Sunday, January 30, 2011

A new way to use Rider Switch!

After I posted about using rider switch on our recent trip to the World, a friend on facebook shared a different way they used it:

We used it in a different way on a different ride. When we were there a couple of weeks ago I didn't think I should ride the cars at Tomorrowland Speedway since I'm pregnant. I just had this fear of somebody plowing me from behind. Both of the kids wanted to drive though. We went through the line, and when we got to the CM who assigns you to your car we explained the situation. He put a white wrap around "flag" on the roll bar to signal that they would get to ride again. Hubby rode with our son driving, and then they switched to let our daughter drive. It worked out great!

Great tip Shannon! Thanks a bunch!

Pinocchio friends

"Prove yourself brave, truthful, and unselfish, and someday, you will be a real boy." ~The Blue Fairy

Pinocchio is another character I've met multiple times. I met Pinocchio in November of 2006 when mom and I were down. The photo and autograph were on Main Street outside Tony's Town Square.

Jiminy Cricket was found in the exact same spot as Pinocchio during our first trip with JAG in February 2006.

I met Gideon and Geppetto during my trip down in February of 2005. Besides parades, I think this is the only time I've seen these two. I found them on Main Street outside City Hall.

J. Worthington Foulfellow was also found on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. This autograph and picture was from the February 2006 trip too.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday's Favorites: Zawadi Primal Parade at AKL

It's been a while, but I'm back with another Friday's Favorite! During our trip to Walt Disney World in February of 2007 we spent three days at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. What a treat that was! The resort is beautiful, the rooms are fabulous and the sights are breathtaking! I'm so glad we were able to stay part of our trip at AKL.

One of my favorite memories of being a guest at Animal Kingdom Lodge was the Zawadi Primal Parade held in the evenings in the hotel lobby. When we checked in, the cast member told us all the "extra" things that were happening at the resort. We were able to take part in this parade and the night viewing of the animals, both which we learned about at check in. Pay attention to the extra stuff- it can make great memories!

We met Willi from Windhoek, Namibia in the Zawadi Marketplace (gift shop) around 6:00, I think! He was in traditional dress and entertained the children with songs and instruments.

After a while, he invited all the children to choose an African instrument from the gift shop to play. This would be their instrument for the parade through the lobby. After each child chose the perfect instrument, they all gathered in the front of the lobby, learned and practiced the song they would sing. It's been too long now and I don't remember the song. And the video we took was apparently misplaced in our last move... Below you can see JAG and some other kids practicing!

Once the children knew the song and were comfortable with their chosen instruments, the Zawadi Primal Parade began! All the children, and some parents, followed Willi throughout the lobby weaving in and out of chairs, plants, pillars, people and furniture. The whole time, they were singing, playing and having a great time! JAG, who HATES to sing, even participated and actually smiled! :)

When it was time to return the instruments to the Zawadi gift shop Willi and another cast member gave each child a "Where dreams come true" certificate for participating!

It's the small things like this that make Disney so special. They go out of their way to make all the guests feel welcome and a part of the show. While these kids were having fun beating on drums, ringing bells and clanging cymbals they were also learning about Willi, Namibia, Africa and music! Who says a vacation to Disney can't be educational!?!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I wish...

During our most recent trip to Walt Disney World in December, I wish I had done some, well, many things differently.
  1. I wish I had kept my head in the game more. By that, I mean I wish I had been more present during our trip. I had my camera out almost the entire time and I took hundreds of photos. I continuously said or thought "That would be a great blog post!" I was looking at our trip through the eyes of a blogger too much. Don't get me wrong, I had a blast and got tons of great pictures of my kids, but I think I got too many of the other stuff and not enough of our experiences.
  2. I wish I had ordered the ice cream at Beaches & Cream! I was stuffed after our meal and decided agains the dessert. Gluttony is a bad thing, but I wish I had been a glutton that night!
  3. I wish I had made Cman take a picture at the Magic Kingdom in his ears! I tried to get him to wear them in the parks, but he refused- complete with screams and tears! He would only wear them in the hotel room. In hindsight, I should have just snapped a photo in the room! I didn't even get a picture of him in his ears...
  4. I wish we had had more time. I think I said it before- 4 days in the parks is not enough time. We decided you need at least 6 days to really get it all in. When we go with out kids, 4 days will be enough. But, with kids, you need 6 days so you can slow down, take naps and relax more without being so rushed.
  5. I wish we had been able to see the lights at the Fort Wilderness Camp Sites. I've seen photos on line and would love to see them in person! See "I wish" #4...
  6. I wish we had visited Santa on our trip. We "saw" him on Main Street and at Downtown Disney, but the lines were so long. Again, see #4...
  7. I wish we had been able to see the Flag Retreat at the Magic Kingdom. On both days we visited MK we were at the resort relaxing during the retreat time. Thank goodness for "next time!"
  8. I wish we had visited Fantasyland during the daytime. On our first day we went to all the other lands and saved Fantasyland for MVMCP on Friday night. When we were riding Dumbo, I could see over the wall to the expansion area. If it had been daylight, I could have seen more of the progress! I also could have gotten some very cute pictures of Cman in Fantasyland during the daylight (See #1)!
  9. I wish we had met more characters. By the time Cman warmed up to them, it was time to head home... #4.
  10. I wish we had done Nemo and Turtle Talk with Crush at Epcot. Cman would have liked it. Instead we did Test Track and walked the World Showcase. #4...
  11. I wish we had stuck it out and watched the Illuminations show at Epcot. I believe there was a holiday twist to it. We were all tired and ready to go to bed, plus we had seen Illuminations many times before. It was after our trip when I read there was a holiday twist to it. Still don't know if that was really true or not.
  12. I wish we hadn't eaten at Rose and Crown.
  13. I wish we had had more time at Animal Kingdom. I wish we had seen the Jingle Jungle parade and visited Conservation Station. Again, Cman would have loved the animals there! But, I had to get back to the resort for my conference stuff. I have to remind myself that that's the reason we were there!!
  14. I wish we had been able to ride the Characters in Flight balloon at DTD. #4.
  15. I wish we rode the train. This as a complete oversight on my part. I know Cman would have loved it, but I totally forgot. We were planning to ride it and decided to go back to the room to rest on the first day. Then at the MVMCP I forgot. :(
  16. I wish I had taken more video. See #1.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Things I'm glad I did at WDW

In writing my "Bucket List" for Walt Disney World, I started to think about all the things I'm glad I've had the opportunity to do on some of my past trips.

  1. Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue (February 2006)- I'm glad that we did this as a family. It was fun, but not at all what I expected. I didn't do ANY research on this show before we went. All I knew was that "EVERYONE" loved it and recommended it. I convinced my then boyfriend, now husband, to get us tickets. He listened! I guess I thought it would be more "Disneyish" than it was. Besides the cast member name badges, I don't think you would even know you were at Walt Disney World while you are at this show! It was a very quirky, slap stick, silly, song and dance, comedy show. The best part, hands down was the strawberry shortcake for dessert! We still talk about that dessert and have scoured the internet looking for the recipe! Again, glad we did it, but I wouldn't do it again.
  2. New Year's Eve 1999 to ring in 2000- This was a trip in my "former life!" I wrote a bit about it on my "past trips" tab. Everyone thought the world would end or at least come to a screeching halt that night. I honestly knew people who stockpiled bottled water, dried beans, propane and flashlights because they believed all computers and technology would come to a stand still and it would take days, weeks or months to get life back to where we were on December 31, 1999. My families thoughts were, if the world is going to come to an end or come to a halt, where would we rather be.... sitting in our homes in Birmingham, AL or at Walt Disney World?!?! We traveled south!
  3. "Drove" with Dan on the Monorail (December 2001)- Since the monorail wreck in the summer of 2009 that killed the driver, I have heard rumors that you can no longer ride in the front of the monorail. Since 2009, we have only been to WDW once and we didn't try to ride in the front. But, at Disneyland in 2010, you could still ride with the driver in the nose of the monorail. So, with all that said, I'm glad I had the chance to ride in the nose of the monorail at WDW. I'm especially happy to have the memory of Dan letting us "drive" the monorail!! :)
  4. Started collecting Pressed Pennies (December 2001)- This crazy obsession with Disney pressed pennies had gone global! I have TONS of pennies from all over the USA and Europe. We found a penny machine in Rome, Italy at the Colosseum! My youth from church and friends will get me pennies from their vacations too and even call before they get one for me to make sure I don't have it already! I even have a Shakespeare penny from Englad that a friend brought me.
  5. "Ran" the half and full marathons (January 2003 & 2008)- I blogged about my full marathon experience here. One day I'll get to my half experience in 2008 with my husband! That was the last time I really ran before C-man was a member of our family!
  6. Participated in the YES program (November 2006)- This was part of the youth ministry conference I attended in 2006 with my mom. We spent an afternoon at the Magic Kingdom doing "science stuff" in the park discussing the use of magnets (TTA Peoplemover), lights/ scrims (Haunted Mansion) and senses (Mickey's Philharmagic).
  7. Attended the Pirates and Princess Party (February 2008)- I have not blogged about this, but we decided to take JAG to this party in 2008. I had always wanted to attend the MVMCP or MNSSHP, but had not been to the parks in December or October. This seemed to be the next best thing! We had a lot of fun and it only wet our appetite for more parties! UPDATE: I did blog about this!!!
  8. Attended Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (December 2010)- There has not been an "official" post on this party yet, but you can read a bit about it on our day 4 recap!
  9. Was a member of the Disney Vacation Club (1998-2001)- Again, part of my former life. After my divorce I could not afford to keep the membership on a teacher's salary, but he couldn't either so I feel better!! We ended up selling it to break even. One day I hope to be a member again!
  10. Ate dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table (February 2006) This was a bitter sweet memory. We had reservations to eat at Cinderella's Royal Table on Tuesday after we arrived on Monday. My grandmother died on Sunday, the day before we left. We flew into Orlando on Monday and had half of Monday to play in the parks. On Tuesday morning, very early, I flew back to Birmingham for the funeral and was back at WDW late that night. I hated to miss our reservations with Cinderella, so we talked to the concierge at our resort. They were very easy to work with and quickly changed our reservations to another day during our trip.
  11. Cirque De Soleil- La Nouba You can read the post to learn more about La Nouba!
  12. Disney Quest (June 1998)- This was a last minute decision during my June 1998 trip. It was raining and we had the length of stay premium park hopper passes that included Disney Quest. We decided to take advantage of the rain and visit Downtown Disney and Disney Quest. It was a lot of fun, even thought I've not done much with video games since the Atari 2600!
  13. Fort Wilderness Campfire Sing Along and Movie (November 2006)- I don't remember how I learned about this, but mom and I visited the Chip and Dale sing along and Campfire Movie at Fort Wilderness in 2006. You can see a bit about it at the Fort Wilderness page. We made smores around the campfire, sang with Chip and Dale and watched Peter Pan under the stars! It was so much fun and I can't wait to do it with C-man one day!
  14. Candlelight Processional (December 2010) While we were at Epcot in December we were fortunate to see the Christmas Processional when Corbin Bernsen was the narrator. You may know him from LA Law, but I know him best as Roger Dorn from Major League! This processional is a very moving reading of the Christmas Story complete with an orchestra and massive choir. Hopefully I'll do a post on the Processional one day!
  15. ESPN the Weekend (March 2006) This is a sports weekend at Hollywood Studios each spring. We just happened to be there in 2006 when it was happening. We saw a few interactive areas at the park for kids to play, but we didn't participate in any. We also saw several talk shows from ESPN being filmed, but again we didn't stop to watch for very long. This was JAGs first trip to WDW and he was 5. He was more into the characters and attractions than sports at this point in his life! If we went back now, he would be all about the sports stuff! The best part of our 2006 trip and ESPN the weekend, was seeing Brian Urlacher, linebacker for the Bears, on Triceratops Spin with his daughter!
  16. ABC Soap's Weekend (November 2006) This was an accident too. Mom and I were at WDW for the Youth Worker Summit and it fell on the same weekend as the Soaps Weekend. I remember seeing posters, banners and billboards for this event, but don't remember much more than that! Now that the weekend doesn't happen anymore, I'm glad I can say I was there, back in the day... even if I don't really remember it!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Walt Disney World Bucket List

There have been several posts recently where I've listed "things I want to do at Walt Disney World." So, I've decided to make a master list containing my Walt Disney World Bucket List. When I've "done" it, I'll cross it off and link it to a post about my experience! When I think of more, I'll add it to this list.

Do you have suggestions for me?!?

  • Stay in ALL the resorts (I've only listed those left on my list)
Bay Lake Towers
Grand Floridian
Caribbean Beach
Port Orleans (accomplished February 2012)
Beach Club
Yacht Club
Saratoga Springs
Wilderness Lodge
Fort Wilderness- camping and cabins
Old Key West
Shades of Green
Art of Animation (2012)
  • Be a Disney Vacation Club Member (again...) From Disney's web site
  • Attend the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at the Polynesian (thanks for the reminder in the comments, mom!) From Disney...
  • Attend Mickey's Backyard BBQ Dinner Show Disney's...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When do you cry?

People who know me know that I'm am not afraid to cry. I cry when I'm happy, sad and the occasional mad. There are really just a few things that make me cry because my love is so deep:

1. My God
2. My Family
3. My Friends
4. My school- Auburn University
5. Walt Disney World

There are other things and places that make me just as excited as the above 5, but won't bring me to tears. New York City and Fenway Park make me want to throw my hands out and twirl around like Julie Andrews in Sound of Music, but those things don't make me cry... as much! :)

While we were at Walt Disney World last month, there were MANY times I was brought to tears. I always cry when I arrive and leave WDW. The first time I walk down Main Street USA on each trip brings me to tears. Watching the movie in "One Man's Dream" and the movie clips at the end of "The Great Movie Ride" make me cry each time. Many of the evening shows will move me, but this trip was different. I don't remember crying on attractions before December, but being with my son and seeing the rides and shows through his eyes and seeing his excitement made me tear up more than a few times!

When we saw the characters on our first morning at Crystal Palace for the first time made me cry. Even though Cman was crying out of fear of "Piggick", I was crying out of excitement that we were finally there and he was experiencing the characters and place I love so much!

When I heard the kid singing in Wishes, I was tearing up.
Star light, star bright,
first star I see tonight.
I wish I may, I wish I might,
have the wish, I wish tonight.
We'll make a wish, and do as dreamers do,
and all our wishes (all our wishes),
will come true.
When Cman saw Woody for the first time in the "Move it! Shake it! Celebrate it! Street Party" and he started calling his name and waving frantically, I cried. Seeing Cman laugh on "Dummo" made me cry. Watching him dance his heart out at Playhouse Disney made me tear up knowing he was having such a great time. Watching him do the "Cman stare" at all the animatronics on "It's a Small World" and listening to the words to the song made me wipe away tears. He was mesmerized.

There were other times that had nothing to do with my boy. Hearing the choir sing the Hallelujah Chorus during the Candlelight Processional at Epcot made me cry. Listening to the music and watching the Osborne Spectacle of Lights at Hollywood Studios brought me to tears too. Seeing a 3 year old boy (just 1 year older than Cman) lead our section of "Lions" at the Festival of the Lion King had me going. Last, when I was separated from the boys at night without a cell phone at Epcot I almost cried, but didn't! (That's another story that probably won't make the blog!)

What moves you to tears at Walt Disney World??

Rider Switch on Space Mountain

Rider Switch is a great way for families of young children to enjoy all the attractions at Walt Disney World. One parent rides while the other parent waits with the child who is too small or too scared. After the first parents gets off, the second parent rides. I'll try to explain how our family (mom, dad, 10 year old, 1.5 year old) did it when we rode Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom.

First, all 4 of us went to the cast member working the line. (You can also approach the cast member working the fastpass line, if fastpass is available.) We told him that dad and son were wanting to ride, but we also wanted to use the rider switch. He sent the big boys through the standby line and gave me the following pass:

While the boys were riding Space Mountain, Cman and I walked around Tomorrowland, looked in the gift shop and took photos. Actually, that's what I did while he slept! Once the boys were off the ride, dad stayed with Cman while he slept and JAG and I went back to the ride. This time, we went through the fastpass line and I gave the attendant my rider switch ticket. He took my ticket and we walked right down the fastpass line and got on the ride. It was great for JAG- he was able to ride Space Mountain twice within about 25 minutes (since the standby line was so short at this time)!!

Anyone can use the rider switch program if you have a child or a dependent adult who can't ride the ride due to height or physical restrictions. You can also use the switch if 1 child is too scared, not just too short. You have to have 2 adults to use the rider switch program so no child is ever alone. One parent to ride while the other waits.

All members of you party must be present to request a rider switch pass- at least 2 adults and 1 child. If one member is missing, you will not be allowed to receive the pass.

You can also "stack" a rider switch with a fastpass. If you arrive to the ride with your fastpass ticket at the specified time, you can request a rider switch pass. In that case, the first parent goes through the fastpass line instead of standby, rides and then makes the switch. The second parent will also use the fastpass line since they have the rider switch pass.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Disney Resorts I want to stay in...

The Art of Animation Resort will open in summer of 2012. This is a value resort located near Pop Century that will have 4 themed areas: Finding Nemo, Cars, Little Mermaid and Lion King. The Lion King, Cars and Finding Nemo buildings are planned to have only family suites. To see the Disney World overview, click here!

Below are the artists renderings of what you will find at the resort copied from the Disney Blog. Sometime, somewhere I saw a clip of what the interior of these rooms would look like. For the life of me, now I can't remember where or when I saw this, but I vividly remember seeing it! Maybe it was on a blog or youtube, maybe it was on a Disney special on TV or possibly it was while we were at Disney World last month... who knows. I'm going to keep searching for the clip I saw, so I can share it here!

Another Resort I want to stay is is the Caribbean Beach Resort- specifically the Pirate Themed Rooms! I know this isn't "new" anymore, but it's new to me! There was an AMAZING article written on this resort and these rooms on All Ears. The photos are great and the descriptions will make you feel like you are there!

Lastly, there are rumors that the Port Orleans will receive some room renovations in the future to include a Royal Room featuring Princess Tiana and a Haunted Mansion themed room. You can read more about this at the Port Orleans News web site- scroll down to the entry on August 8, 2010.

Walt Disney World Marathon

Good Luck to all the runners at Walt Disney World this weekend for the races!
Half Marathon, Jan. 8
Full Marathon, Jan. 9
Goofy's Race and a Half- Jan 8-9
Buzz and Woody's Best Friends 5K- Jan. 7
Mickey's Marathon Kid's Fest- Jan. 6

What great memories you all will be making to help "Let the Memories Begin!"

I've blogged in the past a little about my marathon experience(s), but didn't go into much detail and didn't post the horrific photos... until now! :)

I ran finished the full marathon in 2003 with my friend Deb and Team in Training with the Cancer Society. I trained like I was supposed to from September until November. I logged the miles I should have and drug (or is it dragged?) my dog along for a lot of my runs! When I was out for one of my 13 mile training runs in the middle of training, my shin splints were so bad I could barely walk, much less run. I abandoned that run and set up an appointment with my doctor. He told me to lay off a week, take some anti-inflamatories and rest. I did, no good. After several weeks of doctor's appointments, physical therapy and eventually a bone scan, we found that I had stress fractures in both shins. My training stopped and the doctor said not to run the race. That was not an option, so I just stopped running and wore a boot for about 4 weeks. I never ran more than 13 miles in my training due to my shins. I showed up in Orlando at the beginning of January for the race. I had not run at all since early November, 2 months prior. Oh well. That didn't stop me! Deb and I spent a few days in the parks with our friend Karen before the race. We played a lot, met a lot of characters, rode fun rides and had an over all good time. I think the most fun was when we were "allowed" to go into Epcot for the pre race meal without a park ticket. After the meal, I'm not sure how now, instead of leaving to go back to the resort, we stayed to play more! We had our pre race stuff which included bananas. We used those bananas as telephones in one of our MANY test track photos! Fun Times!

Many of the following photos were from photopass photographers- before they blocked you from right click, copying photos on the internet! Sorry if they are small and grainy!

The start! At this point, I'm still about a 20 minute walk behind these guys!

Still not to the starting line. We're walking to get there from our coral!

Deb and I had a park guest take our photo in front of the castle during the race with my camera.
We had walked up to this point and Deb got sick on the other side of the castle, so I left her and started my run/ walk for the remaining 16 miles.

Going through the castle- still haven't shed any layers. It was pretty cool that morning.

Many, many miles later running down Sunset Boulevard in MGM. Yes, I wore a fanny pack. I think this is the one and only time I have. I had my camera, cell phone, "goo", lucky charms from my students, snacks, etc all tucked in my pack! :)

I think this was running through Epcot's World Showcase, but I'm not 100% sure. Notice all the layers are off now! It was quite warm at this point. Luckily, my mom was a spectator, and since I had my cell phone in my fanny pack, I would call her and tell her where I was so she could meet me and collect my clothes and such!

Yes, I look horrible, but I finished and got my medal! 6:35 was the finish time, but not my chip time. I think my official time was 6:04- or something like that. Not too bad for walking majority of it... at least that's what I keep telling myself. ;)

With the medal!

The signs I had pinned to my back the whole time. "In honor of Cassie Wine" and "In loving memory of Bill Yeilding 1948-1994." Cassie was a young friend of Deb's who was battling cancer. She died shortly after the race. Bill was my uncle who fought Lymphoma for almost a year.

We know that both Cassie and Bill are in a much better place, they aren't sick and they don't suffer. We miss you, but will be with you again one day in GLORY! We love you.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Disney Vacation Connection

Back in August I posted on ways to countdown to your trip to Disney. I mentioned the Disney Vacation Connection, but due to the age of my laptop I wasn't able to download it or use it prior to our trip in December. :(

However, with the new laptop I got for Christmas I have finally been able to download the Disney Vacation Connection! This is a free desktop message application that lets you customize your interests and counts down to your next Disney Vacation. You can get up to date information about your favorite resort. According to the Vacation Connection website this is what you can do with this download:
  • stay up to date with the latest news and special offers.
  • plan your next magical Disney vacation.
  • answer polls and quizzes to earn points for Disney downloads.
  • find out insider information.
  • download a vacation countdown clock.
  • access a calendar of special events.
  • get great wallpapers and animation- all packed with pixie dust!
  • even check out the weather.
If you are a Disney Freak like I am, this is a fun download to get you excited about your upcoming trip!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Italy or Epcot Italy?

I'm actually borrowing this idea from somewhere else, but I can't remember where. It was either on a blog I read or in a Disney email newsletter I receive. I'm sorry if you are reading this and it was your original idea and I can't give you credit. I really wish I could.

My husband and I were very fortunate to spend our honeymoon in Italy in 2007, thanks to mom and dad. We spent 14 days traveling the country by train. We visited Rome, Pompeii, Naples, Florence, Assisi, Lake Como, Genoa, and Venice. Florence and Venice were my favorite. I could have spent so much more time in both cities!

Since 2007, during each trip we've taken to Epcot I admire the Italy pavilion and the attention to detail. Of the 11 countries in Epcot I've actually been to Mexico, Canada, Italy and obviously America. Italy is the only pavilion that truly reminds me of what I saw and experienced when I visited the actual country. The only thing missing is the pigeons! If Disney could find a way to have thousands of pigeons flying around, landing in your hair and eating corn out of your hands, it would be perfect!

Here are a few comparison pictures of Venice and the Italy Pavilion. Divertiti! (Enjoy, in Italian)
Epcot version of St. Marks bell tower

Venice's St. Marks bell tower

Epcot's version of the gondolas.

Gondola's in Venice.


A 'taste' of Disney in N Alabama

I got these in my stocking for Christmas and ate them today. It reminds me of the free chocolate from Ghirardelli in downtown Disney! YUMMMMMY.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day 5 recap, finally!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Today was our last day at the World. It was sad to be spending it at MGM or Hollywood Studios instead of the Magic Kingdom. I always like ending my trips at MK so I can get that one last glimpse of the castle at the end of Main Street as I walk under the train tracks. Once upon a time, MGM was my favorite park. Now it ranks #4, even though 3 of my favorite rides are there- go figure.
We slept in, until 7:30, and got to the park around 10. It had been open for a while so crowds were picking up. We went straight to Toy Story Mania and the standby wait was 80 minutes... the fastpass return was for 6:10PM! Needless to say, we snatched up fastpasses and went on our way. We wandered over to Tower of Terror and there was a 40 minute wait there. Since it was 10:30 and we had 11:30 reservations for lunch at House of Blues at Downtown Disney, we decided to start our trek to DTD. Since you can't take a bus from a Park to Downtown Disney, we detoured to Pop Century first- then caught the bus to DTD. It was a good thing since JG realized he failed to put on deodorant. We picked that up at the Pop gift shop!

Things were pretty slow at Downtown Disney. We had time to leisurely walk from one end of Marketplace to House of Blues on the far end of West Side and make our 11:30 reservations. The whole reason we ate at House of Blues was because I was able to get a $25 gift certificate for $2 on last fall. It was a great meal and fairly cheap because of the gift certificate. Once we finished lunch, we walked back to Marketplace through Pleasure Island. We stopped to take in the Characters in Flight Balloon Ride, T-Rex restaurant, the Lego creations and the new restaurants that took the place of McDonald's. We did some shopping at World of Disney and Team Mickey. I also found my traditional souvenir, a WDW Christmas ornament at the Days of Christmas store. To get back to Hollywood Studios, we took a bus to Saratoga Springs and hopped on a DHS bus. We were back at DHS around 2.

Characters in Flight balloon ride at Downtown Disney. This is on my bucket list... we didn't have enough time this trip.

One last shot of Pleasure Island before they change it to Hyperion Wharf. Bitter sweet.

When we got back to DHS, we went strait to Tower of Terror and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. C-man took a nap, I peopled watched and JAG and daddy rode the ToT. Rock 'n' Roller Coaster was temporarily shut down. After we finished Sunset Boulevard, we made our way to Starring Rolls Cafe to get cupcakes! I was very pleased with my selection!

My chocolate vanilla mix cupcake from Starring Rolls- I can't remember the actual name of the cupcake, but it was GOOOOD!

After our cupcake sugar high, we went exploring! We all rode the Great Movie Ride and were able to see the Cowboy scene. I like that one better than the Gangsters, so I was pleased! We took in Playhouse Disney and C-man LOVED it! That was one of my highlights! His face was priceless and his dancing was amazing! :) We walked through One Man's Dream and I cried at the movie. We made our way back to Toy Story Mania in time for our fast passes. At 6:10, the standby wait was 100 minutes!! By the time we got off the ride the wait was still 100 minutes and the park wasn't even opened for 100 more minutes! CRAZY!! Once Toy Story Mania was out of the way we walked through the Osborne Spectacle of Lights and went back to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster for the boys to ride. It was a good ride to end on! We missed our dinner reservations at Hollywood and Vine at 5:45 because of our fastpass return for Toy Story Mania. That was sad because I was looking forward to eating there. Again, there is always next time!

Yes, at 5:50pm the wait time was still 100 minutes! It's a great ride, but I don't know if I would wait 100 minutes for it....
Daddy and C-man ready to ride!

Osborne Lights! Beautiful!

Good night from Hollywood Studios, or as I still call it, MGM.

We got back to the hotel around 9:00 and were all hungry! We decided to eat at the Pepper Market at Coronado Springs. This was probably the best meal we had the whole trip! It's laid out in stations: Grill Station, Chef's Station, Market Station, Hot Sandwich Station, Pasta and Pizza Station and Kids Kitchen. All of us were able to choose which station we wanted to eat from and fill up! C-man and I had pasta, JAG had a burger and daddy ate from the Chef's station. Everyone was happy, full and tired at this point! We went back to the room, started packing our stuff and got a decent nights sleep before our ride home the next day.

And another great perk for this day was that AUBURN WON THE SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME! Mom was texting me updates all afternoon. I was wearing my AU sweatshirt and of course Jonathan was wearing his Alabama golf shirt. We got several comments from people who know the AU/ Bama rivalry. It was fun, Auburn won and we are Glendale Bound for the BCS National Championship Game! War Eagle! Beat Oregon!

Over all, this was a great trip! I learned some new things at my conference, C-man got to experience Walt Disney World and we made great memories as a family. I have a list of regrets and things I wish I had done differently, but that's another post and another trip! :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Yes, I'm a day late, but I want to wish all of you a Happy 2011! May it be full of wishes, dreams, imagination, excitement, and happiness!

Hopefully in 2011 I can finish my December 2010 trip recaps...