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The one with our 5th anniversary (old trippie - 2006)

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Vikki, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Couldn't resist posting this old one from 2006......totally selfish so I can re-read it, but do have a look if you fancy it :wink:
    It would seem the old smilies and photos don't work, so if there's a little gap, that's what it is :yes:
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2011
  2. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    The one with the pre-trippie

    The cast:

    Vikki: that would be me then – big shock! Anyway, I’m 26 and this is my 3rd visit to WDW.

    Anthony: also known as Eeyorewells and my lovely DH, he’s 27. Surprisingly, also his third visit

    Now, usually it would just be the two of us, but there is another important addition to this report, who may feature quite a bit.

    Pluto: age two. He’s my class mascot. He goes everywhere with my class, seriously. They take him home every night and write a diary about him. He has been all over the world on holidays with them. Last year some of you very kindly sent postcard ‘from Pluto’ from your respective places around the world for a school project I was doing. I think the kids in my class were more upset to leave Pluto than me to go into their next class. I have also just realised how much more writing I have done about him than us…..

    Ok, so I can’t honestly say much in this pre-trippie without making you all yawn a great deal, but here’s some of it.

    When we went to WDW five years ago on honeymoon we promised ourselves we would return for our fifth anniversary, and we would do it big style, so we have.

    We have booked to go PE with Virgin, both ways . I’m not a fan of flying, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a big tin can with wings, but I guess it’s a means to an end.

    We had planned to stay for three weeks at All Star Sports, so that’s what we booked. With the dining plan. Then the free dining came up! So we changed our ASSp ressie to just 8 nights, with paying for the dining plan. We were then going to carry on there on the free dining plan. Then we realised we could stay at a moderate with the money we would save, so that’s what we did. We are now staying 13 nights at Port Orleans Riverside.

    We are also, after much deliberation decided to stay at Wilderness Lodge for our anniversary, we’ve never stayed in such a nice hotel before so we’re really looking forward to it. We are having our anniversary meal at Artists Point that night, which we’re really looking forward to .

    The night before our anniversary we’re doing a Wishes cruise with Trish which we’re also really looking forward to, and Anthony is taking me to see Cirque as an anniversary present. He had to tell me about it though as we were close to planning something for every other night.

    Anyway, I left the packing till today, which is pretty late for me. It’s all fitted in, alongside the extra empty holdall for bringing shopping home in! The rabbits have been all packed away, I shan’t go into that story again, if you want to know about it, see this thread.

    So tomorrow we will attempt online check-in and then my parents will be picking us up to take us to the airport.

    I can’t quite believe I’m writing this today, it seems like my timer has been going on forever…….and now it’s actually time to go.
     
  3. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Part one: The one with all the flying

    5th August:
    We woke up at about 7am ish this morning . This is practically a miracle. Last time we came, neither of us could sleep so Anthony was up at 2am having a bath. I was half expecting this to happen again. However, since my parents had stayed at the hotel with us, we had a really nice dinner the night before……with quite a bit of wine , I think perhaps that helped us to sleep.

    So we were away to the airport at about 7.45am. Since we had checked in online, and were going PE we had quite a choice of desks to choose from. We got sorted pretty quick, and I think the lady knew we had been before as she said “you know about these?” when she gave us the visa and customs forms. There was a half hour delay on the flight, but we weren’t too bothered.

    We went up to the Escape lounge and it was pretty busy . We found a seat with no problems although a few larger families had to move some chairs around when they came in. Anthony enjoyed the pastries and I actually ate something, which is not like me (I do not fly so well). I had a bowl of Special K and a cuppa. Pluto rather enjoyed relaxing in there too.


    It got to about 10am and we decided to go to the gate. We got one of the few seats available. There were people queuing already to get onboard. This always makes me laugh as it’s not as if the plane is going to leave them. There was this family sat next to us, whose kids were obviously really excited. A little too much for mum, who was threatening it wasn’t too late to take them back home…..as if! I texted Trish a couple of times to make me take my mind of the big tin can

    They then announced boarding, and even though they said to stay seated, a ton of people got up and rushed to the queue . It was upper class and premium economy boarding first. So up we got, I would have rather stayed off the plane to watch the massive run for the queue when economy was announced (anything to stay off the big tin can), but we didn’t.

    So up the stairs we went into PE, and I was incredibly impressed . I expected it to be good, but this was much better than I expected. Upstairs was really wonderful, hardly any people at all. We had our pre-flight bubbly and stored all our things. I really like the compartments next to the seats, very handy as it meant we didn’t have to keep getting up every time we needed something out of the bag.

    I’m pleased to say the flight was uneventful. The last time we came here was the worst flight we have ever had, if you read my last trip report (link in signature) you would know. This was the smoothest flight I’d ever had, we even managed to catch up the time. I really do mean it was smooth, I feel every single bump on flights, and this one was wonderful, the seatbet sign never came on once during the flight, which I've never had happen. I watched some TV, played a few games, had the necessary chicken and penne pasta and sarnie just before landing.

    The pilot had made up the time we lost in Manchester and we arrived dead on time. I must also say how wonderful the cabin crew were, they were two very nice men, one of which sang and he walked up and down the aisle (which was a lot wider than in economy, and meant you could actually walk past the trolley). We collected our bags – weren’t sure which one to get them from, as neither said PE. So we chanced it and went to the UC one, where we picked up our bags very quickly.

    The nice man from Quicksilver was waiting for us at second baggage claim. In fact, we were so early he was still on the sofa and jumped up very quickly when we said we were the Wells party. He looked a bit embarrassed to have still been sitting down, which was quite funny .

    So we picked up our bags from the second baggage claim and we were on our way by 3.15pm, which was amazing! We Are usually out no earlier than 4.30pm, and it’s usually pouring with rain. Not this time, a sign of things to come!

    We were on our way to Disney…………………………..!
     
  4. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Part two: The one with the surprise

    5th August, still:

    The nice man from Quicksilver (never did catch his name) took us to a grocery store to stock up on a few essentials. Well, crisps, cereal, cookies and Budweiser . After that we were off to the World. Anthony got all happy and smiley when we went under the big Walt Disney World sign as he always does, very sweet

    We arrived at All Star Sports and got checked in quickly. They had noticed my request for an upper floor so we were on floor three of the Touchdown building, which was perfect, a really short walk from the main building. It was also a king room, I didn’t realise quite how huge king beds in America are, I think I may get lost in it! We also had a fridge which came in handy for the Budweiser….although the fridge didn’t seem to be that cold, not to worry.

    We went out right away to Magic Kingdom. We were a bit thirsty by this point so we went to one of the snack carts and got a bottle of water with our Dining Plan snack credit……first dining plan purchace successful!

    We went and got a FP for Buzz and then I said I would like to go on the Transit Authority, which I love, whilst we were waiting. Anthony suggested having a go on the Astro Orbitor. Good idea, it was one of the things we’d never been on before, so we thought it would be good that the first ride we would go on would be one we’d never done before.

    We got right to the front, and were in the little area where you wait to go to the lift…..then everything stopped. There was lightening so they had to close the ride down. I felt really sorry for the CM (James, from England) as he had to tell everyone. He told us that since we were about to go on, a lady would be coming with a voucher that would get us through the FP line of any ride, fantastic! She then arrived and told us that James was wrong to say this, as that wasn’t what happened. Poor James felt awful, it was the first time he’d been in charge of that ride and it was all going wrong for him. However, we did get a FP for Space Mountain.

    Now, those of you who know me, know I am a wimp and have never been on Space Mountain. In fact, when we went in 2004, there was a whole thread convincing me to go on it…..and I chickened out. Well, this time, I had no choice, well, I did, but I thought ‘it’s now or never’. So I told Anthony we had to go it right now otherwise I’d chicken out.

    I was pretty nervous walking down the FP line, got on the car, and we were off. I loved it! It was a fantastic ride! I’m pleased I didn’t have time to think about going on it, because if I had, I would have wimped out again probably. I will be going on that again! This was the surprise I was saying about in my live trip report

    Next we were off to our FP for Buzz. I love this ride, but Anthony always gets a massive score, whereas I’m not so good.

    We were getting a bit peckish by this point, so remembering advice from the boards we went to the Tomorrowland Noodle Station. We both had Terriaki chicken and rice with ice cream for dessert. The meal was lovely, the only problem I had was the ice cream had get pretty melted by the time we got to it. Note to self: do not get ice cream on the dining plan at counter service!

    Next we were off to the Transit Authority, where James was in charge. He assured us this rarely broke down so we were ok. Again, I love this ride, so relaxing. As we came into the Space Mountain bit, tiredness hit me….I could quite happily have dropped off. It had been a pretty long day and was about midnight UK time. However, I really wanted to do Pirates before we left for the night.

    We went round to Pirates and got on with a 10 minute wait, not bad. I thought it was brilliant. There were some annoying teenagers behind us who were shouting throughout the whole thing. I thought the new Jack Sparrow bits were incredible. I honestly thought it was Mr Depp! They got his mannerisms perfectly. I was also impressed by the Barbosa bit at the beginning, very clever. The only thing I missed was the ‘dead men tell no tales’ parrot. However, I did spot him later on in the holiday!

    After this, I was flagging a bit. Anthony had saved up some birthday money for a Pal Mickey so we went and got that, and also a bum bag for the camcorder to go in. Then we went back to the hotel, unpacked and went to bed. We managed to stay awake till about 10pm which wasn’t too bad…..
     
  5. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Part three: The one with the immersion into Disney
    6th August

    I woke up at about 3am this morning, which would be 8am in the UK, so my usual holiday wake up time. I managed to get back to sleep and woke up again at about 8am ish. We were due at Chef Mickey’s at 11am so we decided to relax in the room for a bit before heading off.

    We went down to the food court for a drink . Anthony had a coffee and I tried the tea, I remembered last time we were here I hated the tea as they didn’t have proper milk, but I quite like it this time . After that we got on the bus to the Magic Kingdom, then transferred over to the resort monorail to go to the Contemporary. It felt very odd going to MK and not staying, must admit....

    We arrived pretty early so got the usual pager and wandered around the resort a bit. I had a play with my new camcorder and got some nice shots of the resort. Then our pager went off and we went to the podium.

    Breakfast was lovely . I found the whole set up quite different from dinner though. At dinner we were sat with other families who had just arrived and the characters worked their way around the tables so nobody was missed out. Breakfast was quite different, characters just sort of wandered around and if you got up that was fine, but if you didn’t they left you alone. I felt totally back at Disney by this point though, we’d booked a character breakfast today on purpose just for that reason. Looking back, if we'd had kids, I would have been a bit disappointed. We were there for an hour, and only had two characters come anywhere near us.....not to worry, we had loads of other character meals booked

    After breakfast we headed for EPCOT. It is one of my favourite parks. We went to Test Track first. Again, if you read my previous report you’ll know it took Anthony ages to convince me to go on this, but now I love it! Even at midday the FP return time was between 3-4pm, so we got a ‘bonus’ one for Mission Space. Now that is a ride I just won’t do, so since the time was there and then, Anthony went on it whilst I had a wander around Mousegear.

    Anthony enjoyed Mission Space as ever. Following this we went to Innoventions (which I always thought was called Innovations). We went to ‘plastic fantastic’ which was quite good fun, and we even got to keep the little robot we made at the end, very sweet. Anthony says the style of it reminds him of a cartoon character, but can’t think which one.

    We had a good wander round Innoventions and had the obligatory ‘send the postcard home via e-mail’ thing done. After this our FP time was approaching so we went to Ellen’s Energy Adventure to kill a bit of time. I can see why people find this a bit dull, but I really like it - even the pre-show is good. Nice and simple and it always makes me giggle. Not sure I’d do it more than once in a holiday though. We got chatting to a family who was asking us about Pal Mickey and if it was any good. We said it was good so far, but we’d only bought it the previous night so weren’t too sure yet. Their poor kids were complaining about being too hot and having headaches though. I can’t say I’m surprised. They were fair skinned with no sunglasses or hats – oddly the parents had them though….

    By the time this had finished our FP time came around for Test Track. I loved this ride! We were in the front seat. I had forgotten quite how fast it was though! It was going so fast my headband nearly came off!

    We decided to go back to the hotel after this for a swim . The pool was soooo warm, it was lovely. There was this really annoying group of teenage lads who were trying to dunk each other and causing chaos for everyone else. We stopped moving out of their way eventually and gave them dirty looks instead…..they soon moved away. The lifeguards kept watching them but I’m surprised they didn’t blow their whistles at them I forgot how relaxing it is to go back to the hotel and use the pool during the day, heavenly

    After that, back to the room for a shower before off to the Magic Kingdom tonight for our first ever evening extra magic hours.
     
  6. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Part four: The one with our first Extra Magic Hours
    August 6th, still

    I was really looking forward to tonight. We had never done evening Extra Magic Hour before and I was pleased our first one would be at MK I think Disney planned it for our first proper night . The bus got us there pretty quickly and then we went to wait in line for our writstbands.

    Spectromagic was just about to start so we decided to cut through the shops and headed back towards Space Mountain – now I had given it a go, I wanted to ride again! Unfortunately the wait time was about 40 minutes and there were no FPs, so we decided to give the Astro Orbitor a go instead. We got on pretty quickly. Anthony went in a car on his own as it was incredibly uncomfortable with both of us in one. How they are supposed to fit two people in, I'll never know - and neither of us are that large I enjoyed this ride, basically for the view. The actual ride itself I can’t say I found that interesting. Can’t see us rushing to go on it again, but I’m pleased we did it.

    After another ride on the Transit Authority and a quick spin (well, a slow one really) on Carrosel of Progress, we went to Cosmic Rays to get some tea. It was 10.30pm by now and we were both amazed with how many young children were here, I don’t mean 7 year old young, I mean 2 and 3. Some of them were so tired I felt really sorry for them. You could tell the ones who had obviously gone back to resort for a nap in the afternoon though, they were happy and jumping around like everyone else.

    Next we went over to ride Pooh and went on with a family who insisted on taking flash photography of every single part of the ride, very annoying, but the little kid was cute and was really getting into the theming of the ride…..and that was just Anthony, only kidding! I think I might get a for that comment

    I then dragged Anthony over to IASM, he was not amuzed! We both commented on how much better it looked since it’s refub though, very clean and the dolls don’t look as creaky as they used to. The Hawaiian ones still gave me the creeps though.

    Next was Philarmagic. We both really enjoy this one. I am not a fan of 3-D rides as I can’t stand things shooting out towards me. This one is fine though, and complements the attraction really well, rather than trying to scare you. Later on in the trip, we did a tour that took us through here and told us where a ton of hidden Mickeys are (we're not Hidden Mickey finders really - but the ones in this attraction are interesting).

    After another go on Pirates (this is such a good ride to go on any time of the day as it never seems to be busy – surprising since it has just been redone) and we were getting pretty tired, so we went back to ASSp. We were fast asleep by about 1.30am after watching a bit of ESPN with very crazy people doing scary thing on skateboards!

    Next time: The one with the bad drawings
     
  7. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Part five: The one with the bad drawing
    August 7th


    This morning we were intending on having a lie in since we’d been out pretty late the night before, but you know how that never actually happens when you want it to? Well, that was this morning! We were both wide awake at about 7.30am so we decided to go get some milk for our cereal then we came back to the room and watched The Truman Show on the laptop. We had already decided we were going to go to Disney Quest today so we didn’t see much point in being up and about too early. We had made that mistake before. When we were here in 2002 we got to DQ nice and early, about 9.30am.......only to discover it didn't open till 11am

    We headed off at about 10am and went for a wander around Downtown Disney first…..well, it would be rude not to go in the shops don’t you think? I bought a book about Imagineering at EPCOT and we also got some jelly beans which were very nice.

    After a bit of wandering around we decided to go for some lunch before going to DQ. It was about midday and we went to the Earl Of Sandwich, it was already really busy so I found a table whilst Anthony sorted out the food. He had a meatball sandwich thing and mine had chicken and spinach. Both were absolutely gorgeous. We decided that next time we’d order and swap halves so we’d both get to try some others, as they all looked really gorgeous It was at this point we started discussing the dining plan. We have already made good use of it, and it is just so easy. It’s great to wander around and only have to have our room keys with us. Like last night for example when we went to MK, we literally had or lanyards and room keys, that was it. We have paid for this first 8 days on the DP and the next 2 weeks are on the free dining plan, which makes it even better! We initially thought that we would forget to use the snacks, but we’ve been using them for water in the parks, so we don’t have to carry our cooler around, much more convenient.

    We went over to Cirque next to collect our tickets for the 22nd (I think), this was an anniversary present from Anthony and I am really looking forward to it.

    Next we went to DQ and arrived just in time for the art class. We were drawing Donald. The girl doing it said he is the hardest to draw, I’m not sure if that is the case, or she just said it to make us feel better. We both had a good go though and tried our best….. However, we were both pretty useless, which hardly surprised me

    We did quite a few bits and pieces in here and I went online briefly upstairs to post a thread saying hi to you all, never done any live reporting before! There’s not much more to say about DQ apart from this really rude boy. There was a row of 4 race car things and there was us and 2 other young lads standing behind them to wait for the next race. Well, the race finished and all the seated people left. The lad in the car Anthony was about to go in got up and said “Don’t go in there, I’m going again”, so Anthony said something along the lines of “not if you're leaving” and got in the car as he left. So this young lad pushed past one of the others who was waiting with us so he could go again. This poor lad looked really upset so Anthony gave his seat up so this young lad could have a go. I found that really rude.

    One other thing. We had both noticed how many English CMs there seem to be on this visit. Anthony discovered that there’s this scheme where English people can work in the US and the company only have to pay then $1 an hour, then the government makes up the rest of the wage. The same thing happens in reverse in the UK. So that’s why there are so many Brits at WDW at the moment

    After a few more games we left and had a wander round Virgin Megastore. I got a couple of games for my Nintendo DS and then we went back to the resort for a little rest before going out tonight for Fantasmic.
     
  8. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Ok, a little from me. Anthony was asking me the other day where parts 6 and 7 of my reports were, so I told him I'm sure they were there somewhere.....it appears they're not. As I was writing these reports on Word, it would appear I went from report 5 to report 8, hum, not clever, must have had one too many Budwiesers whn I did that!

    So I'm posting this to anyone else who was wondering where they were.....they don't actually exist
     
  9. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Part 8: The one with Fantasmic
    August 7th, still


    We were really looking forward to tonight (I have said that so many times already and we’re only on full day two! ). We had the Fantasmic Dinner package booked at H&V. When we arrived at MGM the parade was about to start, I have no idea why it was on this late though (it was about 5.30pm), I always thought it was on earlier than this. I then found out this is the regular time for this parade

    We watched the parade and I took loads of photos. We’ve never seen this one all the way through before, and although neither of us are big parade fans I quite enjoyed seeing it. Perhaps it was because the crowds were really light so it was easy to get a good view. I have put up the photos I took from this parade if you want to see them.

    After this we went for dinner, and were there in plenty of time for our ADR. The group behind us had an ADR (Advance Dining Reservations) for 5.30pm so they were pretty late (it was just before 6pm). When they went to sit down they were complaining constantly that their table wasn’t ready for them, well, if they’d been there on time it probably would have been! We got in at about 6.15pm and had a lovely dinner. I really like the salmon and mashed potatoes here. I did try a little bit of lots of other things though, some nice and some not so nice. What is the deal with creamed corn, it’s perhaps one of the strangest things I’ve ever had…..not sure I liked that . There was this bean mix thing which was lovely, had a great BBQ taste to it.

    After dinner Anthony really wanted to have a go on the Great Movie Ride before Fantasmic, but the wait was about 40 minutes so we went into One Mans Dream instead. Another great attraction, he film is just lovely, and the CMs there really know their stuff. I like how they had changed the narration to be done by Julie Andrews instead. Again, I took loads of photos in here, and I have them in my album if you would like to see them.

    Then it was time to head over to Fantasmic. We went through the little secret entrance next to Oscars and when we got there (about 8.15pm) it wasn’t that busy, which surprised me. We usually sit right at the back here so we can see all around, but we decided to go sit right down at the front. We went on the first long bench, but there was a couple on one of the smaller benches right at the waterfront who offered for us to come sit with them, so we did. We really got chatting to them, they were a lovely couple from Maine and we chatted about all sorts of things, as you often do when you sit next to people at Fantasmic. In no time at all it was time for the show. Since we were so close I decided to film it. Can’t say it was too easy as I had to lift the camcorder quite high so it could go over the railings. The show, as ever, was wonderful. The crowd, as ever, were very spirited! I know there is no such thing as a bad seat here but we saw so much more from right at the front. We could see the detailing on the sets much more clearly and the characters were so much more real from this distance. I still enjoy where we usually sit, but I think we’ll try and sit here again. After the show my arm was really tired from holding the camcorder, and I had a great strap mark on my hand! We got chatting to the couple from Maine again whilst the crowds left, and we were so engrossed we ended up being the last to leave. After wishing eachother a happy rest of holiday we were on our separate ways.

    I got a great picture of the huge scorceror Mickey hat, which I think I’ll be using as my desktop when I get back to school, so it’ll be up on my interactive whiteboard every morning! What do you think?


    The bus wasn’t too busy going back as there was another show of Fantasmic at 10.30pm.

    Next time, move over Chicken Little, it’s Chicken Vikki!
     
  10. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Part 9: The one with Chicken Vikki, or the one with all the swearing
    August 8th

    After a quick bowl of cereal we were off to Animal Kingdom this morning. It’s so nice going there as it’s only a few minutes on this bus, which is great. I must admit, we’re both looking forward to going to Port Orleans Resort Riverside resort at WDW where the bus stops are closer. Seems the more you pay, the closer your bus stop is to the entrance, which makes sense Although, you can't really beat the All Stars for getting to AK....unless you're at Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World Orlando Lodge of course

    Anyway, for some bizarre reason I had promised Anthony I would go on Everest. I’m not too sure why this is. When we went in 2004 we had seen the beginnings of Everest and I distinctly remember saying there was not a chance I would be going on that (although I think I worded it slightly differently - using words which would get me rather quickly) However, after seeing some pictures of it on the boards, Anthony somehow managed to convince me it would be similar to Big Thunder Mountain (which is my favourite ride). So, we went to get ourselves a FP. When we had got one, I took some time to actually look at the ride….I really wish I hadn’t. It was a lot higher and faster than I thought. So here was me, a total chicken, who it had taken five years to go on Space Mountain, having a FP for Everest! No, that can’t be right? Surely not?

    So, FP in hand we left and went round to Dinoland (I think) where we went on Primeval Whirl. It is so useful just being the two of us sometimes as we got to jump the queue as they were looking for just two people to fill a car, this does tend to happen quite a lot to us. The ride was great and the other lady and I screamed our heads off!

    After this Anthony went to ride Dinosaur as it only had a 10 minute wait (I’m not brave enough for this one). Then we went round to the Safari with the intention of picking up a FP (our Everest FP said we could get another one at 11am). However, the wait time was only 10 minutes, so we went right on. As we walked up the queue I took lots of photos of the Swahili words for all the animals. In the summer term at school we do a big project about Africa and although I remembered some words to teach the kids, I wanted to find out a few more. The line moved really quick and we were in our car in no time. The girl doing our tour must have been a cheerleader in one life or another, as she was all “good job” and “right on!”, she was probably one of the best we've had. She was very entertaining though, and we even saw the cheetah, which is my favourite big cat. Well, we saw its head just poking up over a hill, but that was better than nothing.

    In the words of the Lion King show “it is time”, we were off for our FP to Everest. Now, I was expecting for there to be a bit of a wait, like there usually is in the FP line for big rides. In fact, I would have enjoyed it, we had seen a TV program on the theming of Everest, and I would have liked to look a bit more at some of the things in the queue as there was plenty to see……….also it would have delayed getting me on the ride! But no, we sailed through really quickly and we were on the thing. It is at this point I did a lot of swearing under my breath…….and then it started. The first bit was fine, and then there was the climb. I have never climbed so high on a coaster, ever! The view was amazing though, you could see right across the park. Then we were off. I thought it would be a huge drop after the big climb but it wasn’t. I have to admit I did have my eyes closed for most of the ride, especially the indoor bit, but I have to say, I loved it! The backwards bit was fantastic and the whole ride was pretty good, I might even ride with my eyes open next time!

    I must confess my legs were a bit wibbly after this so we decided to go for some lunch – after picking up a FP for the rapids. We went to Tusker House in Africa which we really like. In fact I don’t think we have ever been to another restaurant in AK, we always go there. I had salmon and rice and Anthony had chicken. Both were lovely and it was nice to have nothing fried in sight!

    Rapids next. We got incredibly soaked on this one, I’m sure it wasn’t so wet last time we went on this, but considering it was the heat of the day, it was very refreshing.

    Pal Mickey was great today, much more lively than the last few days. He showed us where a couple of little trails were, ones we’d never seen before, and would have missed otherwise. In fact, looking back, I would say Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World Orlando was the best park to take him into. He hasn’t said anything about ride wait times or parades yet, but I’m sure he will soon. We have had several people ask about him in queues and so far he hasn’t got on our nerves, although he did tell us about the ribbon tree several times!

    Back to the hotel after all that for a swim and a type…….I am finding it much easier writing these as we’re on holiday, rather than when we get back, easier to remember the details. I'm adding things as I do the threads though, which is why the tense may be a bit bizzare on some of them, so I apologise for that

    Off to the World Showcase tonight for some yodelling!
     
  11. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Part 10: The one with the yodelling
    August 8th, still

    EPCOT had Extra Magic Hour this evening, although we weren’t sure if we were going to use it. We went over to the rides board and the waits for everything was pretty massive (it was about 6.30pm). Our ADR (Advance Dining Reservations) at Biergarten was at 7.30pm so we decided to have a very quick tour around the world.

    There was a band playing between Canada and the UK. I think they were Canadian, but they were wearing kilts and one was playing a bagpipe, so I’m not totally sure. However, they were really good. They started doing ‘Summer of 69’ but the lead singer started singing the words to a whole other song, so they guy playing the bagpipes whispered in his ear and the singer went a bit red and went “oops” before doing the real words.

    We didn’t really stop in many places on our way to Germany, although Mickey had other ideas and kept buzzing for us to pay attention to things, perhaps we shouldn’t have taken him out tonight.

    We checked in at Biergaten and got inside pretty quickly. We were on a table with a family from New York who weren’t interested in chatting, oh well. We both had German beer (which we discovered was Becks). I had just a normal size one, but Anthony had the great big one litre one, it really was huge, but it lasted him all night.


    I prefer the salads and soup here to be honest, and today was no exception. The soup was particularly nice and was chicken with (what I was told by our server) was like a German style noodle. Whatever it was, it was really lovely. Dessert was also lovely, the apple strudel was perfect!

    At around 8pm the entertainment arrived and they were in really high spirits, although I think this was helped by the huge amount of people who went up and danced along with the songs. There was one dad dancing with his daughter in a Snow White costume, it was so sweet! The Maddison, a little girl from Chicago if I remember right, was chosen to ‘conduct’ the band. It was really funny and the little girl was having a wonderful time.

    Just as we finished dinner, Mickey rumbled to tell us the fireworks were about to start. We just watched the first section today as we plan on going and seeing the whole thing later in the holiday. The fireworks were much more spectacular than I remember them, but it was five years ago we last saw them. We walked at quite a pace back to the land and got in the line for Soarin’.

    I have to admit, I wasn’t too bothered about this. I hate flying, and am not so good with heights so I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy it. We were in the front row, from which I remember on the boards is the best place to be. I need not have worried, it was absolutely amazing. I thought it would be one of those rides where is swoops you down really fast but it really didn’t. I found it to be very gentle and subtle. The smells and the wind through your hair really added to the effect. If you looked really carefully you could also see the shadow of the hang glider you were supposed to be on as well, which I thought was a nice touch. I am very much looking forward to riding on this one again. It was so much better than I imagined it would be.

    After this we stopped by Circle of Life. The Land was heaving by now with people coming onto Soarin’ after the fireworks. We had only waited about 20 minutes and now the wait time was 50 minutes, so I’m pleased we got there when we did.

    We wanted to go on test Track, but the wait there was pretty long so we decided to call it a night. This is the second of the night time Extra Magic Hours we have done so far, and both were a lot busier than we thought they were going to be. In saying that though, it is the middle of the summer so it’s hardly surprising. We usually come later on in August but we came earlier this time so we could get three weeks. I think it’ll probably ease off a bit next week.
    __________________
     
  12. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Part 11: The one with all the characters
    August 9th

    It was Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World Orlando this morning, so we had decided to take advantage of it by booking breakfast with Donald. We woke up at about 7.30am this morning, remembering about wanting to be out by this time , and quickly got up and got lathered with sun cream, ready to hit AK.

    The bus to Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World Orlando was really busy, as we expected, and as we got to the park, the queues were huge. However, as usual at AK, as soon as you get over the first bridge, all the queues disappear. I remember it used to be that everyone headed for the safari at Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World Orlando Extra Magic Hour but now it only seemed to be us as everyone was legging it towards Everest.

    We got right on to the safari and saw loads of animals. The driver wasn’t quite as chirpy as the one we had yesterday, but he was ok. We missed out the wobbly bridge though which was a shame. We saw the cheetah again this morning which was a real treat, she was perfectly happy having a laze in the sun. The lion was magestically perched on top of the rocks, with his lioness beside him, the classic picture, it was beautiful. I thought I had got a wonderful photo of this.....untill I realised I actually had a wonderful photo of a bush We were lucky enough to see some rhino today as well, which was lovely.

    After the safari we headed over to Dinoland and rode Primeval Whirl, which totally messed my hair up . As we were spinning round there was hair everywhere. However, I did make it easier that it’s so much shorter now! We then had a ride on Tricerotop Spin as we’ve never done that before. It was a lovely little ride and had no wait at all. Anthony really liked the fact that you could do something if you were sitting at the front or the back Since Primeval Whirl still had no wait we went on that again.

    Then we headed over to Breakfastasaurus. It was really busy outside. There was one woman having a real go at the CM in charge about how long they’d been waiting, and this poor CM was taking it all, and was trying to explain how the ADR (Advance Dining Reservations) system works, but this woman was having none of it. Chill out, you’re at Disney!

    We were only waiting a few minutes. I thought it was going to be a lot longer than that with the amount of people there, but sometimes it’s easier just being a little party as we can fit in anywhere! Breakfast was lovely and a lot more organised than Chef Mickey’s. The characters all came round together and we got pictures with all of them.

    The food was really great. It was topped up regularly and was nice and hot. I think this place often gets missed but we both think it’s a real gem.

    After breakfast we were just in time to see the Festival of the Lion King. The family sitting next to us were from Scotland and was asking us if the show was any good, to which of course we told them the absolute truth, that it was one of the best shows at the whole of Disney. Of course the show was wonderful. The male bird was particularly energetic today and was jumping around all over the place, he looked like he was really enjoying himself. The female bird was also wonderful. Last time we saw this she wasn’t there and the bloke looked a bit odd on his own, so we were pleased she was there this time.

    It was back to our resort after this, to write the mountain of postcards we had to send.

    Next time, the one with all the mountains.
     
  13. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Part 12: the one with all the mountains.
    August 9th, still

    (caution, this is a long one!)
    We had an ambition for tonight, very simple, to do all of the mountains of the Magic Kingdom. We went out at about 4pm ish. There were extra magic hours that evening if I remember right but we weren’t intending on using them this time. As of a few days ago, I had never been on Space Mountain before, and I enjoyed it so much, I was really looking forward to it. Neither of us have been on Splash Mountain before. For once, this is not because I was too scared , we just have never got round to it. It always seemed to be busy, or have a long FP wait. I could hardly believe we’d been here for four days and still not done Big Thunder Mountain, which is my favourite ride.

    So anyway, we arrived at MK and went on the train around to get a FP for Splash Mountain. The wait time was for a couple of hours later, which was fine. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad had a 30 minute standby wait, so we decided to go on that since we were right there. It was a lot less than 30 minutes which was good, 27, 28 minutes perhaps . When we came here on honeymoon this was probably the first rollercoaster I had ever been on….ever, in my whole life. I’d been on small runaway train type things, but nothing quite like this. It took me quite a while to pluck up the courage to actually go on it, but I did, and I’ve loved it ever since. Today was no exception. Unfortunately we were quite near the front, so we didn’t get that thrill of being pulled quickly over the hills, no matter, it was fantastic anyway

    To be honest I’m a little unclear as to what we did over the next hour or so. I think we went on Buzz and a couple of other things in that area. All I do know is we went and picked up another FP for Space Mountain as the time on our Splash Mountain FPs said we could at that time. I have noticed on this trip how much this varies. For example, on some FPs you have to wait an hour before you can get another, some you have to wait two.

    We headed back to Splash Mountain and Anthony said he would like to try out Country Bear Jamboree, as it’s another of those attractions we’ve never done before. I realllllly wish we hadn’t bothered. I thought the Tiki rooms was the worst attraction at WDW, nope, not anymore, this one is! After about five minutes of laughing at how awful it was, I just got kinda bored with it all. I’m sure it’s great for kids, and even though both of us are big kids at heart, this one wasn’t for us. Not to worry, we’ll know for next time. Every time Anthony joked about going on this one again, he needed a good

    So, over to Splash Mountain. Little aside story is useful here. When I was about 9 or 10 I went with my family, and my family from Canada to a theme park, honestly can’t remember which one. Apparently I had bugged my dad to take me on the log flume all day, and he wouldn’t let me go because he didn’t think I’d like it. Eventually he gave in and we all waited in a very long line (in my dads version of this story the wait time can vary from anything from an hour to seven hours!). When we got in the fume I panicked and we had to get out, there was no ‘chicken exit’ so my dad had to take me back down the whole queue, with knowing glances from other parents He tells this story all the time, especially when we say anything whatsoever about theme parks

    Enough digression. We were both really looking forward to this ride. It was also incredibly hot so we were looking forward to getting soaked. The only problem I had was that I was wearing a peachy coloured vest top which I was concerned might look a little too see through when wet! So we whizzed through the FP line and got to our flume. Up the first hill. I was wondering at this point if that big drop you see was actually the first one…….nope. Then there was another few hills, was this the drop…….nope. I loved the theming in here, and when we eventually started climbing up that final big hill we realised this was it. Down we flew, we both really enjoyed it. Unfortunately we only got a little splash, could have done with a bit more than that, but we were at the back, and there were some rather large people in front of us. Not to worry, I’m sure we’ll go on it again.

    We went for a bit of tea after this, back to the noodle station where Anthony had a beef thing and I had a salad. We chose to sit outside as it was lovely and shady. There were already people here getting their seats for Spectromagic and Wishes, I can see how this might be a good spot, but I don’t think you’d see the fireworks that well due to the overhang of the roof on the restaurant.

    Back over to Space Mountain after this, which, once again was great. Anthony sat in the front seat, which he’d never done before and he said it was a weird sensation being able to just about see the track in front of you. Also, he had contact lenses this trip which might have helped (he usually wears glasses and takes them off for rides).

    After this we were getting pretty tired and my shoes were rubbing a bit (even after breaking them in and having worn them with no problems for the last few days ), so we headed back to the hotel for a good night sleep.

    Next time, a day at Epcot.
     
  14. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Part 13: The one with the day at Epcot
    August 10th

    We had a dinner reservation for Alfredos tonight so we decided, since we hadn’t ‘done’ much of Epcot we would spend most of the say there today. Now, for those of you who have been reading these reports, you’ll know we never do this. It’s very rare we spend a whole day in one park, in fact, I can’t remember ever having done it – apart from in 2001 when we were on I-Drive and governed by their bus timetable.

    We did leave fairly late on though, about 11am which is late for us. We decided we’d get a FP for Soarin’ again and do a bit of Future World before going round to the World Showcase. After we got our FP we decided to go round to the Living Seas, which we hadn’t done yet this trip. I was very disappointed the hydrolators had gone, although I can’t for the life of me think where they were before now…..Although they were incredibly naf, I used to think they were fun We went to visit Nemo and I did quite a lot of filming of the fish. We also went to see the manatees. There was one who had been rescued from a boat collision and his back fluke (I’m not sure that is the correct term) had been mangled. It didn’t seem to bother him though, as he happily ate his lettuce. We caught a quick sight of the dolphins, but they were with their trainer, I’m sure we’ll see them again soon.

    We went downstairs to Turtle Talk with Crush next. It was hilarious, and very clever in how it was done. I decided to film it, although I’m not sure how good the quality will be as I was laughing so much my hand was shaking. This attraction is an absolute gem. Perhaps someone could help me out and tell me how long it's been open, but I didn't think it had been too long. There was a variety of wait times for this one. Today we got in within about 10 minutes, but one time the queue was looping all over the place - that could have had something to do with Soarin' being down though Of course, the only problem with this attraction is you go around saying “duuuuuuude” all day! Maybe Crush and Hurley from ‘Lost’ should set up some sort of partnership? I could just see it now……

    We were able to get another FP after this so we went to get one for Test Track. Since it was such a long FP time we go a bonus one for Mission Space. Anthony went and rode that right away…..I’m still not brave enough for that, I think it’d make me wanna puke duuuuuude! Anthony got chatting to the CM on the ride though and they seemed to think the ‘wimp’ version of the ride would be ok for me, so I might give that a go next time……maybe!

    We went round Innoventions next and played some great games. Yes I know they’re all for kids, but we’re teachers, and if our children go, we need to be able to relate to what they’ve done, yeah right! We just like playing on them all!

    For lunch we went to ‘Seasons’ which is next to Soarin’. Really lovely food here, too much choice though, I didn’t know what to get! Nah, only kidding, Anthony had salmon whilst I had a monster sandwich. I don't think I have ever seen so much turkey in one sandwich in my life. The bread with this was goergeous, never dod catch what it was though....anyone know?

    We’d got a bonus FP for Living with the Land with our Soarin’ FP, so we went on this next. This ride is different every time we do it, and I find it really interesting how they’ve managed to research all the different ways of growing things. I always find the ones with the roots hanging down and going through what can only be described as a shower block, pretty odd. We were told at the end that the ride is going into rehab in a few days time. Not for the better as far as I’m concerned as they’re taking away the people guiding the boat and recording the voices instead. I hear they’re doing that with the buses as well, and I think it’s a real shame. I’m sure it’s to try and cut costs, but it’s these people who make the rides/transport more interesting with their little quips and bits of information, it’ll be a shame to loose that.

    Our Soarin’ FP time had come around so on we went. I was wearing trainers on this the other day, but had my sandals today. Might seem like an off thing to say, but it made such a difference as that breeze really adds to the whole effect. Once again we were lucky enough to get on the front row. I love that initial feeling of swooping upwards on this ride I have to admit, I did not keep 'my arms in the vehicle' this time, out they went to get a real sensation of flying, looked very daft but felt wonderful! Back over to Test Track after this for our other FP time - cue my hair getting very messy once again

    We had decided that the World Showcase was going to be the main part of our day today, but somehow it was already approaching 5pm ish. Time flies when you’re having fun I suppose. I guess we must have done more in Future World than I remember.

    So, Mexico first. We went on the boat ride and got scared by the IASW looking dolls. Then we wandered around the little stalls which were lovely, I particularly like the glass one. We went though Norway, and were going to go on Maelstrom but the line was pretty long so we decided to give that one a miss and return to it later on. Next was China, and we were in luck, as the acrobats were just about to start. We found a good place and sat down, only to jump right up again as the ground was sooooo hot. This is where that little spray fan thing came into use as it cooled the ground right down, well, for about five minutes. It didn’t matter though because the show was superb. We also watched reflections of China which I think is a really nice film…..the air conditioning is also wonderful in there!

    We were both a little thirsty by now so we decided to go get a drink. I discovered you could get frozen lemonade with a snack credit which was great. I really like these, it’s something America does very well! Unfortunately the place we went to had sold out, so we had frozen cola instead, which was nice. Will have to have the lemonade some other time.

    We went to see the American Adventure next, it would be rude not to considering we’re in America. We’ve seen it a few times before and I can’t say it’s my favourite attraction but I still find it interesting, if a little twee – but that’s just a cynical Brit talking here, I think it’s wonderful how much respect Americans have for their heritage.

    Our ADR (Advance Dining Reservations) time was coming around, and I’m very pleased we had one as Alfredos was pretty packed out. We had a lovely server, although, once again, I can’t remember his name. Strangely we were sat in exactly the same spot as when we came here two years ago. We had decided to treat ourselves to a bottle of wine tonight, and when Anthony accidentally ordered a pretty expensive one I can’t say I minded as it was really good! We both had the bean soup to start with which was wonderful. It was incredibly thick and was really full of flavour. I followed that with the chicken, while Anthony had lasagne. Again, both meals were lovely. We asked for a bit of a break after this. Our starter and main courses had come a bit close together for my liking and we can’t drink wine that fast….well we could, but we wanted to be able to walk after our meal. We both finished up with the chocolate mousse, which was gorgeous!

    When we finished our meal we decided we’d had about enough for today…..so we headed back to the hotel as darkness fell.

    Next time, the one with the car rental
     
  15. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Part 14: the one with the car rental
    11th August

    We went to MGM for the extra magic hour this morning. I have to say this is not something we would rush to do again. The main rides were open of course, but me being such a wimp, I don’t actually go on them, so there wasn’t anything which interested me opening till about 9am.

    It didn’t really matter cause we just had a wander around the park. Anthony picked up a FP for Rockin Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. Since I don’t like those ones, we could use both room keys and get him a ride on each. We went over to the Backstage Tour thing next which is still pretty good. Last time we came in 2004 they were building the new car stunt show, whereas this time of course, it’s finished. It was great to see the backstage area of that and all the cars that would be used. I was pleased they’d kept the same cars as the Paris shows as well. Corsas look really tiny compared to the huge cars they have here in the US!

    After this Anthony went over to his two rides and I ambled round a bit. I went to go see if I could go get a frozen lemonade as I’d had to have a cola yesterday and I much prefer the lemonade. I’m not sure why it’s so lovely, but I like it. I found somewhere that did it and then went over to Rockin Roller Coaster where I was due to meet Anthony.

    When he came out he said it was a real shame he’d not had any money when he went on Tower of Terror as he’d had a great photo. Apparently he’d got chatting with this bloke, and on the picture, they were just looking at eachother, screaming their heads off. We never have good photos taken, so it was a shame I had the bum bag with me when he was on it, ah well.

    We were picking up our car at the Dolphin at noon so we decided to head off there. We got there at about 11.40am and there were about four other families in front of us. We didn’t get served till nearly 12.30 (we should have known we were in for problems when we got there). Anyway, we handed our documents over and it all went pretty well, until it was time to print the receipt out. Apparently the computer had been having problems all day, but not to worry as Melissa (the person behind the desk) said she’d hand write a copy and we could pick up the proper receipt when we brought the car back.

    As soon as Anthony had familiarised himself with driving on the wrong side of the road we were off . It’s always funny watching him drive for the first time in America as he gets a really serious look on his face…….it’s not seen that often! We went round to Downtown Disney to get some lunch. We were going to go to the Earl Of Sandwich again but the lines were huuuuuge so we decided against it. We also stopped to take a look at the pearl stall. It’s my mums 50th birthday at the end of September and she loves pearls, so I was thinking of getting her some since it’s such a special occasion. I found some lovely ones but I didn’t want to buy anything till I’d checked out some of the malls first. We decided not to bother with lunch here and went back to the resort instead. That feeling was setting in, we’d been here a week and we were reallllllly tired, so we thought lunch at the resort and then a little nap perhaps, before we went to Magic Kingdom in the evening. Ahhhh…….the best laid plans…….

    Next time: the one where it all goes wrong
     
  16. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Part 15: the one where it all goes wrong
    August 11th, still


    We had a nice lunch at the resort and had settled down for a nap. Then the phone started ringing. You know how a million thoughts can flash through your mind? Well, that’s what I did right then. Who on earth would be calling here? It could be the front desk calling to thank us for finding some broken glass the other day. Could be Trish, nope, she’s not here yet. Could be Marion, telling us there’s a problem with our Port Orleans Resort Riverside resort at WDW reservation.

    Was none of these, it was Melissa at Alamo. She told us there’d been a problem with our credit card and could we please call the credit card issuer (Tesco)? No problem. This had happened before when we tried to pay off the room, the card doesn’t seem to like America. So we called Tesco. The problem, they said, was the Alamo had tried to put the card through ten times! The first five had been accepted, but then they refused the other five as they thought it off that this would all be going through in the space of ten minutes! So we called Melissa back, who apologised, but could we please call Tesco back to get the authorisation number of one of the accepted ones? Which we did. However when we called her back, she wasn’t interested in these, she told us our contract was void and we’d have to bring the car back right now. There goes our nap.

    So off we went back to the Dolphin to drop the car back….although we never did really find out why. When we were there we called Tesco again and told them to cancel every transaction Alamo had tried to make. We also discovered from Tesco Melissa had tried to put the card through with the wrong expiry date! We were none too pleased by this point as we had no car. Melissa informed us we would not be able to get another car till tomorrow now, again, we have no idea why this is. She gave us the phone number of her manager, and asked us to call her in the morning, any time from 7am.

    That was it. We really still have no idea what happened. There was nothing wrong with the card, as Tesco verified, and by Melissa’s own admission the computer had been playing up all day. So we were not amused, and we had no idea why we couldn’t have just had it all sorted when we were there. Seriously, this is the short version. From the actual phone call to leaving Melissa took about two and a half hours

    This had all really blown our nice relaxing afternoon plans, which was a real pain. We ended up heading over to the ESPN bar, which was quite an experience! I don’t think I have seen so many TV screens in my whole life! They were even in the toilet! We quite liked the atmosphere of the place though, and spent some time with a lager, watching ten pin bowling.

    We had to be at MK for 7pm for an ADR (Advance Dining Reservations) at the Liberty Tree Tavern, and we made it quite a journey. We could have taken the easy option and just got on a bus, but oh no, not us! We thought it would be nice to get a boat to EPCOT and stroll through the World Showcase for a bit, which we did. We stopped off to watch O Canada on the way thorough. Now, I remember this being pretty dull, but I quite enjoyed it this time. A lot of my family live in Canada so it was nice to see some of the places I’d visited. I did get rather annoyed with a loud group of Americans being rather vocal with how boring it was though…..I doubt they would have liked people doing that in the American Adventure. Thankfully they left before the show ended though.

    After a couple of monorail rides we arrived in the Magic Kingdom and went off for our ADR. Now this is a meal I would definitely do again. We didn’t even know this place was here on our last two visits, we must have just walked right past it. The food was absolutely lovely. It was very simple, normal food. The ham was particularly good, as was the apple cobbler. The character interaction was great, in fact I think we got some of our best photos here.

    There was one little girl who was petrified of the characters. She was there with her mum and dad, as the only child in the group. When Chip and Dale came round, she was having none of it. She was so scared. When Minnie came round, she still wasn't too happy. The her mum went up and had a cuddle and little girl hid behind her legs. Minnie bent down and offered her hand, little girl still not sure. Ever so slowly she came out and had a quick hand shake. Minnie was great. She stuck around and wouldn't leave till the girl was totally comfortable. After that, the girl was well away, getting photos and autographs from them all. It was so lovely to watch

    When we’d finished our meal we decided to go back to our resort, it had been a pretty long day, and we had another battle with Alamo to prepare for in the morning when we went back.
     
  17. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Part 16: The one with Alamo…..again!
    August 12th

    After all the fuss of yesterday, we had no idea what was going to happen with Alamo today. We had booked the car for yesterday because we had a 10am ADR (Advance Dining Reservations) at Boma this morning and thought it would be a lot easier with a car, rather than taking a bus from ASSp to Animal Kingdom, and then another one to Animal Kingdom Lodge, but all the fuss yesterday ruined that plan.

    I was awake at 7.30am ish, and we’d be promised the Alamo manager Patti would be available for us to call from 7am, so I got on the phone. Melissa had given us a number to call, which I called. Now, here comes the big shock, this number was wrong. The person on the other end had no idea who this Patti was. Hum, is anyone surprised? We certainly weren’t. So I gave it half an hour till the Dolphin desk at Alamo opened. Tried that, no answer. So I got out the yellow pages (which has to be the biggest one I have ever seen in my life) and found an Alamo number. They directed us to the number we already had So we tried it again, did we get any joy, not likely We thought it would just be easier to go down there and get it sorted in person.

    You would think that’d be easy right? Nope. The nearest park to us was Blizzard Beach – it was also on the main road to the Dolphin, and since that had early opening today we got the bus there, so we could get an onward bus to the Dolphin. So we waited at Blizzard Beach, and waited……and waited. Another bus finally pulled up at the stop but it said Animal Kingdom on it, so we asked the driver if he was going to the Dolphin. He told us buses don’t run from Blizzard Beach to the Dolphin till 11am! Arghhhh! He suggested we get on his bus, go to the Animal Kingdom, and get a bus to the Dolphin from there. So we did, and ended up pretty much double backing on ourselves to do so. We got off the bus, ready for the wait for the Dolphin one. However, the driver took pity on us, and drove us round to the Dolphin which was very kind of him. We had been hoping for a nice lie in, and a drive to Boma this morning. So far we’d been up for a couple of hours and hadn’t even got the car yet.

    We arrived at the Alamo desk around 9.30am. By this time we were both incredibly annoyed with the whole thing. However, I worked in a shop for quite a while and knew nothing would happen if I got angry so I was prepared to calmly tell the story....again. There was no way we were going to make our 10am ADR (Advance Dining Reservations) so Anthony went and changed it to 10.45am, which we would hopefully make. Fortunately Melissa was not at the Alamo desk this morning…..but get this, it was her sister! We explained the whole problem to her, she got on the phone, and within minutes she’d sorted a free tank of petrol and an upgrade to any car we wanted……nice! Of course we have no idea what car is a good car in the US, but we’d booked the lowest economy, so anything else was going to be nicer. We certainly didn’t want anything huge so we took the one suggested by the Alamo rep. All of this took about 10 minutes, tops…….so why this couldn’t have all been sorted like this yesterday, I have no idea. Well, it ended up ok in the end, we had a better car and some free petrol (we’d actually already re-paid petrol so she took off the cost of that, saving us about $40).

    Here's the car



    Ironically we could have actually made our original 10am ADR, but we really like Animal Kingdom Lodge resort at Walt Disney World so we went over early and had a walk around. Some of the animals had gone inside, so we went round the back and looked at the other savannah. We saw all sorts of animals, including some giraffes. There was one which must have been quite young, it was sooooo cute. We also had a look around the shop and got a few bits and pieces. I do a project abut Kenya in my class so I got a great mask and lizard shaped rattle, that were both made in Kenya.

    Breakfast at Boma was lovely, it was really unrushed and very relaxed. Anthony particularly enjoyed all the fruit that was on offer. We’d previously been there for dinner which we had really enjoyed and breakfast was just as good.

    After this we had decided we would go to the Titanic exhibition on International Drive. We found it pretty easily. It was a real shock to see the Mecado (I think that’s what it’s called) though. When we were here last in 2001 this place was buzzing, and now it seems like a ghost town, Titanic is pretty much the only thing there. The ticket centre for it has moved into this huge building near the parking lot, and we were wondering if they’re going to move the whole thing over to this building.

    We had a great actress showing us round the exhibit, she was hilarious. She played the part of a lady who was rich enough to travel first class, but had paid for third class as her husband and her had figured it was the same boat, doing the same voyage, so they may as well pay the lesser amount. I didn’t actually realise that happened. I also didn’t realise how opulent third class was, in comparison to third class on other boats. For example they got their meals included, which was never done in third class, and their cabins were much bigger than average. I won’t go into too much detail about this one as it’s one of those things you really need to experience. The lady was a wonderful storyteller though and she really captivated her audience. She wasn’t over the top either. It is one thing I would advise everyone to try if they get the chance. It is very informative and it really does make the effort to show what happened from many points of view. One of the really effective things is you get a ticket as you go in with a name on. Throughout the experience, you are told stories about your character, and at the end you find out if that person survives or not. Both Anthony and my characters survived. He was first class, I was second…… I will get the photos uploaded later, I got tons

    After Titanic we headed up to what used to be Beltz. We just visited a few places here and Anthony had his holiday fix of Nike. I am also a big Nike fan but didn’t find anything I liked this time.

    We went back to the hotel for a couple of hours before heading out to Downtown Disney. We realised we had a spare table service meal and we obviously wanted to use it up, so we booked a dinner at Raglan Road. We arrived a little early and went around to the bar. Dinner here was fantastic! We both started with a leek and potato soup which was served with soda break. The soup was just wonderful, one of the tastiest I think I’ve ever had. Following this Anthony had fish and chips and I had the signature dish, which was roasted bacon with mashed potatoes and cabbage (no grean beans – woohoo!). Both meals were lovely. In fact the family sitting next to us liked the look of my meal so much, they ordered it too. The bacon had a wonderful sauce on, I can’t remember what it was, but it was so subtle, it complemented the meal perfectly. We requested a little time before dessert, and whilst we were waiting for that the band came on. They were really great, although I think some people had trouble understanding them as their accents were pretty strong. They also had an Irish dancer who danced on the tables, she was wonderful as well. For dessert Anthony had banoffee and I had cream brulee. Anthony’s was a manageable size, but mine was huge, it was soooo good though. It beat me, I just couldn’t manage the whole thing!

    After a little more music we left and headed back to our resort to get packed up for our move to Port Orleans Resort Riverside resort at WDW tomorrow

    What a day!

    Next time, the one with the moving.
     
  18. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Part 17: The one with the moving.
    August 13th

    We were really looking forward to today, moving to Port Orleans Resort Riverside resort at WDW was a real bonus for us. When we had rearranged our booking to include the free dining plan, with the money we saved we decided to upgrade to POR. We enjoyed staying at ASSp, with it’s larger than life attitude, but we were looking forward to going somewhere a little quieter, where there weren’t huge gangs of lads drinking outside the rooms till the wee small hours…….that’s what we hoped anyway.

    We arrived at Port Orleans Resort Riverside resort at WDW at about 10am, it was heaving! The lady checking us in told us there were 900 rooms checking in that day, which is about a third of their capacity. Thinking about it though, this is hardly surprising, since it's the first day of free dining. We were really surprised when she told us our room was ready for us. We had a high floor mansion building as we had requested, and we had paid for the water view. We were in Parterre Terrace. On the map it seemed like a fair distance from everywhere, but reality it was perfect, which we discovered over the next few days.

    We got to the room and it hadn’t been cleaned yet, which we thought was odd, so we didn’t bring up our bags and went off to MGM.

    As we got to MGM (a much shorter bus ride than ASSp – even though it went to all the stops and then French Quarter), the car stunt show was just about to start, so we went right there. It was fantastic, exactly the same as the one in Paris (bus without all the French ). There were some pretty spectacular stunts in there, I particularly like the bit with the remote controlled car. I would definitely recommend this one!


    Millionaire was just starting after the stunt show, so we went there next. The guy presenting it was really funny an came up with some great one-liners in reaction to the people on the big screens. In the show before us someone had won the cruise, apparently. Not sure I believed this to start with, but then some people who were at the last show were at the one we were at and they were saying how great it was, so perhaps someone had won it. There was a lady from Texas in the hot seat and she did pretty well, although on her ‘phone a stranger’ she got a librarian who not only knew the answer, but explained why the answer was correct as well, unsurprisingly, she went with the librarian!

    After Millionaire we went over to the animation studios. It’s a shame they don’t do films here anymore. Last time we were here it was just the short film with Mushu (which is very funny), but now they’ve added some things after as well, all of which are really good. You can meet the Incredibles, learn how to draw characters, and find out which character you are most like…..Anthony was like Buzz Lightyear and I was like Belle.

    It had started to rain pretty heavily when we came out. It was really lovely. This was the first rain we’d had since we’d been here and it needed it, it really freshened the place up. We went to Sounds Dangerous next, which was ok, but there were a lot of children who really weren’t too impressed.

    We went back to Port Orleans Resort Riverside resort at WDW after this and discovered our room still hadn’t been cleaned, so we called housekeeping before heading out to Downtown Disney. We had wanted to go on the boat, but due to the storm it wasn’t running, so we went on the bus instead.

    We went to Planet Holleywood for dinner. We’d never been here before so thought we’d give it a try. Three words describe this place ‘too much food’! The portions were huge, and they even beat Anthony. It was really nice food, but not somewhere I’d go out of my way to visit again. We had planned to stay out tonight but neither of us could be bothered so we went back to the hotel. To be honest we felt too full, and just wanted to crash out.

    When we got back, we discovered our room still hadn’t been cleaned, despite calling housekeeping about four hours previously. We went down to the concierge and they were really helpful. They said they would either get the room sorted right now for us, or we could switch rooms. We went for the first option as we really liked the room we’d been allocated. We had some time to kill whilst they were doing this so we went to the bar. I’ve never had a cocktail before, so decided to give one a go. I had a Blue Fusion and Anthony had a coco cabana. Wow, they were strong. Anthony finished his a bit quicker than me so had a rum runner……cue lots of jokes about Captain Jack Sparrow…… I could smell it coming it had so much alcohol in it! Suffice to say, Anthony rather enjoyed it.

    When we went back to our room it had been cleaned and there was a message on the phone from the concierge to say if we were not satisfied we could either change rooms or get a refund on the first nights stay. However, the room had been cleaned so there was no need to take up either of these offers. However, we discovered whenw e checked out, they had credited the price of that first night to our account, so we got that for free! We got unpacked and once we’d done so we took notice of the fact that it still looked so tidy, whereas at ASSp it seemed like there wasn’t enough room for everything, here there was plenty, and there’s only the two of us. The change from king bed to a normal one was a bit of a shock though!

    Next time, the one where Anthony meets his hero.
    __________________
     
  19. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Part 18: The one where Anthony meets his hero
    August 14th

    (caution - long report!)
    Anthony had really been looking forward to this morning, we had an ADR (Advance Dining Reservations) at the Crystal Palace and he would get to have his photo taken with Eeyore. We planned our ADR (Advance Dining Reservations) for 8.30am on purpose so that we could get to the MK before it opened, and take lots of photos before there were a ton of people on Main Street

    The bus was at the stop pretty quickly this morning and we were on our way to the Magic Kingdom. When we got there it was already pretty busy with people being there for the 9am opening. We went through the ADR (Advance Dining Reservations) line to get in, along with 2 families who didn’t have reservations for breakfast. Once they got through the gates they were pretty pleased with themselves to have gotten in…..until they realised nothing was open anyway! We thought this was hillarious

    I took a ton of pictures, and managed to get them with very few other people in them. I got some great ones of the castle and the partners statue…..which I’m sure will become my desktop pretty soon.


    We got into breakfast pretty quickly, and it was busy as usual, didn’t matter though as I always find that really adds to the atmosphere. Breakfast was lovely, with the usual offerings. I, once again got very confused by the choices of milk I could have . I'm not a juice fan and like to drink milk with my breakfast and I'm amazed by the choices. With my confused look the server just told me not to worry and she'd bring me some, if I didn't like it, she'd swap it. I have no idea what she brought, but it tasted like the semi-skimmed I'm used to, so I was happy
    The characters were slowly coming round and since we were sitting in exactly the same place as we were last time we were here, we knew the order they'd come round in. We got some lovely pics, and Anthony got the obligatory one with his hero


    We were out of there by about 9.30am. We had decided to spend quite a bit of time in MK today so we headed over to Splash Mountain first. We got a FP for 10.10am, even though there was only a 10 minute wait. We decided to go over and check out Big Thunder Mountain though. The wait here was only 10 minutes so we got right on. There was no way the wait time was 10 minutes though, the wait time was the time it took us to get from the entrance to the actual ride, which depended on how fast you could walk! Since the wait was so short we went on again, which was great fun. It was about 9.50am by this time and there seemed to be nobody in the park, which was great for us! We noticed this throughout the trip. If you were in MK for opening, when it wasn't Extra Magic Hour you got on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain quite a few times with little wait.

    We walked over to Splash Mountain, and since our FP time wasn’t for a few more minutes, we went in standby. Last time we went on this we just got a little splash, and were dry by the time we got off. This time we were in exactly the same row and got totally soaked. I think this might have had something to do with the rather large gentleman who was sitting in the front. It was great, we were totally drenched! So we went on it again with our FP. We didn’t get so wet this time, but we were still pretty wet from the last time.

    We could hardly believe we’d gone on two of the biggest rides in the park, twice, in the space of about 20 minutes.

    We went round to Jungle Cruise next, but the wait was 40 minutes so we decided against it this time. So we carried on through to Space Mountain and got a FP for that. We had a wait of about an hour for this so we decided to stay in the area. Anthony had wanted to do Stitch’s Great Escape, but it wasn’t something that interested me, so he went on that while I went on the Transit Authority. I decided to film it today since I was on it on my own. We had decided we wanted to film as much as we could on this stay as we have no idea when we’ll be coming back…..

    Whilst I was waiting for Anthony I had one of those research guys ask me a ton of questions. It took me quite some time to make him understand that I booked direct with Disney UK and US, even though I lived in the UK…..He also didn’t seem to grasp the fact that I had several bookings to take advantage of the dining plan, bet he wished he hadn’t picked me, as none of the things I was saying seemed to be on his little PDA thing……whoops!

    Anthony wasn’t too keen on Stitch, so I was pleased I didn’t go on it. We went over to Space Mountain then…..are you getting this, I went on Space Mountain…..again! After being petrified of it for so long! I ended up at the back, and it was quite a different ride from the last time we went on, verrrrrry fast! I enjoyed it though.

    We thought we’d give the Jungle Cruise another go after this, but before we got there we decided to ride Pirates again. Outside the ride we saw Jack Sparrow, he was fantastic, his mannerisms were brilliant, as was the voice (even though there was a slight South African twang to it). I wished we’d seen it from the beginning as it really was very good.



    Jungle Cruise still had a huge wait time and we couldn’t really be bothered to wait around, so we decided to go back to our resort.

    After a few hours rest (these rest break are proving to be realllly useful) we headed to Epcot. I realised we hadn’t actually seen Illunimations yet, and since we hadn’t seen it since our 2001 trip, we both really wanted to see it this time. We were really amazed how long it took to get there on the bus (in a good way) only a few minutes, which was great. we actually realised that night we could see Epcot from the hotel. At night when it was all lit up we could see it from the lake outside our building at POR.

    We went to get a FP for Malstrom (sp?) as we didn’t want to miss it this time. Whilst we were waiting for that we went for some tea in Mexico at the counter service place. I had the mix deal and Anthony had a taco type thing, but it wasn’t actually tacos…. They were both really tasty and I would really recommend this place. We sat by the lake to eat and watched the birds, there was a baby one there and it was incredibly cute. We tried to take a picture, but were unsure how well it would actually come out….

    We were on Malstrom with a family who had never been on it before who got very surprised by the backwards bit. I think it’s a great little ride and much better than I expected, the film was good as well.

    We went over to get a FP for Test Track and it popped out a bonus one for Mission Space. Now this is one ride I just will not go on, the very thought of it petrifies me, I can’t stand simulators and that spinning sensation just makes me feel ill! However, Anthony promised me faithfully the ‘chicken’ ride would be fine for me……hum, I wasn’t so sure, but I thought I’d give it a go. When we were standing in line there was another teenage girl who hadn’t been on it before. When we went into the pre-show and the video came on, that even made her jump! The we got into our spaceship I was sitting net to a rather nervous looking girl who must have been about 6. I was commander. It was an ok ride, I can’t say it was one of my favourites though, made me a bit wibbly! The sick bags were a nice touch as well! Again, another ride I can't believe I actually went on!

    It was then time to get a spot for Illuminations. We stood at the back of a flowerbed, which was perfect for filming and photos as there was nobody in front of us, just flowers. It was on the bit in front of the golf ball (I know it’s not a golf ball, but let’s face it, that’s what we all call it!) and was a great spot. The fireworks were spectacular, much better than I remembered.


    Due to where we were, we were on the bus quickly, in fact, there was one just about to leave as we got there, perfect timing!

    As we got back to the resort, we remembered we had a few table service credits we needed to get booked. We had a reservation for Le Cellier but wanted to try and change it to our last night, unfortunately we couldn’t, although I wasn’t surprised, so we booked the Concourse Steakhouse instead. We also booked the Yachtsman Steakhouse for tomorrow. I seem to remember it had great reviews, and we were going to have a spare table service anyway (this place took two), so we went ahead and booked it. After this we went to the bar for a quick drink (which was becoming a habit) and then we went back to the room. We found that Who’s Line is it Anyway? was on, I think this is a great show, so after an hour of chuckling, we were ready for some sleep.

    Next time, the one with Sea World.
     
  20. Vikki

    Vikki Moderator

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    Part 19: the one with Sea World
    August 15th

    I thought I'd better post this as I'm off to London for a couple of days (on my own ) so won't be posting agin till Thursday. Just warning you, so nobody tells me off for not posting one!

    So anyway, on with the report................................

    It was going to be pretty weird for us today, no mouse! A very odd thought, no mouse all day, as we were going to be going to Sea World. We went for a counter service breakfast at the resort and then we got on our way.

    We arrived at about 10.45am, into car park C, which was great because it was right at the gate. We went over to get our ticket (we have it included with our Discovery Cove ticket). They only gave us a one day one which I thought was a bit odd, but I suppose we’ll have to go get our ticket every day we go to Sea World.

    The Shamu show was due to start so we went over there first. This was a different show to the one we saw in 2001, this new one is called ‘Believe’. It was very good, although I must admit I preferred the old one. I love to people watch when people are coming into these big shows, it’s like they have a whole stadium to choose from and still can’t quite decided where to sit, then complain the place they want is busy…… There was a very young whale there who was just swimming around with its mother, which was very sweet to watch. As promised, the people in the splash zone got totally drenched, which wasn’t where we were. I got some pretty good pictures of this, visit my gallery if you want to see

    After this show we went over to the Clyde and Seymore show. The mime beforehand was still there, which I was pleased about as I think he’s hilarious! I always like to make sure we get into the stadium before he arrives though so we’re not one of his jokes! The actual show was wonderful and I laughed the whole way through. There were quite a lot of mistakes and people getting their lines wrong, but to be honest, it made it even funnier! The guy who got a soaking was a Brit which was funny, there was a great big cheer when he said he as from England, so the woman said it looked like the majority of the crowd must be Brits as well.

    Pets Ahoy was next. We weren’t sure if this was still on as we’d not noticed anyone mentioning it on the boards recently. We were both pleased it was as this is such a great show. The big where the dog steals the lunch is particularly funny. I swear, when they go to the shelters to get these animals, they must say “one bouncy dog please”, or “one fluffy white cat please”. Seriously, some of those dogs must have a trampoline hidden under the stage. The little girl next to me didn’t get the “can you do this Shamu?” joke……but then when she did get it, she was giggling for the rest of the show, very sweet.

    We went to visit the manatees after this, they are such beautiful animals. Then it was over to the dolphins. We didn’t spend much time outside, no point since we’d be close up with them on Friday, so we went to the underwater viewing area instead. We watched them for quite some time, just playing around, having a whale of a time.

    It had started to rain pretty heavily, and we had not planned to do anything else here today so we headed back to the car. We have used a towel to cover the steering wheel so it doesn’t get too hot. It came in very useful today as we were totally soaked by the time we got back to the car!

    Back in the room we both had a shower and made sure we looked our best for our meal at the Yachtsman Steakhouse. When we had booked this last night we were told they have a dress code, so we made a bit of an effort. We needn’t have bothered really as everyone was dressed pretty casually, but it was nice to dress up a bit anyway.

    I had the farmers salad to start and Anthony had the Caesar salad. Both were absolutely lovely. It was nice to have just a very simple, unfussy starter that wasn’t too huge. Anthony had steak for his main and I had chicken, as I’m not a steak fan. The look on Anthony’s face when he had his steak was an absolute picture, suffice to say, he rather enjoyed it. My chicken was also wonderful, it was just perfectly cooked. I’m not sure what it was that went with it, but it was absolutely lovely. I asked the server what key lime pie was like, and he said “a pie with lime”, he then went on to explain in quite some detail what it actually was. I’d seen it on the menu so many times and never tried it, so I did tonight as we had the dessert sampler between us. All of the desserts were very tasty. I really enjoyed the key lime pie and the warm chocolate cake in particular. To be honest, just thinking about it is making my mouth water!

    We decided to have a bit of a walk after this and went out to wander around the lake, however a storm was brewing up, and the lightening was getting rather close, so we decided to head back to the hotel. I seem to remember us having a drink in the bar when we got back (well, I would be surprised if we didn’t). We were very much looking forward to being there when the famous Piano Bob would be playing!

    Next time, the one with a few hitches!
    __________________
     

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