Wednesday, March 24, 2010

May 2009 Disney Trip Purchase Summary

Now that I'm finally finished (well almost) my daily reports from my trip a year ago, it's time to share what I actually bought at Disney World!
First up, the first two issues of Twenty-Three:

Since I didn't become a D23 member until the fall, I was itching to purchase the first 2 issues. I found issue #2 at the Vero Beach Resort gift shop (the name of the shop escapes me...). The premiere issue was purchased in the Disney Store in the Florida Mall in Orlando

Of course no trip to Disney World is complete without purchasing a few t-shirts:

I purchased these two in the Island Mercantile store, in Adventureland. The Jessica Rabbit caught my eye as you don't see enough Jessica merchandise!

The third shirt was purchased at Buffalo Jeans. I really like the Oswald character and it has become one of my favorite shirts to wear around the house. Very comfortable and stylish!

On previous trips, I started a tradition of buying polo shirts at each resort I stayed in. For this trip, I changed that tradition and started buying ball caps.

I also decided to start another new tradition of buying Mickey Ears:

Of course the blue ones are my son's. The Steamboat Willie hat was a good find and it was on sale!

I also bought my first Olszewski pieces: the Tiki room Pokit pal and the first of the series Haunted Mansion Pokit pal.

No trip would be complete without buying some pins to add to my collection.

In addition to buying hats of resorts I stay at, I also buy a pin from the resort.

I also love buying books and CD's from the parks. One great find was the Nemo book.

I purchased the World's Fair CD set. I know I probably could have purchased it for a cheaper price on Amazon, but I wanted to get it in person to make sure the packaging was in good shape.

A new collection (groan...) that started this trip was my Vinylmation collection. While I do have a couple of the 3 inch pieces from the first Park Series, that someone brought back for me, I was only able to find a few 9 inch pieces. I think that is a good thing, or I would have bought a whole tray to bring home!!

Finally, some rare finds: first off, I found this great key chain in the Boardwalk Resort gift shop that is located on the Boardwalk. I was looking for something for my nephews and found this little gem. It's an old style mini slide viewer with pictures from each of the parks. What's special about it, is that it has a picture of the Great Movie Ride without the hat and pictures of animals that don't look like they were taken at Animal Kingdom. My guess is that they are stock photos that were used as teasers.

I found these ceramic tiles/trivets in the store that is at the exit of Mickey's Philarmagic. You don't see a lot of Three Cabelleros, so this was a good find.

Finally, the item that I was really hoping to purchase while on my trip: Gnome Mickey! I saw this item on the Art of Disney Parks website, when they announced the EPCOT Flower and Garden Expo. I looked all over for this gem and finally found what I believe was the last one at the International Gateway gift shop. I unfortunately did not get the original box with it, but I really didn't care since it was the last one!!!

Well, that's it. Now that I have my next trip planned, I have to start my new shopping list.

Day 12: Our last day

May 13, 2009
I realize that it's now over a year later from when I was actually in WDW. Instead of writing out my trip report for my last day, I thought I would just show some pictures from that day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 11: Back to EPCOT

May 12, 2009


We rose at our usual time, completed our usual routines and headed to EPCOT for some more fun.
We headed back to the Land for a delicious breakfast. Once we were done, Janice and I wanted to ride Soarin'. We flashed our special fast passes at the fast pass entrance and made our way in. Surprisingly, the Fast Pass line was busy. We back tracked out and picked up regular Fast Passes for later in the day (which we never used).

Since we only completed half of Future World on our last day at EPCOT, we decided to do the rest. We walked through Innoventions West. A lot had changed since our last trip.

We headed to Spaceship Earth to find another long line up. We skipped the line and went to the Universe of Energy, to experience Ellen's energy nightmare.

After watching Ellen win Jeopardy, we planned to visit the flower and garden event centre in the old Human Body pavilion, but for some reason it wasn't open yet.

We decided to walk through the butterfly tent on our way to Mouse Gears. We then walked through Innoventions East and decided that it was lunch time.

We ate at the Electric Umbrella where Charlotte started to get a little grumpy.

Steve left us after lunch and Janice and I headed back to Spaceship Earth. This time there was no line. I visited the Art of Disney store one more time and Janice and I walked through Mouse Gears where we picked up a few more souvenirs.

We went back to the room in time for a swim, but was disappointed with a thunder storm (the first one we had experienced on our trip). We relaxed a bit more before heading back to EPCOT for dinner. We were supposed to go to the Wave in the Contemporary for dinner. Based on how disappointed we were with the bus service, we switched our reservations to Tokyo Dining in Japan. I had heard good things about Tepan Edo (where they cook in front of you) but not about Tokyo Dining. The dinner and service was one of the best of our entire trip. They have a great selection (not just sushi). I plan to eat there on our next trip.

It was still raining after dinner, so Janice and I wandered through the Japanese department store and the stores in France. Steve and Charlotte left us early, as they were both tired.

We also were tired so we turned in early. We wanted to have lots of energy for our last day!

Day 10: Meeting up with old Friends

May 11, 2009

Magic Kingdom
Disney's Hollywood Studios

Since we had already gone to all the parks in our first four days, we decided it was time to head back to the Magic Kingdom. We were also meeting up with Ken and Khristine and their kids for lunch. Ken, Khristine and I met while working together at the Disney Store. Ironically, we see each other only once or twice a year, so meeting up with them at Disney World was special.

We got out of the room at a decent time and hopped on the bus. We hit Main Street at a good time and headed to the Bakery for breakfast.

After our bite to eat, we walked up the rest of Main Street towards Fantasyland via Adventureland and Liberty Square as the Castle was closed and they also had a section of the "hub" closed off due to a mysterious back-pack left unattended. Interestingly, they made it look like a normal occurrence while maintaining safety.

We went on the Carousel first. Both Charlotte and Graydon loved it! Steve wanted to take Charlotte on Dumbo, so Janice and I went into the store that is right off of Mickey's Philarmagic attraction exit. I was able to find a nice set of three trivets of the Three Caballeros. There was also a great t-shirt of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, but they didn't have any my size (post trip note: I was able to order the shirt from the mail order service.)

Steve eventually came off the carousel, as the line up was too long for Dumbo. We headed towards the Mad Hatter Tea Cups. Again Janice and I opted out as Graydon was asleep and I would have lost my breakfast on the tea cups.

Before we hit Tomorrowland, Steve and Charlotte went on the Tomorrowland Speedway, which was perfect timing, as Graydon was ready for his snack. Once we met back up, we went on one of my favorite rides in the Magic Kingdom, the Carousel of Progress. As outdated some of the sections are, it is still a classic.

We finished the morning off with the Buzz Lightyear ride. It was getting close to lunch time and we needed to get to Cosmic Rays to meet Ken and Khristine. We arranged to meet near Sunny Eclipse. It was really busy, so it was difficult to get tables close to each other. We finally met up and had a good time sharing some stories of our trip so far.

We eventually bid our farewells and made our way back to Adventureland for one more ride on Pirates of the Caribbean and then stopping for the best snack in WDW: a Dole Whip Pineapple Float! It was a hot enough day that the treat went down nicely. I really wish they sold the snack in the other parks. Steve and Charlotte decided to head back to the room early, so Janice and I decided to walk through all the stores on Main Street.

Once done our shopping we bid a tearful goodbye to the Magic Kingdom, as we figured we wouldn't be back there for the rest of the trip. We had another eventful bus ride back to the resort. For some reason the bus service to and from our resort was a mess!

I failed to mention that after I complained on Saturday night to the resort manager, I received a call from a manager of Disney Transportation. He was very apologetic after he heard about our plight. He ended up giving us four special Fast Passes that could be used by our entire group at any park and they had no expiry date.

We lounged around the room and pool before heading to Hollywood Studios for dinner at 50's Prime Time cafe. I always enjoy eating there as the food is good and the cast really ham it up.

Tonight was no exception! I noticed that at the end of our main course, Janice had not eaten all of her vegetables. I quietly pointed it out to our waiter who proceeded to play air plane with her fork and food. Janice played along but she was not impressed with me.

After dinner, Steve headed to Star Tours (another ride I end up sick after riding), while Janice, the kids and I headed back towards the Art of Disney. We had to exchange one of the nine inch Vinylmations, as the box for the original was damaged.

We met back up with Steve at the Sorcerer's hat and decided to go on Toy Story Midway Mania one more time. We knew the line up would be long so we decided to use one of the special fast passes. I'm glad we did, as the ride is a lot of fun.

We finished the night with a quiet boat ride back to the resort, where we called it a night as we needed to get our rest for another day of fun.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day 9: A Day with the Animals

To those that read this blog, I apologize for my tardiness of the posts. I have had a busy fall and winter, which has prevented me from finishing of my trip reports. I hope to have them finished within the next couple of weeks.... Oh and this post is dedicated to @tedwardishere .

May 10, 2009
Animal Kingdom

We started our day with the usual bottle feed, breakfast and shower, before heading to the bus stop to make our way to Animal Kingdom. Since Animal Kingdom doesn't have as many attractions as the other parks (it is getting there though!) I figured we wouldn't be there too long.

We made it to the park in a short bus ride. Since today was Mothers' Day, Janice received a carnation at the front gate. I was surprised they didn't have a special button as it seems they have a special button for everything else!

We beelined to Kilimanjaro Safaris. The wait was only twenty minutes, but we took fast passes anyway. We had to kill about forty-five minutes, so we walked the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. I was able to take some awesome pictures of the gorillas.

After the trail, we killed a few more minutes before our fast pass time, in one of the stores.
Without a doubt, the safari ride was one of the best ever. A lot of the animals in the grasslands section were very active. Probably the best action came from the giraffes. One of the young ones was running all over the place, which was just amazing to see!
We made our way out of Africa and into Asia. Our plan was to get on Expedition Everest. For some reason, the ride was not working, and lines (standby, fast pass and single rider) were all long. We grabbed fast passes and got away from the area.
We walked over to Dinoland USA where Steve took Charlotte on the Triceratop Spin. When they were done, we all played one of the games (Janice won). Goofy and Pluto were out for pictures and autographs. We stood in line so Graydon and Charlotte (and me) could meet them.

It was soon time for Graydon's bottle. Janice settled down with Graydon and Charlotte in Restaurantosaurus, while Steve and I rode Dinosaur!
After all the excitement in the morning, we had built up an appetite. We headed to Flame Tree BBQ for lunch. We had a lovely view of Expedition Everest from our open air dining area. It was already into the early afternoon by the time were done lunch, so we skipped Everest (unfortunately) and made our way to Camp Mickey n' Minnie where we were hoping to finally get our picture with the Mouse himself. We were not disappointed! We had to wait a short while for him, but that is to be expected. We also got our pictures with Minnie again. Surprisingly, there was no wait for her. We also met one of the bear characters from the movie Brother Bear.

After our excitement with Mickey, it was time the head back to the resort for some rest. Animal Kingdom is a big park, so it tires you out quickly. Before we left I stopped in at the Art of Disney Store (fifth of five!), where I picked up another large Vinylmation.
We had our usual afternoon swim and rest, and once again headed back to EPCOT for dinner. This night we ate at Tutto Italia, the renamed Italian restaurant. I had heard good things about the restaurant since the name change, and I wasn't disappointed. The food was fantastic and the service equally good. The waitress even suggested a better bottle of wine from my initial selection.

We finished the night wondering around World Showcase, before calling it a day.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Day 8: Janice's Birthday!

May 9, 2009
Downtown Disney (warning: not a good experience!!!)

Today was going to be a great day. Besides spending our day at EPCOT and having lunch at Le Cellier, it was also Janice's birthday! Since it was her birthday, Janice chose to spend her day in her (and mine) favorite park.

We entered the park through the International Gateway (which I love!). We had a chance to wonder a very empty World Showcase and take in some of the Flower and Garden displays.

Since we had an extra quick service to use, we decided to have breakfast at Sunshine Seasons in the Land. This worked out perfectly as I suggested we get fast passes for Soarin'. As expected, it was busy early on and our fast passes weren't until an hour or so later.

We had breakfast and then took in Living with the Land and the Circle of Life movie. I always love going on the Living with the Land ride. It is always interesting to see what they are growing.

I was worried about the Circle of Life movie and taking Graydon into it, as it is a pretty loud movie. Surprisingly, Graydon fell asleep in it, in my arms.

While Graydon slept, Janice and Steve went on Soarin'. You never realize how long you are in that attraction until you have to wait for someone. Once they were done, Steve and I took in the attraction.

Once we had finished all of the attractions in the Land, we rode The Seas with Nemo and Friends and Journey into Imagination with Figment. I was disappointed to find out that Figment was no longer around for pictures. Luckily, we were able to get one with him the last time we were in WDW.

By the time we were done all that fun, it was time for our lunch at Le Cellier. This wouldn't be just any regular lunch at the Le Cellier... it was also Janice's birthday lunch.

I checked us in at the podium and quietly asked about the cake I had ordered her. They noted my request and assured me they had it.

We had a great meal as usual. I had my favorite: the filet mignon with mushroom risotto. I actually found it a little saltier than when I had it before, but it was still a great steak.

When our waiter, Colin, came to take our dessert order, I had to pull him aside and remind him about the cake. He didn't know about it, but in his defence he had never had guests with a special cake order.

He brought out the cake and sang happy birthday, which embarrassed Janice (she really hates that stuff but too bad!).

Once done at Le Cellier we wandered through the UK pavilion while Steve took Charlotte back to the room for a break.

When we made it back to the room, we all went for a swim and had a couple of celebratory birthday drinks. Janice decided she wanted to go to to Downtown Disney to spend her $75 gift card she received from Disney for her birthday. Steve decided to stay back with Charlotte and we agreed to pick up dinner to bring back. We figured we wouldn't be longer that a couple of hours... or so we thought!

We made our way to the bus pickup only to find a group of people waiting for the Downtown Disney bus already. We ended up waiting forty minutes for the bus! The wait is supposed to be about twenty minutes.

We finally made it to our destination and hit our favorite stores: Art of Disney (the forth of five), the Pin station, the Winnie the Pooh store, Once Upon a Toy and the World of Disney. As usual it was busy all over Downtown Disney.

We also went into the new Tren-D store. I was actually disappointed as the store was geared just to women. They had some interesting pieces of Mickey art in the store though. I did help Janice pick out a cool purse: it was made of wide strands of old reprinted Mickey comics. Janice used her birthday gift card towards it, as it was pretty expensive. (Note: once I'm done my trip reports, I will be writing a post on all the stuff we bought, with pictures)

We didn't end up picking up dinner, as both quick service locations were busy. We made one more stop in the Art of Disney, where I purchased two Olszewski pockitpals. I also found out that they were releasing the three other Haunted Mansion paintings in the pockitpal series.

Again, we waited quite a while for the bus to get back to the resort. We ended up getting off at the Swan resort and walking back via the bridge, as we would have been quite later if we stayed on.

I sent Janice and Graydon back to the room while I went and picked up a pizza for the three adults. The pizza took a half hour, which allowed me to go back to the room to get my refillable mug, go to the front desk to complain about bus service and make it back just in time to pick up the pizza.

We had a late dinner and called it a night. While it was a fun day celebrating Janice's birthday, it was a very long day!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 7: Day of favorite rides! New and Old!

May 8, 2009
Disney's Hollywood Studios

We were up early today and got out of the room fairly early. We made our way down to the Boardwalk to catch the boat to the Studios. Janice had time to use her mug to grab a "free" coffee at the Boardwalk stand.

We hopped on the boat, which was quite spacious. They are the same boats that they use in EPCOT, as they are technically on the same waterway.

We walked in to the Studios just before 9am, just before the rope drop. I had never witnessed a rope drop before, so i was very interested to see what they did.

Janice and Steve waited at the back of the large crowd, while I made my way up to the front through the stores. I had heard that Toy Story Midway Mania was a very popular ride and that the Fast-Passes went quickly. We planned it that I would grab the passes and regroup under the hat (which I still can't stand).

The rope drop ceremony was pretty good. The street actors that roam the park during the day are involved in the ceremony. It looked like they had a pair of Newlyweds acting out a "Lights, Camera, Action!" type sence. Before the rope fell to the ground, they emphasized that no one was to run, so that no one was hurt.

As expected most people made their way to Pixar place and the Fast Pass line. I picked up our passes, which were for 10am (already!) and met back up with the group. Donald Duck and Minnie were out for pictures. There was next to no line, so we waited and got some great pictures with them. Surprisingly, Graydon didn't cry, meeting his first Disney characters; he was very intrigued with them. When Charlotte met Donald, she proclaimed he felt really soft!

We took in the Great Movie ride, since there was no wait. Unfortunately, Graydon cried, as parts of the ride were a little loud for his small ears.

We went back to Midway Mania, and took turns, as we didn't think we could take Graydon on. Good thing too, as we probably wouldn't have enjoyed it as much. The ride is really fun and it is no wonder it is so popular. The Fast-Passes were gone in no time!

"Boy, the crowds are large today Sarge!"

The balance of the day was spent taking in Muppet Vision 3D (still one of my favorites), Rock 'n Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror and Voyage of the Little Mermaid.

We did visit most good stores including the Art of Disney (3 down, 2 to go). That the villains store, I purchased the Small World nine inch Vinylmation for Janice for Mothers' Day. I also saw a blank nine inch Vinylmation signed by the Disney Characters. Apparently, the characters will sign anything!

We made it back to the hotel for a swim. This was the second time for Graydon in a pool and he loved it more than the first time.

Back in the room, the kids had dinner and we had some adult beverages before heading out for dinner. Tonight's reservation was at Spoodles so we didn't have to go far.

This was the first time we have eaten at Spoodles. The menu is Mediterranean fare, so something different for a change.

We ordered Sangria, but were disappointed with how much we received. Apparently, they had changed jugs over and there was actually less in the new jugs. The story is that since the restaurant is changing over to Kat Kora's, the old jugs were "walking out" the door, as they had "Spoodles" printed on them.

We commented to the waitress, who mentioned it to the manager. The manager apologized and gave us a free second jug of Sangria.
The food was very good at Spoodles. I had roast pork tenderloin, which was very tender. Probably one of the best pork tenderloin I have ever had.

Overall, we had a great second day. Tomorrow will be fun as it is Janice's birthday and there was one more surprise to come!