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wendinator

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wendinator last won the day on September 5

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About wendinator

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Halloween in August Trip Report

    The Pirate's Adventure doesn't cost money, apart from park admission.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Halloween in August Trip Report

    I haven't really done the math here but I know that credit cards don't exactly use favorable exchange rates (well... favorable to THEM but not so much to me) so my logic is that one transaction of $100 is going to be better than 10 transactions of $10 when buying things like Dole Whip, cream cheese pretzel, quick serve lunch, etc. I think we're the same age! I see them now - thanks! And yes, a totally different viewing experience.
  9. Halloween in August Trip Report

    Our plan for Tuesday was Animal Kingdom. None of us had been since Pandora opened. My sister and family had to check out of AKL that morning so that was my sister's task for the morning since she wasn't coming to the parks with us. I picked up the 3 boys (BIL & 2 nephews) at AKL and we drove to AK. Here's this morning's parking reminder - taken just a bit before 8 am. Park was scheduled for 9 am opening. We cleared bag check without any problem and I got in the tapstile line off to the left. Apparently the boys had some kind of ticket that required activation before they could use it. (Don't ask me.) So they stood in the ticket line and got that sorted out. Once they rejoined me in line we had a discussion about whether it was better to stay in the line we were in or go through the Rainforest Cafe and enter there. The crowd behind us was growing. One of the kids went off on a reconnaissance mission and reported back that there was nobody in there, so we abandoned our line and went to the Rainforest Cafe tapstile and the good news is that sure enough we were the only ones there. The bad news was that while we were relocating, the tapstiles had been opened up and people were flooding into the park. Oh well. We joined the herd who were all going to the same place. No need to wonder where you're going - just follow the crowd ahead of you. In short order we were queued up on the bridge to Pandora. As has been reported by others... it's HOT and stuffy. I was glad I had my little fan. I had a couple of these and they were great. Well worth the price when you're at Disney in August. This isn't a great picture but you get a rough idea of the size of the crowd behind us. I don't remember how long we waited there - maybe 20 minutes? And then the crowd started moving forward. It was largely an orderly affair but wow some people sure get pushy. I just let them go ahead. We got to the fork where it's Navi River Journey one way and FoP the other way. Yeah... nobody was going to NRJ. The poor CMs tried their best to entice people. The line into FoP moved pretty quickly with the exception of people stopping to take pictures of the scenery. How many times have you seen this same picture? To give you an idea of our rope drop progress, I took this selfie at 8:54 am. Can you guess where it was taken? Not a lot of visual clues there... But that's where I sat and waited at the chicken exit. I get motion sick pretty easily and despite lots of people along the way trying to encourage me to ride, I gave it a pass. The guys enjoyed it though. From here we went and did the Navi River Journey. There was a bit of a line but nothing very long. I think we entered the queue by about 9:10. Rope drop paid off. I didn't take any pictures (I wanted to experience it for the first time without my phone in the way) so don't have any to post. I thought the ride was... ok. I'd intentionally avoided any spoilers before going (no YouTube ride videos, etc.) so was going in without any particular expectations. It sure didn't knock my socks off, and there's no way I'd wait an hour for it. Meh. We decided to do the Kilimanjaro Safari so headed in that direction by way of a bathroom break. Apologies to anyone who's eating while they read this but I couldn't resist taking a picture of this toilet. It looked to me like somebody had flushed a set of keys so it was cracking me up. My BIL said, "wow it must have really hurt when they passed those keys!" We're easily amused, what can I say? We didn't have a FP for the Safari but didn't have a long wait. This ride also makes my head a little woozy with all the rocking around so once is enough. I only took one picture and it was right at the very beginning. There's a photo from several years ago where we were doing a selfie in my row and my sister photobombed it from the row behind. Since my sister wasn't there this time, I asked a girl behind me, "can you please photobomb my picture?". She seemed surprised but obliged. Which begs the question, does it really count as a photobomb if you ask someone to do it? Probably not but I was amused anyway. Sorry for not posting it - I'm not comfortable posting pictures of my sister's kids. Not my kids, not my place to put them on teh internetz. It's blurry anyway. After the Safari the kids wanted to do some pn trading at a nearby gift shop. I was amused by these little fans that make light up shapes when they're on. I tried to shoot a little video of it but it didn't really turn out. We had a FP for Primeval Whirl so headed in that direction. You won't be surprised to hear that I gave this one a pass too, so one of the boys got to use my FP and ride a second time. I hung out in the "Chester & Hester's Dinosaur Treasures" gift shop instead for some sweet sweet air conditioning. The kids did some more pin trading here too. I was interested to note one CM working there who would ask a trivia question that you'd have to successfully answer before she'd show you the pins in her collection. She asked tough questions like, "Name one animal you've seen today." The guys wanted to do Dinosaur after this and I decided I'd actually go on this one. I've done it once before so I knew what I was getting into. The posted wait time grew while we were standing in line so it was probably half an hour. In the ride photo I look mildly amused, but the kid in the front row sure isn't having a good time. We split up after this - BIL and one kid went to Expedition Everest and took my MB and the other kid's MB so they'd could ride twice. The kid I took wanted to go back to the Pandora gift shop and I was hungry and wanted to go to the Satu'li Canteen, so that's where we went. I liked this sign at the entrance to Pandora but I dared not try to take a picture of it at rope drop for fear of being trampled. And the giant spitting flower thing was cool too. A kid can't resist getting flower spit on a hot day. Satu'li Canteen was my first time seeing Mobile Order. The pickup area was deserted. That seemed very appealing so I fired up the app and ordered us some grub. Looks like only one other guy had the same idea. Here's the blueberry mousse for the kid. It must have been good because I didn't even get to steal a bite! I wish I'd taken a picture of the inside. And here are my steamed buns that I talked about here. After this we headed over to the Pandora gift shop. I wish I'd taken more pictures here - like of the custom Navi barbie doll you can get made for something like $80. And those weird banshee shoulder puppet things. The appeal is certainly lost on me, but they sure know how to part people from their money. The kid found a pin he wanted so I went with him to the cash so we could use my AP discount. The cashier told him there's an AP-only pin as well and showed it to him. He liked it and asked if he could buy two - one for his brother. He's WAY nicer to his brother than I was to my sister at that same age. BIL and other kid finished with EE and met us at the Pandora gift shop (Windtraders). More pins were bought. They ate some sandwiches they'd packed and then we decided we'd had enough for now and we left. Since you get to use the resort facilities all day on your check in and check out day, I took them back to AKL. We'll pick up there.
  10. Halloween in August Trip Report

    I'm happy to have them included, but I can't actually see them! Photobucket. :-( Yes, there's a warm, sweet, cream cheese filling inside the pretzel. I like them a lot.
  11. Halloween in August Trip Report

    I don't have the photos to prove it but my digital bread crumb trail tells me that I did the Laugh Floor after this (henceforth abbreviated as MILF - you've been warned). I probably did MILF 3 or more times on this trip and not once did I get the bit they used to do where they pick people from the audience to be Mike/Sulley/Randall/Boo. Do you remember that? Here's a picture I took in Aug 2015 because the guy in the row ahead of me was picked to be Mike (with one I) - you can see my arm and phone in the picture. That one was a lot of fun. Now they only do the bit where they can tell you the capital of any country. I hope I just got unlucky on this trip and that the Mike/Sulley gag is still in rotation. This is also a good point for me to talk about FastPass. Was it here where I read the trick about refreshing MDE? If it was then thank you because I used it several times successfully. Here's the short version. Say you want a FP for MILF at 4ish but all it will give you is 7ish. Book the 7 pm FP then go back and edit it and say you want to change the time. Keep refreshing until you see a time you like better. It may offer you 6:something. Take that, then edit again and keep refreshing. Before you know it you get the time you want. This even sometimes works for different attractions. Want Pirates but can't get it? Book Haunted Mansion, then edit. Boom. Pirates appears. I have no idea why/how this works but it does. I suspect I had good luck with this because I was searching for a party of 1. Your mileage may vary for parties of 2 and up. From MILF I went to City Hall to tell them I thought Kasha was a great Jungle Cruise skipper. They always seem so happy to have someone giving them good news. I imagine most of their day is unhappy people. I was done with the MK for the day so took the monorail back to the TTC and drove to the GF. I know not everyone is a fan of signature dining and think it's not worth the money, but I made myself an ADR at Citrico's to take advantage of their 30% discount for AP holders. You can read about that dinner here. While at the Grand Floridian I noticed they had some Halloween merchandise out. I don't think it was there the day before when I went for tea. Either way, Halloween is my favorite holiday so I was enjoying the merch. That was it for excitement for the day. I drove back to the time share and did some laundry for my sister. Here's what my Fitbit thinks I did as a step count. 11.37 km converts to a little over 7 miles. Tomorrow is my first park day with my BIL and kids. Stay tuned for rope drop at AK. My sister opted out of all our park stuff except for one.
  12. Halloween in August Trip Report

    Thanks again to everyone for commenting and following along. After the PeopleMover I headed over to the Carousel of Progress. I almost always sit in the same spot for this - all the way over to the right. I know that in COP they don't ask you to move all the way down to the end of the row to make space for everyone... but I usually do it anyway. Today I threw caution to the wind! So I got a better view of these folks instead. I noticed either in the Lines app or on the park map that there was something called iCan that had an appearance in Tomorrowland coming up soon so I decided to hang around until that showed up... whatever it was. I think maybe TCD had mentioned it once before but I certainly hadn't heard a lot of buzz. Sure enough I found him/it. Looks a lot like my husband's razor only with a head. I didn't stick around long. Push was way better. While in Tomorrowland I was intrigued to notice that the Express Transportation was still running. I thought it was closing down, which I guess it did not long after. (This was Aug 21.) I was close to the Lunching Pad so grabbed my favorite snack of a frozen Coke and a cream cheese pretzel and I headed over to where the fireworks dessert party is (Tomorrowland Terrace) to sit and watch the world go by. The only thing better than snack time is... Snack time with a view! I had a FP for 7DMT so I headed there next. I'm sure it's just my imagination but man is the queue for 7DMT ever LOUD! Maybe it was the large group ahead of me too. I had time to read the overhead monitors with the safety info. This part made me laugh. The ride wrangler asked how many in my party and I told them '1' so they put me with the large group in front of me and then we were herded right to the very front boarding area. When the next train pulled into the station the group started to board... and it was total chaos. To be honest, I'm not really sure what happened, but some people wouldn't get on, and then they changed their minds, and moved around, by which time my seat was gone and the ride operator was anxious to get the train rolling so they told me to just stay put. The next train pulled into the station and they told me to get on... essentially by myself. The ride operator said, "This will make for a great ride photo!" and he wasn't wrong! Probably my favorite PhotoPass picture evah! After this I did a little wandering and browsing. I played a game of "spot the Brits". There seemed to be a lot of Brits when I was there. My husband is from England and I love teasing him about how they don't have the sun in England. He doesn't even own a pair of shorts and has worn jeans at Disney in August before. (facepalm) Saw some interesting shirts, but nothing that I actually bought. By now it was Festival of Fantasy parade time. I've seen it before so I didn't watch the whole thing, but by coincidence I happened to stop right near where there were 2 CMs doing the sign language for the parade song. I'd never seen that before and thought it was really cool. It was pretty close to peak eclipse time. There were LOTS of photographers ready to capture it. I wasn't sure the sky was going to cooperate. This photo was taken at 2:49 which I think is when the maximum eclipse was supposed to be in the Orlando area. I took it from the area near Sleepy Hollow. You can see... it's not all that dark. Frankly I didn't really see what the big deal was all about. I didn't have eclipse glasses so didn't look up but I sure saw lots of other people looking up both with and without glasses. Went onto MDE and made myself a Small World FP. I'm guessing you guys were OK with the CBJ and Tiki Room but draw the line at iasw. Fortunately one of the many joys of being solo is there's nobody to stop me from riding iasw! Now I've been stuck on iasw before, so I always take this picture in order to give me a time stamp. And I always take a winking hippo picture. I have the plush version at home. :-)
  13. Halloween in August Trip Report

    Thanks for following along! My sister and family were aiming to maximize their resort time (and were especially fond of club level) which meant I had the day to do with as I pleased. And I was pleased to do rope drop at MK. I was at the TTC and in my parking spot just after 8 am. I took a picture of my parking row because I know otherwise I'll never remember. This was my first time back at WDW since the security procedures changed, so that meant this was also the first time I went through security at the TTC. I think this distributed model works better than the centralized security at MK only. I didn't keep track but you know how sometimes after bag check they ask you to go through the metal detector as well? I swear on this whole trip there was only one time where they didn't ask me to go through the metal detector as well. But anyway. I'm ferry people not monorail people and I was waiting for the ferry by 8:10. After an easy ferry ride and breezing through the tapstiles I was still pretty early so decided to stop for a PhotoPass photographer. Park didn't officially open until 9 so I went to the Emporium to get myself a gift card. As a Canadian it's a little easier on the credit card statement if you have one transaction of $100 onto a gift card rather than a bunch of little transactions. I had a tiny gift card that I got at Food & Wine a few years ago but my experience has been that the card is finicky when they swipe it so I decided a normal sized card would be better. I got the one that looks most like my Miata. :) Took this photo at 8:30. Looks like a nice day, eh? You might also recall that today was the big eclipse day. They had signs up about it at the park too. My colleagues in Nashville were all very excited about this since they were directly in the path of totality. I, on the other hand, am a terrible person, and was much less excited. Anyway, while waiting for the park to open I found a nice table and chair inside Casey's Corner. I didn't bother to watch the opening show - I'd seen it before and it's pretty disappointing compared to the old train station show. Finally the park was open! Any guesses where I went? Where would you go at rope drop...? If you said Sleepy Hollow for a Nutella waffle... you win! My thrill ride days are largely behind me. Isn't it great to not have to share? Now that I'd started the day off right, I headed to Pirates. It was a walk-on (no surprise). This was my first time riding since they added the ride photo just before the drop. Either it wasn't working or it didn't link to my MagicBand because I didn't get the ride photo. After that it was over to Jungle Cruise for my first FP of the day. I got given a red card, which was pretty funny considering there was literally no wait so all I did was carry it from one CM to another. I was interested to note that the rhino is still being refurbed. But at least now instead of there being nothing at the totem pole there are hyenas. I wonder when the rhino is coming back. I had a great skipper and I made a note of her name (Kasha) so I could swing by City Hall later. A good skipper makes all the difference with the Jungle Cruise, as you know. From here it was over to the Tiki Room. I know this isn't everyone's cup of tea but it always reminds me of my Mom singing along, and I like those singing totem poles so I always go at least once. After the Tiki birds I saw a PhotoPass photographer who looked lonely so I chatted with him for a while and got him to do another magic shot. By this time I was ready for my Haunted Mansion FastPass. You know the part where it talks about the hot and cold running chills? And there's that cold fan that blows? Yeah, that's where I got stopped. (Sorry for the grainy, low light photos.) Fortunately I had a light sweater with me and fortunately I wasn't there for too terribly long. And I guess there are worse places to be stuck? There was another PhotoPass photographer as you leave the Haunted Mansion so of course I had to get a picture there too. For some reason I really struggled to make the hitchhiking thumb gesture the photographer wanted. He was probably questioning his career choice by the time he was done with me. I wandered around the Tinkle Tower area a bit and went into Memento Mori. Also saw this great kid on a leash. I know nothing about kids, but thought he might be a little old for this... From here it was over to Country Bear Jamboree. It must be my advancing years because I also have a soft spot for the Bears too. If you're interested at all in why the Bears are worth keeping give this a read. After the Bears I decided it was time for a train ride. When I was here in January and again in March the train was still closed for refurb. So I got on the train at Frontierland and took it just one stop over to Fantasyland. As I was walking along the pathway towards Tomorrowland I noticed some scaffolding on the side of Space Mountain and saw they were painting. I forget where I read it but somewhere I saw something that said, "Near the Tomorrowland Transit Authority and Astro Orbiter in Rockettower Plaza, there is a courtesy phone provided by the Galactic Communications Network. Pick it up and listen to some of their party line conversations! You’ll be able to find out what movies are playing nearby, find out which criminals are on the loose in Tomorrowland, and even “order” a pizza!" The good news was that I found the phone thing. The bad news was that it didn't actually do anything as far as I could tell. Fail. But that's OK because PeopleMover time! MDE even kindly reminded me about the eclipse in case I'd forgotten. To be continued after my conference call...
  14. Halloween in August Trip Report

    Not a lot of Fort content unfortunately, but since TCD has trip report writing burnout I thought I'd share my recent trip (apart from the food photos I already posted). I won't feel bad if you don't read it all - I tend to write too much! Back in about March my sister let me know she was planning to go for two weeks and asked if I was interested in joining. Since I got an AP in January this seemed like a no brainer so of course I said yes. For planning purposes the things we had to keep in mind were: 1. she was only telling her kids about the first week, so the second week would be a surprise, 2. we'd be down there for my birthday (yay!), 3. the accommodations would be a mix of her time share on 192 and their DVC, and 4. I would take one week off work as vacation but need to work the second week (I have a 'work from anywhere' job). My sister and her family started their summer vacation in the Canadian Maritimes with my parents and when that was over my parents headed back home and my sister headed south to Florida, making a few stops along the way. On Sunday, August 20 they checked into AKL for themselves and the timeshare for me. She set up her reservation with DME for 1 person from MCO to AKL, so when I flew down I hopped on DME to meet them. Is there anything better than seeing this for the first time? When I arrived they were already poolside. I changed out of my jeans and runners into shorts and sandals in the Jiko/Boma bathroom - the handicap stall was occupied so I used a regular stall and all my wiggling around caused the toilet to flush at least 4 times. It was pretty funny but I felt bad about the water waste. They'd managed to get 2 nights at the club level so I rehydrated with a glass each of the lounge's water, lemonade (very sweet), and jungle juice (POG). I knew that I'd be doing a bunch of different things from my sister and her family so I'd booked myself a rental car. My BIL drove me to where I thought the rental car pickup place was since I'd picked up a car from there before. But when we pulled in the parking lot it became pretty clear that I wasn't in the right place. Fortunately there was a sign on the door with the address to the right place. When I got there it didn't look much better but at least it was actually open and staffed! I picked up my rather beat up looking rental car and went to the time share to unpack my bags. After unpacking I went to Target/CVS to lay in a few supplies. After that it was straight back to AKL to pick up one of my nephews who wanted to go to afternoon tea with me. You can read all about our afternoon tea here. After tea we popped our heads in a few of the GF gift shops. My nephews like to pin trade so are always on the lookout for interesting pins. I have a weakness for mugs/glasses and thought this one was cute. But I also know I'm already out of cupboard space so I gave it a pass. I don't have a lot of pictures after that. I'm pretty sure I was tired from travel so returned the kid to his parents, then I went back to the time share for some Zzz's in anticipation of rope drop at the Magic Kingdom the next day (Monday). We'll pick up there, which will be way more interesting than this!
  15. New AbracadaBar at Disney's Boardwalk

    I grabbed a drink there at the end of August. I had the Pepper's Ghost and although it was OK I would order something different the next time. Bad picture of Pepper's Ghost: The table beside me had the absinthe drink and said it was VERY strong. And yes, the one drink I had sure didn't come cheap. Here's a bit of the drink list. I was there alone and suspect I would have enjoyed the theming more if I'd sat at the bar. Be sure to make note of the posters on the wall and check them often! Also note that the photo booths on the boardwalk are free if you have PhotoPass. Just zap your MagicBand!
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