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Janice O'Hanley -- November 2004 -- Walt Disney World (PCR)


The Cast of Characters

  • Janice - yours truly from the Boston area
  • Patti - from Philadelphia
  • Kathy - from Chicago
  • Carolyn - from Long Island
  • Over 30 Soap Stars from ABC Daytime

Main reasons for going:

  • Super Soap Weekend (SSW)
  • Food and Wine Festival
  • Undiscovered Future World Tour
  • Visiting with Internet Friends
  • Just getting away from the cold for a few days!

Pre-trip preview:

This will be my first of two trips through the end of the year (going again for the first time ever, the first weekend in December). I guess my main reason for going on this trip is for SSW and seeing my Internet friends again. I wasn’t able to come down last November for the soap opera event (I had been down 6 years in a row before that) due to the fact that I was working at the Disney Store as a cast member and that was the beginning of our black-out dates. In September of this year I left the Disney Store, (for a variety of reasons) but I was able to get a job at a local Waldenbooks just 5 minutes from my home. This made more sense to me money-wise and travel-wise. Even though I miss working for the Disney Store, things have changed there since I first started working there. Most of the girls I worked with have already left but I still keep in touch with them.

On this trip, I will be rooming with Patti at Pop Century. I enjoy staying at different resorts and since PC is so new, I was glad that Patti got a reservation for us to stay there. Patti and I are arriving Thursday evening on separate flights, so we plan on meeting at the resort. I plan on taking Mears to and from the resort, since that will be my cheapest way. I land around 7:20 pm, so I hope to be at PC between 8:30 - 9:00 pm. Once I get settled, I plan to get something to eat at the food court then hop on a bus to Downtown Disney. I won’t be spending much this trip because money is tight and I need to save some for my Dec. trip and for Christmas. I was lucky enough to get my flight for this trip for only $128.00 RT (Southwest). I will have to stop in Baltimore on the way down but will have a direct flight on the way home.

My plans for the next few days are as follows:

On Friday, after a quick breakfast in the food court, Patti and I will hop on a bus for Epcot to take the Undiscovered Future World tour. The tour lasts about 4 hours and after that I want to ride Mission: Space and Test Track if possible (probably single rider lines). Then I want to go over to World Showcase and eat a little around the world at the Food and Wine Festival booths. Next I want to jump over to MGM Studios and ride Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Once I’ve done this, Patti and I will head back to the room to rest a bit and change for the evening. We then plan on going to Magic Kingdom for the evening to see Wishes, go on as many rides as we can and hope that they have a SpectroMagic parade scheduled for sometime that evening. I want to have my first Casey’s Hot Dog for my dinner tonight also.

Saturday and Sunday will probably be almost exactly the same: MGM Studios for Super Soap Weekend. We plan on being there very early each morning doing the autograph, parade and talk show events. Also I plan on staying for the Street Jam both nights. This consists of the soap stars performing - quite a few of them have done Broadway and I’m anxious to hear them sing. I hope to ride a few attractions and want to see Fantasmic on Sunday night if possible. I might hop over to Magic Kingdom after the Street Jam on Saturday night, if I’m not too tired and time permits. I also plan on meeting up with my friends Kathy and Carolyn at this park. I will call them on my cell phone to make plans to meet up. My meals will probably be quick and cheap. No big plans for these two days for any sit down meals.

On Monday, our last day, we will check out fairly early and store our bags for the day. We will head to the Contemporary for our ressie’s at Chef Mickey’s for a “big” breakfast. This day is just for resort hopping (looking in gift shops) and we will probably head over to Downtown Disney for shopping (more for Patti than me - she has to feed her Dopey obsession!). At Downtown Disney I might try eating at Earl of Sandwich for my lunch/dinner before heading back to the resort for Mears to take me to the airport. My flight is at 6:30 pm and I won’t be landing until 10:15 pm in Providence. My son will be my chauffeur to and from the airport. I hope to be home and in bed by 11:30 - midnight. Then it is back to work (both day and night jobs) the next day.

ACTUAL:

Thursday - November 11, 2004

The past couple of days here in Boston have been quite cold. The temps have been as low as 30 degrees! This trip couldn’t have come at a better time. I know that the temperature is going to get warmer while I’m gone, but 50 degrees is not what I call warm and I much prefer 80’s to anything below 60 degrees. Maybe that is why I am planning on moving down to Orlando next spring. I’ve been planning this for over a year now and it can’t come soon enough for me. I just have to get through one more winter. So these little trips to WDW are just wetting my appetite for my future

My flight out of Providence leaves at 2:00 pm, so I plan on getting there around noon to get through security, etc. I will just sit and read in line once I am at the gate.

I arrived at the airport a little after noon and since I’d printed out my boarding pass off of my computer, I was all set to go directly through security. This didn’t take too long and I headed down to my gate. I sat and read for about 45 minutes and then decided to stand in line. I had an “A” boarding pass and wanted to sit as far up front as possible. Since I only had carry-on baggage, I wouldn’t have to bother with baggage claim once arriving in Orlando. As I was standing in line and passengers were debarking from the plane, I saw my co-worker come off with his family. I knew he was going down a week before me but never thought that I would see him get off the same plane that I was taking. Like they say, “it's a small world”. Our flight to Baltimore was uneventful and after landing I had no trouble locating my gate for the second half of my flight down. This also seemed like it was uneventful but at one point during the flight, the flight attendant asked if there was a doctor on board. Not sure exactly what medical crisis was going on in the back of the plane but when we landed we were asked to remain seated until the Medics came on board. Surprisingly they weren’t at the gate as we landed so we were allowed to disembark the plane right away. I headed directly to the Mears station. Since I’d prepaid Mears online, I only had to wait for about 10 minutes before getting onto the van. I called Patti to let her know that I was on my way and it just so happens that she had just arrived herself because her plane was late, so she would wait for me in the lobby. After arriving at Pop Century, I saw Patti. Once we’d said our hello’s to each other, we rolled our luggage to the 80’s section. Our room was located on the second floor right behind the giant Roger Rabbit. This resort is so cute! I couldn’t wait to be able to take pictures of all the big and colorful icons. That will probably take at least one whole roll of film. When we located our room (which was right around the corner from the elevators and very close to the vending and ice machines) we saw that the rooms were a little bit bigger than the All-Stars. What surprised me was the décor. I expected it to be very loud and colorful like all the icons around the resort, but it had very subdued hues which I found very pleasing to the eye.

It was a little after 9pm by now and I was starved, so off to the food court we went. I’m not crazy about the set up here at Pop Century with the store and the food court all in one location. It makes the area noisier than normal. I ordered the meatball sub and Patti ordered the pepperoni pizza for one. Both of us were very hungry but half way through our meals we decided that we’d had enough. They food just wasn’t very appetizing.

We decided to go to Downtown Disney. It took about 15 mins. for the bus to arrive, but the travel distance from Pop Century to DTD didn’t seem too long. When I am with Patti, our main shopping focus is to find anything “Dopey” that she doesn’t have yet. She has a huge collection, so it is a challenge to find items that she doesn’t already have. Since we didn’t have much time (it was about 10 pm by now), we hit the usual shops and Patti was able to get a few items including a Dopey Head Pajama Keeper Pillow at the Disney at Home shop. We stayed until the shops closed and then hopped on a bus back to the resort. Back at the room we got ready for bed and watched a little bit of SoapNet before drifting off to sleep.

Friday - November 12, 2004

Today was our ‘behind the scenes’ tour at Epcot. We were taking the “Undiscovered Future World Tour” and we had to be at Guest Relations at 8:45 am. We got up around 6:30 am so that we would be able to have breakfast before catching the bus. After our Danish and juice we walked out to the bus stop around 8:05 am and must have just missed a bus. We waited about 15 mins. and the next bus pulled up. When we arrived at Epcot, I had to go to the Guest Relations in front of the park because I had to trade in a complimentary pass that I got while working at the Disney Store, for a park hopper. After getting that, we headed into the park and walked back to the Guest Relations located left of Spaceship Earth (you have to walk up towards the back to locate it). This is where we had to check-in for our tour. Craig was our tour guide and he was very well informed and well spoken. There were 15 guests on this four-hour tour. Craig passed around a piece of the material used to make Spaceship Earth. It doesn’t look as silver up close as it does when you look at the pavilion. He gave us a lot of information about SE but I’m not one to remember all the details unless I take notes. Sorry to disappoint those we want more statistics. We walked into Innoventions East and were taken through the House of Inventions. I had been in this last year, so there wasn’t much of anything new for me to see. It was still interesting to see all of the hi-tech gadgets for our future use (if we can afford it!). Next we headed back across to the other side of Future World and walked to the Land. Craig gave us a 20-minute break, so most of us went down to the bakery in the food court but the line was so long that we decided against it knowing that we wouldn’t have enough time. We saw the area where Soarin’ is going to be. I can’t wait for next year when it is up and running. I have been to Disney’s California Adventure and have been on Soarin’ over California several times and I love it. It should be a heavy traffic attraction once it is up and running. We then walked over to the Journey Into Imagination pavilion and went in the entrance for the store. At this point we had our first “behind the scenes” experience. We were brought up to the second floor via an elevator to a lounge that is not used much anymore. The second floor was used years ago as part of the attraction but I guess they felt that it wasn’t working with two floors as they intended. This pavilion has glass triangle shaped windows that during the day you can’t see into from the outside but at night you can see inside. From the inside you can see outside during the day but not during the evening.

Craig told us a little bit more info about the pavilion and then he let us play a little bit with the two “pin” tables. These are tables that have pins completely underneath the glass and you can press your hand under the pins and make an imprint. I do remember these tables when they had the original JIYI open. We had fun doing this. Back downstairs and out the door we went, on towards our next stop which was The Living Seas. As we were walking over, I saw the Finding Nemo display and Nemo himself posing for pictures with the kids. Later in the day I was going to come back to “find Nemo” so I could at least take a picture of him. Here was another opportunity to go behind the scenes. We went into a door that was located near The Coral Reef restaurant. Inside we were brought to another elevator that took us to another lounge. This one had glass windows all along the far wall that looked into the aquarium. It was a very nice lounge with comfortable couches and chairs. In the next room were about 25 tables set up for an event for that evening. Also in the next room was a piano. The whole piano was see-through and it was quite intriguing. We headed back downstairs and out the door and over towards the other side of Future World. Now we were going backstage at the Universe of Energy. While inside (from an inconspicuous door), we could hear the growls of the dinosaurs from onstage. We stood near a life-like Pterodactyl, positioned on a pedestal. Craig passed around a sample of the material that the Pterodactyl is made of. The dinosaur looked so real. I was hoping that we would go out to the area where all the dinosaurs were in the attraction but I guess our timing was off. Back outside we walked over to the Wonders of Life pavilion but it was closed due to seasonal operation only. We chatted for a bit then headed over to Mission: Space. We stood outside and discussed the attraction. Since this ride makes some people feel uncomfortable, I knew that we weren’t going to go inside. Time for another backstage trip. We walked over to Test Track and went through yet another door that brought us to the end of the ride. They had a racecar on display and some of us were able to sit in it while Craig discussed the background of this attraction. I was hoping that we might be able to ride this attraction, but once again we were lead outside the building. I know that I’ve read several reports on Deb Wills’ site, that when others have taken this tour they have had a chance to ride at least one of the rides or have gotten FastPasses for them. I guess the tour has changed because this was not offered to us. I was a little disappointed. Now was the time to go completely backstage and we had to take the “secret pledge” before heading that way. We went to where the Cast Members lounge, store, wardrobe, and other areas were. This was a fun part for me. I have been here before (when I was a Disney Store Cast Member) where I was able to visit the Company D store and make a few purchases. Now we were taken to the area where the barges were for Illuminations. We saw the globe that goes out into the middle of the lagoon. All of the information that we got from Craig was very interesting. Our last stop on the tour was at the International Cast Member building. We were introduced to an Italian Guest Relations Cast Member. This was his second time working at WDW and he was thrilled to be able to work in Guest Relations this go around. We had a chance to ask him questions about his experiences here in America and if things here are what he imagined they would be. He did mention that our cars were a lot bigger than he thought they would be. He was looking forward to spending the holidays here in an American home. After about a half-hour, it was time to go back on-stage because our tour was over. We ended up in the China pavilion and here is where Craig presented us with our tour pins (of course we had to promise not to sell them on eBay). If we were interested we could eat in China with a 20 percent discount courtesy of Craig but Patti and I passed on that because I wanted to eat at the booths of the Food and Wine Festival. Craig also told us that we would be able to view Illuminations from a special area near Italy tonight; all we had to do was give them our names. Since our plans were to go to the Magic Kingdom to watch Wishes, we would not be taking advantage of this offer. It would have been a nice way to see the fireworks but tonight would be our only night to go to the Magic Kingdom during this trip. We thanked Craig for a terrific tour and headed towards France, my main choice from the F & W Festival. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to ride any of the attractions (when we took the Keys to the Kingdom tour two years ago, we got to ride the Haunted Mansion and the TTA.), I guess our timing was off during this tour.

I’m a little bit more adventurous than Patti is when it comes to eating different foods. I had printed out the menus from each booth to see what I was interested in trying. I’d highlighted a lot of the items and knew that I had to make a decision on what my lunch would include. Like I mentioned above, France had several things at their booth that I was dying to sample, so that was a definite. Patti was dying for a hamburger, so we walked to the American Pavilion and she went to the Liberty Inn, while I went to the booth and got a cup of the Lobster Corn Chowder. The chowder was very tasty; too bad you only get a small cup’s worth. Patti enjoyed her burger and fries but I was still quite hungry so we continued along. We did stop in Germany to see if Patti could find anything for her Dopey collection. We finally reached France and I headed directly towards the F & W booth. I ordered the escargot and the crepe filled with ham and cheese. They were so good and if I had room I would have gotten the other item (it had scallops and shrimp, I believe) but I was dying for the Chocolate Crème Brulee. This was so delicious - I wished the serving was larger. After my Parisian lunch, we headed over the bridge and walked past the U.K. and Canada. We both were ready for some thrill rides. We walked back to Future World and stopped by Test Track. The stand-by line was 25 minutes. We thought we would check out Mission: Space. The stand-by was only 10 minutes so this was the obvious choice. I love Mission: Space and have been on it 5 times prior to today. Patti has been on once before and we were both anxious to go on again. Our trip to Mars was superb and we came off the ride with smiles on our faces.

Patti wanted to look for a special pin (the 2004 Food and Wine Festival pin featuring Snow White and who else but - Dopey) at the main pin station in the middle of Future World. We didn’t find it there but did find it at the building behind the Fountain View Bakery where the wine seminars were being held. She was so glad to have found the pin, now she doesn’t have to go on eBay to look for it. Now I wanted to go back to The Living Seas for find Nemo again. Luckily he was out and we were both able to get the pictures of him that we wanted. Our last stop in Epcot was the Art of Disney store to look for more Dopeys. This was a successful stop because Patti found a new WDCC of Dopey to add to her collection. With the purchase of this particular item, Patti was just about done with her purchases for this weekend.

We decided to head over to MGM Studios at this time so that we could ride Tower of Terror, which is a “must do” for me on every trip. I wanted to get this in today, even though I would be a MGM the next two days. With the soap opera event going on I wasn’t sure that I would get to do many rides in this park. The wait time for ToT was 20 minutes, which in actuality was only 15 minutes. We checked out Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster but the stand-by time for that was 35 minutes and we weren’t going to be staying long enough in this park to even get a FastPass. Too bad they don’t have single riders in either of these two attractions. I don’t mind riding with others that I don’t know for these rides. After our fun-filled ride on the elevator we walked down towards the giant hat and noticed that SoapNet was getting ready for a rehearsal on their show Soap Talk. We didn’t stay to watch any of it because we wanted to get over to the Magic Kingdom. It was already getting close to 6 pm and I had in my mind to get a hot dog from Casey’s. This is something that those on the sites have been bragging about. Patti was craving cheese fries and once we arrived at the MK, we headed straight to Casey’s. I ordered my dog with an ice tea and Patti did indeed get her fries with cheese on the side to dip with. She also got a dog and a soda. We sat outside where they have their wrought-iron table and chairs set-up. We could see from the distance that Cinderella’s Surprise Celebration was on stage in front of the castle. Can you believe that I still haven’t had the chance to see this show from start to finish? After we were done we tried calling Kathy and Carolyn on Kathy’s cell but all I got was her voicemail. We’d hoped to meet up with them for the evening, but it never worked out. When I finally got Kathy on the phone, they were heading out of the park. We will definitely catch them early in the morning at MGM. We had about an hour and a half before the park closed, so we hit as many attractions as we could. First choice was the Haunted Mansion. This is one of my favorites at night because the cast members here in Orlando do a great job of getting into character. Then we went to Mickey’s PhilharMagic, which has become another “must-do” attraction. Next was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, another great ride in the evening. It was an exhilarating ride and ended up being almost a walk-on. I haven’t ridden this attraction for close to two years. Our last ride before Wishes was Pirates of the Caribbean, which is always a lot of fun and if possible, not to be missed. It was about 7:40 pm and we headed to the end of Main Street right near Casey’s and surprisingly were able to get a terrific view of the castle. The last couple of times I’ve watched Wishes I was standing directly underneath Tinkerbell’s flight, on the bridge. This spot tonight was much better and we were able to see all of the images on the castle. This is a ‘not-to-be missed’ show and I am glad that we were able to get such a great spot.

We stopped at the Main Street Bakery to pick up Danishes for our breakfast for the next morning. We then headed out of the park and towards the Pop Century bus stop and luckily they were bringing continuous busses to accommodate the crowds. We got back to the resort within 40 minutes and stopped at the food court to pick up a water bottle each. We went straight to our room and were asleep within the hour. We had a really early Mickey wake-up call for tomorrow (4:00 am - Yikes!) and we had to get a taxi to be at the Studios by 6 am (the perils of being a soap opera fan). See you bright and early!

Saturday - November 13, 2004

I guess Mickey has no problem waking guests up at the wee hours of the morning.

OK, I asked him to, but why did he have to listen? Yes the phone rang at 4 am and we slowly got up and had a quick breakfast. Good thing we got everything that we needed to bring today ready last night before going to bed. We had the front desk call us a taxi around 5:45 am. I’m sure that many of you have not been to one of the parks as early at 6 am but in this case it is necessary to get there as early as possible to get in line. This is the biggest soap opera event in the country and even though I love watching my soaps and got up this early to get in line, I don’t consider myself one of the “crazy fans”. This was time to spend with my friends that live far away from me. We stood in line near the turnstiles and chitchatted until 7:30 am when the park let us in. We then had to get into the particular line for whichever soap you wanted to get autographs for. I won’t bore you with the details of the soap events (unless you are interested, then you can email me for some details). One of the events was a talk show hosted by Bob “the Bachelor” Ginney, even though he is not a bachelor anymore. He has since married one of the actresses from All My Children. The weather channel said that there was supposed to be a 30 percent chance of rain both today and tomorrow but actually it only rained for a short while around the usual time for Florida. I did take time to ride Tower of Terror again and also rode Star Tours. On Star Tours I rode in the last row, and was the last person going in. I think that this is the best seat in the house. I used to think that I was too accustomed to the ride and that it was lame after all this time, but sitting in this seat felt just like the first time I rode this attraction. I really felt the motion through the whole ride. So try and get this seat if you love motion rides. In between my soap events, I decided to get a cream cheese-filled pretzel at Docksiders. This was delicious and I’m so glad that I finally got to try one of these. I met up with Kathy and Carolyn at the beginning of Hollywood Blvd. sitting on the curb getting ready for a parade. We had some fun conversations just sitting there. We chatted with a few cast members and just people watched. I do miss seeing my friends and taking this opportunity to just relax and chill with them was great. I stayed for the “Street Jam” which was a concert that the soap stars performed in. Believe it or not (with several of the stars having performed on Broadway) the concert was quite good. This lasted from 7 pm to about 9 pm and since I had been up quite early, I was ready to head back to the resort. The bus ride home didn’t take too long and before heading to the room, I stopped at the food court to pick up some mini-donuts and water for our breakfast. For tomorrow, Patti and I were basically repeating the day over again (almost like the movie Groundhog Day). I got to sleep around 10:30 - 11:00 pm. Had to get some sleep, ‘cause Mickey would be calling in a few short hours.

Sunday - November 14, 2004

The phone rang right on time, good thing it was Mickey calling and no one else! Our routine was just about the same, so we arrived again at the gates to the park at 6 am. Carolyn and Kathy were waiting for us and we stood in line for the next hour and half. Once inside we didn’t part ways this time, all four of us decided to get in line for the same show. The line seemed to weave through the whole park. We finally arrived at the FastPass machines for the autograph tickets and the location for this was at the new Lights, Motors, Action! Stunt Show. The whole area looks so different from before, no more streets and houses. We could only see the outside of where the show will be but it looks like plenty of room for a long queue to be set up. So since there were FastPass machines set up here, I guess I can almost guarantee that FastPass will be used for this attraction.

I did take a detour and headed over to the Animation building to get a glimpse of the new characters from the movie The Incredibles. I went in through the gift shop and backtracked to the area where you can meet and greet with the characters. I took a few pictures and also checked out the interactive area, which seemed familiar to me since it was very similar to some of the Animation buildings interactive things to do in California Adventure. The rest of my day went about the same as Saturday did. Before the concert, I had to say my good-byes to Kathy and Carolyn. They were heading offsite to dinner and were doing their own thing offsite tomorrow. I hate saying good-bye to them, not knowing when the next time I will see them. At least Kathy and I chat on the phone every couple of weeks. I’m sure we will have many conversations reliving our fun times here this past weekend. I stayed for the second Street Jam, which maybe I shouldn’t have because it was almost a repeat of the previous evening’s performances. Patti and I stayed until the end, which was around 9:15 pm and then hopped on a bus back to the resort. We didn’t stop in the food court this time because breakfast was going to be at Chef Mickey’s the next morning. We stayed up until about 11pm or so. Tomorrow we can sleep in until around 7am, Woo Hoo!

Monday - November 15, 2004 (Last Day)

After the past two mornings, getting up today was much easier. We had a p.s. for Chef Mickey’s for 9:30 am. We left the room around 8 am and caught a bus for the Magic Kingdom. Once there, we took the resort Monorail and rode it to the Contemporary. We were a little bit early for our p.s. and I asked if we could sit in the smaller, less crowded area right behind the check-in desk. We didn’t bother having our picture taken; neither of us really cared about that. We sat down in the waiting area and were called to be seated in a matter of minutes. This was my first time having breakfast at Chef Mickey’s. I have eaten dinner here and really enjoyed it. The characters still came over to visit us. I think that Chip was actually flirting with us - tee hee! We also did the napkin waving, but my favorite part was eating. I loved the little French Toast triangles and enjoyed the oatmeal, to which I added raisins and brown sugar. We definitely left there with full bellies. This day we planned on just shopping (window shopping in my case) and visiting resorts. We had enough time to check out the shops in the Contemporary, the Polynesian, the Grand Floridian and the Wilderness Lodge before heading back to Pop Century to catch our Mears busses.

Some of the resorts were starting to decorate for the holidays. Pop Century put their tree and decorations up over the weekend. I could see from the Monorail that the big tree outside of the Contemporary was decorated. Inside the resort they have decorated, but nothing that is eye-catching to me. We went into each of the shops on the first floor and I wish that I had a lot of extra cash, because I would have loved to buy out half the stores. I did “splurge” and bought myself a Disney “to do” list pad. I spent a whopping $6.00! (I am such a big spender!) At least I got to bring home a little bit of Disney. Patti bought an 8-pack of different holiday antenna toppers and a few other items. We hopped back on the Monorail and headed to the Polynesian. Patti had never been here before so I gave her the nickel and dime tour. I didn’t see any significant decorations here yet. Onward towards the Grand Floridian where we saw a gigantic Christmas tree and a huge Gingerbread House. I had to take pictures of them. We looked quickly in the main shop to see if there was anything different there, but there wasn’t. We had to leave now so that we would have enough time to thoroughly explore the Wilderness Lodge. We rode the Monorail one last time and got off at the Magic Kingdom. We took the ferryboat across the lake, first to drop off guests at Fort Wilderness then to our destination, which was the Wilderness Lodge. I’d only been here once before and that was last March with my friends that I used to work with at the Disney Store. During that visit we ate at Whispering Canyon for my birthday. It was so much fun but we were pressured for time afterwards and couldn’t look around. Today was my chance to take a lot of pictures and to take our time to just enjoy the ambiance. This was another resort Patti had never been to before, so we were going exploring together. The ride over to the resort was invigorating, with the wind blowing in our hair. We got off and started walking towards the lodge but ended up stopping every few feet to take pictures. We did see the flume go off and I got close enough to take a pic of that without getting too wet, just a nice mist. Patti thought the grounds were beautiful and was snapping away with her camera. Once inside we then again started taking pictures of the very tall Christmas tree, among other things. I wanted to go out front and take a picture of the lodge from that view but was not as impressed with it. It was hard to get a decent picture of the front of the lodge but I did the best that I could. Back inside we went to the country store and poked around in there for about 15 minutes. I would love to stay at this resort someday, even for only a night or two.

It was now time to head back to our resort. It was a little after noon and Patti’s Mears bus was coming around 1:30 pm. We took the ferryboat back to the Magic Kingdom and then a bus back to Pop Century. We got there before 1 pm and proceeded to take pictures of our own resort. What fun this was! So many colorful icons to see. I took about a roll and a half of film around the resort. Patti’s bus was just about to arrive, so it was time to say good-bye to her. We enjoyed spending time together, especially on Friday, taking the behind the scenes tour and today, exploring some of the resorts. I still had another two hours before Mears was scheduled to pick me up. I walked around the resort to take a few more pictures, and I called home to speak to my daughter and see how things were at home. I heard that on Saturday the Boston area got about 5 inches of snow! It’s not even Thanksgiving yet! So glad I was down here and not there. We chatted for about 15 minutes and then I decided that I’d better go get something to eat to hold me over as my dinner. I went to the food court and ordered the chicken strips again, which I’d enjoyed the night before. Before going to my table, I backtracked to the cashier and asked her if I could leave my tray there so that I could go back to get some dipping sauces. She said no problem and I thanked her when I retrieved my tray. I sat in a quiet corner and ate just about all of my meal. Now I was in need of something sweet. I decided to pick up a candy bar and went back to the same cashier. She was very personable and we ended up chatting for quite some time. I told her that I was planning on moving down next spring and that I had worked for the Disney Store for a couple of years. She gave me some very good advice and told me to contact her when I was ready to move (she gave me her cell phone number). She’s been with the company for 18 years and had worked at the Wide World of Sports until they transferred her to Pop Century as one of the managers in the food court. She told me she would give me a card to help me when I went to central casting for a part-time job. I would love to get my foot in the door and work for Disney part-time. I thanked her very much for all her advice and future help and headed towards the bus area to pick up my luggage. Before I left, while waiting in the children’s lounge, I met a nice woman from South Boston and we chatted for a few minutes and then once on the bus we sat together. It was an enjoyable bus ride but we had to part company once at the airport because we were flying out on different airlines. Checking in was painless and so was going through Security (as painless as that can be). I arrived at my gate and sat for a short while. I then noticed that the plane wasn’t at the gate yet and then heard an announcement that it would be about a half-hour late. Some of the passengers were starting to line up in their designated sections. Since I had a “B” boarding pass this time, I decided to get in line also and I was only about 6th in the “B” section at that point. I ended up talking to a nice gentleman while we waited to board the plane. Once on the plane we ended up sitting next to each other and our conversation helped pass the time during the trip. Once we landed, I called my son to see where he was located and we hooked up within a few minutes and I was home by midnight. Usually the last day of a WDW trip is sad but knowing that I was coming back down in 3 weeks time and talking to three very nice people, made my day very pleasant.

Summary:

Well I did most of what I had planned, with a few exceptions. I didn’t get to see SpectroMagic or Fantasmic. I didn’t ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster or Test Track. I wish I could have tried more of the different foods from the Food and Wine Festival (my eyes can be bigger than my stomach and my wallet), but settled for what I did have, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also didn’t get back to Downtown Disney on Monday to eat at the Earl of Sandwich. But the good news is that I can do almost all of these things again in December.

It was fun to see Nemo and the Incredibles characters. I love to take pictures of characters and these two were new ones to add to my photo album.

It was great to see my girlfriends this trip and spending such a special time with time. I loved staying at Pop Century and wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again. I also loved missing the snowstorm that happened while I was away (can you tell I am not a winter fan?). I was very happy to have met such nice people during my stay especially on my last day.

I hope you enjoyed this report and as I finish writing it, I am preparing to depart for WDW tomorrow night for my December trip. I’m glad that I finished this report up before going again. I would’ve had such a hard time writing two trip reports at the same time. The excitement is starting to build again and since this is my first December trip, I feel like a kid going for the first time.

Thanks for reading!

Janice O'Hanley

ohanley@comcast.net


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