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  1. #1

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    Overdue WDW Trip Report July 2013

    Hello all! I have been reading MiceChat for a while now, but have only recently joined. I have been meaning to post this Trip Report since we got back 2 months ago! Oh well, better late then never I suppose. Here goes!

    This was my husband's first trip to WDW ever and I had not been since 1996 (I was 10!) so I might as well never have been either since so much has changed (AK didn't exist!) and his first trip to Disneyland was this past November. So he's still in little kid, first visit mode. Every trip we take, he starts planning the next one while we're still there, which is great!

    This was a very last minute, spur-of-the-moment trip for us. We decided about a week before hand that we were going to go. We currently live in North Carolina and are in the process of moving back to San Diego, CA so we felt it was our duty to take a trip to Disney World before we moved back to our home park/coast (We were both born and raised in San Diego and DLR is our first love.) So since we were trying to stay on a budget and only had three days in the parks we stayed off property at a Holiday Inn. It was super close (around the corner from DTD) and we got a great deal on it through Hotwire. We also brought a ton of snacks with us to save money on food (Cliff bars, trail mix, water bottles with purifiers built in) and that worked out great for us! We essentially ended up only paying for one full meal per person per day and we shared a lot of food, too.

    Since we only had three days, and one park per day tickets, we had to decide on which park we wouldn't hit. We decided to eliminate DHS since the #1 thing he wanted to do was Everest and I wanted to do AK since I'd never even laid eyes on the place! (HUGE Thank You and shout out to Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor of Communicore Weekly for your help and advice in making this decision! We really appreciated you taking the time to help us out!)

    So not only was this our first trip to WDW together, and his first ever, it was also our first time being there for rope drop. I cannot say enough how much we both absolutely LOVED being some of the first people through the gate and doing the mad dash! If I hadn't gotten addicted to MiceChat a number of months before hand, we would have missed out on this key strategy! Our trip was Saturday, June 29th through Monday, July 1st. For it being the middle of the busy season, the crowds were super light. Plus, since we're Disney pros, we took full advantage of Fast Passes. I still cannot for the life of me understand why so few people utilize them at WDW under the current system (traditional Fast Pass, no plus), but that was just fine with us!

    Up next, Day 1, Animal Kingdom!
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    All I need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of DISNEY.

  2. #2

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    Re: Overdue WDW Trip Report July 2013

    Glad you joined and decided to share a TR with us!!!! Welcome to Mice Chat
    Press today is so concerned with cool vs. not cool that they're starting to forget good vs. bad. I'm not sure I'll ever be "cool", but I will always tirelessly strive to be "great". - Josh Groban

  3. #3

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    Re: Overdue WDW Trip Report July 2013

    Day 1: Animal Kingdom!!!
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    So our first order of business once we got through the gate was to head straight to Expedition Everest. The plan was to run through first thing in Stand-by and then immediately grab a FP to use later in the day. Fortunately I had the insider tip to run through Dinoland to get to Asia, instead of walking behind the "rope" with the CMs. Genius! We got on the second or third train of the day!!!

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    As I said earlier, my husband was very anxious to go on Everest and he was not disappointed! Even with the disco yeti. Neither of us was expecting the track's upward banking and it never slowed down! It freaked my freak! We were both shaking when we got off, but it was great! So we got off and went straight to the FP distribution. They were good for two hours later! (Seriously. FPs are GROSSLY underutilized in WDW.) So we went on our merry way and explored the Maharajah Jungle Trek.

    Now, having grown up in San Diego, we are accustomed to the best zoo experiences you could ask for, but we truly enjoyed all of the extra themeing they included in Animal Kingdom. It is gorgeous. If it never has anything else going for it, Animal Kingdom is a truly beautiful and lush environment.

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    Next we decided to head over to DinoLand to ride the oft-maligned Dinosaur. Now, when we were in DL last November, Indy was down for refurb, so this was the hubby's first experience with the ride vehicle and track. We only waited about 10 minutes for the ride and only caught a short part of the Bill Nye pre-show, which was a fun and pleasant surprise. As for the ride itself...doesn't even come close to holding a candle to Indy, but we thought it was fun, especially since it was practically a walk-on. We actually laughed hysterically through the whole thing. Especially at all the people genuinely screaming in fear and then the photos of them genuinely screaming in fear.

    After that we ate some snacks before heading back to Everest. I was feeling a bit shaky and lightheaded as I never ate breakfast that morning, which is ultimately the reason why I ended up skipping Everest on the second go-round. By the way, did I forget to mention that we drove straight from North Carolina to Orlando over night, arrived at about 7am and went straight to the park, where they mistook us for cast members (because, who in their right mind arrives at the park a whole two hours before open and isn't staying on property?) at which point we ended up in the CM parking lot and couldn't figure out where we were or were supposed to go and decided to turn around and come back later? Yeah, that happened.

    So we left to get something to eat, but weren't hungry, so just hung out in our car until 8 and drove back, at which point they were prepared for guests to be arriving to the parking lot. (And we had to shell out the $16 this time around. Drat!) Anyway, another funny story, when the hubs went on Everest the second time by himself, there was a married couple in the seats directly behind him, who apparently had never been on the ride before and knew nothing about it; because when they arrived at the mangled tracks and the ride stopped, the wife exclaimed "WHAT THE *******?!" (Yes, the actual expletive) which my husband found immensely amusing. And also everyone on their train was silent for some reason. No screaming or cheering or anything. When we walked by the ride again later, we noticed the trains were eerily silent again. Weirdness.

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    All I need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of DISNEY.

  4. #4

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    Re: Overdue WDW Trip Report July 2013

    More photos from the Jungle Trek
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    So after we finished at Everest the second time, we decided to seek out some real food, which ended up being a giant Turkey leg that we shared while walking over to Africa and waiting in line for Kilimanjaro Safari.

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    I'm sorry, but, the safari was one of the most uncomfortable rides I have ever been on. It was waaaayyyyy too bumpy and jostling. Especially since I have lower back issues. So for the wait time, 45 minutes - the longest we waited all day, and discomfort it was not worth it.

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    We skipped Kali River Rapids as neither of us enjoys being wet, even in the Florida heat, so after the safari we got semi-lost in the Africa animal trails before heading back to Dinosaur for another good laugh.

    After the second trip on Dinosaur we grabbed some frozen treats and headed over to Finding Nemo: The Musical. They were currently seating the next show so we scarfed our treats and headed into the refreshing A/C where we got seats just behind the official "bubble zone". We thoroughly enjoyed the musical, especially the costumes/props/puppets and the hubby took a brief nap (You would too after working a full day, driving ALL night and being on your feet in the park all day and then sitting down in a darkened room.)

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    I purposely decided to Disneybound all three days of this trip, and this day I went as Flit!

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    Up Next: EPCOT!
    All I need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of DISNEY.

  5. #5

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    Re: Overdue WDW Trip Report July 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Joshrzmeup View Post
    Glad you joined and decided to share a TR with us!!!! Welcome to Mice Chat
    Thanks so much! I'm happy to be here. Your trip report photos were adorable btw. I wish we had gotten more with characters while we were there, but it was a very whirlwind trip for us.
    All I need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of DISNEY.

  6. #6

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    Re: Overdue WDW Trip Report July 2013

    Wow, two WDW TR's in one day!
    You've made my day - thanks for posting.

  7. #7

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    Re: Overdue WDW Trip Report July 2013

    Day 2: EPCOT Center!

    So after we were so successful with our rope drop strategy at AK, we opted for it again at Epcot. Only today we knew not to arrive TOO early and be mistaken for CMs. We arrived just over an hour before park opening and were the sixth car in the lot! Woot! Of course, that was a bit misleading since there were already dozens of people staying on property waiting for rope drop as well, but still, success!

    Attachment 32833

    Our priority ride of the day was Test Track so again, we decided to head straight there and hop on in Stand-by then grab a FP for later. It worked out perfectly again! We walked quickly through the queue and only waited a couple of minutes while the group in front of us was finishing up designing their cars.

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    As you can see, we definitely enjoyed the ride! And seemingly more so than our fellow passengers who, again, were oddly silent. Does WDW have some sort of noise violation policy we're not aware of? It's like nobody told these people they're allowed to have fun. Oh, while I'm on the subject of things I don't understand about Disney World, hardly anyone wears character ears/hats. What is up with that? You see them everywhere at DLR and they have a much bigger local crowd than WDW. It confusels me so. (Yes, confusels, like Heffalumps and Woozles.)

    Anywho, when we went to get our FPs they were good for about an hour and half later (again, Seriously?! But YAY!) so we trotted over to the Land and sweated it out on Living with the Land since we had decided to skip Soarin' as we went on the original in November and the hubby had mixed feelings about it. (He swears my BFF and I "screamed" at him to smell the pines and orange groves. Lies!) So after that we waited the five minutes for Spaceship Earth and enjoyed the glorious A/C.

    We both felt that Spaceship Earth was a great "downtime" ride. It's always a walk-on and nice and cool temperature wise. But the ride vehicles were really noisy. They sounded like they were working extra hard to keep moving, even at their glacial pace. Having not been on it for 17 years, that was my only complaint. The only parts of the ride that I remembered were a couple of the historical scenes and that it moved very slowly. So that killed about 40 minutes for us altogether. Back to Test Track!

    After our second trip on Test Track we made our way around the rest of Future World. I couldn't say exactly why, but we have no pictures of us on the Future World side. And only a handful of pics of Future World period, most of which didn't come out great. All of our photos on this trip were taken with our iPhones, which actually worked out quite well for the most part.

    Since I have no photos, here's a breakdown of the rest of Future World:

    We opted for the green side of Mission:Space (I refuse to do the orange) even though the hubby tried to talk me into the orange side. I didn't understand why they felt the need to keep warning us about small, confined spaces over and over and OVER again until we got off the ride. Now it's not quite as annoying, but only a little.

    The Nemo omnimover ride is far superior to the Nemo and friends subs in DL for a few reasons (much more comfortable, the effects work properly, no 35-70 minute wait!) and Turtle Talk with Crush was completely adorable and funny, as usual.

    I apologized to the hubby for Universe of Energy. Literally. I said, "I have to apologize for that." What a colossal waste of time. The only thing my 10-year-old self remembered about it was the dinosaurs (of course!) and the large, odd ride vehicles. That thing needs help. Tons of help. I can't believe they even have the gall to call it a "ride". It's barely an attraction.

    Anyway, we did end up doing Soarin' on FPs (we were running out of things to do and had a whole day to fill!) and again, tons of Fast Passes left and 70 minute Stand-by time. It boggles the mind. The scents were actually stronger on this coast (go figure) but it's a horrific theme violation (more for the "future world" concept than "the land" IMO) and we had to hike a mile to get back to the pavilion, but it was still fun. And I finally got to be in the top row so no feet dangling in my line of sight!

    We were starting to get hungry for some "real" food so we shared an entree in the Land and then went over to Imagination. I can't say for sure why, but I have zero recollection of this pavilion from my childhood. Which makes me think it may have been down when we were there because I have a vivid recollection of Honey, I shrunk the audience (my whole family loved it and it wasn't in DL yet so we were seeing it with fresh eyes) and the dancing waters as well as other attractions that are no more (the entire Wonders of Life pavilion, World of Motion). Whatever the reason, I had to see the travesty that is now Journey Into Imagination or whatever it's exact name is. Not only is the ride as a whole underwhelming, we were assaulted with skunk odor! No thank you. I also insisted on Captain EO since we didn't get to do it on our last trip to DL and I have very fond memories of it with my parents (when they were still together) from it's original run in the late 80s. For me it was fun and nostalgic. The hubby wasn't impressed, but I don't blame him. I probably wouldn't be either if I were seeing it for the first time in 2013.

    That's it for Future World. Up next: World Showcase!
    All I need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of DISNEY.

  8. #8

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    Re: Overdue WDW Trip Report July 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottG View Post
    Wow, two WDW TR's in one day!
    You've made my day - thanks for posting.
    Thanks for reading! I feel like I have the most verbose trip report ever, but I'm having fun!
    All I need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of DISNEY.

  9. #9

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    Re: Overdue WDW Trip Report July 2013

    Great trip report so far. Can't wait to see more.

  10. #10

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    Re: Overdue WDW Trip Report July 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by sbk1234 View Post
    Great trip report so far. Can't wait to see more.
    Thanks so much! I'm actually having a lot of fun "reliving" our trip. Now I'm glad I waited to post it.
    All I need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of DISNEY.

  11. #11

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    Re: Overdue WDW Trip Report July 2013

    Day 2 Cont'd: World Showcase

    World Showcase has always been my favorite part of Epcot and I was really looking forward to visiting it again. We ended up not having as much time there as I would have liked, but as I stated before, this trip was last minute and had to be jam-packed. Plus, it gives us things to look forward to next time! Namely food. And I'm still holding out hope that one day when WDW management finally wakes up they'll add at least two more pavilions to World Showcase. And some high quality attractions. (I love a CircleVision 360 film as much as the next person, but come on.)

    We started out on the Canada side and worked our way down to Mexico. This was how my family traveled the showcase back in '96 so it felt right to me. Plus it was very convenient coming from Imagination. I insisted on going to Les Halles for some sweet treats and was not disappointed. Part of the reason my family loved Epcot so much was the food in France. Especially at Les Halles. It was just as good as I remember. I've been to Paris, and there was a patisserie around the corner from our hotel, and we ate dessert there every single night for a week. Les Halles is just as good. It was so good, in fact, we went back for more later! I had a Napoleon and the hubs opted for a plain croissant since he's not much for sweets. (I know, he's nutty.) But even the croissants are amazing because he said it's the best he's ever had. It is impossible to explain to someone who has never eaten a real, true, genuine French croissant, why they are so much better than what passes for a croissant in the U.S. The best I can do is that they are much lighter and delicate, super flaky but somehow still soft and buttery. (I know, you want one now, right?)

    We basically shopped and snacked our way through each country. Germany...
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    China... (eating a pretzel from Germany - also quite tasty and better than our U.S. versions)
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    Morocco... (oh yeah! Today I was Disneybounding as Princess Jasmine!)
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    Great Britain... (I was hoping I might get a call from Communicore Weekly to play Impromptu United Kingdom Phonebooth Disney Trivia, but it never rang.)
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    I told the hubby that we had to do The American Adventure and hear the Voices of Liberty, because they're amazeballs and everyone loves both. As luck would have it, it started drizzling/sprinkling when we arrived at the American pavilion, so we headed inside to stay dry until the next show started in about 15 minutes. We starting walking around and I was inspecting the art (I have attended art schools my entire life, minored in Art History and hope to one day curate an art museum) when I spotted a group of people in period costume emerge from a backstage area. The Voices of Liberty!!! We were then treated to the most amazing a capella performance ever under the rotunda. Talk about a Pre-show!

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    There was a pretty small crowd in there so we were right up front, sitting on the floor, as they insisted we do. Afterward they all came out into the crowd to shake hands. The woman in the burgundy coat in the center came up to us! We shook hands and thanked her for the beautiful performance. She noticed we were wearing Anniversary buttons (it wasn't actually our anniversary while we were there, but we take a trip to celebrate every year and skipped it this year due to my Best Friend's wedding, so we decided to make this our "anniversary trip" for the year.) and asked how many years we were celebrating and where we were from. We told her 3 years married, we're here from NC but are moving back to our hometown of San Diego later this year. Turns out, she's from San Diego, too! There's that small world again. It was lovely and wonderful to get to chat with her. It is the longest conversation I think I've ever had with a CM and we really felt like we got to connect with her on a personal level. So if anyone knows who she is, please thank her for us again!

    After that the Voices went back into their hidey hole and it was time for us to get our seats for the show. The theater looked as good as I remembered and the show has been very nicely maintained and cared for. All the AAs were working properly and synched with audio and video. The only thing, and we found this to be comical more than offensive, is that the montage of American heros at the end of the show still prominently features Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong. *clears throat* Disney may want to look into updating that soon. Although Tiger does seem to have wormed his way back into good graces for the time being. And is still a great golf player. Let's move on, shall we?

    Being goofy in Norway... (What happened to all the troll merch? I distinctly remember them having an entire shop dedicated to the creepy little things and I was set on buying one!)

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    Japan...
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    Gran Fiesta Tour en Mexico! The hubby was not fond of this ride. Reminded him too much of IASW.
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    Mexico...
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    And finally, the kiss goodnight, IllumiNations. (Nice segue photo, eh?)

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    It was nearly impossible to get decent photos of the show. Most of them are filled with smoke or blurry. But this last one is the real money shot of the day.

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    We saved the best for last. Up next: Day 3 - Magic Kingdom!
    All I need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of DISNEY.

  12. #12

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    Re: Overdue WDW Trip Report July 2013

    Day 3: Magic Kingdom!

    At this point, we were convinced of the brilliance of rope drop, and Day 3 was no different. We arrived about an hour and half early this day because of the additional travel to the island. When I came with my family in '96 we took one of the ferries and I remembered it taking forever so we planned on hopping on the monorail. As far as we could tell, they didn't even have any of the ferries operating so that worked out.

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    This wait for rope drop was by far the most brutal. No shelter from the sun and more people than the two previous days. By the time they let us in, there was absolutely no semblance of a line anywhere and everyone was antsy to go, go, go!

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    A delightful and truly unexpected surprise was the Welcome song! I had never heard of/read/seen anything about this before and it was a lot of fun! And also, sadly, the only time we saw most of the characters in it.

    So today, instead of hitting our top priority thrill ride first, we decided to head straight to Fantasyland and get the dark rides we wanted to do, but didn't want to wait more than five minutes for, out of the way. This made the priority Peter Pan. We already knew it wasn't going to be our favorite because it is not nearly as great as DL's version, but I had to do it because the only part that I remembered was the flying over Neverland section with the indians and volcanoes and my 10-year-old self was really let down by my favorite DL ride. I wanted to give WDW the chance to redeem itself here. It didn't, but I'm getting ahead of myself!

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    We got an excellent view from the hub.
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    A completely unobstructed photo of the castle!
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    Another one!?
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    We hoofed it through the castle and were abruptly stopped at the rope right on the edge of Fantasyland as the CMs waited to get the all-clear and set us free. They actually physically removed the rope just after we got there and we were right up front as not too many people had caught up to us yet. We waited about two or three minutes as the horde gathered behind us, when suddenly we felt some jostling happening in the crowd. Not a moment later, who should appear immediately on my right but Peter Pan and Wendy Darling, in the flesh! They had swam upstream as it were and made their way to the front of the crowd where they proceeded to ask the CM in charge "Can we go yet?" "How much longer?" and when the answer was "Three more minutes, Peter" the reply was, "How long is that?" at which point Wendy tried (and failed) to calculate the number of seconds that would be. It was great! They were completely in character (obviously) and I was basically touching them due to proximity! Sadly, this all happened so quickly and we were so completely unprepared for it, that we didn't get any pictures of them. Bollocks!

    Before we knew it the three minutes were up and everyone scampered off to their rides of choice. We made a beeline for Peter Pan's Flight and walked on to the fifth pirate ship of the day! On the way my husband informed me that when he felt Peter and Wendy jostling through the crowd, he almost elbowed Wendy when she was right behind him! I told him it was a good thing he didn't or we probably would have been escorted out of the park! Thank goodness he refrained. Sadly, Peter Pan the ride was unable to redeem itself. It was just as disappointing to this Disneyland girl in 2013 as it was in 1996. However, our plan allowed us the interaction with the real life Pan and Wendy, so it all worked out!

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    Next we headed off to Voyage of the Little Mermaid. The ride itself is ok, and I knew they were identical on both coasts, but I also knew the New Fantasyland version had a beyond amazing queue, complete with 20,000 Leagues five-legged goats! So it was our next priority since we really just wanted to walk through the queue and see the outside theme elements, which are amazing.

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    Attached Images Attached Images   
    All I need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of DISNEY.

  13. #13

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    Re: Overdue WDW Trip Report July 2013

    You two are adorable and it looks like you had a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing. What a great way to introduce yourself to the community!

    “That's the way a lot of things happen... You think one person did something
    but he was just the one to put the color on it." – Ken Anderson
    ​I'm blogging here again!

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