TR With Photos! A Very Magical Minnie Christmas 2017

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by Canadian Harmony, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    December 27th! Today was our Autry Museum day and I was hoping to get to the Observatory too. I had surprised the family by making reservations at Medieval Times for the 2:30 show. I had considered the 4:30 show, but I didn't want to incur late charges on returning the car, and I'm glad I made the earlier show as construction on the I5 was going full bore.

    First though - money! We needed some cash to see us through to the end of the trip and it was payday for me. I drove up S Harbour and found a Bank of America ATM which didn't let me take a cent! Huh. I drove across the street to Wells Fargo. They allowed me to take what I wanted and we were set to go. I plugged our destination in to the Google Map app and off we went!

    Across from the entrance of the LA Zoo is the Autry Museum. Created by Gene Autry and his family, it's a celebration of southwestern culture. We were very interested in exploring this museum. Partly because the kids need culture, and partly because DH was good enough to indulge my DLR dreams, the least I could do was include something OTHER than Disney (although, it's hard to escape, as you'll see presently).

    We got there around 11, and we were surprised that there wasn't too many people there. We got a great parking spot and before we even went in, there was a gorgeous bronze statue. I knew what it was before I saw the plaque. Then I had to explain to the kids. Can you guess what it symbolizes?

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    Yes! The Pony Express! I'm a horse girl, so I always admired things regarding horses. In fact, most cities around the world should have at least one statue dedicated to the horse, as without them, we'd have no roads as we know them (they're the width they are based on two horses pulling a Roman chariot), railroads (the track widths are for the same reason), agriculture, clearing of land, etc etc etc. Looking back, today was a great day for me too because there were A LOT of horses involved in my day. YAY!

    Sorry for the sideways.

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    Oh, and the whole "Do Not Touch"... no one paid attention to that. There was a little kid running around climbing on the statues, definitely 'touching' them, and his parents seemed completely unconcerned and/or oblivious. It's my 'thing' when I obey the rules and ensure my kids do too, but there are others who have decided the signs don't apply to them. I have to breathe and talk myself off the annoyance level ledge. But again, my baggage, no one else's. Sooooo...

    There was a lovely statue going into the courtyard too.

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    We went into the courtyard and decided we were hungry first. So, we'd eat then go explore. The menu was pretty good - burgers and sandwiches mostly. I ordered a burger for DD11 but I forgot to take off the black bean sauce which TOTALLY ruined her meal :sad2:. I scraped off the best I could and she eventually ate it. She loves cream soda, and this place had one. It sure didn't look like the cream soda she gets at home, but she said it tasted good. I had to try a Sarsparilla. It's like Root Beer, but not quite as strong as A&W's is. Not bad, but I wouldn't have another one anytime soon.

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    This is the first and ONLY place that doesn't upcharge for yam fries! YAY!

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    Sufficiently fortified, we headed into the courtyard proper. There was a nice surprise for us Canadians on one wall.

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    Why Canadian? Well, "America’s Sweetheart" is actually Canadian! See, here!

    And another beautiful sculpture in the middle.

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    This was an amazing sculpture. The detail, right down to the hair on the horse.... just incredible.

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    Actually, two. Two amazing sculptures.

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    After being suitably amazed, we went inside to pay. They give a US military discount, but not a Canadian Military discount. The guy explained it as his boss's decision. I smiled and said something snarky about choosing who we'll defend in the next war, and he felt suitably ashamed that he gave me the AAA/CAA discount (even though I was honest and said we weren't members). So that was nice. I honestly don't understand the differentiation between US and Canadian military discounts. I mean, if the store doesn't give one to anyone, that's understandable, but allies should be able to get the same discount in the foreign country. I got discounts up the wazoo in Australia...

    ANYWAY, there were rooms off the main area, and the first one was the Play Exhibit which was leaving at the end of the month. The history of play and toys was very interesting. There was a big area where kids could play and lots of exhibits describing native toys, and then more mid-century stuff. Some highlights.

    Hopi "Mickey Mouse" Gourd Rattle circa 1991

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    Very cool 'tree' and behind it a small cave for playing.

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    Well! Wouldja look at that!?

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    More amazing statues in the hallways

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    There was a photo exhibit regarding the Chicano uprising in the '70's but no photos were allowed. We wandered into the actual art GALLERY part. It has native designs from all over the place. I was pleasantly surprised to see some of our local works included.

    A welcome pole

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    A bead blanket

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    A Raven Transformation Mask and a Glass Rattle

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    A Bent Box. These were traditionally made out of a slab of cedar, and heated to bend the corners and top, then carved. It was quite the feat of engineering.

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    A Tiffany Punch Bowl. Not from our part of Canada of course. I just loved the detail in the silver.

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    And some gorgeous Remington statuettes.

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    There were some amazing paintings, sculptures, a saddle or two, an Indian motorbike, and so much more. It was incredible. Then we went into the 'cowboy' section. The kids were bored mindless by this time, so they went back to the play exhibit where there were video games (DD11) and little kids to play with (DD13). Some highlights from this section:

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    I got to pretend I was in a western movie:

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    So did DH. More in the next bit.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018 at 12:43 PM
  2. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
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    There were other cowboys highlighted too.

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    Some sang....

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    And the most incredible saddle (poor horse who would have carried it).

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    One more pretty statue and then we had to leave... after checking out the gift shop, of course. It was a great one, with cool stuff and affordable (and not so affordable) things all throughout. I picked up a little pencil case/wallet for my sister. It had an owl on it, she likes owls, and I needed a Christmas present for her. DD11 is into crystals and rocks, so she got 6 for $3 and off we went.

    I plugged MT into the Google Map and DH was great in not giving away the destination. We made it to Buena Vista and I was surprised at the area, having never been there. The girls and I oooohed over Knott's large roller coaster we could see from the road, and DD11 had stars in her eyes to ride that! I asked DD13 if she could figure out where we were going. She guessed the Pirates first because it was the first one she saw, but when I said no, she squealed, "THE CASTLE!!" Her class is learning about the Middle Ages and such right now, so she was pretty excited.

    We found a decent parking spot as we were there around 1:30, and we headed in. I took my email tickets to the booth and asked about the VIP upgrade. I had purchased through our military discount program, but it doesn't offer the VIP upgrade like the US Military one does. I had tried for the US Military tickets, but their payment system isn't set up for Canadian credit cards (it's the military, what can I say?), so I explained to the ticket lady that we'd like VIP seating. Turns out it was only an extra $6 to upgrade us ALL to the VIP seats! YES PLEASE!

    What do you get? Well, first you get these cool lanyards and passes:

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    Then you get seated within the first 3 rows, and a souvie towel. YAY! We went in and were given red crowns, meaning we were cheering for the Red Knight. Next stop - photos! Did we want free ones with Royalty or pay $20 for a special one? I splurged - $20 with a dragon in the background. Ha. Then drinks.... I ordered a Malibu with mango slushie in a special goblet. DH ordered an Executioner in a special goblet (his was gold, mine was blue), and DD11 ordered a blue & red slushie mix in a purple goblet. DD13 thought we were nuts and just got a blue slushie in a regular plastic cup.

    We did a bit of browsing, and watched a lady get knighted for her birthday.

    Those drinks tasted like another, so we did, then headed in through the doors when called to do so. Our row was the third one up from the floor, right on the ends. At our place was our menu:

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    my goblet,

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    the towel draped across the back of our seats, the place mat, and a little plastic banner to wave around. We'd done something like this in Australia but it was cool to see it here. Each section was divided by colour - Red, Green, Yellow & Black, Yellow & Red, Black & White, and Blue. We were to cheer madly for our own knight in all his events.

    The king and his daughter were up in the top once the knights were announced by the herald.

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    On his Friesian.

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    All the horses were beautiful. Our knight was pretty great.

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    The king and his daughter arrived up top and then we could start!

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    First were some horses doing their stuff. I've seen the Lipizzaner horses from Vienna, and these were nowhere close to that calibre, but they were very good and well turned out.

    Not a Lipizzaner.

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    Here's a bit of info about the breed:

    ANWAY, the horses here aren't from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna but ARE Lipizzaner. Here's the best photo I could get of a Capriole, part of the Airs Above The Ground they're trained to do. This one kicks front and rear at the same time.

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    In war time, they would do this with an officer on their backs, kicking at the enemy both front and back. I find them amazing and it just blows my mind what they do.

    Next up was a falconer to show off his mad skillz.

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    Soup ('dragon's blood') was first. Yummy bread too. I had to show the kids they could pick up the bowl and drink from it directly as there's no cutlery. YAY!

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    Then some show of skills from the knights - spear throwing, taking a ring off a line, stuff like that. Our knight did really well. After each event, the princess would drop down flowers to the knights and they would throw them into the audience. We didn't get one, dang it.

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    They also said aloud the names of people celebrating stuff, and what the special occasion was. There was a quincenera, a wedding anniversary, a few birthdays from kids and adults, a stagette, and even a 'good grades' in the mix.

    They had a joust too and if the lance broke, they would still keep going until a winner was crowned (the green knight won this round). As these are real lances hitting real shields, they lower a net to stop wood bits from hitting the paying customers.

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    There were a few controlled falls from the horses, but meh, it's all in fun. The main course was 'baby dragon' (chicken, so not far off, really, ha). Dessert was lemon pound cake. And by this time, I was stuffed full! Water, coffee, tea, and pop was free and poured by our server a lot.

    They introduced a bad guy who said his king had sent a present. It was a guy doing dressage on a pretty Andalusian.

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    The bad guy said the king wanted the princess's hand in marriage, blah blah. So instead, the tournament champion met the bad guy in combat. After some back and forth, the Blue Knight won, of course. I won't give away the surprise ending, but it was funny and I got to see more horses before we were informed the show was over by the lights coming up and the horses and knights riding off. Tip wasn't included in the price, so I left our serving 'wench' some cash and we went to the gift area.

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    There were two areas - one when you first come in and another further back near the washrooms. They were like centre kiosks in the back with different types of crowns and veils, swords, etc. There was a 'real' armoury where you could buy all types of bladed weapons including katanas and battle axes (!?). There was a table with some t-shirts and some hanging up. There was ONE left of a long-sleeve tee that caught my eye. It has a crown on it and says, "All Hail the Queen". I bought the girls each a crown (same kind but different colours) and that shirt for me, even though it's one size smaller than I'd like. We had a great time and I'd suggest it to anyone who likes that kind of thing.

    Behind the gift things were the windows into some stalls. We mostly saw horses' butts, a couple dozing horses (so sound-proof windows for sure), and two falcons. Very cool to see them after the show.

    It was about 4pm, so we got back in the Soul and headed back. We dropped it off and only paid a whopping $63! The gas tank only cost me $33 to fill up too - awesome mileage! We walked down Katella and popped into CVS and got DD13 a bathing suit. We walked up to the hotel and we all headed for the pool. I sat in the hot tub and it was heavenly. We met a family while in the pool and DD11 immediately made friends with both the girls. We were alone for about 20 minutes before the loud group of kids and 'adult' came back. We lasted about 5.3 seconds before leaving.

    Besides, it was MM tomorrow and we needed an early night for an early start!

    Total amount walked today: 4,933 steps or 3.6km. A small day.
     
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  4. minnieralyks

    minnieralyks Mysteries & Magic, Visions Fantastic

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    Ha I totally read that section in your report wrong! I thought you were talking about the parking fee, but you said valet! Don't mind me, just having a brain fart! lol :p
     
  5. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    Nope, you’re right. Valet parking or park your own at the hotel - either was $12/day. We only paid for it one night and I figured since they were available 24/7, why not?! I was writing in short hand again, sorry.
     
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  6. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
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    Thursday the 28th. We'd heard the night before in the hot tub, that DLR had a bit of a power outage. My Facebook feed was full of the info, and a few of my friends asked me if we'd been involved. Fortunately, we were no where in the vicinity, so yay us! Christmas magic? Maybeeee....

    Today I wanted to use our Magic Morning. My original plan had been to do this on Saturday, but due to the exchange rate not treating us well, I had to give up my dreams of getting an AP this time around, so I was able to use the MM later in the week. I had asked the family to be ready to leave the hotel at 6:30 at the latest. They were all ready by 6:15!

    We got to the gates and they were empty. YAY!

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    So now, I was unsure if these gates would be open or not, so being a herd animal I headed to the far right set of gates and got in line behind a family already there. Turns out, they were the family from the hot tub and pool! My kids were pretty happy meeting up with their kids and we had a great conversation about Disney, the fires, traveling, kids... lots of stuff! It was a great way to get the 30 minutes to pass by quickly.

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    Just before 7am, I had DH turn around and see the lines behind us.

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    Good timing on our account.

    We were in!! Not FIRST in, but close enough for government work, as we say. First up, of course, Peter Pan. The kids and DH hadn't ridden it yet, so we walked through the 5 minute line up and hopped on for a ride to Neverland.

    I'm comin' for you next, Jingles!

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    This time, I didn't take photos of the ride itself as my camera would not have done it justice and I wanted to just enjoy the ride with DD13. She loved it and even DH could understand the draw.

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    We went over to the carrousel. NO one was anywhere near us. We were the only family on the ride, and the CM gave us a private ride. FINALLY, I rode the prettiest horse in the park.

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    The girls wanted to ride Mr. Toad next. I told them the ride wouldn't make sense, but they didn't care.

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    The girls liked the ride, especially DD13 for some reason. Next up, Alice, as the lines were always super long all week, and I wanted them to experience this ride too. There was already a 10 minute wait, and it wasn't even 7:30!

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    In fact, it was 7:24, and I made my Big Thunder MP because... Big Thunder.

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    DD13 loved this ride too. She fell in love with Cheshire cat and got a pin for herself after the ride.

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    Around this time, we heard from DD11 that her sandals were hurting her feet. They're more for beaches than walking on cobblestones anyway, so we started hunting around for better footwear for her. Nothing found in FantasyLand. Just cute decorations in the stores.

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    We had breakfast with Minnie at 8:40, so I hoped we'd be out in time for our ride on BTMRR. But before then, we had a bit of time to kill.... what to do, what to do? DD11 asked for Space Mountain. DD13 and DH were definite "NO!"s on that, so DD11 and I stood in line for 20 minutes for Space Mountain.

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    The last time we rode, it was the Ghost Galaxy overlay which I'm not too crazy about. This was okay, but I'm not especially fond of twisty-turny rollercoasters in the dark with epilepsy-inducing strobe lights flashing at me. Call me crazy.

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    Now this is where I get a little cranky. DD11 and I are behind two grown men. Can you see DD11? Neither can we. And because Grown Man in front of me is, for some unfathomable reason, holding his water bottle like it's an Oscar, my face is in shadow too. Thanks guys. And thanks to the CM loading little people behind larger people. That worked out great.

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    Aaaanyway, we ended up having still MORE time to kill. DH and DD13 were waiting for us outside (no luck with footwear in Tomorrowland), so we all decided to go onto Buzz as it was only a 10 minute wait. Not even, really. And we were 'chosen'! My first red ride ticket! That look from DH is, "Why is she so excited about a stupid time ticket?"

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    It's because there's a FB page I belong to which gives people a free button if they are 'chosen' on a ride and upload a photo. And it's kinda cool too.

    Top shot out of our group again.

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    FINALLY it was close enough to 8:40 to not make a difference. The spur-of-the-moment couple in front of us was lucky enough to get a spot on the patio. As did we with our reservation. First up, photos with Minnie!

    With my phone:

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    The PP camera:

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    We went inside, paid, DH took a button, and out we went to the patio. The view wasn't bad.

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    DD11 and DH went in for breakfast first. Not one character came by while DD13 and I waited. They were back in about 5-8 minutes. Then it was our turn to go eat. I ended up in the omelette line based on the good experience from Storyteller's. Yeah, not the same experience. Suddenly, it was like everyone was moving at 1/4 speed. It took over 10 minutes for me to get to the front, order, and receive my omelette.

    Then, over in the 'regular' line, it moved even slower! DD13 had already left - she got her food in the 'regular' line and booked it back outside. I waited, no lie, another 10-15 minutes for sausages and bacon. People in line were ordering 2-3 plates at a time because the server behind the line was NOT in a hurry at.all. People would order eggs, bacon sausage, a biscuit. But the gravy on the side. Can I have more gravy? Oh, I want another plate too, I forgot. And I need.... Yup. I was inside for about 20-25 minutes. Getting fruit was a lost cause because people from both ends were just grabbing as much as they could so they could eat in line while waiting for their food. And all the while, the server was as slow as molasses in December - in Winnipeg. So much for getting to BTMRR by 9:40.

    MEANWHILE, DD11 and 13 and DH were meeting all kinds of characters:

    First up, Max.

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    Then Rafiki (I would have freaked! I love him!)
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    I finally came out and my first character was Tigger! He came by, banged the table to make us 'hurry up' with the autograph books.

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    I gave up the MP for BTMRR and got another one for later.

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    Then Hook came by for signatures and photos. He was hilarious.

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    Then Chip came by and tried to abscond with DD11's autograph book. We had to tell him he wasn't allowed to do that. Silly 'munk!

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    Then it was Dale's turn to pop over.

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    We waited another 10 minutes or so, hoping Peter Pan would come out, as we saw him inside, but he didn't, so we left. The PP seller came around and wanted a bunch of money for the photo. I said we have PP, showed my code, and we got the photos added to our account. Best money spent. Ever.

    On the way to Frontierland, I wanted photos at the Partners' statue. Family was kind enough to acquiesce and we stood in line. It moved quickly though, as there were two photogs on either side, so two lines, minimal waiting. But waiting was had.

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    Next batch, next post.
     
  7. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    I got a quick pic before our turn. I didn't butt in front of anyone, and no one said anything to me. That ws a different story when we were getting placed and some tourists came in and stood in front to get their photo. The people waiting their turn said, "Hey! There's a line up here! You can't do that! You need to wait your turn." These tourists completely ignored that, but they did move along pretty quickly. I think if you want just a quick photo of the statue, there's no problem, but if you want the photo with you IN it, then yeah, wait your turn like you can obviously see everyone else doing.

    BUT, here's my photo I took.

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    Photo with my camera (phone):

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    That's my "All Hail the Queen" t-shirt from the day before. Love it.

    This is the PP's shot.

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    And then two magic shots too!

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    Sidebar - we gave DD13 some money to replace her lost gift card. That money, and DD11's extra money, were both in DH's wallet and they would have to ask him for funds before spending. YAY!

    Ok, back to the trip. We were making our way to Frontierland, and I loved their ideas for decorations. Perhaps getting ideas for my place! This would look great on our lampstand outside our front door.

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    We even saw a dove come down for a drink!

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    We had a bit of time to waste before the MP would kick in, so we went into the Mercantile shop. DH found DD11 a pair of Minnie Mouse shoes and some socks! She was MUCH happier out of the sandals.

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    I bought a cute Minnie Mouse long-sleeved shirt. It was a pink/burgundy mix and really cute. The hanger said it was an XL. The hanger lied. More on that later. I then took the kids over to the pressed penny machine and they pressed some pennies. They really liked the whole idea and would try to find as many machines over the next couple days as they could. Before our BT ride, it was bathroom time. I loved all the decorations in Zocalo.

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    Well! Wouldja look at that? I can make another MP... where to go, where to go? I know!!

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    Meanwhile, in the BTMRR fast pass line, even the lizards were enjoying the day.

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    Our ride arrived!

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    DH waited for us at the end of the ride. The girls sat together in front of me.

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    I love this ride so much!

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    How's SWL/GE coming along today?

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    OMG OMG OMG I can't wait!

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    DD13 thinks the goat is the one who blows everything up at the end.

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    He looks pretty crafty, so I wouldn't doubt it.

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    I had wanted to meet Flynn Ryder for three years now, and we'd have a chance if we moved a little fast over to Fantasy Faire. Jasmine and Aladdin were just finishing up (I thought it was weird too), and the Flynn line had already formed. We were behind two little girls who were in amazing costumes, made by their mother. One was Mother Gothel and the other was Rapunzel. They had wigs and flowers and cloaks too and looked amazing! We were third in line and finally got to meet Flynn and Rapunzel together!

    Flynn's page I drew for him has his satchel, a frying pan, and an angry looking Maximus. He loved the page and told us how Maximus once ate all the apples in Disneyland. I left it to my DH to take our photo. My mistake. He doesn't know how to get my phone to focus and get the right levels (hint: touch the centre of the screen and wait a second). So this was the best I could do after playing with some levels in the editing process.

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    Guess I'll have to do this AGAIN when I go back. Oh. Darn.

    The next priority was Tom Sawyer's Island. The line up wasn't too horrible - 10 minutes maybe. Made slightly longer by a family just waltzing onto the raft when the rest of us had been waiting, but whatevs, right?

    The raft didn't work, so we disembarked, then waited for 2 minutes while the CMs brought in the other one. A few families left thinking they couldn't get another ride, but the majority of us stuck around and we got back on. Soon, we were on the Island.

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    Will Turner's blacksmith shop!

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    The kids took off and we ended up going the wrong way through the Pirate's Lair. I was snapping what photos I could and heard my DH laughing his head off. I came around the corner and he said, "DD11 was rubbed the gold bar and got scared. Go ahead, do it!"

    So I did and this happened:

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    "Hey! Take your hands off my gold! I have my eyes on you!"

    DH laughed, "That wasn't it. Do it again. It scared the daylights out of her!"

    So I did. And this happened:

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    He popped up, growled something, and disappeared again. So funny!

    The kids ran off and DH and I wandered around then sat. I saw I some construction going on:

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    DH wanted to catch a parade, and it was also a priority for DD13, so we finally got everyone together to catch the raft back in order to get a good seat near Small World. On the way, I made a MP selection because DD11 wanted a ride down Splash. She had wanted Matterhorn in the morning too so she could have done all the mountains, but the line up was WAY too long and no one wanted to ride it with her. So we settled for a wet ride.

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    We found a decent space near the back of Small World to camp out. I went over to get a treat... cash only... back to DH for some cash.... back to the cart and FINALLY got my FIRST (yes, you read that right!) Mickey Ice Cream bar

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    More pretty decorations while we waited.

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    After waiting about 45 minutes or so, the parade started! I took scads of photos, so I'll start the parade ones in the next post.
     
  8. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
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    This ballerina started off the show. She was on pointe the majority of the parade! Her ankles must have been killing her by the end of the parade!

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    Now, we had just settled in, when some large guy came out of nowhere and plonked himself between me, DD13, and the little boy beside her. I guess waiting for a decent seat is for suckers? DD and I were sitting on the rail, DD11 and DH on my right were sitting on the concrete one level lower, and this guy was on the lowest step, just up from the ground. NO ONE stood up in front of us... except one little boy as a float went by so his mum could get a photo, but he stood up directly in front of the late guy who was video taping at the time. Karma dude. Karma.

    Toy soldier band was next. I was amazed by their ability to still play even with probably not being able to see well, AND having to march in those super hot and awkward costumes!

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    And these guys could PLAY! They were incredible!

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    Next, some elves came by and danced for us.

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    And the gang showed up with their North Pole float. TONS to look at on this float.

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    There were floats in the shape of books interspersed between acts or other floats. It was really cute.

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    Then some skiers. This was at 1:30. They must have been sweltering!

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    The books were propped up with other books. SUPER cute!

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    It was 25 degrees Celsius (about 80 Fahrenheit). Hard to think 'winter wonderland'

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    This had Clarabelle dancing with chefs and Gingerbread Men. SO cute!

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    The dawgs got into the spirit too!

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    Lady Tremaine and her two girls even danced by. They were AWESOME! The redhead especially was funny.

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    Then we were invited to an Enchanted Christmas Ball.

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    First up - Snow and her Charming. (I would LOVE To see the new characters from Once Upon A Time in one of these parades!)

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    The float had Tiana and Naveen, Aurora and Phillip, and Cinderella and the Prince on board.

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    With the Beast and Belle on the back.

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    And dancing up the rear was Ariel and Eric.

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    Next bit, next post.
     
  9. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,174
    Parade, continued.

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    I don't know why the attention to detail still surprises me, but it does.

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    The big guy!

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    This was the temp that day - AWESOME!!

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    It was now time to get a new FP... BTMRR at night! The kids will LOVE this!

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    But first - the Tiki Room by request of said kids. The line up for Dole Whip on BOTH sides was too long, so I had to do without this time around. Sad panda. :sad:

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    The drums and masks and birds all worked, but some flowers on one side didn't. It was weird and I was surprised the staff hadn't picked up on it, but I guess if no one mentions it, they can't fix it.

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    Now I want to go to Aulani!

    HEY! It's time for our FP to Indy! YAY! DD11 and I headed off while DD13 and DH did the Tarzan Tree House.

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    Had we seen any, we would have. I grossed out DD11 by explaining what guano was.

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    Naturally we did. Ha.

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    Did that too.

    And we TOTALLY did this!

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    I love everything about this ride too. The themeing, the details, the cool factor... and the ride is pretty fun.

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    After successfully avoiding a giant boulder, we headed to Critter Country to be ready for our Splash FP. The family hadn't done Winnie The Pooh yet, so off we went on what DH considers the scariest ride in the park.

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    We were maybe three minutes early, but the CM taught me a cool trick. If your MP time has hit but your app with the return time part won't let you scan in, you can go to the main page, use your TICKET bar code, and scan in that way! Aweeeeeesome!

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    DH decided he didn't want to get wet, so it was just me and the two girls on the ride together.

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    Slidin' to the next post...
     
  10. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,174
    The fun before the screamin'...

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    Where the train goes through. I can't remember if it did before or not. If not, it's a great addition.

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    DD11 is so casual. DD13 and I are screaming with delight, DD11... meh... LOL. She loves this ride.

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    Now we were a little hungry. We went to NOS and I thought about the Blue Bayou as a treat. We checked out the menu and the kids were 'nu-uh'! DH had asked about the restaurant we ate at last time - French Market. I said, why not check out Café Orleans? They had a lineup but we were asked if we wanted to get a text? Could be 10 minutes... could be 30....? DH said sure, and the kids and he sat on a bench right across from the entrance, while I ran around the corner to the Bat En Rouge to look at dresses!

    I grabbed three to quickly try on, but there was a guy sitting on the only seat in the place - which was in the 'dressing room' - a curtain which was pulled around in a semi-circle in the corner. I asked the CM is there was a dressing room. She said it was over there. I said, "There's a guy on the seat..." and she asked him to move. He honestly had no clue, and the look on his face was, "Oh, I just wanted to sit while my wife shopped..." but NOPE! My turn, buddy!

    I tried on Belle, Alice and Minnie. Minnie looked great! Ok, put that in my mind for later. I quickly got redressed and returned the dresses and zipped back to the bench, just as we got our dinner text! Perfect timing and it was about 10 minutes too! We were shown to a nice table right by the door and the kids got the kids' menu. I explained they were older, but we'd be happy to pay full price for the kid's item anyway. No worries! First, let's peruse, shall we?

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    I had the Lobster Cobb, DH had the Steak and Potatoes I think. I had the Mint Julep for a drink too.

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    That was some good salad!

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    The kids ate so much macaroni, I had to order another plate/bowl for them!

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    And what for dessert? Any bets?

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    YUP!

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    They were perfect and we loved them!

    On our way to our last ride, BTMRR, we saw a murder.

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    It was 5:30 and PERFECT for a night run!

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    DD11 said she loved it even more than daytime, as I knew she would. We then decided to head to DTD for some shopping. DD11 had wanted to spend all her money at the Lego store for the last 3 days, so off we went. BUT FIRST! A night castle shot:

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    And a not-so good shot of the main street all lit up.

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    And then the tree...

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    But FINALLY, the Lego store. DD11 bought 5 sets - one was a gift, four for her. DD13 bought two sets, both for her. I had fun in the store too.

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    Dh took photos of me and the girls with the Hulk, but it's on his phone and I don't have his photos yet.

    Outside was this cool bench, and the girls were happy to hang with some friends from Heartlake City.

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    I went back into the Dress shop and had the girls help me decide - Minnie dress or the Apple dress? They liked both, but I liked Minnie on me better. And wouldn't you know it, I had enough for a matching (kind of) Dooney! My very first! I'm not a purse person (coats are my thing), but this purse makes my heart sing.

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    I also grabbed a pressed penny book for the girls, and went into the Pandora store to talk about bracelets. The manager, Erica, was awesome! I said I'd be back the next night.

    DD11 got herself some slippers by asking her sister for a Christmas present.

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    We all went to bed dreaming of our great day (at least I did!) and planned on going back to DCA the next day after a quick breakfast in the hotel. DH was insistent on getting me a nutcracker. He had been buying me one every year since we were dating, so he was upset we hadn't seen any at all! He was on a mission tomorrow and the first thing we were doing was assisting him on completing it!

    Total steps taken: 16,620, 10.8km
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018 at 1:01 PM
    RedHotMama likes this.
  11. blabbermouth

    blabbermouth DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,122
    Great report so far, just read it over the past couple days. I'm from Victoria, so neat to read a neighbour's point of view :)
     
    Canadian Harmony likes this.
  12. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,174
    :welcome:

    I work in Victoria, and lived here for20 years before moving northish. Glad you're enjoying the report.
     
  13. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,174
    Our final day :sad: Bloomed beautiful and warm and sunny... and expensive! :rolleyes1 Today was SHOPPING DAY! Mainly because DH wanted the nutcracker and I found out that the shirt I bought was actually 2 sizes too big... so I bundled it and the receipt into a bag and put it into the back pack, hoping to exchange for a smaller one at DCA this morning.

    But first! Breakfast. A quick something at the hotel for the kids and DH. I even had a bowl of Froot Loops to ease the pain of leaving. Then off we went in search of a Nutcracker. We decided to make the day about DCA, so we angled to the left security lines. I was following a guy with a SW backpack and the next thing I knew, I was behind a different family! I said, "Hey! How the heck (ha) did that happen? I was right behind him!" The wife said, "No you weren't. HE (gesturing to her DH) was." And then the wife, the kids, the hubby... all in line before us. I was 99.9% sure I was behind backpack guy and this family slid in front.....

    So I have a few PTSD issues, nothing earth-shattering, but this kind of behaviour is a trigger for me, so I had to take deep breaths, get off the topic in my head, etc etc. When the chance came to get our bags inspected, I purposely went to a different line than those in front of us, and then we were all just waved through quickly, and we got in line at DCA, while I made sure I was no where near those other people.

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    First things first - FAST PASS for Racers!

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    And then hunt for a nutcracker. First we went to Elias & Co. Nope, nothing there. They suggested we go across the street to Katz. DH went and the girls and I went to check out the timing on Soarin'.... 30 minutes!? Nope. We'll wait for our FP time to up and book it then.

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    By this time, DH had been told they didn't have any at Katz, but here's a phone number to call. I had also discovered that no store in the front of DCA had the same Minnie shirt in their store either, so I had to hang on til later to exchange it, probably when we end up at DTD later today.

    I called the main warehouse (?) number and they looked on their system. Now, I work in logistics - warehousing, inventory, receipts, issues - the usual supply chain management stuff. The nice lady said there was supposed to be a Jack Skellington (!!!) in Trolley Treats, and a Minnie over at China Closet. I know inventory systems and how they often don't have correct info. It's actually one of the major factors why Target in Canada failed. I work with a country-wide inventory system which is like peeling an onion - it has many layers and makes you cry. For this person to sound so SURE there were two left.... I had my doubts.

    BUT, we went to Trolley Treats first. DH went to the nice CM, and the girls went to the pressed nickel machine (that actually took us a few minutes to figure out because the girls thought it was a penny for the longest time) and then the front counter for a treat.

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    Mary, the CM in Katz, said there was NO nutcracker (dang it, nearly had a Jack!) in her area, however she called over to China Closet and they DID have one left! DH and I thanked her profusely, and he booked it over to DLR - this was the ONLY time we used our park hoppers the whole time!

    Meanwhile, the girls and I were wondering what to do... Animators! Seems a couple of ladies from the Frozen north (see what I did there?!) and their friends were visiting, so we went over and joined the long line, already in progress.

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    It was a LONG line. We waited at least 30 minutes. DD13 wanted to do Turtle Talk again and I wanted to do a drawing class. Neither of which we managed to do today. BUT finally, it was our turn! DH had told me he had the nutcracker in hand and was headed back to DCA. I told him where we were and he said he'd meet us.

    The line was SO long, in fact, I had time to make another FP selection:

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    We met the ladies first. And they were awesome - especially when they found out we were from Canada and knew all about snow. We had great discussions about snow forts, snowball fights, all the fun stuff to do in the snow.

    The PP photographer got some amazing shots!

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    And then we went to see the boys. My kids were SO excited to meet Olaf! He's their favourite and we missed him last time. I was excited to meet Kristoff!

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    *excuse her pants falling down. They're her favourites and are slightly too small).

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    Done with the groups, we headed outside, where I misread DH's text that said he was outside the Animator's Studio, and headed to the fountain where we waited for HIM outside FFF&P. The Trolley came by and we got to hear some cool tunes.

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    After some texting back and forth, we headed his way and he headed ours and we met up to walk BACK to Smokejumper's for a quick bite to eat. This was our first time in the restaurant and I loved the soundtrack!

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    The food took a while, and they forgot DH's onion rings, but it was tasty and filling. DH had time to tell us about HIS adventure! Once he figured out where China Closet was, he made it through the DLR gates really quickly. He hit one of those 'no people' windows which often comes up during the day. He made is way into China Closet and realized, had we turned LEFT instead of right after leaving the Silhouette Shop the other day, we would have seen Minnie right there!

    The clerk had taken Minnie out of her box to make sure she was good (she was), and it even had DH's name on a sticky on the side, as they put it aside for him! MORE Christmas magic!! He paid and went through the gates to DCA... and saw a horde of people milling around in the esplanade - busses had dropped their passengers. He RAN across to beat the incoming crowd, and made it through the gates before it got busier. He told me to open the HUGE purchase bag he had so I could see the newest addition to our collection.

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    *yes, that's beer. For brunch. We're Canadian Sailors. That's what we do.

    Minnie was adorable! The skirt was poofy, the whole design was so sweet. YAY! Carrying it around all day wasn't a highlight, but she was light so it wasn't too hard.

    We still had about an hour to kill before our Soarin' passes came live, so we headed to Redwood Trail. The kids loved it! They took one look and lit out for parts up and down, while DH and I wandered around and looked the sights, decorations, and little jokes.

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    I asked the CM if you're only allowed to "hoot" down the left tunnel and "holler" down the right.

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    There were so many amazing things to see! Little gifts with a letter tag on them - part of the scavenger hunt to make the word "Santa Claus" no doubt. DD had an amazing interaction with Chip:

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    He led her over to sit with him on the ledge for a bit.

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    She asked him what he got for Christmas. He led her over to his big bag o'goodies.

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    The girls took me through the cave to find my spirit animal.

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    You put your hand in the spot in the middle and press a little, then your spirit animal appears.

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    Mine is a beaver?!

    They don't know me very well.

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    Santa Goofy was meeting in the middle, so I hopped in the line. Then he went on break. That's okay, lots to look at while he had a quick cookie and milk break.

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    Next batch in next post.
     
  14. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,174
    [​IMG]

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    Time was getting close for our Screamin' FP too! BTW, I made that MP selection about five minutes prior. Awe.some! We now had 3 Fast Passes we needed to use in a hurry: Screamin', Soarin', and Racin'... uh Racers!

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    It was soon my turn to meet Santa Goofy! He gives good hugs.

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    We finally managed to wrangle the girls together and we headed up the road to our Roller Coaster ride. Just me and DD11, of course. While in line, I had made another FP for Guardians - which would be our last ride of the day.

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    "Mum, I blinked. We'll have to do the ride again!"

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    "Oh.... OK!" Yup, it had definitely grown on me.

    20 minutes later, we scooted in for our Soarin' FP. What I found with a LOT of people using MP was they would all go to ONE of the stands... when there were two. Most CMs would show people the second one, but many people just stood in line to 'ding' their ticket. I managed to get around a lot of people by using the second machine, however I did find that they were placed in such a way that only ONE person at a time could get between them, as they weren't staggered. I also heard a handful of people over the week who would try to 'ding' their ticket... but the return time was over an hour away, or the FP had already been used, so they didn't understand that it was a single use kind of thing, nor that it had to be redeemed under 5 minutes of the return time.

    For the most part, those Max Passes were worth the $50 I paid each day. $50? Yes. Thank you exchange rate. :sad2:

    The family LOVED Soarin'! LOVED it! They loved the sights, the sounds, and the smells. DH said that he finally found the size of tv screen he wanted for our bedroom. Silly - our bedroom is smaller than the screen! :tongue:

    While we were in Soarin', Racers went down and we ended up with a Multiple Experience MP.

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    Soooo, no more Racers for us this trip, as it never came back up.

    I noticed on the app, that Loki and Thor were meeting in Hollywood Land in a few minutes. We went over and sat by Monsters Inc and the little gift shop there... and no Loki. No Thor. We saw Mr. Incredible walk by though and I debated going over to get his photo as I have a picture for them, but I decided to stay put. Then, walking around the FRONT, was Loki! The kids said, "Mum! Go! There he is!" I was not far behind him, and *poof* He was gone! Where'd he go? I went to the end of the block and he was no where to be found. DCA was getting ready for their NYE party and counting down.

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    But we saw Mrs. Incredible, and I asked her if we could have a photo. Yup!

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    We went past the lineup for Spidey and Capt America, who was making his way to his spot... and then I noticed a crowd sitting and standing in the little theatre... I asked someone if this was the lineup for Loki and Thor and it was! So I guess I found out where they went - back stage!

    DH, DD11 and I joined the line. DD13 went and sat down as soon as the show was over. First Thor came out all in chains.

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    Then Loki came out to mock him.

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    Some back and forth banter...

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    Some chain breaking...

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    And it was decided they'd meet some 'humans' to see if we're worthy of Loki's notice.

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    It was a LONG line because they were taking their time with each group who met them. They were awesome. The girls before us were completely twitter-pated (as Thumper would say). Part of you KNOWS they're not the 'real' actors, but these guys were good, very charismatic, and focused all their attention on you.

    DD11 had taken Norse mythology last year, so she was happy to explain to the two Gods about the play and the part she played (she even did some of her lines at Thor's urging!).

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    Loki was chatting with DH here while Thor was completely focussed on DD.

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    I had quickly drawn Loki's horn helmet and a necklace he stole from Freya in the stories DD was taught. He was looking and said, "What's this?" I explained, and said, "And for some reason, DD doesn't want you to know that, but I figure it's okay because we're both tricksters, and the more you know..." He agreed and said he'd keep it a secret... for now!

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    Then it took me about a MILLION years to find Thor's page.

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    He said, "It's okay. Take your time. No rush." and was very sweet. He even drew his hammer under his autograph.

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    We made it over for photos and we were deciding where to stand...

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    DD couldn't decide who to stand beside because she likes both characters. So Loki said, "Just stand beside whoever you like more!"

    So she stood beside Thor.

    He said, "I guess that didn't turn out quite the way I had planned..."

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    AWESOME experience! Our multiple pass was still good.... so we decided on Grizzly to cool down a bit!

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    While we didn't have long to wait, I did have time to make another MP for Screamin'.

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    We were in a raft with two other couples - one had never done the ride, and the other were frequent visitors. The last time I rode this, DD11 didn't get a DROP on her and I was soaked through. This time was slightly different - we ALL got wet, but some people got more wet than others. It was a nice cool-down though.

    We were a little hungry, so we headed to the Festival of Food, but first, I got to meet some silly bears.

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    More coming up!
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018 at 4:45 PM
  15. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,174
    On our way to nowhere in particular, I saw a nice shot... too bad my DSLR spent the day in the backpack and I used my iPhone for this instead. It would have been nice had it not been so grainy.

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    I grabbed a pork belly with adobo rice at one of the Festival of Foods booths and while I was wolfing that down, DH decided he wanted a hotdog, DD11 wanted popcorn, and DD13 decided on a mint dessert from a different booth. While waiting for DH's hotdog, the Drummers came out.

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    DD11 and I had a bit of a wait for our last ride on Screamin' so we went to listen to the drummers and eat our food. I am learning how to drum with a Scottish Pipe Band. I used to drum in Sea Cadets years ago, and everything I learned then has done me no good now - different sticks, different holds, different everythings! I find it incredibly challenging and difficult, and now that I'm in rehearsals for a musical, I can't practice drumming until May when the show is over (rehearsals are the same night as practice). All that to say, I know how incredibly hard drumming is as a corps. Every stick has to be held the same, hit from the same height as the others, hit with the same force, at the same time, in the same area of the drum. These guys were incredible. Absolutely amazing and the highest level of professional drummer I've ever seen. They make it look effortless, which speaks volumes as to hard difficult it is and how many years of practice they must have under their belts.

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    3:35 hit and DD11 and I were on our last ride of Screamin'.

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    Not quite blinking, but she's close... We're pretty excited to ride again once the re-theming is complete.

    Next we decided to go under the sea for one last time. I love the designs of the ride, even if it's not in my top 10 of favourite rides. Even the VENT screens are themed, for goodness sake!

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    As a seasoned sailor, I'd advise against sailing on this ship. Doesn't look very... shipshape to me. :duck:

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    By now we were tired. And wanted to shop. DD11 wanted to go back to the hotel pool. DH was about at the end of his rope. DD13 didn't really care if we stayed for our 7:00 GotG or not. I gave DD11 a choice - GotG or hotel pool. She chose... POOL!! :eek:

    I never thought I'd see the day when my little daredevil would choose to swim in a pool over riding a thrill ride! But she did. So I asked if anyone had any choice of where they wanted to eat. No one did... and we had a bit of spare cash... so we made a reservation.

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    We had a bit of time to waste before our reservation, so we turned into Carsland for a last spin with Mater.

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    We wandered back to the fountain area, but I had to get a picture of the girls with a drummer first. Not a real one, dang it.

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    Hey! Here's a joke for you - how do you know when a drummer's at your door?

    The knock speeds up and slows down.

    I'm here all week.

    Our dinner experience in the next post... later. I'm on the way to catch my kids' school recital!
     
  16. DLfan4

    DLfan4 Cant wait for another trip to DLR

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2013
    Messages:
    612
    it there wi-fi working in Disneyland and DCA?

    I am also Canadian, and wonder how you can use the App and Maxpass on the phone? do you just get a US package with cell phone provider?
     
  17. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,174
    The Wifi is quite spotty throughout DLR/DCA, so I just used a US package I have with Telus. It's $7/day and gives me the same plan as at home. So data usage, etc etc, all the same. I used Wifi at the hotel and wherever I could, of course, but if it wasn't available, I have a ton of data on my plan, so it wasn't a hardship to use data at the parks.
     
  18. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,174
    Dinner at Carthay! I was excited to eat upstairs after the delicious appies our first night.

    We were about 20 minutes early, but I checked into the counter and they told us to grab a seat. We took a corner booth and relaxed for a bit. A host came over and asked us if we had a reservation, and yes, we did, so right at 5:30 we were taken to the elevators. Stairs or elevator? Elevator please! I was so blown away, I didn't take any photos but I should have.

    Then we arrived upstairs. The place is gorgeous - crystal, wood tables, plush carpets - and we were taken to the right and down a ramp to the lower dining room. I think this is the family space as we weren't the only family there, but it was still beautiful. DD11 and I took the bench, while DH and DD13 took the chairs across from us.

    The lights are on, but dim, so if you're hard of seeing like DH is, either bring glasses (he didn't) or your phone so you can use the flashlight option to read the menu. It's not as dim as Blue Bayou, but DH was holding that menu right up to his nose.

    The tables are gorgeous.

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    DH was surprised when our server placed the napkin on my lap. He asked if he could do it himself. My kids were animals and we're never taking them anywhere nice again, until they're at least 30.

    The inlay is so pretty.

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    We were hungry, but I knew if we had appies, we'd be too full for dinner, especially since DH had had a 3500 calorie brownie earlier. But we DID get bread! And it was still warm so the butter melted in it. OMG, so good!

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    The kids' menu was really cute.

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    It was nice they offered us the option for the kids menu for the girls. I knew DD13 wouldn't want anything off the adult menu, and if she did, she probably wouldn't eat it all.

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    The girls couldn't understand (or didn't want to because they were tired) the menu options. So I boiled it down for them: pasta with sauce or butter, fish, chicken tacos, or steak. They finally decided on the Orecchiette pasta with marinara sauce.

    Dh had the house pasta (ravioli? something stuffed at any rate), with the turkey sausage. I had the new addition - hangar steak with green beans instead of potatoes. DH and I had a glass of wine each, and the girls had Shirley Temples.

    DH's wine was nice and cold. Mine, also a white, was not. That was disappointing. The Shirley Temples kept coming though, and the girls were happy about that. After two loaves of bread, our meals arrived. Warning: I like my meat 'scared' on the pan. Just walk the cow through the kitchen and I'll cut off what I want. In this case it was, "As rare as the chef will allow me to have".

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    It was delicious! The beans could have been cooked slightly longer, but I ate every bite on that plate because it was so tasty.

    DH said it was the best meal he's ever had. And had he NOT had that huge brownie two hours before, he would have easily eaten every bite, but as it was, he had to leave 1/3 of the sausage and some of the pasta. He said the bowl was deceivingly deep, and there was a lot of food in there!

    The girls ate all their pasta too, I was happy to see, and they said it was very tasty.

    We had some time to check the décor out during our meal. We have a long living room, so we're looking at the crown and ceiling here to see if we might be able to incorporate any ideas into our home.

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    I'd be pretty happy with the crown and some pot lamps in my living room.

    Even the chandeliers were decorated for the holidays. SO cute and looked pretty easy. Maybe I'll do the same for our place next year (although our dining room shade is a little different. I like the different layers they've incorporated and how it makes it look very festive.

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    After being suitably stuffed we paid and headed out. I wanted my Pandora bracelet, so DD13 and I headed back to DTD with the family, and we waited for Erica to serve us again. We finally realized I couldn't use my DLR g/c in their store, but she gave me all the details I needed to get my bracelet. She was awesome.

    We then went to WoD, with DH and DD11 outside, and I headed to the jewelry counter. I wanted the introductory set. They had that, but not in the size I needed. The size they had was 2 sizes too big. Ok, then, what about another deal in the size I need? Nope.

    Now, I could have gone to the store in NOS, but my feet were tired and I was tired, and I just wanted it over. I finally decided on a bracelet, two beveled end things, and a "Minnie" bead - red with white polka-dots to match my dress. They said to go shopping and when I was done, to return to them and I could get everything there.

    I sent DH and the kids back to the hotel and spent some time doing some retail therapy. Earlier, we had ordered a sign from the character guy outside WoD, so it was going to be ready later. I sent them back to the pool and I would get the sign and some shopping done, then follow. They took off and I had some time to myself! I bought an olive green spirit jersey (all the Rose Gold ones were sold out), a set of small Mickey studs and cuffs (2 sets of earrings) with Swarzki crystals in them, a couple t-shirts for my neighbours, some mickey-shaped magnets for other friends, and because there was a Gift with Purchase going on, I added two beach towels (one for each of the girls), and a t-shirt for DH (Mickey leaping saying, "Leaving Work on Friday like...") that he had admired earlier in the week. Oh, and while I was there, a t-shirt for me that said, "I Live in Fantasyland" because I do.

    I returned to buy everything but they didn't have the Minnie bead I wanted. *sigh. Fine, I'll just get the white one with the little Minnie heads on it instead. I'll get the other one another time.

    Loaded down with my purchases, I headed to the artist guy. Earlier, we had discovered that just our last name would be $45 (and another $10 for the cardboard tube to carry it in :sad2: ), but if we did just our initials with our names after, it was more expensive.... weird?! We decided on our last name, and the characters we wanted. DD11 wanted Mulan and Jasmine. DD13 chose Capt Jack Sparrow, I asked for Merida and Maleficent's dragon. DH asked for Belle (his favourite). This is what we ended up with.

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    So now I just have to get to Michael's and frame it. Maybe each time we go back, we'll get another one, for each of our first names.

    I returned to the hotel and the girls loved their towels, and DH liked his tshirt. We packed our junk as best we could, and then headed to bed as we had to be ready for the shuttle at zero-dark-thirty (5ish).
     

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