Thursday, March 13, 2014

A rainy day....

A rainy day at Disney is better than a sunny day at home!

Thursday morning we awoke to dreary skies and the threat of rain, hail, and thunderstorms.  To Disney or not to Disney in the rain?  Shortly after 9am I began checking wait times on My Disney Experience App, and it was a no-brainer.  Attractions that had an hour or longer wait the entire week were walk on.  So we brought only the necessities.  No cameras, no bags, donned our rain ponchos, and prepared to get wet!  Thankfully it wasn't cold because a cold wet day would have been miserable!!

The rain was probably the best thing that could have happened!  It kept the crowds down. We split up and Clint and Valerie went one way, Veronica and I another.  Clint and Valerie rode Big Thunder Mountain three times in a row - just walked on.  Later, they rode it again with a 10 minute wait.  The longest Veronica and I waited for anything the entire day was 20 minutes.  Everything, and I mean everything was practically walk on.  We did more on this last day than we had managed all week!!  It rained most of the day, heavy at times, but by late afternoon it stopped.  We were wet, but it sure was fun.

We left to have dinner offsite, went back to the townhouse for a bit, then back to Magic Kingdom for the parade.  We arrived 15 minutes before it started and walked right up to a front row spot.

What a great end to our magical vacation!!!  

Friday morning we packed up and headed to the airport.  It was a great trip, but there's no place like home.   When we got home though.... Oh....  when we got home, I was absolutely HORRIFIED to find that Pepper had somehow trapped himself in the hall bathroom.  He had no food or water for however long he was in there.  He was perfectly fine, so he wasn't in there long... but still!  To make things worse, he had tried to claw his way out and wore off the pads of his front paws.  Bloody paw prints were everywhere....  He must have been frantic to get out of there.  I felt just sick thinking what if we hadn't come home that day and can't imagine how he managed to close the door.  Next time we will make sure all the doors are shut or wedged so they cannot close all the way.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Happy Birthday!!!!!

Seven....  gosh, seven years old already????

Veronica was a tad bit excited.  After all, what better place to celebrate your birthday than Magic Kingdom?!  We spent the entire day at MK.  From open to very late in the evening.  We were there for the opening show and spent the day doing everything we could!  Roni got lots of birthday wishes and special recognition in the parade!!  The princesses all made a big deal about her birthday.  She was so, so excited!  Her birthday dinner was at 1900 Park Fare.  Even after all these years, it is still one of our favorites.  We love the characters and the food is always very good.

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Disney World part 2

Monday morning we had 8:25am breakfast reservations at Crystal Palace.  We were up very early to make sure we were at Magic Kingdom an hour before it opened.  We usually go to CP for lunch, but I wanted in before park opening so we gave breakfast a try.  Good food and good character interaction, as always!  Just before 9am the park opened and the people.... oh the people!  We were sitting by a window just watching the crowd pour in.  Wow....   needless to say it was a very busy day.  Not just 'busy' but BUSY.

Fantasyland was literally solid people.  See?

And all of these peeps were waiting for Haunted Mansion:

It was like that all over!!  Still, we made the best of it and rode what we could with out wasting too much time in long lines.

Tuesday was an Epcot day!!   Happy Mardi Gras!!  Lots of purple, green, and gold in the park today... along with Mardi Gras beads.

This was our only day at Epcot, so I wanted to squeeze in as much as possible.  Clint made a dash for the FP+ machines and scored Soarin' passes at a decent time for us.  As the day went on, it really wasn't that busy. The only ride we skipped was Test Track because with out a FP, the wait was 90 minutes or more.  Unfortunately, after all the walking and standing in line, by Tuesday afternoon my leg was just making me miserable.  I think it was more the standing rather than the walking, but I just needed to rest.  So we waited in the shade while Clint went to rent me a wheelchair.  I wasn't happy about being in a chair, but I didn't have much choice.  It definitely made the day easier and almost pain free.

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Sunday, March 09, 2014

Disney World!!

Once again we escaped Mardi Gras Madness and headed to visit Mickey Mouse!

Saturday:  We were up early to head to the airport.  We had no issues getting through TSA security and the flight was smooth.  We picked up the rental car, had a quick lunch at Cici's Pizza, got a few groceries at the nearby Publix, then headed to Windsor Hills to check in.  We usually stay in a condo, but this time I opted for a townhouse with a pool!  We unpacked and relaxed for all of five minutes before heading to the Magic Kingdom!  The plan was to hit a few of the easy rides during the parade.  We were all pretty tired, so we didn't have any intention of staying very long.  Unfortunately, we got caught up in the parade madness and could not get out!  It took quite a while to maneuver through the crowds towards the exit.  Whew!

Sunday:  Since we had a late night, we slept in a bit and got to Hollywood Studios a few minutes after it opened.  We attempted to get Fast Pass+ for Toy Story, but failed miserably.  DHS is my least favorite park and I quickly remembered why we always skip it.  There's just not much there that interests us.  It's all cement and oh so very hot.  We had dinner reservations at Chef Mickey's and ended up just wandering around to pass the time.

Soon it was close enough to our reservation time to start heading out.  Clint asked the first CM he saw what was the best way to get to Contemporary??  And the CM replied, "how about something special?  Here's a little Disney Magic..."  And brought us to an empty bus and said here's a private bus to take you where ever you need to go.  The girls got balloons and he snapped our picture!   Once we got to Chef Mickey's, we went to the podium to check in and the girl asked us if we WANTED TO BE FAMILY OF THE DAY!!  I didn't even remember that they did this!!  Valerie and Veronica got to open Chef Mickey's, and Mickey himself escorted us to our table.  The girls got to sign Mickey's book, and we were given four placemats as a bonus!!   We also told them it was Veronica's birthday, and she got a cupcake with a candle in it too!!

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Saturday, March 08, 2014

Disney FP+, Magic Bands, and offsite

Ah, home sweet home!!!   Before I dive into a recap of our Disney World Vacation, I wanted to share some thoughts about FastPass+ and staying offsite.  This isn't a debate on whether onsite or offsite is better.  We always stay offsite.  Why?  Space vs cost.  We like space.  The four of us can spend a night or two sharing a hotel room, but beyond that is asking for a disaster.  I like having a washer and dryer so I can pack lighter.  I like having multiple bedrooms and bathrooms.  For this trip, we chose a two story townhouse with 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and a pool.  For less than $120/night, we had an entire house to ourselves.  The cost of something comparable (but smaller) like a Disney 2 bedroom suite or cabin --  $500-$600 per night.

Anyway, back to the FP+ business.  Being offsite, we had no magic bands or access to My Disney Experience.  Our only option was to hit the kiosks first thing in the morning to see what Fast Passes were left over.  The lines.... oh the lines!!!  Every morning there must have been 100 people standing in line at the kiosks.  Craziness.

Our first day at Disney Hollywood studios was a bust.  The park opened at 9am and by 9:20 we were in line at the kiosks.  We stood there not moving for a few minutes, and a CM walked by and said that Toy Story and Tower or Terror were all gone.  The main FP we wanted was for Toy Story, so we got out of line.  The rest of the week we had better luck.  Clint was our runner to the FP+ kiosks.  He'd bypass the first locations and go elsewhere until he found a shorter line.  That worked better and he was able to score some decent times on those days.  Some there was no chance of getting -- like for the early parade spots - all gone by park opening.

So that's my best advice for anyone staying offsite-- have a runner just like in the old days.  Go to the far kiosks, and hope for the best.

FP+ is still in the 'testing' phase, and Magic Bands are said to be coming for offsite guests....  It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.
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