2013 Trip Report: Day 4, Part 3: The Big Mosey

Has it really been nearly 3 months since I updated my trip report?!  It has. Last update was 1/20/14. That is so sad. 😛  Even sadder, I have nearly no actual pictures taken by myself to add to this particular chapter of the report.  I’m padding it with a few I’ve found elsewhere, as noted…

Well, to recap, we are on day 4 of our trip – 3rd day in a WDW park – and this is our Magic Kingdom day.  We started the morning by being late for breakfast at Crystal Palace and then we took our time heading on to Frontierland so that we could go on Splash Mountain.  Which was wet but wonderful!

On the way out, we checked out our ride photo (we looked like goons, haha), and then poked about the rest of the gift shop. I found a disposable camera – I wasn’t sure if they still made those! – and decided that given my lack of camera options that day, I’d be better off spending the money on the camera and on the fees to have it developed than I would be with having it all going onto PhotoPass and then our having to pay to keep permanent versions of the pics.  What I didn’t anticipate was that I would have a hard time getting the film developed!  It’s now APRIL, and I don’t actually have any idea where to take the dang thing. 😦  Target used to do it and now they don’t.  Don’t worry, I WILL get it developed and when I do I’ll scan whatever looks good and show it off (probably only about half of it will work out but oh well)… I just don’t know when that will be. 😛

Anyway! An interesting side note is that the CM who rang me up was nonverbal.  I don’t know if she had just lost her voice or if she was unable to speak. I didn’t get the impression that her hearing was impaired, but maybe she’s just a very, very adept lip-reader. But in any case she not only didn’t speak to me, when I asked what the price was on the camera she scanned it to find out and then wrote the total down and showed me.  But her customer service was topnotch.  Does anyone by chance know who this was?  She really might have just had laryngitis that day in which case my question is meaningless. 🙂

Once we were done, we headed out; I had planned to go to Fantasyland next and hop on Winnie the Pooh and small world before using our FPs for Princess Fairytale Hall (the window for that was 11-12, and it was not quite 10 now). But we were sidetracked, because when we came out of the Splash area, we saw Woody and Jessie doing a meet and greet!!!

This pic is by Kenny the Pirate, and can be found here: http://kennythepirate.com/2014/02/14/disney-princes-appear-with-their-princesses-for-valentines-day-at-the-magic-kingdom-in-walt-disney-world/ I used without permission and will remove if he requests. Please check out his great blog post with the original pic!

This pic is by Kenny the Pirate, and can be found here: http://kennythepirate.com/2014/02/14/disney-princes-appear-with-their-princesses-for-valentines-day-at-the-magic-kingdom-in-walt-disney-world/ I used without permission and will remove if he requests. Please check out his great blog post with the original pic!

This was a big thing – we met Woody at Hollywood Studios on our last trip, but we had never met Jessie. And I LOVE Jessie. We had passed them 2-3 times on the last trip, basically every time we went between Adventureland and Frontierland, but each time we were in a hurry and I’d say “Oh the line’s too long” and she’d say “Oh-kaaaay”.  Well this time the line was not too long, and since we hadn’t done a whole lot of character meets on this trip, the time was RIGHT!

The line wasn’t too fast-moving, but it wasn’t too slow either… about what you’d expect for a M&G I guess. Most of the kids would go sit off to the side and the mothers would stand in line. I did notice that nearly all the parents were women. XD  The wait wasn’t boring, though, b/c Woody and Jessie were REALLY hilarious.  I love the way that the two of them are kind of basically brother/sister in the movies, even though they meet for the first time in TS2; that completely held up here, and they kept giving each other a hard time.  Particularly Woody to Jessie.

You know how Woody is a prankster?  Like in the outtakes from the TS movies, he’s always pulling jokes on Buzz.  Well, he’s like that in person too. XD He told Jessie that her armpits smelled, stuff like that. And the best part was when I gave him the pen for D’s autograph book; it’s the kind of pen where you twist the top to get the point to go in and out. Well when I gave it to him the point was OUT.  He signed D’s book, then carefully twisted the top so that the point went in, making sure that Jessie was watching him do this, then he handed it to her with a flourish. Jerk. XD

I wish I had any pictures of this M&G. 😦  I got some but all on the disposable camera, plus several from PhotoPass that I did not buy. Siiiiigh.

OH! And I actually heard a couple of people say “Andy’s coming!” while in the line. This is STILL going around, or at least it was in October! Once again, if you got here by searching something like “what happens when you say Andy’s coming”, friends, it DOESN’T DO ANYTHING.  I was right there; they ignored it. As well they should, too!

And TemporaryTourist.com shot holes in this myth, go see: http://temporarytourist.com/myths-of-walt-disney-world-were-testing/

And TemporaryTourist.com shot holes in this myth, go see: http://temporarytourist.com/myths-of-walt-disney-world-were-testing/

So once we finally stepped back out of the Splash Mountain area… there we were next to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. With a wait time of 10 minutes.  Now I know I *said* Fantasyland… small world, Pooh… but instead D and I looked at each other and just nodded.  When was the wait time going to be this low again on Big Thunder?

The line was really pretty long but it moved fast. I took some pictures of the decor as we went – I don’t know why, just wanted to remember it I guess. The ride was a blast! D loves fast rides and well, so do I… but it always goes by TOO fast and I never see all the stuff that the ride is loaded with!  I try to watch for Hidden Mickeys and goats and men in bathtubs and all I ever end up seeing are dinosaur bones. So sad. XD

Rib bones to your right.  Pic is from www.themeparkreview.com, used without their permission and I will remove it if they request! Meanwhile please visit their excellent site. :)

Rib bones to your right. Pic is from http://www.themeparkreview.com, used without their permission and I will remove it if they request! Meanwhile please visit their excellent site. 🙂

Now we finally were ready to exit Frontierland and head over to Fantasyland.  We got to mosey – that’s what you do in Frontierland, you totally mosey – and make it to our FP+ to meet the Princesses.

EXCEPT!  On our way we got sidetracked AGAIN because I finally saw Chip and Dale!  It’s been a while so you may not recall that I had been looking for them out the corner of my eye throughout both of our previous days, but no such luck. I missed them at Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Well I was NOT going to miss them at Magic Kingdom!

There wasn’t much of a line but BOY it was getting hot.  We were still in Frontierland so they were in cowboy gear and we got hugs, photos, and then I tried to take a photo with a sign I had made for a friend who LOVES Chip and Dale more than anything!!  They took the photo but you can’t read the sign. 😦 They also SIGNED the sign and… I can’t find it at home right now D:  It said “We miss you, Carrie!”

You'll just have to trust me that it really does say that.

You’ll just have to trust me that it really does say that.

Well, after this we finally FINALLY moseyed, in a hurry, to Fantasyland.





Trip Report Day 4: Slowly Getting to the Magic Kingdom

First note: this TR chapter won’t have pictures, because I’ve already posted the ones I had at AKL, and there is not much else to show here…

Before I start Day 4, which was October 3 (a Thursday), let me just jump back a few hours. We drove back from Epcot to Animal Kingdom Lodge; I’d say the toughest part about staying there was getting there. This was definitely the longest drive we had between park and resort hotel during our trip.  D fell asleep in the car almost immediately, which didn’t surprise me; we parked right next to the elevator and got inside our room by 10pm.  I pulled out the sofa bed and D got inside and was asleep again almost immediately.  To know how big a thing this is you have to understand that she’s a girl who perpetually doesn’t sleep well. Since she was a baby, she’d sleep a short period and then wake up and be unable to get back to sleep if interrupted. For her to be asleep again so quickly, with the lights on… big deal. 🙂

I set the alarm and got into bed, enjoying the air conditioning, the huge bed all to myself, and the entire experience. I had intended to take a shower before going to bed, but by this time I was so beat I just couldn’t.

The next morning I got up with the alarm and took the shower. The night before when we were at Epcot, D’s legs had started to chafe – she was wearing a short skirt and after all that walking in the heat she got a little rash.  So I figured she’d do well to have a quick soak in the tub before we checked out.  Unfortunately though, when I got out of the shower at 6:45, she was still asleep!  this is REALLY unusual, for me to beat her getting up.  Since D only sleeps in when she’s really tired, I felt awful waking her, but we had a lot to do for the early morning: it was our Magic Kingdom day, AND it was an Early Entry morning, AND we had 8:25 ADRs at Crystal Palace.

So I had to drag her out of bed (she even begged me to let her sleep in!) and get her into the tub while I packed up our things, put out the tip for Mousekeeping, and watched the sun come up from our balcony view. When she was done she said her legs felt a little better, so we headed down to the lobby so that I could check out.

I wanted D to get a chance to sit out on the back porch and look at the animals.  The problem was, I wanted her to get 10-15 minutes but we could only really spare 5. 😦  I sent her outside, and thought checkout would take a little longer but it was actually about 2 minutes because they were so efficient… so I was ready to go get her just a few moments later.

Kidani’s back porch not only has rocking chairs to sit and animal-watch, it’s got viewscopes and even little picture charts of animals you “might” see.  We took a little while trying to find all we could, but it was past 7:30, and it was dawning on me that we had to get to the car, get onto the road, get to the TTC, get to the monorail, get to the MK and get to Crystal Palace in 50 minutes.

Spoiler warning: this didn’t happen. 😀

I kind of knew when I was planning this day that the scheduling wasn’t ideal.  I knew I would want to linger a little bit at Animal Kingdom Lodge, after all the time I’d dreamt of staying there; and I knew an early Crystal Palace ADR was pushing my luck. But I couldn’t find one any later, and plus, I wasn’t sure I wanted one much later – it could eat into our day.  But anyway, I was thinking we could still get there in good enough time and get in.  Initially I had hoped we’d get there by 8am to do early rope-drop (it was an Extra Magic Hours day) and possibly even ride Pirates of the Caribbean first-thing.  By this point I knew that wouldn’t happen.

So remember what I said about getting to and from Animal Kingdom Lodge re: the parks… I had taken a few wrong turns the day before and this time I second-guessed myself and missed the turn to get to the Magic Kingdom.  Instead, I ended up back on I-4.  I miraculously kept myself in a good mood and just repeated “Oh well! Things happen!” and I told D to be ready to beg to get into Crystal Palace when we got there late. I was able to handle the idea that we might not get into the restaurant but I was really worried we’d be charged $10 each for our missed reservations.

We FINALLY got into the MK parking lot, parked, and quickly made our way to the monorail entrance.  Which, of course, was closed off because it was 8:15 and the park doesn’t officially open until 9 am.  But then I realized they had a little spot to the side for Disney resort guests so they could get in for Extra Magic Hours. We showed our Magic Bands and were let in! Yay!!

So, signs were up ALL over the place for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  People had also asked D directly “are you doing the Halloween party?”  I had my tickets in my bag and I had so far managed to keep it completely secret from D that we were going. She had asked me several times and I’d said “we’ll see”, and also told her several times that there would be things we just wouldn’t get to do, but we’d be happy for what we did get to do.  At this point when she asked me again, as we were waiting for the monorail, I said “Well honey, looks like you have to have tickets, and I’m not going to buy tickets today.”

“Oh,” she said, profoundly disappointed; I waited to see if she’d beg but she didn’t.  She probably would have, but I went ahead and caved in.  “I’m not going to buy any tickets today because I ALREADY HAVE SOME!” I said, pulling the tickets out, and at that moment I was the COOLEST MOTHER EVER. 😀

So, a side note: other than this particular day, we pretty much avoided most on-site transportation. I have nothing against on-site Disney transportation and I will use it and I think it’s pretty good, as these things go, but I tend to dislike waiting in lines or missing out on getting a seat, so I prefer to use my car at least in the evenings. In this particular trip’s case, since we were checking in and out of resorts left and right, I just drove everywhere for the most part.

Which is actually part of why I was glad we got to park at the TTC and take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom, instead of taking a bus there from Animal Kingdom Lodge or something.  I LOVE THE MONORAIL.  In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find something that is not actually a ride within the parks that I love as much as I love the monorail.  I’m also one of those people whose entire Spanish knowledge consists of “si”, “gracias”, and “por favor mantegase alejado de las puertas”.

In that spirit, have a ton of pointless monorail pictures, just because I love them!

OOOH! Can you stand the excitement??

OOOH! Can you stand the excitement??

Monorail Silver...

Monorail Silver…

Monorail Red...

Monorail Red…

Monorail... Teal? Uh...

Monorail… Teal? Uh…

And teal

And teal

And teal some more! I think D took these.

And teal some more! I think D took these.

Of course, you can also take the ferry!

Of course, you can also take the ferry!

And there it is folks!

And there it is folks!



OK, side note over. 🙂  So, I think, is this particular chapter of the trip report.  Til next time!

Trip Report 2013: Day 3, Part 6: A Night At Epcot

Yes, it’s been a while. I’m going to finish this report up before it’s next October!  I swear! 🙂 Anyway, when I left off, we had left Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village to return to Epcot so that we could make our Test Track FastPass+ reservations.  That went smoothly and we had another good ride – slightly better, in fact, because we got our car’s data into the system this time and actually managed to be ranked. 😀

After Test Track, we headed over to Soarin’, and even with the FPs I can say we had a bit of a wait.  Not a long one, not really.. just enough to get D pretty bored/complainy.  But we made it in! And it was Soarin’, which is to say, great. 🙂  Next we backtracked a little and headed for Spaceship Earth, since we’d had to skip that so far to stay on track with the FPs.

I love Spaceship Earth.  I preferred Jeremy Irons’s narration, but I love the updates to the animatronics and I do like Judy Dench. Just not as much. 😉 Anyway D remains afraid of cavemen, but she didn’t mind them in this and was fascinated by the idea that they painted stories onto the walls.  Her favourite part of the ride is also my favourite: the part when you reach the very top, and you come out to see the Earth from a distance. 😀  Then on our descent we played the game and chose our future!


I love it when the heads have hands sticking out of them. XD

I love it when the heads have hands sticking out of them. XD


So it was now already 7:30 and we had just a half an hour left to get to Maelstrom.  We also needed to eat dinner.  I picked out a couple of things I thought maybe she might like among the Food and Wine kiosks, but they were ultimately too spicy – we got them from Terra.  Some Chili Colorado and home-made chips for D, and some Trick’n Chick’n Curry for me.  IT WAS DIVINE.

Here's the Terra menu - this is courtesy The Disney Food Blog (www.disneyfoodblog.com) and used without permission.

Here’s the Terra menu – this is courtesy The Disney Food Blog (www.disneyfoodblog.com) and used without permission.

The Trick'n Chick'n Curry which I looooved. This pic is from blogs.undercovertouris.com and used without permission.

The Trick’n Chick’n Curry which I looooved. This pic is from blogs.undercovertouris.com and used without permission.

And you know what? I didn’t actually get that this was vegan.  I did not realize it wasn’t meat! Looking back I should have; now that I know it I recognize the texture of meat substitute (which I quite like, honestly. I’m a fan of non-meat).  But I totally didn’t figure it out at the time.

Anyway, D liked the chips but not the chili, not surprisingly.  And she was not into the curry at all (didn’t think she would be). She was tired and didn’t want anything else to eat just then, and suddenly when I mentioned that her tooth was loose enough to come out and that it would be really cool if she lost it at WDW because maybe the tooth fairy would bring her something super-special, she had a breakdown.  She sat down and started crying that she didn’t want her tooth to come out and she was really upset and all kinds of things. 😦

It was one of those moments where I had to figure out what I needed to do.  So I offered her a legitimate choice of going back to the resort and taking it easy the rest of the night; or sticking to our plan and going around the rest of the World Showcase. She calmed down and really didn’t want to go back to the resort yet so we decided we would take our time going around the World Showcase, not hurry for anything, and finish colouring Duffy and getting our WS flags done.

To this end, we missed our Maelstrom FastPasses. That was really OK.  D doesn’t love that ride, and I have done it before so I can live without it. So instead we took our time and headed to Mexico, rather than the original plan of running to Norway and then doubling back after riding Maelstrom.

Mexico was great because D had not been inside the pavilion before.  So showing her how it was suddenly outside nighttime, inside a building, really amused her.  She did ask me if we really were outside even though we were inside, and then if outside was really inside of a large building too. XD  I think she was kidding, lol.

It's a 3 Caballero! Panchito is my son's favourite. :D

It’s a 3 Caballero! Panchito is my son’s favourite. 😀

You can hardly see Jose, which is a true shame, because he is da beeeeest.

You can hardly see Jose, which is a true shame, because he is da beeeeest.


We got our Mexico flag on Duffy, then got in the very very short line for the 3 Caballeros Gran Fiesta Tour. I had done this once before, and I love the Caballeros and have done my level best to get D into them as well.  Side note: when it comes to their changing the original Rio Del Tiempo ride and making it a 3 Caballeros ride instead, well… I normally think that not all rides need to be tampered with to have characters added. But I LOVE this one.  They kept most of what made Rio Del Tiempo good, and livened it up, and I’m sorry but the Caballeros are awesome.  Anyway, we got right on to a boat and got started, and about a minute or so into the ride – after we’d gone past the restaurant and into the temple – the ride kind of shut down.

The lights and the visuals stayed on, but the audio cut off, and so did the boat.  We just drifted.  We slooooowly drifted through the ride, watching Donald run about and Jose and Panchito look around for him, and every so often a recording came on saying that there was a technical problem and that a CM would be by to help us exit later.  We were expecting at any minute to come to a complete halt, but somehow we did keep moving the entire time… just slooooowly. 🙂

And then, unexpectedly, the ride came back on! JUST after they got Donald back!  So we got to hear the song a few times.  D and I debated on getting on the ride again to experience it properly, but we ended up deciding against it, since we had no idea if it would just shut off again.  And we had SEEN the whole thing, just not heard it! 🙂  Besides, it was now just after 8pm, which is actually D’s bedtime. I had known I would be keeping her up a bit late, but I didn’t want to push it.  And I wanted to catch “American Adventure” before we left, if possible.

So we went on to Norway.

Maelstrom was at a 20 minute wait when we got there, so we skipped it.  Instead we went inside the shop to the Kidcot stop so that we could get our flag done.  This didn’t take too long, so we moseyed to China to do the same. This one DID take a little while because there was quite a line at the Kidcot stop! By this point we had pretty nearly finished Duffy so we were just getting the flags done and moving on.  I was also starting to notice that the Kidcot stops were getting a lot of, um, “extra” traffic.

I don’t normally begrudge people collecting things at Disney. I do NOT mind if people take a long time meeting characters and getting a lot of autographs done, I have no issues when adults do things intended for kids, it’s all good.  In this case I’m going to gripe slightly, though.

We got held up a lot because of a high number of people who were collecting Kidcot flags and passport entries.  I can see the appeal, but in this case we’re talking about groups of people who all had one of each.  Not kidding, we honestly had at least one group of three people and each one had a Duffy AND a passport, and had to get the flags AND the stamps on each.  Like I said, I am all for collecting things but I think coming as a group and maximizing the time of the people there is a bit much. I’m not going to preach about it b/c I know there are always reasons to complain about everything, and people who do this can easily come back with an experience they had of a parent or a kid doing something they found objectionable. So I’m just putting that out there.  No offense. 🙂

Here by the way is the completed Duffy!  Sorry some of these are super blurry. I didn’t have good light when I took these, after the trip was done.

We coloured nearly all of him.  We kind of thought leaving him some white spots would be cool, and we were also lazy. :)

We coloured nearly all of him. We kind of thought leaving him some white spots would be cool, and we were also lazy. 🙂

Stamps and handdrawn flags or images! I love how so many of the countries incorporate a Mickey in the flag :D

Stamps and handdrawn flags or images! I love how so many of the countries incorporate a Mickey in the flag 😀

Stamps again!

Stamps again!

Anyhow… after China we went to Germany, where after the Kidcot stop I had to do a little shopping. My husband had requested a souvenir from Germany and since he collects beer steins I thought an ornamental stein would be perfect! (Apparently he expected something to do with the Seven Dwarves. I fooled him!)  So I got this cute little thing here, which he says he likes and I have decided to believe him. 😉

It's the central object. As you can see he likes various little knick-knacks so this fit in well. And look! I was not lying about Lum! :D

It’s the central object. As you can see he likes various little knick-knacks so this fit in well. And look! I was not lying about Lum! 😀

In Italy, since D had not really had much in the way of dinner, I took a page from my friend Amanda’s tradition and suggested we get some gelato. I LOVE gelato!  D went for simple chocolate, but I picked out my favourite, chocolate chip cookie dough. I have a weakness. 😀  At this point it was really getting late, nearing Illuminations time in fact. My plan had been not to wait around for Illuminations and I still wasn’t entirely sold on it. For some reason I had this sense that I would be able to beat the departing crowds if we skipped it.  But on the other hand, we still had to get to American Adventure!

So while everyone else was getting their Illuminations seats, D and I made it to the America Pavilion and approached American Adventure, which neither of us have ever seen, in the hopes of catching the last show.  But it turns out…

There WAS no last show! 😦 Technical difficulties had closed it for the evening.  D wanted to look around inside the building so I asked if we could just poke our heads in to peer around the lobby area, and the CM said sure.  I think we confused a few other people who wanted in, but we just looked and left. I did feel bad, because it was my decision to leave it for later, and D had been pretty set on it.  But she was OK with it, and there will always be a next time. 🙂

We got our final flag and country stamp on the Duffy, and then sat down just inside the America pavilion so that we could call home and say goodnight.  As we did this, the lights dimmed and the introduction for Illuminations started.  It was later than I’d thought. 😀  D was in the middle of talking to her father when the show itself started, and she was ENTRANCED.

She was also exhausted, so I decided to stick to my original plan of leaving during Illuminations… KIND OF.  First I let her stand up on the benches to see what she could of the show.  Once it was about halfway through we held hands and started to leave.  Now, I myself have only seen Illuminations once before.  And it’s good.  It’s very, very good.

But it is just a fireworks show, right?  I’m not all that moved by fireworks.  I remember when I saw it I liked it a lot, but you know, JUST FIREWORKS…

Well, okay Disney, I concede you this one.  I had misremembered.  Illuminations really is not JUST fireworks.  It’s extremely inspiring and even, dare I say it, moving.  We did start walking towards the exit while the show was going, but we did it slowly, and stopped every so often when we could manage a good view so that we could keep an eye on the show.

I may have cried a bit.  And I definitely started singing “We Go On”.  I’m not actually sure what I was slightly crying about; whether it was the rousing music, or the love of Disney, or just sharing the moment of being there with my girl and her loving it as much as me… Well, it was moving, and I’ll leave it at that. We’ve all had our moments, I guess. 🙂

We were nowhere near the exit, not really, before the show was done.  So I took D’s hand even more firmly and told her to just stick with me no matter what, and we waded through the crowds – which lessened as we got back into Future World, because a lot of people weren’t actually leaving yet, just dispersing.  And then we bade a fond farewell to Epcot, and schlepped our way back to the car, and left.

Coming up next I’ll talk a little bit about our night at Animal Kingdom Lodge (but not too much, since I already reviewed the resort) and then our Magic Kingdom day!

Trip Report 2013: Day 3, Part 5: And Now a Resort Break

If I haven’t mentioned it before (I have, but oh well), staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge has been a dream of mine.  It’s the Deluxe resort I most want to stay at.  (It still is, despite having stayed for a night!)  So if nothing else, even if I don’t get to go back, I can scratch one off my Bucket List! 😀

Getting to Animal Kingdom Lodge was a tiny bit tricky, but I figured it out. It was a lot easier, it turns out, than getting to the Magic Kingdom *from* AKL – but I’ll get to that later… 😛  Anyway, I have some advice for anyone who stays at Kidani Village for the first time: Don’t park in the first part of the garage.  Keep driving until you see the entrance to the resort.  That’s all. (I think everyone who isn’t me could probably figure this out.)

An incredibly awful picture of the main entrance to Kidani Village, taken the next morning.

An incredibly awful picture of the main entrance to Kidani Village, taken the next morning as we were leaving.

The fact that they had covered garage parking enticed me, so once we got there I parked at the far end of the garage, in the Zazu section.  We left our bags and things in the car so that we wouldn’t have to lug everything in at once to check in, and so I thought once we had our room I’d come back and get the bags we’d need overnight. Right? Sounds good huh?

It turns out that it was like a five-minute walk from where we parked to the lobby.  Not joking. I don’t know why I didn’t keep driving, but I was just in a hurry to get parked and check in! Lack of judgment on my part. 🙂  It was just walk and walk and walk, door after door of rooms of the resort but no idea how much farther it was to the lobby!  Door after door after door and at this point we suddenly needed the bathroom again.  So once we got to the lobby, before we could check in we had to duck into the (single room) bathroom first.  And there was a line. 🙂

Check-in itself went quite well.  D sat and watched a couple of cartoons and I tried to look around the lobby a little, but the check-in was so quick that I didn’t really have a chance!  They had a sitting area for kids with the afore-mentioned cartoons, and then just behind that an outdoor porch area with rocking chairs where you could go watch the animals.  I was immediately a little chagrined by the fact that I would obviously not be taking full advantage of what was clearly a BEAUTIFUL resort. 😦  Animal Kingdom Lodge needs at least an afternoon of exploration!  I’m not saying I regret staying there, not in the least, but I regret not having more time to take it in!  I hope it’s not my only visit there.

So we got our room number and it was even farther from the car. Ahem.  We were up, I want to say, on the 9th floor (I’m not looking at my room info right now) and since we had checked in we took a little bit of time to look out onto the animals.  We could see some zebras and just barely, a baby giraffe that wasn’t officially “out” yet for the public.  Then we found our room and I had D get settled in, before I went back to the car for our things so that she could get her swimsuit on and we could go to the pool.

As for the room, we were in a Deluxe Studio, which came with a heck of a large bathroom, a queen-sized bed, a pull-out sofa bed, a kitchenette, and the other standard amenities.  The Studio rooms have a balcony, but ours didn’t overlook the Savannah – rather it was looking out on the parking lot front of the resort.  The pics I took were limited because of my low battery, and don’t do the room justice at all, so I recommend you visit the AllEars.net gallery (or your favourite picture collection for WDW) to see some other pics.  Meanwhile here are mine!

Here's all my stuff on the bed! Because that's worth seeing.

Here’s all my stuff on the bed! Because that’s worth seeing.  Note the Mickey towel art!! 😀

The kitchenette!  I actually did like two dishes!! :D

The kitchenette! I actually did like two dishes!! 😀

This is the pull-out couch, pre-pull-out.

This is the pull-out couch, pre-pull-out.

I discovered three great things: 1) the balcony was AWESOME.  I’m sure seeing the animals would’ve been even better but I LOVED just having one! It was waaaay too hot to sit out there at that time, though, so I just stepped out and back in. Sigh.

Here is the view from our balcony, though this is actually the next morning.

Here is the view from our balcony, though this is actually the next morning.

2) we were very, VERY close to the Samawati Springs pool – across from it, in fact.  And 3) we were really close to an elevator that went all the way down into the garage.  So when I took that elevator back down to the lobby floor, I took note of which one it was (I want to say it was Rafiki) and – ten minutes later – was able to park RIGHT by it and get back up to our room almost instantly.

The unfortunate part was that it was already after 3:30, closing in on 4pm.  I had scheduled our afternoon break to be from 2:45-4:30 and then to return to Epcot at 4:45, but obviously that wouldn’t happen.  Fear not for I am not Rigid Planning Momma, but Flexible Momma!  It just meant we’d have to be careful not to miss our Test Track FastPass which was 5-6pm.

The Kidani Samawati Springs pool was awesome. It was large and the play area was even better than the one at Fort Wilderness. Here are a few pictures I didn’t take:

From www.aklresort.com, used without permission.

From http://www.aklresort.com, used without permission.

From www.mouseplanet.com, used without permission.

From http://www.mouseplanet.com, used without permission.

From www.ownerslocker.com, used without permission.

From http://www.ownerslocker.com, used without permission.

D completely avoided the water slide this time, but she did love the actual pool itself and preferred being in there over being in the play area. I’m not sure why because I would have given my arm to get to run around that spot! 😀

We played for about 45 or so minutes, and I felt bad cutting D off after that, but we needed to get back to the park.  She was disappointed but agreeable, and we got back by 5:15 or so and made our Test Track FPs. Our other two FPs were for Soarin’ between 6-7pm, and for the Maelstrom between 7-8pm.  I had scheduled it to try to get around the other half of the WS by 8:30 and to leave before Illuminations, because D is not a Night Owl by any stretch of the imagination and because I hate trying to navigate thru crowds.

But how did that plan pan out?  Stay tuned to see…

Trip Report 2013: Day 3, Part 4: Half of the World Showcase

Starting towards World Showcase meant, of course, that – again – we had to stop and watch the Fountain of Nations. I honestly don’t think we were ever able to pass it without stopping to watch. D managed to get just close enough to get coated in a fine mist from the spray-off, which tickled her pink. 🙂 Then moving on, we stopped off at the cranberry bog right before entering WS. This was TOO COOL, y’all! Though I would not want to be standing in there all day, I can tell you that. It was HOT in the direct sunlight!

I wonder how many times that day people asked if they could come in too?

I wonder how many times that day people asked if they could come in too?

D asked, as I’m sure everyone did all day long, if she could go in too. She was told that unfortunately since she hadn’t brought her waders, it was a no-go. I put in that I’d TOLD her to pack them. I think I confused her. 😉

Once we were officially inside the World Showcase, we were SURROUNDED by Food & Wine kiosks. It’s been a while since I’ve been at Epcot for F&W and I’d forgotten how thickly they were peppered throughout!

I really wanted to try everything, but that’s just not going to work when you’re doing the parks on a budget. Unless your entire budget is FOR Food & Wine and that’s a different trip. 🙂 In this case, I wanted to find something I’d like that D might like too. We passed several kiosks before I settled on the Kalua Pork Slider from Hawaii.

If I could go back to one thing it would be this. Pic is from www.disneyfoodblog.com and used without permission.

If I could go back to one thing it would be this. Pic is from http://www.disneyfoodblog.com and used without permission.

OH MY GOSH. This was heaven on a bun. A tiny, tiny bun. A tiny, delicious bun full of meaty heaven… now I’m getting strange. But the pork was really well-seasoned and well-cooked, and the chutney sauce was delicious. AND, I was able to scrape the sauce off some of it and give a few little bites to my moderately-picky 7-year-old, who deemed the pork and the bun both delish, as well. 🙂

We still needed something more for her, so I cast about and ended up buying D a blueberry Greek yogurt from Greece, a cup of Cheddar Cheese Soup from Canada (and she took the opportunity to tell everyone that her father is Canadian), and I want to say she got some pineapple juice. I know it was some kind of juice. Anyway, she loved the yogurt and at first spoonful liked the soup, but it’s a very strong flavour and after the second or so spoonful she had changed her mind. I finished that off and we made do with snacks we’d brought, after that.

We picked out one of the Marketplace Discovery Passports, where you can get a stamp for each country you buy from, but unfortunately we didn’t get to do that much tasting (for budget reasons). Still, I’m so glad to have been able to go for Food & Wine again!

Photo is from adventuresofthefoodaholic.blogspot.com and used without permission, but I can't find mine to photo it.

Photo is from adventuresofthefoodaholic.blogspot.com and used without permission, but I can’t find mine to photo it.

Getting back to our itinerary, and settling into the World Showcase, we headed to Canada first. As mentioned, D is half-Canadian, and she made a point of wanting to see the Canada Pavilion and watch the movie. I love the look of the Pavilion. We went down to the Kidcot stop first, and she and I started colouring our Duffy. The Canadian flag on the one she got was STAMPED on – lazy Canadians. 😉 We decided we’d colour a little bit, together, at each Kidcot stop and not finish it officially until the last one. 😀

Then we headed back up and followed the waterfall across the bridge, to get to the O Canada! theatre.

If you've got no idea where this is, GO TO THE CANADA PAVILION.

If you’ve got no idea where this is, GO TO THE CANADA PAVILION.

Waterfalls are everywhere in Canada. (Not really. Well, kind of.)

Waterfalls are everywhere in Canada. (Not really. Well, kind of.)

I’m not a huge fan of Martin Short, to be honest, but I think he’s a sweetie and genuinely classy. Also I’ll take him as The Cat in the Hat over Mike Myers any day. I mean if I have to choose. 😉 We got there around 1 o’clock, watched the movie (which I enjoyed, because I luv Canada and I get even more sappy over it when I see it celebrated), and when we got out our further exploration of the pavilion was cut short in the search for a bathroom. The URGENT search. XD

We booked it to the UK, and once the urgency was taken care of, we got to wander around a little. D really liked the phone booths, and when I suggested she get in and we take a picture, she turned it around and said *I* should go in! I am all for posing (as we’ve seen), so I was up for it! 😀

It was really hot in there.

It was really hot in there.

We took our time wandering through, found the Kidcot station, and kept an eye out for characters; we couldn’t find Mary Poppins but we did bump into Alice. Since she’s a face character, I figured there would be a conversation opportunity so I told D to think of what she’d like to say to Alice.

D asked Alice if this was her house.  Alice answered that no, it was the White Rabbit's house, but he wasn't home and he had locked the door so she couldn't get in to explore. I liked this Alice. :)

D asked Alice if this was her house. Alice answered that no, it was the White Rabbit’s house, but he wasn’t home and he had locked the door so she couldn’t get in to explore. I liked this Alice. 🙂

Couple of cute blondes! :D

Couple of cute blondes! 😀

As we made our way towards France, we passed some CMs drawing on the ground with chalk. They were writing “Supercalifragialisticexpialidocious” and things like that, and D suggested that maybe it meant Mary Poppins was coming, but I didn’t see her so I said we should keep going and we’d try to see her later. Spoiler alert, we never did… I feel kind of bad for it now… but on the other hand, I think if we’d lingered more than we did, we’d have missed getting to see all the pavilions. It’s amazing how time flies at Disney!

As we made our way around the lagoon, we kept trying to meet more characters, but they were always either leaving soon (so no more people in line) or they were coming soon, but I didn’t want to spend more than 15 minutes waiting and hanging around. It was getting later than I’d wanted it to, and my goal was to get halfway around World Showcase before leaving to check in at Animal Kingdom Lodge and take a rest. So we went as far as we could, without stopping for characters or attractions, but still trying not to rush and making a point to find all the Kidcot stops.

Somewhere on this fountain in Morocco is a Hidden Mickey. I don't think it's in this photo, though.

Somewhere on this fountain in Morocco is a Hidden Mickey. I don’t think it’s in this photo, though.

In Japan D picked up an origami sea turtle from the CMs working at the Kidcot stop! She wanted to make a crane, but they said instead she could take whatever she wanted. Then we *had* to go into the store, which also houses their cultural display. Right now the display is on mythical animals, both in traditional legends and in current culture. IE, in anime, video games, and so on. This was REALLY interesting and D and I took our time at it. I went in especially wondering if they’d have any Lum representation, since she’s an Oni, and they DID! My husband and I have always loved “Urusei Yatsura” and he’s a big Lum appreciator so I had to get a pic for him.

Lum! :D

Lum! 😀

By the time we got out of the Mitsukoshi Department Store, where I looked with interest for gifts but didn’t find anything I loved that was priced low enough for cheapie me, it was past 2:30. That was the time by which I had hoped we’d be checked in and going to the pool, so I told D we’d move American Adventure from the afternoon to the evening on our itinerary and make a point of seeing it that night. I have never seen it, and it was D’s other main “TO DO” in the World Showcase. We turned around and headed back to the car so that we could head over to AKL.

Trip Report 2013: Day 3, part 3: Characters, Imagination, and Beverly.

I need to step it up on this Trip Report… I keep taking longer and longer between updates!  Anyway, when I last left off, D and I took a spin into the Universe of Energy… and it was invigorating!! (Or I don’t know, maybe not. LOL!)

When we got out of the ride, it was past 10 o’clock already.  I intended us to head over towards the Land and/or the Imagination Pavilion, but with the possibility of poking about at whatever we saw on the way, too.  This is where D discovered the Fountain of Nations. She was entranced.  It was the first of many times throughout the day that she stopped and watched the show going on.  And the thing is, until she did that, I hadn’t realized that I have NEVER stopped and watched the FoN show.  Not once.  I just never paid enough attention to notice how it’s all synched with the music playing.  Well, I’ve seen plenty of it now, and it’s well-worth standing and watching for a while!

Here’s a video I found on YouTube.  This is NOT taken by me, it is by WDWLive.

I dragged D away from the water and we got in line for some character greetings.  I was on a mission this trip to find Chip and Dale for a good friend who loves them, and I had read that they were sometimes at the Character Spot, but no luck this time. However, Mickey, Minnie and Goofy were there!  And I havent’ said this yet in this trip report, but I love Goofy. He’s not my favourite Disney character but he is my fave meet and greet!

Doesn't it seem like Mickey ought to be the last one you meet? Like let the excitement build or something? OH well, he was first, the end.

Doesn’t it seem like Mickey ought to be the last one you meet? Like let the excitement build or something? OH well, he was first, the end.

This is the first time I noticed Goofy wearing suspenders and his shirt being too short. LOL! See something new every time. ;)

This is the first time I noticed Goofy wearing suspenders and his shirt being too short. LOL! See something new every time. 😉

Two girly-girls!  Minnie is my favourite girly-girl (because D isn't really one after all).

Two girly-girls! Minnie is my favourite girly-girl (because D isn’t really one after all).

THREE girly-girls! :D

THREE girly-girls! 😀

Emerging from the Character Spot, I noticed we were close to Club Cool.  And thus began my nefarious plan to trick D into drinking the Beverly.

I didn’t want to completely put her off all the sodas, so I warmed her up with a couple of other flavours. A lot of the dispenser stations were low on sodas (which I’d later learn was because they were discontinuing nearly all of them), so I had to pick and choose.  But there was a wrinkle in my plan, something I had forgotten: D doesn’t like carbonated beverages. The bubbles irritate her tongue. She never, ever drinks soda.

Well, she was willing to try the first one, to see if she still didn’t like it.  So I gave her the VegitaBeta flavour first. Too strong, she said. I tried the Smart Watermelon flavour next – I really thought it was a little less bubbly.

But this is the face she made.

But this is the face she made.

I said “Try just one more?” because I evidently want my daughter to never trust me again. I even poured the Beverly and took a sip, saying “Oh, it’s really okay!” She backed away shaking her head.  A firm NO.

I know when not to push.  But this was on my “MUST DO” list. SOMEBODY was gonna drink the Beverly.

So I handed D my camera, and I took one for the team.

I regret nothing!

I regret nothing!

Never doubt that I am devoted to my plans, folks. 😉

After this there was a little bit more staring at the Fountain of Nations, then I dragged us into Innoventions West. I picked West largely because we were on that side of the park at that moment, and because I wasn’t sure which was which; if I’d actually known, I’d have gone to East, because West was the only side we did LAST trip.  The last time, D and I had done the Great Piggy Bank game and the fire safety game, and there wasn’t a whole lot else in there; well, this time she was up to do the Piggy Bank game again, so we did, but otherwise once again – not a whole lot to do.  We played a bit of video games (Toy Story) and left, heading to the Imagination Pavilion.

By this time I have to admit, I was getting into a bit of a hurry.  Off and on I’d do that – let us linger someplace, then feel like I had to make up the time.  So, unfortunately, we did not get the chance to take in the Imagination pavilion… which is too bad, because it’s actually among my favourites in the park!  Yes, I mean just for the jumping fountains. 😀  Anyway, I kept telling D that we had to “book it” across the park to get to whatever I had my mind set on. XD  That became a mantra for the rest of the trip, recurring whenever I felt like there was a time crunch, so probably about 2-3 times each day.

In spite of D’s wish to do Captain EO, we did end up just hopping onto Journey Into Imagination.

In MY imagination, this picture looked a lot better.

In MY imagination, this picture looked a lot better.

I’m so torn on this ride – I like it every time I do it, but I also feel like it could just be SO much better.  The song isn’t in it nearly enough. And in spite of having a huge soft spot for Eric Idle, I miss Dreamfinder. Although I also have to admit that I really like the ending.  The first time I went on the ride was the first time I ever heard “One Little Spark”, and with it being sung by Eric Idle, I thought perhaps he had written it!  Yeah, yeah, don’t kill me.  Eric Idle writes some very singable songs!  Anyway, I like the original MUCH more now, but I’m just happy every time I hear it no matter who is singing it. 🙂  Even if it’s a hideous puffy moon face! 😀

In any case, D loves the ride, and I’m more than happy to take her on it.  (I conveniently “forgot” to ask her if she wanted to go on Nemo this time around.)  Afterwards we hung around the ImageWorks area for a while and she built her own Figment, we hopped around on the musical instruments floor, and then we moved on to the Land.

Our FP+ for Soarin’ was still hours away so this time was just about getting onto Living With the Land, which is one of my favourites, and which D consistently mentioned having liked on our last trip.  I wasn’t completely sure if that would hold up, because I didn’t know if she remembered it accurately – but she enjoyed it just as much!

I have only waited in a line for this ride ONCE.  That was in May 2008.  Otherwise it’s been walk-on every time and today was no exception. We got right on and started our tour of different ecological systems… This was the part of the ride that D really remembered.  She finds the part with the buffalo on the prairie to be completely fascinating.  And she was also pretty convinced that it was really raining in the rainforest. XD

AND, I discovered a month or two before our trip – rather by accident – that she loves the song “Listen to the Land”. You know, the song that is no longer a part of the ride? LOL!  But I put it onto a CD for our trip and every time it came on she asked to listen to it again immediately after.  So in honour of D, I’m going to share another of my fave videos by someone else – this one is by Joanna (of the Amazing Technicolor Interwebs), and I love it!

We saw a bunch of the hidden mickeys inside the greenhouse portion, which was great!  A lot of the time, we are going too fast for D to see them. This time she pointed a few out!  She also really liked the baby alligators etc.

Once we were finished, we went alllll the way back out (honestly – the only downside of the Land pavilion is how long a walk it is from entrance to rides, and back!) and then since it was already past noon, it was time to hit up World Showcase!

2013 Trip Report: Day 3, part 2: Off to Epcot!

I love how she looks like she's about to fall backwards into the fountain

I love how she looks like she’s about to fall backwards into the fountain

All right!  So Epcot! I’d wanted to get there before the park opened, but the tent slowed us down some, and so did my reminding myself not to rush D. Nobody has fun if we’re nailed to a schedule.  Meanwhile, I was pretty excited for the Food & Wine Festival, but I knew not to assume D would want to eat much from it.

D and the Food & Wine signage

D and the Food & Wine signage

I OWN THIS PLACE! (I can dream.)

I OWN THIS PLACE! (I can dream.)

D’s favourite ride from before was Test Track; I had FastPass+ selections for Test Track, Soarin’, and the Maelstrom for the evening, so we decided to do whatever we could in the morning and just have fun. 🙂  I also had a (somewhat rough) itinerary in hand, with our FP+ times on them as well as a schedule for the earlier part of the day.  I’ll be honest: most of the times on the schedule did get shuffled around. And I honestly think that’s how it should be. 🙂  FLEXIBILITY!

But our first priority for the first ride of the day was still: New Test Track!

A quick side note to mention that one of my favourite things about this trip was running, hand in hand, with D to get to our destination.  Except for the times we skipped. That was awesome too. 😀

Test Track’s new ride is very, very streamlined.  It was weird to be in there and try to remember what the queue used to look like!  It’s a completely different experience now.  The interactivity is neat: getting to design your own car is a fun way to pass the time while you’re waiting to board.  Low light levels made it very hard to get a good set of pics on this ride’s queue, but just remember, I was trying FOR YOU. 😛

Uggggh, I really can't believe I'm letting you guys see this awful pic.

Uggggh, I really can’t believe I’m letting you guys see this awful pic.

It's the lighting making the pics look like this. REALLY.

It’s the lighting making the pics look like this. REALLY.

TOUCHSCREEN TECHNOLOGY!  Is there a child alive who doesn't love this?

TOUCHSCREEN TECHNOLOGY! Is there a child alive who doesn’t love this?

Here is the car that we designed. (Mostly D but I love touchscreen technology too.)

Here is the car that we designed. (Mostly D but I love touchscreen technology too.)

Once we’d designed our cars and we were allowed into the next queue area, it wasn’t a long wait to board our ride simulator whatsit, whatever they called it.  Simulator was in there somewhere (unless it wasn’t).  There was a little boy who was very, VERY sad that the car he designed was not the car he got to ride in.  He was crying and we heard him shout “I HATE this ride!” as that family departed… poor baby!  I wonder how much disappointment that ride can create. XD

The ride was certainly fun, and D *loved* it, so I was glad I already had FastPasses to ride it again in the evening; however, speaking for myself, I have to be honest that I preferred the old version.  As clunky and unattractive as it was in parts, you knew what was going on in each test.  I found this version hard to follow, especially because we didn’t properly load our car’s data on the first time we went through, so it took me a while to figure out that they were ranking the specs of the cars.

Tell me this is not one ugly car. And I will call you a liar. :)

Tell me this is not one ugly car. And I will call you a liar. 🙂

What they do is, as you design your car the computers rate that design on certain areas of performance.  Then when you go through the ride, as you’re having fun being bumped around on the track, they run your car’s data with the cars from the other riders, and rank them in each area.  Then at the end they rank each car overall.

Personally, I miss the heat, cold, and corrosive acid rooms.  But, that’s me. 🙂  I mean hey! Tron is fun too. ;P  No, but seriously, it’s still a fun ride and other than missing what’s not there anymore, I don’t think there’s much to complain about.  Plus that fast loop at the end is still there. XD

The cheap way of getting your ride photo!

The cheap way of getting your ride photo!

Having finished the necessary step 1 for the day, we moved onto my second one on the itinerary: Ellen’s Energy Adventure. I was a little bit on the fence about it, since it’s VERY long, but I had a couple of reasons for choosing it: one, I was honestly trying to do the science-type stuff while we were there so that D would pick up some information.  (In fact, I made her write a tiny little report about this ride later.) Two, D loves dinosaurs but I knew “Dinosaur” would be beyond her – too much scary things jumping out at you in that ride.  And three, I hadn’t done it since 2005 and it really does deserve SOME attention.

It's a pavilion of ENERGY!

It’s a pavilion of ENERGY!

On the walk, I explained to D that the lady starring in it was the voice of Dory in Finding Nemo (D: “Oh. Wow.”), and also that the animatronic dinosaurs were only in one part and that they kind of snort at you but not much else.  We got to the theatre just about five minutes before the next pre-show started, and we’d just gone inside when D asked more about the dinosaurs.  Somehow she got it into her head that it was a movie only, and that the animatronics would come *into* the room and like, sit near her and mess with her or something. I’m not clear on this. 😀

She nearly kiboshed the whole thing and in fact got herself into a slight panic so we had to leave the building, but outside I explained to her that it’s not scary, it’s no worse than the Great Movie Ride, and I’d be there with her the whole time.  She finally relented and we’re both glad she did!  The movie is fun, it honestly is – though largely because Ellen DeGeneres is such a delight. 🙂  And Bill Nye the Science Guy was just cute in the 90s. 😉 She did indeed write the report on the attraction.  I’ll look for it later and see if I can put up a picture.

For what it’s worth, as a frequent Disney-goer, I don’t recommend going on Energy Adventure every trip.  If you’ve never done it, DO IT.  If you have, but you’re on a long trip and will be spending at least 2-3 days at Epcot, do it.  If you’ve done it and you’re only going to be at Epcot for one day, skip it.  It doesn’t change.  It may or may not be there next time you come, but at least you’ve done it in the past.  I say this with love, but it’s just so LONG, and there are other things at Epcot to discover if you’re limited on time.  But DO make an effort to see it if you haven’t before; D and I sacrificed nearly an hour of our single Epcot day for it and neither of us regret it. 🙂

Trip Report 2013: Day 3, beginning at Fort Wilderness

Before we officially start Day 3, let’s backtrack a tiny bit to the night before…

I haven’t talked a whole lot about our campsite yet, other than putting up the tent. However, there isn’t actually a whole lot to say about it.  Every campsite gets a sand/gravel patch with a little driveway leading into it for your car (should you have one).  As long as you have a hammer to get the tent pegs in, the ground material is very easy to set up in. (Don’t laugh. I didn’t know I needed a hammer on my first trip and I had to be rescued by neighbours who knew more about setting up a tent than I did. :P)  Many of the sites also have small trash cans and even some recycling stands with different partitions for newspapers, bottles/cans, etc.  All sites also have a picnic table and a water hookup with hose; this is super useful, as a lot of other campsites I’ve been to don’t have these.

Home Sweet Home! (Image from Wikipedia)

Home Sweet Home! (Image from Wikipedia)

We were also very close to the comfort station, right around the corner, which was a big help when we got in after dark that night. “Comfort station”, by the way, means bathrooms and showers.  There are also electrical outlets, suitable for hair dryers and charging cell phones, AND – best part – they are AIR-CONDITIONED.  So they ain’t kidding about the comfort part. 🙂

Exterior of a Comfort Station. This is from http://bigbrian-nc.livejournal.com/11409.html and used without permission. (He's got a great review post there, go read it.)

Exterior of a Comfort Station. This is from http://bigbrian-nc.livejournal.com/11409.html and used without permission. (He’s got a great review post there, go read it.)

D had a real knack for finding squashed things (bugs mainly) outside every comfort station we went into. She thought it was the same one each time.

And this here is the interior (partially) of a comfort station, courtesy of this page: http://home.hiwaay.net/~jlspence/photogal.htm

And this here is the interior (partially) of a comfort station, courtesy of this page: http://home.hiwaay.net/~jlspence/photogal.htm

When we got back, around 8:30 or 9 or so, I hadn’t yet blown up the air mattress (because I R SMRT), so I did that and then D got to carry the flashlight over to the comfort station and we brushed our teeth and got ready for bed.

So I wasn’t able to tell if I had just not inflated the mattress properly or if it had a hole in it, but boy did that thing deflate quickly once we were on it.  The worst was not just that it was going flat – I’m willing to sleep on the ground – but the way it was inflated in SOME spots but not others, and if you moved at all, it readjusted the inflation areas. GAH. Plus I had not put any blankets down beneath it – dumb move. Didn’t sleep well for the third night in a row.

Even better: we were ready for bed by about 9:30, which isn’t TOO bad for D though I’d prefer 8:30… and it took her a while to wind down, because she’s hyperactive and her brain is always going a mile a minute unless she’s EXHAUSTED.  Well, she’d drifted off and I finally was getting there too, and then the first strains of the Electric Water Pageant floated gently and unmistakably into our tent. XD  So I guess we probably fell asleep somewhere closer to 10:30 or even later, in the end.

The next morning we kept up the trip’s unintended tradition of getting up before 6am. 😛  Not really on purpose – I didn’t wake her, we were just both up and couldn’t get back to sleep.  I HAD  actually planned on getting up early though, because I wanted to try to get a run in… I hadn’t factored in the late sunrise so it was pitch black!  I told D we would go on a walk instead, so after pulling on some clothes and using the bathrooms we walked around, bringing the flashlight.  We killed about a half an hour and it was finally starting to get light by the time we got back.

Because I'm at work and can't find my own map that they gave me. This is from Disneydrawingboard.com.

Because I’m at work and can’t find my own map that they gave me. This is from Disneydrawingboard.com.

During the walk, I managed to figure out where the Meadow Trading Post was – it’s really tough to figure out based on the map, which I actually did have with me – and although it wasn’t open yet, we needed to pick up a few things because neither one of us had our toothbrushes.  Believe it or not. 😛  So I decided we’d be needing to pop by there on the way out to Epcot.

One of my regrets about the shortage of time on this trip was that, especially due to our resort-hopping, we really didn’t have time to explore ANY of the places we stayed at fully.  Most of our downtime between parks was taken up checking in and sometimes setting up the tent.  Next time we come to WDW, our first day we will just hang out at the resort rather than head immediately to the parks.  All the resorts deserve a little bit of exploration, and Fort Wilderness is one of the BEST ones to do that with!

Well, anyway, at this point we got showers and dressed, ate some light breakfasts (mostly muffins) and set about taking the tent down.  I’m not as good at that as I am at putting it up, so it didn’t QUITE fit into the bag, but that’s OK… I only had to stick it into the trunk of the car. 🙂

The Meadow Trading Post; photo by Jack Spence at AllEars.Net, used without permission (and I will remove it if asked).

The Meadow Trading Post; photo by Jack Spence at AllEars.Net, used without permission (and I will remove it if asked).

Interior of Meadow Trading Post; photo from the useful site CB4GO.com (http://cb4go.com/Free/Attractions/AttractionsDisneyWorldOrlandoResortsFtWildernessCampground.htm), used without permission

Interior of Meadow Trading Post; photo from the useful site CB4GO.com (http://cb4go.com/Free/Attractions/AttractionsDisneyWorldOrlandoResortsFtWildernessCampground.htm), used without permission

Once we’d loaded up for the day, we drove over to the Meadow Trading Post – which had pretty much just opened – and picked up the toothbrushes and a couple of little souvenirs, namely a box of different teas that I’d tried out on our last trip.  They’re quite good and my husband loves tea, so I decided to pick up another.   So here’s a tip: Don’t forget that the Meadow Trading Post (and the Settlement Trading Post) is there.  Most things that you may forget to bring, you can pick up at the shop and it’s not really your standard gift shop; it’s more of a general store.  There’s a variety of food, basic first aid items, diapers, and other necessaries.  Are they more expensive than they would be outside Disney property?  Oh my, yes.  But I didn’t feel like I was being gouged.  There was a markup but it was not excessive.

The two women who were working the store were very nice and noticed D was wearing her Captain EO shirt, so they made a point of chatting with her about it.  She told them that we were going to Epcot that day and that we’d be seeing it (this is after we had agreed repeatedly that we would NOT be seeing it, because the Supreme Leader makes her nervous in 3D, so it was not on our schedule).  They also told her alllll about the Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and how she really should go to that – thanks, ladies. 😉

When we got back into the car D discovered that there was a tiny frog on the side door.  We named him Kermit. 🙂  Then we checked out and headed off for a day at Epcot!  D had said she wanted to ride the horses, and I felt bad that we hadn’t even so much as *seen* them yet, but I already talked about my regrets.  One thing we DID see while driving to the campsite the day before: a deer running along a trail!  We see deer at home all the time but somehow, at WDW, I consider it far more magical and exciting. 😀  Kind of like, you know… EVERYTHING at Disney!

Trip Report 2013: The last of Day 2! For reals, now.

After redoing Star Tours, we headed on over to Toy Story Mania to finally use our FastPasses.  It was the same ride it always is, which is to say, FUN as heck and fast-moving but I will not ride it without a FastPass.  I used the standby queue ONCE, on soft open in 2008.  It was 45 minutes and honestly?  It was WORTH it, because I was alone, the ride was fun, and Mr. Potato Head was awesome. It is a great queue! But I wouldn’t wait 45 minutes now, with my kids, and I’ll tell you one more thing: the line is never, ever as short as 45 minutes. I never see it less than 60 and sometimes up to 90 minutes.  No deal.

So long story short, I haven’t seen Mr. Potato Head in 5 years. His loss, really.

He's been waiting for me to return, all this time.

He’s been waiting for me to return, all this time.

Anyway after TSM, it was past 6:30 so we were off after dinner.  I had picked out Fairfax Fare as our dinner place, because D loves herself some mac and cheese and they have some really interesting gourmet hot dogs.  I hadn’t paid much attention to where Fairfax Fare is located but I knew it was on Sunset Blvd, and had a pretty good mental picture of where I thought it was. Because I am awesome, I was pretty nearly EXACTLY right. 😀  (Still no maps, people! I didn’t pick up a map of HS until the next day!)

Sunset Blvd is my favourite area of the park, and normally I snap a ton of pictures as I walk down it.  This time I was trying to conserve batteries, so I didn’t, but you know – it’s kind of the same most times, I’ll admit.  So here are a few from my 2011 trip. 😀

Lovin' this walk!

Lovin’ this walk!

And lovin' this view!

And lovin’ this view!

Ever buy any produce from here? I'm sure it's very Anaheimy.

Ever buy any produce from here? I’m sure it’s very Anaheimy.

I have nothing special to say about this picture!

I have nothing special to say about this picture!

Ever found this luggage?

Ever found this luggage?

I'm almost sure that when I was here in '08, this same woman was assisting a director. I'm NEARLY sure it's her. Way to climb the ladder to fame, honey! :D

I’m almost sure that when I was here in ’08, this same woman was assisting a director. I’m NEARLY sure it’s her. Way to climb the ladder to fame, honey! 😀

The downside of being on Sunset Blvd is you’re staring down Tower of Terror, which you love like whoa, and on your left is Rock N’ Roller Coaster, which you also love like crazycakes, and your daughter is scared of both so you can’t do them this trip. Ohhhh, wellll. 🙂


This is from 2011, but I just can't resist sneaking in a pic of this view!

This is from 2011, but I just can’t resist sneaking in a pic of this view!


We picked out our meals at Fairfax Fare and moved off to the side to wait for them.  My plan for dessert was to pick up a cupcake from Starring Rolls that we could split; they had a limited time Halloween Minnie carrot cupcake at various counter service places that looked delicious and I’d eyed it but decided not to go for it this time, mainly because carrot cake normally has walnuts and D is allergic to nuts.

Well, our food took a little while to come, and while we were waiting the CMs told another couple of guests that they’d get the turkey legs that they had ordered for free if they gobbled like turkeys.  I had heard this as a rumour but never actually seen it demonstrated!  Sadly, the guests declined, and paid for their food.  Ahhh, well. 😀  They must have needed to give something away for free, though, because when our food came the CM looked at the time on our receipt and said “You guys have been waiting too long – be right back” and she came back with TWO full-sized Halloween Minnie cupcakes.  D asked “Do they have nuts?” and guess what?  They DIDN’T! 😀

So a quick food review: D got mac and cheese with carrot sticks and grapes, pretty standard.  I decided to get one of these fancypants hot dogs, so I got one covered with mac and cheese, bacon, and truffle oil. Yep – TRUFFLE OIL.  To be completely honest, I… don’t know what I thought of it. 🙂  Everything on it was good, but maybe I just don’t like hot dogs enough.  Or it might be the combination of the quick serve mac and cheese WITH the hot dog, I don’t know.  Either way, I have to admit I don’t recommend it.

Gourmet hot dog from Fairfax Fare: Mac&cheese, bacon and truffle oil. I give it 2 1/2 stars.

Gourmet hot dog from Fairfax Fare: Mac&cheese, bacon and truffle oil. I give it 2 1/2 stars.

The cupcakes, on the other hand – oh, myyyyy.  Neither of us could finish them (not even one, let alone both!), but they were wonderful. The frosting is orange – and is actually orange creme flavoured cream cheese frosting.  It’s topped with a little chocolate witch’s hat, in purple and orange.  D ate the hat, and some of the cake, but she said the frosting was too sweet and she didn’t really have much more than a few bites of her own.  I ate about half of mine, and D ate more of just the cake on mine before we had to toss them both; we were too full, and the frosting on them was melting in the heat!  She really enjoyed the cake part though.

Minnie Mouse Halloween Carrot Cake cupcakes!  4 stars! :D

Minnie Mouse Halloween Carrot Cake cupcakes! 4 stars! 😀

Absolutely wonderful, though, and worked out perfectly since I was going after cupcakes and no allergies got in the way. I do LOVE carrot cake.

By now it was getting dark. I decided that it would be fun to do a little shopping for ME; and for years now I’ve been looking for a particular shirt. I saw it in 2008 and thought “Nah, I’ll get it later” and then couldn’t find it in 2011.  It’s a Tower of Terror shirt.  So in the waning light I had D follow me to the gift shop for Tower of Terror – this was neat because she was able to see the entrance, some of the spooky decor, and the sign lighting up with the attraction logo on it – and we FOUND MY SHIRT! 😀

We also browsed around for some other gifts and I got into a discussion with a CM about Star Wars Episode 7.

At this point I was lugging around several bags, and it was dark, so we decided that MuppetVision 3D would be our next, and last, attraction before we left.  (We never did make it to meet Woody or Buzz, nor several other things I had said we would “consider”. That’s OK though.  We have no regrets.)

MuppetVision is the same each time, and yet each time I laugh like I haven’t seen it before. It’s such a goofy, lovely show.  The fact that it’s one of the last Muppet projects that Jim Henson worked on, and completed, may be part of why I hold it in high regard.

So you know how D got a little acknowledgment from the Tin Man in the Great Movie Ride?  Well, Statler and Waldorf picked on me. 😉  “Hey Waldorf! Look at that guy in the Goofy mask!” “That’s not a mask!” “Oh. Sorry, lady!”

Honestly I really do feel like they're actually really up there. :D This photo is by Jack Spence @ AllEars.Net: http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2010/08/i_know_i_heard_it_someplace_qu_2.html

Honestly I really do feel like they’re actually really up there. 😀 This photo is by Jack Spence @ AllEars.Net: http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2010/08/i_know_i_heard_it_someplace_qu_2.html

I noticed during this that they were looking approximately in our direction, so I said to D, “Hey! I think he meant me!  Statler, you’re a jerk!”

D took this seriously and kept reminding me afterwards that Statler heckled me. XD

One of my big joys was that I got D to start pointing out where Bean Bunny was.  There were not many people in the audience, and even fewer were kids; plus she’s not really a big “participation” kid, but when the voices come in saying “I see one! Over there!” I kind of said something like “Hey yeah! Up there!” to go along with it – this is how we’ve always watched “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” too, with me answering the TV first and then her picking up on it.  Well, it worked this time too and she jumped right in. “Up there!  He’s right up there!”  Ahhhh, I like to think it’s probably kinda gratifying for the Sweetums guy when kids actually join in. 😀

D was also super-impressed by the state of the theatre as we left, and by the fact that by the time we were nearly out the doors, it was miraculously “fixed”. “How’d they DO that?!” she wanted to know.  Sometimes I tell her (usually if it’s something kind of scary), and sometimes I just say “Magic!” 😀

…So.  It was now nearing 8pm, and that was our time to leave.  We walked through the Muppet Stuff store in search of Fraggle Rock memorabilia (spoiler alert: there is none), then just wandered about a little bit.  I hated to leave, because I really do love this park.  Does it need some TLC?  Oh, yes.  I want it to be about the movies and Hollywood the way it used to. Kick out American Idol Experience – kick it to the curb!! – nobody likes that one.  (Now I’ll get comments from people who love it. In fact I’ll be sad if I don’t, b/c the idea that everyone really DOES dislike it is sad.)

Take out Lights, Motors, Action.  I love Indiana Jones but that show could be replaced or even removed.  I’m trying to resign myself to the reality that they will likely take out MuppetVision, even though I will cry if they do, and I hope it is still there for at least one more family trip so that my son can see it again before it’s gone… he doesn’t remember it from last time.

Star Wars Land would be fine but I would be happier if they’d revamp the Backlot Tour. I never do that anymore because frankly… what backlot?  And if they take out Graumann’s Chinese Theatre to put in Star Wars Land, I am going to kick some shins.  I’m serious.  SHIN-KICKING WILL HAPPEN.  Update the Great Movie Ride but don’t you DARE get rid of it! 😛

And that, my dear friends, is Day 2. And we can say farewell to Hollywood Studios now. 🙂

Trip Report 2013, Day 2, Part 3: Fewer Photos, More Words!

Still Day 2, still Hollywood Studios! (Only for 1 more post after this though…)  When we left off, D and I were heading to Pizza Planet for lunch.  Join us, won’t you?

Going in, D wanted to play a game in the arcade, as you do.  And she picked out – The CLAAAWWWW.  I should preface this by saying that D has played The Claw once before and didn’t win.  I told her before and after that people rarely win but she still took it hard.  So I didn’t really want her doing it this time, especially because it was a full dollar to play, but she was set on it.  She picked a machine with stuffed dogs in it, chose the one she wanted, and went for it.

Well, she didn’t get the dog she wanted but to my absolute astonishment she got the one next to it!  I don’t know, maybe they have the Claws set so that they’re easier to win on in DHS?  Or maybe it was just Disney magic at work! 😀 Anyway, all it took was a dollar and a single try!  She named it Mary. 😀

Mary the Lucky Dog! :D

Mary the Lucky Dog! 😀

So I know a lot of people who do not love Pizza Planet.  And I understand that.  There’s not a lot of food choices – I ended up not getting anything and just eating D’s carrots that came with her kids’ pizza.  But I do love the theming, and D’s not picky about her pizza, so we were happy. 🙂

I wanted to take pictures of Pizza Planet but didn't want to kill my battery. Here ya go. :P

I wanted to take pictures of Pizza Planet but didn’t want to kill my battery. Here ya go. 😛

On the way out I let her get a pressed penny.  This is something else I really never do – I consider pressed pennies to be a waste of 76 cents (or however much they cost now).  Those poor pennies!  But in this case, it was a decent option, because there weren’t many games in that arcade you could put money into and have something to show for it afterwards.  Since D is not a very good gamer yet I thought it was better to leave with a souvenir instead of a frustrating game attempt, so we went ahead on it.  She chose a Maleficent design. 😀

I have to confess to one thing: I can’t quite remember the precise sequence of events here.  I think we might have gone on the Great Movie Ride *before* heading to Muppets, but timewise, I’m honestly not sure of that.  So I’m sticking it in here, anyway. 🙂

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times now, the majority of the attractions at Hollywood Studios had very little lines, so our wait time was generally pretty low (and as I’ve also mentioned, this was lucky for D, who has no waiting skills at all).  We moved thru pretty quickly – didn’t even take any photos this time – and when we got on I tried to find the Hidden Minnie I knew was in the mural.  But it’s been so long that I couldn’t find it until we were passing it, and as we’re passing is NEVER long enough for D to pick these things out, so we missed it. ARGH.

Have you seen the Hidden Minnie in the Great Movie Ride mural?  It’s one of my favourites. 😀

Anyway, we got the gangster track this time around.  I think I always get the gangster track. I’m pretty sure I almost never get the western one.  I will say though, today it looked as if they only had one car running due to the small lines, so it probably would’ve been impossible for me to get the western track. *lol*  Anyhow, Mugsy was better than our guide. I wasn’t a huge fan of our guide, but Mugsy was pretty good.  Weird thing, I’ve had a few times when I’ve ridden this and the “bad guy” has been somewhat sympathetic, and sometimes totally not.  This Mugsy played it all Gangsta. 😀

D had wanted to go on the ride, but I don’t know if she remembered precisely what it was.  She enjoyed it, but the entire section from “Alien” until you pass the “horror movie” part, she really just can’t watch.  She has to bury her head agianst me and wait until I say it’s OK.  However, the whole thing is apparently worth it for her because of the “Wizard of Oz” part.

We got to the spot where Dorothy and her friends are standing and looking at the city of Oz, and D says to me “Wow! The Tin Woodman looks GREAT!” (He’s her favourite; she probably has a little crush on him, you know, as 7-year-olds do.)  She swears that when she said that, he turned in her direction and smiled. What I saw: programmed animatronic movement in her direction. What she saw: “I think he actually moved, like, with his feet. I think he heard me and turned around and smiled.  I’m pretty sure he’s not really an animatronic.” 🙂  She was talking about this for DAYS and DAYS, folks.

Anyway, as I said, that part is probably out of order because the next shots on my camera are in the Indiana Jones Stunt area, and I’m pretty sure we did that on our way out of the park (and it makes sense given that we were coming from that side).  I kept trying to find some of the “hidden” details in Hollywood Studios, and this time I found, for the first time, the “Do Not Pull Rope” excavation area near Indy.  So I told D to pull it.

I don't know, I'm getting a mixed message here.

I don’t know, I’m getting a mixed message here.

To her credit, D REALLY pulled. HARD.

To her credit, D REALLY pulled. HARD.

She was not enthusiastic at first, but I insisted, so she tugged, and there came a lot of noises and a man’s voice said “Hey you! Stop mucking about up there!”  D asked if there was someone really down there. 🙂

Then we made our way out of the park, taking the route around Echo Lake that has a good view of Gertie the Dinosaur, and past the 50’s Prime Time Cafe.

"I fed her those leaves," said D as we passed. "I feed Gertie leaves every day." <3

“I fed her those leaves,” said D as we passed. “I feed Gertie leaves every day.” ❤

I can't believe Eddie Valient STILL hasn't replaced that window blind.  Darn it, Roger!

I can’t believe Eddie Valient STILL hasn’t replaced that window blind. Darn it, Roger!

Then it was back onto the tram, so that we could drive to our campsite and set up camp.

This is our site before I set up the tent!  Annnnd I forgot to take a picture with the tent set up! *headdesk*

This is our site before I set up the tent! Annnnd I forgot to take a picture with the tent set up! *headdesk*

They put us in the 1500 loop both nights we were there (nonconsecutive)!

They put us in the 1500 loop both nights we were there (nonconsecutive).

So this was the plan. Leave around 2:30, get set up etc by 3, pool from 3:15 or so until 4pm, and then get dressed and head back to HS for the evening.  Most of it went OK; I took a little bit longer than I expected to get the tent set up, b/c D was fascinated by tiny lizards and was not interested in helping me unless I raised my voice. 😛



Second problem: Could not find swimsuit. (It turned up later but we only did the pools the first two days.)  D can’t swim, but she LOVES being in the water, so we walked across the road – our campsite loop was right across from the pool! 😀 – and I kept her from plunging into the deep end, which she was all ready to do.  I took her around to the front and had her play near the stairs the full time, so she mainly hung off the bars leading into the pool.

Here's the reasonably-awesome Fort Wilderness pool!

Here’s the reasonably-awesome Fort Wilderness pool!

And here is D absolutely loving water.

And here is D absolutely loving water.

I kept trying to get her to go into the splash area, but she really loves being immersed in water, so she held off.  Eventually I found some life jacket style floaties and had her get into one, then I sat and watched her for a while.  Eventually she decided she wanted to go down the waterslide, which is an AWESOME one, and even though I couldn’t be right there to catch her I let her go ahead; well, apparently the ride down was great but she swallowed/inhaled water at the bottom so there was no more slides after that. 😉  At this point she finally DID go hit the splash play area and had a great time.

This is D at the height of slide enjoyment. A split second after this she had water up her nose and pretty much everywhere else.

This is D at the height of slide enjoyment. A split second after this she had water up her nose and pretty much everywhere else.

The Ft. Wilderness Splash Play area... there are height restrictions but I won't pretend I didn't get soaked, myself.

The Ft. Wilderness Splash Play area… there are height restrictions but I won’t pretend I didn’t get soaked, myself.

So it was more like 4:30 before we were ready to leave the pool, and closer to 5pm before she was changed, dry, and ready to go back to DHS.  Ahhh, well.  Flexibility is key when you are at Disney World!!

So around this point, I realized we were going to have to drop something from our schedule and I was pretty sure that something was going to have to be Beauty and the Beast.  I had intended to see the 5:30 show, meaning we’d want to get there between around 5:15 or so, and when it was done at 6pm we’d still need to do Toy Story, Star Tours, Muppets, AND get dinner in there somewhere within about 90 minutes or so (since I intended to leave before 8pm).  So I asked D, and we discussed it and agreed that it was OK to drop Beauty and the Beast this time, even though I have been trying to take her to it since LAST trip! Oy! But yeah.

So we went on Star Tours again when we got there, and this time D was not the rebel spy, but I thought the adventure was better.  It was ENTIRELY different from the first one, not just one part different but two different planets (we got Tatooine on this one), and a hologram of Admiral Akbar instead of Princess Leia as we had on the first.  Afterwards D got to do her “Big Souvenir” for the trip, and she chose – not a surprise – a Build Your Own Lightsabre!  It was more affordable than I’d expected, with a single-blade one coming in at $21.95 pre-tax, and she really liked customizing it for herself. 🙂 To keep her 4-year-old brother from feeling left out I got him a flashing green lightsabre-shaped keychain. Which, I should emphasize, he LOVES and has used almost daily since we got back. 🙂

Okay friends and followers, we are NEARLY done. Honest. 🙂 One more post at Hollywood Studios, and I’ll have covered the full day!  Unfortunately that post is very low on pics, so I may see what I can cull from earlier trips just to have something to show off.  Give me a while and I’ll put something decent together.  Meanwhile, have a magical day! 😀