Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Recap of Day 4 at WDW

Friday, December 3, 2010
Today was a LONG day for all of the Green Family! Animal Kingdom opened at 9:00 and I think we got there around 9:30. We missed "Rope Drop" but still got in and road some rides before the crowds came. I can't tell you how many pictures I have of this tree! The Tree of Life is still awe inspiring to me each time I see it. I've never had the luxury of just walking around, up close and admiring the work. It seems that I always have someone on my heels wanting to catch another glimpse of the Yeti! This trip, I did manage to zoom in a little with my camera and I caught this for the first time...
Is that a "Hidden Mickey" I see?? If you look right in the center of this photo there is a blackish/ gray Mickey head made of three circles- not a profile Mickey. My family seems to think this is a Hidden Mickey. If it's not technically one, we're saying it is! :)

My boys with "The Tree" in back!

Our first stop was in Asia. The big boys were going to ride "The Yeti" while C-man and I strolled around and took photos. The crowds were very slim at this point and I was able to get great shots without ANY people in them! Those are for another post! :)

After JAG and daddy rode Expedition Everest, and got Fastpasses for another ride later, we ventured over to Africa for the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction. C-man loved the animals and would point all of them out for us! Again, I have so many photos of these animals, yet on each trip I continue to take more. I guess I'm hoping for that one perfect shot one day!

All of the animals were out and about- except for the Lions. They were napping, as usual, and we couldn't see them. The others were very active and many were pretty close to the road so C-man could really see them without having to look behind trees and bushes. I did edit out a photo of one of the daddy elephants. It was x-rated!

After the Safari, we walked the Pangani Trail and saw more animals. On our way to lunch at Anandapur Local Food (Yak and Yeti) we saw DiVine doing her thing. I took a few pictures and will save them for another post as well! I don't want to use everything in one post...

When we finished with lunch, we walked the Maharajah Jungle Trek. Again, more photos and animal sightings. The best was the tigers! (War Eagle!) The big boys went for their second ride on the Yeti while C-man and I talked to the Disney Vacation Club guys. I tried to get some basic info out of them, without having to sit through the "hour long presentation", but had no luck. I tried to tell them I had been a previous member, but that didn't work either. I explained that I knew the program, I just wanted the 2010-2011 prices, but again, no luck. All I got was a few stickers and 2 buttons for me and C-man. They did get my email address and contact info, but I never received an email with the details I wanted.

We met back up with the big boys and ventured over to DinoLand USA. JAG finally conquered Dinosaur! He rode it during our trip in 2006 when he was 5 and was SCARED TO DEATH! In 2008, when he was 7 he refused to ride it. In 2010, at 10 years old, he finally rode without being scared! It was a big feat for him.

Looking at the fish on a trail outside the Tree of Life. I think we could have stayed here for a while! :)

Waiting in line to enter the Festival of the Lion King.

Once the Festival of the Lion King show was over, it was time for us to leave so I could go back to the conference... remember that?!? The boys rested in the room and caught up on some ESPN stories while I was learning about sustaining youth ministry. Once I was finished and everyone was rested it was time to head to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP). On this trip we had 4 day tickets without the park hopper option. So, we could spend 1 day in each park. But, since we had tickets to MVMCP we could go to the Magic Kingdom on the same day we went to Animal Kingdom. With the party tickets, you can enter the MK at 4:00 and stay until the party is over at midnight. The park closed to regular guests at 7:00.

We had reservations at Liberty Tree Tavern for 5:35, but we missed it. We got to the park at 6:00 and didn't even try to get in for our reservations. Even though we would probably still be waiting at 6:00 for a table, we opted to use that time to enjoy more attractions. We didn't have the best of luck with our dining reservations and wait times this trip. Instead we ate at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe. Jonathan swore we would not eat here this trip since we managed to eat there at least 3 times the last trip! Oh well... we had to eat and the counter service options were limited.

After dinner, we spent our time in Toontown and Fantasyland. This was one of my biggest regrets of the trip. I wish I had done this during the daylight with C-man. Photos would have been so much better, he could have seen more "stuff" and I could have seen more over the wall while riding Dumbo (or "Dummo" as C called it) of the expansion. Oh well. Live and learn. We did manage to get a few fun photos and made great memories as well. Daddy and JAG rode the teacups (I always will pass on that one) while C-man and I watched. We all spent time at The Adventures of Winnie The Pooh playing in the new "interactive" queue! We enjoyed "Dummo", Peter Pan, and It's a Small World and met all 7 of the Dwarfs! The Wishes Firework show as going on while we were meeting the Dwarfs, so C-man is looking in the sky instead of at the camera! He LOVED the fireworks and would make an "explosive" noise each time one went off.

Mad Tea Party... no thanks!

In line for Winnie the Pooh wearing matching shirts... even though you can't tell because it was soo cold we kept our jackets on the entire time.

Riding "Dummo!"

Our boys posing on the "Dummo" outside the attraction!

When we finished with the attractions in Fantasyland, it was time to partake in free cookies and hot cocoa with our MVMCP tickets! The hot cocoa was MUCH needed at this point and the cookies weren't bad either. There were several areas around the park where you could enjoy these free treats- free with a party ticket! Just look for the sign!

Yep, this is the "sign" you need to look for to get free cookies and cocoa!

C-man enjoying his cookie!

After Fantasyland, we moseyed over to Big Thunder Mountain. Again, the big boys rode while I pushed C-man around. He was napping/ sleeping at this point because it was way past his bed time and it had been a long day! When this ride was over it was time for the parade! I watched over some shoulders but managed to get a few decent photos- more will come in another post!

The beginning of the parade...

The end of the parade... HO, HO, HO!!

At this point, we were all beat, C-man was sound asleep and it was time to venture back to the hotel. One more day left.

Merry Christmas from the Magic Kingdom!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Robin Hood to start the day!

Just a quick post before we venture off for our last Christmas hoorah.

These pictures/ autographs are from Robin Hood Characters. I honestly don't remember the Robin Hood autograph and can't find a photo to accompany it. I would guess it was from our trip in 1996 or 1998- before I was totally into getting a many autographs as I could. Yes, I'm 36 and not ashamed to stand in line with a bunch of kids to hug a character's neck and get a picture and autograph!I met Friar Tuck with my friend Deb in 2003- marathon weekend. It was soooo perfect that I met him while with her because he looks like someone we actually know- in REAL life! :) We met him in the Magic Kingdom at the beginning of Main Street USA (I think!).

And last is Prince John. Karen, Deb and I also met him pre marathon in 2003 when we met Friar Tuck. Again, I think this was in the MK on Main Street, but I could be totally wrong!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from our house...

My first post from my new MacBook Pro!

A little Disney Christmas Magic from our house. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and you got all you wanted! :)

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 3 Recap

Thursday, December 2

Today was Epcot day. We spent ALL day at the park- no breaks. I woke up early and went to the youth conference at the resort for an hour session. The rest of the conference that day was not interesting to me. The part that was interesting was when a Disney employee came to talk about the YES program. Since I have actually participated in that program before, I didn't feel the need to hear someone talk about it- so I skipped. The second half of the day the conference attendees spent time at Epcot seeing the Christmas Processional and Illuminations. So, I really didn't miss too much!
Welcome to Epcot.
Too bad the Photopass people don't know how to block out sun spots...

We spent the morning in Future World, since The World Showcase didn't open until 11:30. Our first stop was to get Fastpasses for Test Track. It was so cold/ cool outside, the machines wouldn't give me a fastpass! Or at least that's what the Fastpass worker told me! Instead, he gave me a fastpass card to use in the machines when I needed a fastpass. I'm not sure why that card would work but my park ticket didn't...

We made it to the center of Walt Disney World!
Can't you see the thrill on C-man's face?!
Making music with Figment at Journey into Imagination.
I could do a whole rant on the "new" Imagination, but I won't.

Once we had fastpasses in hand, we went towards The Land. On the way, we stopped at the center of the World for photos! We also made a slight detour to the Imagination Pavilion. This was, once upon a time, my favorite attraction in all of WDW. I loved Figment, the Dreamfinder, the rainbow tunnel, the "pin tables", etc. I always looked forward Imagination. Not so much now. We walked right on the ride and had empty cars on either side of us. It's just not fun anymore and the interactive area is not fun either. I hate that the boys won't be able to enjoy Figment like I did.

After the disappointment of Imagination, we went next door to The Land. "Living with the Land" is one of our favorites, so we went there first. We admired the plants and JAG loved the aligators. C-man just took it all in! We decided to skip Soarin' this trip since we did it so many times on our last trip and rode it in California in May. On our way to The Living Seas with Nemo, we realized our fastpasses were going to expire, so we went to Test Track. We still waited for 45 minutes with fastpasses. Crazy. JAG and I rode while Daddy watched C-man nap in the stroller. We stopped by the Cool Club for a sip of Beverly before heading to World Showcase! I wish I had a photo of that! :)

Germany has great Christmas decorations!

Japan has beautiful photo opportunities!
Tangierine Cafe in Morocco.

We started our World Showcase tour on the right side with Canada. We stopped to listen to some of the "Holiday's Around the World" Santa speech and continued on our way. We continued through England without stopping since we had dinner reservations for later. In France, we stopped so I could meet Marie from Aristocats and we had a photopass photo made with the Eiffel tower in the background. We also watched a street performer do a balancing act on chairs- pretty cool! C-man fell asleep, again, during our stroll so we ate lunch in Morocco at Tangierine Cafe. My favorite was the pita chips and hummus. I'll get that again. I won't order anything else there. I didn't care for my Mediterranean Chicken Wrap, couscous salad or lentil salad. I ate it, but won't do it again. After lunch we walked through Morocco and Japan before C-man woke up in America.

We have at least at dozen photos of these birds at the America Pavilion who ate C-man's fries!

The Gingerbread House at the America Pavilion.

In America, we stopped at the Liberty Inn Tavern so C-man could eat chicken fingers and fries for lunch. As I mentioned above, most of the fries went to the birds! I was glad we stopped because I would have missed the gingerbread house. I wanted to see the American Adventure and listen to the Voices of Liberty, but we didn't have time.

Once our visit in America was over, we continued to Italy and Germany. We spent time walking through both countries, especially admiring the new area in Italy! I look forward to eating at Via Napoli in the future. In Germany, we spent time looking for lizards in the train area. No luck though. We continued to walk to China, Norway, the Outpost and Mexico, but only stopped for a few photos and to listen to the Meriachi band in Mexico.

Once we finished our world tour, we realized the window for us to have a personal meet and greet with the characters was about to end. From 1-4:30, I think, people who have a Disney Rewards Visa card can have a photo session with characters at Innoventions. We went to the "Character Spot" first and it was a 15 minute wait for the "common folk." I asked where the Visa Rewards visit location was and she pointed the way. Once we got there, the line was HUGE! I asked the cast member how long the wait would be and he guessed at least 45 minutes. We passed on the "private photo shoot" and went to the Character Spot. We were able to meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald. At the Visa place, you could only meet Mickey and 1 other- and they couldn't guarantee who it would be. We made the better choice I think. C-man did great and even high fived Mickey, although he still wouldn't leave my arms!
Corbin Bernsen was our narrator for the Candlelight Processional.

The AMAZING Processional!

C-man enjoyed the Processional too!

Once we finished our meet and greet with the Fab 5, we went all the way to the other side of the Lagoon to stand in line for the Christmas Processional. I was so scared we wouldn't get in for the 5:00 show, but after a 45 minute wait in line, we got in and sat on the back row. This was actually a good thing because C-man stood on the bleacher the entire time dancing, clapping and "singing." It was a very good show. I wish I could have paid more attention to it and not C! This is a definite if you are in Epcot during the Holidays! I'm very glad we did it!
After the Processional, we had to book it back to England for our dinner reservations at Rose and Crown. We got there at 6:05 for our 6:10 reservations and were seated at 6:50. That was frustrating. We spent those 45 minutes walking through the stores. C-man and I ran into Pooh and Tigger in the back of the toy store and he had his photo made with them- but he never got out of the stroller! Dinner was good, but I got sick later that night. I don't care to go back to Rose and Crown and it will probably be a while before I eat fish again... I wish I had taken a photo of the pallet I made on the bathroom floor to sleep on! Thank goodness the Coronado Springs has too many pillows on their beds!!

Good Night from Beautiful Spaceship Earth in Epcot!

After Rose and Crown, I was feeling queazy, but didn't realize I was going to be sick. We chose to ride Spaceship Earth and head on back. I wish we could have stayed for Illuminations, but we were tired, I was queazy and we had a big day on Friday planned.

There will be several more posts about this trip, just not in my daily recaps... for anyone who cares!