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The Tale of the Grow Walk ….Hunh? photo Report

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Hello! And welcome to my latest trip report!

For those that don’t know me, I am Jen.




I am a mother to 3 beautiful children, 2 of which are grown, one who is having her own little Princess in Oct, and my youngest, who is 9, Claire, who typically joins me in my travels.




I love Disney and try to make it to Disney World at least once a year. Some years that has not happened, but then other years I have been able to go more than once or at least to another Disney Destination. My last trip to the World was in Nov. of 2012.

I was lucky enough this year to have gone on my first trip to Disneyland in Feb, just a month prior to this vacation. That one was for business and I traveled alone and met up and had fun with a co-worker.


This trip to WDW was a family trip…meaning my parents were going as well …..and had actually had its beginning stages started about a year prior to going.

I had traveled with my parents to Williamsburg, VA in April of 2013 and we stayed at their Marriott time share. Mom said that next year she wanted to go back to Orlando and Claire and I could come, so of course that got the wheels going. We decided that we would do it over Claire’s spring break. I was not looking forward to going at that time because of the crowds, but it would be better to have her not miss school if we could help it. And a busy trip is better than no trip at all right? I got those dates from her school soon after we returned from Williamsburg, and Mom then reserved her time share for that week.

Of course we tweaked things and decided to fly in a day early (with Claire missing a Friday before spring break) and then my husband, Skip, decided he would like to come at the end of the trip and try out a Disney cruise. Yes, Claire and I have now sailed Disney a few times, but Skip has yet to be on one…so the trip was extended a few days for that and a little extra fun after as well.

What started out as a 7 night trip…. turned into 11 nights. March 21-April 1! (Yeah…. I wasn’t thrilled about coming home on April Fool’s day)


Plans were made and of course we had a few arguments about things…..nothing ever is smooth here.


First Skip was mad we were going and never told him. Well at that point it was so far off yet and I really hadn’t planned anything. I wasn’t hiding it from him, I just wasn’t talking about it in general.

Then he decided he did want to come, but not stay with my parents nor did he want to go for as long.

So we finally compromised and he would join us later in the trip and do the cruise portion with a day at Legoland at the end.

The thing that drives me crazy is that I am a planner and he likes to do everything last minute. So even though I knew what the plan was, he wasn’t in any hurry to book the cruise. I told him more than once about the prices rising and his reply ….”I don’t care, I want to pay full price”. LOL!


He also had this “idea”….he wanted to come down to Florida on a Greyhound bus. He said he would have a years’ worth of stories to tell if he did that. It would take him about 28 hours to come by greyhound and for one who has limited time off, this was not a smart idea in my book, but he insisted this was what he wanted to do. Luckily in the end, we talked him out of it and he did fly down on Allegiant.


All was pretty much set by mid Feb (I actually booked the cruise on my birthday in Feb.) and we just had to wait. Of course I went to Disneyland in between that time which meant when I got home I had to do catch up work along with extra work to be sure all was taken care of before I left. It was a busy few weeks and I was happy to see March 21 come!

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March 21, 2014, Friday


Today is the day! Claire, of course was very excited NOT to be going to school this day. Originally, I had thought I would take her to school for about 1 ½ hours and then pick her up, but the more I thought about it, I figured an extra hour of sleep for her would do her good. She goes to a Catholic school, and on Fridays the first thing they do is go to church, so really all she would be doing if she went was going to Mass.


We had a 2:30 flight out of Detroit, which is about an hour away from us. My sister, Gail and her youngest daughter Abby were taking us to the airport that day, as she has a van and could fit all of us, plus luggage. We want to arrive at the airport 2 hours ahead of time, which meant we would have to leave around 11 or so from Gail’s house.

Claire and I loaded up the car and Skip drove us in and dropped us off at her house. He gave us kisses and was gone. He was on a mission to go to the store nearby that had roasted peanuts in a shell in large bags. Yeah…see how we compare? He only was willing to take us to Gail’s house so he could go stop off for shuck peanuts. LOL!

Mom and Dad were leaving their car at Gail’s house. They were coming home sooner than I was and Gail would be picking them up from the airport.


We loaded Gail’s van and soon were on our way up. All of us excited. Abby, who is now 4, watched a movie the whole way up and couldn’t give 2 cents on what we were talking about, or where we were going.


We got dropped off and said our goodbyes to Gail. We went in and dropped our luggage off. We were flying Delta down as it was actually cheaper than Southwest and it was direct, which again, SW didn’t have when I stalked the site.


Then off to security. Claire is becoming a pro at this and it really is helpful that she at least has an idea what she is doing, though of course I still have to prompt her at times. Dad, however, will never become a pro at this, no matter how many times he goes through. Mom was specially selected to go through a special and quick line. Dad started to panic. I had to instruct him on what to do and where to go. All the while, reminding Claire what to do as well. And because I am with Claire, we go through the old scanners instead of the new ones, which Dad had to do. Too bad they wouldn’t consider him a child as well, it would’ve been easier on me. LOL!

Once we got through, we gathered our things and Dad was just so worried about where Mom was. I told him we would find her eventually and to just grab his things and get his shoes on.

Soon we found her and we headed off towards the gate, which of course was at the other end of the terminal.

We needed a bathroom and planned to eat lunch before getting settled down at the gate. There was a fake monorail going towards our gate, but you could also walk. The line looked long and you had to go upstairs to catch it. We decided to walk and look for a bathroom and a place to get some food.

Again, this did not fit in Dad’s plans….. Why are we walking? We are walking away from the monorail! Why are we going this way?.... You get the idea. You can only repeat “I am looking for a bathroom” so many times before you are ready to kill someone.

We found bathrooms and a Coney Island type place and decided this would be perfect for lunch and went inside and took a seat.

I was actually impressed that the prices were not too terribly inflated at all for an airport diner.

I don’t remember what my parents got, but I know they both got a side salad and they didn’t have French dressing. This is another thing that sends my Dad into a tizzy. He only eats French dressing on a salad. He refuses to go to Olive Garden because of the salad…even though if you ask, they do have French dressing. Now I understand it to a degree…I am a fan of French dressing as well, but I am open to eating other kinds when need be, but I do prefer French in most cases.

He did settle for Thousand Island and seemed somewhat happy then.

I think my parents then shared a burger and fries as well.

I went for the Patty Melt. I am a big fan of Patty Melts and this one did not disappoint.




Claire went for the…..hot dog…..big surprise there.




Claire’s meal came with fries and the waitress told me it came with quite a few, so instead of me ordering another side for myself, to just share with her, and that worked out great. Just enough for the 2 of us.


After our lunch we made our way to our gate and took a seat.




Claire, of course pulled out her kindle and I was on my phone, surfing facebook and emails.


As time got closer to our flight, I think I made some wise crack about going to the bathroom, something men don’t do till the flight is actually boarding,…..though I don’t remember how I said it, it was pretty funny and the older lady sitting across from us just started laughing and her husband said he had no comment on that.


We then chatted with them a bit and they were super nice. They were fairly newly married, and you could tell she was so in love with him, which was so cute.

I guess he has been to Disney something like 18 times, and goes at least once yearly and she said when he started dating her he told her if she wasn’t into Disney, then it wasn’t going to work out between them! My kind of Man!

We discussed where we all were staying and I believe they were heading to Key West later in their trip to stay at a Time share he has.


Soon it was time to board and we all lined up and guess what…..Dad had to use the bathroom. LOL.

I think he had a nervous stomach as he used it twice on the plane as well before we even took off.


We settled in our seats with Claire in her window spot…a must for her, and I was in the middle, and Mom next to me and Dad across the aisle.


I took a picture outside. Claire went to close the shade and I told her it was not allowed, as if you HAVE to have the window seat, then you have to leave it open for all of us to enjoy from afar. LOL.




We took a selfie then, which I always look so bad in, but we were excited to be on our way!




We had the Delta 80’S video spiel about safety. This cracks me up.




It only played a little bit when it was turned off and the flight attendant told us they had to reopen the doors and that something needed to be fixed on the plane. Then the Captain came out to say that a strut had to be fixed and they were working on it right now. Um, yeah, I guess we want that!


Right outside of Claire’s window we could see the maintenance truck.




We had Claire as the look out to let us know when the guys got back in and drove away and she did her job and informed us and soon we were allowed to leave.


Luckily, we didn’t leave too late and soon were in the air.






Claire played on her kindle…..I must say these things are wonderful for trips…and I pulled out my laptop and worked on editing pictures from my Disneyland trip. This really makes the flight go by much faster. We also were served snacks and drinks, which is always a highlight for Claire.


Soon we landed at MCO …and the new strut held….which was a good thing…and were off our plane and making our way to restrooms and then baggage.




We found our baggage carousel and waited for the bags. Since they weren’t coming out fast, we headed outside and took in the fresh and warm Florida air. I think Claire had to use the restroom again so we made our way to those and used them again.

And then I found it!!!!! If you read my DL TR you will know that I had found free tampons being in the dispensers at the DL hotels. I had posted a picture on my company’s facebook page and it became a big running joke. Since I had been to DL, a few other co-workers had traveled and anytime someone found free sanitary products, they would post it, or list places that did not have them.


I had just found out that that the handicapped restroom near baggage claims had a few free products as well…and of course I posted it.




Claire did not see what was so funny about this by the way.

We got our bags…and we all double checked to be sure we had the right ones….for those that read my Nov. 2012 TR, you may remember my Dad pulled one wrong suitcase off and we didn’t notice it till the next day and it caused a lot of panic, but luckily we were able to make the exchange for the right one before cruising.


Now it was time to pick up our rental cars. Because the majority of our trip was offsite, we had to have cars to get to and from the parks. Originally I had a great car deal with Firefly, which is a new company at MCO, owned by Hertz. When I added extra days and tried to add those dates to the rental, it tripled in price. Even though the site said it would honor my original price, it was very clear it was not doing so. I searched around and found Dollar for a steal. I had issues with Dollars counter service in 2012, but for the price, I knew I could handle them and be OK.


My Mom is (WAS) a die-hard Hertz fan. She pretty much rents from them exclusively, with a few exceptions.

My sister in law works for Hertz and we can get a family and friends discount. It used to be that I had to ask her to schedule this for us every time we wanted to use it, but then she gave me the code and told me how to enter it. I have used this a few times (though Hertz is not always the cheapest, even with the discount) and I have NEVER had a problem or issue. I reserved Mom’s car using this discount.


Once our bags were retrieved we all headed our separate ways to the car rental counters. Claire and I got in line for Dollar and the line was long. The lady monitoring the line asked if we had a reservation, and I told her yes, and she said good, because they are sold out. UGH, not what I want to hear, as that means the parks are busy as I feared they would be.

The line actually moved fast and soon we were the next in line, when Claire points out a wet spot on one of the suitcases. UGH!!!! I just knew what it was. A few years ago I had this issue. One of my hair products had leaked and got all over everything in the bag. The thing was, I had double ziplock bagged it, so I wasn’t sure how any liquid of any kind could leak out like that. Well nothing we could do now, once we got our car checked in, we would go to the side and check it out.


I was very impressed with Dollar this time. They did not do the super pushy sales pitch for insurance and the digital thing that you have to hit agree on (the one that will give you insurance anyways if you hit agree without paying attention) was set up completely different. It was such a smooth process and I was so relieved when I walked away.

I was told where to go and that I would have a Ford Focus. Sounds good to me.


Of course, we went off to the side and opened up the wet suitcase and sure enough, it was my hair lotion that had almost completely spilled out and through TWO ziplocked bags. Luckily I pretty much pack everything in ziplock bags, so even though it had spilled out, it really hadn’t gotten on too many other things and I knew that I could just wipe down just about everything and be fine once we got to POFQ.


Now the trek out to the cars. I checked with a gal and asked which aisle to go and she pointed the right way. We could not find any Ford Focus’s at all. In fact this row had mostly vans. After walking up and down a bit, I went back to the check in hut and the guy told me again which row, and told me that any car in the economy area would be OK.

OK, that’s good, but my arms are hurting from dragging these stupid bags and I am now hot and I could feel my blood pressure rising. I have LOW blood pressure normally, like really low, where they often ask me at the Dr.s how I could possibly be living with such low blood pressure. LOL….so when it rises, I feel it and my head pounds and my face is heated and I am not a nice person. (kind of like when I need to eat!)


We found the cars and several were hatchbacks, which I really didn’t want if I didn’t have to, but did find 2 4 doors and I picked one. It was a Nissan Versa, which I have never even heard of before, but it looked decent and we started to load it and I really had to get creative to fit the 2 big bags in the trunk. I am now going to refer to this car from now on as the POC (Piece of Crap). Yeah, I am sure by that description, you can tell I wasn’t a fan of the Versa at all.


So we sit down in the car and I look over everything to familiarize myself with it and I program my phone to Port Orleans French Quarter. Something to take note of….you may not have a signal inside the parking garages. It kept telling me it could not connect. UGH! I did not print any directions out at all beforehand as I was going to rely solely on my phones GPS. Not smart at all!


So I decide to take off and will hit the gps to connect once I get outside. We stop and have the car scanned and pull out as my phone rings. It’s Mom and the line for Hertz was really long and slow and she is finally at the counter with a newbie. He won’t let her get the car at the family and friends discount. Good lord…what a freaking idiot and of course I am on the road and there is nowhere to pull over and I have no idea where I am going because I now can’t set the GPS!

He says my SIL’s name doesn’t show up in their data base and I tell my Mom that’s her nickname, her real name is this…..and I have no clue how to spell it and I am on the road and lost at the current moment.


So she hands the phone to the guy to talk to me. He is foreign and I can’t understand a word he is saying. I tell him so, and I wasn’t nice about it. In the mean time I see a ME bus and just start following it, which of course takes me to a toll road, which I was trying to avoid as I did not have my change bag out. Yep. The blood pressure is rising some more.


So I tell this guy her name and he can’t find her and asks how to spell it. I tell him I have no clue, as I never had to spell it before and he basically calls all of us liars and they we are trying to cheat them. I ask for a supervisor and this guy is just as much of a jerk as the first one. He tells me that it is impossible for me not to know the spelling of her name. Um, no it’s not, no one calls her that and I have never been asked for it before. My mom argues with him too, but they won’t relent and they end up charging her full price which is more than double what we reserved it at…..over $400 for a week. She was FUMING! And on top of that, they did not even give her the kind of car we had reserved either. The got a Chrysler 200 (which I personally would’ve loved to have as that was the car I wanted when we were car shopping last fall, but Skip wouldn’t go for it), but they had wanted a full size and something fancier, as they drive a Cadillac at home.


So I finally hang up with the idiot and click my phone to search how to get to POFQ since I am going by the seat of my pants at this point and I feel a little better, though mad that I am on a toll road and stopping constantly to pay.


It’s really hot…I mean much hotter than I expected it to be this time of year and time of day and I turn on the AC…and find out this car has absolutely no power at all if you turn on the AC. It was just puttering along and Claire and I just started laughing. It was really unreal how crappy this car was.


We follow Siri’s directions and I take a wrong turn and then she back-tracks us, which leads us way out of the way and we have to circle around for miles before we get on the right track again. I am pretty sure Claire might have heard a few select words coming from my mouth at that point.


FINALLY we arrive at POFQ and go out and park. I literally just got out of the car and stood there calming myself down for about 10 minutes. I am sure I had to dig for ibuprofen and then I also pulled out our Magic Bands and finally I was under control enough to go and check in.




I was never so glad to be somewhere as I was right now.




I didn’t do online check in, which I should have, so I had to wait in the regular line….as I saw several people come and go in the online check in line. This really is the first time I have witnessed it being faster, but I think now that Magic Bands are in the mix, this is the way to go and I will do it for future trips.








Yep…while standing there; I took a lot of pictures to calm myself down some more.


We had a super nice guy wait on us and he made sure our bands were good to go (I can’t remember if we had my parents bands with us or not, but I know we never went back to have them looked at, so there is a good chance I had all of them with me), and told us about the resort and told us to enjoy ourselves. I was starting to feel better already. He also said he had something for me and went and got an envelope. Now I have no clue why I got this, nor really what it was, but I think it had something to do with World of Sports building. I would have to go dig them out to see exactly what they were, but I never did use them as they had an expiration date and it wouldn’t work with our plans. Again, no clue why I got these special passes and I really didn’t pay much attention to them after I asked initially as I knew I wouldn’t use them.

He then told us where to park the car to be closest to our building. Another mistake I made, I typically note that I want first floor and I did not, and of course I got 2nd floor.


A sigh of relief was made and I truly felt like vacation was finally starting. We made our way back out to the car to head over to our building.





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We found a spot to park the car and gathered one trip worth of bags and headed to our room.



























Once we got all the bags in the room, we called Mom and Dad, who were also lost, and working their way here. They said to wait for them to eat, as we were all hungry by now.


I called Skip and relayed the news about the car rental issues and he was not sympathetic at all.


I also set to the task of cleaning out my suitcase and wiping down everything and letting the inside air dry. I was really lucky, as nothing really got wet clothes wise and most everything could just be wiped down easily.


Skip called a few times and said his Mom told him that I wasn’t allowed to make the Hertz reservation, that his sister had to and that is why they didn’t allow us to use it. I informed him that is not what she told me at all and that I had the code and have done this more than once and never once had an issue. He said I was wrong, and I told him I was right.


Then of course he calls back a little later and tells me his mom called his sister and said the same thing. Well I am not going to argue, but I am right. Why on earth did she give me the code if that is not how it works? I am sure she forgot she gave it to me. There is nothing else to do but put this code in…it gives you the price options and you book it. The issue was on their end that they weren’t smart enough to find her in the computer to verify…….again, we have never had to verify her in the past either. (And when I asked Skip how to spell her name, he had no clue either) He said his sister refused to go in and adjust the cost, which also really ticked me off. Now whether his sister really said this or not, I will never know and I have never brought it up since being home. I just know we will NEVER rent from Hertz again….EVER! My Mom has since wrote several letters to Hertz and they have not once replied to her, but they did send her a random survey about her experience with them and she gave the lowest score to every question….again they have not contacted her about that either. And I thought Dollar was bad before. LOL!


We were now basically settled in the room, with the suitcase airing out and everything else wiped and drying, so Claire and I decided to take a walk while we waited for my parents to arrive.

I guess I didn’t take pictures, which surprises me, but it was getting dark and I was still a bit worked up. I also was messaging back and forth with my co-worker Deb while we walked around and explored the area. I had to vent somewhere and she has a good ear. I think I was also texting my friend Janet as well, so between the 2 of them I am sure I got my frustrations out.


I found a bench and took a seat and wasn’t there for too long when Mom and Dad called and they had arrived! Yay! I didn’t have to go out and search for them.


We met them out in the parking lot and helped them with bags and then we handed them their magic bands and told them to wear them. Dad refused to wear his. I told him that he would need it to get in the room if he ever got separated from us, and his response was that he never intended to be away from my Mother the whole trip. LOL! Mom rolled her eyes and Claire and I found that pretty funny. Poor Mom! We did convince him to put it on his belt loop for now.


While we are on the subject of Magic Bands, I’ll give you my opinion now. I was not a big fan. I knew I wouldn’t be, but I had hoped once I used them I would learn to love them. Now for many things they are convenient to use…when they work. I had issues a few times and my ticket had to be reset on the band 2 additional times after the initial linkage. (I had to pick my ticket up at Guest Services before entering the park).

I also did not like the way it felt on my wrist. I wear my watch on my left wrist and I put the band on my right. I can’t stand things on my right wrist and it drove me nuts. I didn’t like the way it felt on my skin either. And I hated the way I had to bend my wrist to scan it for everything. Later, when we returned from the cruise and stayed another additional night on property I did end up putting the band on my left wrist above my watch and that did work better for me.


Back to the current time…..We all had our bands and we set off to the food court to get something to eat. All of the adults decided a beer was really needed at this point as well.






We took a quick look around to see what we wanted.






I decided on chicken parmesan with spaghetti. On the picture it showed several pieces of chicken and a nice helping of noodles, so Claire and I decided to share. Now the portion was good sized, but there were not as many pieces of chicken as th picture showed so we did fight over the chicken part a little bit.




I think the picture showed 3 and it appears that there are 2 on the plate on top of each other, but actually it was more like one as they were stuck together.




Notice the beer?




That was one darn good tasting beer too!


This was also our first experience with the new cups with the timer on the machines. It took me a minute to figure it out, but I finally got it. We filled Claire’s cup up before we left once again and headed back to the room. Claire went back with my parents and I lagged behind and did some texting. Claire wanted to be the one to lead my parents to the room, so I had to let her have that fun.

She then changed into her swimsuit and was ready for me once I got back.




And off the pool we went.










When Claire saw this guy she thought he was pretty creepy.








We looked for a spot for me to sit and settle down where I could still see her.








She wanted to go on the slide, but there are not any loungers near the slide.






We ended up off to the side a bit and we put her towel on the bench, but I was instructed to stand near the pool for now and watch her get in…..you know because I guess she looks different every time she gets in a pool??? LOL








As she got used to the water, I walked around a bit and took a few pictures.








Finally she was ready for the slide.




And I had been instructed to take pictures of her going down it.




But I didn’t capture the perfect plunge shot and I was told to keep doing so till I got a good one. LOL.












I think this one works!



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Nice report, even if it's starting out rough!


(I almost missed it, as the title didn't flag me right away it was Disney -- guess I still don't see "Grow Walk" as Disney LOL).


We used Dollar for our rental car for our June trip across Pennsylvania. We were SUPER happy with them, and they even worked with us to let us return it with an almost full (not completely full) tank, since we got to the airport without passing any gas stations!


We did note that (as typical) when you rent in one city and return in another, they really get you with charges. . but in our case, checking the cost resulted in us flipping our trip around -- to rent in Philly and return in Pittsburgh was going to be $900 for 10 days.


to rent in Pittsburgh and return in Philly? $500 for 10 days.


so yeah, we flipped our trip, started in Pittsburgh, and saved $400.


and we absolutely will use Dollar next time!


can't wait to read more

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Nice report, even if it's starting out rough!


(I almost missed it, as the title didn't flag me right away it was Disney -- guess I still don't see "Grow Walk" as Disney LOL).


We used Dollar for our rental car for our June trip across Pennsylvania. We were SUPER happy with them, and they even worked with us to let us return it with an almost full (not completely full) tank, since we got to the airport without passing any gas stations!


We did note that (as typical) when you rent in one city and return in another, they really get you with charges. . but in our case, checking the cost resulted in us flipping our trip around -- to rent in Philly and return in Pittsburgh was going to be $900 for 10 days.


to rent in Pittsburgh and return in Philly? $500 for 10 days.


so yeah, we flipped our trip, started in Pittsburgh, and saved $400.


and we absolutely will use Dollar next time!


can't wait to read more


Even with the drop off fees with dollar. many times they are still cheaper than other companies too. I have only used them so far in Florida, but 99% of the time they beat all the other ones in price...and believe me...I compare.

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Every time I tried to sit on the lounger she would call me back over for something. Finally we decided that I would move over to another area where I could see better and she wanted to swim around the pool a bit anyways.




Now I had known ahead of time that several co-workers were going to be at Disney while I was there. 2 were leaving the next day for home, 1 was leaving the next day for a cruise and yet 2 more were there throughout my stay. Most of us kind of had the thought that if we ran into each other, that would be great, but if not, that was OK too. It really is hard sometimes to meet up with people who all have different plans. However, the 2 that were leaving the next day were planning on stopping off at POFQ that night as one was staying there her last night there and the other was going to drop her off there. Some of you know one of them as she writes wonderful TR’s on Disboards. That would be Ellen (Podsnel). She was hanging her last night with her friend Lonnie who lives locally and Katie, my other co-worker was going to dinner with them. Katie is also on Disboards,WDGal210.

Anyways, Katie and Ellen were there all week for a conference, which had just ended that very day. We had discussed trying to meet up a while back.

At this point the day was just too dang long and I was beat and really didn’t have the get-go to make an effort. But I didn’t want to be bad either and blow them off. So while at the pool I texted both of them and let them know that I was at the pool and that if they wanted to meet up, I would be there for a little bit…..no response. I don’t think they were being rude either, I think they were just as tired as I was, probably more after being there a week already. So I was happy I made the effort to contact them, and a little disappointed that we wouldn’t meet….though I did meet up with Ellen on my last trip to WDW in Nov. of 2012….but I totally understand how hard it is to make things work to meet up with others and fit it in your agenda.


So I sat at the pool and just took pictures while Claire swam.






After a while Claire grew a bit tired of swimming and we decided to walk around a bit and check things out.






And we made a potty stop.




Sorry, no free tampons here!


I was still messaging with my co-worker Deb and she told me that our boss was also staying at POFQ and had just posted she was back at the resort….. which I did know, but kind of forgot about. So while we walked around, I kept my eyes open for her too.




We found where the hot tub was and it was really happening tonight.






And there is a playground across the way.




I made Claire stop for a photo.
















We decided to go take a look at some snack options in the food court.




And right then and there I almost literally ran into Ellen. We both looked at each other and then it hit! We hugged and said hello and she introduced me to Lonnie.

She told me she had just dropped Katie off at her room and we could go back and say hello. Lonnie decided not to walk back and so Ellen, Claire and I headed back to Katie’s room.


When we got there Ellen knocked and pretended to be Bell Services delivering bags and then I jumped out when Katie opened the door. (Yeah, I know I was acting like a kid. LOL). We all talked a bit, but we were all tired. They had gotten my text and kind of had the same feelings I did….too tired to go visit, but it we ran into each other, that would be great. I guess fate was working for us.

You’ll just have to believe me that we met up, as we did not take a picture. We were all tired and I knew I look totally worn down, so I didn’t even suggest doing one. But here is some from my meet with Ellen in 2012.




Ellen left after a few minutes and I talked to Katie a little more and then Claire and I headed off on our own again.






We decided it was time for a late night snack.


Claire went with Ice-cream.






I went with 3 Beignets and we had to wait for them to be ready.






Claire is happy with her choice.




I got my Beignets and we headed outside to eat. I had never had these before and it was something I had been wanting to try.


I took a bite before I remembered the picture.




And yes, I liked them. Very good, but very messy. Claire had 1 as well and we were now nice and full.


As we sat there I text my boss to let her know I was staying there too and if she was around, maybe we would see each other.

But it was late and I was tired and I figured she was too and Claire and I headed to bed.


Of course my parents were already asleep when we got back. That’s the bad thing about sharing a room with them, they don’t get up early and they don’t stay up too late, so I always feel like I have to creep around in the room.


Claire and I got ready for bed and drifted off to dream land….so happy that we were at the beginning of our next adventure!

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March 22, 2014, Saturday


As I usually do on vacations, I woke up at the crack of dawn. My body just knows there is too much to see and do to have time wasted on sleep.


I got dressed and grabbed my camera for a walk outside for more pictures. Unfortunately in March at 6:45 AM it is still dark outside.




I peeked into the arcade for a few quick shots while I was in the area.








It was so quiet while I went around and took pictures.








I played the trombone many years ago, so I always like to take pictures when they have one shown.








They were set up for breakfast.


























My walk this morning was actually pretty fast, even though I have a lot of pictures.












And here is the entrance to the arcade from the inside.






I must’ve made a potty break.






I was really disappointed that it was still dark outside.






I had really hoped to get some photos outdoors in the daylight, but it just wasn’t going to happen this trip.






I then headed back to the room and got showered and ready and Claire ready as well. Mom and Dad were in no rush and didn’t plan to head out till later. I, on the other hand wanted to get to the park at opening, or as close to it as I could. I also had to pick up my ticket beforehand, so I needed to get moving.

My boss did text me and told me she was finishing up some work, but they would be taking their bags out to their car soon and we could try to meet up then. I forget her timeframe, but if we could meet up during the earlier part it would work, otherwise we would be heading out.

In the meantime, Claire and I loaded our car up with our bags. We were leaving the car here all day and taking the bus over to Epcot, but we would be switching resorts today, so we needed to have everything out of the room. I made sure I had my voucher for my ticket in my backpack…I even double checked it…you know just in case……..


We never saw my boss and we just had to finally give up on that idea. Claire was anxious to get to her first park of the vacation….and who am I kidding…I was too.












At least I was able to get a few shots on the way in the daylight.







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Off to the buses




This guy was handing out some Mardi Gras money. I wanted Claire to pose with him, but she wouldn’t.










We plopped down on a bench and waited for our bus.




And waited…




And waited…


I did see one of the new buses for the first time.




Katie, my co-worker, walked by and we said hello again and talked a bit. She was heading off the MK before she had to leave for home later.


Finally our bus arrived after some more waiting and we were on our way.




We soon arrived at Epcot and made our way towards the Guest Services.




I pulled my voucher out of my bag for my ticket….and my heart sunk. I brought the voucher for our Sea World Tickets for later in the week. OMG! How could I be so stinking stupid. I even looked at it twice.


I told Claire we would have to go back to the resort and get the right one…but then I thought about it and said let’s just try it out first. My voucher is in my name and I had all the ID info with me, so there was a good chance they could look it up.


BINGO! She found me. Whew! I was going to be so mad at myself if we had to bus it back to POFQ.


She takes my magic band and connects my ticket to it. No paper ticket is given. I asked if there would be a problem and she said no. OK…good!

So I then tell her I need all of Claire’s FP’s copied to my ticket as well. I was told by Disney CM’s this would not be a problem at all when I called. So she copies todays for me and that’s it. I told her the system allowed me to pick FP’s for the whole week, even though we were only staying onsite for one night (at this time offsite guests could not pick FP’s till they got to the park and went to the kiosks). She said she couldn’t as the system wouldn’t allow her to do it and in fact she could not see any of Claire’s other FP’s. I was NOT happy. I pulled up my app to show her Claire’s FP’s and noticed that some of hers were not showing up on the App either. Good lord…NOT a Fan of FP+.

She told me I could go in and see if the app would copy us, but that was the best she could suggest.


We then headed to the lines and I worked on copying Claire’s FP’s over to me. We got through the gates easily enough. And I took a few quick pictures as I walked….also working on the app and also texting my friend Deb and telling about the ordeal.


Sadly this picture turned out super blurry and is the only one I took of these the whole trip.










We had one thing that was a must do first thing this morning…..Soarin’.




Because of the extremely stupid tiering of FP’s at Epcot, we could only pick either Soarin’ or Test Track. We chose Test Track because it has been many years since we have been on it. In 2012 it was down for refurbishment, so we had yet to see the new version. So our plan was to get to Soarin’ first thing before the lines got too long. It was a good plan too!








In the meantime, my friend Deb said she would go into my MDE account and look to be sure everything copied. Of course once I got into the building I lost reception, so I was having issues getting her my password. The people we were standing by inline said they had full wifi, but my phone wasn’t. I found out if I went in and turned the wifi off and back on it would then reconnect. I had this issue a lot with Disney wifi over the whole trip.


I think we only waited about 15 minutes or so and then we were standing here.




Claire loves this ride…and so do I and we had a wonderful time on it. Sadly the screen does look pretty crappy these days, but we didn’t mind.


After that we were hungry. I hadn’t really eaten anything this morning. Claire was worried we would be wasting precious time by getting food, but I assured it was fine. She said I wasn’t allowed to get a full meal or I would be wasting time. So we decided on juice and strawberry shortcake. Claire said she would just want a bite, so we decided to share….Claire lied!




Claire started with the strawberry and then we fought forks the rest of the way through. I knew she was hungry and I knew we both enjoyed this cake….I should’ve gotten 2!


Time to make our way out.






A lot of the little water features were drained at Epcot…I am not sure why, but I took a few pictures of them here and there.




The fountain was working though.




I was back in contact with my friend Deb. She said that not all my FP’s copied correctly. Some had overlapping times and the one …the most important one….did not copy at all. That was the new Festival of the Fantasy Parade. I about had a heart attack and this was something we really wanted to see….and more than once.

She did me a huge favor and contacted tech support…who could not fix it, but they told her to tell me to go to the FP entrance that day and tell them the situation and they would most likely let me in, as they weren’t going to let a child go in by herself. I was nervous, but I knew that it would work…..as I was not going to allow it to not work. They also gave us an extra FP for the viewing area of MSEP for that night as well (this would be for Monday), but I had no intentions of using it as we have seen the parade many times and it’s just not a favorite or a must do this trip.

With all that taken care…..thanks to Deb….we moved on.


Next stop…..Test Track……Time to use our FP+’s.








It was extremely busy and Claire and I were assigned a spot together in the waiting room. I am not sure if during slower times you can get your own or not…but I am thinking you do.


Once were allowed in, we had to make a car together….and I am pretty sure I have seen in other reports where people can make their own cars. That’s ok, it was still neat to see…and for the most part I wasn’t allowed to help. LOL.




Claire did most of the designing and I was only allowed to help when needed.






Next we are scooted off to the loading area.




Claire’s band wouldn’t scan our car, but mine did. I think because I was the one who scanned when we designed it. I am not sure if we both were supposed to scan in or not. I did scan my band in her spot too as we entered the car though.




We loaded in and were ready to go. The guy next to me videoed the whole thing. I am sure he has my dorky laugh in the background.










We came in 3rd for whatever test this was, but for the most part, we were 1st or 2nd through most of them…..Good job Claire.






In the end, our car was the best overall design. I guess Claire knew what she was doing.






Needless to say, we had a blast on the ride and loved it. It is still pretty similar to the old version in the way the ride works, but the new stuff is neat. I wouldn’t say better, but still really neat.


When we exited, we pulled up our car on a big screen and looked over the info.




And then took a quick look around the show room.












I asked Claire if she would be interested in riding again using the single riders line, but she informed me she is too young to go by herself yet. UGH! Ok, I’ll work on her some more…..but hopefully in the future she will get over that fear.

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We checked out the Cool Wash area next.






It was already proving to be a VERY hot day.


We moved on and found the Cars topiary area, so we wandered around there for a bit.




















Such a cute area…but I was fighting the sun as I took the pictures.








I often go in March and I always love all the flowers everywhere in Epcot.




Claire is obsessed with Spaceship Earth, so we had to go up and take a look at the wait time.




The wait was too long, but we did stop for some photopass pictures.




Pay no attention to the hoochy momma shorts I wore. Bad choice. I have gained more weight over the past year and for some reason I thought I would be fine in some of the shorts I packed…..I was wrong!
















Next stop was the Seas with Nemo.








It’s not a good sign when the line is backed up to the lighthouse.




Luckily it is a fast loader and we didn’t have to wait too long…but still longer than I would’ve liked, but Claire really likes this ride.
















This area always plays with my eyes to much.










After we got off we decided to explore the area a little bit. It really has been a long time since we have taken a look around in here.


















He’s hansom!



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We saw a few Seahorses and I wanted to try to get some shots of them, but so did everyone else apparently as it was very crowded around the area. There was a family there that would just not move. I was getting annoyed as the mom was holding the baby with her chest falling out of her top and a skirt so short her rear could practically be seen….and she kept going on and on to this baby about the seahorse…which he had no clue or interest in. And as soon as I would make to move around her she would move as well. And I sure didn’t want to knock her because I was sure she will spill out of her outfit at any moment.






Those were the best I could get, even though we did stand there for quite some time.




We moved on and I tried to convince Claire she should pose for some pictures.




She looks thrilled about it, doesn’t she?


I tried to convince her to pose inside of Bruce, but today was not that day for her. LOL. This picture cracked me up with the lady looking in his mouth.




We stopped off in the gift area and I looked at a few shirts and Claire tried to convince me she needed another stuffy and I told her no she didn’t.






That strawberry shortcake was now a distant memory…especially since I only got a small portion of it…..so it was time for a snack.




Claire wanted a pretzel with cheese and I went for the Mickey Bar. Of course I forgot to order the cheese and had to order it after I paid since she reminded me she couldn’t eat it without it.

We then found a spot to sit and eat…and she pretty much ate that darn thing without the cheese till I insisted we were not wasting it.








While sitting there we saw Tiana and Naveen come walking towards us. What a surprise!




And they walked right over next to us to have a meet and greet.




Claire didn’t want to meet them, but I said we were whether she liked it or not. LOL. I knew she was just being shy, so we finished up our snack and she plopped a nice big drop of cheese on her shirt. Oh Great! Oh well nothing we can do about it now. I told her I would photoshop the orange stain out of the pictures.

We got in line, which actually was filling fast, but still we weren’t too far back.


We had some teen girls in front of us and the one was crying with excitement about Naveen being there. I kept thinking she must have some disability because she was just so insanely excited over Naveen. But I don’t think she did and her friend was excited, but not near the same as this one. Claire even looked at me with a wondering look.

I mean, it’s neat to see Naveen, but to cry over him…..that is a little extreme. But glad it made her Disney dream come true then.


I thought Naveen’s shoes were super cute.




And while we waited I did take a few shots.








And then it was our turn.




They really liked Claire’s skirt, which was Peter Pan themed…and I believe has a map on it too.






No he wasn’t pointing at her stain. LOL.






Claire looks a little unsure about taking his arm.








Needless to say, Claire was very happy we went to the meet and she thought they were both a lot of fun. See mother know best!


Our next Fastpass Plus was now up. Let’s just say the choices at Epcot suck. I mean besides Test Track and Soarin’…we really don’t have other must dos that need a FP.

Claire loves Figment, so I chose that as one. Rumors were floating around for a while that they were going to close Figment, so I thought it best we were sure to get on it. I have now heard it will be staying for the time being…at least.


14370204051_3ca147053b_z.jpgepcot109 by jenseib, on Flickr


14393706263_aca8dc69d3_z.jpgepcot110 by jenseib, on Flickr


I had to take a picture of this….Skip’s real name is Dean…and I could use a Dean finder at times. He likes to disappear….and did it a lot while we were cruising.


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Once we got off we played around with a few of the games in there.


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And of course, Claire talked me into letting her buy a stuffie. I really agreed because I would’ve felt awful if this did close and she didn’t have the chance to get one again. She was all smiles about that.


14619625023_ff0de9b72b_z.jpgfigment by jenseib, on Flickr


14200593738_af1a25a64b_z.jpgepcot135 by jenseib, on Flickr


Of course, while in Disney, you will see a duck or 2 and I usually have to get a shot here and there of them.


14200761287_0dbea5dfc8_z.jpgepcot136 by jenseib, on Flickr


One of my favorite things about going in March is all the beautiful landscaping.


14200760997_ab5724d4dc_z.jpgepcot137 by jenseib, on Flickr


14203872758_67a30b4866_z.jpgepcot138 by jenseib, on Flickr


And one of the best things about Florida…..Palm Trees!


14367385886_176ff31e1a_z.jpgepcot139 by jenseib, on Flickr


We then headed back to the Seas. Our next FP+ was for Turtle Talk with Crush….let me tell you now, total waste of a FP. It does not get you in any faster at all.


We were early so we explored the area a little more.


14389453624_803a7f04a3_z.jpgepcot140 by jenseib, on Flickr


We have never watched the manatees before this year and it was kind of interesting to watch them.


14203871858_00d82d9c92_z.jpgepcot141 by jenseib, on Flickr


The lady kept throwing these heads of lettuce to them, but they didn’t seem all that interested for the most part, and when they were interested, it was only the fresh ones, the old ones were not eaten at all.



14367384666_a34cb17f1f_z.jpgepcot143 by jenseib, on Flickr


14203871058_8b2648118c_z.jpgepcot144 by jenseib, on Flickr


And they were feeling frisky today. So many adults were laughing…..Claire said “Awwww! Look they are hugging”.


14389452514_1d52acdbaa_z.jpgepcot145 by jenseib, on Flickr


14470693200_75a8c69268_z.jpgmanatee by jenseib, on Flickr


We moved on to look at the other fish.


14203919150_f49d3ce7d4_z.jpgepcot146 by jenseib, on Flickr


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Hello Mr. Stingray.


14203869508_072bfd78b5_z.jpgepcot151 by jenseib, on Flickr


He looks happy to see us.


14203839439_7dbf283fec_z.jpgepcot152 by jenseib, on Flickr


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I believe we then headed in to the turtle talk waiting area. Of course there is no distinction between those with FP’s and those just coming in to watch. We all could enter and waited in the same area.


14405870241_8943fa807a_z.jpgepcot156 by jenseib, on Flickr


14222592519_a6c84e43dc_z.jpgepcot157 by jenseib, on Flickr


We were very early, so we played the quiz.


14222637950_c83a031052_z.jpgepcot158 by jenseib, on Flickr


And as it got fuller we went and lined up a little closer.


14429414293_6cef08c2d0_z.jpgepcot159 by jenseib, on Flickr

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We were finally let in and Claire informed me she would not be sitting on the floor with the little kids, so we found a bench and had a seat.


14386110406_cf91caac14_z.jpgepcot160 by jenseib, on Flickr


14677295653_8183422a97_z.jpgcrush by jenseib, on Flickr


14409240335_5771913999_z.jpgepcot161 by jenseib, on Flickr


It was a fun show, but I have seen it enough now that it doesn’t have to be a must do for me anymore…and I think I’ll skip it in the future unless Claire insists on it.


We headed back out into the sun…..and yes it was VERY hot this day.


14407930632_7f1700402f_z.jpgepcot162 by jenseib, on Flickr


It was approaching our lunch time so we headed towards Italy.


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I always love seeing these sand sculptures and wonder how they keep them looking so nice.


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Obviously the birds don’t care if they walk in it.


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I took pictures along the way. I love all the topiaries.


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An Alice Spotting.


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Isn’t Rabbit so cute?


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On we went towards our lunch destination!


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On our way to lunch at Via Napoli


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As I walked up I saw that Mom and Dad were just ahead of us. I told them I would go inside and see about checking in as there was a huge line outside for a podium…..which I assumed was for walk ups.

Inside I asked a guy and he said no, I had to wait outside…I said even if I have a reservation and he said yes! UGH

So I walk to the end of the line and it’s about 180 degrees out and the sun is glaring and I am just sweating away. A lady comes down the line to take names and I asked her if I was supposed to be waiting in this line since I had a reservation and she said no, I was to go and check in inside. I informed her I tried to once and they made me come outside, but she told me to go back in.

I grabbed the family, who was sitting off to the side and told them we were going back in.




Amazingly the person I talked to this time took my info and told me to be seated. I let her know that the guy next to her had told me to wait outside. The guy just totally ignored me….jerk!




We didn’t have to wait too long and we were called to be seated.




We were seated on the far wall and Mom and I raced for the booth part and made Claire and Dad sit in the chairs across from us, which neither was too happy about. LOL




I used the excuse that I had a bag I had to sit next to me and my camera too.


We browsed the menu and I took a few shots.




We were trying to decide what size of a pizza to get. I was pretty sure the small one was pretty big, so the next size probably would work for us, but it listed it as only feeding like 2 people….or something like that, and Dad was worried we wouldn’t have enough. We asked our waiter and he assured us the size I picked out was pretty big.


I ordered the Arancini - fried risotto balls filled with mozzarella and meat ragu for an appetizer as I loved it so much last time.

I almost forgot to take a picture.




Mom had some and Claire tried it, but it wasn’t her thing.


Then our pizza came….and Dad had no reason to worry about the size.






And it was delicious!




I wish there was a place in my area that made pizza like this. I just LOVE their pizza.


Even though I was pretty full, I still had to order dessert…because I love these!!!!

Zeppole di Caterina - Ricotta cheese fritters, served with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.






And in the process of trying to take pictures, I knocked over the chocolate sauce. Oops. I was like a big kid making a mess.


Dad also got dessert….It looks like a mousse in this picture, but I can’t find a description like that…perhaps it was just chocolate gelato.




I took a few pictures before it was time to leave too.












When the bill came, Mom told me to pay as she was short on cash now with the whole rental car disaster and didn’t want to short herself till the hold on her card was let go. She said she would pay me later…..and yeah…that never happened. LOL.


I think the bill came to around $100 for the 4 of us. I think both my parents had some alcohol with their meals as well, plus an appetizer and 2 desserts. This is one of my new favorite places, with this being my 2nd time there now. It’s one of those places I want to eat at now every time I come to Epcot.

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We headed back out in to the hot sun.




My parents aren’t super big on the parks and I think they were going to finish up with a few activities and head off to check in at the Marriott in a little bit.




Claire and I found a photopass photographer and got some shots. I am not sure I am going to order memory maker in the future though, as Claire complained about every time I made her stop.










Also the photopass photographers were not creative with poses like some have been in the past and I often asked about magic shots and many seemed put out to do them if they could do them at all in the first place.




On we went.








When we got to America we went in to check out if the show was about to start. They told us the time and the guy acted disgusted when so many people asked about it and kept handing out times guides and told everyone to look in there. Oops in my hurry this morning I never even picked one up.

It was going to be about 30 minutes before it started, but something else was starting…..a first for us, so we watched. I loved it, Claire was not so impressed.












I was sweating, so I can just imagine how hot these guys were.




















As you can tell I really liked taking pictures of this.








And then they marched away as they finished up.








We then were all invited to go inside as the American Adventure would be starting shortly and the Voices of Liberty were going to sing as well.




We have never seen either of those either.


In fact, I pretty sure this is the first time I have really stopped in America other than to use the bathrooms or look at topiaries…though I think a few years back we did stop to watch part of a show out in the ampatheatre.




We walked around inside a bit taking in the cool air, but Claire complained that it was boring. But honestly it was so packed at the park, that it was the perfect time to try new things




Soon the Voices of Liberty started to sing and they invited everyone to scooch in closer so we could all hear better.
















They were very good, but not something we would make time for every trip…but I am glad I finally got to see and hear them.


We lined up to be let into the American Adventure next.










We have never seen this show, but I thought it might be something Claire might like with the animatronics.









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It wasn’t long and I was fighting sleep. The day before was catching up to me as was the heat…and this just didn’t have any action to keep me awake. My only saving grace was trying to get pictures.






















Of course this part is pretty cool.










It was over. I was glad to finally have seen it, but I have no need to go back again…unless I need to cool off and have a nap. Claire thought parts were neat, but overall not impressed.




Of course, I had promised Claire she could do something she wanted to do after we had our education…and she was more than ready to get started.




We had to wait our turn…and I think we also had to wait for phones to be brought in.






When it was our turn the girl asked for our ticket and I gave my wrist….after all, isn’t that what Magic Bands is all about? I mean they want EVERYTHING attached to it…..but not here…..you HAD to have an actual ticket to get a communicator. Luckily Claire had one…as I did not. I thought that was so odd as the majority of onsite guest would not have a ticket.

I have heard now this is somehow going to be something that will pull up on your smart phone. I am not sure if that has started yet or not.

We were able to select a country and we chose Japan. I didn’t want to do ones we had done a few years ago for sure and I had heard Japan was one of the better ones to do.

Claire…or as we now call her…Agent C….got her instructions and off we went.








Time to start the mission!



Claire is a control freak with this game and last time we did it we argued a bit because she needed help, yet didn’t want me to touch anything. I told her this time she was on her own and if she needed help she would have to hand me the communicator so I could actually see what was going. Luckily she is older and a bit more mature now, so that was OK, and she also could work and understand the whole thing a lot better this time.






I took pictures as we walked around for her mission.




I have to admit that neither of us are familiar with Japans layout and never really went to the back to check that area out. The mission was telling us to go to places that neither of us had a clue where they were and the pictures were outdated, so we had trouble at times matching where they were.








We finally figured out where we were supposed to be. I had no clue this area was even back here.




Claire did her thing and next thing you know, Perry is coming out on a little boat.




He stops and sets a bomb and then takes off.




And then a big water explosion happens, which scares some of the people around us. LOL!


We moved on to the next spot. I found a plug and took a picture while Claire was doing her thing. With everyone needing to keep their smart phones charged these days to use the app, it’s a good idea to have a mobile charger…or if you don’t, bring along your charger and plug in when you can.






We next went into the store and this bizarre thing popped out.




It was funny as no one around us even noticed it.


We were finally done. This went much smoother this time around for us. No arguing for the most part and Claire could handle most of the mission herself. We then had to drop off the communicator in a secret location and we headed off.






We stopped to look at the topiaries, but it was hard to get pictures as so many people were lined up to get them in front of them as well.















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We were now working our way back towards the front because Claire wanted to ride spaceship earth.










We decided to stop in Mexico and take a ride.




Believe it or not, but this queue was also long and they had extra ropes set up along the restaurant for us to go through.




We were behind a Mexican family and they were kind of rude….joking and pushing each other in fun and then as we came to the spot where we would enter the regular queue area they spotted family outside the ropes and told them to join them. The CM asked what they were doing…and then he goes “Oh your family is joining you…..that’s ok”. UM …no it’s not! And they proceeded to let 12-15 more people in line in front of us. I was not too happy about that or with the CM.

So we weave around the queue and they are super loud and rowdy now with the whole family there.

We get to the boats and we sadly end up with some of them. Claire and I had our own row and they tried to jam too many in another row…and so they try to get in our row and I tell them no. Sorry, but I am not having the rowdy family sitting right next to my child. It was bad enough they were in front of us. A couple ended up going in the row behind us.


We take off and I realized I should’ve asked to wait for the next boat. This was not going to be a pleasant experience at all.

They were loud, they sang, they clapped…and what made it worse was they were talking in Spanish, so I couldn’t even eavesdrop on the conversations.

And then one person starts taking flash pictures. There is nothing more I hate than flash pictures on the ride….and I spoke up. I knew they understood English and I said “No flash pictures!”. The lady looked at me and pretended to not understand, but I knew she did as did her kid and when she took another I glared at her and the kid tapped her and said “NO flash pictures” and she goes “OH”. Yeah she knew it and was pretending not too. UGH.












I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. It really was a rotten ride. And Claire kept looking at me like these people were crazy.


We headed up towards Spaceship Earth then.






I was checking emails as we walked and I saw a few in my business account, but nothing looked urgent and I had an auto responder going out anyways. Then my co-worker Deb messages me and says “so and so (we’ll call her Cheryl since I am sure she doesn’t want her name used here) emailed you and got your responder. She sees you are in Florida and asked me to see if you wanted Sea World Tickets”. Well garsh darn yes…but I already got free Sea World tickets, so thanks but I will pass. Deb messages back … “She can get you 2 for Busch Gardens then”…Again thanks, but I just can’t fit Busch in this week. We had every day planned and as much as I would love to go there and visit, I just didn’t have the time to this year.

And then Deb messages back….”Can you tour Discovery Cove? She can get a tour set up there, but you can’t go for the day since it’s so inclusive and only allow so many people per day”. Um yeah, I think so. I could take time away from my Sea World day and head over there.


So I email Cheryl and let her know that I would love to do that on Tuesday if it would work and she gave me the email of the people who could set that up and after going back and forth a few times over the next 24 hours I was set up to visit Discovery Cove on Tuesday. I was kind of excited to see it as I have heard such good things about it.




There was still a line for Spaceship Earth, but it moved fairly fast and I knew we couldn’t leave before riding it or Claire would never forgive me. And at this point, Epcot was not in the plans for the rest of the week officially. We had hoppers and might come back, but as the official planning went, this was our main day here.


We get in our car and I decided to play it “cool” and put my sunglasses on in the picture they take….and then on we went….







I only took a few pictures and only edited these 2…because I always take a ton and I really didn’t need to do a whole other set of the same thing.


Then we came to the picking of our future, which Claire was pretty much in charge of…..and we see our pictures.




Well that is interesting….I have holes in my eyes!




We were laughing so hard about this and Claire thought it was the coolest thing ever…..Even at 45 I am still cool!

I posted the picture on facebook and my friend Cass…who you may remember went to DL with me….replied….”In the Future You have no eyes!”


We had a dinner reservation to head to now, so we started making our way towards that destination.






See the crowds!




Yeah it was annoying as all heck. We tend to be faster walkers and for some reason most others are NOT fast at all. They tend to shuffle in front of us. And then when you go to pass them, they move or all of a sudden expand to twice their original size.

Claire made comments more than once about this and how it’s like people see us want to pass and all of a sudden grow!


AHHHHH! This is better.






It’s much easier walking here.




I do love the Yacht and Beach Clubs location and any time I can walk this way is a plus for me.








We were headed to Beaches and Cream, but we were talking too much and didn’t pay attention that we passed the Beach Club.






Once we got to the YC we realized our mistake and had to backtrack.










We checked in and got our buzzer and literally only had like a 2 minute wait. We ordered waters to start with as it was super-hot.




Now we were here for one main thing….the No Way Jose. This is about the best tasting thing in the world to us. I asked Claire if she wanted any food or just some fries and she said no. I would’ve helped her eat them, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat a whole order plus attack Mr. Jose as well, so we just went with him.








After a bit of waiting, our “dinner” arrived. The waitress offered to take our picture….Claire looks so enthused!




I then took this picture and posted it to facebook for the “where are we” game…I did this periodically throughout the trip.




And a couple of pictures of Mr. Jose before we dig in.






And then a few minutes later…..




It was darn good! We really pushed the last of it down though. We had eaten a lot this day, but who could refuse a No Way Jose!


While eating we discussed our options for the evening. We were really hot and getting tired of the crowds. We started to think that perhaps we would just leave and go to the Marriott now. After some more talking we decided that since we had park hoppers, we should make good use of them, so we would go over to Hollywood Studios and ride Star Tours and then head back to POFQ to pick up our car from there and then off to the Marriott.


We paid our bill at B & C and headed out and I believe we stopped off at the rocking chairs where I texted my parents to get the info of where our room was and to let them know our plans.




And after a few minutes we decided to walk to DHS. This would help work off that ice-cream.








And we were chatting away and again, not paying attention and got about halfway to the Swolphin before we realized we made a wrong turn. LOL







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We got ourselves back on track to DHS and Claire had a burst of energy.










As you can see it was starting to get a little dark now too.




We went in and saw a photopass photographer, so we stopped for a couple.




Hoochie mama in full force here!






And then we made our way back towards Star Tours.






One of these days I will eat here!!! I can never just work it in.






Jedi Training was in full swing, but Claire had no desire to watch.




Evidently this would’ve been the park to visit today and the crowds were a lot less and the line for Star Tours was very fast.

I think we also had a sequence we hadn’t seen before…or at least part of it. We always enjoy this ride and it was a lot of fun once again.

Once we finished that we made our way out and towards the front again.




We made our way to our bus stop and waited for the POFQ bus. We had quite a wait, but we had an entertaining CM in the area, so it wasn’t too bad.

I think we were the only ones on the bus to head back, which was fine by us.

I sat there and listened to the music and I swear it was Harry Potter music. I asked the bus driver …he was a nice guy as well…and he said no, but he couldn’t place it. The more I listened to it, I am positive it was Harry Potter music…..which I guess would make sense since ABC Family is the channel that always plays Harry Potter on TV. I posted that I thought I heard it on the bus to facebook….and I had a few people tell me they were sure they have heard it before on a bus as well.

After a short ride, we were back at POFQ .








And we got in our POC car and I programmed Siri to find the Marriott…in which she gave me every other Marriott but the one I wanted.

Finally after fighting with her for a little bit I was able to pull up the right Marriott and the directions were soon spitting out at us.


Let me say once again…..I hate driving in Disney. I love staying onsite and letting the buses do the work for me. Though it’s not always the most convenient…I do prefer it most days.


I am not familiar with the area at all because of this and I always get lost. Luckily I managed OK going to the Marriott….in the dark…but it took quite some time and it seemed like an odd way to go. As the week went on, I got better at it once I got to a certain point, but I would never find my way on my own without Siri there to guide me…at least from the start.

As we got near the Marriott…all of a sudden Siri said we were there. Um… no we are not. She is famous for doing this to me. We drove up and down the road and I found a side entrance and went in, but still couldn’t find there resort. I called my parents and they told me to come back further, so I did and found the guards gate. I pulled in and gave the room number and told him my parking pass was supposed to be waiting for me, so he handed me that and gave me not so great directions to the building. Luckily it wasn’t too far back and Dad was standing outside on the 3rd floor waving to us.

The next issue was parking. The lot was crammed packed, but I did manage to find a spot and we unloaded a few suitcases and took those up and then I ran down for the rest of the bags.


I took some quick pictures before settling in. We had a 2 bedroom room, with Claire and me in a room with our own door as well and set up like a studio.










Our room connected to the living room/kitchen area, which also was the door my parents used to enter.




Behind those double doors next to the fridge is a stackable washer and dryer!






I guess that’s all the pictures I took…but I think I took more later. But I am sure one reason was because I had a little someone begging to go to the pool. So we fished out her bathing suit and she quickly got ready to head to the pool. The main one was right across the street, which was nice.




Actually there are several smaller pools over here and 1 big one. It’s really a very pretty pool complex. It had a kiddie pool, hot tub, and I think one was a lap pool.






And tonight they were having a movie at the pool. I believe it was Monsters U. I found us some towels and a seat and Claire got in the pool. Most of the kids in the pool basically were watching the movie, which is pretty much what Claire did too, but she was having a good time.

It was getting chilly now, so I covered up with the towel and checked emails on my phone while she watched the movie.










After the movie was over….we got there late and it was closer to over when we arrived….I gave Claire the final warning and then it was time to get out. We did walk around a little bit to check the area out somewhat before heading back to the room though.


















We headed back to the room and Claire got ready for bed. I asked my parents if they picked up something at check in for me. My friend Deb had been on a Disney cruise recently and had a voucher for a free photo that she never used. She said she would send it to the resort for me to pick up and I could use it on the ship.

Mom said “oh yeah, they told us we had something waiting, but I told them we didn’t so I wouldn’t take it”. UGH! I had even told her the day before about it…I guess she forgot. So I headed back to the check in area and asked the person at the desk. She had to call someone and then she told me security would bring it to the room. I wandered a bit on my way back and as I was walking up, so was security, and I signed for it and got my package with the voucher. That was so nice of Deb and we did use it!


We settled down then and I turned the TV on. The current news at the time was the missing Malaysian airplane. I would watch the updates on this each night. This TV had a timer….which I love and I would set it to go off after a certain amount of time and I could watch TV till I drifted off without worry of the TV left on all night.

Soon I drifted off to dreamland. We would have another full day in store for us tomorrow.

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March 23, 2014, Sunday


As I always do, I woke up way too early. I headed outside and took a little walk. I met a lady today and we got to talking. She was there with her husband and son who was close to Claire’s age. They were doing Disney and Universal I believe. We had a nice chat and soon it was time to head back to the room to get showered and ready for our day. I woke Claire and she got moving, but slowly. But at least she was moving.

We all had a breakfast ADR this morning and we were meeting up with my cousin Katie, who was also at the world. I believe this was her last full day here and would be heading home tomorrow, so we thought it would be nice to have breakfast with her and her family since our trips overlapped.

You may remember Katie from my 2012 Nov. trip report. Her family cruised with us…..Thad, and her 2 boys, Jude and Luke.

Even though we don’t live too far from each other, we don’t see each other very often.


I programmed Siri and Mom and Dad were going to follow us over to the Poly. Of course when we came to the MK gates, I couldn’t remember which way to enter and entered on the wrong side. I told the gate CM that the car behind me was also going to the Poly and then we made the crazy dash across all the lanes and luckily we were not killed, nor did we kill others…though I am sure someone probably cussed us out at some point……SORRY!!!!


Now the Poly is under construction and it was quite the mess there, but we had our bands checked as we entered…I told them once again the car behind us was part of our ADR and we found our parking, which was kind of far out, but not too bad.


We did have a little bit of a walk up to the resort, but it wasn’t awful.








Once we were about to enter, Dad realized he left his hat in the car. So he headed back to get that and we went inside. He is a hat fanatic and has to wear one while outside.


I believe this is now gone. I probably was there right before they started work in here.










We actually were early, but looked around for Katie and family.




We headed upstairs and still no sign of Katie yet.












Dad made it back and found us and Katie finally arrived as well. However, Thad didn’t make it….he was sick. I think both of her boys had been sick over the week as well. I know Luke was sick the day before they left, but I think he popped back to health pretty fast, but then Jude got sick one day while they were there and I think they even skipped a park day because of it. Thad took ill today and she was hoping he would feel a bit better later in the day to join them.


I went and checked us all in and Claire and I were the only takers on the photo op…..ok, it was mostly me and I made Claire join me.








We had a little wait before we were called back. The boys were getting antsy, and I could tell Katie was getting tired. They had a full week so they were wired…..oh and Katie was expecting as well….and she just had a little girl about 2 weeks ago.


Then a funny thing happened. Katie pulled out a bag of candy…I think it was skittles or something like that….and tells Jude he can only have like 3 as the rest are for Luke. She goes on to explain that Luke refuses to eat pretty much all real food and this is practically the only thing she can get him to eat….and she’s a pediatrician!!! I thought that was funny. And Luke must be surviving as he looks healthy. She says she tries to shove food in his mouth when she can, but she isn’t very successful.


She also told us since Thad wasn’t joining us, that we could use one of their dining credits….they did deluxe dining …..and she didn’t want to lose the credit. We decided that we would put Dad on her bill.


After a bit of waiting, we were called back….thank goodness as we were all starving now.




We had bread on the table, but I am one of the few that is not fond of it…because their famous bread has coconut in it and I can’t stand coconut….I tried it again and it was still icky!


I did nibble at the other kind, but that has raisins in it, which I also don’t like, so I had to pick those out.






Last time we ate here in 2012 it was just OK. Nothing special and we had a poor waitress, which probably made us not care for it so much. This time we had a great waitress and plenty of food and refills on drinks. The food tasted better too.

We did tell the waitress how to split the bills and of course Dad starts up with…”I’m not with them, I’m with her”….UGH…we tell him to just be quiet and go with the flow.






Soon the characters started making their way around.












See Luke in this next picture? He was fascinated with Claire’s autograph book and kept grabbing it and at one point he “autographed” it for her as well. LOL


















Stitch was pretty entertaining!














Our next visitor was Pluto.










I love this next picture.








Luke was really curious about Pluto.




With breakfast done, we all agreed it was a very good meal and we were now stuffed. The bills came out and once again, Dad makes some comment about not being with Katie and he is not on the dining plan. Now he has lived with women his whole life…and you would think if we told him this was how it was, he would just shut up and do it…nope he has to ask questions. Luckily the waitress wasn’t paying attention to him.


We all said our goodbyes and Claire and I grabbed the monorail to Magic Kingdom. I think Mom and Dad were using the bathroom and then heading over too. Katie was going back to check on Thad.




And we scan our bands to get in and the CM asks if I had tickets left because it shows them all used. Um yes, just picked up my ticket yesterday…I have 4 days left. So he says he will reset it and I am good to go.


Yep…. It was crowded here today too.






Lovely cranes all during our trip.




So we are walking down the sidewalk and this bozo in a scooter starts honking and he is driving like a mad man and runs into us and several other people. I say in my not so nice voice “EXCUSE YOU”. I mean if I could go faster, don’t you think I would? And just turns and glares at me…sorry buddy…I can win awards for glaring and you don’t intimidate me at all.

So we watch him honk all the way down the side walk and still not making much more headway than us.




Lovely walls up all over the place here. We had to weave in and out of people to get down Main Street and these walls seem to make people walk slower.




There goes Scooter guy! Yeah look how far ahead he got by ramming into people….JERK!




We kept moving and of course there wasn’t much of a line for the dole whips, right when we are too full to get one.




Shuffle, shuffle.




I believe we were heading towards Pirates, but the line was just too long…but take a look at the upper left of this next picture.




Not sure what is up there, but people were coming out.




Even this new adventure had long lines for sign up and we never did try it.




Claire has a one track mind and Splash Mountain was all she was thinking about.




We got in line, and I don’t remember the exact wait time, but I think it was 30-45 minutes.




We got in line just in time as it grew quite longer after us.


We talked with the people in front of us…who were from Ohio as well, who were staying offsite and didn’t understand the whole FP+. I tried to explain a bit of it. They weren’t impressed with it and I can see why since they couldn’t get any till they got to the parks….and let’s just say those kiosks lines were MEGA long.


The line moved fairly fast, but I think we still waited at least whatever the posted wait time was.



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Time to board.




As we pass these guys coming down the hill I pray we miss the splash from them and I just BARELY did….thank goodness. I am not a fan of getting wet….Claire on the other hand loves it and I know she was hoping I would get splashed.















Is this a camera? Or a spotlight?
































Continuing on with more Splash pictures.








Oh no!!!!!!






One of our favorite parts of the ride.












We survived!!!




And I didn’t get too wet, which is always a bonus for me.






And our picture…I actually stayed upright…I usually tend to bend way over to avoid getting wet. This picture cracks me up, because Claire looks scared out of her wits….but she loves this ride and would ride it over and over if I let her, so not sure why she has the scared face.




After our splashdown we moved on and look what I found.




This was the first time we were able to see the Rapunzel tower….and I just loved it. And you will see several more pictures of it throughout the trip.




Here’s another one….I think this is so pretty…..such a fancy bathroom area.








I am pretty sure we used the bathrooms there to check them out and then moved on.



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We had some time before our first FP+ of the day so we wandered through Old Fantasyland.




And Claire does love It’s a Small World, so we had to make a stop there.




The line was long…and was not very fast moving either.






Finally we made it onto our boat.












I love when I get shots like this next one.
































And continuing with more Small World pics.
























My favorite room has always been the white and blue room…even as a kid.


















And now Claire was happy and we went back out to the crowded park.




I was sure excited to see this…..The only time I had seen the new Fantasyland was back in 2012 for previews during the Halloween and Christmas parties…so this was my first time seeing it in the daylight.




And there she is! The Mine Train….which at this time was still not up and running. I had really hoped they would be doing soft openings for our trip and many rumor boards had predicted they might….but as it came closer to the trip, I lost hope. My Dad did see them run an empty car a time or two, but I never did.







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as always, your trip reports leave me exhausted!


but I'm so glad you post them, as I love looking at the pictures and reading about your adventures



yeah it does me too. LOL. And writing seems to be a chore these days as well.

Thanks for reading

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We were now on our way to our first FP+ of the day.




Warning…I took a lot of pictures of the Mermaid area over the week.






I was just so excited to see this in daylight. So different looking in daylight compared to the night shots I got 1 1/2 years ago.




We got in the queue and it moved fairly fast, though if I remember right, we did pause for a bit.






The FP+ line does miss all the neat things in the queue though….and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out where the standbye line merged with the FP+ line.


Soon we were in our clam-mobile and I took a few pictures on the ride, but since I had just rode the Disneyland version about a month ago and they are pretty much the same ride, I didn’t take a ton.
















Ok…maybe I took more than I thought I did. LOL.


























And a few more Little Mermaid shots.






Claire was a happy camper…she just loves Ariel and loves this new ride.

We headed out and I once again made her get her picture taken.




And then went on to take several more pictures of Eric’s castle.
















I was now needing a little snack…after all at Disney World it is important to try and snack as much as possible and keep your energy flow up, so we headed towards Gaston’s.








For some reason I can never pick the right line in here. Last time we came, which was the preview time during the Halloween party we came in for a quick bite to eat and I picked the longest line ever with a CM that didn’t know what she was doing. I picked the same type of line today and it took forever to get up to order. Claire wasn’t too hungry and said she didn’t need anything. I decided to order the hummus and chips.








We also got something to drink, probably diet coke, and we found a table to sit at.






Claire ate a few of the pretzels but she is not a fan of hummus. Actually she would’ve eaten ALL the pretzels if I had let her, but I reminded her she wasn’t hungry (once again she was a little liar) and that I needed the chips for the hummus as I wasn’t about to eat it by the spoonful.


It was good, but a little pricey for what you got. I could have used about double the amount of pretzel chips. It didn’t fill us up, but it was enough to keep me from turning into a crazy monster…and that is always a good thing.


We headed back out then.




I think we may have checked out the shop right there since we had not seen it when we did the preview in 2012.


And off we went again.








I know some of you are smokers, though these days you don’t want to admit it for fear of attack…LOL….but yes there are a lot of smokers that go to Disney World and the smoking area used to be to the left of the castle, but guess what? It’s gone due to construction. Of course they moved it, but where? And I was really shocked when I saw where it ended up at.



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We kept walking and went down the right side of the castle on that little path and then I found it…and was shocked. The smoking section has been moved to the two little sitting areas along this narrow path. Now I don’t mind this at all, but I know many people have allergies and irritations with smoke and this is a very busy path, especially with all the construction going on and now all these people have to walk right through the cloud of smoke.


Oh and the view from the smoking section….




A drained moat. Really weird to see that.






We then realized the time and decided we should go find a spot for the brand new Festival of Fantasy Parade. This had just debuted about 2 weeks before we had arrived and I was super excited to see it.

We went to our favorite parade viewing area in Liberty Square and it was already pretty packed. Luckily we found enough space for our 2 rears to sit down along the rope. I think it was the last 2 spots in the whole area. The reason it was open????

Bird poop was right on the ground there. Yep, I didn’t care either. I got out a tissue and covered the bird poop and we sat right down. Bird poop washes off anyways, right?


We still had quite a wait till the parade actually started, so we sat and talked and I played on my phone a bit and Claire played on my phone a bit.


Finally a little bit of action.






Well that was nice, but now more waiting.






Let’s take a selfie….




This looks promising!








Ok, that was nice too…..but more waiting.




I was also texting back and forth with my friend Janet, who I think was almost as excited as I was about the new parade. She told me to be sure to try and get a picture of the dragon breathing fire….OMG!!! I had totally forgotten that it did this. I will definitely try!




And now for the Grand Marshall!!! We are getting closer!










We were now getting excited….the Music had started!!!!


Our first glimpse of the parade…we were so excited!!!






I noticed the lady next to me was taping the parade and her battery light was flashing, so I let her know. She was very upset as she didn’t have a spare battery…..note…Always bring at LEAST one spare battery for you camera each day….so she had to switch to taking pictures on her phone.








Being that this was brand new….I took a zillion pictures.














Of course a highlight for us and many around us was a chance to see Anna and Elsa. At this point in time they were meeting in Epcot and the waits were averaging 6 hours each day, so there was no chance in heck we would be ever meeting them this trip.




This float has turning platforms so I had to act fast to get as many photos as I could of them before they were out of site to the other side.










Tiana and Naveen were on the other side of the turning platform….oh and also on this float was Cinderella and her Prince and I totally bypassed taking pictures of them to get Anna and Elsa.












The costumes are just FABULOUS!!!!







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Rapunzel’s float is great!












She had great expressions!










Her braid wraps all around the float.




Cone on Flynn!!! Look at me!










Now we venture to the sea!








I just think these costumes are so amazing.










Here comes Ariel!








Again, the characters had fabulous expressions in this parade too.














And the Lost Boys!




















I was a little obsessed with Hook as you can tell.













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Tinker Bell brought up the rear of the float.








She was fabulous!










Tick Tock!




Merida’s clan was next to arrive.
















She was a ton of fun!










I see a dragon!!!!!












Loved the fairies.










Hello Prince Phillip.










I really watched the dragon….waiting for that fire breathing moment….. Come on Phillip….Go fight her!










She’s lifting her head! Surely she’s about to blow!






Nope! Nothing at all.








I was so disappointed that she didn’t blow fire. I texted Janet to let her know and we both hoped that it wasn’t something that was only done for the debut parade or special occasions.

Another odd thing is that Aurora is not in this parade at all. I have heard a few people think they have seen her, but no, she is not in this parade anywhere. I have watched it online, watched it at the parks twice (I will be watching it the next day as well), and gone over all my pictures…she is not in this parade. Now there is a theory and though it’s not confirmed in any way, I am betting it might be right or on the right path. We, meaning all my cohorts who like to talk Disney…..think that she was supposed to be on the first float with the Princesses, but then Frozen took off and Disney wasn’t prepared for it and they replaced her with Anna and Elsa. I can’t say this is true, but this parade was in the works long before Frozen came out and I am guessing they never intended to originally have Anna and Elsa on the float.

That’s my theory and I am sticking to it!






Thanks Jiminey for this pose!















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I know I have said it over and over…but I just loved all the wild costumes.


























Donald and Daisy.






























These girls costumes are supposed to represent the “Big Top” circus theme, but for some reason, I keep thinking they look like Mad Hatters…and I call the Hatter girls. LOL.




































Look over here Mickey!








And with that, it was over.

I think I covered it for you all fairly nicely…only missing a few things…..


So what did we think of the parade? AWESOME!!!!!!! It’s my new favorite at the parks….of course there are not many parades left at the parks anymore. Spectro is still my all-time favorite, but that is NOT coming back. And the Animal Kingdom parade is still 2nd, but again, that has now ended, but this one ranked up there with them. We were chattering away about it as we walked away….quickly…because little Miss Claire needed a bathroom break…and fast!


After the bathroom break we took a few minute to decide what to do next and of course I was trying to conquer the app that only worked some of the time.

There was this dog across from us and I asked how they were allowed to bring a dog in…..she’s a service dog! How cute is she? She had her official patch on and everything. I am not sure what kind of service she does as she’s not very big at all, but I am sure no one has told her that.




I did ask if I could take her picture.



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