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wendinator last won the day on November 9 2017

wendinator had the most liked content!

About wendinator

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  1. In the LaVergne/Smyrna area. It's slim pickins for good food there. Already have my co-workers on board to go to the Bierhaus next time though!
  2. wendinator

    Three trips to Disney can make a year good!

    Thanks for this tip! I've only ever done the FP line and didn't know about that.
  3. wendinator

    Garden View Tea Room

    I was back for tea today. I'll spare you the pictures of stuff that's the same so here's a quick update of what's new since I was there in August. Not much noticeable in terms of work that was done to the room during the closure in August. My server said they did a bunch of work to the kitchen and something with the ceiling. They have new vests, though, so there's that. On the food front, there was a new sandwich. And it was in addition to the sandwiches I got last time, not instead of. So that was a nice surprise. They now give you a poached pear with gorgonzola. You can see it at the top right between the cucumber and the roasted tomato. It has a nice hint cinnamon, and my server said the pears are poached in red wine (the dark slices) and champagne (the light ones). I still think it's a little weird that of the 5 sandwiches they give you, all but one are open faced. Call me crazy but I kinda think you need two pieces of bread to be called a sandwich. Price remains the same - $35 for the Bedfordshire.
  4. Then this Japanese yodeling in German will blow your mind. I was just in the Nashville area for work all last week - thanks for the tip on the German beerhall. I checked out their web site and they have some of my favorite beers on tap and they also have schweinshaxe. Can't believe I didn't go when I had the chance. Next time! Should you find yourself looking for something to do in that same area, I hit up the Dukes of Hazzard museum. It was worth exactly what I paid for it... Admission is free. I was around for your recent ice storm. I was a bit south of Nashville so didn't get the worst of it but still had to change my travel plans, and got to chip rather a lot of ice off my car. This is all ice on my car. After scraping. Not my car but nice icicles. The keypad on the gas pump was iced over so you couldn't press any of the buttons. End hijack!
  5. wendinator

    Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 2017

    Thanks again! I'll report back at the end of the month.
  6. I'm sure it was a Fiend who tipped me off to the Territory Lounge. I like that place a lot too. In fact my Mom and I have been known to go there twice in the same trip. Quiet, cozy, no ADR required, good food. Can't go wrong, really!
  7. wendinator

    Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 2017

    I somehow missed this trip report when you first posted it so I'm getting caught up now. Thanks for sharing! I always appreciate how much work you put into these. I've benefitted from them tremendously over the years. I still haven't seen HEA but have plans to do so sometime in January. Do you have a favorite/suggested optimum viewing spot? I'll be by myself so should be able to wedge myself into the crowd fairly easily.
  8. wendinator

    Halloween in August Trip Report

    Looks like I'll wrap this up within the same year! Yay! Friday morning was check out day and the beginning of our long journey home. My sister packed up the room, dropped the guys off at Blizzard Beach and then went to Target. Remember those zebra domes I bought the night before? They were my breakfast on Friday. If having zebra domes for breakfast is wrong, I don't ever want to be right. If you've got good pattern recognition skills you won't be surprised to hear that I worked from the room until check out time when I had to leave. First order of business after checking out was returning my rental car. My sister met me there to pick me up since I was now without wheels. We talked about lunch options and settled on the new-to-us Geyser Point at Wilderness Lodge. I talked about the experience here, but the highlights were: no functioning electrical outlets, no functioning fans, and outdoor seating in August = hot. I wasn't a happy camper. You can see it wasn't terribly busy. Found a picture of my sister's bison burger with gluten free bun. After lunch we went back to the GF. I worked from the main building for a while and my sister went to the pool. She had a furry companion come to visit. One of the downsides to working by yourself in public places is if you need to go the bathroom you have two options: 1. Pack up all your stuff and take it with you to the bathroom, or 2. Look for a trustworthy stranger and ask them to watch your stuff while you go to the bathroom. Being the trusting sort I opted for the second strategy, and ended up chatting with a nice couple from Chicago. They joked about taking my laptop and I told them they were welcome to have it! Sadly it was still there when I got back. lol. I saw a sign in the lobby that helped explain why I couldn't get a tea reservation for this past week. I saw them doing some work in there so I'll be curious to see if I notice any changes when I'm back in January. Work was pretty quiet on a Friday afternoon so I told my coworkers I was ducking out early. I left my stuff in my sister's minivan and tried to head to MK for one last visit. I stood in line at the GF monorail station security and promptly went nowhere. The line wasn't moving, and neither was the monorail. It turned out the fire alarm was going off at the Contemporary and all monorails were stopped. And because of weather (lightning in the area), the boats weren't running either. And it was a MNSSHP night. This all added up to a lot of unhappy campers. I threw in the towel and met up with my sister again instead, which was probably a better choice. She had to get some stuff she'd checked with bell services, so we went to the main building front desk to ask whether we could get our stuff there or whether we had to go back to the DVC building. Turns out we had to go back to the DVC building but they had someone who was looking for something to do, so he told us to come with him and hop on the golf cart for a ride back to the DVC building. This was way more fun than standing in line to get into the MK on a MNSSHP night! Golf cart selfie! Poor driver didn't make it into the photo. My sister got her stuff, and then the guy drove us right out into the parking lot directly to the van. How's THAT for service? He did mention he was bored and looking for something to do, and we were happy to help him out in that regard. We loaded up the last of the stuff into the van and then headed over to Blizzard Beach to pick up the guys. After retrieving them, we went to Disney Springs for some last minute shopping/browsing and a bite to eat. Each parent took a kid and I ventured out on my own. Would you pay $2000 for a chair? I wouldn't... but I wish I knew somebody who would wear this shirt! We regrouped for dinner at Blaze. This was my first time there. What a zoo! The ordering process, and find a place to sit, and the buzzers... I found it all a bit much. Maybe I was just burned out by this point. And I dropped something on the floor and hit my head on the table when I tried to pick it up. Ugh. Time to go home! Here's my farewell meal. And yes, I ate the whole thing by myself. I took the first shift of driving heading back to the Great White North. The remnants of Harvey were making their way north and east, which determined our route. No going up 75 this time, even though that's my sister's preferred way. This was the time stamp when we pulled out of parking garage Lime. We drove straight through the night, alternating between 3 drivers, and in less than 24 hours we were home. My husband picked me up at my sister's and that was the end of my two week Disney adventure. Thanks for reading!
  9. wendinator

    Halloween in August Trip Report

    Thursday morning was another check out day. All these different hotels were great for the kids who got to try lots of different pools, but they were no fun for all the packing and unpacking. The kids wanted to spend more time in the Beach Club pool - and you can use the facilities for the whole day you check out. So the kids went to the pool, and I worked in the room until check out time, when I relocated back down to the lounge. This was also another Beaches & Cream day (remember I said there were 3 reservations?). I got the kids grilled chicken... with maybe 12 fries? The kids meal comes with the cute little mouse ice cream. I got strawberry. My BIL tried the grilled banana bread with peanut butter. I'd heard good things about it but in the end I'm glad I didn't order it - it was too heavy for me. Next up it was time to check into the Grand Floridian for our last night. We weren't able to get in the room yet, so I worked from the lobby while the others went to the pool. They have a neat Mary Poppins penguin fountain in the lobby of the DVC building. The room was similar to the others we'd stayed in. The pull down bed here. I love the artwork you can see when you pull down the bed! Little kitchette. Big shower. Hard to see in this picture but there's a TV screen in the bottom right corner of the mirror. Can people really not be away from TV that long?! Not hidden Mickey. Our balcony had a monorail view. We didn't decline any of the Magic Bands so I added another one to my collection. After work I went to MK. Sure was nice to be so close again. I did a few of my favorites. Started with the Jungle Cruise, then off to iasw. I always take a picture at the beginning in case I get suck on the ride. The time stamp on the beginning photo lets me know how long I've been there. At the end I finally got to see my name on the Goodbye screen! It's cool and creepy at the same time! I did the Haunted Mansion and got stopped here for a short bit. It reminded me that we didn't see the gravekeeper and his dog in the MNSSHP party this year. (Sorry for the bad photo quality - I won't use flash in a dark ride.) After HM I went into Memento Mori. These socks looked cool but they felt really scratchy! Fail. I got to do my faves and had other things to tend to, so I left the park after this and took the boat from MK back to the GF. When I got back to the GF parking lot there was a very cool bird on top of a light standard in the parking lot. I wish I had my binoculars to get a better look. I hopped in the car and stopped at the Speedway gas station to fuel up, knowing that I had to return the car the next day and not wanting to have to get gas when I had too many other things to do. I managed to convince my BIL to do our last dinner at Sanaa so that's where I met up with them after my exciting trip to the gas station. You can read about the food here. Beer pouring action shot. After dinner we went up to the gift shop and I got myself some Zebra Domes to go. We all headed back to the GF after this, and that was the end of Thursday.
  10. wendinator

    Halloween in August Trip Report

    Wednesday was the last park day for my BIL and the two kids. I had to work, but we'd made FP reservations for all 4 of us. I'd heard the rumors that they were cracking down on FPs being used by bands that hadn't been used for park entry, and since we didn't want to get in trouble, but still wanted the guys to have the extra FPs we made a plan... I forget how the guys got to the park that day, but I know that first thing in the morning I grabbed my computer and worked from the car while my sister drove me from the Beach Club to the TTC. I left the computer with her, took the ferry to MK, zapped myself into the park, and then promptly left again and caught the next ferry back. Mission accomplished! My band was used for park admission, and the guys could use the extra FPs - I seem to recall we had some good ones like 7DMT and Space Mountain. I have two conference calls on Wednesdays, the second of which is at 2 pm. I decided that instead of taking it from the hotel room I'd try to find somewhere more interesting. I packed up the computer and went over to the Boardwalk area and decided on the Big River Grille & Brewing Works. They had a patio out front but it was just too hot for that. I was hoping for a nice wheat beer to drown my conference call sorrows. They brought me a little sample of a beer I thought I might like. Not so much. A glass of sangria would have to do. It's a tough life, eh? All that fruit on the glass reminded me of a time I ordered a Blue Moon at home and said, "hold the fruit". Well the server guy heard "all the fruit" so my beer showed up with a slice each of lemon, lime, and orange. I was in stitches. It still cracks me up to this day. For lunch I ordered the quesadilla. It was really salty! Not sure I'd order that again. This location had the advantage of being fairly quiet, they sat me near an available outlet, and they had no problem with me loitering for about 90 minutes. At the end of my work day I drove to the TTC to hop the ferry and join the guys. Parking reminder! I met up with the guys and they were hungry, so off we went back to Cosmic Ray's. I'm a sucker for their chicken nuggets... and their mobile ordering. After dinner we split up, BIL and I each taking a kid. I forget which kid I got but he must have drawn the short straw because we did headline attractions like.. Carousel of Progress, and CBJ. We regrouped to do Pirates. We saw some fireworks from Tomorrowland. And we all did MILF. My BIL got picked to be the guy who has gotta boogie! We were hoping he'd be "That Guy", but dancing guy was good too. We split up again and I think we swapped kids. This kid got a better deal because we went for Dole Whips. And then we did BTMRR. I think maybe I should have done those activities in the opposite order... We regrouped at Mickey's Philharmagic, then I took a kid to the Haunted Mansion, which turned out to be a bad decision. He wanted to do some shopping and by the time we got to Main Street, the Emporium was closed. What's up with that?! I felt really bad. Our last activity was to conduct a science experiment. Which is faster to get back to the Beach Club - driving or Disney transportation? One kid came with me and we took the ferry to the TTC and grabbed the car, and the other kid went with my BIL and took a Disney bus. My sister watched the race via the iPhone's "Find My Friends". By time I arrived at the TTC lot, my BIL was still waiting for a bus. Kid and I were back in the room by the time my BIL and the other kid arrived at the Beach Club bus stop. Got in a decent number of steps considering I wasn't at the park all day. (10.64 km = 6.6 miles) And that was Wednesday!
  11. wendinator

    Halloween in August Trip Report

    Oy - it's almost 2018 and I'm still chipping away at this trip report. We left off at the end of Monday August 28 - which was my birthday. Tuesday morning was a check out day - we had to leave the Poly and check into the Beach Club. My sister and her family packed up their stuff and left fairly early since the kids were eager to hit the Beach Club pool. I worked in the room until housekeeping got insistent that I leave so they could clean. I hopped in the car and drove over to the Beach Club and set about finding a place to work until the next room was ready. I don't seem to have taken any pictures of it, but I found a relatively quiet spot with a chair and an electrical outlet on the second floor of the lobby. There's a set of stairs near the check in desk for Cape May that go up one floor and right at the top of the stairs there was a desk with computer/monitor set up for something (DVC?) that was unattended, so I worked there for a bit. I also worked from the Martha's Vineyard lounge but it was a struggle to find a functioning electrical outlet. Not long before I left the lounge another vacation-worker showed up, so I tipped him off to the functional outlet when I was done. I don't have a lot of pictures of the room but I grabbed these ones that my sister took. That table folds down and the chairs move out of the way and that's where my pull down bed was. Little kitchenette. My sister made something like 3 reservations for Beaches & Cream (!) the first of which was around 2:30. I'd read good things about the "frozen sunshine" so I ordered one of those. I wish I'd remembered to ask them to leave off the whipped cream (I'm not a fan). I gave most of it to one of the kids. It looks like I enjoyed it! I'd order that again. I had a burger... with thick fries! One of the kids got a sundae that was super cute! They use the cherry stem for a tail! After lunch I went back to work and the kids went back to the pool. They had another Beaches & Cream reservation for 7 that night, but I decided to give that one a pass. I went to DHS instead. One of the guys working security saw my MNSSHP shirt and had a few questions so we had a nice chat about how much fun the party is. He'd never been and I like to think I convinced him to go. I didn't manage to get in one last ride on GMR - it closed a week or so before we arrived. Interestingly there was a PhotoPass photographer out front. They had a fish eye lens. I'd managed to get a same-day TSM FastPass so I did that. I'm not very good. It was still quite toasty at 8:20 pm. 27°C is 80°F. I did the Muppets (because why not) and also stopped for one more PhotoPass picture. See that piston trophy on the right? Interestingly enough my car club has trophies that look quite a bit like that. Only smaller. We give them out each year for things like best car, greatest act of spirit, and member of the year. I stopped by Sweet Spells to grab myself a carrot cake cookie. I love those things. Having done all I wanted to do at DHS I headed back to the hotel because I wanted to wander around the Boardwalk. I went to the Abracadabar, which you can read about here. There was a magician gathering quite a crowd. I didn't stay and watch though. There was a photo booth I went into. Wow, it sure trapped the heat of the day in there. But the good news is that if you can zap your Magic Band and get the pictures added to your PhotoPass account. Which I did. After that I called it a night and walked back to the hotel.
  12. wendinator

    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.
  13. wendinator

    Fort Christmas music?

  14. wendinator

    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!
  15. wendinator

    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.