Tri-Circle-D

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  1. This is the last batch of photos I have from Wednesday. And, it may be the last batch of photos showing any construction. According to our bellman, they are planning to have guests stay in the cabins this weekend. They will be DVC CM's who are going to stay in the rooms to give the staff a trial run at providing services to the cabins, and to give the DVC sales team personal experiences to share with customers. Here we are on the Copper Creek overlook: There's a guy moving furniture into the new covered area outside of Roaring Forks: You can see the new tables and chairs set up under there. This will be a nice option for guests using the main pool, but Geyser Point is also just a short walk away: A view of the old pool from the overlook: Copper Creek is pretty nice for a fake creek: And, I like the fake rocks that they built around the stairs leading down from the overlook: Here's another look at the new covered area: There are still no Magicband readers at the main pool. But note the umbrella and standing mat. They sometimes do have CM's out here with mobile Magicband readers to keep out the riff raff: The old bar is partially behind construction walls. They are making this into a beauty parlor of all things: Geyser Point looks great here. And, I meant to comment about sitting out there for lunch. We had lunch there on both days of our trip, and it was rather pleasant with the breeze coming in off the lake: It was weird that they took down the construction fences when they sill had work going on. Seemed a bit unsafe, but they were clearly scrambling to get things done: There was a fence blocking this path on Tuesday, but today it was open. We walked down the path to use the gym restroom showers after our afternoon pool session: This is the rail car that has been here for a few months already: The path to the cabins now has a nice archway over it: The archway above the pool entrance welcomes us to the Boulder Ridge Cove: This area with the fake railroad tracks leading up from the dock turned out nice. The boat and bike rental building on the right is still not being used, but I'll bet it won't be long: You can see both of the rail cars in this shot. Number 749 is on the right: You can see the number in this shot: Here's another look at the new pool entrance. Note that the existing colors of the original villas building does not match up with the computer generated photo we looked at a while back: There's the path to the cabins: And this is the last shot I took as we headed down the path to the locker room: The bottom line is that this all turned out great, and it will be really nice for the lucky Copper Creek Villas DVC members. But, it's not so great for the rest of us. TCD
  2. This next batch of photos was taken on Wednesday morning, June 21. Also known as the first day of summer! This was how things looked outside at 7:06 am. I thought I was ahead of the workers and could get down there for some up close and personal photos: Nope. I see some orange vests down there. Dang: I assume that it's only temporary because Roaring Forks is closed down and it's a long hike to Geyser Point from here, but they had free coffee dispensers set up in the Villas lobby. I grabbed a cup and relaxed in the railroad room off to the side of the lobby: I wanted a good photo of the train car with the number 749 on it. This is from Walt Disney's backyard Carolwood Pacific Railway: This is a model of the Lilly Belle. Named after Walt's wife, and I believe still in operation at Disneyland: I was looking for car numbers here too. This one is number 723: This little sign tells us this is a model of the Lilly Belle: This car has number 173 on it: And the locomotive itself has the number 173 there on the smokestack: This photo show Walt riding around on his backyard railroad. Some of those cars might be the ones here on display: Now we are outside. Last night, when no one was around, we walked down the stairs next to our room, and walked down the wide path to this point. But it was too dark for photos then. Those trash cans we saw yesterday were still sitting there: That mystery building is still a mystery to me, but I do think it is just for equipment and maintenance/housekeeping use: There was some kind of tag with a ribbon on this tree. I'm not sure why: I saw a guy in the orange vest across the pool. You can see him to the right of center right next to the cabana wall: Since there were workers swarming around outside, I skipped trying to get photos of the pool. Maybe I would get a chance later. I went back in and hung out in the lobby for a bit longer: Then I brought some coffee up to Mrs. TCD. This was a short trip, and we knew that we'd have to get up and go this morning, so we sat outside on the balcony and enjoyed our coffee: It's nice that you can kind of see the lake from up here now. But, it's not nice that you're basically looking at the cabins and the cabin amenities: Since the construction is still technically going on, we got the free pins they've been passing out for the last year and a half: There were trucks zipping up and down the pathway below our balcony: Some of us headed down to temporary breakfast they had set-up in the Territory Lounge. It was a nice option, but we miss Roaring Forks. Then, we packed up and had a bellman come and get our stuff. We headed back down, as it was past 11 now, and some of the gang was skipping breakfast and going straight to lunch. Look, the pool gate is open!: But there were workers around: Roaring Forks was still shut down, but all of the construction walls for the project they were doing outside were down: This covered area outside of Roaring Forks is new. They were bringing new furniture out here and setting it up this morning: This sign is new. Silver Creek is gone. It's now Copper Creek: The butterfly plants are beautiful: I have great new for those of you who noticed that the Buffalo topiaries that used to be in front of the resort were missing. They have been relocated to the area next to the new Geyser Point bar: More people will see them here. And that's not all that's new. We've all seen photos of one of the old rail cars that they set up as a prop back here. Well, here's the second one: Note the rolled up chain link fence. They had just taken it down. And, here's a close-up of the rail car. Note that it has number 173 on it. Just like the Lilly Belle. That's not a coincidence: We had lunch at Geyser Point. The bird problem is greatly diminished, but there were a few still around harassing the guests. Of course, it doesn't help matters when idiot guests feed the birds scraps from their plates: Also note in that last photo that they have brand new tables and chairs set up in the seating area right along the lake in place of the hand-me-down pool furniture which was originally there. I tried the crabcake sandwich. Which is more expensive than the bison burger. Get the bison burger: This sign still directs guests to the Silver Creek Pool. I guess they'll fix that soon: One more shot of the buffaloes: I've got a few more photos. But, I'll end this update here and then post one more update. TCD
  3. This is awesome news! Ever since the TCD twins reached the legal drinking age, I have become and expert Kungaloosh mixer. I use FWG's recipe. But, there are different recipes out there. I'm going to make a point of getting to Dockside Margaritas to see how theirs compare. TCD
  4. Nope, its the real deal. I personally took that photo on Wednesday of this week. There's another sign just like it posted along the path to the overlook: TCD
  5. It's hard to believe that a year and a half has passed since they broke out the chainsaws, but it has, and the new Copper Creek Cabins and Villas are almost done. In a very odd twist, the TCD gang stayed in one of the Boulder Ridge Deluxe DVC studios for one night this week. It was the oldest TCD DD's birthday, and Mrs. TCD and I decided that we would drive over and take her out to dinner. Then we invited the twins, and next thing we knew, we had a plan to visit Disney Springs, and spend the night at Boulder Ridge. We arrived on Tuesday, June 20th. I put in a room request for an upper floor room with a view of the pool/lake, and that's what they gave us- 4th floor, second to the last room down the long, long hallway. This is what we saw from the window in the hallway- the pool has water in it, and the pumps were on, but there were still workers around: The building I've been wondering about turns out to be the restroom building: You can see the Shoe Tree from here, which I thought was cool: The tall chain link fences are all down, but there were signs posted on the sidewalk asking guests to please keep out: I reckon that the guests in these rooms had to stay on their patios: The DVC topiary was in its regular place: This is the view from the back door from the DVC lobby that exits to the pool. Looks like they have plenty of new trash cans: All that was keeping me from the pool were those little signs on the sidewalk: The level of activity was high. There were workers still working at 4:22 pm: The new pool is fenced in, and there are Magicband scanners at the gates, along with signage stating that Magicbands must be scanned for access: The use of Magicband scanners is significant. They don't have Magicband scanners at the Fort pools, or at the main Lodge pool. They obviously are going to carefully restrict access to this pool. All of the new landscaping is nice. Not as nice as the trees that used to be here, but it's still nice: There is a towel return sign on the side of this building. I'm guessing that all of the pool equipment is in there as well as some laundry facilities for the pool towels and maybe the DVC linens: It killed me that the gate to the pool was open, but there were too many construction workers and management types roaming around for me to make a run for it: Since I was an actual guest this time, I used my Magicband to go into the gym. Boy, this is a really nice facility for a hotel gym: In case you're wondering what the view was like from our room, here's a look to the east- they have a new BBQ pavilion down there next to a new sports court: And that road you see beyond that is the road that the buses use to travel between the Fort and the Lodge. Here's the view looking the other way, toward the pool. The preserved swampy area is nice, and so are the bridges they built to cross them. But, I'm not sure keeping all that swamp so close to guest rooms is a great idea. Also, as expected, the view from the old DVC rooms is now predominantly a look at the roofs of the cabins which form almost a solid wall visually along the lakeshore: I also wonder why that new path is so wide- it's like a roadway more than a path. For our brief visit, it was a roadway, as all types of trucks and construction equipment zipped back and forth on it. That's all the photos I have of the Lodge from Tuesday. After this, we headed to Disney Springs where we enjoyed cocktails at Jock Lindsay's Hangar Bar, and then went next door to THE BOATHOUSE for dinner. It was my first time visiting both places, but it ended up being much better than I expected. The Boathouse has reduced the prices on its menu and has introduced more diverse dining options. It ended up being a fun evening. I have a bunch more photos from Wednesday morning which I will share in a separate post. TCD
  6. Silver Creek who? TCD
  7. Great post. Clearly, someone made a decision a few years ago to simply stop investing in Future World. And, now both of the Innnoventions buildings sit practically empty. It wasn't even that long ago when there was lots of cool stuff to do in Innoventions- When my kids, now in their early 20's, were young, we would spend hours in there visiting all of the exhibits. In the early days of computers, there was a huge display where you could take photos and email them home. They had a big display of the robot dogs that never became a thing, but they were still cool. The paper making activity was low tech, but still very interesting. You could ride a Segway, and there were all kinds of other interactive things for the kids to do. Most recently, that Sum of All Thrills attraction was a real fun and interesting thing to do. It's just a matter of those in charge choosing to be cheap. Epcot was great back when they had the Millennium Village operating, and the daily parade around the World Showcase. Now, that building sits empty and there hasn't been a parade in Epcot in years. All of this wasn't that long ago. But, it has steadily deteriorated since. I visited Innoventions at Disneyland a couple of years ago, and I agree with you- there was stuff they had there that would be great to use in Epcot. But, I think the Disneyland Innoventions has closed too. I'm sure those in charge justified that decision by pointing out how expensive and impractical it is to try to have updated displays about the future, because the speed at which technology progresses is much faster now than it used to be. So, the easiest (and cheapest) thing to do is just not try. That's not how Disney used to be. TCD
  8. That sunset photo is fantastic. I'm glad that you had some good experiences at the Fort. I still believe that the good far outweighs the bad. But, if I'm being honest, my opinion is definitely influenced by the fact that because of my daughter's status as a CM, I sometimes am paying 50% less than other guests to stay at the Fort, and 40% less to eat at places like Trail's End. I can't help but think that it would be harder to overlook some of the flaws if I was paying what other guests have to pay. For full cost, they definitely owe guests a lot more than they are currently providing. TCD
  9. Moving along . . . We are now up to Monday morning, May 29th. Memorial Day. Despite it being a holiday weekend, it was a calm morning at the Fort. Some time in the night, they had moved the Food Truck out of the Settlement, and moved the cones to block a bunch of the golf cart parking: The Moonshine trailer was still where it had been. I'm not sure why they even had this here, because they didn't use the trailer for anything. I guess it was just to promote the $14 watered down drinks: Since it wasn't busy around the Fort, I took the Kenny Cart over to the Fort test track to see how fast it actually went. Not bad. I think it could have gone faster too: It was nice looking over and seeing the pool empty. It sure wouldn't be in a few hours: I think I took this photo just to show what a beautiful morning it was, but I'm not sure exactly what this photo is supposed to show: I do remember why I took these photos, though: It's hard to believe, but 9 years ago, in April, 2008, I posted this photo of that same area: And then it was just a few weeks after that, in May of 2008, that I posted this photo: That was back in the days where the idiots who were then in charge decided that it would be a good idea to deforest the Fort. So, they chopped down and dragged out all of the understory of the forests that the men who built the Fort deliberately and painstakingly preserved. As you can see from that last photo above, when they were initially done with the deforestation, you could clearly see the 1500/1600 loop comfort station from the road. But, now, new stuff has grown back to hide the building again. So, what did all of that clearing accomplish? In fairness, a lot of stuff has not grown back. So, the South Florida Salsa Dancing Club can still put up 8 or 9 tents in or around one partial level campsite, and even have room to park a half dozen cars, and set up their sound system. What do I know? Getting back on point. You have to be impressed that I was able to find those two 9 year old photos to support my rant. You won't find content like that on any other message board. Speaking of plant life, we need some plant life appreciation photos. Here's one- it's a flowering Bay Tree that is along the road near the backside of the 1300 loop: A lot of people packed up and left the Fort on Monday, but we didn't. We decided that we'd stay Monday night too, and enjoy the Fort as it gradually emptied out. Here's a guy heading out at 8:24 am. That poor guy must have been up pretty early to get all of that packed up and on the road: Now, here's some plant life that's really worth talking about- the gardenia bushes at the Four-Way stop were in bloom for this trip. There had been a few blooms when we were here for Easter in April, but the bushes were loaded now: I visited those bushes every time I was out looping on this trip. And, we always slowed down and took a deep breath through the nose whenever we were heading to or from the Outpost. Absolutely magnificent! Monday morning ended up being a little busy, because Mrs. TCD and our oldest DD took off for home. That just left the twins, one of their friends, and me at the Fort. With my camper and the cabin. And nobody was planning to use the sofa bed in the cabin. Since everything was nice and dry, I decided that I'd pack up the camper, and sleep in the cabin that night. But first, we made another trip to Pandora. Yes, we had FP+'s again. The plan was to use those, and then try the mobile ordering at the Pandora quick serve for lunch. It all went well. Until it didn't. They were having some problems with some of the theaters in the Flight of Passage attraction. We were loaded into a pre-show room, watched the first pre-show video, which we were already getting a big tired of, and then waited to move to the next pre-show room. But, instead, a CM came in and told us that we would need to leave the room the way we came in, and that she would need to load us into another pre-show room. So, we moved out of that room, waited for a few minutes, and then were loaded into another room. We asked if we could skip that pre-show room and go right on to the second one, but the CM said no, and so we watched that video that we already have grown to dislike again. It wasn't a total loss, though, because I got this sweet photo of Dr. Ogden: After enduring two of the first pre-show room experiences, we were moved into the second room. Just as that video ended, and we were about to move into the room with the ride vehicles, a CM came up to Twin #1 and asked her how many were in her party. She told the CM, and the CM told her that we all needed to come with him. We wondered what that was about. He told us that the ride vehicle that Twin #1 had been assigned was not operable, and we could ride without her, or we could all exit, and get a new anytime FP+ to replace this ride, plus a bonus FP+ for the inconvenience. We said we would choose door #2. We thought that we could go out the way we came in, and not have to walk through the entire queue, but the CM then walked us through the vehicle room, and we saw that there was caution tape on the vehicle Twin #1 was going to ride, and we exited through there to find the CM who was going to hook us up with the new FP+'s. It was there we learned that we would have to exit the entire building, and walk back around to the entrance and start again. Ugh. But we did get two more FOP FP+'s assigned to our MDE accounts, and they were good for anytime the rest of the day. We headed out, and walked down a long hallway we hadn't seen before: And we saw something cool in the hallway that we hadn't seen before: Twin #1 got this right away. Those are the handprints of Joe Rohde, James Cameron, and Jon Landau. Pretty cool little detail. Apparently, each theater has a separate exit, so that's why we hadn't seen this before. Since we had anytime FP+'s now, we went to lunch. We used the mobile ordering, and this time it worked flawlessly. I really like it. After lunch, it was two more back-to-back banshee rides. We had to hold the record for the most banshee rides on opening weekend. And then it was back to the Fort. The kids hung out in the cabin. And I cleaned and packed up the camper. That took me a while. The kids had headed to the MK in the late afternoon, and I told them I would meet them there for fireworks. I took the secret bus from the Settlement, and had a bus completely to myself. Like a VIP. It would have been a quicker ride had this dumb CM in his golf cart been courteous and pulled over for the bus on the road between the Fort and the Lodge: I didn't see the old railcar by the entrance to the new DVC project, but I could see some kind of shelter that they have built in there. I think it's a recreation shelter for the DVC members: I made it to the MK with a bit of time to spare, and found the girls in the Hub Grass. We had a good spot for the fireworks, and of course we could hear the audio. You really need to be in the park to enjoy this new show. Check out these smiley face fireworks: This show also uses lasers and spotlights, which you can't see from the beach at the Fort: We hung around the MK for a while after the fireworks, and then headed back to the Fort. I got to sleep on the sofa bed. It's very comfortable. We noticed that the hall closet in the cabin was unlocked, and I got a photo of the cabin's birth certificate: The cabin will be 20 years old this year! As far as I can tell, Liberty Homes in Ocala is out of business. Too bad, I'd like to own one of these cabins, but not a 20 year old one. That's it for Monday. Sorry, I guess we spent a lot of time in Pandora, and then me packing up, so there weren't a lot of photos. And I only have my photos from Tuesday morning left to share. TCD
  10. That's funny that we both thought the same thing about Pandora at night. So, our opinions must be correct. You actually do not need to watch the movie. I bought a copy of it so the TCD girls could watch it. I've watched it when it's been on TV, and they cut out a lot to make room for commercials. The un-cut version is very slow paced. No one has been able to watch it all the way through in one sitting. If it seems unfathomable to you, then you need to get to the Fort more. Sadly, substandard service and amenities along with poor management are kind of the expectation now. It's interesting that you didn't learn any Na'vi words from the movie. Neither did I. It doesn't make sense to me that anyone needs to know any Na'vi words in the new land- as there are no Na'vi around for any of us to speak to. That is an awesome story, Rita! Thank you so much for sharing it. I never stopped to think that chipped beef with gravy is the same thing as the sausage gravy that folks put on biscuits all over the place in Florida. I've never even heard of it being made with ground beef, but I imagine I would like it, since I like sausage gravy. Interesting. That supports my theory that they anticipated broadcasting the fireworks soundtrack from the speakers they set up for the dance party, and somebody goofed with the set-up. That's what you get when you leave stuff like this to the college interns instead of having someone who knows what they're doing set it up. But paying a pro would cost too much money, and we are only filthy campers, so forget that. Most people probably didn't even realize there was supposed to be a soundtrack. After all, the college kids they had running the show didn't know when the end of the fireworks show was, and they were having a blast dancing with each other to that Bruno Mars song that they had blasting for the finale' of the fireworks show. Six years? Amazing. It hardly seems possible. I am really glad that things went well for you and your family, and I hope they continue to do so. TCD
  11. I just received an email today from the Disney Destinations/Passholder Services telling me about the availability of the summer pass for express transportation. And it is posted on the passholder extras page: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/passholder-program/specials/ So, if this was something that was good beginning June 5, they waited 11 days to let passholders know about it. And there is still nothing about it on the main Express Transportation page: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/express-transportation-options/ TCD
  12. Yeah, we had longstanding plans to do something else on that Saturday anyway, so it was good that we didn't win and have to decide between what we did and the movie. TCD
  13. I'm really glad that your got to ride FOP. Good job heading out on that rainy night. I know that I would love being a concierge guest on DCL, but it's so much more expensive, that I just can't ever pull the trigger. I would totally rent a cabana on Castaway Cay, though. I'm sorry about all the rain, but we in Florida appreciate your ending the drought for us. TCD
  14. I really like those shirts. But, I don't like it when they slip in references to things that are exclusive to Disneyland. Bengal BBQ is just a quick serve place that serves meat skewers in Disneyland. We don't have one at WDW. I like it fine, but to me putting it on the Adventureland Hawaiian shirt makes it a Disneyland shirt, which I am not as interested in as a WDW shirt. Also, normal folks have to wait for hours to get into that Mickey's of Glendale store at the D23 Expo. So, I'll pass. TCD
  15. Moving along. It is still Sunday night, May 28th. We had hung around the Fort all day. Our plans for after dinner were to go and watch the fireworks from the beach, and maybe check out the beach bash. The fireworks crowd was moderate. Nothing like a 4th of July or New Year's Eve crowd: Here's an experiment at lightening that photo with Photobucket: The kids had watched the fireworks from the beach the night before, and reported that the soundtrack was played, but that they needed to be close to a speaker to hear it. So, we got us a spot along the woodline, right next to a speaker, and got ready to enjoy the show. The Fort area music quieted down right on cue, and we got ready for the show. We heard some static. Then, nothing. The fireworks went off. And we had no sound track at all. It sounded like someone was trying to twist some wires together or something, but we got nothing. I noticed that they had lights and speakers set up on tripods along the beach. Someone had worked on having audio for the fireworks- or maybe it was just for the DJ's. But, those speakers produced no fireworks soundtrack sounds. The lights did dim, though. This was my first time seeing the new fireworks show, Happily Ever After, from the beach. I didn't know how it would compare to Wishes. The amount of fireworks was fine. But, this show has long gaps between the fireworks. In the park, with the soundtrack, those gaps are fine, because that's when they are showing projections on the castle, or using their new nifty spotlights and lasers. But, you can't see any of that from the Fort. And, without the soundtrack, this show is boring. So, major fail on Fort management here. Someone goofed up getting the fireworks soundtrack to play on this night where they promoted the fireworks as one of the big parts of the beach bash. All of my fireworks photos are terrible, but I'll share this one, to show what you can and can't see from the beach. Here, you can see that the higher up fireworks are visible, while the lower ones are blocked by Discovery Island: Again, here's a Photobucket modified version of that photo: To make matters worse, during the last long gap between fireworks, the dumb college kids they had running the beach party hit the switch to turn up the lights, and began blasting a Bruno Mars song. The dummies thought the fireworks were over, and guests were starting to leave, just as the big fireworks finale was blasting. Total and complete failure. They couldn't have screwed up the fireworks viewing any more if they had tried. We decided to head back to the cabin and forego the rest of the poorly planned and executed beach party. There had been some big talk about a possible monorail crawl that night, but I think everyone had done enough drinking the night before, so we were able to go with Plan B (which is what I wanted to do all along). -- Pandora at night. For this weekend, they had Extra Magic Hours at Animal Kingdom each night from 11 pm to 1 am. As resort guests, that meant we could go. None of us had seen Pandora at night yet, plus we had FP+'s from way earlier in the day that we didn't use. I thought maybe we could sweet talk some CM into letting us use those. So, we headed to the Outpost. And, in trued TCD bus luck fashion, an Animal Kingdom bus arrived shortly thereafter. Look what's on the marquee: At the beginning of this report, I shared how none of us knew how to pronounce Kaltxi, and we had heard it pronounced several different ways. Well, right on cue, the Disney Parks Blog posted a helpful article yesterday that will clear up this debate once and for all: https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2017/06/infographic-learn-to-speak-navi-for-your-trip-to-pandora-the-world-of-avatar/ Here's an "Infographic" that has a pronunciation guide: So that settles things, right? Or does it? Not to brag or anything, but I've always thought of myself as a person of at least average intelligence, plus my mom always told me I was a "smart one." But, how does that pronunciation guide help me? Is the "a" in "kahl" a long "a" or short "a" . Is it "call" or "kale" or "cul" or something else? And what about the "I" in "T'IH?" Is that a long I like in "ice," or a short I like in "ick" So is it "tie" or "tick" (minus the ck), or "tea" or something else? I'd really like to know. Have any of you managed to watch the movie all the way through without falling asleep? I'm thinking they probably say Kaltxi a lot in the movie. Can anyone help? Anyway, back to our night visit to AK. First, it was pretty cool to be heading to AK at 10:30 at night. At least until we got there. I didn't know what to expect as far as how they would handle EMH. This was only the second day of Pandora being open, and they had long lines all day just for folks to get in to Pandora. Were they doing to chase all of the riff-raff out so us resort guests could enjoy an exclusive experience in Pandora? Not a chance. What we found when we got to the Pizzafari area was a team of not so magical CM's telling resort guests to head to the end of the line of resort guests waiting to be let in to Pandora. It was not yet 11 pm, so they were having resort guests line up and would admit them at 11. We wanted to see how this would go, so we headed to the end of the line. And we kept walking, and walking, and walking, all the way across the bridge into Africa, where we finally found the end of the line. Crazy. When it hit 11 pm, the line began to move, and kept moving until we reached the Pandora entrance about 10 minutes later. There, we found a CM who scanned our MB's, or at least pretended to, to confirm that we were resort guests, and we were in. I have heard guests gush about how Pandora at night is breathtaking, and other such words. We liked it fine. But, it was mainly just a lot of fluorescent paint and blacklights. Nice, but not breathtaking. And it was really, really crowded. So, you couldn't really take in the views. But, we liked it. We hadn't been in the gift shop here since opening day, as there was a long line in the hot sun just to get in the gift shop yesterday. So, we decided to give the gift shop a try first. There was a short line to wait in to get in the store. It took us about 15 minutes. But, the sun was down, and it was fine. The gift shop was crowded. And people were buying lots of stuff. Good for Disney. This bust was in the gift shop, and it wasn't here for the previews: I think this is the same bust that we saw at the D23 convention in Anaheim back in 2015. It was kind of cool to see it had finally made it to what we then were calling Avatarland. We had heard that they had new merchandise in the gift shop that wasn't there for the previews, but except for the dated stuff that they had in the other AK gift shops too, we didn't see anything new here. We did spend a few minutes watching a guy get his photo taken for the custom Na'vi souvenir figures, and that seemed like a big scam- because the face of the figure looked nothing like the guy who was sitting there for the photo. But, there was a line of guests waiting for their chance to throw their money away on this item. So, more power to Disney. Next, we decided to try our luck with using our long expired FP+'s to ride Flight of Passage. We figured that maybe they were being lenient on FP return times since the park had been so crowded, but we were hours late. We all agreed that we would let Twin #1 do the talking, since she has worked attractions in both WDW and Disneyland, and she knows how to speak the CM language. So, we hung back at the entrance and let her sweet talk the CM. She talked to the guy guarding the FP scanners a long time, and she never waved us to come up there. We figured she had struck out, and that we'd have to find something else to do. Twin #1 walked back to us and told us to come with her and she would explain what happened. So, feeling rejected, we walked away from the FP+ entrance with our heads hung in defeat. But, there's more to the story. When we were away from the FP+ entrance, Twin #1 explained that the CM told her that there was no possible way that he could let us use our FP+'s late, even though he wanted to, as it would cause a riot if any other guests saw him let us scan our MB's. They were not being lenient on the return times, plus they were not going to let anyone use FP+ during the EMH. Twin #1 did not argue with the guy. Instead, she chatted him up and asked him how he liked working there, and where he had worked before, and how long he had been with the company, and stuff that CM's always talk to each other about. In the course of that conversation, it came out that this guy was the former roommate of a good friend of Twin #1's, and they had many mutual friends. During that conversation, the guy slipped Twin #1 a Rider Switch pass for FOP, and told her to take it and go away for a while, and come back when any witnesses to their conversation would be gone. So there you go. It is good to be TCD. We hung around for about 15 minutes and enjoyed all of the fluorescent paint, and then headed back to FOP, cashed in that Rider Switch pass, and headed on in. This is all you see of the cave from the FP return line. It looks cool at night: All of the signs in the queue are interesting to read: So, we rode FOP again. And we all still really liked it. There was no way we could try for one more ride. They had cut-off the line sometime before midnight. So, we just walked around and looked at the nighttime stuff, and then headed for the Fort bus. After and uneventful ride back to the Fort, that was it for Sunday. TCD