Posted by: wildflowerz | September 24, 2016

Disney – Day 7 – Departure and Random Stuff

We woke up Friday and finished what little packing we had left.  We loaded the car and headed to the hotel cafeteria for breakfast.  We ran into some more friends from Taekwondo there!  After breakfast, we loaded up and headed home.  It was a long drive and we got back to town during Friday rush hour traffic.  So it took us an hour and a half to get home through Atlanta.  Ug.  But we made it.

Disney Rash

I got it.  It sucked. I think what I got was Exercise-Induced Vasculitis.  I usually get this at Disney.  But this time it was so much worse.  The name makes it sound like people get it who aren’t very active, but then suddenly are at Disney.  I’m fairly active.  I gym in 5x a week, doing running, walking, elliptical and weights.  I usually get between 15k and 20k steps a day.  And my Disney steps were one day of 25k, but mostly 18-20k.  So it wasn’t THAT much more than what I normally do.  But when I’m on my feet, my ankles swell.  At Disney you’re constantly on your feet.  Even if you aren’t walking, you’re standing a lot.  That’s really tough on me.  So, I think it was more the heat and swelling that made it so bad.  I had a dark red rash on the back of my legs and by the end of the day, a lighter pink rash all up the bottoms of my legs.  I had cankles and lots of swelling in my lower legs.  It was so bad that when I bent my knees, my lower legs felt like they were going to pop.  Our car ride home made the swelling pretty bad yesterday.  Today, there’s still a small bit of swelling and a small rash, but it’s tons better.

The Heat

We live in Georgia, so we’re used to rather humid heat.  But at home, we stay inside most of the time except when we go to the pool, so I’m not used to this Florida swampy weather.  This is the third time we’ve gone down at this time of year and it’s the worst I’ve felt.  I guess I’m in worse shape?  Chris says it feels like it always does.  But I could NOT stay dry.  If I was outside for more than 3 minutes, I was soaked.  Like, sweat pouring off my face and my entire back was slick with it.  Gross.  I was fairly miserable the entire time.  I had a mister fan.  I didn’t use the mister part much because I felt like I was already wet.  The fan didn’t cool very well.  I had a Frogg Togg towel and that helped a bit.  But yuck.

The Food.  And the Weight.

I’ve been doing fairly well on Weight Watchers lately.  But I didn’t plan to worry about it while we were down at WDW.  And I didn’t.  But honestly, about half way through, I was just tired of eating so much.  But I kept doing it!  Dessert with every meal…feeling stuffed all the time…it wasn’t a fun feeling.  I don’t remember it ever bothering me that much in the past.  But this time, I just felt ug.  I think the heat had a lot to do with that too, though.  About the food:  we got free dining.  We got the Quick Service free with a budget hotel, but we upgraded to the regular that gives you one snack, one quick, and one table a day.  I heard that next year, it will change and you won’t get a dessert with lunch, but you’ll get two snacks a day instead.  I think that might help a lot.  But I tried to make a note of all that we would have spent if we had paid for what we eat.  I plan on making a spreadsheet and seeing how that compares to what we paid for the plan, as well as what we would have spent had we had to pay for it ourselves.  I’ll write something up later if it’s particularly enlightening.  I also checked my scale.  I gained about 7.5lbs while we were down there.  However, I know that at least a little is water weight and from the swelling.  So, I think a better show will be what I weigh next Friday after a week back on track.

Steps/Exercise

Here are my steps and miles for the week:

  • Saturday – Epcot Evening:  13,448 steps, 5.62 miles
  • Sunday – Universal:  25,059 steps, 10.46 miles
  • Monday – Hollywood Studios:  21,317 steps, 8.90 miles
  • Tuesday – Epcot:  21,027 steps, 8.78 miles,
  • Wednesday – Magic Kingdom:  18,903 steps, 7.90 miles
  • Thursday – Animal Kingdom:  19,238 steps, 8.04 miles
  • TOTAL:  118,992 steps, 49.70 miles
Posted by: wildflowerz | September 24, 2016

Disney – Day 6 – Animal Kingdom

So for our last day, we had early lunch reservations for 11am at Yak & Yeti.  We made them early so we could eat early at Raglan Road in Disney Springs and then head back to see the Tree of Life stuff at AK.  We had FPs for Kilimangaro Safaris at 9a, Espedition Everest at 10:10a, and Kali River Rapids at 2:05p.

We first headed over towards Kilimanjaro Safaris to use our FP.  We got one for this because there’s just a lot that you need one for here.  You really don’t need one for the Safari if you go first thing.  But whatever.  We stopped and got Em’s face painted first since there was no one there and she always does this on AK day.  We then did the Safari.  It was a good day and we saw a lot of animals.  After that, we headed over to do Expedition Everest since there wasn’t much of a line.  We then headed to Dinoland and did Primeval Whirl and Triceratop Spin.  We came back to Asia and rode Expedition Everest with our FPs. Then we headed to lunch.

We checked in and watched while they seated EVERYONE that was there before and after us.  I was so tired and hot that it was just good to sit in the AC.  After 20 minutes, Chris went to ask.  They never printed out the slip, so we got missed.  To make up for it, they gave us a free app.  We got some yummy pot stickers.  I got my FAVORITE, the Korean BBQ ribs.  This time, they came on top of shoestring fries.  Last time, it was fried rice.  The fries were good, but I prefer the rice.  The ribs were, of course, SUPER yum.  This is my favorite regular meal food at WDW.  I highly recommend it.  Em had the burger, which she loved.  Chris had the steak and coconut shrimp and liked it a lot.  For dessert, Chris and I both had mango pie.  This is one of my favorite desserts at Disney.  Em had the sorbets.  She liked them, but I don’t think she loved them.

After lunch, we went to Festival of the Lion King.  This is the best show at Disney.  Actually, we don’t like any of the shows but this one, but this one IS really good.  After that, we headed back to Asia again and Em and I rode Expedition Everest as Single Riders.  Then Em rode it again as a Single.  It’s her favorite ride at Disney. After that we headed back to the room.

So, we hung out in the room for a while, but by 3 we were a little hungry.  I thought it would be fine to go to the POP dining area and get a small snack.  Our dinner was at 5, but I thought it would be okay.  I had a small cupcake.  Chris had a Mickey Bar.  But Em got an ice cream sandwich between two large chocolate chip cookies.  It was easily enough for 4.  She ate 1/2 to 2/3 of it.  So, none of was was hungry for dinner at 5pm.  So, we shuffled.  We were going to eat breakfast this day but due to a miscommunication, we didn’t.  So, we still had 9 unaccounted-for quick service meals.  We planned to use 3 the next day before we left.  When we went for snacks at Pop, for some reason, Chris converted a quick service to snacks since we were getting 3.  So, we had 5 quick credits and 3 snacks to use before we left.  And because we had planned on Em eating kids meals most of the time, we were out of Table Service credits.  I went on the app and went to see if I could push back our Raglan Road by an hour or so.  The only reservation was 8:15, so I changed it.  Then Chris had the idea that we could just eat Quick Service at Disney Springs and go to Raglan Road for dessert.

So, we decided we’d do Wolfgang Puck.  I had a really yummy Asian salad.  Chris had ravioli and Em had Mac & Cheese.  We then wasted time looking around DS before our 8:15 Raglan Road.  We finally are bored and just ready to be done, so we head to Raglan about 20 minutes early.  Chris goes ahead and checks us in and they seat us in 5 minutes.  I get some fruity strawberry mimos and Chris gets a beer flight.  This was a bad idea on my part.  I was hot and it was pretty warm inside Raglan with all those people.  I shouldn’t have gotten the drink because I was pretty miserable by the time our food came.  Also, I was still full from dinner and only ate about half my dessert.  Chris and I got the bread and butter pudding.  I’ve been dreaming about this dessert since our trip before last.  I even made it back at either Thanksgiving or Christmas time.  It wasn’t as good as Raglan’s, but not bad.  So, I was a bit disappointed when this one didn’t live up to my memory.  It was very good.  But honestly, I think I liked both the mango pie and the Butterfinger cupcake much better.  Em had something chocolatey that was pretty small and she only ate half of, even though she said she liked it.  After dinner we headed back to the hotel.

Posted by: wildflowerz | September 24, 2016

Disney – Day 5 – Magic Kingdom

This day we started out by having breakfast at our hotel.  Pop Century, did I mention that?  We usually plan on doing hotel breakfast our first and last day.  However, since we’d have Food & Wine going this time, we decided not to do breakfast our first day, so we had three extra quick credits.  Then we didn’t use any on Epcot day, so we had a total of 6 to use.  So, we went MK morning since it was going to be a LONG day.

We had 11:30am reservations for Be Our Guest (which we ordered our food for the night before) and 5:55pm reservations for the new Jungle Navigation Company Skipper Canteen.  We had FPs for 9:55am Peter Pan, 10:55pm Seven Dwarfs, and 1:15p Splash Mountain.  This we had planned on being a long day.  I made our touring plan to go to Tomorrowland first, then head counter-clockwise.  That would put us in Fantasyland for Peter Pan and Seven Dwarfs around lunch time, so we could do Be Our Guest, then head around putting us in Adventureland to ride the Jungle Cruise right before dinner, since they had the same theme.

Well, it didn’t work out that way.  Friends from Chris and Em’s Taekwondo studio were also down here so we planned to meet up out front and ride some stuff together early.  The bus took forever, so we didn’t get there until the Welcome Show was mostly done, but we did find them before rope drop.  We all headed over to do Space Mountain.  After that, we were all going to head over to do Buzz Lightyear.  Except it was having issues and was down.  So, we decided to do the Laugh Floor.  Except it didn’t open until 10!  Gah!  Already our plan is messed up!  We went over to Dumbo and Chris and Em rode it with our friends while I went to find a restroom.  We met back up and all did Under the Sea together.  At that point, we split up.  Haunted Mansion had a short line, we went went to do that before heading back to Fantasyland to use our FP for Peter Pan.  We then did Mickey’s Philharmagic and It’s a Small World.  Em didn’t want to do the later, but we hadn’t done it in a while, so we rode.  We then used our FP for Seven Dwarfs before heading to lunch at BoG.  We’d eaten in the two side rooms, so we ate in the big middle room this time.  I like The West Wing for dinner and the Portrait Gallery for lunch better.  I had the turkey sandwich.  It was good, but had TOO much bread.  I ordered it with green beans, but it came with fries.  I didn’t care enough to fix it.  Chris had the quiche and salad and Em had the ham and cheese.  For dessert, I had strawberry, Chris had lemon, and Em had chocolate.  Mine was yum.  We all enjoyed it.

After lunch, we headed over to ride Pirates of the Caribbean.  We then did the Enchanted Tiki Room (which I can totally do without from now on).  Then it was on to Splash Mountain.  We headed back to Tomorrowland to ride Buzz Lightyear since it was back up.  We took a relaxing ride on the People Mover while Space Mountain was down.  Then we went to the Laugh Floor.  After that, we rode Space Mountain because it was back up and hadn’t developed a long line again.  We had made a FP for Jungle Cruise while we were in line for Splash Mountain, so we went and did that one then.  It had long lines all day, so instead of waiting to do it right before dinner, we did this instead.  While in line for Jungle Cruise, we made FPs for Pirates again and did that.  We then road Haunted Mansion again. This line was a bit much because so much is outside in the heat.  We were so tired and I was done that we went to Skipper Canteen to see if they could seat us 30 or so minutes early.  They seated us right away!

Okay, so Skipper Canteen is new.  The decoration if cool.  We sat in the first main room, but evidently there’s another room that looks even better.  The staff here all behaves exactly like the tour guides on the Jungle Cruise, so you know what you’re getting into.  The Ethiopian bread with fenugreek honey that everyone gets was not good.  I have nightmares of fenugreek from when I was breastfeeding and the bread by itself is extremely dry and doesn’t taste great at all.  Chris had the noodle bowl.  He was extremely underwhelmed.  I had the steak.  Part of it had chimichurri and part had avocado salsa.  The part with chimichurri was good.  It also had Yucca planks, which were like large french fries, but less greasy.  They were also good.  I can’t tell you about the salsa because of what Em got.  She got the Tastes Like Chicken Because It Is.  It’s fried chicken on top of rice.  It was very tasty.  I know because it was too spicy for her, so I had to eat it while she took my steak.  It was tasty, but I really wanted to steak, so yeah.  For dessert, Em and I both had Kungaloosh without the coffee dust.  It was fine, but nothing special.  Chris had the coconut bar.  None of us were especially impressed.  Chris said, “Well, at least it isn’t Tony’s!”  So yeah.  After dinner, we headed back to the hotel.

Posted by: wildflowerz | September 24, 2016

Disney – Day 4 – Epcot

We planned on doing counter service for lunch and/or just eating at the Food & Wine booths.  Dinner was scheduled for 6:15 for the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.  Our Fast Passes were for 9:15a Soarin’, 10:20a Mission:  SPACE, and 11:45a Spaceship Earth.

We headed first to Test Track when we got there.  The line wasn’t bad at all.  Em loves this ride.  We then went over to use our FP for Soarin’.  Our family has never loved this ride.  If there’s a huge line and we have no FP, we usually just skip it.  It’s fine, but not our favorite.  Since we last rode it, they’ve added a third screen and they changed the journey.  We liked it a LOT better now.  The posted line wasn’t bad for it.  We would probably do this one in the future without a FP.  It was much better.  We then went on to use our FP for Mission:  SPACE.  We decided to head into the World Showcase to use our paper FP for Frozen before the ride had a chance to break down.  SUPER quick line with the FP.  The ride was fine, but nothing I’d write home about.  Our family isn’t huge Frozen fans anyway, but it was nice.  I’d certainly ride it again, but not with a long wait.  We’d certainly FP is again, but if we miss it, it won’t be such a big deal.

Next we went to do Ellen’s Energy Adventure.  We hadn’t done this one in a while, but since it’s going away, we decided to do it.  It’s fine, but there’s one section I can’t remember.  When you go into the room where you’re listening to the radio for what seems like forever, are you supposed to just be sitting in the dark?  It felt like a really long time to just be listening.  Anyway, we then went and rode Spaceship Earth.  Once again, we had the same things with the pictures not working.  The part where you put in your location wouldn’t work for me at all.  We then decided to head to the World Showcase and sample the Food & Wine for lunch.  We started on the Canada side.  I can’t remember where the additional countries and such are, but I’m going to try and list what we got.  Here goes:

  • Beer-braised Beef and smoked gouda mashed potatoes (Belgium)
  • Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream (Belgium)
  • Brazilian cheese bread (Brazil)
  • Beijing roasted duck in steamed bun with hoisin sauce (China)
  • Kung Fu Punch with Vodka and triple sec (China)
  • Strawberry Fanta Float with vanilla soft-serve (Desserts and Champagne)
  • Roast Bratwurst in a Pretzel Roll (Germany)
  • Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise (Hawaii)
  • Jamaican Beef Patty (Islands of the Caribbean)
  • Barbacoa Enchilada: Corn Tortilla filled with Beef Barbacoa and covered with Oaxaca Mole (Mexico)
  • Grilled beef skewer with chimichurri sauce and boniato puree (Patagonia)

I we also got some kind of seafood thing that Chris ate by himself.  We paid for the cheaper ones and used snack credits for the more expensive ones.  I think we liked most of them. Em’s favorite was the Bratwurst.  In Japan, we stopped to do the Agent P thing.  It had just started sprinkling a bit, but it cooled everything off really well, so that was nice.  I was feeling so done by the time we finished the World Showcase, so we headed back for a short rest in the room before heading to dinner.  The wait for the bus was really long.

We headed to Fort Wilderness for dinner and a show with the Hoop-Dee-Doo.  We’d never been here before and I remember that its a short walk to get to Spirit of Aloha, so you’re supposed to add in additional time for that.  So before the Hoop Dee Doo, I looked it up to see how much time I should schedule in.  But I couldn’t find that information.  Turns out, once you get to Ford Wilderness, you then have to get a bus to the Hoop Dee Doo area.  FW has a bunch of it’s own buses with lots of stops.  We lucked out and there was a bus waiting when we go there.  But there were 3 or 4 stops before we got to the dinner area.  We left our hotel 45 minutes before the show and it took us every bit of that to get to the Hoop Dee Doo area.  (Consequently, this is the same area where they do Mickey’s Backyard BBQ.)  HDD has the benefit of being inside, unlike Spirit of Aloha.  We thought was going to be just super cheesy and awful.  But, hey, unlimited ribs and fried chicken!  It was pretty cheesy, but it wasn’t awful.  It was actually really funny.  There was salad and cornbread (the sweet kind, not the kind my grandmother and mom made growing up) for starters.  This has unlimited of a few types of beer, wine, and sangria.  Both the sangria types weren’t great to me.  I don’t like wine all that much.  But I did like the sangria at Spirit of Aloha.  So I switched to Diet Coke for the rest of the night.  The fried chicken and ribs were good.  The mashed potatoes were tasty, but kind of runny.  There was also baked beans and corn, both of which were fine.  Dessert was strawberry shortcake, which was yum.  Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel to call it a night.

Posted by: wildflowerz | September 24, 2016

Disney – Day 3 – Hollywood Studios

For this day, we made no ADRs and planned to just do counter service.  We already had our lunch picked out for sure, but decided dinner would be either here or at Disney Springs, to be determined later.  The tentative plan was to make it back here for the Star Wars fireworks.  Our FPs were for Star Tours at 9:10am, Toy Story at 10:15am, and Tower of Terror at 11:30am.

First thing, we headed to Rock N Roller Coaster.  This one gives me a headache too.  So when we finished, Chris and Em rode it as a Single Rider.  Then we did The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.  We then headed over to Star Tours to use our FP.  We got some new content we hadn’t seen before AND BB8 at the end.  We immediately got back in line and rode it again, seeing even more “new to us” stuff.  We then headed over to Toy Story and used our FP for that.  Afterwards, we did The Great Movie Ride.  We hadn’t done this one in ages and it actually had a line this time.  Probably because so much is closed at HS.  After that, we went to Starring Rolls for our FAVORITE quick service.  I had the ham sandwich (YUM!) and the Butterfinger Cupcake.  Em had the ham too, but had the Darth Vader cupcake.  She declared it the best cupcake she’s ever had.  I’d say the same about the Butterfinger one…and I’m not even a huge fan of Butterfinger!

After lunch, went to Tower of Terror to use our FP.  We then saw one of the Star Wars movies before going to meet Chewbacca and Kylo Ren.  We looked around in the Star Wars Launch Bay after that.  I thought it would be bigger with more merch, so I was a little disappointed in that.  While in line for Tower, we made more FPs for Rock N’ Roller Coaster, so we did that next.  We then went to see Muppets 3D and then saw Star Wars:  A Galaxy Far, Far Away.  We went back to our room to rest for a bit before heading down to Disney Springs.

The new bus stop area for the resorts is more in the middle of Disney Springs, rather than on the end near Rainforest Cafe.  I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not a high-end, high maintenance kind of person when it comes to clothes and such.  I don’t pay a lot of money for…well…much of anything, but especially not clothes, shoes, purses, etc.  (Excepting running shoes.🙂  So, I REALLY don’t care about the whole new shopping stuff at DS.  I care nothing about Lilly Pulitzer, Anthropologie, Kate Spade, MAC, Lucky, Tommy Bahama, Sperry, etc, etc, etc.  And if I did want that stuff, I wouldn’t be shopping for it at Disney.  When I’m at Disney, I want Disney stuff.  So, that whole part is so totally lost to me.  So, that area is all very pretty, but our family doesn’t care anything at all about it.  We passed it all by.  We looked at everything, but we only bought anything really at World of Disney.  I got a cute Disney tee, Em got a Baymax stuffed doll and a Stitch tee, and Chris got a Baymax coffee mug.  We had them all delivered to our room.  Before World of Disney, we did dinner.  It had started raining just before dinner…and raining fairly badly.  So DS was fairly empty.  We used umbrellas and stowed them in gallon ziploc bags when we went into stores.

Anyway, for dinner we tried the new D-Luxe Burger.  I got the Cluck Burger, Chris got the Diablo (ground beef mixed with chorizo sausage), and Em got the regular cheeseburger.  We all got fries.  At DS, we’ve noticed, that you can get a dessert OR a side, which is different from in the parks where you got both.  They only dessert they had was a hamburger macaroon or something?  We skipped and just did fries.  It was all super yummy.  Em LOVED her burger.  We went on after dinner, looking all around.  I got a gift for a friend (which I won’t mention, even though I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read this).  We then went to the Goofy Candy Company and got desserts.  I got a cupcake.  Em got a brownie and Chris got a cake pop.  We then walked back to the bus stop area (which is FAAAARRRR!).  We’ve gotten used to the fact that since we do the cheap resorts, our bus stops are going to be the farthest away.  But this one was the longest walk we’ve had to make yet.  Wow!

Posted by: wildflowerz | September 24, 2016

Disney – Day 2 – Universal

The way we plan our week is that we lay out all the information on park attendance predictions, based on information from past years and trends coming up until now.  We then try to pick the lowest attendance days to make our choices.  That’s why we had Universal on the first full day.

Universal Studios opened at 8am while Islands of Adventure opened at 9am, but stayed open later.  So we planned to start our day at US and then move on.  So, we get there about 10 minutes before opening.  We look around in the big shop at the front to kill a bit of time.  When the park opened, we headed directly to Despicable Me:  Minion Mayhem.  This was one of our favorite non-HP things the last time we came.  Last time our line was crazy because we did US after IoA.  This time, there was no line at all.  It was excellent.  We then went on to the HOllywood Rip Ride Rockit.  This is really an awesome ride.  We had no line.  However, the rides that have the pads that come down by your head…those are the jerky ones that give me a giant headache.  So my head was killing me when we got off.  However, there wasn’t much of a line, so Chris and Em went again while I waited on them.

Next, we headed to Revenge of the Mummy.  I like this one.  Em really does not, but she’ll do it.  We then stopped by Diagon Alley and did Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts.  Of course, it was awesome.  Next, it was on to Olivanders.  Once again, Em wasn’t selected!  We grabbed a frozen butterbeer (OMG yum) and headed over to the Simpsons area.  Chris wanted to ride Kang & Kodo’s Twirl n’ Hurl, for some reason.  There was no real line, so Em and I decided to ride with him.  It was dumb.  We then rode the Simpsons Ride.  This was our only REAL line the whole day, I think.  This is a cool ride too that we really like.  We then headed over to Men In Black.  This is pretty much the same ride as Buzz Lightyear at MK and Toy Story at HS.  This one I won by a very large margin.  :)  It will be the only one I win.

We then headed back to explore Diagon Alley.  It seems like every time we were near it, we got to see the dragon breathe fire, so that was awesome.  We looked around everywhere.  I got a Bourgin & Burke’s tee at Knockturn Alley.  We had lunch at the Leaky Cauldron (and another butterbeer for me!).  It was tasty and I think I prefer it to the place in Hogsmeade for sure.  We then took the Hogwarts Express over to Hogsmeade and Islands of Adventure.

First in Hogsmeade, we rode the Dragon Challenge.  The Horntail was down when we got in line, but up by the time we got to the area where we pick our dragon.  We went with the Chinese Fireball.  This is another one where it gives me a headache, though not quite as bad.  We then rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff.  We headed out of Hogsmeade and went to ride The Hulk.  This was down for maintenance when we came last year and our little adrenaline junkie was itching to ride it.  We then rode The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man.  Near the end, something was messed up with the sound and graphics.

We then got in line to ride the new ride, Skull Island:  Reign of Kong.  This was our other long line.  It was…okay.  Em didn’t like it at all.  I wouldn’t stand in a long line to ride it again.  Maybe if the line was short.  We then went back to Hogsmeade and rode the Howarts Express back to Diagon Alley.  We stopped at the store at the front of the park.  Chris got a Simpsons tee.  I got a Ravenclaw hat and Em got a beautiful Hogwarts blank book.  We finished up around 4 or so and headed back to our room for a rest.

We had made our dinner reservation for 8pm that night so we would have a lot of extra time for Universal.  Turns out we didn’t need it.  So we were super hungry by the time we got to go to our dinner reservation.  We decided to try Kona at the Polynesian.  We’ve done Spirit of Aloha there twice, once for the early show and once for the late.  We’ve done Ohana there before twice too, once for the character breakfast and once for dinner.  So we decided to try Kona. When we had reservations at another hotel, we decided to drive there this time.  Last year, we got stuck getting from Spirit of Aloha back to our hotel because they stopped running the tram.  It ended up taking us over 2 hours to get back to our hotel and didn’t get back until after midnight.  So we weren’t going to let that happen again.  Plus, it takes SO much less time to just drive.

First off, the decor is dated.  I don’t know if it’s ever been updated.  The decor is okay, but there’s nothing special about it.  The restaurant isn’t closed off from the rest of the hotel at all, so it kinda feels like you’re sitting in a mall food court.  The food was yummy.  We were so hungry, we had some Sticky Wings for an app.  Em and I both had Pan Asian Noodles with chicken.  It was very tasty.  I think Chris had the Grilled New York Strip.  I can’t really remember the dessert, to tell you the truth.  I had to look it up to see what we had.  Em and I both had the Kilaeau Torte.  It was fine.  Nothing fabulous, but fine.  Chris had the chocolate fondue.  We headed back to our room and crashed for the night.

 

Posted by: wildflowerz | September 24, 2016

Disney – Day 1 – Epcot Evening

So, I haven’t written in ages and ages, but we went to Disney and I like doing these, so here we go.

Last Saturday we got up early, dropped the dog off at the kennel and headed down to Disney.  We got there around 4 or so.  This time around, you can do ALL of your checking in to your hotel online and ahead of time.  So around 2:30, we get a text telling us our room number!  Awesome!  So we get there, lug all our stuff to our room and then head out.  We always go to Epcot our first day for the food.  We usually eat at Epcot multiple times, but this time it was just our first night.  Food and Wine had already started and those booths were PACKED.  Since we were headed soon to dinner, we didn’t bother with any of those booths.

We had picked Fast Passes for the Character Spot at 4:50p, Frozen Ever After at 6:35p, and Mission:  SPACE at 7:35pm.  We had dinner planned for 7:10p at Via Napoli.  The Character Spot, we did because we were under the mistaken impression that this was to see Baymax, Joy, and Sadness.  We figured out before we got there that that wasn’t the case, but there wasn’t really anything to change it to, so we left it as it was.  Frozen Ever After was the first FP I made.  Mission: SPACE we figured we probably wouldn’t do because it was after dinner and it’s a bit vomit-inducing, but, again, there just wasn’t much to make a FP for!

First there, we ride Spaceship Earth.  Not sure what was up with this ride this week, but the part where it takes your picture and then puts it into the video at the end wasn’t working.  Also the part where you enter your info and it shows you on the map as you exit the ride also wasn’t working.  This was true for when we rode it again on our full Epcot day.  Next we go to our FP for the Character Spot and met Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy.  Em danced with Minnie.  We then went to see Baymax because Big Hero Six is one of our favorite movies.  Em and Chris both got hugs.  It was too cute.  We like Inside Out, but don’t LOOOVE it and the line was long, so we skipped Joy and Sadness.

We then went on to do Mission: SPACE since the line wasn’t bad at all.  It usually isn’t.  Of course, we rode Orange.  Next it was on to do Frozen Ever After in Norway.  We made our FP so we could do it right before dinner and it was on our way to our reservation.  We scan our FP and get in line.  Nothing is moving inside.  Pretty soon, we get the announcement that the ride’s broken.  We wait for a bit and then I get an email.  It says that we have an all access FP that we can use for anything the rest of the night if we want.  So we wind our way back to the ride entrance.  They won’t let us out that way and direct us to the other end.  So, we have to pass all the people still in the line who are grumbling and thinking we’re trying to skip over them and get ahead.  So that was annoying.  However, when we were leaving, we got a paper FP good for at least a week for anything at Epcot.  Since we were planning on coming back for a full Epcot day, this was great!  We planned to use our emailed FP before we left for Frozen if it came back up and then use the paper one when we came back to do it again.

We went ahead and made our way to Italy for our dinner reservation. We looked around Italy until it was time and then headed to Via Napoli.  This was Em’s pick.  We had originally decided to try Tutto Italia instead since we’d never been there, but had done Via Napoli twice.  We ended up changing it since Em LOVES pizza and we didn’t have any plans for anywhere else with pizza.  And VN has GOOD pizza.  So, we all did pizza and all opted for the ugly dessert, which was basically an ice cream sundae.  It was all super tasty, but despite the Lactaid it killed my stomach.  I stayed away from most dairy the rest of the week.

Frozen was STILL down when we finished and since Em LOVES Test Track, we used our FP for that instead.  After that, we stopped at Mouse Gear since they have an excellent selection of mouse ears.  Em got the headband kind again, but got some cute Jack Skellington ones this time.  Super cute.  We then headed back to our room for the evening.  We planned on a super busy day the next day, so we went to sleep early.

Posted by: wildflowerz | January 2, 2016

2015 Books in Review

Woohoo!  It’s that time of year when I make my book post that no one cares about but me.  :-P

Overall Stats:

  • Total Books Read:  220 (13 more than last year)
  • Total Pages Read:  78,262 (1624 more than last year)
  • Total Number of Books from a Series 165 or 75% (last year was 135 or 65%)
  • Average Length of Book:  356 pages (370 pages last year)
  • Author Most Read:  Susan Wittig Albert (Joanne Fluke last year)

By the Month:

  • January:  13 (6%)
  • February:  20 (9%)
  • March:  19 (9%)
  • April:  20 (9%)
  • May:  20 (9%)
  • June:  18 (8%)
  • July:  19 (9%)
  • August:  18 (8%)
  • September:  11 (5%)
  • October:  23 (10%)
  • November:  23 (10%)
  • December:  16 (7%)

Last year, my biggest months were April, May and July.  But this year, I read more in October and November.  Can you tell we went to Disney and Dragon*Con in September?

Books Read by Category:

  • Classics:  2 (1%)
  • Fantasy:  14 (6%)
  • Fiction:  14 (6%)
  • Historical Fiction:  2 (1%)
  • Juvenile:  12 (5%)
  • Memoir:  1 (0%)
  • Mystery:  75 (34%)
  • Romance:  34 (15%)
  • Science Fiction:  5 (2%)
  • Supernatural:  23 (10%)
  • Suspense:  5 (2%)
  • Young Adult:  33 (15%)

Last year, I read  more of Mystery than anything else, followed by Supernatural and Juvenile, then Romance.  This year, I read more Mystery by far.  Then, Romance and Young Adult.

Books by Source:

  • Library:  68 (31%)
  • Owned:  94 (43%)
  • Owned/Kindle:  58 (26%)

I didn’t borrow any books this year from non-Library sources again this year.  I think, especially closer to the end of the year, I slacked off from reading Library books and tried to read down my home “to read” shelf.  It didn’t really work since I kept buying books to replace them.  :)

Books by Rating:

  • A+:  2 (1%)
  • A:  17 (8%)
  • A-:  2 (1%)
  • B+:  19 (9%)
  • B:  17 (8%)
  • B-:  20 (9%)
  • C+:  31 (14%)
  • C:  30 (14%)
  • C-:  29 (13%)
  • D+:  22 (10%)
  • D:  15 (7%)
  • D-:  9 (4%)
  • F:  7 (3%)

So, did I do better about picking books this year?  Well, last year, I read 49 crappy books (D+ or lower), comprising 23% of my reading.  This year, I read 53 crappy books, comprising 24%.  So about the same  On the other end of the spectrum, last year, I read 25 (or 12%) A rated books last year and this year, I read 21 (or 10%).  So, yeah.

Best Books of the Year:

  • You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day
  • Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  • Blood of Dragons, Dragon Haven, and City of Dragons by Robin Hobb
  • Legwork by Katy Munger
  • The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett
  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  • Triptych, Fractured, Fallen, and Criminal by Karin Slaughter
  • The Witness by Nora Roberts
  • Home Front by Kristin Hannah
  • Armada by Ernest Cline
  • Finders Keepers by Stephen King
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I had way fewer A+ books this year.  Only 2 compared to 12 last year.  But only one of my A+/A books are re-reads this year where last year I re-read all the Harry Potter and Pride & Prejudice.

Worst Books of the Year:

  • Vampalyers by Rusty Fisher
  • Grey by Christi J. Whitney
  • The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • An Eye for an Eye by Anthony Trollope
  • Beast by Judith Ivory
  • The Perils of Pleasure by Julie Anne Long

Not as many F books this year.  I do have two classics on there that I didn’t care for at all.  I also had one best seller and 2 highly touted romance novels.  I just didn’t care for them.  2 of those are free Kindle books that just stunk.

I had quite a few DNFs this year too.  I still don’t have a great way to keep track of them, but here are some I can bring up on GR:

  • Savage Beauty:  The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
  • Her by Harriet Lane
  • Night of Fire by Barbara Samuel
  • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
  • Larklight by Philip Reeve
  • Frostborn by Lou Anders
  • Gypsy Hunted by Andrea Drew
  • The Ghost Network by Catie Disabato
  • Second Glance by Jodi Picoult
  • Dying to Read by Lorena McCourtney
  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey:  The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by Fiona Carnarvon
  • Bared to You by Sylvia Day
  • Highlander Ever After by Jennifer Ashley

A few of those weren’t BAD, they just weren’t for me.  Mostly the nonfic and the YA.

Well, that’s all.  If you’re interested, I put teeny mini-reviews of all my books over on Goodreads.  Check me out there.

Posted by: wildflowerz | October 8, 2015

Disney 2015 – Recap

I kept meaning to make this post and then kept putting it off.  Overall, we had a really good time this time.  It felt like the food was better, overall.  Even the counter service meals seemed better.  I felt much better this time, though I’m not sure why.  Usually I’m REALLY dragging by the end.  I have blisters and I’m just so tired.  But I survived this time with no blisters and I was tired, but I didn’t feel horrid.

Some highlights:

  • Best Table Service Meal:  Yak & Yeti (Animal Kingdom)
  • Best Counter Service Meal:  Starring Rolls (Hollywood Studios)
  • Best Dessert:  Mango Pie at Yak & Yeti (Animal Kingdom) though still not better than the Bread Pudding at Raglan Road (Downtown Disney)
  • Best Dessert, 2nd Place:  Butterfinger Cupcake at Starring Rolls (Hollywood Studios)
  • Worst Table Service Meal:  Sci Fi Dine In (Hollywood Studios) though it wasn’t BAD, just the worst of this trip
  • Worst Counter Service Meal:  Simpsons area (Universal Studios)
  • Worst Dessert:  Doughnut at Sci Fi Dine In (Hollywood Studios)
  • Biggest Food Disappointment:  3 way tie between the Dole Whip, Citrus Swirl, and the now non-existent Cake Cups (All Magic Kingdom)
  • Best Park:  Magic Kingdom
  • Worst Park:  Animal Kingdom
  • Best Ride in Magic Kingdom:  Seven Dwarfs
  • Best Ride in Epcot:  Test Track
  • Best Ride in Hollywood Studios:  Toy Story Midway Mania
  • Best Ride in Animal Kingdom:  Expedition Everest
  • Best Ride in Islands of Adventure:  Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Best Ride in Universal Studios:  Despicable Me
  • Most Disappointing Ride:  Transformers (Universal Studios)

I really liked a lot of things we did this trip.  Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios are really half day parks.  So, splitting the day up and going back to the hotel for a swim or heading to Downtown Disney on those days works well.  Doing both Universals in one day was a big money saver, but I would have liked to had a bit more time to shop around in the Harry Potter areas.  I obviously loved Yak & Yeti and would totally do it again on our next trip.  Obviously Starring Rolls too.

Spirit of Aloha was a pain to me this time.  I was so tired by 8:15 when we finally got to go in that it took away from the enjoyment of the show.  Also, the trip back was PAINFUL since we were so tired.  I’d totally skip this one next time, but I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who hasn’t been.  Unless you’re a late night person, though, do the first show.  But if you do the late show, drive there from your hotel if you can.

I’d also skip Sci Fi Dine In next time and maybe try Mama Melrose again or even another restaurant in the park.  Tony’s in MK was okay, but I think doing a restaurant on the monorail or one at Epcot would be a better idea.  Or possibly try the Plaza next time.

I’d also definitely want to hit Raglan Road on our next visit for sure.

A BIG help and time saver for us was the app from TouringPlans.com.  It’s worth every bit of the $15 or so we paid for the WDW & Universal access.  If you see the name and are turned off, thinking you don’t need a touring plan, don’t be so hasty.  If you’re going when it’s busy, you need one.  Even if you go when it’s not, it’s immensely helpful.  It’s mostly helpful because it will tell you when a ride is at it’s busiest.  It will tell you if you should go ahead and ride it now since the line won’t be going down or if you should just wait a few hours and come back because the line won’t be so long.  You can make a plan, but change it on the fly.  It also has real wait times for rides.  Those are usually much less than what WDW will officially tell you.  I SO recommend these apps.

Finally, how much did I walk while we were there?  Here are our totals:

  • Saturday:  13,750 steps/5.70 miles
  • Sunday:  25,047 steps/10.46 miles
  • Monday:  19,284 steps/8.05 miles
  • Tuesday:  19,288 steps/8.05 miles
  • Wednesday:  24,774 steps/10.35 miles
  • Thursday:  17,318 steps/7.23 miles

Totals:  119,461 steps and 49.93 miles

How does that compare to a normal week for me?  The week before Disney, Saturday until Thursday, I did 99,343 steps or 42.37 miles.  And it looks like I missed the gym the Sunday that’s in there so a regular week might have been higher.  And I know that I was having some issues with a blister that week, so I was a bit slower.  That thing they say about Disney being SO MUCH WALKING?  Eh.  It’s a good bit of walking.  But I don’t find that to be the issue.  In fact, I felt generally okay as long as we were moving.  It’s when we were having to stand in line that my feet hurt so badly.

Posted by: wildflowerz | October 2, 2015

Disney, Day Six – Animal Kingdom

12006334_10154267236118327_7282813995390669048_nOn Thursday we did breakfast in the room again before heading to Animal Kingdom. We got there just before opening again and headed straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris. Remember when this first opened and there was that whole bit about getting away from poachers? Then they dropped that part? Well, they’ve added a bit about it back into the commentary, but nothing major. Next, we went to do Festival of the Lion King. THIS is my favorite show at Disney. In fact, it might be the only one I actually like. I mean, I don’t like the Finding Nemo show AT ALL. I’m not crazy about the Beauty and the Beast one at HS. What other ones are there? Anyway, I love this show and even suffer through bleacher seats to watch it.

We did Flights of Wonder next, which is a bird show, but actually entertaining.  Following that, we stopped at Tamu Tamu Refreshments and each got giant ice cream sandwichs with hand scooped vanilla between two large chocolate chocolate chip cookies.  Yum!  We hit Dinosaur next, then went to do Expedition Everest twice in the single rider line before lunch. Lunch.  Guys.  I officially declare Yak & Yeti my FAVORITE restaurant at Disney.  We waited 15 or so minutes to get seating.  While waiting in line to check in, Em spies one of her TKD instructors through the doorway, so she goes over to say hi.  For lunch, Em had a burger and fries (adventurous, she is not).  Chris had some seafood thing.  But me?  I had the ribs.  The yummy, yummy ribs.  I like ribs, but they aren’t a huge thing for me.  They’re incredibly bad for you so I almost never get them.  But these ribs.  I could write a love sonnet in ode to them.  They’ve got this yum hoison sauce on them and they fall off the bone.  They came with an Asian slaw and chicken fried rice.  Heaven.  For dessert, I’d heard that the mango pie was THE thing to get.  I only sometimes like Mango, but I was unsure.  But I was SO FULL from the ribs, I decided to go for the Mango and if I didn’t like it, I was already full.  Well, I had to make room in my belly because it was SO good.  Easily in my top 5 desserts at Disney.  For sure. 12003367_10154267727488327_2207551978377682365_n

We waddled out of Yak & Yeti and used our Fast Pass for Everest.  Then we hopped on a bus back to our hotel to hit the pool for a little while.  Originally, we were going to do Downtown Disney on this afternoon.  Then, keeping an eye on the weather, it was supposed to rain in the evening.  So we were trying to come up with something to do, so we were going to go to Splitsville, the bowling place at DtD.  However, then it didn’t rain.  But we were EXHAUSTED and still stuffed from lunch.  So what do we do?  We go to the movies.  Scorch Trials, the Maze Runner sequel had come out the previous Friday.  We went to the AMC at DtD to see it.  We were on the side where you can order food and watch a movie.  Let me tell you that AMC knows how to do this. We’ve got a place near-ish us that does this called Studio Movie Grill.  It’s awful.  They’ve got you sitting in these rolling office chairs and you’re packed really tight up against each other.  If you movie, it jogs everyone down the line.  Annoying.  But this AMC has regular movie seats, but extra wide and extra comfy.  I totally like to kick back and put my feet up on the rails and there’s places to do that at every seat under the counter where you eat.  It was awesome.

Oh, but back to the movie.  I read the first book, but didn’t continue.  Em read the whole series and loved it.  She was SO upset.  Like, on the verge of tears upset.  The “crazy people” in the book, evidently were just crazy.  In the movie, they were like super fast moving zombies.  I’m not sure if it just scared her or she was just upset that they didn’t follow the plot at all and was over-tired, but she was not happy.

After the movie, we went to Earl of Sandwich.  I’d heard that this place was fabulous.  I thought it was alright.  I was tired of turkey sandwiches, so I got a buffalo chicken wrap.  It was alright.  This place, you pick either a dessert or a side, so you actually get less food than all the other counter service places.  That was okay this night because, honestly?  I was still stuff from lunch!  We each had yummy cupcakes for dessert and then headed back to our room.

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