Katherine's 11th Birthday Dapper Day trip with Club 33!!!

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by whoever, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. whoever

    whoever DIS Veteran

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    This is one of our semi-annual Dapper Day Trip Reports. It just happens to coincide with Katherine's 11th birthday.

    We started later than was ideal after a LONG night of packing. We loaded up and found that even though we drive the largest SUV on the market today, despite leaving out half the third row, that we still had it packed to the gills AND... I had the stroller on a hitch rack out back.

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    I think we tallied 14 bags on the way out. History has shown us that while we could have done without the hitch rack on the way out, coming back with souvenirs would be simply unsafe stuffing that much stuff in the vehicle without a means of securing it internally.

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    It closed with a few inches to spare and the Axiom was ready for boarding..

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    Katherine normally sits behind the passenger, Vic behind the driver, and Charlotte wayyy in back, but on this trip, Char decided to sit up front.

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    Vic was finally old enough to ditch the latch-system affixed car seat and go with just a booster and boy was she happy.

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    I got in, turned the key and just got a clicking from the starter... oh great... the kids had been playing in and out of the vehicle yesterday as well as having the doors open for a few hours’ time. I thought the Axiom did an auto-shut off if it noticed the battery being drained, but I guess not. A quick jump from the Jeep and we were ready to go... again...at 08:35

    A quick stop at McDonald's for a breakfast sandwich and coffee for me and a metric butt-load of hash browns for the kids and we were finally on the road. The good part about going west mid-morning from the city center is no traffic. We quickly kicked it up to cruising speed (80-ish) and made our way west.

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    Two hours and 8 minutes after pulling out of my driveway, we were sitting at the Flying J fuel station at the last exit in Arizona, were the COTUS is still honored and fuel is 25% less expensive than a mile down the road.

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    A 10-minute refuel and bathroom break later, the vehicle topped off with as much 91 octane as I could cram into her tank and fuel filler neck and we were back at it... officially in bat country where your fruit is scrutinized and you better watch out for the swarms of Prius which inhabit the roadways zipping along with their eerie whizzing sounds.

    The kids took to belting out their rendition of Moana hits..



    I was driven partially insane as a result.

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    Victoria was on the lookout for Disneyland... and bats... they are everywhere.

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    1:45 found us taking the Harbor exit from the 5, a quick turn onto Ball and we were almost there, but not before one of those aforementioned Prius cross a double yellow to zip around the traffic line and zoom in front of us. Had to coral those horses pushing my as-loaded 7500# beast in time to not flatten that go kart in my path.

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    A quick left, right, and left, and we cruised through the security gates of the Disneyland hotel at 1:50… we had arrived.

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  2. whoever

    whoever DIS Veteran

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    The Bell Services guys saw us coming from a mile away. They were very eager to attempt unloading our vehicle. The hitch rack was a bit of a pain because I had to unstrap the stroller first get it out of the bag, put the wheels and rear step on it, then loosen the hitch tightener to remove the rack, slide it under the vehicle while we unloaded the cargo area. After nearly 10 minutes, I had the rack in the back of the vehicle and it sufficiently unloaded and carted up.

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    I collected my valet and bell service tickets and headed into the hotel. Kids didn't really remember the lobby. Last time we stayed, we were whisked to our room for a check-in at the E-ticket lounge. This time... a looong wait. The Grand seems much more expedient with its check in from what I assume to simply be more staff.

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    While I was waiting, the kids enjoyed the tea cup chairs.

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    Upon saddling up to the check-in counter, I immediately requested a room in the Adventure tower. I was informed that they didn't have me there, but they would check. After enough checking and false-starts with rooms which hadn't been turned over yet, they found one which was ready, and apparently "larger" than what we were to be booked in. We've only ever had this size room, so I didn't realize there were smaller rooms in the towers. Needless to say, we made our way over and were in our room (2463 on the 6th floor) by 2:25.

    This is the configuration we've had previously... Two queens and a sleeper sofa. It works pretty well. I wish there was more desk space/stroller space (and seriously... no light in the closet was about the most annoying thing ever).

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    Charlotte pointing out to Victoria where we normally stay.

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    The view over to the Grand..

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    The girls promptly closed the drapes and hit the headboard lights...

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    We unpacked, freshened up, and Katherine and I changed clothes to something a little more appropriate for our dinner plans. Normally we would have just went into the park, but the DLH is a trek compared to the Grand so we will be a little over dressed for some park time.

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    We were out of the room and down to ground level by 3:15. One of the advantages of our room location was it was adjacent to the seldom-used elevator bank at the South end of the Adventure tower. It was like our own private elevator and we NEVER waited for a car our entire trip.

    Katherine has her moment of maturity... she did a fair amount of pushing Vic on this trip.

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    Charlotte only having had a hash brown or two this day and some snacks in the car was in melt-down mode. She received a carry from Amy and we bee-lined for the park to grab something to eat to get their blood sugar back in check.

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    Katherine, the stroller and Amy/Char made it through security LONG before I did. I got the one inexperienced young security guard who needed to check every nook and cranny vs. an experienced one which realized cursory examination was warranted and was a good amount of time getting through security...it took a bit to catch up to them.

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    They still had the pumpkins up from the Halloween decorations. I'm glad I took a few snaps on the way in because they would be gone by morning...

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    Katherine using her camouflage powers..

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  4. whoever

    whoever DIS Veteran

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    I do love coming in mid-day when there is zero wait at the turnstiles. We rolled up at 3:28 and promptly whipped out those paper tickets. I really should have pre-scanned them to the application, but the paper worked just fine. Victoria in her usual hamming it up was a hit with the ticket taker...

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    First trip under the arches this trip...

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    First stop... hands down pretty much the BEST meal for the price at the ENTIRE DLR...Plaza Inn

    Kid's meal for Char..

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    Everybody ate off of an adult's meal for the rest of us. Katherine and I were eating pretty light because we had a BIG meal coming up in a few hours..

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    The kids watched the parade while we ate, but a parade meant we had to wait to cross the hub between floats..

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    Where would we end up? This is my FIRST pic there with my new camera body... checking out my doubled low-light performance... Shooting my melty-welty-background-dissolving-bokeh-king the 85mm f/1.4...

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    I'm going to PRE-apologize for all the dark ride pics on this trip. I was breaking in my new body and learning my way around it so I was testing its limits.
     
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  5. momtohms

    momtohms Mouseketeer

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    Following along! I'm excited for another one of your trip reports and all your great pics! We were there just a couple of weeks before you guys :)
     
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  6. whoever

    whoever DIS Veteran

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    And here we go... FIRST attraction of the trip..(and one of our usual firsts)

    Hard shots in the bayou:

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    Pretty sure this is my BEST shot of the talking skull EVER.

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    I'm usually looking left by now, but I stayed the course and got a so-so shot of the Red Head.

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    My alignment was off for the teeth... or they moved the magnifier..

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    Some interesting items on the desk

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    Got Profile?

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    Now I SWEAR there used to be a park-supplied light saber in the barrel here... This picture CLEARLY shows (much like the Hope Donut) that if there ever was, there is no more...

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    Got fire on the water?

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    Probably a few of my best shots of these too...

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    Don't be CHEEKIN!!!

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    Wench sale... much ado about nothing. SO furious that Disney is caving to PC BULLCRAP and reimaging this scene. Is NOTHING sacred anymore?

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    Is that an Asian Pirate? I have NEVER noticed that before...

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    I need to make some replica props of this and sell a few for fans..

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    My best shot to date of this skeleton..

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    I was pretty impressed with the capture of this highly shadowed cannon.

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    The lift... very dangerous... you go first..

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    I honestly can't remember what was here before Jack Sparrow. Can you?

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    So this is interesting... Because of the NARROW depth of field shooting f/1.4 these eyes aren't all in the same plane. They are staggered as evidenced by some being in focus and some not. That's some good depth creating effects Disney. I'm impressed.

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  7. Jaina

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

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    Excited to follow along another trip report! Isn't it crazy how much more involved packing is with a bunch of kids? It's like each child exponentially increases the number of bags that seem necessary. We only have a Honda Odyssey (love the "Axiom," haha!) so you can imagine how exciting it was fitting everyone and everyone's stuff in on our last trip last year. Thankfully we borrowed a friends' double jogger once we got there, because if we had packed ours, something would have been on the roof, which my husband hates!
    Great pics on pirates! Those are so close and the color is great! I also love the sky in the one parade float shot you got!
    How old are all your girls?
     
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  8. whoever

    whoever DIS Veteran

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    This installment is a little lack-luster, but onward and upward...

    Surviving YET another Aztec cursed gold adventure, we made our way into Pieces of Eight. I paused for a bit to take a pic of K in front of the backdrop they put up for Jack and Sally. The back entrance to 21 Royal is in the background... I put myself out there for two seats for a dinner there on ANYBODY's Party who would have me, but with my uber expensive 40th coming up in March, I had to take those out. One of these days...

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    The girls wanted to go check out Pooh Corner... so off we went. A requisite ride through the Hundred Acre Wood was in order

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    I will NEVER get a good shot of these guys... I need to violate my "though shall not use a flash" rule and just snap one one of these days...

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    Now this is something I've NEVER noticed before... a still.. in Disneyland.

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    Be careful... even the log birdhouses have electronic eyes...

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    Everything was decorated for the holidays.

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    I honestly don't think I've EVER had this Vista of Chickapin Hill. Amy even asked "where is that" when she looked over my shoulder.

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    I love the nods to Disneyland History. I wonder how many never notice and even if they did, don't get it.

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    We got in line to see Tigger... he left, but not before Vic gave him a high-five and nearly tackled him from the rear much to the horror of his handler.

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    They are like Russian Stacking Dolls.

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    With Tigger gone we got Eeyore instead.

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  9. whoever

    whoever DIS Veteran

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    It is flat out RIDICULOUS.

    Yeah, roof racks suck. They are NOISY, create HUGE wind resistance sucking down power at speed and fuel economy. Hitch racks are a much superior solution IMHO.

    Was really trying this trip. I hope the upcoming pics aren't a let-down.

    Shooting into the sun behind an overcast sky is always tricky. Give some interesting White Balance challenges.

    5, 8, 11 this trip.
     
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  10. Jaina

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

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    Those shots are so cute of your girls! And I love all the detail! I'm hopefully planning a kid-free day with my husband sometime soon where I can enjoy (and just even see) some of those awesome details! I love the caramel-apple-ish decorations. Or are they honey-decked? :)
     
  11. whoever

    whoever DIS Veteran

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    We've done two kid-free trips, one to Disneyland, the other for a Bob Gurr Tour. Both were AMAZING. So much different of an experience.

    I'm definitely in your camp... they must be honey apples in Critter Country.
     
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  12. McNs

    McNs DIS Veteran

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    I've been looking forward to this TR! Can't believe how much Katherine has grown since last year's TR - my 11yo daughter has done the same and it is starting to head in to the terror zone for me...

    No sympathy for the car packing. You want to try a 3 week Double Disney trip limited to 1 suitcase and 1 carry on each...

    Loving the photos! Wow that shot where you have gone max aperture on Katherine's face got some serious bokeh going on - really shallow depth of field! I splashed out on a compact enthusiast camera for our recent trip - Canon G7X with a 1" sensor. Now it is nothing at all like your gear but made such a difference over an iPhone or the previous pns especially in low light. I was having to practice my elbow's locked, keep it steady slow shutter skills to help keep ISO manageable, but was really pleased with the results I got. In saying all that, something like Pirates was too much for it, as I couldn't use the slow shutter for that. I do like the fact it almost fits in a pocket and only cost around $700...

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    It was a lot of fun starting to play with the exposure triangle!
    Blur_Dumbo.jpg Looking forward to the rest of the report!
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2017
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  13. whoever

    whoever DIS Veteran

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    Our kids bring entirely too much junk with them.

    I LOVE the razor thin (probably 1/2" in this case) DOF.

    For some reason your pics aren't showing for me. I've often thought how nice it would be to not have 10# of glass on my back and another 4-5# of glass/body hanging off my back, but then I look at my phone or P&S pics and think how horrible they look if the lighting isn't just perfect and lament that I'll always have full-size gear. Even as mirrorless cameras get smaller, the glass isn't changing.
     
  14. McNs

    McNs DIS Veteran

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    Think I've fixed the photos.

    Having never gone down the serious gear route, I remain blissfully unaware of what I might be able to achieve when taking a photo:-). I am a little worried now I know there is an exposure triangle to play with that I might need to take the big plunge. Happy for now though:-):-)
     
  15. minnieralyks

    minnieralyks Mysteries & Magic, Visions Fantastic

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    Great pics and details like always!

    I took a whole bunch of pictures and wrote a bunch of stuff down on our last trip (Sep-Oct) to try my hand at a mini-trip report. Sadly, it ain't happening. My time lately seems to get sucked into school/family/work (more so school than anything) , but at least I get to enjoy great TRs on here while I plan the next trip :p
     
  16. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

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    Since my first Disney trip days, my favorite part of planning has always been reading trip reports. I've read most of yours and was pretty darn thrilled today when I did my usual Sunday afternoon cruise through the trip report board to see you'd started a new one. Your photography is pure eye candy. Loving reading this and looking forward to more!
     
  17. whoever

    whoever DIS Veteran

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    Our fastpass window for Mansion had opened up, so here it is... our first trip on the Haunted Mansion Holiday of 2017. I'm a bit disappointed in the pics quite frankly. The lighting felt much darker this time vs. previous times and I didn't swap lens accordingly. Also a bit irritated at the high sensor noise in the shots. Maybe this body isn't what it is cracked up to be.

    I always love the foyer.

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    I need to get myself some casts of these skulls. They come up all the time I've just never grabbed any.

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    Not sure if I like closed-mouth Jack

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    Or open-mouth Jack

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    I took a good look at the paintings this time. The canvas texture is actually a practical effect, not digital. That's a cool feature.

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    While the background works GREAT for HMH, the normal version of the loading queue needs a serious makeover. You come down the hallway, turn right, and you get a few candelabras, a few pots, and a bunch of cobwebs on an otherwise un-themed space. How it has gone this long is beyond me.

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    This suit of armor is my prime nemesis. It is my Cat on a barrel from Pirates. Shrouded entirely in darkness, unable to appreciate the details... one of these days I'll figure out the magic formula and get a good capture.

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    And here's all the details we don't get to see:

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    This is going to sound a bit over critical, but would it be too much to smooth the cast lines on the bones? I expect more out of Disney.

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    Man-eating plants... very dangerous.

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    This one of the transom which is horribly underexposed is just so I can compare it to my transom I have at my house..

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    Hiding behind Lumiere and some baby pictures of Katherine is my very own transom metalwork..

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    I'm pleased to say the gingerbread and pumpkin spice was in full effect. We even found a candle recently which smells EXACTLY like it. My first shot of the gingerbread house... how did I do this without the ironwork blocking my shot I wonder.

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    Dancing right through the presents as though they weren't even there..

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  18. momtohms

    momtohms Mouseketeer

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    Your HM pics turned out great, your camera definitely handles sensor noise better than my Canon 5D Mark 2 (I have to crank up the noise reduction in post, and its a fine line between still a bit grainy and plastic doll fake) - but I definitely get the frustration. You did a great job putting your girls baby pics in that pic with Lumiere :)

    Now I'm going to need to know what brand of candle you found! I love that smell!
     
  19. whoever

    whoever DIS Veteran

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    Hat Box was looking great as ever. One of the real plusses of the past decade for sure.

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    And who's hat do I spy to the left of Hat Box, but Oogie Boogie's.

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    Jack and Zero just doing their thing.

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    I tried to see what Sally had in her basket. Didn't turn out nearly as well as I had hoped, but this is the first time I noticed the wrap on the handle.

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    Sally looking longingly at Jack

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    Not sure which I like better, un-lit jack-o-lanterns

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    Or lit.

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    And this guy is just waiting to jump up and scary me.

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    Oogie looking great and spinning the wheel of doom..

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    Jack calling in all the lost souls...

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    Love the trees... really makes you feel like you are in Nawlans'

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    Charlotte figured out yet another way to ride on the stroller.. This makes 3 she's mastered with another occupant.

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    Some Churros for dessert for the younger girls and Amy. Katherine and I had a reservation to keep...

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  20. whoever

    whoever DIS Veteran

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    I'm pretty disappointed in the first past through the HM with my 2.8 glass actually. To my eye, the sensor noise is still unacceptable even in post (takes away the clarity). Better than my old D600, but still some hard shots with any decent shutter speed due to the darkness.
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    Once you own it, it's great. Purchasing all that glass is no fun and given that there's no one-size fits all lens (the 24-70 f/2.8 is about as close as it comes), you have to carry several.

    I know the feeling. With 3 kids in activities, it's all I can do to get through a weekend with clean clothes to wear for the next week. Home projects and trip reports have fallen to practically nil.

    Glad to hear and thank you. I just love writing and looking at the pics. Takes me back to the moment. Helps my memory to re-read them all..
     
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  21. whoever

    whoever DIS Veteran

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    With 17 minutes to go before our reservation, we headed over to do some quick shopping at Le Bat en Rouge. Amy was eyeing up all the dresses and the Tiki Room Handbag and Katherine found her teacup barrette she had been looking for. Dapper Day accessory secured and some mental notes of stuff to get when Amy wasn't looking and it was now 6:27 and time for Katherine and I to part ways with the rest of the family.

    A few final parting shots..

    The old entrance to the Court des Anges

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    And the current entrance

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    Will Katherine be able to do it two years in a row?

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    Success!! We were promptly whisked in taken into the court. We were offered some of the Cranberry Orange Spice drink and an offer of a pic on the stairs was extended.

    The drink was quite refreshing and a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the park.

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    With the usual 5-10 minutes to spare before we would be called up, I grabbed some pics of the Court. Oh how I wish I had taken some long exposures here.

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