had been upgraded to something awesome, I forget what, something like a concierge level grand villa. Okay, maybe not that great, but then again, maybe it was that great. I just remember that it was awesome. They invited us to come take a look, and I really wanted to, but then we all got split up and with us leaving Disney property, we never got over there to check it out. And I think they had a cat outside their rooms, too. Wish we had gotten our butts over there to see it all. I will have to go hunting to see if she has written it up in a trip report - and if not, please do!

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After sitting a bit and getting beverages, we headed out to graze. First up was the lamb chop at the Berry Basket, no photo. Second stop was La Isla Fresca, where hubby and I shared Jamaican-braised beef and Caribbean conch salad. After over a month, I don't have vivid memories of either dish, so I don't think they were awesome. Then we stopped at Jardin de Fiestas and tried the brocheta de pollo, which I definitely recall was not very good at all; sounded much better than it tasted. After stopping to listen to the Mexican mariachi band for a bit, we got more vegetable spring rolls from Lotus House, then on Robyn and Simon's recommendation we wanted to try the curry chicken buns at the Joy of Tea stand (we usually get the egg rolls here). Unfortunately they had just one curry chicken bun left, not the two that make up an order, but they sold us one egg roll along with the one bun and we each had half of each item. We both liked the curry chicken bun, but I wouldn't skip the egg rolls to get the buns - so we'll probably just get both in the future. (No photos.) Our final Flower and Garden food stop was Bauernmarkt, where we shared the currywurst with paprika chips. It wasn't bad, but not one of my favorite items, either.

By this point I was once again miserable from the heat, so we decided to skip all our FastPasses and just get out. We did stop for more of the delicious black cherry cider at the Cider House and also for some of the gourmet cheese popcorn near the Imagination pavilion in Future World. Then it was back to the car, and we headed up the highway toward Universal and our home for the next three nights. In retrospect, we really should've started our trip with the three free nights and then moved to Kidani, because the Holiday Inn was such a letdown after Animal Kingdom Lodge. And it's not a horrible hotel, it's just not nearly as nice as any of the Disney deluxe resorts.

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After a shower and a nice long rest, we drove to Universal (even though the parking garages were literally across the street from our hotel, it was too darn hot to walk) and hit up CityWalk for dinner. We looked all around and saw the new What's it called Chocolate Emporium across the little pond from CityWalk. I took a photo, but this is not a place we will likely ever visit, the menu does nothing for us. Instead we ended up at the Hot Dog Hall of Fame, a particular favorite of mine because I love getting to try regional specialties from around the country (and the world, but at the Hot Dog HOF it's just the country). Last time we visited, I got the Boston hot dog (mustard, relish, and onion on a New England-style top-split roll) and hubby got the Arizona dog (lots of stuff that has no business on a hot dog). On this visit I switched to the Detroit dog (chili and onions), which I liked, but not as well as the chili dogs we get at home; hubby again got the Arizona. The Hot Dog Hall of Fame has specialty hot dogs from all over the country, so if you like interesting hot dogs, this is definitely the place to go. They actually use components from the home of the various hot dogs - brands that you might use if you actually lived in Detroit or Arizona or wherever.

After dinner we wandered a little bit more and then headed back to the Holiday Inn and called it a night. From this point on, I will have to rely on photos and memory to write the rest of my trip report because the notes I took during the trip ended here. Guess I was too busy, or too hot and tired, to continue writing about the trip.

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Here is the view straight out our hotel room window, of the pool (not so bad) and an ugly roof. Second photo shows how, if we looked left out our window, there was one of the Universal parking garages. I didn't get any photos of the hotel room or the hotel, but trust me, you're not missing anything. Our room had a king bed and a sofa, which were nice, and it was a bit larger than the Kidani studio, but it had no kitchenette and the bathroom was tiny, not nearly enough space for both of us to put stuff out on the counter, so I kept my bathroom stuff in my toiletries bag and carried the bag into the bathroom when I needed it. We lucked out getting a room that didn't have two beds; from what I saw when walking past other rooms while they were being cleaned, most had two beds and no sofa.

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We only had the one day - Monday, May 1 - at the Universal parks, partly because we had to devote Tuesday morning to the obligatory timeshare sales pitch, but mainly because there is just not that much at Universal that interests us. Well, that interests me; hubby could do the thrill rides all day long, but if it's just the two of us he doesn't like to leave me alone all day while he rides stuff. If we're with other people, there's usually somebody else who also doesn't want to vomit. I love the Harry Potter sections, being a big Potterhead, and I also enjoy the Marvel superheroes and a handful of other attractions around the two parks. Unfortunately, this was not the best day to use our one-day park-to-park ticket in terms of weather. It was still beastly, unbearably hot, and I just didn't have the energy to get to everything I would've liked to do. We did see all of the Harry Potter stuff, but the only other attractions we experienced were the Cat in the Hat ride in Islands of Adventure and the afternoon parade at Universal Studios, and that last one was only because we happened to return to the park after a heat break right as the parade went by. we didn't even get over to the Marvel superheroes once.

So, once again, we drove and parked in the garage instead of walking the relatively short distance to the parks. We always start in Universal Studios at Diagon Alley because if you're focusing on the Harry Potter stuff, you ought to start where Harry started. Hubby stopped for a smoke break on the way in, and I told him to meet me at the Knight Bus. Turns out that since he is not a big Potterhead, he didn't know what the Knight Bus was (hint - it's that huge triple decker bus right outside the entrance to Diagon Alley), so he went inside the Diagon Alley section expecting I was in there. Meanwhile, I was walking all around the bus taking photos and discovered for the first time (after spending three days here a couple of years ago) that you can go inside the bus! Not very far inside; there's a screen blocking the way, but still, you can get a really good look.

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I also took a quick photo of Number 12 Grimmauld Place before I headed into Diagon Alley to find hubby.

Although I never got around to getting a photo, hubby and I were both dressed in our Ravenclaw gear. Hubby has a Ravenclaw Seeker polo shirt, and I have a Ravenclaw Quidditch Captain T-shirt. I also carry an interactive wand, although I rarely use it because I usually can't get it to work. If I ever buy another wand, I will just go with a non-interactive one since there are more interesting wand designs. (And no, I do not care what other people think about an, er, "mature" woman wandering around dressed and acting like a kid - but you all usually wear your ears and pins and such at the Disney parks, so I'm sure you understand.)

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