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ADP Live From Mousefest

#1 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 06:49 AM

Monday, Dec. 8th

Pre Trip Report


The Cast:
ADP - Aaron - Traveling solo to Mousefest


Hi Everyone,

Well, it's seemed like we've been talking about it for 6 years, but it's really only been 6 months. It's time for Mousefest! :santa: And for those of you who can't make it I hope you can follow along right here. For those of you who will be at Mousefest I hope to see you soon. I'll be updating this thread with information and pictures during Mousefest.

For those of you who don't know, Mousefest is an international gathering of Disney fans at Walt Disney World. Many park and resort meets have been planned and scheduled by authors, webmasters, and travel agencies for fans like us to enjoy our favorite Disney World food and attractions. But mostly, it's for us to finally meet many people who we've met in the online community but never in person. It will be nice to put a face to a name.

This is the first time I've traveled solo to Walt Disney World. It will be strange not having my family there by my side. I'm really not sure how I'll feel without them. I'm sure there will be moments when I will miss them; especially during times of traditional family activities we've experienced in the past. I'm sure Kim and Anna will be following this thread....Hi Kim! Hi Anna! :D I haven't even left and I already miss them. :D

Since I'm traveling solo you'd think I'd have more time to post blog entries and pictures, but I'm not sure that will be the case. You see, Mousefest (from what I've read) can be exhausting and jam packed full of activities. I do plan on attending many meets, but I'm hopeful to be able to post enough entries right here to keep you up to date on many of the Mousefest activites. Some of the meets do not allow guests to post photos in public forums, so unfortunately I won't be able to post those pictures here, but I will post photos as I can or allowed by law. :laughing: I'm also hopeful my sleep schedule works out ok. I have some late nights and early mornings planned. :surfweb: After a while that can catch up to you; especially at my age. :(

My flight leaves early tomorrow morning; however, a lot of rain is forcasted around the time I depart so there might be a flight delay in my future. Hopefully, everything will work out and I'll be on my way on time.

Some of the thing I'm looking forward to on this trip:
Meeting many new people in person. Seeing old friends and making new friends
Many of the Mousefest meets and events
Touring the American Idol Experience
Drinking Around the World at EPCOT
Trying some unusual foods I've never tried before
Dessert Parties :D

That's it for now. I'll be online tomorrow to bring you my travel adventures and my first days activities. The plan is to arrive at MCO, pick-up my rental car and check into Saratoga Springs Resort. After check-in it's straight over to the Boardwalk Resort Convention Center for the annual DVC Association meeting. Afterwards I plan on walking over to EPCOT via the International Gateway to enjoy some food and catch some attractions.

Let the week long adventure begin!!! :animal:

Up Next:
Arriving In Orlando
Checking In at Saratoga Springs
DVC Annual Association Meeting
EPCOT

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#2 User is offline   The Dark Lord of the Sith 

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 01:20 PM

See you soon Aaron. Enjoy!
.....
The Dark Side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be ...unnatural.

POFQ May 16-19
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#3 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 06:12 PM

Hi Everyone,

I made it to the Indianapolis airport. Indianapolis opened a brand new airport last month and this is my first experience here. It sure is a beautiful airport and much larger than our old airport. I haven't seen this many dining and shopping options at an airport since I've been to Orlando (Hmmmm)! :animal: This trip I decided to drvie to the airport and park our car in the Economy lot. It worked out pretty well, except I missed a sign and ended up in the parking garage. :( I made it out ok and found the Economy lot. I'm sure my severe astighmatism and the heavy rain contributed to me missing the sign. :rolleyes1

As I mentioned it is raining, but as luck should have it my flight is on time so far. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it doesn't change.

I don't have any pictures just yet, but once I arrive in Orlando I'll begin snapping some photos for you.

I'll try and post an update with pictures when I arrive at Saratoga Springs. That is provided my room is ready and I can connect to the Internet.

More to come!

Ok...I got bored waiting for my flight. Here are a couple photos. :santa:

Air Tran model plane at the Air Tran terminal
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A shot of a Cold Stone Creamery while looking down the terminal hallway.
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#4 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 06:15 PM

Tuesday, Dec 9th

Hi Everyone,

I'm back from the DVC annual meeting which lasted 3 hours....YIKES!!! I'll have more on that in a minute.

I arrived n Orlando on time. The Orlando airport is in the Christmas spirit as well as Walt Disney World.

X-Mas Trees
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An add near the luggage carasoul for the Osborne Specatcle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios
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I checked into SSR at 10:30AM and my room was not ready. So, I checked my luggage with Bell Services and drove over to the Boardwalk Resort. I parked my car next to the convention center and walked over to EPCOT via the International Gateway. I wandered through World Showcase and decided to grab a bite for lunch.

I actually had a craving for a Napoleon from the bakery in France...I love these things! With a Christmas napkin of course.
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After I ate my Napeleon I continued my way through World Showcase. I must tell you that World Showcase was empty at Noon. I know World Showcase opens at 11:00AM, but it was still very empty. I almost felt like I was there myself. It was kind of eerie. There was no one in the France bakery except Cast Members which I've never seen.

Here are a few photos from my stroll through the World Showcase.

Candlelight Processional Stage
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Candlelight Processional Schedule
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Grand Marineaue and Grey Goose Slush great for drinking around the world. :(
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After I left the World Showcase I headed over to the Boardwalk Convention Center for the DVC meeting. Before entering the convention center I checked out the Boardwalk Resort lobby Christmas decorations.
Here's a photo of the gingerbread carasoul. 100% gingerbread. It looks great and almost delicious enough to eat.
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The DVC meeting was called to order at promptly 1:00PM. Votes were taken by the board headed by DVC Vice President Jim Lewis. After the voting took place and the approval of the 2009 budget Jim Lewis started taking questions and answers from the crowd. Some of questions ranged from why buses took so long at Saratoga Springs to why don't the Disney resorts have a Fox news channel...LOL! Most of the second half of the meeting was discussing DVC's newest resorts; i.e. Bay Lake Tower, Hawaii, Grand Californian Villas, the Treehouse Villas and the Animal Kingdom Villas. I would say about 300 people were in attendance; maybe a few more. There were no major DVC news announcements other than DVC continues to try and strive for 100% member satisfaction and that RCI is the new exchange company replacing Interval International.

Here are a few photos of the event.

Main lobby before the doors opened to the meeting. The crowd was building
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Front stage area
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Mickey and Minnie made a surprise appearance
http://i205.photobuc...icture014-1.jpg

As I mentioned the meeting lasted 3 hours with no intermission. If you ever want to attend this event in the future (next year) just know it will take a good chunk of your day.

I came back to the room and had my luggage delivered right away. I'm in the Grandstand section of SSR near the pool and the bus depot. The Carriage House (main lobby) is a short walk away. This is a great section of SSR. I even have a nice view of Lake Buena Vista golf course from my balcony. :animal:

Here's a photo I took of "Winners Circle near the SSR lobby when I arrived earlier today
http://i205.photobuc...icture006-1.jpg

That's it for now. I'm getting ready to leave for EPCOT to catch Illuminations and get a bite to eat in World Showcase. It was rather warm today. I even felt some humidity in the air. No need for a jacket tonight. This sure beats the 0 degree wind chill we experienced in Indy last weekend. :santa:

I'll have another update later. Good Night Anna! :D
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#5 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 06:15 PM

The Dark Lord of the Sith said:

See you soon Aaron. Enjoy!


See you in a few days Colin. :animal: :(
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#6 User is offline   Disney_Commando 

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 08:02 PM

Aaron, any good give-a-ways at the meeting? I know most of the Wednesday gatherings have nice DVC logo items.

Hope to meet you in person on Thursday!
Jamie



Next Trip: February 2011!
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#7 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 11:59 PM

Hi Everyone,

I'm back from EPCOT where I was walking around in shorts and a short sleeve shirt. It was very comfortable tonight weather-wise. I took in a ride on Spaceship Earth and walked around World Showcase....twice and took in many of the shops; especially the christmas shops.

Before I forget. two more bits of news from today's DVC meeting. The first one you New York fans will be glad to hear. Jim Lewis hinted to a new "Doorway to Dreams" opening in the New York City area in the near future. Secondly, Disney films is producing new movies based on nature. The new film line will be called "Disney Nature". The first movie is scheduled to debut in theaters on April 22nd, Earth Day. The movie/documentary will be called "Earth" (how appropriate) and will be narrated by James Earl Jones. Ok...Back to EPCOT.

EPCOT was not very crowded tonight. I walked on Spaceship Earth at 7:00PM. Also, there was no dodging guests while walking around World Showcase. The main pathway was pretty open. I did notice the 8:15PM showing of the Candlelight Processional was full. I watched it from behind the ropes and had a great view. It was a great show and very touching as always.

Here's a photo I took while viewing the Candlight Processional this evening.
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While touring EPCOT I also snapped some photos of the Christmas decorations. I was reminded how big the Christmas tree at EPCOT really is.
Here's a photo from the base of the tree looking up.
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Here are a few more Christmas decoration photos from EPCOT this evening
Pluto's dog house and Goofy near the front entrance
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The Lights of Winter at the entrance to World Showcase. One of my favorite Disney World Christmas decorations
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I was able to catch Illuminations tonight. Finding a good viewing spot was not a problem this evening. I ended up near Italy watching the show. Not the best spot to watch it, but not bad either. At the end of tonight's Illuminations show was the holiday tag which is played each evening in December. The narration of the Holiday tag of "Let There Be Piece on Earth" is done by Walter Cronkite.

Here are a couple photos I took of tonight's Illuminations show

Illuminations fireworks
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The Illuminations globe has recently returned from a refurbishment and looks great. The TV monitors are much brighter and clearer.
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The Inferno barge explodes. Wow! That's hot!!! :(
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After Illuminations ended I continued my stroll through World Showcase and watched many guests file out of the area. I also strolled through some of the other countries on my way out.

As I was leaving I decided to try something a little different for all of you following along. I captured some video of the Lights of Winter while they were synchronized to music. I hope you enjoy it. My apologies as some of it turned out a bit blurry due to the lighting and the auto focus on my camera.
Happy Holidays to all of you!!! :animal:
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Up Next:
Morning at Downtown Disney
Animal Kingdom
Lunch at Tusker House with Finding Nemo Reserved Seating
Animal Kingdom Lodge - Kidani Village Photos
Animal Kingdom EMH

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#8 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 12:02 AM

Disney_Commando said:

Aaron, any good give-a-ways at the meeting? I know most of the Wednesday gatherings have nice DVC logo items.

Hope to meet you in person on Thursday!


No...Not a thing. They are handing out goodies at the Merry Member Mixer on Friday though.

I hope I get a chance to meet you as well Jamie. See you there!
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#9 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 07:12 AM

Wednesday, Dec 10th

Hi Everyone,

I'm back from my day at Disney's Animal Kingdom and Lodge. My day started at Downtown Disney where I did some souvenier shopping. It was nice getting there early before the crowd madness started. I left Downtown Disney at Noon as the crowds were building to head to the Animal Kingdom.

Before I walked into the World of Disney I took a picture of the completed dockside stage in the Disney Marketplace.
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As I entered the World of Disney a couple of signs surprised me. Apparently, you can get a free shopping assistant who will walk around the store with you and provide shopping assistance for free....Yes, for free!!!

Here are the signs
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As I mentioned before the World of Disney was not very busy basically because it was only 10:00AM in the morning.

After I left the World of Disney I walked over to The Christmas shop. The store was busy, but I wouldn't call it "crazy" busy. Here's a photo of the crowd inside the store.
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After I left the Christmas shop I made my way to the car and headed over to the Animal Kingdom. I had a 1:05 ADR at the Tusker House with reserved seating at Finding Nemo the Musical. Dinosaur was only a 10 minute wait believe it or not so I took a spin. In fact, the Animal Kingdom was not terribly busy today. I also waited about 20 minutes for a ride on Expedition Everest. Here are a few shots at the Animal Kingdom today.

The Tree of Life. NICE!!!
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Expedition Everst from afar
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I made it over to Africa at 12:45 and checked in at the Tusker House. I waited about 10 minutes before I was seated. I reserved this meal specifically to see how the reserved seating with Finding Nemo would work out. When I arrived at my table my reserved seating ticket was waiting for me on the table. My server took my drink order and it was on my way to the marketplace buffet.

I really enjoyed the food. They had a cous cous grilled vegtable medaly that was phenominal. I had seconds of that. I've been to this buffet 3 times now; once for breakfast, once for lunch, and once for dinner and each time it did not disappoint. About the only thing I didn't like were the desserts. There just wasn't much of a selection.

Here are some photos from my meal at the Tusker House.

Restaurant signage....Good Eats, Get Them Here!
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The Marketplace buffet....Help Yourself; Plates are Underneath.
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My reserved seating ticket for the Finding Nemo show
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At 1:35 I raced to Camp Minnie Mickey for Festival of the Lion King. I had to see that show since I like it so much. I made it there just before the doors opened.

Tumble Monkies or flying monkies? You decide!
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I was told by my Tusker House server to arrive at the Finding Nemo theater 30 minutes prior to the show starting. I arrived at 2:45 and could not find the reserved seating line. I kindly asked a Cast Member where the line was. After looking around he finially told me the reserved seating entrance was behind the standby line. I didn't quite understand that so I just followed him. He walked me through the standby line to a sign that said "Reserved Seating Entrance". This is a problem. You won't be able to see the sign even if you are looking for it. I walked through the entrance which is a path to the side of the theater where 2 automatic doors which were closed. After a 2 minute wait the doors opened and I walked down a handicapp ramp to the bottom of the theater. Here's the second problem of the reserved seating. The seats are at the front, right of the theater. The best seats for this show are towards the back of the theater a little off-center because the actors actually use the entire theater. The front-right seats were roped off for reserved seating guests only. Once the reserved seating guests were seated they began letting standby guests into the theater. They were not allowed to use the reserved seating until 15 minutes before the show started. That is when the rope came down for all guests.

My suggestion would be not to do the reserved seating unless you are visiting Disney World during a peak time. If its an off peak time I don't think its worth it simply because of the reserved seat location. I should mention it was nice not having to wait in such a long line at the side of the theater. You could stretch out and relax without worrying about other people around you.

Here's a photo of the doors at the side of the theater where the reserved seating guests waited.
http://i205.photobuc...icture035-1.jpg

Finding Nemo as always was a wonderful. As I was exiting the theater and making my way to Discovery Island I walked into Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade. I took in the parade since I was already there.

Hey Minnie. The back of your float smells like hot chocolate!
http://i205.photobuc...ture036-1-1.jpg

After I left the Animal Kingdom I decided to take a bus over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge and check out the resorts christmas decorations and see how far along Kidani Village has come along.

I was really impressed with the christmas decorations at the lodge. I love the orange and white lights. I also really loved the lobby Christmas tree. The ornaments were so unique.

The lobby Christmas tree was full of huge basket ornaments like this one
http://i205.photobuc...icture041-2.jpg

Larger view of the lobby tree
http://i205.photobuc...icture042-1.jpg

I left the lobby and decided to take a walk over to Kidani Village. I knew the resort was still under construction, but my curiosity got the best of me. I went way into the construction zone. I know I shouldn't have and I was doing it at my own risk, but I wanted to see some of the details of the resort. This is going to be a HUGE resort.

Here are the photos I got from somewhat afar. Enjoy!
Parking will be underneath the resort on the first floor
http://i205.photobuc...icture037-1.jpg

http://i205.photobuc...icture038-2.jpg

Road signage
http://i205.photobuc...ture039-1-1.jpg

Part of the front entry way from afar. It's taking shape nicely
http://i205.photobuc...icture040-1.jpg

Afterwards I stopped back in the lobby for a refreshment. I toured the Zawadi Marketplace (AKL gift shop) and took the bus back to the Animal Kingdom. I planned on staying for Extra Magic Hours, but I did everything I wanted to do today so I decided to go to my car and drive back to Saratoga Springs.

That's it for today. I plan on walking over to the Turf Club tonight to relax at the main lobby. Mousefest starts tomorrow and I want to be well rested before all the late night and early morning meets startup.

Before I call it quits here is one more photo of the Animal Kingdom park Christmas tree.
http://i205.photobuc...icture029-2.jpg

More to come!

Up Next:
Breakfast at Boatwrights with Mousefest Attendees
Mousefest Starts - Mousefest 101 and Reception
Dole Whips

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#10 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 10:28 AM

Very nice reports Aaron. See you today and/or tomorrow :animal:
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#11 User is offline   darthstich 

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 10:39 AM

HEY! There's a coldstone creamery in your airport?!?!?!

Sorry lol, couldn't resist i love that place.

Anywho, Nice report so far looks like your having fun. You will just have to go see Lights, Motors, Action: Extreme Stunt Show Presented by Brawny while your down :animal:
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#12 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 10:22 PM

Thursday, Dec 11th

Hi Everyone,

I'm back from my first full day of Mousefest activities. Today was a very enjoyable day and a lot of fun.

My day started at Boatwrights where I met many other Disney fans. This was an unofficial meet of Disney fans who wanted to get together for breakfast. I met many new people and others who I met before. Thanks to everyone who came out and to Will who organized the meet.

Here's a photo from our table this morning.
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After we left breakfast I decided to head over to the Magic Kingdom to ride a few attractions before the Mousefest 101 kick-off at Noon over at the Contemporary Resort Convention Center.

While I was walking into the Magic Kingdom I took several pictures of the Christmas decorations.

Magic Kingdom Christmas Tree
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Front of the Magic Kingdom
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Main St. USA. A wet morning/afternoon. Crowds were very low today
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Mickey and Minnie with a Castle backdrop
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During my time at the Magic Kingdom it rained quite a bit. I was able to ride the Haunted Mansion and the TTA twice during the rain. At 11:15AM I realizeed I needed to start my walk over to the Contemporary Resort. During my walk it was sprinkling, but not nearly as hard as it rained earlier. Lucky for me I guess.

I arrived at the Comtemporary convention center where there were a few people waiting outside our assigned room. As Noon approached more and more people showed up. The Mousefest 101 was a success and very well attended.

Here are some photos from the meet.
Mousefesters take their seats
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The crowd gathers inside the ballroom
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Afterwards, a Mousefest reception was held for everyone who was in attendance at the Mousefest 101 meet. Light refreshments were served; most of which were sugar inspired like Full Throttle energy drink, candy bars, chocolate covered coffee beans and trail mix. If you weren't awake you definately opened your eyes after eating this food. :lol: During the reception Matt came over and said hi. It was good to see you again Matt and I'm sure I'll see you tomorrow and Saturday for that matter.

After the reception I walked back over to the Magic Kingdom for a few more attractions and to attend the Dole Whip meet. The meet was well attended and I met up with Mindy, Tonya, Yvet, and Emiele. We enjoyed our Dole Whip floats with many other Mousefest attendees. I grabbed Matt and brought him over to our group. Everyone in the group wanted to meet him you know. :lol: Here's a photo from the Dole Whip meet.
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After the meet the 5 of us decided to ride Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise and Swiss Family Treehouse. We had a great time. During our journey on the Jungle Cruise I snapped this photo.
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After riding the attractions we worked up an appetite and decided to walk back over to the Contemporary and dine at The Wave. We decided to sit at the bar and eat. You can choose from the full menu at the bar. We tried a glass of wine from Autstralia Yvet chose. I was glad she chose it because we all really liked it. It was a chilled, sparkling red wine. I should also say we all agreed our food was very good. Some of the dishes tried were the grilled pork tenderloin and flank steak. Our total bill with tip was $145 for the 5 of us. The restaurant accepted our 20% DDE discount (I refuse to call it Tables in Wonderland).

After dinner I decided to head back to the Saratoga Springs and rest up for an early day tomorrow. On the way up to the monorail I snapped this picture of Pinocchio and Chippeto as part of the Contemporary Resort's Christmas decorations. Lots of chocolate used here.
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I've left out a number of details from today, but these were the highlights. Tomorrow morning I'll be at the Animal Kingdom attending a couple of meets. In the afternoon I'll be over at Hollywood Studios for a few more meets. During the evening I'm headed over to EPCOT for our Drink Around the World meet. That's 3 parks in one day!!! Definately action packed. :laughing: I hope I'm up for it. I'm not getting any younger.

More to come tomorrow. :D

Up Next:
Mousefest Day 2
Mousefest Meets at Animal Kingdom
Mousefest Meets at Hollywood Studios
Drink Around the World at EPCOT
Checking Into All Star Music Resort

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#13 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 10:32 PM

It was nice to see you today again Aaron as well as meet your posse :lol: I'm also glad to see that you haven't harassed Ursala'sShadow too much......yet :lol:
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#14 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 12:40 AM

Hi Everyone,

I'm back from day 2 of Mousefest. Phew! It's late and honestly I'm tired. Tomorrow is the Mega Mouse meet...Wait! It's already tomorrow... :lol:

I'm going to get some rest. I'm uploading photos right now and will post them with captions tomorrow.

It was great to see everyone today. Colin, Glenn and Jake it was great seeing you guys. I'm sure I will see many others tomorrow. The Drink Around the World meet was a total blast. We managed to hit all the countries and had drinks in most and eats in others. We all saw Illuminations together and even rode Soarin and Spaceship Earth.

I'll have more in the morning.
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#15 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 09:00 AM

Hi Everyone,

Here are some photos from yesterday, Mousefest Day 2.

The line at Animal Kingdom before rope drop.
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Rope drop skit performed by Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto
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Photo scavenger hunt meet in Africa before we started
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Expedition Everst meet group photo
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Expedition Everst passengers coming out of the mountain
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Tree of Life with Mickey opening the park in front of the tree.
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Onto Hollywood Studios for more Mousefest meets. Hollywood Studios Christmas tree.
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American Idol Experience signs with the TV screen exposed. I'm taking a special sneak peak of this attraction on Sunday.
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Hollywood Studios streetmosphere
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The Star Tours Meet and the WDWToday 500th Episode Meet were held. I had a great time at both. Some of the Star Tours participants said they did not make it to the Endore Moon. :lol:

It was a lot of fun watching the WDWToday crew record their show live. I thought it was a great event and a great idea. Most importantly we raised nearly $1,575 for Deb Wills and breast cancer research. A great cause!

Ok...Back to the photos.

The crowd gathers for the Podfest meet
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Not it's over to EPCOT for our Drink Around the World meet. We met at the Margarita bar in Mexico.
http://i205.photobuc...ture070-1-1.jpg

Our friends who couldn't make it to Mousefest. They were with us in flat format as we drank around the World Showcase. :lol:
http://i205.photobuc...ture071-1-1.jpg

Jen enjoys a white almond pretzel and/or a piece of School Bread. Too funny!
http://i205.photobuc...icture072-1.jpg

Todd and Don in the Pointsettias at the Germany pavillion.
http://i205.photobuc...icture073-1.jpg

That's all for now folks. I'm heading out the door for the Mega Mouse Meet. I'll have more photos later.
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#16 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 12:13 AM

Hi Everyone,

Here are the pictures from today.

Before I wait listed for the castle tour I had breakfast at the Crystal Palace.

A pretty empty Magic Kingdom before the park officially opened.
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I wait listed for the annual passholder preview for the castle suite tour at around 10:30 and made it on the Noon tour.

It was pretty cool to see it, and when on earth would I ever get a chance to see it again. There were 9 people in our group and each person was shooting photos of the suite like they were photographers for the New York Times.

Here are the photos I took.

The check-in desk. The Castle Suite is the smallest resort hotel in the world with just 1 room. This room is located on the first floor.
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Grandfather clock in the check-in room set for 11:59PM. We all know what happens at 12:00 Midnight.
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We took an elevator up to the suite. When we got off we entered the foyer.
Foyer tile in the foyer
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Foyer decor....Complete with a glass slipper
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One of the two double beds in the bedroom
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Don't be fooled by the rectangular mirror on the wall...It's really a TV in the sitting room.
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Stained glass windows and sofa in the sitting room.
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Shower in the bathroom
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Sinks in the bathroom
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Upside down crown chandeliers in the bathroom
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Fireplace with a mirrored image of Cinderella which turns into a flat panel TV
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Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom
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Telephone in the sitting room
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That's it for tonight....In fact, tomorrow I head back home. Usually, I'm depressed knowing I'm leaving, but this time I'm anxious to get back. I've really missed my wife Kim and Daughter Anna, but this trip has truly been wonderful. I've made many new friends and had the opportunity to see many others again. Thanks to all of you who made this trip so wonderful.

I'll have some more photos and observations from this trip in my next post
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#17 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 09:38 PM

Hi Everyone,

I'm sitting here in the Orlando airport waiting for my flight. I spent the morning at the Gaylord Palms Resort with my good friend Mindy. We'd never seen the inside of the resort so we thought it would be a good time to check it out.

Let me say this place is amazing. It's truly a desination by itself. There is so much to see and discover. The lobby atium is so big it reminds me of a large village.

Here are some photos I took of the inside of the resort this morning.

Inside of the atrium with the Chistmas tree. I'd really love to see this place lit up inside during the evening.
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Large replica ship inside the atrium. There is so much glass around the atrium I guess you could call this a "ship inside a bottle".
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Domed ceiling in the convention center
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We checked out the entrance and exit to the ICE attraction. Have a N'ICE Day! The attraction was not yet open for the day.
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This to me is one of the best features of the resort. A 9 hole miniature golf course winding through the courtyard of the resort. It's very well maintained and it looks to be somewhat challenging.
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We decided to have breakfast at Villa de flora.
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I had one of the best made to order omlettes I've ever had. This buffet is amazing and if you ever get a chance to try it I highly recommend you do so. It's worth the drive over to the resort.

A themed steakhouse with a log cabin. The Old Hickory Steakhouse.
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A large TV monitor advertising ICE
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There are many waterfalls throughout the center of the atrium lobby. Here are a couple
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Exotic fresh water fish throught the river which winds through the atrium lobby.
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It was really a good time this morning. I'd suggest anyone who is thinking or considering checking out the Gaylord Palms to do so. It's worth the drive over just to check out the atrium lobby and eat at Villa de flora.

That's it for now. I'll post more Mousefest photos and comments later. :)
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#18 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 17 December 2008 - 12:02 PM

Thanks for the report Aaron. Have a safe flight home!
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#19 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 11:13 AM

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to post a couple last minute photos and talk about this Mousefest trip.

It was great finally meeting many of you for the first time and seeing others again. I must admit, being with all of you, having so much fun, and then having to leave Mousefest Tuesday afternoon was very emotional for me. I usually get somewhat emotional at the end of a trip to Orlando because I'm leaving the magic, but I must say leaving this trip it was different. It wasn't the parks and resorts I would miss it was all of you who made this trip so special.

There are times in life when you should look back and reflect on events. This, for me, is one of them. I've been sitting here in front of my computer with images and emotions going through my head most of the day. All of which were very positive.

Some of the things I will remember most about this trip:
Walking around the parks and resorts in our groups and sharing laughs
The Drink Around the World meet. I've never ate, drank, and laughed so much at once.
Meeting many of the people who post on Studios Central.
Talking and laughing with everyone at the Mega meet.
Meeting the authors, podcasters, and webmasters I've not before
The kindness many of you displayed not only to me, but to each other

Cool & Unique Experiences
Many of us have been to Disney and Orlando many times. There comes a point when you start looking for unique opportunites to experience. I was fortunate enough to experience 3 very cool and excitiing opportunities on this trip. Touring the Cinderella Castle Suite was very special and I had such a rush of emotions when we first entered the suite. It was truly amazing. Secondly, I was able to tour the American Idol Experience. Afterwards I saw Matt outside the theater and we discussed the attraction and the tour. By the way, it was great seeing you Matt during Mousefest. I sort of already knew this, but conversing with you at Mousefest reinforced to me how genuinly nice of a person you are. Lastly, the Fantasmic Dessert Party was very cool. I had never been in that space to see a showing of Fantasmic. The desserts were excellent and seeing and meeting many of you from this site was truely a pleasure. Let me also say, the WDWToday 500th Episode Celebration event was very well done. I had never been inside the backstage propshop, but sort of recognized it when I walked into the room since it was part of the Backlot Tour years ago. I was really excited to here how much we raised for Deb's cause. In the end, that is what really mattered most.

This was my first Mousefest. My overall impressions are positive. I must admit I enjoyed the smaller, more intement meets versus the very large meets. I also enjoyed the private meets which had a cost associated with them. They provided very nice, relaxed settings and unique experiences.

Some other cool things that happened during this trip included visiting the Gaylord Palms, eating breakfast at Villa de Flora and watching some good entertainment and shopping at Downtown Disney.

That about wraps it up. I'll miss seeing many of you until the next time we meet. When I arrived home the other night I must have talked two solid hours to my wife Kim about our adventures. There are times when she thinks I'm crazy, but in the end she understands.

Here are a few pictures I didn't get a chance to post until now.

Pops band playing Christmas music at the Downtown Disney Marketplace. This band was fantastic. They drew quite a crowd.
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Illuminations
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A shot of Bay Lake Tower
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Main St. Marching Band
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Until next time......
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Next Trip:
May 9th - 16th - 15 year Anniversary Trip
4 Night Disney Cruise on the Wonder
3 Nights at the Animal Kingdom Villas

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#20 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 12:13 PM

Great report Aaron. I, too, get emotional when Mousefest comes to an end. For nearly a week you spend every day with friends you've made at MF and then, POOF, back to real life. :?

I hope to see you on your next trip to WDW (along with the family).

P.S. Bring the hawaiian shirt!
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