Annual Birthday Trip Report - 5 Crazy Days

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by Canadian Harmony, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Here's my trip report. It's a little late and I may not get it all finished in a timely manner as I'm also finishing up 4 university courses these next couple weeks, but here's what I can do. Oh, and it'll be photo heavy, so beware!

    The day has arrived!

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    I and my friend J had been planning this trip since what seems like forever. This is J's third time going to DLR this year, and I was last there at Christmas wit the family. J and I met while performing Oliver! and it turns out we're both big Disney fans.

    J suggested we save half off our hotel and stay at the Clarion, across the street from the Toy Story parking lot. Hmmmm... more souvies? OK! We flew down via WestJet because we're both sick of running from one end of Seattle Int'l to the other, and took Karmel to the hotel (using the code which saves $8 each way).

    We flew out of Victoria International and left the house at zero-dark-thirty. The airport was quiet but I ran into one of my old Army instructors as he was on the same plane to Vancouver with us. Turns out, he was in the same row, and switched seats with J so we could sit together.

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    It was sunrise as we flew into Vancouver, and it was gorgeous above the clouds.

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    We arrived about 15 minutes early into Santa Ana and our van was already waiting for us. Within 30 minutes we were at the Clarion. We were on the top floor, right by the elevators. Super awesome - no one stomping above us and not far to go once returned from the parks! We had gotten maybe an hour of sleep on the flight down so we were tired, but also very excited to get to the parks!

    Once we dropped our stuff, we headed to the TS parking lot and hopped a bus. It was a new experience for me and I loved how easy it all was. We waited our 5 minutes in the security line, then went through the detectors without a problem. Off we went to the ticket booths to upgrade our tickets to Signature Annual Passes with MaxPass.

    Turns out, even though the 3 Day Park Hopper I had was purchased at full price, the price recognized was the Canadian Discounted price. That meant I had to use even MORE of my gift cards. The exchange rate was horrible - $500CAD got me $384USD. Two and a half gift cards later, I was the proud owner of my very first ever Annual Pass!

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    Finally, the PARK!! We decided to start our afternoon in DLR as we had dinner reservations at Lamplighter later on. J had never been to the Parks at Halloween Time, so she was in love with the pumpkins over the gates.

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    We had our photos taken and headed into the parks on the right. Of course, we stopped for a quick snap.

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    Given so many choices of things to do, we decided on a train ride over to TomorrowLand and our first FP was Buzz, for just before we had to leave.

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    The lines at the gate around 5pm weren't all that bad, and it was probably the last time we'd see them so small.

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    J loved Buzz because she had a trick to get the high score. I like Buzz, but my favourite ride in TL is Star Tours. But, I'm always up for a try to get Zurg.

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    We walked through the store afterward and I grabbed a 2018 Halloween Party pin for my lanyard. I wanted some Wookie Nookie, so we headed over to the Launch Bay to meet Chewie. J had never met him, so this was a great meet for her.

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    Then we headed over to DCA for our dinner date.

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    Oogie says things like, "oh! All these people here to see.... ME!" as you're waiting in line. It's funny to hear the lines they have him saying.

    I hadn't been to DCA decorated for Halloween before, so I was really happy to see the decorations. As DLR is all orange, DCA is purple. Bats were a theme on the banners as well as coming out of Carthay. Very cool. Purple lights in the trees lined the street and it made for such an awesome atmosphere.

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    We had JUST enough time for a ride in the Single Rider line for Racers, and so we did. And we won!

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    I wanted pictures everywhere, but we did have a reservation. And good thing we did too! Walk-ins were told at Lamplight that they couldn't sit downstairs, but they could sit upstairs in the lounge. We still had to wait for 20 minutes, but there were lovely paintings and drawings on the walls and the light in the foyer was gorgeous. Plus, the windows loved over the lagoon and Pixar Pier. Instead of a pager, we were texted on my phone. Made life a lot easier than carting around a pager, which we did as recently as December!

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    Downstairs, where we used to meet Ariel, there was a stunning mirrored-lit wall of the Pixar Ball. We waited there until my name was called and we were taken to our table against the wall. The wall was covered in different Pixar memorabilia and though we asked for the back room, you need a party of 8 to get in there. Still, I was facing the wall, J was facing the bar and the view outside. There are sofas and comfy chairs around low tables down the middle between the wall tables and the bar. The outdoor patio was packed too!

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    I asked if they still had the Fun Wheel drink - they do, but it's smaller than it used to be. I ordered it. It was okay. My meal was the Lobster Nachos... of course! I liked them. VERY spicy (for me), but I enjoyed them nonetheless and can now say I have had them.

    Btw, this trip, I brought a reusable straw and a plastic spork. J brought paper straws with her. We both felt really good about lessening our footprint in the parks and it really wasn't a hassle at all. Of course, in restaurants with silverware, I left the spork alone.

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    Never one to pass a bathroom, I loved the wall going to them downstairs. I had to take some photos.

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    As we came out, it turns out Paint the Night was starting. We stood on the bridge to watch a little. My photos aren't all that great but we were planning on seeing the parade on Saturday, so we weren't too concerned.

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    We were quite tired by this time, so we decided to head back. We were behind the parade and ended up in the crowd going to the gate as DCA closed. We saw some fireworks above DLR as we came into the esplanade and it just set our whole day off nicely.

    We got a bus back to the TS lot, walked across the street, and made it up to the room no problem. The vending machines say the water is $3.75, but it's only $1.50USD and you can use your credit card, so that's cool. Make sure you press the COMPLETE button though before you leave. After we watered ourselves and brushed our teeth, it was close to midnight, and we'd been up for about 19 hours by that time, so we were definitely ready for bed. The alarm was set for 6am, and I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

    Next up: Friday hijinks - DCA, DLR, and a soggy Halloween Party!
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
    Eyeheartdisneyyy, AuntieMe3 and Jaina like this.
  2. Jaina

    Jaina Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.

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    Looks like a lot of fun!! I like the decorations in the Lamplight Lounge. I hadn't seen those yet.
     
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  4. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Hi Jaina! Thanks for following along! The decorations were incredible! I only wish I could have walked around and taken photos every 3-5 feet just to get all the pictures of the walls.
     
  5. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Friday! Halloween Party Day!! We had checked the weather religiously, and it fluctuated between rain and no rain, so we just had to suck it up and wait.

    So, after 6 SOLID hours of sleep, we got up, got ready, and left the hotel at 7. On the Toy Story bus by 7:10, and away to the gates. The line ups weren't bad, but they were line-ups, you know. Our plan was to start in DCA and then head over to DLR. J wanted a Villains dress for her costume, and mine squished into a bag, so we rented a locker and headed off to our first FP at Guardian's. First, a smooch (much to a lady's... chagrin... she was waiting for her son to come over to her, and I just wanted a quick selfie, so I popped in before the boy was even near the statue, but the look on her face said she wasn't my biggest fan...)!

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    We ran into a Photo Pass Photog and had some fun first!

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    The fun part of having two musical theatre actresses do photo shoots, is you get REALLY good reactions to things that aren't there!

    I love this line up! The themeing is so cool. Having FPs meant we didn't have to up stairs - and as I've always done FPs, I didn't even KNOW there was an upstairs until J pointed it out to me.

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    J's the one 'sleeping' in the corner. She does all the cool looks in our photos. I totally suck at it, but I'm working at getting better! The lady in the striped shirt beside me was terrified, so I tried to make her laugh instead. She said she had a great time, mostly because Elvis was singing. I agree - Elvis makes everything better.

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    We were hungry, and I know we ate at Flo's but for some reason, I have no photographic proof of that. At any rate, we had an Incredicoaster FP to make! (Pretend you don't know my real name, k? LOL)

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    This lineup was great too - and it's a real joining of movie and ride. As it should be too! Disney has enough money to give us an immersive experience and they sure came through on this one.

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    This wall tho! Just LOVE it!

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    (for some reason, this photo didn't show up in my PP in the app. I didn't realize until just now, but meh, this'll work)

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    The archway is so pretty.

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    And while we were in the neighbourhood....

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    We then headed to the end of the Pier and found the Winged Wall (I don't know the real name, so I'm calling it this) and took the obligatory photos.

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    I feel so trendy.

    Then we looked around and enjoyed the familia references. I would have stopped to make a butterfly in the remembrance booth, but I would have liked someone there who knew what to do to help me through it. I was really missing my father and I think it would have been nice to remember him in some way.

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    We came out the pier and headed toward Grizzly Flats for our Soarin' FP. I wanted to hit Racers once more, and our feet were already sore, but we persevered and went forth from the front of the park to the back and back again.

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    I'm about at my max for this post, so I'll continue in the next one!
     
  6. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Right! Grizzly Flats! And of course, we found a PP Photog (but no Goofy this time). It was around this time:

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    The Photographer was pretty innovative and I liked her ideas.

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    And everyone online is looking for these pins (top left), us included... so we found them! Right across the way. And I promptly bought a set. I kept 3, and gave the balloons to J. I love them.

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    Now, off for one more race! The posters change each season, and Halloween had some awesome ones. We saw them at Christmas and they were funny then too, so of course I had to get the ones for Halloween.

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    (Amok! Amok! Amok!)

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    One of the many things I love about this place is the attention to detail. Even the licence plates have 'car themed' name places. Just fab.

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    Can you hear the music? I can hear the music.

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    Tractor Tippin'. Hahahahahahah.

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    "Hippie"

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    The ride photo didn't link... but as we were in a red car, we won the race (red cars go faster, right?) and then we headed off to DLR. The decorations in Carsland were amazing and I was so impressed with them.

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    We popped into the Dress store for J and I went up to the Lego Store for my kids. By the time I got back, J had bought her Villains dress for that night's festivities and we headed to DLR for our ADR at Carnation Cafe. First, a trip to the lockers to put our stuff away and then blessed air-conditioning. The hostess took one look at my red face and told us to sit and wait for our table. It was a good thing we made an ADR because all the walk-ins were told they weren't taking walk-ins, only reservations. We were quickly shown to our seats (again, the hostess was amazing! I wish she was our server) and ordered our yummy food.

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    The shrimp salad was super yummy and it was exactly what I needed. I also used my Halloween cup for the cold ice water I received and kept that handy all afternoon.

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    After refreshing ourselves, we hit Tomorrowland for my favourite ride in the area!

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    According to the photos, we blew off BTMRR (my other absolute favourite), but ended up running over JarJar in Star Tours.

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    Follow me to the next post...
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  7. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    We made a Splash FP because... SPLASH!!

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    We decided we wanted to meet some characters, and the line up at Fantasy Faire was nearly invisible, so off we went! First up...

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    Then our hostess...

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    And finally...

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    I got autographs from all and had lovely conversations, as usual.

    We headed back out and I had to get some kind of photo with Flynn.

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    We waited in line for a PP Photog outside the castle.

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    I had a secret... I had NEVER ridden Dumbo!! We set off to change that immediately!

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    Then we decided to hit Casey because it was close and there was no line. We had a short wait and off we went!

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    We sat in the caboose.

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    The back view of the park is so cool.

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    We headed back over for another spin on Buzz, and we saw Pinocchio come out and start walking around! He was followed by a little boy, so he stopped and turned to him. We left before we saw what happened afterward, but it was pretty cool seeing him at all!

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    First Buzz...

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    And then Splash...

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    She's making it look like she's grabbing her ears, but her hand is covered. As is my face by buddy in front. I need to learn how to ride photo better.

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    And then time to get changed and off to the Halloween Party!

    We squelched across the park to the lockers and here I will leave you until tomorrow as it's late and I'm tired. I'll be back when I can to finish off the Party.

    Hope you're enjoying the report so far!
     
  8. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    We ducked into the bathroom behind Carnation Cafe to get changed. When we came out, the ground was soaking wet. We'd missed the first downpour of the evening. Spoiler - it wouldn't be the last.

    Our feet had swollen, not to mention J's left ankle had twisted sometime yesterday and was swollen up. We went to first aid to get a tensor bandage, but they couldn't give her one. I did get a couple of bandaids to help with my blisters on my right big toe joint, and J had a bit of a rest while I went off and did a couple rides, but we had things to do, so she didn't rest for long. We walked to the Main Street Station and I saw the Lilly Belle! I was pretty excited to ride in her tomorrow.

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    I got a few blurry photos of SW:GE scaffolding and spires on our way by.

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    We headed into ToonTown, but it was already dark (I must be missing some photos...) and we noted how the rain had moved things away or inside. We saw Daisy and Donald and hopped into one of the two lines formed by the City Hall. We were warned that by the time we got to the front we may be meeting Mickey and Minnie, and though J was disappointed (huge Daisy fan), I was okay with either group.

    We had a drink while in line and the rain was drizzling here and there, but nothing my light cloak couldn't handle. It was soon our turn to meet Zorro Mickey and Candy Corn Minnie. It was a lovely meet - I told Minnie how much my daughter loved candy corn and how much she loved her too.

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    We left Toon Town and headed toward the Hub, heading for the Princesses. Along the way we saw some lovely sights. Small World had a lovely overlay.

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    And the lights at the Teacups are always gorgeous at night.

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    The castle was gorgeous. My phone didn't have the flash turned on, but the photo turned out kinda cool. Then we noticed the overlays on the castle and had to take a few shots of that too.

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    As J had never seen the pumpkins at night, we stopped for those too!

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    We hit Fantasy Faire as the Princesses had moved indoors. The square was quite empty.

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    First we met Belle (who had her own PP Photographer).

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    Then Tiana, who did not! My wig kept slipping. Ugh.

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    Then Cinderella AND Aurora! Aurora is my all-time favourite and I had to show her my 3 Fairies Pandora charm in her honour (from my family trip in 2015). They had a photographer, thankfully. We got some really good photos out of the visit, but here are a couple of my faves.

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    We told Cinderella we were hoping to meet up with her step-family later. She suggest we ask them how the dancing was coming along. And then I got a sweet hug from her at the end of our visit.

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    Simply wonderful!

    Next up - we don't tan here - we rust!
     
  9. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    We were hungry now, so we hobbled over to the Stage Door for a bite. We waited to meet up with someone we'd met online from a different group, and when she arrived, we considered the Trick or Treat Trail through the Golden Horseshoe, or standing in line for Jack Sparrow, Hook, Wendy, Smee, Peter... but that line up was too long for them, so we joined in the back of the ToT line and went into the Golden Horseshoe. I'd never been in there, so this was pretty cool for me. Lots of spooky decorations as we got some candy.

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    We decided then to head over to Adventureland to meet Terk, Louie, and Baloo. All of whom I had wanted to meet and get autographs from for a long time. Well... one out of three ain't bad I suppose....

    Terk was lovely and her handler was very funny.

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    Then we waited just a few minutes with some other fans and got to meet Jane Porter! What a great surprise!

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    We had a great chat about how Tarzan doesn't meet the dress code and would probably send older ladies into the vapours should he show up in the Park.

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    Again, I wish someone had told me to pull down my wig a little.

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    I wanted to wait for Louie and Baloo, but J wanted to see villains in Town Square first. So off we went to the front of the Park.

    The rain started up and we ducked into the Emporium and bought a few things (tee shirts for my kids). I loved how even the upper parts above the cash stations were decorated for Halloween.

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    J was really upset there was no parade and no fireworks. When we were in the store, one of the CMs mentioned we should go to City Hall and complain. So we did. We waited in line for about 20 minutes and saw a really nice girl behind the counter. She was a little, "well what do you want?" They decided on maybe a one-day ticket. J wanted to know if she could give it to someone else (as we already had APs), so the girl went into the back to ask. While she was away, we heard the lady beside us ask for anytime FPs.... hey! There's an idea!

    Our girl came back and said the ticket was non-transferable. So then we asked for the anytime FPs. SURE! How's 5 each? Good for ONLY Saturday though. Well, ok! So we got them linked to our APs and left. J was still really disappointed, but honestly, how were we to know in JULY that that specific Party was going to be a dud? You pays your money and you takes your chances.

    We headed to the Opera House for their Trick or Treat Trail. My favourite part was the seating area. J told me to sit while she 'went and did some stuff'. I didn't argue - I sat down and it was heavenly. My feet had swollen up and the bandaid I had earlier wasn't doing much for me as my feet were also soaked. It wasn't cold, but it was very wet and I was very very tired. J ran off and I dozed a little waiting for her. After an hour I texted her and asked if she was coming back.

    Unbeknownst to me, she had run off to ride Buzz yet again. The ride had stopped for a long time and by the time she got off, she had reached a new personal best in her score. Then she went to Jolly Holiday to get a Cruella Brownie, and they gave her a raspberry mickey macaroon for free as the ear was broken. She came back to get me and we decided to head to the hotel. As we came outside, we looked to our right and saw the Tremaines!!

    Well, that energized us right up! We hopped into line and waited. Just before us, there were two little girls dressed as Anastasia and Drizella. The two big ones knelt beside the small ones, chatted a bit, and then Lady Tremaine got our attention to prepare us to applaud.

    The four of them (mostly the big pair) sang, "Sing Sweet Nightingale" at the top of their lungs and we dutifully applauded. It was awesome.

    Soon it was our turn. J showed off her skirt ("at least someone had the good taste to put us on fabric") and the sisters posed as their images on the skirt. My turn next...

    As you can see, I'd given up on that darn wig, and didn't really care at all. I remembered what Cinderella had said, so I asked, "A relation of yours asked me to ask you how the dancing was coming along..."

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    "Girls, let's show her, shall we?"

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    Before I knew it, the girls were stretching and warming up.

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    She did her twirls and then asked me to dance. I said, "Nope, not in this dress!" and we got ready for our photo. Then I mentioned to Lady Tremaine, "Oh, it was Cinderella who asked..." and then I got this look from her.

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    So fun. Then we found that Maleficent was appearing next. So we waited as she is my favourite. As I was the first in the line, I got the worst photos because the photographer forgot his flash!!

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    Needless to say, I was not happy when I saw that the next day.

    This is why I should never break my rule of ALWAYS having my phone take a backup photo.

    As we were waiting for Maleficent, we noticed Gaston heading into the Opera House. So, one more tour through the ToT Trail and near the end, we saw him hanging out at the ropes.

    By this time I was wet, tired, in extreme pain from my foot, and ... nervous to meet him! I was hoping he wouldn't turn me away, but instead of saying, "Hey, can we take a photo?" It turned into, "C'mere! Let's have a picture!" As you can see, he wasn't impressed.

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    And had I been less tired and soggy, I would have been more polite, but he did finally smile for me because I said, "Look, I"m not going to ask you to sign my autograph book because books are for Belle."

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    Then, when J said, "hey how about a selfie?"he replied, "At least someone asked."

    No one snarks like Gaston...

    So, that's was it for us. We'd had enough and I had to get up for a tour at 7:45. We made our slow way to the busses and back to the hotel. It was around 1am by the time we were in bed asleep. So much for leaving early. But tomorrow's another day...
     
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