Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, First Disney Cruise Trip Report

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Spook's picture
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Hope you had a good run last night! Bummer that the course was cut short due to weather sad Can't wait to hear about your trip!

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Hi friends! We arrived home last night following a very long and slow travel adventure after departing the Disney Dream. I told Benn while we were waiting last night that it took me 7 hours to get from my front door to Magic Kingdom's front door last Friday. It took us 13 hours to get from the boat to our front door yesterday. Nothing happened that was terribly out of order. We just left waaaay to much time built into the schedule. Trip report coming soon, but first, off to return client calls and emails. Here's a sneak peek...this trip was pretty darned awesome!

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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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Can't wait!

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eak can't wait to hear all about it!

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waiting waiting

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*****TRIP REPORT BEGINS HERE*****

Without further ado (even though I should be doing laundry, cleaning, working, or any other number of things that I find wholly undesirable on this dreary Pennsylvania day), here begins the report.

DAY 1 - Friday, November 6

As is typical for Disney trips, it was an early morning. An up-at-3:00, out-the-door-by-3:30 kind of morning. It really shouldn't be necessary to leave that early for a 6:25 flight, but we had a trip last year where it took over an hour to get through security and we barely made our flight, so now I'm paranoid. I'd much rather sacrifice sleep than Disney time! Of course this time there was no line at check-in, no line and security, and no line for Starbucks, so I was sitting at my gate, venti iced tea in hand, by 5am. The flight down was on time and reasonably smooth and we landed around 8:45am. If I had been renting a car, I could have nearly made rope drop!

We did not get in at Wilderness Lodge where we had wait-listed, so we did stay at Saratoga Springs. SSR was the second Magical Express stop and check-in was reasonably quick. Of course the room wasn't ready that early and my first two choices of Congress Park and The Springs were unavailable, so we ended up being assigned to the Paddock. SSR was a host hotel for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, so I assume that many people had checked in the day before and had all requested Congress Park and The Springs because why wouldn't you? We were at least able to get the second Paddock building away from Congress Park, so it was still a pretty easy walk to Disney Springs and decently close to the main building.

Onto the good stuff: an entire day at MK alone!!! Christine (bestie) had asked me what time I was flying out so that we would meet up at the same time. Knowing that traveling with her was going to have elements that were stressful for me (she's not so much time-oriented and I am very scheduled--especially on vacation--because I like to be active while I'm traveling and see as many new/favorite things as I can squeeze in), I gracefully suggested that it was completely fine if she didn't want to to fly out at 6am and wanted to meet up later. She ended up booking a flight that was scheduled to land at 6:30pm. Jenn (cousin) had stayed at my house on Wednesday night on her way to Florida. She was driving and stopping in Savannah on Thursday night. I knew that she had planned to leave Savannah around noon and would arrive in Orlando around 5:00. That left me 6 hours of uninterrupted Disney bubble--the perfect start to our trip!

I had foolishly scheduled a Haunted Mansion FP for 9-10am. Not sure in what universe I thought that was going to happen, but when I was sitting on ME and realized that it was physically impossible to make it to the park that quickly, I swapped it for a PotC FP for later in the day. Now my first goal at MK was to get a sweet cream cheese pretzel from the Lunching Pad. Since I arrived at 10:45 and had a few minutes to kill, I was thrilled to find that I was just in time for the Christmas Trolley Show! What a treat!

With show accomplished and pretzel in hand (mmmm so yummy!!), I started trekking toward Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, where I now held my first FP of the day. It's not quite as good as kicking off the trip with Peter Pan's Flight, but PPF was still down for refurb. While I was in the area, I used my Jingle Cruise FP and was so disappointed in my skipper. He was young (college program maybe?) and had that youthful arrogant/sarcastic edge to his presentation. Our boat was delayed getting back to the dock, so he did what he was supposed to do and kept spieling, but I found his presentation to actually be annoying. C'est la vie. Next I wandered over to Haunted Mansion to join the standby line. It was only about a 15 minute wait, so really no big deal to have foregone the FP earlier. I met a very nice family from Michigan who had never ridden before and their youngest son was a little bit nervous, so I got to do the talk-the-scared-kid-off-the-ledge routine, which I always enjoy. At his age, I WAS that scared kid, so it's fun to pump these kinds of kids up when I meet them and tell them that it's all going to turn out ok. After Haunted Mansion, I made my first trip to Momento Mori. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for shopping yet, but I wasn't blown away by it. I was still a little antsy and not totally into vacation mode yet. I'll have to check it out again next time.

Lunchtime in Liberty Square means...CHICKEN WAFFLE from Sleepy Hollow!!! I ordered my waffle and I was anxiously anticipating all of the deliciousness when the CM who was working the window informed me that I was over my charging limit on my magic band. confused Um so far I had bought a pretzel and a bottle of water, so unless my limit was $8.... She gave me the waffle and a new bottle of water on the house and just told me to stop by guest relations and have them check on it. Ok, cool. So after enjoying the delicious fried batter filled with sweet chicken and spicy coleslaw, I made my way up to the front of the park. A very nice CM from France (I forget his name!) informed me that when my charging privileges were established at SSR that the limit was set at $0 instead of the usual $1000. So I actually had gotten a freebie on my pretzel at the Lunching Pad, too. I offered to make it right and he said no thank you and wished me a Merry Christmas. So $20 worth of free snack/lunch to start off the trip? I'll take it!

On my way back to Pirates for my last FP of the day, I caught the Dapper Dans' Christmas show. Man, I love those guys! This was my first time riding Pirates since it's long summer refurb and honestly...did they change anything??? Other than the mist image of Blackbeard/Davy Jones wasn't running and the drop was maybe a smidge more splashy... it was down for a long time. I kind of expected more noticeable changes.

From there I headed over to Tomorrowland to catch CoP. I knew that there was no way I was getting Jenn and Christine to sit through the 24-minute show with me, so I knew that I needed to see it today if I was going to see it on this trip. I caught a ride on TTA and met a lovely couple from Illinois. The wife was very chatty and enjoyed her very much. The husband was quiet and seemed relieved that his wife had made a new friend and he got a break from the chatting for a minute. LOL. I finished up my attractions for the day with Mickey's Philharmagic and caught the last two parade floats of Festival of Fantasy while I was waiting to cross the parade route in Liberty Square. I took a quick stroll through the Christmas shop to give the crowds a minute to disperse and then exited via Casey's Corner where the pianist was just sitting down to play. I was immensely thrilled to have caught all of the Main Street entertainment except for the Main Street Philharmonic!

By now I had received a text with our room number and forwarded it to Jenn and Christine and Christine had learned that her flight that was originally due to arrive at 6:30 was delayed and would now arrive at 7:53. Jenn arrived in the room about 5 minutes behind me, so we decided to check out some last minute ADR options. Jenn was hungry for seafood and I'm ALWAYS hungry for seafood, so off to Fulton's we went. The whole "eat inside the big boat" thing is cool and our server Ian was fantastic, but the prices are a little steep for the quality. Even for Disney. We split the special for our entree and tried a bunch of appetizers. I had a coconut drink that was supposed to have pineapple juice in it, but I subbed OJ instead. It was delicious and quite strong for $10ish. The drink was a better value than the meal for sure!

Since it was nearly 8:30 by this point, we decided to head straight to Top of the World since Christine would meet us there later. Turns out that the old Pleasure Island bus stop has still not reopened, so we had to trek back across Disney Springs to the Marketplace stop. We bused to the Contemporary and arrived at TotW around 9:00. The place was deserted, so I assumed that we had beaten the fireworks rush. sarcastic Always double check the times guide!!! Turns out that fireworks were at 8:00?? What kind of ridiculous time is that for fireworks?! Wishes is at 10:00, people! Sheesh. At least we had a nice window table and we could see the Electrical Water Pageant and had a great view of the castle...which Jenn didn't even notice until I pointed it out about 30 minutes after we had been there! laugh Mike was tending the bar. I had the banana....martini? It's on the same page as the godiva martini, which I've had before and was ok. The banana version was outstanding! Christine finally made it to the Contemporary around 10:15.

We stayed until about 11:30 before walking back to MK to get a bus. MK closed at 11:00 and since we had to go back to Bell Services to retrieve Christine's bags, I didn't want to miss the last bus to SSR. By the time we got back and collected the bags and made it to the room, it was about 12:30. I'd now been awake for 21 hours. Luckily Saturday was not a park day and we only needed to go to the race expo during the day, so we did that rarest of rare things and slept in on Saturday! I'd considered going over to Wilderness Lodge to do the resort tour, but after two months of averaging 10-12-hour work days 6-7 days/week and a 21-hour travel day, I really needed the sleep. I'll try to catch the tour in February.

And now for some of my Day 1 favorite pictures:

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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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My sideways pictures are right side up in iPhoto...someone want to give me idiot-proof instructions on how to fix it or are you guys ok just tilting your heads to the side?

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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:
My sideways pictures are right side up in iPhoto...someone want to give me idiot-proof instructions on how to fix it or are you guys ok just tilting your heads to the side?

At least they're not completely upside down. laugh Sorry. I can't help with the technical stuff, but I can just tilt my head.

Don't you just love 6 hours in MK by yourself? Hubby usually golfs once or twice on our trips so I get to do whatever I want for 5-6 hours. It's so much fun doing all the things that I want to do that I know he wouldn't like. Plus chatting with strangers is always fun, too.

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I'm super jealous of your 6 hour alone time in MK! I don't know if I'd ever be able to handle a totally solo trip, but I'd definitely take a half day alone! awesome

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I tilt my head! LOL Mine always come out that way too no matter what I do.

I loved my park hopping day alone last month, it was AWESOME!!!!

Sounds like an amazing start with the free snacks and all!

Can't wait to read more

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I'm happy to tilt! your solo time in MK sounds just amazing!

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I didn't think I'd like solo days because I thought I'd feel like a weirdo walking around a theme park all by myself, but honestly, it's really great! Don't get me wrong--I love going with other people, but I'll have two evenings by myself during the real estate conference in March and I can't wait! People probably do think I'm a weirdo because I'm just walking around grinning to myself like an idiot...but I'm so blissfully happy that I don't even care. cool mickey

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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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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DAY 2 - Saturday, November 7

After a long day for everyone and a long evening ahead for 2/3 of us, we decided to sleep in and only set an alarm to make sure that we didn't miss packet pick-up for the race. We ended up arriving at the Expo around 11:30. There were no lines to do or see anything. We got our packets and shirts and checked out some vendors. Two that were of interest were a booth selling various medicated lotions for sore joints and feet and a booth selling travel sized rollers to relax sore muscles. Ultimately we didn't buy anything, but by attending the expo on Saturday instead of Friday, I found the entire process to be much calmer than it was on the Friday packet pick-up last year for ToT 10-miler.

After the expo, everyone was hungry. I hadn't made an ADR for the day, but I know that Olivia's often has same-day availability and after CCP's glowing recommendation, we decided to give it a try. We had the Conch Fritters as a shared appetizer. Christine and I split a Cobb Salad and a Salmon Salad and Jenn had a burger. Jenn said that the burger was a little weak, but the Conch Fritters were delicious and both of our salads were absolutely splendid. I would definitely eat at Olivia's again. After lunch, we caught the boat to Disney Springs. Jenn and Christine had seen the Characters in Flight balloon floating and wanted to go up in it. We messed up a little bit here because Jenn had driven us to the expo and to OKW, so boating to Disney Springs (are we abbreviating this "DS"?) meant that we had to come back for the car when we were done instead of just walking home. We waited ages for the boat to arrive at OKW, but fortunately we had virtually no wait on the way back.

We arrived at the Characters in Flight ticket booth and we were informed that we needed to wait until the ballon was cleared for its next departure due to the varying wind conditions that day. That was when we encountered the most obnoxious fellow guest of our trip. She must have told everyone within ear shot at least 50 times about how this was her third attempt to get on the ballon and she just couldn't believe how difficult it was to get on this attraction and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. News flash. No one cares. And of course it was a large family that had no sense of proceeding on and off of an attraction in an orderly fashion and being courteous to other guests. And of course we all ended up on the same balloon. But annoying people or not, you can't beat the view!! After our ride, we went back to SSR for a rest.

No one really wanted to sleep, but we needed to spend some time off of our feet and out of the heat, so we watched Big Hero 6--mostly so the Jenn would understand our Baymax race shirts. After a quick dinner at Artist's Palette, things got a little crazy. One of the race logistics items that was very unclear was where spectators were were supposed to go. Should they board the bus to ESPN WWoS with the runners? Would there be a bus from ESPN WWoS to Epcot? Should they take a regular Epcot park bus? What time could spectators enter Epcot on their party ticket? The ticket said 10:00, but at one place in the information, it said 7:00. Christine and I ended up being pushed onto the bus by a someone (I won't say that it was a CM--could have been a Mears employee) who made absolutely no effort to help Jenn figure out where to go. On the way to ESPN, we hit complete gridlock and sat on Victory Way for nearly 20 minutes trying to get into the venue. Looking back on it, the delays were likely caused by the race organizers not knowing whether to unload the buses or not because the weather was very uncertain.

We arrived at ESPN at around 8:15. At around 9:15, we started to move toward the area were we would be divided into corrals. The organizers opened up the paths to the corrals, but instead of heading to our starting points, we were rerouted to either the arena or the baseball stadium. We had been trying to meet up with my friend, Beth, who was also running, but they were late getting to ESPN from the Poly because of the bus delay that we had experienced. Then during the weather "evacuation", she got sent to the HP Field House and we got sent to the baseball stadium, which incidentally is where the Atlanta Braves do their spring training. We had a great time at the stadium. Someone started the wave and a few runners hopped out of the stands and ran the bases. Some clever person noticed that the dugout was unattended, so Christine and I joined the group of people who decided to occupy the dugout. Turns out there there's a secret restroom down there, so we were able to circumvent the long lines for the main restrooms. Unfortunately, security found us and evicted us from our fun little clubhouse--before I even got to make a call to the bullpen. sad During all of this time, we felt no more than a dozen rain drops. We were talking with Jenn who informed us that it was raining cats & dogs at SSR. Crazy weather!

After about an hour, we finally received word that the race was still on, but that the course would be shortened. The original plan was to run down Osceola Parkway to AK, run a mile or so through the park, run back down the parkway, run through DHS and the Osbourne lights, run to Epcot via the Epcot resort area, loop through the park, and run out the front entrance to the parking lot. Because the permit only allowed Disney to close Osceola Parkway for a certain amount of time and we were about an hour late starting, AK was dumped from the race. We only ran as much of the parkway as necessary to get to DHS and then resumed the course from that point. It was a reduction of about 6 miles.

There were a lot of people who were mad about the change. Personally, I was undertrained for this race. I had worked up to a 13-mile training run in September and I expected to do at least three more long runs before the half, but that didn't quite happen. With the whole cutting my finger incident in October, I had not been running the way that I should have been. Two reasons. 1) I had quite a bit of throbbing and it was only alleviated by holding my finger above me heart to manage blood flow. 2) I sliced a sliver of my finger clean off and there was nothing to stitch, so the wound was raw and open for nearly 3 weeks. I was afraid to do any intense activity for fear of raising my blood pressure and disturbing the fragile new tissue that was rebuilding itself on my finger. In addition to the finger issue, I have struggled with plantar fasciitis off an on for about 4 years and it has been particularly painful over the past 3-4 months. This has obviously made it more difficult for me to motivate myself to run because it not only hurts while I'm running, but depending on the distance and intensity, I can still have pain for up to a week afterwards. So from where I stood, 7 miles instead of 13? Fabulous. We still get to run through the Osborne lights? Best day ever. And I still get a medal and a shirt and I get to go to a fun party and eat food? Bonus.

The only downside to the change was that without the 6 miles on Osceola Parkway for the faster runners to gravitate to the front of the corral and the slower runners to drop back, there was a lot of traffic. We were in corral J because Christine had no time to submit from a previous qualifying race, so that made the traffic even worse. The road between DHS and the Epcot resorts was particularly bad because there is no way to expand the width of that space. Also, there is not a strong adherence to
the walk-right/run-left traffic pattern in these later corrals. The temperature wasn't bad, but the air was thick with humidity. Still we did manage to finish the race in 1:32:03, so I think that we would have come in under 3 hours on the half, which is around what I expected to run. The walk-off area was very well organized. Other signage and information was a little bit lacking and I think it was largely due to the fact that runDisney had to revise their plan for nearly 15,000 people mid-stream and I understand that this is one of the only (if not THE only) times that this has happened. That's semi-forgivable, but with all of the events that they've hosted, you can't tell me that there isn't some sort of continuity of operations plan somewhere for when there is eventually a weather issue.

In the walk-off area, we were treated to cool towels, water/powerade, wine in a to-go cup, a snack pack, bananas, and of course, our medals. The afterparty was great, but it did take us a long time to get there. We were fortunate to have decided not to check a gear bag and just stay sweaty for the party, so we were able to bypass the changing tents and bag check. One thing that I liked MUCH better about Tower of Terror was that the traffic flow was much simpler. For Wine and Dine, the race ended in the parking lot, so you had to go through all of the normal park procedures to get back in. Also, after running the race and doing about a mile walk-off, you had to walk all the way to World Showcase to get to the food booths. We had to cross the race path (a lengthy and overly complicated process that had people pushing and shoving to get across) to enjoy the party at Epcot. That hadn't been necessary at ToT because the course was designed in a way that allow guests access to nearly all of the park without crossing the race path.

We stayed for about an hour and a half after the race. We visited Scotland (scallop), Hawaii (tuna poke), Dominican Republic (grouper), and Greece (spanakopita) for food. Scotland was still my favorite, but the spinach under the scallop is even better than the actual scallop. By this point, my foot was extremely sore and Christine was exhausted, so we called it a night. I did soak my foot in the epsom salt that I brought along (which I assume is what prompted the TSA search of my suitcase--although I'm not sure why it was necessary for them to rifle through all of my belongings when a test to confirm that the large block or grainy white substance that undoubtedly triggered their scanners was in fact epsom salt, just as it was labeled in its original packaging), but it didn't help a lot. I finally got to sleep around 4am.

Here are my Day 2 favorite pics:

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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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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Oh, dang, now I want some conch fritters. So glad you liked Olivia's.

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What a totally insane day! I have loved hearing everyone's stories about this event but man am I not sad that I wasn't there! eek

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DAY 3 - Sunday, November 8

Today was a potential pool day, but we decided that sleeping until it was time to get ready for our 1:50 Sanaa reservation was a MUCH better plan. This was one of the times that Jenn having a car came in so fantastically handy. I was having a lot of difficulty walking this afternoon (as was expected), so I was quite happy to be able to navigate the resorts in a more direct manner.

Benn and I always park at Jambo House when we go to AKL (which isn't frequently), so in my head, we were parking in the parking lot and walking into the main building and walking down the stairs, so that's what I was picturing and I thought I knew exactly where I was going. Of course, I know that Sanaa is in Kidani Village, but for some reason I was confused when we arrived at the parking garage and I suddenly realized that I had absolutely no idea where I was going! laugh On the way in, we found one of those little emergency fire box stations that simply said "break glass". No "In case of emergency..." and of course the "children" wanted to follow the instructions. laugh

Fortunately, we found our way through the parking garage and we were actually fairly close to Sanaa. We had a minute after we checked in to walk out on the savannah and watch the animals. Our lunch was everything I hoped it would be. The drink menu is almost exactly the same as the Top of the World drink menu, which I found...disappointing. laugh Christine and I split the Tandoori shrimp and Jenn ordered the grouper. Of course we had a bread service and we tried all of the accompaniments. There were three that I absolutely loved, but the others were just ok to me. I could definitely pair down to the smaller group of accompaniments in the future. Our food was delicious and we could see lots of animals from our table. Sadly, dessert was awful. We tried several different items and found the flavors to be either strange or lacking.

After lunch, we had to book it to make it over to Jiko and Boma for the 3:45 culinary tour. The restaurants were fascinating and our guides were so engaging. That was my first time at either restaurant and the symbolism of the architecture was really interesting. Our guide (I forget her name!) shared a lot of information with us about her home country of Botswana. We got to taste the carrot ginger soup and zebra domes at Boma. (Can you believe that after all of this time, this was my first ever zebra dome?!) The carrot ginger soup was great--it reminded me of a more flavorful/ slightly spicier butternut squash soup. I liked the zebra dome, but it was a little overly sweet for me. If I happened to be at AKL, I might have another one, but I wouldn't make a special trip.

Jiko was part of the same tour and on that tour, we were offered a bread sampling that was slightly different than the bread service at Sanaa, but along the same lines. We spoke with Molomo from...a country in Africa that I can't remember!! confused He was on his last week of his cultural exchange. He was a very warm, welcoming young man who will clearly have a promising future no matter what sort of work he pursues, but I hope that he will return to Disney, which is one of the options that is high on his list. He was the kind of cast member that you used to find all over WDW.

After the tour, we stopped by the gift shop, where Christine and Jenn were completely fascinated by all of the AKL merchandise. I had checked the Disney Parks shopping app (my new favorite thing) and found that AKL was one of a select few locations where the H2O foot rub was sold on property, so I picked up a tube of that to help me walk like a normal human for the rest of the week. Afterwards, we went out to watch the animals for awhile and roast marshmallows at the outdoor fire pit. Our entire adventure at AKL was about 5 hours.

The evening entertainment that we had planned was Jellyrolls, where my friends Leah & Howard (at WDW for vacation) and Michelle & Casey (recently moved to PA to Florida) would meet us. Jellyrolls opens at 7:00 and the dueling pianos begin at 8:00. We arrived around 7:50, which was perfect timing because we were able to get a table on the main floor, but we didn't have to wait very long for the show to start. Obviously, this is a 21+ activity, but if you are traveling childless or have someone to watch the kids for date night, I highly recommend it. The cover charge is $15/person, but I got a $3 discount for something...TiW or DVC I think...or could have been AP. All I know if that it cost me $12. Howard and Leah met us shortly after 8:00, but Casey's work schedule changed, so it ended up just being the 5 of us. I'mont sure how much fun Howard had--didn't seem like his scene, but Leah, Jenn, Christine, and I had an absolute blast!!

A word of warning, the drinks are not strong. Maybe pre-game at Fulton's if you're planning to go. wink I had two Root Beer Floats that were supposed to be spiked...I don't drink much, so I should have been feeling something after two drinks...not so much. They were delicious, but we're talking group karaoke here. I needed something a little bit stronger if I was going to sing with these people. Also for $10/ drink, I want to be feeling something without having to drink 20 of them. I switched to Long Island Iced Tea and that was better, but still not as good as my orange coconut drink from Fulton's on Friday night.

There are two sets of dueling piano players and they switch off every hour. This is a venue where you can definitely plan on dropping $50-100/person for a night out, but it was so much fun! They played some stuff I've never heard of, but we also got to sing along with Living' on a Prayer, Don't Stop Believing', Bohemian Rhapsody, and others. They were doing a lot of birthday requests, so Christine wrote a note to the guys that said "F*ck birthdays. I'm getting Divorced. How about I Will Survive and the Golden Girls Theme Song." and they played our request! It was definitely a good time!!

We left around 12:30 and of course we had taken the bus because we all wanted to drink, so we had to bus back to DS and walk home to SSR.

So low-key day, which is weird for me at Disney, but I had a really good time and in the morning, I knew that we would be off to Epcot. Here are some pics...

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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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I hear you on the Zebra domes! I was kind of underwhelmed by them, too. They were fine and I would eat them again but they just weren't "uhmygah!!!" if you know what I mean.

Do you know if you can take kids on the culinary tour? Or is there an age restriction on that?

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Allie wrote:
I hear you on the Zebra domes! I was kind of underwhelmed by them, too. They were fine and I would eat them again but they just weren't "uhmygah!!!" if you know what I mean.

Do you know if you can take kids on the culinary tour? Or is there an age restriction on that?

That's a good question, Allie. I'm not sure. There weren't any kids on our tour, but it didn't seem inappropriate for kids--although they may be bored. There's no backstage stuff and you don't enter the kitchens at all, so I don't see where it would be a safety issue. As we were leaving from the tour, we did pass a group in one of the alcoves off of the lobby learning about African music and culture. The kids that were in attendance there seemed to be really into it.

__________________

Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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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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DAY 4: Monday, November 9

Finally, a park day!! In general on this trip, we did an awesome job of hitting a low crowd park for the day with the possible exception of this our first choice. In my defense as "concierge" (as Jenn and Christine named me), my plan for Epcot this morning included being at the gate by 8:30 so we could rope drop Soarin'. We were using our FP selections for Hollywood Studios later, so rope drop was critical this morning. My plan did NOT include people not being ready to leave the room until 8:45 and needing to stop for gas, which mixed me up as far as giving accurate directions for getting to Epcot. (I do so much better when I'm the driver. Does anyone else have that problem? I can't navigate for anything from the passenger seat, but when I'm driving, I can just sort of figure it out.)

We ended up arriving at Epcot at 9:30 and we thought that we accidentally got into the cast member parking line, but the attendants said that we were fine and directed us to a grassy patch between the official parking lot and the front of the park. I assume that they were using this as overflow in anticipation of the day's F&W crowds. I don't recall ever seeing cars parked in this area before. It was an awesome spot. The gate to get into he queuing area for bag check was at the end of our very short row so we managed to get into the park rather quickly.

We waited 90 minutes (posted as 70) for Soarin'. It wouldn't have been so bad, but our streak for finding annoying fellow guests continued. This lady who got in line behind us (and her poor, poor friend) was VERY anxious to show off her knowledge about all things Disney and kept butting into our conversations even though we were clearly not attempting to engage her. It was extremely difficult for me to restrain myself from rolling my eyes and saying something to the effect of "Witch, please. You're trying to out-Disney ME? Aren't you precious." After we managed to extract ourselves from her conversation, she continued bargain loudly to her friend about how much money she makes relative to other people at their office and how much they would miss her when she retired next year. The other thing that we decided during our 90-minute wait was that the interactive queue needs to be updated or torn out and redone entirely when Soarin' closes in January.

When we finally reached the loading area, we made friends with the CM who allowed us to choose concourse B, row 1. Sweet. Jenn and Christine liked Soarin', but I think that the wait and the clueless lady behind us diminished their enjoyment of the experience as a whole. I love this ride and I'm sad that it's going to be down for my next two trips, but I'm excited for the new film and I really hope that they spend some money on replacing/enhancing the screens and do something with the queue area.

My internet was to go to Living with the Land and then to Test Track, but after our ridiculously long wait, everyone was hungry. Since The Chew booths were in Future World, I decided that we would forgo Living with the Land (this is my first trip ever where I didn't do this ride!) and grab a snack before crossing the park to Test Track. I tried the ravioli and the salmon (2 separate dishes) and both were quite tasty. We almost accidentally stole a dessert. The lady who was handing out items at the one booth was confusing me. I swear I heard her say "free all day" when handing someone a dessert. I got in line to get my free dessert and realized as I approached the front that the words that I heard didn't match the situation that I was seeing. Apparently she was saying the quantity "three" and "all day" was in reference to the preparation of the dessert. We got quite a chuckle about that. While crossing the park, we passed the cranberry bog! This was one of the things I was so disappointed not to see at last year's festival! I have a great appreciation for cranberries. It's the only kind of juice that I drink, I love cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, and even though I hate raisins, I love Craisins!

We did Test Track single rider and we were on and off in 10 minutes. Then we decided to circle the World Showcase in the opposite direction to see some different booths than we saw at the finish line party. I had the pollo in Mexico, the buttered chicken in Africa, pao de queijo in Brazil, a blue ray slushy in Morocco, and a macaroon ice cream sandwich in France (yes I know it's not a Food & Wine dish, but they're so darned tasty!) Of the items I had for lunch today, my favorite was probably the Brazilian cheese bread. I thought it was a little bit weak last year, but I really enjoyed it this year. My biggest disappointment was the macaroni ice cream sandwich, I swear that the one I got last year was pistachio. The year the only options were pumpkin and chocolate. In fact, I found a very disappointing level of pistachio throughout the dessert options on this trip. We didn't go to Tony's, so no pistachio creme brulee and there was a pumpkin dessert in place of my favorite pistachio dessert at Cape May Cafe, too.

My thought had been that we would catch the boat from Epcot to DHS for the afternoon and then after dinner at Flying Fish, we could walk back through Epcot and retrieve the car. However, when I started to think about this plan a little bit more in-depth, I realized that Epcot would likely be closed by the time we needed to get back to the parking lot. I'm usually in and out at a table service restaurant in about an hour, so this plan would have worked except that for Jenn and Christine, every meal turned into a 2-hour event. There was no way that we were going to be finished dinner and be back at the Epcot gates by 9:00, so we walked back to the front and retrieved the car. I stopped at the pin trading station only to find out that the Stitch F&W pin was sold out.

As we were walking into DHS, I suddenly realized that even though we had run through the park a few nights earlier, this was my first time walking in through the main gate since the hat was removed. I was pro-hat. I love Fantasia (even though it's weird) and I loved that the hat gave DHS a larger than life icon. I've got to say--I love the unobstructed view of the theater just as much. This was the way that I first saw MGM when I was a kid and I couldn't picture what it had looked/ felt like to be able to see the theater when you entered the park, but I absolutely love it. Now I understand why people were anti-hat.

We missed our VoLM FP because of the change in transportation plans, so we started with GMR, which was basically walk-on. Both of our spieling CM's were very flat and the one talked entirely too fast and snickered at the punchlines that only he could actually hear. That was disappointing, but it did kill enough time that our TSM FP was active. Jenn and Christine both agreed with me that TSM is awesome and they wanted to go again, but alas, we had very limited time at DHS and waiting for TSM on standby was not an efficient use of that time. We had some time before their next FP opened up, so we hit Star Tours and Muppet Vision 3D. I've seen this show several times now and it's ok I guess, but I just don't get "muppets".

I sent Jenn and Christine off to use their ToT FP and hit RnR single rider and I headed for One Man's Dream. I expected both rides to take them roughly 30-45 minutes. It took them about an hour, which kind of bummed me out because I actually would've had time to do TSM again. With no Animation Academy, I am seriously hurting for things to do in this park when my traveling companions want to ride the stuff that I don't do. One Man's Dream is always a great hangout, but it actually made me kind of mad. If you've been catching the latest updates, you know that the beautiful film that's narrated by Julie Andrews at the end of the attraction has been replaced by a preview of The Good Dinosaur. Also, the replica of Walt's office has been either removed or covered up with a map of Disneyland. I know that it's on the chopping block, but do they have to start whittling away at it already?

When I finished, I grabbed a Starbucks iced tea (it is kind of convenient having them in the park) and went down to the RnR exit in the gift shop to wait for Jenn and Christine. When they finished, we decided that we had time to catch Indiana Jones before dinner. They both remembered it as being more spectacular the first time they saw it--25 years ago--but hey, I enjoyed it! This was the first time that I've seen the show that the stunt plant in the audience was not Abdul with the watermelon shirt. Also, the casting director was brunette, not blonde. I prefer the show with the other casting director and the other fake audience extra. These two were a little bit less engaging.

We drove over to Boardwalk for our 7:30 dinner at Flying Fish. I liked the restaurant, but the atmosphere doesn't scream "even though it's expensive, you'll totally see the value". On average, the food was good. For appetizers, we had calamari and a cheese plate that were both outstanding and I would order them again. We also ordered the mussels. I love mussels, but I thought whatever sauce that they were in was perfectly awful. I seem to have no pictures of the appetizers--sorry. My entree was salmon and it was delicious, but it's just salmon and I don't feel like they did anything to it that warranted $36. We got a chocolate peanut butter raspberry dessert that was ok, but it had too much going on and a banana napoleon that was amazing. Jenn and Christine did have drinks. I had a little bit of sticker shock, which made me not want to exacerbate the problem by ordering drinks. For $240 (including a TiW discount), I expected more from this meal. Like I said, elements of the meal were outstanding, but I did not think that the meal was an overall good value. I'd go back again for calamari, cheese, and banana napoleon, but Flying Fish will be closed for reimagining before I have the chance.

After dinner, we caught the Boardwalk Mime act. He was wonderful! Great interactive audience play and a very engaging show. All three of us enjoyed it very much. We retired back to the room to watch Wreck-it-Ralph and prepare for our pool day!

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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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:
It was extremely difficult for me to restrain myself from rolling my eyes and saying something to the effect of "Witch, please. You're trying to out-Disney ME? Aren't you precious."

laugh laugh laugh laugh

alicemouse wrote:
As we were walking into DHS, I suddenly realized that even though we had run through the park a few nights earlier, this was my first time walking in through the main gate since the hat was removed. I was pro-hat. I love Fantasia (even though it's weird) and I loved that the hat gave DHS a larger than life icon. I've got to say--I love the unobstructed view of the theater just as much. This was the way that I first saw MGM when I was a kid and I couldn't picture what it had looked/ felt like to be able to see the theater when you entered the park, but I absolutely love it. Now I understand why people were anti-hat.

I am so excited for this! I remember this view as a kid and can't wait to see it again!

alicemouse wrote:
If you've been catching the latest updates, you know that the beautiful film that's narrated by Julie Andrews at the end of the attraction has been replaced by a preview of The Good Dinosaur.

Wait...WHAT?! The entire movie in the theater now is The Good Dinosaur?! How did I miss hearing about this?! Not cool. sad

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Allie wrote:
alicemouse wrote:
If you've been catching the latest updates, you know that the beautiful film that's narrated by Julie Andrews at the end of the attraction has been replaced by a preview of The Good Dinosaur.

Wait...WHAT?! The entire movie in the theater now is The Good Dinosaur?! How did I miss hearing about this?! Not cool. sad

Very, VERY uncool. I'm considering not seeing the movie about the cute little dinosaur because I think that this swap is absolutely shameful.

__________________

Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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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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DAY 5: Tuesday, November 10

We had a bit of a miscommunication about today. We had been talking about Typhoon Lagoon the previous evening and Jenn sounded interested up until she found out that it would cost us around $50 each to get in and we would only have 5 hours. Christine was apparently very interested in going and thought that Jenn was, too--to the point where she thought that the plan had been amended to include Typhoon Lagoon for the day. I was not really on board with this change. Today was planned as a pool day and we had thus far spent zero time at the pool. Also, we weren't all ready to go for the day until around 11:00. Since Christine and I had MVMCP tickets for that evening, it made absolutely no sense to shell out $50 for what would have amounted to about 3.5 hours at the water park at that point. Had we decided that we were going for sure the night before and adjusted out schedule accordingly, it wouldn't have been so bad, but it wasn't even a super hot day.

So we ended up going to the main pool at the Springs instead. We swan/ hot tubbed for a little over an hour and then decided on lunch at EoS and hit Disney Springs for a little bit since Christine had't been there yet. Of course I had the Holiday Turkey sandwich and the mac & cheese. Luckily, just that morning, I had received an email with a 20% off coupon! Bonus! After lunch, we stopped at pin traders so I could pick up the Chip & Dale LE Best Friends pin...and maybe a few others. Then we headed back to the room to regroup for MVMCP.

We were of course, later than I intended and we arrived at MK around 4:45. The lateness and lack of urgency about getting places was starting to wear at my patience. Because the parade taping had been going on in MK this week, Festival of Fantasy was running at 5:00 instead of 3:00. As luck would have it, we arrived in Liberty Square right by Sleepy Hollow Refreshments just before the parade came through, so we squeezed in a decided to watch. Christine encountered her first rude guest who scolded her for briefly stopping in the walkway while we asked the CM a question.

After the parade, we continued on toward our intended destination, Haunted Mansion. We also caught the tea cups, had an ice cream sandwich, rode TTA, and rode Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. I had one goal for the party--to get a photo with Scrooge McDuck. I had to skip him last time even though his line was only about 15 minutes long. This time, the queue was moved into the splash & soak area in Storybook Circus (the water was turned off) and the wait was an hour!! As a bonus, that hour wait did yield photos with Donald, Scrooge, Minnie, and Daisy. So I was fine, but Christine, not really understanding that the exclusive character photos are part of what makes the parties great, only wanted to ride rides. She waited with me for a little while before setting out on her own to do Barnstormer, Dumbo, and without asking for a recommendation, Tomorrowland Speedway.

I met a fun CM from POFQ who was attending the party with his family, so at least I had people to chat with while I waited. I got my Scrooge picture, but Daisy and Minnie was actually a much cooler interaction. I have a Daisy Duck watch, so of course Daisy made a big to-do over it and hopped up and down excitedly. When I finished, I texted Christine to find out where she was at and that's when I found out about the Speedway. I was hoping that she was still in line so I could warn her that it wasn't worth the time and that we could do other rides that were way more fun, but I was too late. She was already stuck in traffic and she was texting while driving to communicate with me. She said that the ride reminded her a lot of DC rush hour. laugh

I had been trying to explain the Winnie the Pooh ride and since it was a short wait, we opted to just go. Christine agreed that it's kind of a nutty ride, but we had fun. We grabbed a quick dinner at Pinocchio's before rushing off to find a spot for Celebrate the Magic and Holiday Wishes. It was so uncrowded--we were able to walk into the hub and find a spacious location just a few minutes before the show started. Christine really enjoyed the show. Of course I did, too, but I really love regular Wishes and I don't prefer the holiday version.

We made our way to Liberty Square for the Once Upon a Christmas Time parade, which is one of my all-time favorite Disney parades. We grabbed a seat on the planter wall until space by the rope started filling in and then we moved up so that we didn't lose our unobstructed view. I knew that it was likely to cause us an issue when I stood up later, but my feet were still absolutely burning, so we sat down while we waited. Shortly before the parade was about to begin, I politely informed the people who had taken the planter seats behind us that we intended to stand up for the parade and noticing that they had two children in strollers, offered that they could bring the strollers up to the ropes because there would be plenty of space once we were standing. Well the woman got all huffy with me about not wanting to stand because her feet hurt and made some comment that if we wanted to stand, we should stand in the back, which is ludicrous because at that part of the parade route, nearly everyone stands to watch because the vantage point from sitting on the ground in that area is actually kind of crappy. Also, I always make a concerted effort when I am standing in a front spot for a parade/show to maintain the smallest possible profile and I make an effort to keep my camera down so that other people don't have to watch the show through my screen. It was easy for me to brush off the whole situation because honestly, people spouting off because their tired and have had a long day just doesn't bother me anymore, but Christine was mortified at this woman lashing out at us. The rest of the parade occurred without incident and it was beautiful! A few changes from the last time that I saw the parade. The Chip & Dale throwing snowballs float has been replaced by a Frozen float. Also, Vanellope now has car, so she's not just walking along beside Ralph's float.

On the way to BTMR, we stopped at the pin store and I picked up my party pins--a Flynn & Rapunzel and a Donald's nephews. Christine loved BTMR. We hopped on Pirates quick and grabbed some cookies and cocoa. We saw a short line for Jasmine and Genie and we were going to hop in, but by this time it was 11:45 and the line had been closed for the evening (that explains why it was so short!) We made our way down Main Street for the Magical snowfall and out to the buses. We were on an SSR bus within 5 minutes! It was not crowded at all and we were back at our room before 12:30. Tomorrow's goal? AK for MEMH at 8am. Heaven help us.

__________________

Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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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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DAY 6: Wednesday, November 11

Originally, we were going to go to AK for the morning and then to Epcot for the afternoon. Jenn and Christine were both really excited about AK and had been underwhelmed a bit by Epcot, so we decided to scrap Epcot and just stay at AK for most of the day. Since we switched our FP selections (originally for Epcot) the day before, we were not able to get a FP for Kilimanjaro Safaris. We ended up with FoLK, EE, and Kali River Rapids. So doing Kilimanjaro with no wait meant being out the door by 7:20. With Christine and I being out late the night before, we didn't have everyone assembled until about 8am. MEMH were still very helpful, but we did wait 15-20 minutes, which is not a great use of EHM time considering that the ride is 25 minutes long. By the time we were off the ride and through Pangani Forest, we were well into the regular operating day.

Our safari ride was amazing. It was cool and overcast this morning, so the animals were very active. Our safari vehicle was arms' length from a giraffe and we saw tons of lions! We had a really great driver, too. He told us this great joke about the ostrich who had wondered across the road away from her nest, illustrating her lack of brain power. "She laid those eggs this morning and she has no idea where she put them." Pangani was great, too. The gorillas were very active and there were several young/baby gorillas out playing. We also got to see Meerkat feeding time.

After Pangani, we had one of those weird gaps before FoLK. We ended up with about 35 minutes, which at AK is not enough time to go anywhere else, not enough time to do the safari again, and too much time to hang out at the FoLK FP return. We decided to go to Rafiki's Planet Watch and I just gave Jenn and Christine a heads up that we would basically have time to ride the train, walk down the trail, pet a goat, and get back in line for the train. They were cool with the short visit, so we walked down to the train station. Who should walk up behind us but our friends Leah & Howard from Jellyrolls! So we had a nice ride down with them and got to visit for a bit. We had a nice 5 minutes petting the goats and then we had to wash up and head back to the main section. They've added an alpaca to the area since the last time Benn and I wandered over there, so that was neat. I think alpacas (or as we now refer to them, "giraffe sheep" are awesome.

Jenn's not into shows, so I could tell the FoLK wasn't her favorite activity of the day, but Christine LOVED it! I think it might have been one of her favorite things from the entire trip. We did lunch at Flame Tree because it's my favorite AK counter service and my people didn't know any different. Innocent

After lunch we had some time to kill before our Kali FP, so we hit the Maharajah Jungle Trek. We saw a little bit of the tigers, but they were being kind of shy. At Kali River Rapids and I learned new information. We don't often do this ride and I thought that there used to be a covered area in the center where you could store your things. If there used to be one, there isn't one now. BUT, the lockers at the intersection where you turn to go back to Kali are complimentary for a fair amount of time--I want to say 80 minutes. It was nice to be able to stow our items safely and just enjoy the ride.

Our next FP was for EE. I haven't talked myself into trying EE yet, so I grabbed an ice cream cone while Jenn and Christine continued on. Between my long wait (behind a family who had DEFINITELY lost their magic for the day--snapping at their kids for every little thing, threatening that the next "bad" thing that the kids did would cause an end to the park day, etc.) in the sweltering sun (I was a tad dehydrated and I actually felt like I could potentially pass out if I didn't fix the problem) and the nearly walk-on condition of the EE fastpass line, I was still eating my ice cream when the ride was over!

We decided to skip Finding Nemo since Jenn wasn't super excited about the shows. I like Nemo, but I'd take FoLK hand down over Nemo, so I was glad that we had "spent" our show credit wisely in the morning. On to Dinoland! This was the area of the park that I just didn't get and to be truthful, didn't really enjoy the first few times we visited AK, but the more I explore it, the more it grows on me. The non-Dumbo Dumbo-style ride has no appeal for me and since we don't travel with kids, the "dig up bones" attraction isn't really our speed. I don't care for Dinosaur and thankfully I was able to make a case that it wasn't something that we wanted to do. (Jenn hadn't felt super great after Star Tours--I didn't see any reason to push our luck on Dinosaur.) I do love Primeval Whirl, but it was down for refurb. sad So that left Chester & Hester's Dino-rama. I'd never played the games because the pay-us-extra-money-after-you've-already-paid-admission thing kind of bothers me, but Jenn and Christine wanted to play, so I threw caution to the wind and dropped a few bucks. laugh We tried all five games and Jenn and I each won a present! Jenn won a dinosaur and I won a turtle. Christine was trying really hard to win a seahorse and almost did, but a little girl beat her out at the last second!

We decided at the point to head back to SSR and put in some pool time before dinner. I still have a really hard time considering AK a full day park, but this was definitely the most fun I've ever had there. Benn is not a fan of AK. He'll go, but we've always hit such miserably humid days there and he starts complaining half way through--or not really complaining, just acting very sulky and it's hard to stay positive and be excited about AK when I feel like I'm torturing him. I actually had a LOT of fun seeing this park through Jenn and Christine's eyes. They were both fascinated by everything and would site and watch the animals forever. Christine grew up in Thailand, so the theming in Asia was amazing to her and Jenn is actually going to SE Asia fro two months in January, so she was in heaven, too, because she has spent months researching what she'll see there. Christine also spent some time in Africa (I'm drawing a blank on which country--Zambia maybe) as a child. Her father worked for the government and they traveled a lot due to his assignments. So Animal Kingdom was basically awesome to her.

On our way out of AK, we noticed a skywriter, which apparently is a frequent occurrence, but I've never noticed him before. He was hard at work writing religious messages in the clouds that had disappeared before he could finish writing. So that was kind of interesting...

We had discovered in our travels around SSR that our section (Paddock) also had a pool and that it was way cooler than the pool at The Springs. Christine wanted to do some laundry since she was leaving for a SCUBA weekend in Cozumel from Orlando and the laundry facilities at SSR are right by the pool. I don't know if all of the resort laundry facilities are set up that way because I never do laundry on vacation, so I've never taken notice, but that placement is super convenient. The Paddock pool is really awesome and any time that we stay at SSR from now on, that's where you'll find me swimming! The pool is zero entry, so you can gradually walk in and the waterslide is much more interesting than the one at The Springs.

We had rescheduled tonight's dinner because Christine had been asking for crab legs all week and Jenn now eats seafood (she wouldn't touch it when we were kids), so we ended up dumping Via Napoli for Cape May Cafe. I know about 50 people's jaws just hit the floor, but what can I say? We like seafood and after the bill from Flying Fish two nights before, I was all about a budget-conscious fixed-price table service meal. It was hands down the worst experience I've ever had at this restaurant. Our server was very gruff--bordering on grouchy. The crab legs from the once batch that I had were exceptionally watery. The house salad that I love so much was wilted. The first round of goat cheese had been setting out for too long. And to top it all off, the pumpkin seasonal dessert ousted my favorite--the little pistachio thing. So dinner was just ok--definitely lacking relative to past experiences that I've had at this restaurant. Everyone is entitled to a bad night and we're still going back in March, but I was definitely disappointed. I think that the difference may have been timing. Our reservation was at 6:30 and Benn and I usually shoot for the first reservation of the evening here when everything is fresh and delicious.

But, we fixed our lack-luster dinner by hightailing it out of the restaurant by 8:40 so that we could pop over to Epcot to watch IllumiNations. We only arrived only 10 minutes before the show, so we ended up with a not-so-great spot. But, Epcot wasn't very crowded tonight, so while our view of the sphere was a little bit obstructed, at least we were able to get a spot by the fence. Everyone seemed to enjoy the show and it's a good thing, because with all of the evening dining, this was the only evening show that Jenn got to see in a park! It was really great to have driven to Beach Club for dinner, so instead of fighting to get on the buses, we just had a pleasant stroll from International Gateway to the parking lot.

Favorite Day 6 pictures:

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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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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DAY 7: Thursday, November 12

Our last day at WDW sad but that means that tomorrow, we cruise!! clapping

And it's MK day, so...bonus. It was a bus day because it's just not a time savings to drive to MK. I informed my people the night before that we should plan to leave the room at 8:00 for a 9:00 opening. Christine woke up at 7:57. By this point, I was over the "I just can't get up on time" thing. (I may have neglected to mention that we were supposed to run a 5K the weekend before our trip and I stayed at her house the night before because the race was 20 minutes from her house and it was 2 hours from my house. She overslept to the point where we missed the 5K altogether. My patience for this sort of thing was wearing thin.) So we ended up leaving for the bus stop around 8:20. We did luck into a bus fairly quickly and arrived at MK around 8:45--just in time to see the welcome show, but as we approached, there was no crowd. And everyone was funneling into the park. Did we miss the welcome show?? Oh wait...the train is down for refurb. Riiiight. So we were on Main Street by 8:45. Of course we had to grab a coffee for Christine, so quick Starbucks stop.

**Benn just walked into my office and asked if I was up to the point where he arrived and everything became amazing. I assured him that yes, the arrival of Benn is imminent.**

We started in Adventureland. If you've read my other reports, you'll see a pattern here. I love Jungle Cruise and I thought that bad puns were a great way to kick off our day. Except remember rate bad skipper from Friday? The Thursday skipper was worse! I was so disappointed. You couldn't understand him at all! He was mumbling and he had the mic so close to his moth that his facial hair was scraping it and making the muffled voice even more incomprehensible. And this was Jenn and Christine's first Jungle Cruise in 25 years. They didn't understand what they were missing, but I was so disappointed.

We did Pirates and Jenn agreed with both of us that this was one of those memories from childhood that seems much more grand than it is in reality. It didn't help that we got a little bit backed up and we were stuck in the last two scenes for a few extra minutes. We hit BTMR next and Christine's assessment was that she liked it much better at night. Jenn didn't know any different, so she thought it was cute. Jenn is an extreme thrill ride kind of person, so it definitely didn't register high on the thrill meter, but she enjoyed it. Jenn and Christine really wanted to do Splash Mountain. I had decided that I was willing to do it with them even though I totally hate the big drop at the end. However, when I woke up that morning, my right foot was still hurting a lot. I had sucked it up the day before and donned my flip flops so I could do Kali without my feet getting soaked. I just couldn't do it one more day, so I had opted for sneakers today to get a little bit more support. I had absolutely no interest in walking around with damp shoes all day, so I bailed out and went pin shopping while I waited. I hadn't planned for Splash and they waited about 35 minutes, so we were a bit behind by this point and we did have a bit of a wait for Haunted Mansion.

We were all really hungry by the time we finished HM, but our PPF FP was open and I didn't want to rush lunch, so since that's such a fast FP, we ran over and did PPF first. We did the newly reimagined menu at Pecos Bills and I was so disappointed. I prefer my Tex-Mex to have a crunchy shell/bowl of some type. There are only soft shell options available. Also the chicken was very poor quality. I had such high hopes for this new menu and I was so disappointed. I wish we had chosen waffles at Sleepy Hollow instead. The fixins' bar is great, by the base on this occasion was really substandard. I had learned at the beginning of the week that Jenn's favorite Disney movies are Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid, so I had been trying all week to pick up a last minute BOG lunch, but no luck.

The good news is that we got to follow up lunch with 7DMT, which was a hit. We did a lap through Enchanted Forest/ Storybook Circus. Under the Sea had just gone down, so we continued on to Dumbo and Barnstormer. At Barnstormer, we saw a CM flip off another CM. He claimed that he was showing off his bandaged finger, but that was so not what was happening. laugh So we had a bit of fun with him and he joked back with us a bit. He was a lot of fun. It was getting hot, so we ran through the splash zone quick. We doubled back to Under the Sea, which had just opened and was briefly a walk-on. Score.

Before heading toward Tomorrowland, I insisted that we go to Philharmagic even though Jenn had expressed that she wasn't really into the shows. I was so glad I insisted because she proclaimed Philharmagic to be her favorite thing of the day!! Before leaving Fantasyland, we crammed three adults in a teacup and attempted to make ourselves sick. laugh Christine and I had only spun in one direction on Tuesday night, so at her request, we spun both directions today to eliminate "post teacup intoxication". Around this time we got confirmation that Benn's flight had left on time.

When we told Jenn that Buzz Lightyear was the precursor to Toy Story, it was decided. We must play. Christine beat me again. I am so bad at this game. I can't ever figure our which laser is mine. Since Benn wasn't with me, I took advantage of the opportunity to visit Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, yet another "show" that was a big hit! Finally, for our last Magic Kingdom ride, the time had come for our Space Mountain FP. I'd been walking around with a lump in my throat all day, but this was the first time that Jenn would ever get to ride Space Mountain and I had to be there even though I hate the WDW version. So we boarded and it was so worth it to see the excitement on Jenn's face after 25 yeas of waiting to ride. When she went to WDW as a kid, her parents refused to ride with her because they thought the ride was far too wild. She'd apparently had an epic meltdown over the whole ordeal and the story has become a bit of family lore, so it was really great to be there to experience Space Mountain with Jenn. Of course she loved it!!

We had some time to kill before dinner, so we walked over to the Contemporary to see the Gingerbread display and play at the arcade. When I received confirmation from Benn that his bus was approaching the Polynesian, we hopped the monorail to meet him. We had about 35 minutes to spare before dinner, so we showed Jenn and Christine around the Poly and checked out the shops before checking in for dinner. We stopped at the bar to investigate the drink selection and once again, we found a cocktail menu that was nearly identical to TotW. Christine opted for a Lapu Lapu, which she posted to Facebook. Over the next few days, she because more and more depressed as the pineapple picture became her "most liked" photo ever on Facebook--more so than feel-good posts about being thankful for people in her life, posts of her helping other people, etc. Drinking from pineapple. That was the winner. Dinner at 'Ohana was the perfect cap to the WDW part of our trip. The food was great and the bread pudding was so much better than the version that we'd had at Sanaa earlier in the week.

After dinner, we continued our monorail journey to Grand Floridian and to our delight, the Gingerbread house construction was nearing completion. No pins were available for sale yet, but it was great to get a few pictures. We capped off the night with Holiday Wishes and drinks from TotW lounge--please that this time we didn't miss the fireworks!! I switched to the fireball cocktail--oh my that could be my new favorite drink. It was delicious, but I was full before I drank two of those. Oh my gosh the bus ride home was soooo uncomfortable.

Since I had been using my MB to change everything that we could use TiW with, we had to stop at the Concierge to settle up the account before it got charged to my card. We also attempted to switch Christine's ME time for the morning. She had booked a 9-something flight, so of course she was on a 6:30am bus. She's part of the known traveler program, so she never has to wait in a long security line. Obviously she didn't want to sit around the airport for 2 hours. They were able to bump her to 7am, but they wouldn't go any later than that. Certainly this was a different way for me to do WDW and there were times that were frustrating because I'm accustomed to doing things a certain way, but I had an awesome time with Jenn and Christine and I wouldn't have changed a thing! I definitely missed Benn though and I was so excited to start our super fun getaway weekend!!

Day 7 favorites:

__________________

Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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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.

JMed's picture
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Great parks report! I love the facebook pic story, I put some stuff up and think how does no one like this, then something totally random goes up and my page explodes!!!

Can't wait to hear all about the cruise!!!!!

__________________

"I do not like the cone of shame."

"I want adventure in the great wide somewhere. I want it more than I can tell."

"It seems to me that we have a lot of story yet to tell."

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Coming right up then...

DAY 9: Friday, November 13 - Transition Day

Once Christine left in the morning, we had almost 3 hours for everyone to get ready, eat breakfast, pack, and load up the car--plenty of time for the three of us. We ended up heading out around 9:15 and that was plenty of time to make our 10:45 port arrival time even with having to stop for gas on the way. I had bought Jenn's dinner at Fulton's the first night in exchange for her driving us to the port today--and it was a good trade indeed! I think it cost me about $40 extra dollars to buy her dinner, which saved me $70 in DCL ME transfers and allowed us to get to the port around 10:45 instead what would have probably ended up being around 2:00. One little caveat that I had forgotten about--driving with Jenn can be a thrill ride in and of itself! Lol. But we made it to the port in one piece and plenty early.

When we arrived, we were greeted by porters who moved out luggage to appropriate place. We said our goodbyes and Jenn was off--by that morning, she had decided to check out St. Augustine before she headed to the farm where she would be working for the next few weeks. We'll see her again right before Christmas and I can't wait!!

The Disney terminal at Port Canaveral is the cutest cruise terminal I've ever seen. Most terminal buildings are sterile and dreary--very utilitarian, but from curb to ship, boarding the ship with Disney was a pleasant experience. We did arrive to find a rather long line. The porter suggested that we go up to the third floor to get in line rather than go in at ground level since we would board the boat from the third floor anyway. When we arrived on the third floor, we were in line behind about 40 people, but the line moved very fast. The iPad technology had crashed that morning, so they were checking people in to the terminal with a manual list. We had to show our credentials at that point, so undoubtedly any slowness can be attributed to guests who were spacing out and then had to dig out their passports when they reached the front of the line. Still we got through the line in 10-15 minutes.

Next up was carryon bag scanning and metal detector. Of course that line can't move any faster than the conveyor belt can run, so that was maybe another 10 minutes. Not really a big deal. Then we joined yet another long line for actual check-in that took 15 or so minutes. All of the CM's were smiling and pleasant even though the terminal was PACKED. After we checked in and got our Key to the...Boat? card, we had enough time to hit the restroom and get in line to meet Goofy before the boarding groups started to be called. We were boarding group 6, so I figured that we had time to meet Goofy quick, but within about 8-10 families ahead of us taking their turns for photos, it was time for group 6 to be welcomed aboard! So we ditched Goofy (Sorry, Goofy) and proceeded down the gangplank.

At some point in the process, we had learned that the ship before ours had been delayed in returning to port, so I assume that the boarding process was a little bit backed up relative to the normal experience. From our previous cruising experiences, we were on the Royal Caribbean and Princess ships within 15 minutes of entering the terminal. When we did Carnival, it took us an hour and a half to board the ship after check-in. I think it took us about 45 minutes total to get from the car to the end of the check-in process. Boarding started about 15 minutes after that and our boarding group was called in less than 10 minutes. We bypassed the first photo op--we don't buy pictures on cruises anyway--and we were on the boat before noon!

The very first thing that happened when we entered the ship is that our party was announced by name. And when we got our first look at that atrium--WOW!! It knocked my socks off! This is cruise number 4 and this is the first atrium that I walked into that felt like the regal space that a cruise ship's heartbeat should be. Princess was nice, but the blend of bold colors with light and charm all wrapped into one--well you just have to see it.

We found the stairs in short order and made our way up to the Cabanas for lunch. I was in heaven from the start! There was a cart full of stone crab and shrimp! The stone crab claws were pre-cracked so you could easily split them with a knife and the shrimp we enormous. My mom and dad and I have this running joke about cruise ships and shrimp. There's a guy we know who will only cruise on Carnival because the shrimp on Carnival are this big (holds up index finger) and the shrimp on Royal Caribbean are this big (holds up pinky finger). It cracks us up because it's such a ridiculous detail to center your ENTIRE choice for vacation around. So of course when I saw the shrimp, I about lost it! Since we were still in port, the first thing I did was to send mom a picture of my index finger curled up next to a shrimp! laugh Turns out that the shrimp and crab both had great flavor also. Bonus. For dessert, I had a delightful chocolate mousse. And I was so obsessed with the seafood and the chocolate that I made no notes about Benn's lunch.

Since our room wasn't scheduled to be ready for about 45 minutes, we spent some time exploring the ship and grabbing some photos before it filled up. We got into our room right around 1:30 and we met our cabin steward, Rian. This was the first ship we've ever sailed on where our cabin steward greeted us and had an actual conversation with us, which I thought was very nice. I felt very comfortable talking to him and asking questions during the remainder of the cruise. The other stewards that we've encountered seem to try to avoid talking to the guests, like they were afraid of being scolded for something, but Rian was a proper Cast Member, which we very much appreciated.

Our room was great! There was enough space for the bed and a sofa to live side by side. We hadn't cruised in a cabin this large since the first time we cruised when we had just gotten married and had a new house and no money and we shared a cabin with my parents just to be able to go on vacation! Our balcony was beautiful--no obstructions. (CCP, I think that you are right down the hall from where we were for the October cruise--it's a great view!) On thing that was completely awesome--and I don't know if they have this in every single stateroom. I have to do some research. But instead of a tiny shower, we had a small tub! And, there was a sink with the tub in a separate room from the toilet and a second sink. Bonus. We had a large double closet and there was even storage under the bed. We had a large dresser and a chest, so there was plenty of room to actually unpack the suitcases--we actually had more room here to store things than we had in the studio at SSR.

We had joined the Facebook group for our cruise and then had found out about Fish Extender and decide to get in on that fun, too, so of course we went to the meet-up on the first afternoon. It was a very diverse bunch. There was some super nice outgoing folks--most of who were part of our fish extender group. Then there were the upstagers--you know the type--self absorbed, go on and on about minute details. Then there were the folks who a little on the awkward side and are clearly making an effort to bring more social interaction to their lives. Good on them for putting themselves out there. The meet-up as an event was little bit lacking. The organizer had clearly worn herself out at WDW and looked half asleep through much of the meet-up. So the dynamic was interesting, but it was really cool to know people that we saw around on the ship. We've cruised twice with my parents and one other time with just the two of us and the other people on the boat are usually strangers. Joining the Facebook group definitely gave this cruise a more homey feeling where we seemed to be among friends.

Of course we had to take a break for the most exciting part of any cruise--the lifeboat drill! We found the directions to our muster station to be extremely confusing, but fortunately, the boat didn't sink, so we never had to figure out where it was again. We were on the sunny side of the ship and it was SUPER hot the whole time we had to stand out there. Once we finished with all of the fun, we retired to our cabin to prepare our fish extender. (I had packed everything flat, so ribbons had to be tied and pins had to be sorted.) We had a chance to watch the sunset before dinner--bonus of cruising in the late fall.

Dinner #1 was at Royal Palace. Before boarding the ship, I was very curious about the logistics of this rotational dining. So if you haven't cruised before, you'll sit at the same numbered table each night. The configuration of the restaurant is arranged to accommodate the guests for that evening and your serving team moves with you throughout your journey. With this being a 3-night cruise, our rotation was easy--once in each restaurant. There was notation on our card that read "Dinner 5:45 RAE Table 3", so that was Main Seating at Royal Palace, then Animator's Palate, then Enchanted Garden Table 3--very helpful if we got mixed up.

When we arrived at Royal Palace, we were led to a table for 8 and my first thought was 'oh crap I forgot to ask if there were tables for 2 available.' We've typically sat with my parents as a table of four and on the cruise that we did by ourselves, we were on anytime dining and after being seated with a couple where the man spent the entire meal making derogatory comments toward his wife, we requested a table for two for the remainder of our cruise. So I was leery of being paired with random strangers. But, I'm not sure if we just lucked out of if Disney plans this very carefully, but we were seated with three other couples who were close to our ages. One couple was on their honeymoon from the UK. Another couple was from Maryland and had no children and the the third couple was absent on the first night.

We met our servers for the trip--Eak and Jude. They were both FANTASTIC! I really can't say enough nice things about how nice they were to us and how personal and accommodating. Without question, the best servers that we've ever had in a cruise ship dining room--maybe at any restaurant ever, come to think of it.

Then the food started to come out. The bread was served in Cinderella's carriage. For starters, I had the iced lobster and jumbo shrimp appetizer. Benn had the breaded and deep fried brie. For the main course, I had the Conchiglie Pasta and Benn had the Chateaubriand-Roasted Steak Filet. For dessert, I had the Sweet Temptation--raspberry mousse, mango cheesecake, and vanilla creme brulee. Benn had the apple tart tatin. Everything was delicious and the whole meal was such a nice experience--it would have been hard for me to believe on the first night that this would turn out to be my least favorite meal!

After dinner, we made it to the atrium just in time for the Christmas Tree lighting! Of course since it's Disney they did an awesome job of weaving the characters into the ceremony. We went to our first show--The Golden Mickeys. I really enjoyed the segments that made up the show. The quality of the singers and dancers was great, but I didn't care for the larger story arc. The larger story was cheesy and very much over-acted. In the future, I could easily skip The Golden Mickeys in favor of other onboard entertainment.

Benn was tired by this point, so he went back to the cabin. I, on the other hand was THRILLED, that there were drawing classes on board! I headed down to the D Lounge where we learned to draw Goofy. A few of the folks from the Facebook group showed up, so I sat with them. At the end of Animation Academy, it was time for Mirror, Mirror, a game show. Hey I like game shows AND Snow White, so I decided to stick around. Well that was a good decision! It was an interactive audience participation game where we got to sing song lyrics and answer questions and dress people up and to help encourage folks a little bit, Dopey came out on stage to help. So for about 20 minutes, we got to watch Dopey on stage in this rather intimate setting--only about 20 people in the room. It was really cool.

After the game show finished, I excused myself and headed back to the room where Benn had surprised me by delivering all of our Fish Extender goodies! We drifted off to sleep to a Disney movie dreaming about all of the great stuff we were going to do on the boat tomorrow!

__________________

Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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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.

Kris1971's picture
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Now you're making me want to take my next DCL cruise at Christmas. So pretty!

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Sorry to hear you had so many downers and hiccups in your WDW portion, but glad to hear you had a good time overall. The cruise sounds absolutely incredible so far! Can't wait for more! yay

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Allie wrote:
Sorry to hear you had so many downers and hiccups in your WDW portion

Haha it wasn't too bad, but I'm like a 5-year-old when it's time to go to the parks. Do NOT make me late for rope drop!! laugh mickey

__________________

Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

Find me on Facebook

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.

JMed's picture
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Posts: 3723

April can not get here fast enough! DCL is BY FAR the best cruise we have ever been on. Aren't the rooms great? I loved the tubs, perfect for the little kiddos! And all the space. We had they same type room. Blondie's bed came down out of the ceiling, she loved it!

And I am still laughing about the life boat drill. SO GLAD you guys didn't sink!!!!! laugh laugh

__________________

"I do not like the cone of shame."

"I want adventure in the great wide somewhere. I want it more than I can tell."

"It seems to me that we have a lot of story yet to tell."

Jennifer Huotari | Create Your Badge

The Huotari's Disney Adventures | Promote Your Page Too