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ADP - Live From Disney World - Family Holiday Adventure

#1 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 09:14 PM

Saturday, Dec 26th
Pre Trip Report

The Cast -
Me - ADP
DW - Kim
DD - Anna (9)


Crowds, lines, and prices OH MY!!! I expect to be saying that phrase quite a bit in the upcoming week. After all, it is the busiest week of the year at Walt Disney world. The week between Christmas and New Years has been known to bring hoards of people to Orlando since most of the country's school systems are on winter break. Yes, we plan to be one of them braving the elements. However, we know better than to "bum rush" the parks during this busy season. Although we will be visiting the parks we plan to go early and not make a day of it. We've also planned some hard-ticketed events which limits the number of guests who can attend. More on those in a minute.

Two weeks ago I visited Disney World for the meets that took place around the resort. Who could forget the fun we had attending the cool meets and seeing friends at our favorite place on earth. Now it's time to move to a family vacation. Although the meets will almost be impossible to top I do love our family vacations. I must admit, I really did miss my family during the reunion; especially towards the end. Hanging out with friends (tequilla bar..cough...cough..) was loads of fun, and I relish those opportunities as well.

During this trip we are staying at the Animal Kingdom Villas (Jambo House Kilimanjaro Club Level on DVC points. The lodge is beautifully decorated during the holidays. I can't wait to hang out in the lobby on a sofa admiring the Christmas decorations. The Animal Kingdom Lodge/Villas is a very unique resort experience. We love the free-roaming savanna surrounding the resort(s). In fact, we plan on experiencing something this trip I've wanted to try for many years and just haven't had the chance; The Sunrise Safari.

Some of the things I'm looking forward to on this trip:
- Seeing Cirque Du Soleil - La Nouba for the first time
- The Candlelight Processional
- The Sunrise Safari
- Watching Anna go through the Pirate League
- Spending New Years Eve and New Years Day at Disney World
- Seeing New Years Eve fireworks
- Warmer weather than central Indiana
- As Always....Seeing friends :)

During the upcoming week I'll be posting photos and writing about our daily adventures as they happen. Our flights leaves tomorrow morning and we should arrive in Orlando around 1:15PM. I've said this before, but 11 months ago, to the day, I booked our stay at AKV - Kilimanjaro Club and now it's finally upon us. It's a reminder of how fast time flyes. 11 months of waiting for 8 days of fun and excitement.

Let the fun begin!

Next Up:
- Arriving in Orlando
- Checking Into AKV
- A visit to the Animal Kingdom
- Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade


P.S. Here are some photos I took a few weeks ago during the Reunion :)

Gingerbread House
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Castle Lights
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Dolphin Christmas tree
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Princess Tiana
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Beginning of the Candlelight Processional
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Disney Dream cruise ship model
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Green Army Men skit
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Silly Spud
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Citizens of Hollywood streetmosphere welcoming guests to Hollywood Studios
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Posted 27 December 2009 - 01:05 PM

Have a great trip!
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#3 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 11:38 PM

Sunday, Dec 27th

Hi Everyone,

We are back from our afternoon/evening at the Animal Kingdom. Surprisingly, the park wasn't too crowded at all. I expected crazy, busy type crowds, but only saw busy crowds. The wait time at Primevil Whirl was only 30 minutes at 7:00PM.

Before we entered the park we stopped and took some photos of the Animal Kingdom Christmas tree. It's my favorite tree of the 4 parks.
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The ornaments are what make this tree the best
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We arrived at the Animal Kingdom around 4:00PM. The bus ride from the Lodge to the park is under 5 minutes. We had to stop at Guest Services outside the park to exchange Kim and Anna's AP vouchers to actual APs. We entered the parks and staked out our spot on Discovery Island for the Jingle Jungle Parade. Basically, this is the Jammin Jungle parade with a Christmas overlay. The floats are very similar except with Christmas decorations and Christmas music.

Here are some photos from the parade today.
Mickey & Minnie - Minnie's float smelled like hot chocolate.
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Rafiki
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Pluto
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After the parade ended we headed for the 5:45PM showing of the Festival of the Lion King. The theater was jam packed with guests. I love that Timon's mouth and eyes move to the script of the show. Disney has done a lot in the last 2 years with costume character technology. Watching the characters mouths' and eyes' move to words and music is truly amazing.
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Anna met a friend while we waited in line for the show. We watched the show with that family. We spent the rest of the evening with the family. They even came back to the Animal Kingdom Villas with us to check out the resort. Anna is very sociable and enjoyed the company of someone her age.

I forgot how dark it got so early in December. When we left the Festival of the Lion King theater it was pitch dark. I love the Animal Kingdom at night. The park is lit really well with the ground multi-color lamps. Expedition Everest and the Tree of Life are lit beautifully giving the park a very unique effect.

After we came back to the Animal Kingdom Lodge we went to the Mara for some food. The Mara is the resort's quick service restaurant. The club lounge food was gone at 7:00 so we were stuck with the Mara. In case anyone wants to know you can buy a 5 pack of Zebra Domes inside the Mara. There's no need to pay for the buffet at Boma to get Zebra Domes.
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After we left the Mara we went up to the club lounge for desserts and cocktails. There was a selection of cookies out along with Kahlua and other dessert beverages.

We are turning in early for the evening because we plan on getting up early to head to the Magic Kingdom. The Magic Kingdom has morning extra magic hours starting at 7:00AM. We are going to try and get there before 8:00AM so we can get on Big Thunder Mountain railroad without a 60 minute wait. We also plan on catching the Noon Christmas parade. Another order of business is to stop in the Art of Disney on Main St. and check out a piece of art I purchased during my last solo trip from Larry Dotson. He is an artist who specializes in painting Disney attractions.

One final comment...I found the Christmas decorations at the Animal Kingdom to be sparse compared to the previous years. Is it me, or are Christmas decorations disappearing across property each year? :lol:
I did manage to take a picture of a rather large snowman in Dinoland that I thought was pretty cool.
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I'll have more tomorrow from the Magic Kingdom.

Up Next:
The Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom Christmas Parade
The Pirate League
Pictures from Around the Animal Kingdom Lodge
Animal Kingdom Evening EMH

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#4 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 05:12 PM

Monday, Dec 28th

Hi Everyone,

we are back from our Morning/Afternoon at the Magic Kingdom. We got quite a bit accomplished mostly because we got to the park extremely early. We arrived at the gates of the Magic Kingdom at 7:45AM with very few people on Main St. Thank goodness for breakfast in the club lounge. It saved us quite a bit of time.

A pretty quiet Main St.
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An even quieter Frontierland
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As we walked through the Main St. train station a Cast Member was handing out 20% off lunch coupons. You had to use these coupons before 11:30AM or after 3:00PM to get the 20% discount. I should also mention all of the shops are still offering a 20% discount to AP holders for general merchandise.

Here's the coupon handed to me for the 20% lunch purchase
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Our first stop was over in Fantasyland where all the attractions were walk-on. Later in the morning we walked over to Frontierland and got fastpasses for Big Thunder. By 10:00AM it was obvious the crowds were growing rapidly. We had already accomplished what we wanted except for our fastpass attractions (Big Thunder and Buzz Lightyear).

Here's a photo of the crowds streaming into the Magic Kingdom
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Here is one bit of information I recently discovered on a tour. Over in Liberty Square there is a replica of the Liberty Bell located in Philadelphia. Each state recieved one of the replicas in 1976 (200 year anniversary of the U.S.A.). 50 replicas were made; however, Pennsylvania did not need their replica since they have the original. Walt Disney World asked for the unused replica and it sits in the center of Liberty Square today. So, baiscally Florida has 2 of the replicas.

The replica liberty bell located in Liberty Square
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At 11:15AM we decided it was time to stake out our Christmas parade spot on Main St. I had already seen this parade during the Reunion. I must admit, there isn't much of a difference between the Christmas party and what you can see the days between Christmas and New Years. Same parade, same fireworks, same shows the only difference is you get hot chocolate, cookies, a dance party, and it snows on Main St. It sort of makes you wonder why you are paying so much for a hard-ticketed party. I honestly can't eat $50 worth of cookies and hot chocolate. :lol: Anyway, the parade was very good. Here are some photos of the parade.

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After the parade ended we headed to Adventurland for Anna's Pirate League reservation. The Pirate League gives children and adults the opportunity to be made up in pirate costumes and make-up. It's located right next to Pirates of the Caribbean. Currently, you can save 50% off all 3 pirate packages by being a Disney world resort guest. A great deal!

You start off in an entry room with a pirate who has you roll 2 dice and asks your child their birthday. The combination of the 2 (roll of the dice and birthday) assigns a pirate name to the guest. This is your name throughout your adventure. Next you are brought into the room where you are made up and turned into a pirate. Anna chose an Empress package which included painted nails, bandana, make-up, a tattoo, 5 X 8 photo and sword. Once you are made-up you are lead into a 3rd room where you get your photo taken and you can find a burried treasure. The burried treasure is really a pirate coin necklace which you get to keep.

I thought this was a very good experience; especially for the $25 we paid for it. I highly recommend it.

Here's a photo of Anna getting her make-up done during the session.
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#5 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 05:13 PM

After we finished at the Pirate League we headed out of the Magic Kingdom. Walking through Main St. we saw a couple of Magic Kingdom staples.

The Dapper Dans!
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The Main St. Piano Player near Casey's Corner
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That was our day so far. We got way more accomplished than I could have imagined considering the time of year. Later we hope to head back over to the Animal Kingdom for evening Extra Magic Hours, but I'm not sure if we will make it over. If not, we may spend some time outside at the resort's fire pit. It's going to be a cool evening and spending some time next to a fire sounds like a good idea.

More to come!
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#6 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 10:37 PM

Tuesday, Dec. 29th

Hi Everyone,

We are back from a long day at EPCOT. The crowds were thick today. We didn't plan to get much accomplished except for shows and other experiences I'll get to in a minute. As for attractions....Forget it. Test Track and Soarin saw 160 minute waits, but we expected it. We did nab fastpasses for Soarin earlier in the day for 7:39PM, so we were able to at least ride that.

I woke up this morning fighting a bit of an eye infection, but it's cleared now. My eye looks and feels normal again. I was a bit worried this morning. I ended up wearing my glasses to the park today. I never wear my glasses unless I have an infection or discomfort.

We arrived at EPCOT around 10:45AM. The weather was beautiful today; however, it did get a bit chilly this evening. Hats and gloves were nice to have in your possession.
Spaceship Earth welcoming guests this morning
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Anna and I decided to give the Kim Possible adventure a try. We picked our Kimmunicator at the International Gateway and were given the France mission. Today, because of the crowds, we were only allowed one mission at a time. We couldn't do more than one like before.

As I mentioned earlier wait times were out of control.
Here's a look at the digital tip board around 10:45 this morning
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Here's a photo I took of the crowds in World Showcase around Noon
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Knowing crowds would be thick we turned our attention to shows and Christmas entertainment. We were able to catch some very good shows today.

Off Kilter
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Sergio in Italy
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Canadian Santa Claus storyteller
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Chinese Twirler
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Morrocan belly dancer
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Anna with the German Christmas storyteller named Helga
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The German Christmas story included a live nutcracker. Apparently, the nutcracker is/was a German tradition
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#7 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 10:38 PM

After we saw a good dose of entertainment it was time for us to head to Chef's De France for dinner. This was part of the Candlelight Processional dinner package I booked some time ago. We checked-in and were seated within 5 minutes. It surprised me because the check-in desk was slammed with guests. After we sat down our waiter Felipe explained what we could get with our package. We got 1 app, 1 main entree and 1 dessert with the package. I chose a bleu cheese salad for my appetizer, then the grilled tenderloin with au grautin potatoes, and green beans. Dessert was a choclate mousse cake with vanilla ice cream. Kim had the Cheese de Macaroni; basically macaroni and cheese with a white cheese sauce. We all thought our food was very good. Although for the price it should have been. For the 3 of us to dine with the candlelight package our bill came to $160 tip included. Lots of things go through my head when I pay that much for a meal....Mostly like what I can do with that kind of money. But, hey....I know the cost going into the meal.

Our service was excellent! Felipe did a great job; especially with Anna. Here's a photo of my main entree, the grilled tenderloin. I really enjoyed it. The best compliment I could give it is I'd order it again the next time I visit.
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After dinner we strolled around World Showcase until it was time to line up for the Candlelight Processional. We waited in the line with other dinner package guests. As usual, there was quite a line stretching all the way to Morrocco. We were fortunate enough to get great seats for the show. Guest narrators were Courtney Vance and Angela Bassett. They are a married couple both Hollywood actor and actress.
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After the processional ended we walked around World Showcase and used our Soarin fastpasses. Another great ride!

That was pretty much our day. We are now back at the lodge enjoying evening desserts from the lounge. We are planning on waking up early tomorrow to try and get to Hollywood Studios for an 8:00AM rope drop and a ride on Toy Story Mania. Wish us luck! :lol: We also hope to check out some of the Streetmosphere after TSM.

Before I call it a night here are a few photos from last night.

Mickey and Minnie at the Animal Kingdom evening Extra Magic Hours
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I found a hidden Mickey at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. This was way down low and I was on the ground to get this photo.
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Up Next:
Hollywood Studios
Streetmosphere
Downtown Disney
Cirque Du Soleil - La Nouba

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 09:41 PM

Wednesday, Dec. 30th

Hi Everyone,

We are back from our morning/afternoon at Hollywood Studios and the AKV Jambo pool. The weather has warmed up a bit so swimming was a possibility and we took advantage of it.

We woke up a bit late this morning so we got a later start than we wanted. It cost us as we couldn't get on TSM. By the time we got to Pixar Place the wait was already 60 minutes. That's a bit too long for us. The line across the street to see Buzz and Woody was short so we jumped in line and saw them.
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Hollywood Studios got crowded very quickly today. Here's a photo of the crowds pouring in as we came in.
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Another of my favorite trees is the one outside of Hollywood Studios. We love the film strip at the bottom.
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The only attraction we experienced today was Star Tours. The wait time wasn't too bad so we decided to give it a spin. On our way out we strolled through Tatooine Traders where I saw this pretty cool T-Shirt.
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Because the crowds were so thick we decided to check out some of the Streetmosphere. They were great as usual. One of our favorite Streetmosphere characters is Paige Turner.
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A very popular character is Alberto Dante....Italian movie director.
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Sounds Dangerous was actually open because of crowd levels.
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I enjoyed seeing this quirky large Christmas card.
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On our way out of Hollywood Studios today we stopped at Sid's of Hollywood. Here is the board they had posted.
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After we returned to AKL we had some cookies in the lounge. We then proceeded to the pool because the weather had warmed-up nicely. The pool was beginning to get a bit crowded, but not too bad. It was nice to be able to get out and enjoy the pool because both pools at AKV are very nice.
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We spent a few hours at the pool and now we are getting ready to head out to Downtown Disney to shop and catch the 6:00PM show of Cirque Du Soleil - La Nouba. It will be our first time to see it. I don't think we can take photos so unfortunately I won't be able to post any, but I'll have some photos of Downtown Disney later.

More to come! :)
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#9 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 09:43 PM

Hi Everyone,

We are back from our evening at Downtown Disney. We saw La Nouba. It was great and really worth every penny we paid to see it. As I said in my previous post you should go and see it at least once. The theater was about 80% full. Our seats were Category 2 in the upper section right behind the main path. Great seats except for the many people who showed up 5, 10, 15, and even 20 minutes late for the show walking right in front of us. Some even decided to stop in front of us to figure out where to go in the dark. :)

Before we went to La Nouba we stopped in at Earl of Sandwich to grab a bite to eat. We then proceeded to TrenD and World of Disney to look around a bit. Time was moving fast so we didn't get to shop much. We needed to be over to the West Side as quickly as possible.

Just one quick observation about La Nouba. The Chinese acrobats don't look anywhere close to 16 years of age. It they are 16 or older then the chinese have figured out some sort of youth cream they haven't shared with us Americans. :)

Tomorrow morning we will be embarking on the Sunrise Safari. We are really looking forward to it. In order to participate in the Sunrise Safari you must be staying in the Kilimanjaro Club Level. Our group is to meet at the lounge between 6:15 and 6:30AM. From there we head to the AKL Savanna overlook and board our safari vehicle. I'll have much more tomorrow with photos about the safari.

Before I end tonight here are a couple of photos from the club lounge.
Breakfast offerings
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Our view from the 6th floor club lounge looking down into the lobby
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Tomorrow is New Years Eve....Here's wishing all of you..........
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#10 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 11:58 AM

Thursday, Dec. 31st

Hi Everyone,

We are back from our Sunrise Safari experience and morning at the Animal Kingdom. The Sunrise Safari was very nice and about everything I expected. We got to ride a Disney bus and walk around the backstage area of the Animal Kingdom. Unfortunately, no pictures or video in the backstage area. The one thing I found very interesting was a 150 cell tower used by Disney personnel cleverly disguised as a large tree. It was done that way so it would blend into the Animal Kingdom landscape and areas surrounding the park.

We started the Safari at the club lounge at 6:15AM where we had coffee and juice. Our park tickets were scanned by the club lounge staff. After coffee and juice we went down to the main lobby where we met our tour guide/Curator. I recognized him right away as the head Curator of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. He's been on the Travel Channel specials and promotional videos I've seen over the years. His name was Greg, but his last name escapes me at the moment.
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We were escorted to Disney busses at the front of the resort which took us backstage at the Animal Kingdom. Our Curator Greg was with us telling us facts about his job and the animals. Once we arrived backstage we walked to the back of Africa where we caught the queue line to Kilamanjaro Safaris. We boarded our safari vehicle with Greg and started our adventure.

So, what makes this safari different than the rest you ask? We get to stop at various point through the sarari to take pictures and observe the animals up close. We can't get out of the vehicles, but the animals seem to be more active and some even walk up to our vehicle. We actually heard the lions roar this morning. Pretty cool!

Here are some photos from our safari this morning
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After the safari ended we were escorted through Africa to Pizzafari on Discovery Island for a buffet breakfast. We were in a private room with assigned tables for each family. There were approximately 50 people who attended the Sunrise Safari. That is the capacity for the sarfari.

The chef who prepared the breakfast came out and described the buffet to us and asked if anyone had any allergy concerns.

Here are a couple photos of the buffet. I know its just breakfast and it's hard to mess up cooking breakfast, but this was the best Disney breakfast I've ever had.
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Our Curator, Greg came around the tables during breakfast and asked us if we had any questions. Anna and I asked about insects in the park(s). We were curious why there doesn't seem to be too many insects in the parks during the day. Greg explained a process the resort uses to limit the amount of insects; however, he said they are out there. He also said the hot pavement and colder days (like now) keep them away from guests.

After breakfast we were free to go. It was 9:00AM and we chose to stay at the park for a while. The Animal Kingdom opened at 9:00AM so we thought we could get a couple attractions in before crowds got too heavy. Kim and Anna went to Tough to be a Bug while I went to get Fastpasses for Expedition Everest. Although we probably could have went into the stand-by line I just assumed get fastpasses for later.
I grabbed this photo of Expedition Everest after I got our fastpasses
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After we met back up we did a little shopping and Anna got her face painted for New Years. We also played a few games in Dinoland. It was time for our fastpasses so we rode Expedition Everest.

After we rode Everest we decided to leave. Crowds were picking up considerably. It seemed like we were the only ones leaving the park. We felt like fish swimming upstream trying to get out. :)
As we left the park we saw this sign that signaled the Magic Kingdom was already filled to capacity and closed. The other 3 parks remained open.
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We are now back at the resort. Thank goodness too because I wouldn't want to be out in the crowds today. You could just tell it was going to be one of those days of fighting and dodging hoards of people if we decided to stay longer. We plan to stay at the resort and enjoy the resort amenities. It's warm enough to swim and we may hit the arcade later. We are also considering going to Hollywood Studios late tonight to watch the New Years Eve fireworks.

I'm not sure if I'll post again today. If I don't here's wishing you all a wonderful New Years and a more wonderful 2010!

More to come! :)
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Posted 31 December 2009 - 07:19 PM

I hate when Disney says you can't take any photos in certain areas. :)
"In an age of fads, copycats, and rapidly changing trends, you have chosen to stand out from the rest and be an individual. We applaud your courage and self-expression. Thanks for being a part of our show today. Don't ever change. The world needs more people with your spirit." - The Citizens of Hollywood
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#12 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 11:20 AM

Good Morning Everyone & Happy New Year! :)

Like most of the population here at Walt Disney World we slept in. It's currently raining and we were woke-up by the sound of African bongo drum musicians playing in the lobby of Jambo House. :laughing:
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We decided to spend our evening at the Boardwalk. We planned on heading over to Hollywood Studios to meet up with Matt et all, but it didn't work out. The setup at the Boardwalk was really great. They had a DJ spinning tunes from several decades. The lines for food and drink were short. There were even tables and chairs available at times to sit and relax. Considering the crowds at Walt Disney World how can you beat that. I should also mention free hats and blowers were provided by Walt Disney World. I'll be at DHS on Sunday....Hopefully I'll catch up with Matt and even Glenn during the day while they are doing the Studios Update.
As we were sitting along the Boardwalk I snapped this photo.
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There were several people dancing in the courtyard area of the Boardwalk where the DJ was located.
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Even the children got into the act
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Our daughter Anna had a great time dancing and singing along with the music and DJ. She made it until midnight.
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We did get to see the EPCOT fireworks from a distance. We saw most of them. First they did regular Illuminations, then went around to each country in order of how they celebrated New Years. Each country had an individual firework display over their pavillion. Then there was a grand finally right at midnight over the World Showcase lagoon. I firmly believe seeing the fireworks from the Boardwalk versus inside EPCOT was much better because we avoided the uncomfortable crowds inside the park.

We arrived back to our room around 1:00AM and fell right asleep.

Looking out our room window the rain has cleared and it appears there are some breaks in the clouds. Our evening is open so we are not sure where we will end up. Considering last evening I'm glad we have no plans. :)

I'll have more later on our day. :)
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#13 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 10:10 PM

Friday, Jan 1st

Hi Everyone,

We are back from our day at Hollywood Studios. Apparently, I'm not taking my own advice and not staying away from the parks. We were there most of the day today. The reason was the crowds weren't too bad today. It rained most of the morning and the temperartures were on the chilly side. That really helped keep crowds at bay.

Here's a look at a very quiet Hollywood Blvd when we arrived today
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We were able to get fastpassed for TSM today at 1:00PM. The return time was 7:20PM. Once we got fastpasses we decided we'd spend the day at DHS. We did various activities like see Lightning McQueen and Tow Mator, Mike and Sulley, rode Star Tours, The Great Movie Ride, and saw Muppets 4-D. We ate at the Sci-Fi Dine In as a walk-up. We only waited 5 minutes for a table. We also saw the Osborne Lights.

Anna with Lightning McQueen and Tow Mator
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Mike and Sulley from Monster's Inc.
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We also managed to do a little shopping. One of my favorite shops in Hollywood Studios is this Christmas shop near Muppet Square
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at 4:00PM a band took over the stage in front of the Scorcerer Mickey's hat. They were a rock n' roll band who got the crowd excited for the new year.
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Later in the afternoon we dined at the Sci-Fi Dine-In. It was a quick meal because we didn't each much during the day. I had a Ruben while Kim had a chicken sandwich. The food was very good, but certainly nothing to write home about. It was basic fare. Our total bill for the 3 of us was $54. The 20% Tables of Wonderland was not accepted today because it's a holiday. Our waiter was really good. He was very attentive and very kind. He even made a mickey out of ketchup for Anna.
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As I mentioned earlier. We were able to walk-up and get a table. The restaurant didn't appear full. The Sci-Fi is not my first choice for dining in DHS, but since it had tables we decided to give it a try.

After dinner we walked around the corner to see the Osborne Lights. Surprisingly, the Streets of America were not crowded at all. It was a bit chilly, but it was a great night to view the lights.
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After we viewed the lights it was time for our Toy Story fastpass. We entered the TSM fastpass queue at 7:24 and didn't make it to our ride vehicle until 7:50. That's 26 minutes and really too long to wait when you have a fastpass. The standby line was 80 minutes, but even so fastpasses should move quicker than 26 minutes. Disney markets their fastpass system for little to no wait, but it didn't work that way for us during this attraction.

So, thanks to a recent WDWToday podcast I was able to learn some of the scoring secrets on TSM. As we rode along I informed Kim what she need to do in order to unlock some of the scoring secrets. I took care of the Ham & Eggs seen by shooting the fox and the hens near the henhouse. Next was Bo Peep. We shot the last balloon on the cloud at the same time to release the 2000 point balloons. Next we were able to hit the flying plates and to reveal the tank. Unfortunately, we just missed revealing the big alien; which I'm sure cost us. On the last scene(s) I was able to reset the targets for larger point values and hit the bat twice in the mine cart scene.

I ended up with a score of 226,000. The high score for the day was 354,000. An amazing score. It makes 226,000 look meager. What a great ride though.
Here's Anna in the TSM queue while we waited in line
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After our ride on TSM we decided to head out for the day. Before we left we stopped in Sid's of Hollywood near the exit. Anna wanted to answer the 5 questions on the board. We walked into the store and the Cast Member asked Anna the 5 questions. She answered them all right and received this certificate.
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We arrived back at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in time for evening desserts and drinks.

Tomorrow we are not sure what we are going to do. We've talked about going to the Magic Kingdom or going over to Winter Summerland for miniature golf. We don't have any solid plans....yet! :)

More to come! :)
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#14 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 05:12 PM

Saturday, Jan 2nd

Hi Everyone,

We are back from our day at Winter Summerland and the Magic Kingdom. We had breakfast in the club lounge and headed to the bus depot where we caught the Hollywood Studios/Blizzard Beach bus. We were heading to Winter Summerland first. Winter Summerland is located near the Biizzard Beach parking lot.
When we arrived at 10:30 we weren't too surprised to see only one car in the Blizzard Beach parking lot. It was pretty chilly this morning.
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We find Winter Summerland to be the better of the two Disney mini golf courses. We decided to stay in the holiday spirit and play the Winter course.
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The course is very well maintained; however, it would cost a family of 3 $36.50 to play 18 holes. That's a pretty hefty price for 18 holes of mini golf. Because we are annual passholders we got 50% off our round, so we only paid $18.25. That's more reasonable in my opinion.

We left Winter Summerland and decided to go to the Magic Kingdom. We took the bus from Bizzard Beach to the Polynesian. I was glad we had a chance to visit the Polynesian because we really like this resort.
Here's a photo inside the lobby
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We walked upstairs and caught the monorail. We decided to stop at the Grand Floridian on the way and take a look at the gingerbread house in the lobby. The store inside the gingerbread house is closed, but the house is still up for guest viewing. The house is made of mostly gingerbread shingles and icing. You can smell the scent of gingerbread from far away.
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After we viewed the Grand Floridian decorations we jumped back on the monorail and headed for the Magic Kingdom. I could tell by the crowd inside the monorail the Magic Kingdom would be crowded. When we arrived on Main St. it was obvious the park was crowded.
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We did manage to get fastpasses for Buzz Lightyear and rode that later. We also got to ride TTA and watched a Laugh Floor show. We stopped and got ice cream at the ice cream parlor despite the barely 60 degree temps. Anna did some pin trading with cast members along Main St. We also had lunch at Cosmic Rays where cast members were directing guests in and out specific doors and seating was very limited because of the crowds. There was a line queue guests used when they first walked into the restaurant. Once you left the queue you went to your bay to order. The lines at the bays were very long as well.

We are now back at AKL. We plan on going down to the club lounge to get some food and drink. We are also getting a few things together because we are leaving on Monday to head back home.

I'll have more later. :)
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#15 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 07:03 PM

Hi Everyone,

We just returned from the AkL gift shop, Zawadi Marketplace (it's the largest resort gift shop on property). While we were there I took a picutre of the current watch(es) you can purchase at a discount. The watch(es) can be purchased for $15.95 with the purchase of $30 or more at the gift shop. The same watch and promotion can be found at most gift shops across property.

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 07:08 PM

Sunday, Jan 3rd

HI Everyone,

Well, it's our last full day in Orlando. To be perectly honest, I'm ready to go home and get back to our daily routine. Kim left today to head home. She is an accountant and had to leave early to close the books for the year. Anna and I stayed for an extra day because of airfare prices. Anna starts school again on Tuesday, so staying an extra day is ok. We do miss Kim though, even if it is for 1 day.

Our day started at the club lounge where we grabbed some breakfast. We decided last night we'd go to Hollywood Studios one more time, then the Contemporary resort arcade, and finally, the Magic Kingdom. I wasn't sure how crowds would be today. There was a noticable down-tick in crowds, but it certainly wasn't uncrowded by any means. I was hoping to run into Matt today, but missed him. We had planned to meet New Years Eve for the Hollywood Studios fireworks, but we never made it. Sorry Matt, we'll try and get with you and Glenn during our next trip.

Main St. crowds in the Magic Kingdom around 1:30PM
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Hollywood Blvd in Hollywood Studios early this morning
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As you've probably noticed in the photos jackets, scarves, gloves and hats were abundant. It was cooolllld this morning. Temperatures were in the 30s and 40s most of the morning into the afternoon. That's the coldest daytime temps I've ever experienced in Orlando. Quite a contrast to the middle of summer.

As we walked up Hollywood Blvd I snapped this photo of a Christmas window display. It's one of the best Christmas displays I've seen in any gift shop.
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Most of our time at Hollywood Studios was spent walking around and enjoying the Christmas decor. Anna got her hair wrapped and we experienced other attractions.
This snowman is smiling because it's COOOOLLLLD!!!!
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We also caught a couple of streetmosphere skits on Hollywood and Sunset Blvds. One of the most entertaining things to do in all of Disney World is to watch the Citizens of Hollywood perform their skits. It's worth the price of admission.
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While on Sunset Blvd I snapped this photo of a DVC booth. Why you ask? Well, I'm told this was the first DVC booth in any of the 4 theme parks at Walt Disney World.
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We strolled over to Pixar Place to check out the wait time at TSM. Only a 60 minute wait at 10:13AM. Not too bad.
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We alos saw at Pixar Place the Green Army Men performing a skit with the kids who wished to participate.
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We then headed to Starring Rolls for some hot chocolate and a cookie. I was surprised to see they had lunch food out already. One thing I saw that blew my mind was a huge ham sandwich pie. This looked totally awesome! If it wasn't so early in the morning I would have tried a piece.
WOW!!!
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Posted 03 January 2010 - 07:09 PM

We even thought about stopping here for a sweet treat, but our consciences got the best of us and we moved past this shop. :laughing:
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After we left Hollywood Studios we boarded the Contemporary resort bus. We wanted to spend some time at the best Disney arcade on property. This arcade used to be huge, but after the 4th floor rehab at the Contemporary it is now half the size. But, it's still the best on property.
While at the Contemporary we viewed some of the Christmas decor at the resort.
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We left the Contemporary via the monorail and headed to the Magic Kingdom. The park wasn't too crowded, but as I mentioned earlier attractions were still busy. We did manage to get fastpasses for Buzz Lightyear and take a spin on the TTA. We also spent time shopping. I believe today is the last day annual passholders can get 20% off at most Disney World gift shops.
During our time in Tomorrowland we ran into the talking trash can that wanders around speaking with guests. It even picked on Anna because she was carrying a light sabre. Apparently, the trash can thought it could be R2-D2 next to Anna's light sabre. :)
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We left the Magic Kingdom around 4:30PM and headed back to AKL. We are going down to the club lounge for some food and drink. I've finished packing some last minute things because we leave for the airport tomorrow morning around 7:30AM. Our 8 days have passed and it's time to head back to reality and the daily grind. It's been a fun holiday adventure though. We've accomplished quite a bit considering the crowds. It is, after all, the busiest week of the year at Walt Disney World.

I'll have more later :)
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#18 User is offline   crazydisneyman 

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 11:14 AM

Great trip report, as always! Safe travels home.
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Posted 04 January 2010 - 04:29 PM

Monday, Jan 4th

Hi Everyone,

We are back home in snow covered central Indiana. The temperature is a balmy 18 degrees. When we left Orlando this morning the temperature was only 42 degrees. Not a huge difference, but we could sure feel the difference when we got off the plane.

In fact, here's what it looks like outside the back of my home, and I don't mean my DVC home.....My actual home.
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This type of weather makes me want to have this face
(From the Muppets 3-D attraction queue). I find the Muppets pre-show to be the best pre-show in all of Walt Disney World.
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Here's a picture from last night in the AKV club lounge. I was a bit disappointed in the club food offerings this trip. I'll talk about it more in my final post, but the food; especially the appetizers were not very good. When we stayed club level last August it was much better in my opinion. The staff was wonderful though.
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Now that I'm home I can tell you that we were in room 6406. All the way down the hall. It was a nice room in a good, quiet location. Except for the bongo noise from the main lobby it was peaceful. We had a pool view; which I liked. We didn't feel the need to have a savanna view.
Outside our door we had a view of a triangle opening into the main lobby. It was a nice window to stick our head through to see what was going on in the lobby below.
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Thanks to everyone who read along. It's been a fun trip and I'm glad you could see Disney World through our eyes. I must admit, I love reading trip reports simply to find out what's going on in our favorite place. Disney World is constantly changing. Having pictures and even video to view the changes really speaks volumes to people who love to vacation at Disney World. I also love writing in general. So, writing trip reports for me is fun. Plus, I get to reflect on our trip each day and into the future. I've made a lot of connections and friends at Disney World; especially thorugh fan sites like this. As these relationships evolve and as new relationships are formed I'm reminded of one thing I was thankful for in 2009, and what I will be thankful for in 2010.....Friendship! :)

I'll have one more post to give my thoughts about what we experienced this trip.

More to come!
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#20 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 07:11 PM

It's so great you've not only spent a lot of time at the Studios but also with the Citizens of Hollywood!

Thanks again for an excellent trip report Aaron :)
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