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wendinator

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wendinator last won the day on November 9

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About wendinator

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  1. Halloween in August Trip Report

    The only thing that's problematic is the fried chicken. They offered to bring grilled chicken instead, but my sister was content to just chow down on the ribs. For dessert instead of strawberry shortcake they bring an "OMG" brownie with strawberry sauce. You also have the option to get cookies or fruit. Since they share a kitchen with Trail's End you have lots of options, including gluten free mac & cheese.
  2. Fort Christmas music?

    http://www.fortfiends.net/topic/4846-a-trip-report-sure-to-win-applesauce-tcds-nye-2011-tr/?do=findComment&comment=116995
  3. Halloween in August Trip Report

    The bad news is that my vacation was officially over and I was back at work. So Monday morning I took the laptop out on the balcony while everyone else slept in, and I was at the office. Being back at work is no fun, but if you have to do it, I figure you might as well do it from the balcony at the Poly. The nice thing about the Pago Pago building is it's a relatively short/easy walk to the TTC to catch the ferry over to MK, so that's what I did on my lunch. I went to the Starbucks on Main Street and the guy could not have been more disinterested in my birthday... despite wearing my birthday button (which I only wore on my actual birthday, not the rest of the trip) and asking about using my birthday reward. No little happy face on the cup or anything. No Starbucks magic for me. But I did get to be on Main St for my birthday so that's plenty good. I went to the Tomorrowland Terrace area to see if I could find a convenient place to sit that had an electrical outlet. If such a thing existed I could sit there and work. But no such luck. I had some fun with a PhotoPass photographer on my way out. I tried flirting shamelessly with him but I expect I just creeped him out. I should really start acting my age now that I'm well into my 40s... When this trip was planned/booked I knew I'd be here for my birthday so I thought quite a bit about where I wanted to go for dinner... So I booked us Hoop Dee Doo! Bucket of salad? Check. Tasty corn bread? Check. Beans, corn, and spuds? Check. Sad because you've already gone through your first bucket of meat? Check! My sister was thrilled to see Chef TJ who came around because we'd indicated gluten-free. My sister asked him for the gluten-free cornbread and TJ said, "Sorry - we don't have any". My sister was pretty disappointed until he reached into his chef coat pocket and produced the gluten-free cornbread he'd had all along. That was good for a laugh. And they were generous with the refills to. Speaking of refills... I ordered the white sangria and a lemonade. When I finished the white, I figured I should try the red. Our server brought that AND she brought along her own special blend. The blend was fantastic! It's mostly white, with a bit of red, and a bit of orange soda. Amazing! I didn't finish the red - I was ready to float away with all those liquids. The show was as good as always. They seem to enjoy themselves and I think they're often genuinely cracking up. My strawberry shortcake came with a candle. :-) When we got outside it was raining but this time we were prepared with ponchos! I wanted to check out the Trading Post so we went there and browsed for a bit, then took the bus back to the parking lot and drove back to the Poly. Not a bad birthday, even if I did have to work!
  4. Halloween in August Trip Report

    Sunday morning we finished packing and loaded up my sister's minivan. We told the kids that I had to return the rental car, so they'd follow me. But of course we weren't going home! I drove to the Poly and my sister told the kids, "She probably wants a Dole Whip for breakfast." When I got to the security booth at the Poly I told the guy, "We're checking in, but the kids don't know that, so please tell them I'm getting a Dole Whip for breakfast." He said no problem and my sister got through no problem. We both parked and went inside. My sister had already done online check-in, which meant that our Magic Bands were already valid... for things like the pool. Remember when we were there earlier in the week for breakfast and one of the kids tried his band on the reader at the pool and it didn't work? So we went outside to where the Pineapple Lanai is and my sister said to that kid, "Why don't you show your brother how the magic band reader only opens the pool door if you're staying here?". Well you should have seen the look on his face when the magic band reader light turned green and he could open the door! That's when she fessed up that not only were we not going home, but we had 2 nights at the Poly, 2 nights at the Beach Club, and 1 night at the GF. Best parents ever, eh? We went back inside to the front desk and did another check-in. We all got leis, and they had a birthday button waiting for me! That was a nice touch. My sister didn't decline any of the magic bands for this week so we got a set here. I customized mine and wished there was room for one more letter... Our room wasn't ready but we were, of course, welcome to use the facilities. We all got changed into our bathing suits and hit the pool. I'm not much for swimming, but I can happily sit outside under an umbrella and watch the world go by. After a while I got peckish and went inside and upstairs to Kona Island. I forget exactly what it was I ordered (California rolls maybe?) but I remember thinking it was kind of expensive for what I got. And good thing I didn't want to use chopsticks because the package they gave me was a little short... After this it seemed like a good time for a little poolside adult beverage. I went to the Barefoot Pool Bar and got the Lava Flow. It was tasty (I like coconut) but again rather pricey. This year my Dad taught my sister's kids that there's often money underneath vending machines. Eventually my sister got the notification that our room was ready. Since it was a DVC room we were in Pago Pago. The room was ridiculously nice. There's a little kitchenette area. Two showers/one tub, separated by a door, and a sink on each side. There's a double bed with lots of storage space under the foot of the bed, and drawers on either side towards the head of the bed. The sofa is a pull-out bed (this is where the kids slept) and I believe there's storage inside that little coffee table. As for me... this credenza looking thing... Is a pull down bed. That's Stitch sleeping in a hammock in the artwork. The light above is a nice touch. I knew I'd be in these pull-down beds for the week without a night side table so I planned ahead and got some of those 3M "command" removable hooks and a small hanging organizer. It worked perfectly to hold my glasses/cell phone/etc. There's a little sitting area. The lamp is super cute. There's a big balcony with two chairs and a table. And a nice view of the monorail... and parking lot. After we checked in and got settled I discovered I'd lost a cable I needed for my computer so I popped over to Target to get a replacement. When I got back we ordered dinner... 'Ohana room service! I can't find it on Disney's site but it's called the 'Polynesian Twilight Feast" and it's basically 'Ohana brought to your room. I believe my sister ordered it as 2 adults, 1 gluten-free child and it was more than enough food for the 5 of us. Salad. Noodles, pot stickers, and veg. Big ole plate of meat and rice. Buns Two kinds of sauce. These are the gluten-free buns And gluten-free dessert cookies. I didn't get a picture of the bread pudding but rest assured they sent that too along with the sauce. After dinner the kids went back to the pool. I went to Trader Sam's with my BIL. Based on a TCD trip report I ordered a Heart of Te Fiti. Can't go wrong with a light up drink. My BIL got the shrunken zombie head. After our drinks we went outside in time to catch the MK fireworks. And that was the end of that day.
  5. Halloween in August Trip Report

    Let's see if I can't get this wrapped up - the second week should be pretty quick since it was way less interesting, unfortunately. We left off on a Friday night having been to MNSSHP. Despite being up late Friday night, we still managed rope drop on Saturday morning at Epcot. In the parking lot I spotted an Alaska license plate. That's a heck of a drive! Here was this morning's parking reminder. While the boys went off to do Test Track, I decided to swing by Starbucks for a sugar drink. When I opened up my app to pay it wished me a happy birthday. When I got to the register the guy seemed to suggest he could redeem it - I didn't think that was possible since they aren't a "real" Starbucks. I thanked him and told him I wanted to save it for my real birthday. Spoiler alert: I should have taken him up on the offer. Did you know that a tall chai latte has more sugar than a Snickers bar? I forget where I heard that and it sounded crazy but I looked it up and sure enough it's true. I've tried to limit my consumption of these ever since. No more than one a week. I took my drink to the exit area of Test Track and found a bench to sit on to wait for the guys. It turns out that they were stuck on Test Track not far from where they boarded and they were being evacuated. They were given paper fastpasses for their trouble. From there we headed over to the Land so they could use their Soarin fastpasses. I loitered around while they did that, and once they were done we rode Living with the Land. While in line for the Land I saw someone with a Touring Plans button. My sister is in the Liners FB group so I took a picture thinking my sister would know who it was. Apparently she's well known. Anyway, we did Living with the Land. I never get tired of that. I'm pretty sure we split up at this point - my BIL took one kid and I took the other. The kid and I went and did Journey into Imagination and then the Pixar shorts in the same building. I think they'd added a new one or two since the last time I did it, so that was nice. I don't think the kid had done them before though he recognized some of them from the movies. After this we met up with my BIL and the other kid. My sister had asked us to go to the DVC lounge that's inside the Imagination pavilion. I didn't even know there was such a thing but I guess that's not surprising since I'm not a DVC member. Here's the entrance to the DVC lounge. My BIL checked us in with the CM (I forget what you need to do as proof - maybe a DVC member card?) and they said, "Welcome home!" Then the most interesting part... They said, "Although we say 'welcome home', please keep your shoes on and don't put your bare feet on the table." We assured them that wouldn't be a problem and went upstairs. There's a nice little lounge up there with comfy seating and lots of places to charge your phone. There's also 3 Coke "freestyle" machines and a Keurig. I somehow thought it would be a good idea to combine a drink with charging my phone and managed to do this: There's an area for kids with a TV playing cartoons. There's also some video games. One of the kids partook. Two CMs came through with a cart of snacks. After cooling off and refueling we headed over to Spaceship Earth. I don't know how it happened but I managed to get my head there twice and whoever was with me on the ride (I think it was my BIL) didn't get his face at all. Test Track was up and running again and the guys wanted to use their paper fastpasses so we went back there. Successful ride this time! When they got out it didn't take much work for me to convince them to go to Taste Track - the food truck-like thing not far from Test Track. The harder part was deciding whether to go for the apple pie sundae, or the chocolate churro sundae. We went for the churro one. One sundae with two churros and four spoons disappeared pretty quickly in the August heat. The guys wanted to do Mission Space after this so they went to do that. I wandered around and checked out the recently closed Universe of Energy. Yep, nothing to see there. I went into Mouse Gears and saw a Small World shirt I liked... in the children's section. Fortunately a children's XL fits me just fine... I didn't buy it though. I will say there have been several children's shirt designs I've liked better than the adult designs, so it's nice to have that option if an XL size is available. The guys regrouped with me at Mouse Gears and we headed over to Mexico by way of signing up for an Agent P adventure. We did the Gran Fiesta Tour first and then the kids did their Agent P. When Agent P took us to China, I got a photopass photographer to take my picture. We must have wrapped up in France because it was time for more ice cream, this time at L'Artisan des Glaces. My BIL said he'd never done the American Adventure and was interested in doing it so we headed over there. We got in line for the next show and weren't there very long before a CM came walking down the ramp to let us know that the next show had been cancelled. I'm not positive but it sounded like there was a bodily output that needed to be cleaned up in the auditorium. We decided to cut our losses and leave. When we got back outside we noticed the skies were NOT looking very nice at all. By the time we got to England the skies opened up and we ducked inside a gift shop... and stayed there probably for an hour just sitting on the floor by the fireplace (with no fire). There was quite a front going through. Of course we had nothing useful with us - no umbrella, no ponchos. You'd think this was our first rodeo! In the gift shop they had some nice Alice in Wonderland mugs. I regret not getting either the Cheshire Cat or the Queen of Hearts one. Maybe next time. Eventually the rain tapered off enough that we were willing to go outside. Many of the sewer grates got clogged and there was ankle-deep water on the walkway. I took my shoes off and walked through the water in bare feet. We went into the Canada pavilion to watch O Canada. Kind of funny to be Canadian and go watch it, but the kids hadn't seen it before. After the movie the guys decided they'd had enough. Since the Refreshment Port was on the way out, I couldn't resist stopping for a croissant donut. Back at the condo we got to the important task of going through all the Halloween candy we'd received at MNSSHP. Once that important task was complete we did some packing and got ready for bed. Tomorrow (Sunday) is check-out day from the condo and the kids think we're heading home. Here was my last big park day step count. 12.56 km = 7.8 miles.
  6. Halloween in August Trip Report

    Just realized I left out a key detail that will become relevant later on. When we were at the Poly for the Ohana breakfast, Stitch kid was looking longingly at the Poly pool and saw that there was a gate that could only be opened with a Magic Band. He zapped his MB, the light turned red, and the gate wouldn't open. We weren't surprised by this, but you can't knock the kid for trying.
  7. Halloween in August Trip Report

    I think MNSSHP is worth it for me - I love the parade and fireworks. Plus Halloween is my favorite. The atmosphere is fantastic. But if I had to pay for a family of 4 or more I might have a different answer! I've never done the other hard ticket events like MVMCP.
  8. Halloween in August Trip Report

    Don't you hate it when life gets in the way of a writing trip report? Sorry for the lengthy intermission. We're now on Friday, August 25. My sister booked an 'Ohana breakfast for her and the Stitch-loving kid. My BIL and the other kid went to Typhoon Lagoon in their minivan, so I volunteered to take my sister and the kid over to the Poly for their ADR. While they had their breakfast I just wandered around, sat outside, and got myself a little breakfast at Capt Cook's. Breakfast burrito review was posted here. After breakfast we went to Target to grab a few things. This was the beginning of pumpkin spice season so I was amused to see pumpkin spice Cheerios, Special K, Frosted Mini Wheats, etc. This was a bit of a lazy day because we were resting up for MNSSHP. I had a nap... And remember that orange creamsicle cupcake I got earlier? I split that with the kids. It was good! Around 3:00 we all piled in the minivan and left the time share to head to the TTC. I took the parking spot reminder picture at 3:33. My sister had friends who were also going to be at MNSSHP this night and I forget exactly why but their off-site stroller got delivered to our time share and we took it with us to the park to give to them. Which gave me another opportunity to ride in a stroller! We took the ferry over to MK and arrived pretty much right at 4. There was already a decent sized crowd queued up in the party line. We had no trouble getting through the tapstiles and getting our wristbands. Our first task after getting in was to grab a locker to ditch some stuff. It's been a while since I last got a locker and the system was pretty easy. There's an ATM-like kiosk where you pay and it assigns a locker number. From there we went to the Fire Hall to get our MNSSHP SOTMK card. My sister kept all of them, which was fine by me since I never play. The guys wanted to do Space Mountain so we headed to Tomorrowland. My sister and I did the People Mover while the guys did Space Mountain. While waiting for the guys to come back my sister and I shared a frozen Coke from the Lunching Pad. I love those things. My sister's main priority for the party was to get her picture taken with the 7 Dwarfs, so when the guys were ready we headed over to new Fantastyland. There was already a pretty big line before 6:00. The weather wasn't great. It rained off and on. The kids were peckish so I took them over to Big Top Souvenirs for a sugar infusion. After about 90 minutes it was our turn to meet the Dwarfs. My sister was happy. We went to Cosmic Ray's and had some food, then started tracking down the special party treats. Unfortunately we were only able to get 2 out of the 4. By the time we got to the last two places they were already sold out. Both of the ones we had were good so I'm a little bummed we didn't get to try the other 2. My sister also got the candy corn ice cream - I think I had one small bite. We did some trick or treating. Because my sister is gluten-free she was interested in their allergy friendly treats. At the stations they give you one of these tokens and you redeem them later. By the time she went to City Hall at the end of the night to redeem her tokens there wasn't much to choose from. I thought I had a picture but I can't seem to find it. Anyway, she was disappointed. We did the first Boo to You parade. This is the best parade! I don't remember what all we did... I think the guys went off and did more rides. My sister and I tracked down the PhotoPass magic shots. Looks like I was in Frontierland for the fireworks. I saw the Cadaver Dans. Towards the end of the night one of the kids went to a trick or treat station and the CM filled his bag to the brim! The bag was so heavy the only way to carry it was like a baby, thus the name "candy baby" was born. It was quite a hoot to have that much candy. The kids bought some pins at the Emporium and then had a little pout because there was a party-only pin available at the Frontier Trading Post that we didn't know about until it was too late. I got a passholder T-shirt. We called it quits about 12:30. I loved this CM on the way out. Here was my Halloween Party step count. Oh yes, forgot to mention that we were those boring people who don't really do costumes. I wore my MNSSHP shirt from 2014, my sister wore an Iron Man dress, BIL wore a Disney Halloween shirt, one kid wore his Stitch stuff, and the other kid Disneybounded as Sorcerer Mickey. It was HOT so comfort was our main priority.
  9. Halloween in August Trip Report

    I did it at Cosmic Ray's and the Satu'li Canteen and thought it was great! Unfortunately in this case the food was for my sister and she requires a gluten free bun, and you can't mobile order something gluten free.
  10. Halloween in August Trip Report

    Thursday was a bit of a rest day. My sister dropped the menfolk off at Typhoon Lagoon first thing in the morning and then she went to the Disney outlet store on International Drive. She got a good deal on an Avengers Dooney so she was pretty happy about that. We agreed we'd meet up at Disney Springs when she was done. I checked MDE and managed to score myself a FP for FEA in the afternoon so that gave me a plan of Disney Springs in the morning and Epcot in the afternoon. I also had a 5:45 dinner ADR for Jiko - I would have gone alone but the rest of the crew said they'd join me so I booked it for 5 people. I always park in Lime. Love the little parking space indicators in the garage to let you know when a space is free/occupied. I wish more places had that but I can see how retrofitting would be expensive and painful. We browsed some shops. My sister bought some shirts at Uniqlo. I'm always on the lookout for mugs/glasses so I did a quick skim for those at the World of Disney. A trip to the Coke store was on my list of things to do, so we headed there. I'd heard about their float tray and knew it was something I needed to try. You have to take an elevator to the top floor to get to where they serve these. Note that the space up there isn't air conditioned and the music is pretty loud. Anyway, here's the guy preparing our float tray. And a bunch of float tray pictures. I talked about the float tray here, including pricing. If you're so inclined you can buy this giant bottle and get it filled with Coke product. I shudder to think of how much sugar and how many calories that is. In keeping with the fine tradition of "life is uncertain, eat dessert first" my sister wanted to hit up D-Luxe burger. I went with her just to keep her company. The line wasn't long but it was slow moving. One group ahead of us had a lengthy debate about their MagicBands and PIN. Then the group right before us decided to wait until they got to the register to decide what they wanted to order, rather than say using the 15 minutes we'd been waiting in line. That drives me crazy! Anyway, sister ordered the kids meal which I think I'd do if I go there again, and about the time her food arrived is when I took my leave to head to Epcot. I arrived a bit before 1 pm. Parking! My FastPass for FEA was at 1:20 so that was good timing. I got to the attraction at about 1:15. I sat in the shade on the little curb by the FP tapstiles. And at 1:19... the attraction went down, the door closed, and we were asked to make our way from the entrance. Doh! There was a PhotoPass photographer so I stopped for a picture. I asked if he had any magic shots but either he didn't understand me or he was new, or maybe there aren't any? Either way, I just got this picture. After half a float tray clearly the logical thing to eat after that is... school bread. How could I pass it up since I was so close? I decided I'd go do something I hadn't done in a while - the Reflections of China movie. I didn't take any pictures. I think I saw something recently that said they're looking to update the movie? It's pretty old at this point. Despite having to stand, at least it was air conditioned. I was disappointed to see that the Terracotta Warriors display is gone. I wandered back to FEA and saw it was back up again so I rode. Somebody in the boat kept using his flash to take endless pictures. I expect they didn't turn out worth beans. Since I knew there was a ride photo, I took the opportunity to give them my best face. I made myself a SSE FastPass. I never get tired of this so can happily ride it any time opportunity presents. Got stopped a couple of times, but not for too long. Sadly the put your face on the screen thing wasn't working, so no goofy picture to share there. I wandered a bit after this and happened to stumble on the Mobile Muppet Lab. I couldn't find any listings for this to see if it comes out on a regular schedule. Does anybody have any other information on it? I kept looking around to see if could spot whoever was controlling it but apparently I wasn't clever or observant enough. This was way more creative than that silly iCan razor robot in Tomorrowland. Streamers! Bubbles! I thought this was great and would love to stumble on it again. Next stop was the Fountain View (aka Starbucks) to get one of those orange creamsicle cupcakes. They are pre-boxed in a refrigerated case, so you can just grab and go. The most interesting thing I learned from this trip to Starbucks is that they have a nice cold water dispenser in the area where you get the cream/sugar for your coffee. No waiting in line to get a free cup of ice water. You can just walk in and help yourself. This cupcake was for sharing later, so at this point I just headed out of the park and back to the time share. I went with my sister in her minivan to go pick up the menfolk from Typhoon Lagoon and then we went to Jiko for dinner. You can read about it here. No excitement after dinner, just back to the time share for some time to relax and digest.
  11. Halloween in August Trip Report

    The Pirate's Adventure doesn't cost money, apart from park admission.
  12. Halloween in August Trip Report

    You're exactly right! When I asked a CM there she said it's because the barber shop is supposed to be turn of the century, when he was president.
  13. Halloween in August Trip Report

    Wednesday was a Magic Kingdom day and we were there for rope drop. This morning's parking reminder. After we cleared security we had a little debate about ferry vs monorail. The kids wanted to take the monorail (no surprise there!) so that's what we did. The kids decided that they wanted to do Space Mountain at park opening so we waited by Tomorrowland Terrace. Apparently this isn't a very popular place to wait, but I thought it was great. There was a place to sit, and a bit of air conditioning from the restaurant. I think there might even have been shade. I marked our waiting point with the red circle. The more popular place where everyone else waited I marked with a yellow circle. When the CMs dropped the rope we headed straight to Space Mountain and I think we weren't any worse off. We got in line for Space Mountain and then noticed that Stitch had come out. One of my nephews is a big Stitch fan so kid and his Dad went and got some pictures taken with Stitch. Stitch had fun playing with the ears on the kid's Stitch hat. :) They rejoined us in line and it became obvious that the line wasn't moving and something might be wrong. A CM came out and let the line know that the attraction was down and would maybe be back up in about half an hour. I told the guys to go do the People Mover and I would hold their spot in line. Of course, Murphy's Law being what it is, not long after they got on the People Mover, the Space Mountain line started moving. I got to the front... no boys. So I went to the back of the line... Made it to the front of the line again but still no boys. So I went to the back of the line again. This time they made it! I can do Space Mountain once and it's easier if I'm in the very front. Look - I'm already braced and we've barely even started. My BIL is a bit more relaxed... After Space Mountain the boys did some more pin trading in the gift shop, then we headed over to Buzz. We waited in line much longer than I would have preferred, but we were already kind of committed by the time we figured out that the posted wait time wasn't accurate. I really suck at getting a high score on this ride. I never know where it's actually aiming and which of those little red dots is mine. Suffice to say the lower score of the two was me, and the other was a nephew. While we were on Buzz I got an email from Disney letting me know that my 10:15 - 11:15 am FastPass for Peter Pan had been modified because the attraction was down. The boys were pretty happy about this because they weren't really keen on riding Peter Pan anyway, and this gave them an extra FastPass for something else they'd rather ride. Score! We went to the Lunching Pad and the kids got a cream cheese pretzel to share. We split up after this - BIL and one kid, me and the other kid. The kid I took had a date with the Harmony Barber Shop. We went there by way of a stroll through the Emporium. I'm always on the lookout for light weight, long sleeved, zip up hoodies. I always have one with me when I'm at the parks - they're just so useful for either staying warm in overzealously air conditioned spaces, or sitting on for padding/heat protection. This one caught my eye. I would have bought it but... I would have preferred all skulls and no Minnie, it had sparkles (I'm anti-sparkle), and it was $55 which sure seemed like a lot - especially when converted to Canadian. We had a bit of a wait before it was our turn at the Harmony Barber Shop so we had time to look at the decorations. Anybody know who the guy on the right is? I'll let people answer and I'll post it if nobody gets it. It was really crowded in that tiny little space and this is part of the reason why... There was like 7 people waiting and then watching this one little kid get a haircut. Did you know you can go into the Harmony Barber Shop and get some pixie dust put in your hair and then leave? I saw a few people come in and get some sprinkles put on and then leave - no haircut. It appears to be free. I'm a party pooper and would hate to have sparkles getting all over everywhere. With my luck I'd get them in my eyes. After the haircut, the kid and I went to the Jungle Cruise. iPad photographer! I'd made us an ADR for the Liberty Tree Tavern for lunch so we rejoined my BIL and kid there. You can read about the food we had here. When at Disney we like to look out for CMs with the same name and get a picture taken. The CM who took us to our table was also a Wendy and she was happy to have a picture taken with me. After lunch we split up again, same as before. BIL and kid were doing the Pirate's Adventure thing, and I took the haircut kid over to BTMRR - he used the Peter Pan FastPasses (mine and his) to ride BTMRR twice. It's his favorite ride. I waited for him near the exit of the ride and a PhotoPass photographer showed up and was taking pictures of people after the ride. I made sure the kid got his picture taken too. I forget where the kid and I were going to go after this, but it was just about time for Festival of Fantasy to start up so we knew it was going to be tricky to get around. Fortunately I picked TCD's brain before this trip and knew just what to do. (Thanks TCD!) This is the FoF parade as seen from the waiting room of the CBJ. It was perfect! Bench to sit on right in front of the window, sweet sweet air conditioning, no crowd, and you can see/hear everything just fine. Once the parade was over since we were already at CBJ we decided to go in. We got seated and just as the show was about to start, BIL and kid showed up and joined us. The CM working this attraction was on fire and VERY funny. He made lots of great jokes and got the audience really into it. I made note of his name (Ben) so I could swing by City Hall. We had a Splash Mountain FP so headed there next. We debated about who had to sit on the right hand side since you often get wet at the waterfall towards the end. I said I'd take one for the team and sit there. As it turned out I didn't get wet from that waterfall but I did get wet from some other random jet. It's hard to tell from this picture but the right side of my shirt is just drenched. It took a long time to dry out, even in August. The PhotoPass pictures of me on this ride are always funny. I'm always screaming my head off. I think the one kid put his hat in front of his face because he was afraid of getting his face wet. Since the kid had done a bunch of the Pirate's Adventure thing, he'd netted 4 FastPasses for Pirates so we decided to cash them in. This was their first time riding it since the PhotoPass picture was added. I told them in advance where/when it would take the picture. I put on my best cheezy grin. After Pirates we split up again, only this time we swapped kids. The kid who'd done the Pirate's Adventure thing wanted to complete the rest of the maps, so that's what we did. If you haven't done the Pirate's Adventure before it's pretty neat if you can spare the time. It's a bit like the Agent P adventure at Epcot. They give you a map with a starting point and you zap your MagicBand and things happen, then they tell you to go to the next point and do the same. I did all of them when I was on my solo trip back in January. One of the points that wasn't working in January was working this time around and it surprised the heck out of me! It gave us a good laugh. After we finished the last Pirate map and got the final set of collector cards and Pirate's FastPasses it started to rain a bit so we sat on a bench near the Tiki Room to plan our next steps and discovered somebody had left their cellphone behind. I picked it up and took it across to the CM who was wrangling strollers near Pirate's and fortunately the owner of the phone was standing right there, having relocated to take shelter from the rain. Talk about instant satisfaction for returning a lost item! I was pretty sure she was telling the truth - there was a Tesco card in the phone's case and they had the British accent to match. :) Since we were so close to the Tiki Room I convinced the kid to go in with me. By the time we got out the rain sprinkles had passed and we decided we couldn't pass up the opportunity to get a Dole Whip. I asked for two vanilla swirl but somehow ended up with just two regular Dole Whip. Oh well - even non-swirl Dole Whip is still Dole Whip! We'd used up our 3 FPs so I think I made us one same-day FP for MILF. The kid and I started heading towards Tomorrowland with stops along the way for pin trading. We must have stopped inside the Christmas shop because I took this depressing picture. When we went in to get seated for MILF I tried to get us positioned so that my BIL could be "That Guy". We were so close! The guy to my left got to be That Guy (and he was a good sport about it) but at least my BIL still got picked to be Churros guy. We were starting to get peckish after this and the kids like the toppings bar at Cosmic Ray's so that's where we went next. I did mobile ordering again. I think I'd managed to make us a Haunted Mansion FP so we went there after Cosmic Ray's. Again we had another fantastic CM. He was very in character and really made it special. In the stretch room he stood in one spot and then as soon as it went pitch black for the thunder/lightning/noose part, he quickly relocated and stood really close right behind someone so when the lights came back on she got quite the scare. It was great fun and she got a good laugh. By the time we were exiting our Doom Buggy he was working the exit so I asked him, "What's your name?" and he pointed at his name tag that said Chris, but he explained "I'm really Callum". I said, "Thanks Chris Callum!" We'd done enough by this point so started heading for the exit. I stopped at City Hall to thank Ben at CBJ and Chris/Callum at HM. I drove us all back to the time share. Not as many steps this day as it felt like. My sister had spent the day at the condo while we were gone and my first order of business when I got back was... putting chair socks on the legs of the chairs! You probably think I'm crazy (and you're not far wrong) but I've stayed at this place several times before and the chairs they have at the kitchen table are very heavy, and they're on a tile floor. So every time you move the chair in/out it makes a lot of noise and makes me crazy. (And I'm sure the people on the floor below aren't too fond of it either.) So I got my Mom to knit enough chair socks for 7 chairs. She likes using up the tail end of yarn to make these, so of course they're a mixture of colors. A single one doesn't take long to make and she can do them while riding in the car or whatever. She's made me some for home too. My Mom is great! The kids wanted to go swimming but my sister didn't want to go down with them so I said I'd go. While the kids were playing in the pool I was just sitting on a lounge chair playing on my phone... and watching these critters at the nearby garbage can buffet. There were 3 or 4 of them that kept going into the garbage can to see what they could find. The one in the picture above has one of those plastic trays for fake orange cheese and nacho chips. They weren't shy at all. On specific instructions from my sister about when to have them back, I rounded up the kids and we went upstairs and called it a night. And that was Wednesday.
  14. Halloween in August Trip Report

    Yes, you have to use your MagicBand to get to the club level (after you zap your MagicBand in the elevator it auto-selects the right floor) and there is a concierge desk after you exit the elevator.
  15. Halloween in August Trip Report

    I drove us all back to AKL. Even though my sister and family had to check out that day, they still had use of the facilities until the end of the day and that included the club lounge. I went up with the boys and saw someone there with a drink I knew I had to have. That is a jungle juice mimosa! One of the many perks of club level is free beer, wine... and jungle juice mimosas. It was tasty but WOW did it ever go straight to my head after being out in August heat. The kids went swimming and I sat poolside and watched for a while. I also took this picture because I was trying in vain to make a slide rule joke. As if anyone uses slide rules anymore. Around 6:15 I headed back to AK - I had a FP for Rivers of Light and also wanted some dinner. The later you arrive, the further away your parking. I looked on MDE to see if there were any tempting ADRs for 1 person available, but ultimately I decided I'd just hang out at the Nomad Lounge. You can read about my food here. I thought I could sit outside to eat but decided it was far too hot to be comfortable, so I sat inside at the bar. Chatted a bit with the barman who is from England and says "taco" the same way my husband does (Taa-co rather than Tah-co). Also talked a bit with some guys from Vegas (is anyone actually from Vegas?) who said they'd spent a year in Toronto and loved it. My BIL and nephews came back to AK by bus and swung by the Nomad Lounge while I was there and we yakked for a bit, but then they left to do their FP. One of the things I had on my to do list for AK was: "As you cross the bridge after leaving Kali River Rapids, there are buttons that can be pressed to deploy the elephants to spray guests on the ride. Just remember…what goes around comes around!" so I headed over to KRR to see about that. Sure enough I found the spot and the buttons. (Not my hand.) I hung out on that bridge and watched the rafts come and go - and watched lots of other people pressing the button. I think I rode KRR once in 1999 but not since then. Just before 8 I headed to my ROL FP viewing area. When I zapped my MagicBand the woman with the reader said, "Happy birthday!" which was interesting because a) I wasn't wearing a birthday button, and b ) it wasn't my birthday (yet) and c) I had no idea that it would display that on their screens. The Mouse really does know all. It was a pretty sunset. And a hot night. (Weird pano of the seating area.) As I mentioned in my Nomad Lounge food post, the FP seating area is on stone benches. Wow did the stone ever hold onto the August sun's heat! I had well toasted buns by the time the show was over. I was glad I had my thin zip up hoodie to sit on. And you know those dispensers of insect repellant they have scattered around? The people sitting in front of me availed themselves of some of it... then grabbed onto their Disney Parks shopping bag... that promptly shed its blue ink ALL OVER one woman's hands. She looked as blue as a Na'vi. I had a few wet naps in my purse so offered them to her, which she gladly accepted. It took some of the blue off, but I bet she could still have convincingly posed for Photo Pass pictures as a Na'vi until she got to proper soap and water. They had people selling $3 bottles of water in the stands but I bet they could have made a killing selling Mickey bars. I would have done anything for ice cream that night but had nobody to hold my spot in order to go get one. ROL was an interesting show and I'm glad I went to see it but I can't see getting the same emotional attachment to it as say MSEP or Wishes. When the show ended I went back over to see Pandora at night. I didn't bother trying to take any photos - I knew my phone would do a lousy job. It was quite crowded and I didn't stay long. I headed out of the park and to the parking lot. Instead of waiting for a tram I just walked to my car. It was a fantastic symphony of car horns as a large group of people all tried to find their rental cars at the same time. Here was the day's AK step count. 13.77 km is about 8.5 miles. Tomorrow (Wednesday) is a Magic Kingdom day with the BIL and nephews.
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