Archive for October 30, 2014

Jaime & Ethan’s Thanksgiving Trip, Day 5, Part 1

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2013

Today is our last day – in fact, we have to be on the road about 3:00 in order to make it home before the weekend ends.

We’re up bright and early, again, and headed over to the Polynesian Resort for breakfast with friends of ours from St. Louis, Mark and Louise!

We pick them up at the Beach Club. Mark says he’ll watch the car – we have to run in and see the Christmas decorations!

Over to the Poly – Ethan is a little blown away by the theming of the place… SIDE NOTE: in his research online, he found out the place that made a lot of the signs and artwork for the Poly is called Oceanic Arts and is located in California. They are penciled in as a stop on our California trip next year.

Breakfast is at Kona Café – a longtime favorite of mine. But this time, I’m gluten free. I’ve also heard a rumor that the chef is now making a gluten free version of Tonga Toast using rolls. They were amazing – but don’t get too excited, they were no longer available as of January, 2014.

I even got the chef to bring me some pineapple-macadamia nut butter to put on them!

After breakfast, we drive over to EPCOT to spend the morning. The one problem I have with the new Fast Pass Plus system is coordinating with friends. Casual meetings in the parks aren’t as easy when my FPs are HERE and yours are THERE. Today is about being together and meandering though. Louise is on a character quest, so we all get in line for Pluto. I love these shots!

Ethan and I have Soarin’ FPs at the same time Mark and Louise have Character Connection FPs, so we split up temporarily. When we meet back up, Louise tells us who she saw – including Mickey. My 6’6″ “Manly Man” actually pouts and says “But I wanna meet Mickey!”

So we all get in line at Character Connection! (it’s a short line!)

I swear the rest of us were there…

Jaime & Ethan’s Thanksgiving Trip, Day 4, Part 2

We’ve covered so much ground already today – and it’s not even 10am!!!

We stop at Cheshire Café for some coffee (it’s overcast and chilly, in case you can’t tell)

After sitting for a little bit, we wander back towards Fantasyland. I’m told by my new favorite cast member that I can take my coffee in line with me for Winnie the Pooh!

We have lunch Fast Passes for Be Our Guest at 10:30 or 11:00. I know it was early. We are like kids in a candy store walking in there for the first time!

I order the roast beef on a gluten free bun, Ethan orders the turkey on a gluten free bun.

We really enjoyed the atmosphere and the food. Be Our Guest will become a favorite for the next year.

But it’s now time for the area of the park we were MOST excited about… remember I said Tangled was OUR movie? Well, we’re going to OUR bathrooms!!!

Ethan can’t wait to get his Charge On either!

We head over to the Haunted Mansion next, Ethan has a little trouble with the Doom Buggies – he’s 6’6″ and it curves just a little too soon on top for him to sit upright!

I’m not sure Ethan fits in this Small World boat much better…

After a few more rides, we head over into Adventureland. Ethan will fall in love with the Tiki Room here.

A little Captain Jack for me…

We rode the Jungle Cruise next. I don’t know what the deal is, Ethan has not gotten a good Jungle Cruise skipper yet! He doesn’t really like this ride, but it’s because he hasn’t gotten the right skipper!

We cross the park and head into Tomorrowland. We start with Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor – one of my favorites, I love goofy humor! We cover a few more Tomorrowland rides, including the Peoplemover – which I have never seen a line for at all, let alone THIS line:

It’s getting dark, and cold – have I mentioned yet that the cold front that moved across the United States this week will be responsible for the fact that it’s going down to 37 degrees in Disneyworld tonight and I’m wearing capris?!?!?!

We walk back to the hub for the nighttime fireworks stuff. We are stopped by one last Shake It parade stopped around the hub.

We find a spot in front of the castle in the crowd and are actually happy with the crowd because it’s blocking the wind and creating body heat!

We start with Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother lighting up the castle with the icicle lights. This is one of my favorite sights in Disney. I was here in 2008, the first year they lit them. I cried then. I cry now. It just makes me so happy!

We actually leave the hub now because we have a 7:00 dinner at Tony’s on Main Street. We get here a little early because it’s too cold to linger outside. We check in and have a seat in the crowded lobby. There’s a television playing Lady and the Tramp. One of the hostesses comes around the crowd with little cups of hot chocolate to warm everyone up (I told you it was cold!!)

We picked Tony’s tonight because we had read a bunch of good gluten free reviews. The chef comes out and takes our order and says he’ll send out GF rolls. These are the best GF rolls we’ve ever been served – they were heated perfectly – we ate them all!

We both order the spaghetti and meatballs (and this is where I really have a problem going out for pasta – I can make this at home for a lot less than $16 a person!!!) and it’s fine, but the meatballs are flavorless! We were both disappointed.

Ethan and I don’t usually do dessert at restaurants, but I’ve wanted to try the pistachio crème brule here for years! It was wonderful!

After dinner, we both wanted to see the Tangled bathrooms at night (to see the lanterns lit), so we head back into Fantasyland. We stop to browse (warm up?) in one of the stores, where I spot some very “artsy” Little Mermaid merchandise (can I say “hussy” here?)

We make it to the bathrooms and think it’s very pretty!

Back to the Hub for the real fireworks and castle projection show. Ethan loves this!

What a long and wonderful day!!!

Jaime & Ethan’s Thanksgiving Trip, Day 4, Part 1

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2013

Friday morning, bright and early, finds the two of us sitting on the wall outside the train station at the Magic Kingdom, waiting for the Opening Ceremony. As I sit there, I flash back to that cruise in 2009 when my heart started to heal and wished those friends were sitting with me. (I suppose they kind of always are though, you know?) The Opening Ceremony starts, I cry a little behind my sunglasses, and we are ushered into the Magic Kingdom!

When Ethan stops in the crowd to take a picture of the plaque that reads “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy”, my heart does that melty thing again. He gets it. He really does GET IT.

I videotape his face when he sees the castle for the first time and we make our way straight to New Fantasyland. Well, “straight there” for us involves stopping a lot! Ethan’s decided there are certain characters that would be “okay” to meet. Mickey, for example, seems like meeting Mickey is important. Beauty and the Beast (one of his favorite movies) would also be acceptable. I suggested Rapunzel and Flynn Rider and he agreed that would be okay too.

So we make our way through the castle and I spot Rapunzel’s line for meet and greets. I talk him into going inside because A) there’s NO line, and B) it is our favorite movie…

There are 2 character meetings in Rapunzel’s line; Snow White is her Princess Friend today. We go up and meet Rapunzel and take pictures and talk. Well, she and I talk. Ethan’s not really comfortable, but he’s having fun. I don’t think he knew what to expect (namely that characters are in character, no matter what. I still don’t think he completely gets that concept.) We finish up with Rapunzel, who was perplexed when I asked to take a picture of the back of her hair (it was braided and so pretty), and I head for Snow White. Ethan was heading for the door! He had no intention of meeting Snow White. He stops to watch me meet her and Snow White surprises him with, “Get over here, Grumpy!” and he ends up with his 2nd character picture!

Outside and laughing about him being called “Grumpy” by Snow White herself, we start to head into New Fantasyland again. We get waylaid by Ethan taking pictures around the carousel and me peeking in at the new dwarves train ride. Who knew a party of 2 could have such a huge Vortex? (A Vortex is the unknown entity that keeps large parties of people from moving through a theme party swiftly – or maybe it’s just MY large parties! – we’ll go into more detail in some retro reports I’ll post later!)

We finally get to New Fantasyland and the first thing we do is Enchanted Tales with Belle. Beauty and the Beast is one of his favorite movies, remember? In our research, we found videos of this attraction and Ethan noticed people get their picture taken with Belle at the end. This was actually his first thought that maybe doing a character meet and greet might not be so bad. In Enchanted Tales with Belle, you walk into Maurice’s cottage and are transported (via magic mirror, of course) to the day that Belle and the Beast fell in love. You enter the castle and the objects are enchanted. They need volunteers to play some of the parts as we will be acting out the story for Belle herself.

First off, they ask for suits of armor, so they want to see everyone marching – Ethan marched so well, he got picked first. I had no idea how serious he was about getting in this production, lol! Once all the roles are cast and practiced, we enter the library, where I got to sit and balance the video and still cameras! It’s a cute production and Ethan got his photo with Belle!

I know he wants to meet Gaston later in the day (Gaston doesn’t make appearances in the village until a little later in the morning), so we cover the rest of New Fantasyland, ending up over by the Casey Jr. water playground.

Suddenly, Ethan wants to go into a tent, “I think Donald Duck is in here!”

I’m sorry, you what??? How do you know where Donald Duck is??? Sure enough, Ethan leads me to the Goofy/Donald Duck meet and greet area! Is this the same man who last February said “that he would not be meeting characters; not at meals, not standing in lines, not wandering down a street. He was a grown man and meeting characters was childish.”

Jaime & Ethan’s Thanksgiving Trip, Day 3

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2013

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Thursday at Hollywood Studios was a lot of fun, but we’re working with Holiday crowds and this week is a totally different experience than last February. Thanks to the Magic Bands and Fast Pass Plus though, we managed to cover a lot more ground than I’d hoped!

We are very early risers on vacation. We were at All Star Music checking in by 7am.

AND OUR ROOM WAS READY!!!

Just your standard value resort room. It’s one less thing off my mind though! Once again, we dump our stuff and head out.

We’re going to try breakfast at Hollywood Studios; I’m not very hopeful. The only place I know off the top of my head for breakfast is Starring Rolls. Any place with the word “rolls” in its name is probably not a gluten free haven. I was right; they had 2 choices, neither of which was going to be filling enough to bother with. I asked who else was serving food and was sent over to Fairfax Fare (by Tower of Terror).

We got to the head of the line, announced we had a food allergy, and were handed over to a manager. She said she could do their breakfast sandwiches with gluten free hamburger buns, but she had to go get them and it would take a few minutes. A BREAKFAST SANDWICH?!?!?!?! I’ll wait, I’ll happily wait! It’s funny the stuff you miss when a food is taken away – I thought I’d have a really hard time with pasta and bread, but the gluten free options for those are usually pretty good. But a breakfast sandwich isn’t something I’m going to make myself, so it’s been months since I’ve had the option of one.

It was worth the wait!

Hollywood Studios has been my least favorite park for a long time, but since Ethan’s never been to most of the parks, I’m trying not to bias his opinion of anything Disney. I am guilty of trying to sway his opinion though. I do this by showing him the parts I know he’ll like first. So this morning, we head into the Beauty and the Beast Stage Show. (it’s his favorite Disney movie). And there was something in it for me, too!

Ethan loves the history of things, so I made sure to spend some time in One Man’s Dream. He likes music and concerts, so I took him to see Mulch, Sweat, and Shears.

And, he’s a guy, so… duh…

His sister is a huge Little Mermaid fan from when she was a kid, so I showed him The Voyage of the Little Mermaid to get him thinking about a Sibling Trip…

Fast Passes for Toy Story Mania were a must for today, too!

I think he’s getting into it!

Just a glimpse of the Dark Lord (did I get that right???) and then lunch at Backlot Express.

I had a hot dog on an Udi’s bun and Ethan had a turkey sandwich on Udi’s bread.

I couldn’t let the day go by without taking him to one of my favorite activities either! I love the Art of Animation classes!

This is as close as I can get him to a character…

Since this was Thanksgiving, we had planned a very special Non-Traditional Meal – Sci-Fi Dine In Theater!

You sit in booths shaped like cars and face a large drive-in screen. Playing on the screen are various cartoon, intermission ads, and B-movie trailers. It’s a lot of fun!

In the “Too Much Information about Ethan & Jaime” vein, I’ll share something that happened at dinner at home one night our first year together (you know how, in a new relationship, you look for “signs” this is meant to be? This was one of those, lol) In the middle of dinner conversation, Ethan spouts, “People! People! People!” – quoting a cartoon called “The Cat that Hated People”. My jaw dropped – this is my favorite part of the whole Sci-Fi show! I love that cartoon. Ethan was just quoting a cartoon from his childhood, but it was one of my favorite cartoons! WHAT ARE THE ODDS?!?!?!

I had been looking forward to tonight’s dinner very much: I wanted the spinach and artichoke dip and a boozy shake. The chef comes out to discuss the food allergy and he’s less than helpful. He doesn’t seem to really care, but I can’t have my spinach and artichoke dip (there’s wheat in the mix). MIX??? How disappointing!

We both end up ordering burgers (served on Udi’s pizza crusts) and, while it was fun to watch the show, the food just wasn’t good enough to warrant a trip back too soon.

After dinner, there’s one more stop to make at Hollywood Studios – the Osborne Lights! With rumors swirling about Star Wars Land coming and no one knowing where it’s going, the possibility of this being the last Osborne Lights is looming over us (we know now that it’ll be back this year…) so I made sure Ethan got to see it at least once!

Jaime & Ethan’s Thanksgiving Trip, Day 2

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2013

I discover today that I’m married to a Disney Genius: he suggests we see about adding a day to our park tickets and using it Wednesday (we have 3 day tickets booked with our package at All Star Music, starting Thursday). I know you can add a park day; I had no clue you could do Early Pick-Up at a park and start using park days on a package BEFORE the package begins! So we went to Animal Kingdom and added a full day to our Disney Vacation!!!

Animal Kingdom has Extra Magic Hour this morning and is opening at 8am. We get there about 7:30am and head for Guest Services outside the park. It took a little while, but they added our extra day and activated our magic bands.

We go through the turnstyles and are met by a Cast Member with an iPad-ish thing, asking if he can help us with anything. Yes, yes you can. We didn’t know we’d be here today – we need Fast Passes!

He scanned my Magic Band and asked what attractions we wanted. We went with Everest, Dinosaur, and the Safari. He even emailed it to me in case we had trouble with the app – My Disney Experience.

We’re off to explore, but we explore like we drive a lot – lots of stopping… So we stop for Ethan to take a picture of the Tree of Life.

And for me to take a picture of Ethan taking a picture of the Tree of Life.

Then we stopped for breakfast at Pizzafari.

Our gluten free concession for this meal was to just not get the biscuits. (it’s a minor allergy as far as food allergies go, so I can be slightly glutened and I’m okay. Don’t take risks with your own health based on my bad behavior!)

We come out of breakfast and everything is wet. Really, really wet! People are wearing ponchos! I stop one and ask if it rained, because the sky was blue when we went in to breakfast and it’s blue now! Apparently, it poured!!! And we missed it! Awesome!

We had a fabulous day – such a blessing to get this extra day at a park we didn’t think we’d make it to for another few months (yes, we know we’re spoiled!)

Ethan fell in love with the park: the theming, the rides, the animals. I found a new appreciation for a park I had stopped paying attention to – the details here are amazing!

Ethan had his first Mickey ice cream bar and we had lunch at Flame Tree Bar-B-Q with it’s fabulous view.

After a very full day (there’s actually 410 photos of today), we headed over to Downtown Disney for dinner at Raglan Road. I was super excited about this meal: they have gluten free onion rings!!!

RAGLAN ROAD DID NOT DISAPPOINT! IT WAS FABULOUS!

Ethan loves chicken curry – this one was a little runny for his taste.

I also ordered the fried scallops appetizer.

Ethan ordered us another onion rings near the end. I was a little sick from all the fried food! But it was so wonderful!!!

The night was not over yet though! We drove over to Port Orleans Riverside and caught one of Bob Jackson’s sets (and downed a couple more drinks!)

Back to the Bed of Lead for one more night – tomorrow we move over onto Disney Property!!!

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