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This TR is a great reminder of how much fun I've had adulating at WDW. I love hitting the parks with the kid, but my wife and I had a blast on an adults only trip 2 years ago even if we did have a little guilt at first about leaving our daughter behind.

 

Your thoughts on Magic Kingdom versus Disneyland are right on. Both are great on their own, but Disneyland just has something else to it. I have people that know I've been to both ask me which one I prefer and it's such a tough question to answer and articulate.

 

Can't wait to see the rest of your recap!

 

There's an unfortunate stigma (probably not here, but in the real world) that the Disney parks are made exclusively for children, but I've done the parks as both child and adult and find them more enjoyable as an adult! No need to feel guilt about leaving the kid behind, I'm sure she will enjoy future trips.

 

MK vs Disneyland, I will always tell people there are more attractions in Disneyland than Disney World. Of course, the real answer is much more nuanced than that (especially when you get into what the definition of "attraction" is), but that fact seems to make them understand, at least without a complete dissertation. You're right, it's hard to get across.

 

I'll have more of my trip soon. Real life got a bit in the way, but things should be rolling soon.

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Chapter IV - Better Butter Beer

 

 

Today’s good morning “Jambo” sounded a little less enthusiastic than usual. It wasn’t for a lack of interest, but I could tell the early mornings were starting to get to our crew. I let them know that this would be the last day we needed an early arrival.

 

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The reason I got everyone of bed so early was because we were going to tackle both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and we only had this one day to do it. The crowd projections were on our side, but I knew there’d be a lot to cover.

 

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Everyone just needs a nice Butterbeer pick-me-up.

 

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And our first stop was indeed the Wizarding World. We rushed to Escape from Gringotts and made it through with nearly zero wait!

 

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I must say I enjoy this ride, but, like many Universal experiences, the queue is better than the actual ride. I’m know much has been said about their over reliance of screens and projections, so I will spare you my thoughts (as you probably know what they are), but I’d like to add another issue I have with this ride.

 

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It’s clear to me that whoever directed the actors did so very poorly. The acting from Domhnall Gleeson as Bill Weasley and Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix LeStrange are stilted at best. Gleeson gives a completely flat and un-whimsical performance, seemingly because it was, like, their second take and it’s shot in a way he may not be comfortable with. Carter has the most glaring issue, to me. There’s a point where it seems like she forgets her line or at least misses her cue.

 

Am I crazy? Check out a video of the ride:

 

 

It all seems awkward and unrehearsed. Maybe they only had the actors for a very limited time.

 

 

 

 

After a deposit at the wizard bank, some of us were feeling a bit peckish and decided to drop in for some brekky at The Three Broomsticks.

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Megan tried the hot butterbeer for the first time.

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We now both agree that this is the preferred form of butterbeer. Liquid form, that is; the ice cream is superior. It’s so damn sweet, I love it. Speaking of, does anyone know if they changed the butterbeer recipe since around 2011? I remembered it being a lot sweeter! It’s still cloyingly sugary, but not enough for my big ol’ sweet tooth.

 

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We enjoyed our nosh and continued exploring the land.

 

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I love the detail here. We haven’t had any chance to check out what I affectionately call WestPot, at Universal Studios Hollywood (we usually only go to the park for Halloween Horror Nights, and it has yet to open for that). I was able to visit the original in 2011 and Diagon Alley once before, in 2015, and it’s my favorite theme park land to date. I am a big Harry Potter fan, but I think I’m a bigger theme park fan and the land itself satisfies all of my requirements. So many details to uncover, so many sounds and smells and tastes to take in. It’s really wonderful.

 

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I do have some issues with it, of course. For one, I mentioned earlier, the ride leaves some things to be desired. More built out environments instead of reliance on screens would be great. They have cool animatronics in the queue! Why not the ride?

 

But, the biggest issue I have is it’s whole premise. You are a muggle visiting the Wizarding World. Excuse me? Disregard the breaking of the source material’s continuity, nobody who reads or watches Harry Potter wants to be a Muggle. It makes less sense too that we are buying wands and other magical things that wouldn’t work for us if we were Muggles. It’s a really messy premise they have set up here. Why not simply just let us be wizards and witches?

 

There’s also a similarly weird concept where the characters and Team Members of the land will ask if you go to Hogwarts and what house to which you belong, despite myself having an obviously not English accent and being 30.

 

My house is Gryffindor, by the way, and Slytherin can stuff it!

 

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We offered no time to explore the rest of the park and hopped right aboard the Hogwarts Express.

 

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This ride is great, I have no real issues with it, either. Especially since, apparently, they can fit ten of us in a single compartment!

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This picture is clearly mid-Jambo.

 

We hopped of the train and dove right into Forbidden Journey.

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Great ride! Still too much reliance on screens, but a great experience that combines a lot of techniques. Love it.

 

I really should just go to WestPot. I don’t have to fly 2,000 miles away to ride this, why do I?!

 

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It took me so long to realize that this is the Gryffindor common room! The switchbacks kind of mess with the illusion of it. And all the people.

 

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Austin is just impressed that the man in the back can magically drink from his cup without his hands! Wooooooww!

 

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After a very Harry morning, we continued on to Jurassic Park.

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With a few exceptions, this ride is quite superior to the Hollywood version! The lush greenery is enough to make me say so. It’s much more immersive than seeing the Frankenstein parking lot behind a brachiosaurus. Points I would give Hollywood over Orlando: The T-Rex head you see before the drop.

 

That, of course, is irrelevant now due to the Jurassic World conversion.

 

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Megan and Austin insisted on staying dry.

 

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Kong was new for everyone. I must say I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I kind of hate the Hollywood version where Peter Jackson tells you to put on your 3D glasses and then you have to hang onto them for another 40 minutes. This one was enjoyable. Had some great practical effects mixed in. I was very surprised to see the driver on the vehicle was fake.

 

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And this thing was one of the best animatronics I’ve ever seen. It was so believable in its movements and it had a real “goopiness” to it. It could have been on set in a movie, it looked so good. Yes, I know this ride has a giant animatronic Kong, but this one is the one that wowed me.

 

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I’m not sure what Brian and Vanessa were saying here. I can only assume they were asking for change.

 

Around this time I was getting a little nervous. The crowds had started to pick up. Wait times were getting longer and longer and my party grew hungry. We stopped at the closest place to eat, which was in Jurassic Park. I wanted people to eat something nice in CityWalk, but we were trapped in the back of the park and I didn’t want to interrupt the circuit.

 

We finished eating and hit up Spiderman and Hulk. While walking past, those who fear no water hopped onto the Popeye rapid ride. Myself and a few others passed on this opportunity.

 

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Natalie, would you like to go with them and have water in your socks all night?

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“$@%& that!”

 

Once we finished the Islands of Adventure loop, a handful of folks, who planned for a second day at Universal, went back to Jambo house to rest.

 

As for those who remained, we hit the Studios park. Mummy and Men in Black, back to back.

 

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There was a parade going through…

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Jen noticed that Squidward was having a bit of a wardrobe malfunction.

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The sourpus face really sells how uncomfortable this must have been.

 

I wouldn’t let anyone leave without going for a bike ride with E.T

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Oh man, this is the nostalgic ride of my youth. I never got why Peter Pan has a crazy long line, but if people feel about Pan how I feel about E.T., then I totally get it.

 

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I’m endlessly bummed that we have a crappy version Revenge of the Mummy over this.

 

The sun began going down and we knew it was time for our last rides.

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I suggested Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit, but those who weren’t too interested wanted to get one last look at Diagon Alley and spend time in the bank vaults of Gringotts.

 

DJ, Vanessa, and I hopped in line for HRRR and had an amazing night time ride. It was probably the best ride I’ve had on it, it didn’t even feel rough. When we got off, Dj and Vanessa wanted to ride again, and I feel bad, but I told them we should meet our friends, who were probably already off Gringotts.

 

But it was minutes until closing…

 

Could we make it to ride Gringotts one last time? We ran to Diagon Alley. Well, more like we theme park ran, which is running while making your upper body look like its just walking.

 

We made it with seconds to spare! I threw my camera in a locker and we escaped from Gringotts! After our ride, our friends were waiting, surprised to see us walking out of the exit.

 

That’s right guys, we got a HRRR ride AND a final Gringotts. Okay, I need to sit down, I’m out of breath.

 

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I limped my way back to the rideshare pickup.. Three days of theme parking during all daylight hours had finally caught up to me.

 

The next day would have a later start, but definitely more walking…

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  • 2 weeks later...

Chapter V - Self-Induced Dehydration and Schnitzel

 

There are many benefits to staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The animals, of course, but also the access to stellar food, a magnificent lobby, and large carts of plasticised feces for your close examination while you wait for a bus.

 

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Yes, and only later do you realize these are the same bowls they use in the restaurants.

 

Meg and I struck out early this day, leaving our exhausted crew behind.

 

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We had FastPass reservations early on for anyone who wanted them, but most decided they’d have a nice sleep in and meet us for lunch. It actually wasn't that early, this time, it was like 11 o’clock.

 

But Meg and I couldn’t wait, knowing that Walt Disney World was right outside our door.

 

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But it turned out to be a bust! What we thought would be a nice leg up on the day by heading out a bit early turned into us being stuck on Mission: SPACE for far too long.

 

I’m not really a fan of being trapped in this ride vehicle, so we made the best out of it while annoying our other two riders by pressing every button!

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“Meg angry!”

 

We were finally pulled out of the Mission: SPACE coffin and beelined it straight to Mexico for recovery.

 

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Ahh, that’s the stuff.

 

We enjoyed our margaritas… and another… and met with our friends who had arrived at the park: DJ, Jackie, Mikey, Natalie, Austin, and Jen. They too got margaritas and thus began our day drinking around the world.

 

 

 

5GlFsMTDRV2BC2zXK8WUGOEGvyj3ZDE72pqWpYuvyGpzzBSkEe0um59m3EtG9bkZvDJ-O_amFvmO1UmMFYhVSh1qFX_U3a2Psq8-8-qOwr0YULWVycMxrT3Pbs7jj2RTontjM0zzr-ZRckdp0Th5O4QIVUU6EhQobS9l81ysqFhDQVBTuycrXrhLLwPoWrNE_TfbjOGYRzDD1M2KrEpSfaw7wAEUPzgd9N3S-sp2OFVHl3WRWWkxzqWSoAPCx_sAc6yqMMw7iW1LsB8AkfPXwQ2WwFjGJHGZD6ggjq3sn-Qyl3YosmiYNVk9BLHFsuYqutrnHZKk44asck6aF-FLfqVxgt8Q_syLZyfvuLsBSs2lnfmVMX90Le2vE79iQP-TuJEG7e_NZzYgS_nCkyT8f9TPA7PJ5Vrsgif2mbbFW3plHxtNKYhyotmmZmOLeB0Za4nQLVvDsHdPy-iBBva9ByjRyxntcq4kqDg-alaa5JCirsXbD03lqgbLnXh7h4uHI6WWMV4TbfuNEw1VGkCFm8PTmUiu9hD5BTvqzS_0fWwHYSoTV9iiC4-4W8th49wF79h0_IgPvb37hq4EX5iWNVRSRgEYr4hmc5jyIX942uwKaTH3U56UcwOdDSKQDt8UPuQFkVsghRFQuIY2SbVMz8pMHeTv6rQ=w196-h348-no

28828568_10102478761748867_4114010067287227246_o.jpg?_nc_cat=101&_nc_ht=scontent-lax3-2.xx&oh=9009eb7f4e6a0fb49da7ae6bcecebc57&oe=5CDB680E

DJ with Tajín in his beard.

 

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DJ realizing that’s why I took the last picture.

 

Starting so heavily in Mexico, “uh-oh” you say. Well, we had a big lunch planned, so this'll all soak right up, right? Right?

 

Ze9jKkNgVmYQaIH18gaWAWrL4mVjRf3tegIfJm6kctZseBiFnJL4U-k6XRjlSfv2GMnkmBxnu8MCMYzPaG7FGr3iUB5v3IqpybREHvT-Wh-bSSFSCM1ZzkH8M8N6G7_iri_L9qv7bDEn23OGU_jpA-bsf25dXEa6t1PPJEZCQa5WZcAIj2rk16bUCocah4wIk-ITjGI11tMMPNnUlsCwQkxdQVYOehP-lCF8ZGEX4PbWYn5NSKY50Zj_wgKxO3yqfpEH1DNLUz0yeVdCM-t6GxpMbaUxTgKga0ZwY5szeM7qgmxFLAurD32t0kUqr5f5pMH2e59Mk-XQ8dG3bz19nRsRXgQX6szGM8Pnq_77vtBIk7uH_QxUZuu1HWcU04KwzSMaTkMmWD-ZsxaqLel_1iBFZI0Cs044tRWh5okBBypd8ddWFtD86Lp-UjZrV4azaddt4c51ECEJsSykwTDpmzcXyHDoxGWJHnu0dkimKzfQx_PInD67MUYtf8bePUdzipwM2tDcCkJg5wKiu0zxz2DDK9D-UgkyuFZC-dVZlA9gt8bJGA1grUtatHLGvnv6qo6lsGMazUTmvUEFldCgC2HUGrO5Bor9bnP70zSLb9kHLteM8MPBmqr3RNWunzELrb0nTiKy4nd4u-NTlRKJgEKDdlVmYA8=w2049-h1537-no

 

But before lunch, we climbed aboard a boat and toured the Arendelle pavilion.

 

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I was a big fan of Maelstrom and very sad when it went away. The Frozen ride, despite me not liking the movie very much, was great! The effects and environments all looked wonderful. That Olaf animatronic blew me away when I saw him walk over to us. That was nuts. Now I have another reason to be upset at Disney. They keep taking away favorite rides and replacing them with IP related attractions and, dammit, they’re actually good. I miss the days where I could complain about a classic replaced with crap when it goes under new management.

 

YRj3bvCU5bIzUVfHNCP9Zdh90rjBHWf5P9aOmzJQS4vH7r8FoU-asw95fo5fv6IBWYtcVqfxIC6XaY2U1DEeN-wcloHmxpYPWzjo1QzrYpNCjUb1lE9INkX9RMmaAD7JhmTiMHJFdzkKhL1yEEwlcK8exN4kSNfsmZb1DMCV2zDiKm2j_oWWT3U_w5_6-N94-5FFupRaRQ2p2mxh58PO5ocyz7j9X1SZX3fcOAQPxnHUXePlJr2BZKC1UXJ4QdDoic533BAgjjlkSH_Nr34A95ucfFF68Z9IHXGevzNo2vfM5MsSiZnT6vVPkKvyOItLTvHYoA-ACWiZmm2CUd00zXRE5w4oL9IYnTulcL2LqSIrBnCsyxWNgL0IKXZ5jOHcaqKbbcn6Vg8GTxBWeMzcZjLsXRxFE3zybaWeF-XGKUXzwFBZMAM5mSB0aE5P4CZhBmpbIdBEFw05177JybrdfQUe8bOJ0V7eQuZ9ZWUfbzySq5sn8p1f8kdnViZkk1FEWGqGBVUmMgHupFmM-JgG7zAPtfx9QZ3tKV-HbelraVBViO_dw6ef5TWrmpIYkztkPPpuE1v8bv8kCxMGBpdciRLcJGp3zo6F_9qgTcESMObUMS-HsZ_EyNrjy80BfmSbVvqvoeMePTwzxvJSJT_L3tE68ZOoxYA=w1302-h1734-no

Jackie, seen here getting reprimanded for the unforgivable crime of spilling beer.

 

T7ksu7ZhsU77wJaVxNN2S6ep54z2vxf3CfhIJb00a4sCmxmGU8ET6WiT0vU7rmqWj9AHYc6QL_uxiKQQ9jyvKcOMoKqmMNc2qEevgoSrbP20l557rqBIfHRYryisM1otWqtFHeOdXWhG6HL53-Hbcf4CnTp06oGAQ5gCIAyqv4veOJaCdwqSyIkkKqeVd_RhZPIfF0r9qzyzCWtfrcrR96ACBg6SLhuOWlGlReBkmLBzOCxATVVfUp7PMWqkCh822BTsj1hQcLsfvT03ECuovXF7WqIyR7O46h6Ajt-sUSk91NBoj2NAeyl16vRGnZYRl6mlQZreli9kI2HNPZ5RCCutL_YuSCCDrbukyD9Ar520CuRF0y64ySHzIl7xJZpVVExWtonwWplRZuaj6897GXqYX8fNDNytbC7OR7mO1o_9pLRjK2xwa0BW39pUZv9y9QmWfMjgc51lyUVOYxUglrevqGo9RgO-rE8MC78meAFHjncM55G-6ZXpe1z9x7e1gPqI583gcldabGCpymgKJCbGGxgWeAJxbFXRZFy1wVTMtygdO7AA_XCey9dGHTpSMMl5Il-zSHmHQr8ACwbVk2EYDZiYROfRH2utPW_s6gxt4HQyurk37_zRyVNxyeHagfi-7EhAJIU9kB17EBl0EMtmI_uMYiI=w1302-h1734-no

 

 

 

YKXENh_MmaFtM7UaUqxJvNRJ3JF4-5flILc1dfdAtN-QsYBf0GF3o8oOaMwu3VJQRWubr3ZSCI5FE-c9xvG_zXHnnB9e3utToHZ9B2FmEuQgAoM6gNlHT1pl2kZwRKjb47TLdqTwZjuWgJMWKcmbSAEVBN26h95UmSIn8shDojtLIbfQUNhyQBSxECJALxC0Z5nAfCOp_XG9Yc5szgYoMOQrA5ANmtc5_z5uNDMz5vjASs8dL_EkSp0kBWyqc98oGhVPITnRKYkArnVYMiPXbswgdb4Uy0j88YNG2mDDyQwoOIvPpl8UuN4DjRBgt0cQaDLvuX2LU3nkOvZLa3bQiPoFBOTNthi0t_8538ef1Eh8jLNItODSYkcUWOixg8kNI4Z4-dBRcietjGq20vBu3_h6QhxrA3AG-2aiWoCXdk9Bhdo-qUlFnt_PeBcQEho-Z4m-Opw9v6vBVYFahk9VS8HW2Si0MthIaz8Am6o3Q8OXWcqZOZzhFgQDBI3LvnplqpZcESocDo3db5JBohjERMtrqtYJOcYzCgRku7ZHzFZM5E8yuGUgOqy38PUZw0UVOSL2pJafyEMlmvHqLnEpUpqIAbJQAIpwc1kXC1YJ-l93cpLEFnZaIMdCNuz_Rctqgi2qeuzLe6gJU68bcmF-K6IatrXMrNc=w1440-h366-no

 

 

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Lunch time had arrived.

 

28827333_10102478761848667_5555263287657469837_o.jpg?_nc_cat=106&_nc_ht=scontent-lax3-2.xx&oh=ea1fdbe1c5eaa7cd8f8ed8ec4f9c78f2&oe=5CDABE78No, Jen! In the building behind you!

 

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Biergarten for lunch!

 

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Here’s the reason DJ insisted on going to Biergarten.

 

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I liked it. The atmosphere was very nice. The gentlemen performing for the crowd killed it. During the show, Mikey and Jackie got up to dance.

 

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The food was just okay, in my book. I did feel very full afterward, but unsatisfied with what I ate. I don’t see myself returning to Biergarten any time soon, despite having a good time. The food is not worth it.

 

While we were fattening ourselves up, a few other people showed up at the park.

 

Nick hopped aboard Not-Maelstrom as the only lone adult man on the boat…

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And we discovered Brian and Vanessa (not pictured, whoops!) had arrived, too!

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They were just in time to continue our tour around World Showcase.

 

 

We stopped for a moment in America to try these drool worthy cups of chocolate:

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Wow is all I can say. These count for drinking around the world, right?

 

Things got serious once we hit Japan.

 

RzyP43ODhrhx1oAe_UmoNjrcJajvGPXWSCarf5sfzB8DR4cXX9B0y462ZBGz850vbNHhqTTOFKNCJEeQCrwsPazcOA4fE2LI3AuvH2jvBnl9tn9C_96eLD4vRxqEq1ykugDC1rwbXCgKly3janVAmty-IjBfK11Rxg9-6XwxkwiWPhdIaxs3oUk_ls91bN23x9Cm-29Q5M5L26ZLDRg9fTwBpZC5RHP_lQBdtlea3R-IvTQRMTs-lV5vEowLY0XFSHXXnBEn3x-Jd9R-116UqGBda64RAop31dmkUSeRIAx_t-N5wsj5WLFUy3X6YnWYO28RIQv81zwMNfOYPPo0347r88BKPDfeGP5pcRqEscyIpgHgrbzv3g6VQEW4TlrNLT81hckbg8gAMXIRCsyKe1uIRvzmJFnOLk9EW8tCITKL1k8XSUKU_7cUl3icL3bCdoQyMwqpwxkkeUP614egPXvucsvCrCyaJd_FNkqA4w27euKmEQ2_1BkU2igwBn8A9Ti91PdS6s1BG_X_PL21LJK8GLGGULpD_zZuy9WI_jHwbYxpPPyFjjrw-SLYQMxhJH2yOn0yHcnvo3GESxUY9hJvbtIRd9mU_Nmscz-iXar-FafVVNWhyWDGpKCfo6E1o2EbxF-LYhVM_hHKLJ0Dax0u4iBe_ag=w2049-h1537-no

 

Our bellies were full on schnitzel and we needed to drown it with some alcohol.

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And thus began DJ’s Wine Quest.

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“Wine Quest!”

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“WINE QUEST!!”

 

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Our quest move us on into Morocco.

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Oh my god, look out to the right!

 

 

Morocco is a beautiful pavilion. I love walking around through it and seeing all the shops. There is texture everywhere you look. This pavilion is worth walking all the way around World Showcase for. That’s not to say the booze along the way isn’t worth it!

 

Ah, booze. Right! So far I barely feel a tingle. Let’s stop in and grab something…

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There we go. And now to continue calmly around the lake.

 

Wait, what’s… happen… hap… happening happening…. happening… Do you hear that music?

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OH hey there’s DJ! DJ is here! *hiccup* Excusme.

 

luD77H5INx5ZmKU7_45Ej0B6sJ2fqp2odd2jJbxSD4rsijPuuo092LQQEX_7RoPzfsEL9C-1lJrAq_sgR4qrGkBfbY6Ort21vGN-tUkiVswKfscR4mzFXpHZcREYTzMHhsALWTgE5NmOgtGw4nc-QpPIq-ie7WZ9Gcj-oWIMhzl4-1HxMsBDy2siv-lUbWy4mbfmNTXtmHs-rX0r_8JB_qk5sLfvHrlOl2jbJbC3At_4Fm8IBGhpC5PmB8SQsgrrnmTgR0PVqrV5WBiOzdF1hG3dUNJHCYnmFDk731Lo_F17GAvNrbLsxj6pLDSnf4Ov3YEAhVQ1vEAFkgyGksvBP78XSPppMzfkJq9DtryYzSjtJLzSgr6Opoo5Km1q_6GBQ9NUtBasT7GfRFUDmndjFqx6I6vIJnE3vnQsk32f7gpqC4Tc9sPd3QwGYnYfI4ibRPYRNs33V-76bKpex394v-WSTWtrKa82IPRGj3JVClTeoE3pftuptlpNH-6ZLnL7XzUy8zahM5hst2Il7QtaJdep7H0RjvFiUHq2FR0G1bJtpQ-KhtL1oc0o5K80irNePATX3MnDai1PLLpcdjeJk-bf_hePuRyNCSlvIFONHz_a1O2_tTeEHfQuYNBmIOf5nMlH_aaCJ7KLxodWgpPkgvoyGGWlnNk=w1302-h1734-no

My friends are all here. We are going around Disney World with all my friends because they are here and DJ is here and we have to get him more wine!

 

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Is it just me or are things a little blurry right now?

 

This drink is tasty.

 

Oh, how long have I been talking to my buddy Brian?

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Brian is a very good friend of mine from all the way back in middle school. He would never meet me at Six Flags Great America growing up, but we went to Disneyland and I gave him a Dolewhip and now he’s my friend at Disney World, too.

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Oh no! What did I say to Brian to make him make this face? He must be an Citrus Swirl guy now.

 

These drinks are goooooooood. How many have I had? We're in France now? When did...?

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Oh! We’re moving... we’re moving out!

 

Oh not them, they stopped… why?

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Let’s listen in…

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“NO. MORE. HQ!”

 

I sure am enjoying Epcot.

 

Oof I’m dizzy…. Where am I?

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Okay, I think we’re almost there. Just keep looking down, maybe you won't thro-

 

Nope. That's not working, okay look up, look up.

 

Hey, my buddy Brian is here!

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Brian is a very good friend of mine from all the way back in middle school. He would never meet me at Disneyland because it was too far from Chicago.

 

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Oh no… how long have we been drinking?

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“I can see my own soul”

 

RRRrrrrriiiiiiiing…….

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Ahoy?

 

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“WINE. QUEST.”

 

Oh boy, folks. I think we all need to go home and lie down. Let’s get us there the fastest way possible.

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As far as I can tell, the Test Track cars did, in fact, drive us back to Jambo House...

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Edited by Director_Guy
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Nice reports of Universal and Epcot!

 

The park staff is weird about Diagon Alley. The first time I went there, I couldn't find it. When I asked a staff member, they acted like it didn't exist because I was a muggle.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Nice reports of Universal and Epcot!

 

The park staff is weird about Diagon Alley. The first time I went there, I couldn't find it. When I asked a staff member, they acted like it didn't exist because I was a muggle.

 

That's pretty funny! That might the first time a park has told its staff to be purposefully unhelpful.

 

Epcot looks so good. That Biergarten is amazing. I am generally a fan of biergartens.

 

Epcot is the best. Beirgarten, like I said, the food wasn't great. But the atmosphere (and I assume giant glasses of beer) was top notch.

 

 

New chapter coming soon! Only a couple days left to cover!

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Chapter VI - The Honeymoon Alliance

 

Morning came swiftly.

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Jen and Vanessa had the right idea that morning. After our trip around the world, it would do us all good to eat some breakfast and hydrate.

 

We began the day at the only remaining theme park we hadn’t visited: Hollywood Studios.

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The rest of the crew was to meet up later; taking advantage of the fact that they are on vacation and aren’t insane people like us who want to ride rides all day.

 

More power to them.

 

Nick, DJ, Austin, Jen, Vanessa, Megan, and myself opened the park up.

 

I find that while both lines can get long for the two attractions on Sunset Blvd, I’d much rather wait in the lovely queue for Tower than the outdoor switchback from Hell that is Rockin’ Rollercoaster. So, I forced everyone to go there first.

 

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DJ says, “Wait a minute… I love that idea!

 

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What do we have here, a couple of them theme park ruffians?!

 

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Oh. You’re probably wondering about the shirts.

 

DJ’s totally awesome gal pal was, unfortunately, unable to make it to our week long excursion. As a surprise to us, she had made and sent us all these matching shirts declaring us “The Honeymoon Alliance”. We were so thrilled and grateful. Yes, now our touristy endeavours are finally complete. We are, at last, That Group. I couldn’t be happier.

 

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Immediately following Coaster, we jumped in line for Tower.

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In fact, it was so great, we jumped back in line again.

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This ride is just so great. I couldn’t say enough about it. I miss it dearly at California Adventure, but of course I am content with the Guardians ride. It’s a great ride, but I sure love the spooky aesthetic of the old Hollywood Tower Hotel. It’s right up my alley.

 

 

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I don’t even see it as an IP thing. I don’t believe people sing this ride’s praises because of “The Twilight Zone”. You could remove every reference to the show and it’d still be a fantastic experience (as evidenced by the Tokyo version).

 

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I wouldn’t want the Tokyo version to replace Orlando’s version, however. I really like the Old Hollywood vibe and would really like that to stay inta-

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“Dude, you’re rambling. Get on with it.”

 

Oh, jeeze. Sorry, me from the past. Let’s move on.

 

 

Well, we’d been in Hollywood Studios for about an hour now. I’d say it was about time we ride the only other ride there.

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“I hope they’ll let me bring this on the plane.”

 

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The always excellent Star Tours. This was the first time we’d gotten a chance to see the Crait sequence. Kylo Ren held up a picture of my face because I WAS THE REBEL SPY! YES! ME THIS TIME! I WIN!

 

Although I could have been a better spy. My t-shirt is a dead giveaway.

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Megan is still the champion at getting to be the Rebel Spy. I think she’s been chosen over 5 or 6 times on several different versions of Star Tours. Maybe that’s rookie numbers for some of you, but that’s insane for a casual Star Tourist.

 

 

Suddenly, Natalie arrived!

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Just in time for us to enjoy the Henson classic, MuppetVision 3D.

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I sure miss this one back West. Very happy about the Philharmagic replacement, but it’s definitely a consolation prize.

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The Force may be strong with us, but so was The Hunger. We quickly found a place to eat adequate food.

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Clearly, we made the right choice.

 

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Nick and Natalie went off to have their own lunch date at Epcot.

 

The rest of us spent some time getting a few drinks, wandering the park, and getting a few more rides in.

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By mid-afternoon we were back on a bus and headed to Animal Kingdom to meet with the rest of our group.

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Those bus rides between parks are some of the best sleep you’ll ever have.

 

 

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Back on Pandora!

 

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Jambo, friends. We are all together again, at last.

 

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Many of us used this opportunity to try the local flavors.

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These shirts sure do catch the eye, don’t they! Oh my!

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You know what... I kinda like walking around dressed just like 10 other people. We look pretty sharp.

 

Time for Time Travel.

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“Doyouthinkhesaurus?”

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When we got into the vehicle, the ride operator said “You’re gonna want to get the picture for this one.” He was right.

 

We double backed to Asia to ride Everest one last time.

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“Top o’ the World!”

 

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Afterward, Brian and Vanessa went to grab some Flametree BBQ dinner and the rest of us ran over to single rider Everest for one last last ride.

 

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The sun had nearly set and it was finally time to do what we were here to do. See Pandora at night.

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I wasn’t overly impressed with the lighting at night. It doesn’t compare to what you expect from having seen the movie Avatar. But I think it does look pretty.

 

I do have issue with being able to see lighting equipment that’s basically out in the open and in reach of all guests.

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Well, it’s not really an issue for me, more like I can easily see someone messing with this. It also, looks kinda tacky.

 

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The vibe, for the most part, is pretty nice.

 

To end the night, we exercised our FastPass for Flight of Passage. It was just as good this time as before.

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After that, we all went back to Jambo House for rest. Tomorrow would the last day before the alliance was broken...

Edited by Director_Guy
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That's the first time I've seen that on-ride animation/video of the Tower of Terror... that is so cool!!

 

lol @ the shirts, I let out a big UGGHHH

 

Good stuff. I didn't notice any of the lights you speak of when I went, but I did find it hard to navigate the area by myself because I went to the after hours event and have never even seen the area in the daylight, and then compound that it's a private event with practically nobody on the midways, I kept getting lost and had no idea if certain paths were for guests or not... lol oh well.

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Great report and awesome night shots of Pandora.

 

I never thought I could see the Tower of Terror with a different theme, but Disney has convinced me. Tokyo's theme is the best. That being said, I still prefer Orlando's tower for the drop sequence and 5th dimension room. If Shiriki came over with those two elements still in tact, I think it would improve an already outstanding ride.

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That's the first time I've seen that on-ride animation/video of the Tower of Terror... that is so cool!!

I made the animation, but the source is from the Disney PhotoPass thing. A few of the rides have videos of you on portions of the ride. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is another one.

 

lol @ the shirts, I let out a big UGGHHH

Hahaha!

 

This is the natural response to seeing people in group t-shirts. We, however, looked amazing.

 

...a private event with practically nobody on the midways, I kept getting lost and had no idea if certain paths were for guests or not... lol oh well.

 

That sounds like a really cool experience. A nearly empty, dimly lit land at night would be like exploring a foreign planet. It honestly sounds fun.

 

 

 

Best matching shirts ever.

See?! Thank you!

 

 

 

Great report and awesome night shots of Pandora.

Thanks! Those awesome night shots were provided by Natalie. She is an excellent photographer and I've been including a lot of her photos when I didn't have any coverage of certain things. Like Pandora at night!

 

I never thought I could see the Tower of Terror with a different theme, but Disney has convinced me. Tokyo's theme is the best. That being said, I still prefer Orlando's tower for the drop sequence and 5th dimension room. If Shiriki came over with those two elements still in tact, I think it would improve an already outstanding ride.

I completely agree! I love the story of Harrison Hightower, but the actual thrill portion of the ride needs some plussing-up. If they transposed the story to the old Hollywood aesthetic, I think I'd be pretty happy.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Chapter VII - The End

 

 

The final day as a group had arrived.

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Jackie and Mikey were the first ones out, hoping to catch up on the things they missed at Hollywood Studios.

 

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Austin and Jen decided to spend their last moments before their flight that evening at Epcot (good choice).

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Meg, DJ, and myself were out early, but several steps behind the others. We did enjoy the extra room on the bus, however.

 

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The rest of our gang weren’t too far behind, but it’s park time, baby, you can’t waste that!

 

 

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We met up with Austin and Jen right away. They wanted to more soberly explore the World Showcase (at least for a little bit). We walk through the back half and stopped in Canada, Austin’s home country.

 

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I had never seen it before, but found it surprisingly enjoyable. I was almost nostalgic for a country I’ve never visited!

 

Austin felt very homesick afterward, so we drowned our sorrows with feel-good juice in Mexico.

 

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Yes, we got two each! The line is stupidly long, man. This just saves time.

 

We stepped outside and found Jackie, Mikey, Brian, and Vanessa. A small bee was making friends with Jackie’s Gudetama pulsh.

 

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The bee recommended we ride Mission: Space for some “sick G’s”. Well, I’ve never been one to say ‘no’ to a bee, especially a Bee that knows its G’s. The group migrated over and we blasted off.

 

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We were the only ones who wanted the intense side!

 

We were running out of time before Austin and Jen’s flight, so we swung by Club Cool for a beloved right of passage.

 

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You can see for yourself how it went:

 

 

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We all got on a bus back to Jambo House to have a midday rest.

 

DJ couldn’t wait until we got back.

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DJ sleepy.

 

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At last the time to say goodbye had arrived. Austin and Jen left the wonderfully strange dreamland that we got to stay in for a week and flew back to Los Angeles. But before the Alliance broke, we met once more for a last Jambo.

 

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What a great group of weirdo adventurers.

 

After a small rest, we all met downstairs at Boma for an unbelievable “Last Meal”.

 

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Here’s my “stalker photo” inside Boma.

 

Folks, this place is up there with ‘Ohana as just the best food at the resort. Holy crow, it was just good thing after good thing.

 

Natalie, show ‘em what we ate:

 

 

Oh man. Guys, don’t Trip Report while hungry…

 

After Boma, we all relaxed with a somber board game. All of us were thinking it: we didn’t want to leave.

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Why couldn't we stay like this forever?

 

 

The next day, they were gone.

 

 

 

 

Ah, at least there was some evidence left.

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Oh, man! DJ’s Winequest! He must have quested hard.

 

This day Meg and I were celebrating our 10 year dating anniversary. We started at Hollywood Studios…

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Feeling sad that our friends were gone, and exhausted from when our friends were here, we went back to Jambo House for lunch. We couldn’t leave Florida without getting another one of these cheesy suckers.

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Oh, Giordano’s.

 

 

Meg and I then enjoyed our hotel. We lounged about, took a midday nap, enjoyed the Mufasa tub. It was a very calm day.

 

That evening we wandered Epcot in the rain.

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We had a lot of the park to ourselves. There weren’t many other people who wanted to be out in the rain.

 

We roamed until it was time for our romantic dinner reservation at Le Celier.

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To be honest, I was so punch drunk (and a little actually drunk from Mexico, of course) from this trip, that I barely remember eating here. I think it was good! I liked the intimate environment of the restaurant. We shared this piece of meat and went back to the hotel.

 

 

Our final day had arrived.

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Did we spend our final day at Epcot?

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Yepcot!!

 

We had a few final FastPass+ rides…

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...but we mostly wandered the park soaking up as much as we could before we had to face the real world. We reflected on an incredible week. How lucky we are to have such close friends that were willing to travel halfway across the country to see us get hitched and then months later follow us all the way across the country to spend a week stuffing our faces, walking our ***es off, drinking our livers raw, and laughing at cacophonous levels.

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In the end, The Tragical Express comes for us all.

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Someday Meg and I will return; we can’t stay away too long. But, I don’t think any future trip will match up to our Orlando Group Honeymoon. It was simply perfect.

 

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Kwaheri.

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such an incredible report.

 

thank you so much for sharing, as I've greatly enjoyed following along!

 

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

This is one of the legendary trip reports. Absolutely fantastic. Glad you had a great time, and you've really highlighted all the reasons Disney World is so great.

 

 

Thank you! I am happy to share a bit of the magic when I can. It was fun to reminisce and, honestly, it got me thinking about a potential future trip.

 

 

 

 

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! I've got one more surprise for everyone. I should have it ready by next week.

 

 

Until then...

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Introducing...

 

Orlando Group Honeymoon - The Movie

 

I have saved the best (hopefully) for last!

 

About three months out from this trip I started getting the Post-Disney Blues. I dove back in to all of the videos we captured on our trip and started piecing together nice little (14 minute long) video of our unforgettable week.

 

Today, I've decided to share it with all of you.

 

 

If the lengthy runtime is daunting, here are some highlights:

 

 

 

 

But if you're only going to watch one part of this video, this is the part you should watch.

 

 

 

Thank you all for joining me.

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Great stuff! I skipped around and only saw about 20 seconds of video but I heard Book of Mormon and Caravan Palace in there so I already completely approve. I'll take some time to watch it soon but it really captures what an amazing time you are having. Love it!

 

Boma is awesome! Not many people talk about it, but I've been there a few times and it never disappoints. Mmmmm.

 

Love the entire report, thanks for sharing 8)

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that video is fun. .and good call so much Big Thunder Mountain in the recap section.

 

(how did you get the Tower of Terror video?. . didn't realize they have those available).

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