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Thread: Sue (Holland) Rayford, Oct 29 - Nov 3, 2019 - Boardwalk Villas

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    Sue (Holland) Rayford, Oct 29 - Nov 3, 2019 - Boardwalk Villas


    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    SB (62), husband
    Pete & Judy, dvc friends from NJ
    Chris (33), son
    Amanda (31), daughter-in-law
    Ari (3), grandson
    Dates: October 29 November 4, 2019
    Resort: Disneys Boardwalk Villas Resort 1 bedroom villa (Chris family in a studio)
    Experience: Very Experienced 29th stay at BWV

    This is the real Food & Wine trip, where we spend more than just a long weekend, SB is along for the ride, and our dvc friends Pete & Judy are here too. The weather should be better by now, and the only negative would be the impact of New Jersey week and the half marathon crowds. But, nothing in life is perfect the weather forecast is a high or 88 or 89 almost every day, which sucks! However well make do and hope that at least the humidity is lower!

    Since SB will be here for most of the trip, I booked a 1-bedroom villa at Boardwalk. I like having the extra space when Im not solo, as I can get up early and enjoy my computer & cappuccino in the living room without disturbing SBs sleep. In a studio, its tough. Also, if he ends up snoring, in a studio Im trapped. In a 1-bedroom we can sleep in separate rooms. Our friend Tiana loved Flight of Passage and has never ridden Slinky Dog. Since those fastpasses are pretty much impossible to get on shorter trips, I invited her to come down for a couple days towards the end of this trip, and was able to secure a fastpass for each of those attractions (one on each day). Later her husband Jonell decided to come down too, and theyd stay at his sisters to sleep he really enjoyed himself last trip. But, then Tiana reversed her decision to delay a surgery (tonsils) until after Food & Wine, so they wont be joining us. Its a shame shell miss Slinky Dog and Flight of Passage, as I can usually only get those on longer trips and most of my trips are too short. For her, booking at 30 days as a passholder generally means shes shut out of both. But, its her decision to do the surgery right before the trip. Now that theyre not coming, I would have made other plans but at the late date it wasnt really possible to get anything I really wanted.

    Pete & Judy have a nice long trip they come in on the 30th and stay until November 12th. They have kids & grandkids arriving Saturday 11/2 for a week (NJ week), so well finally get to meet them. I think Pete & Judy are in a studio to start, but move to a 2-bedroom when their family arrives. Chris, Amanda & Ari will arrive Friday night for the weekend. Ill be headed back to work on Monday 11/4, but will be returning Friday 11/8 to spend a solo weekend hanging out with Pete & Judy after their family leaves on the 9th. Theres a lot of coming and going, but thats typical for this time of year, when its such an attractive time to be visiting Food & Wine Festival!

    At 60 days prior to the trip I booked some fastpasses. Chris reservation starts later, so I wasnt able to include him at the time (plus he had not linked the reservation to his account). Later I was able to add them to some, but not the high demand attractions. Something new for us is the temporary nighttime show at Epcot since Illuminations ended Epcot Forever odd name for a temporary show, lol). I booked that for Pete, Judy, SB and me for Thursday night.

    For concerts, we have Hanson, Sheena Easton and Kris Allen. Im interested in checking all of them out, and am most looking forward to Sheena Easton. I dont think weve seen any of them before.

    The day before the trip SBs periodontist called with a cancellation on Thursday (instead of his appointment Nov 20th). I think hes crazy, but he wanted to take it. I called him Tiana (after the whole tonsils timing thing, lol). Thankfully the only nice thing to say about Gainesville is its only 2 hours from WDW, so SB will drive there that morning to do the appointment, then be back at Disney in time for a Sheena Easton concert and our fastpasses for Epcot Forever (the temporary show Forever is evidently some Imagineers attempt at sarcasm).

    The plans so far are:
    Tuesday 10/29: Drive to WDW, Epcot/Food & Wine
    Wednesday 10/30: Magic Kingdom, Pool, Food & Wine
    Thursday 10/31: Ale & Compass, Epcot, Pool, Food & Wine
    Friday 11/01: Animal Kingdom, Food & Wine
    Saturday 11/02: Epcot/Food & Wine, Studios, Food & Wine
    Sunday 11/03: Studios, Pool, Food & Wine
    Monday 11/04: Drive to Gainesville

    DAY 1 Tuesday 10/29/19
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    SB (62), husband

    Plan: Drive to WDW, Epcot/Food & Wine

    Actual: Today was one of those ridiculously crazy days at work where one thing after another happens and several out of the blue issues pop up needing attention simultaneously. As a result, it was nearly 12:30 by the time I got home and we got on the road. SB drove, as I still had work stuff do in the car, along with a 2pm conference call. Along the way I got the usual not quite ready yet message about our room, and it still wasnt ready when we arrived at the Boardwalk.

    It was nearly 3pm so we dragged our stuff up from the parking lot, making it in a single trip. On the way in I ran into an online friend (Lynn) who was waiting with her grandson Mo. Hes a cute little boy! Id forgotten she & her family were here around this time, and theyd come over to Boardwalk for lunch. We chatted briefly, then SB & I headed inside. SB sat in the lobby while I went up to the front desk, where I chatted with Pete & Judys friend Marlene (shes a manager at the front desk) and the cast member hunted for a ready villa. They had my reservation and Chris linked as traveling together, which made no sense because with the different categories were in theres no way theyd be near each other. So, we released that comment and we were able to get into a nice 1-bedroom villa right away. Of course SB griped about the distance, but I dont really think its that bad. Its real convenient to the stairs to the pool and front parking lot, and since were only on the 2nd floor the stairs will be manageable even with luggage when we leave.

    The villa was in great shape, and SB watched tv while I unpacked. Im not entire sure the refrigerator is cooling as well as it should (turned it to the highest setting) but will call in the morning if necessary. The freezer seems to work great! After unpacking I took care of one last work call, then we headed over to Epcot. Much to SBs dismay, there was no sign of the Epcot boat so we walked <g>. Its hotter than hell today high humidity and high temps. It doesnt feel like late October at all. The only thing better than July/August was the occasional breeze (and lack of thunderstorms).

    At the Skyliner SB wanted to ride, so we walked right into the station and onto a gondola with no wait. Hes not crazy about heights, but wasnt bothered by it at all. We both really enjoyed the ride. When moving its very comfortable with the air flowing through. When it slows in the stations it definitely feels warmer. We got off at Caribbean Beach and crossed to the other side to walk right on another gondola for the trip back to Epcot.

    Entering the park was quick and easy, and its nice they have several more bag check stations now. SB had said earlier he didnt care about our Test Track fastpass, so we never did make it over there. We turned left in World Showcase, starting with United Kingdom. Lines at the food booths were nonexistent for the most part, which was really nice! We didnt know what we wanted, so we just wandered for a while. It was 4:45 when we came to America and decided to grab a shady seat for the 5:30 Hanson concert. While I held the seats SB went up to Fife & Drum to get a Bud Light and popcorn. He was back in record time, so evidently no line there either.

    Shortly before the concert a couple older ladies crowded in and sat real close to him which he thought was really rude. They chose to sit where a tree was directly in front of them, so rather than move to another seat, they just crowded over. As soon as the band came out, almost the entire theater stood up, and I groaned. Id forgotten that the younger bands have audiences who STAND through their concerts, no matter the venue. Sure enough, after sitting for 45 minutes we had a great view of assorted backs and backs of heads.

    The music was fine, but the songs were not familiar to either one of us, and we left after a few songs. On the way out SB stopped to ask a cast member about the standing, and she said Disneys policy was as long as they have an empty seat behind them they can stand and dance to the music if they want. Good to know, as Ill definitely avoid the younger bands or listen from back in front of American Adventure since I cant see anything anyway.

    Continuing around, we stopped in Brazil. SB had the seafood stew and I got the cheese bread and white wine. He liked his stew, but hes had it before. The cheese bread is something I try every few years, and every time I realize Id forgotten Im not that crazy about it. It seems to be a popular item, though.

    As we came back to International Gateway SB decided to head back to the resort and I stayed in Epcot for a bit longer. Although the sun was going down, the humidity was rising, so it never really got comfortable. I went into Future World and saw the Impossible (plant based) slider when someone walked by whod just gotten one. I will have to try it one of these days. Tonight though I headed into Mouse Gear, as much for the air conditioning as anything else. I looked at the earrings available, and saw one pair Ill get for Tiana for Christmas if I dont see anything I like better elsewhere. She has a Mickey necklace but not earrings.

    I headed back out towards World Showcase, detouring quickly through the old Odyssey (again, mainly for a few minutes of a/c) but not stopping to watch it since Ill be back with the others. I made one more loop of the countries, only stopping in Morocco for a piece of chocolate baklava to take back to the villa. Before going up to the room I checked in Screen Door for earrings, but as expected they had a smaller assortment than Mouse Gear.

    SB was on the couch watching tv, and this is when I noticed the refrigerator didnt seem that cold. I hope its just my imagination. I fixed some cheese & crackers (with salami for him), and that was our snack. I dont think hell stay awake for much of the World Series, as hes dozing off already and its only the first inning. I sat at the table and worked on the trip report, and after getting it posted will go watch HGTV in the bedroom.

    Its great to be back, and I hope work will be quieter the rest of the week. I really hate that its so friggin hot & humid, which really takes away from the enjoyment of the trip. Its miserable walking around with my sunglasses sliding down my nose due to sweat, and feeling sweat under my clothes. If I wanted this weather I would have booked the trip for September, lol!

    Tomorrow Pete & Judy should be arriving around noon, so well hang out at the resort (probably pool for me at least) and then sweat our way through Epcot with them tomorrow afternoon. Were looking forward to seeing them!

    DAY 2 Wednesday 10/30/19
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    SB (62), husband
    Pete & Judy, dvc friends from NJ

    Plan: Magic Kingdom, Pool, Food & Wine

    Actual: Magic Kingdom was the plan 60 days ago when I booked fastpasses not remembering that Pete & Judy arrived today rather than yesterday <g>. Once I realized that, there wasnt any reason for SB & I to go there. Instead, I was able to book some afternoon Epcot fastpasses for the 4 of us, including Soarin.

    Last night SB ended up staying awake for the whole baseball game, which surprised me. He said it was a good game. We were both up by 5 this morning, and did our own online stuff. I made my cappuccino and watched a couple HAL ships sail into Port Everglades. The view would be better for their departure (during daylight) this afternoon but I imagine well probably be out somewhere. Theyre calling for another very hot day today and tomorrow, which is a shame.

    SB fell back asleep for a nap, and when he woke up I asked if he still didnt want any breakfast (as hed said before leaving home). We discussed just going to Beach Club Marketplace (closer) vs Pop Century or Art of Animation (riding the Skyliner). In the end we agreed to ride the Skyliner over to Pop/Art. I tried a bite of the baklava while he was shaving, and its delicious! I also noticed the refrigerator was working just fine in fact, I turned the coldness back down a bit so the water bottles wouldnt freeze up <g>. Last night the reason our stuff felt warm must have been because it had been in the hot car for a couple hours before arriving.

    We left the villa just before 8 and when we got near the boat dock the boat to Epcot was just pulling in perfect timing! It ended up being us and one other couple, and we made polite chitchat along the way. At Epcot we headed to the Skyliner station and noticed the other couple was following, so we exchanged some joking comments and decided to ride together. They were riding just to ride, then going back to Epcot. We had a nice ride, and good conversation with these nice people from Texas (not members).

    At the Caribbean Beach station we parted ways, and SB & I transferred to the line going to Art of Animation & Pop Century. Once there we walked over to the food court at Art of Animation, figuring it would be less of a nightmare than Pop Century. At Art of Animation they serve your food on real plates and give you real cutlery not the cardboard and plastic stuff.

    Surprisingly, there werent any lines to order and we didnt have to wait to pay either so no need to do the mobile ordering. We got the French toast bounty platter with a side order of eggs, then took it to a table by the window. Next to us was a family with a little girl who was old enough to know to sit still but was squirming around on her chair while the 3 adults said & did nothing. Eventually the girl did something that flipped her chair over backwards, tumbling her to the floor, and she started to cry. The cast member clearing tables looked scared, but the girl (luckily) wasnt hurt. SB thanked me for picking a table next to a family with kids <g>.

    Breakfast was very good but it was a little too much food. The side order of eggs was a big portion, so I gave a bunch to SB but I think he barely finished his portion. The potatoes were especially good sort of a hash brown casserole. I would definitely consider riding over (for a meal) here from a stay at Beach Club if I wasnt rushing into a park. After eating we walked back to the Skyliner and rode to Caribbean Beach, where we disembarked and transferred to the Epcot line. They actually had people waiting there first time wed seen that!

    Soon I realized the reason for the line is the gondolas were not moving. We waited a minute or so, then moved over to the Hollywood Studios line and walked onto a gondola with no wait at all. So, now weve ridden all 3 lines. At the Studios we went to the boat dock by the time we got there we could see the boat coming from under the bridge. We rode to Swan/Dolphin and walked over to Boardwalk from there.

    We grabbed towels and chairs at the quiet pool, and SB went into the pool while I went upstairs to change (hed worn swim trunks and a tee shirt to breakfast). Our villa is very convenient to this pool, which is nice! I met him back at the pool, where he enjoyed the water (pool and jacuzzi) and I spent my time mostly on my chaise lounge.

    Pete & Judy texted during their journey, so SB & I went up a little after 11 to take our showers and get dressed while we waited for their arrival. At 12:30 we decided to wait for them in the lobby, and found them at bell services dropping off their bags. Their room wasnt ready, so they changed into cooler clothes & then said they needed to eat. Pete suggested the pool bar (Leaping Horse Libations), so we went down there. It was a busy place, but luckily 4 stools were available on the other side (also in the shade).

    Theyve kicked up the menu here, and its much more interesting than the boring stuff they used to have. We ordered drinks, except for SB who drank water. Pete got a spicy chicken thing that consisted of 3 little sandwiches. It looked interesting and he said it was good. Judy & SB each ordered the Greek salad sandwich, which had turkey, Greek salad and diced apples. I had some of SBs, and he mainly just ate the turkey & salad (not the bread). It was pretty good, but Ive never thought of turkey in a Greek salad.

    While we were eating Pete got the text that his room was ready, so we settled up and went inside. The wait for an elevator was ridiculous, so we went outside and up the stairs into the lobby. They got their bags from bell services and we helped carry stuff to their 5th floor studio. Theyre very close to the elevator, so nice & convenient. On Saturday when family arrives theyll move to a 2-bedroom villa.

    Pete & Judy decided to get settled later, so we headed over towards Epcot. Since we had time before our fastpasses, we rode the Skyliner to Caribbean Beach and back so they could experience it. Petes not big on heights but did ok he liked it but would like it more if it was closer to the ground, lol!

    We entered Epcot with hardly any wait, and walked over to Future World for our Soarin fastpass. It was HOT and HUMID once again, so pretty miserable being outside. We arrived about 10 minutes before our fastpass expired, which was done purposely so we could then go directly to our next fastpass at Living with the Land.

    In the boarding area they were loading a side section first, so I asked if we could have the front row in the middle section & thats where we were sent. Its so much better without the distortion in some of the scenes. Soarin was great, and then we walked into the fastpass queue for the boat ride. That was backed up a little bit, but only a couple minutes. It was a nice relaxing ride so relaxing that Pete & Judys busy travel day & early (3:30) morning caught up with them.

    We made a quick detour into the Ghiradelli area (where the old Circle of Life move used to be) and picked up our samples, then headed back outside. We walked with Pete & Judy to International Gateway, where they exited to go back to the resort. SB and I made one loop around World Showcase, and I was hating it by the time we were halfway around because of the heat & humidity. Its just so uncomfortable and annoying its not worth being here when its like that. In China I got the ribs, and once again I was shocked there was no line at all! We stood at a table in the shade, and I thought SB would eat one of them but he saw the grease and knew he should steer clear. They tasted good but there was a lot of meat on them, and having to eat them all myself was a bit much. Im glad I tried them, but I wont be getting them again.

    At International Gateway we exited, and since the boat was nowhere in sight we walked back to Boardwalk. Along the way we walked through Boardwalk Bakery to see if any of the sandwiches appealed to SB (nope), and then stopped at the pizza window. He ordered a personal pepperoni pizza, so we sat at a shady table while it was prepared. Once it was ready we took the pizza back to the villa and are in for the night.

    He liked the pizza, but only ate half the rest went into the fridge. By 5:30 he was nodding off, so he may nap a bit before the baseball game tonight. I finished up the report, and once thats posted Ill do some online stuff & relax.

    Today was a nice relaxing day the only bad thing is the weather. Otherwise, it would have been a perfect day (although I would have gone back out tonight had the weather been nice). Tomorrow were having breakfast at Ale & Compass, then SB will head home for a dental appointment while the rest of us have a pool day. SB should be back in time for the evening.

    DAY 3 Thursday 10/31/19
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    SB (62), husband
    Pete & Judy, dvc friends from NJ

    Plan: Ale & Compass, Epcot, Pool, Food & Wine

    Actual: Last night I was falling asleep before 10, but then I woke up at 11:30 and had trouble getting back to sleep. Eventually I did, but it was probably a couple hours later. I got up at 5 to make my cappuccino, and SB was up by 5:30. Hed fallen asleep during the baseball game, but says he slept really well he probably needed it! We hung out in the villa doing online stuff & puttering around, since we didnt need to be anywhere until breakfast. Thankfully today will be the last hot/humid day, as tomorrows high will be 79 degrees!!!!!

    Around 7 I got dressed, then went back to doing stuff online tweaking future trip plans. Pete texted to confirm our meeting time/location and around 7:45 SB & I went down to wait in the lobby. Pete & Judy arrived shortly after that and since there were no boats in sight we walked over to Yacht Club. Its humid and warm again, already!

    At Ale & Compass we checked in and were taken to our table. Very few tables were occupied. Here they have a buffet area with the fruits & pastries, and then you also get a beverage and an entre for the $23 price. None of us did that, as the entrees alone are sufficient ($12-16 each).

    Pete ordered the shrimp & grits he loved last year, and once again couldnt finish it. He remembered last year Chris helped, but today nobody was here to do that. Judy stuck with her blueberry bacon pancakes and took half home. I got the flatbread, without the ham, with bacon, arugula, cheese and an over easy egg. It was huge, and I could barely eat half more like a third. So, I took that home for us to share another day. SB got the All American, which is 2 eggs with sausage, potatoes & toast.

    The food took a while to come, and when it did I knew immediately SB was unhappy with his portion (especially for the $15 price). I cant stand complaining when Im here, or on HAL cruises at places like this youre not going to get portions and prices like you do at a diner at home! We discussed back & forth a bit, and wouldnt you know he couldnt finish his breakfast. He sheepishly realized the irony of his complaining, even though the portion was more than he could eat, lol!

    We took the boat back to Boardwalk, where SB hung out watching tv until he had to leave for his dental appointment. I updated the report, threw in a small load of laundry, changed into a swimsuit and was down at the quiet pool by 10am. Once again it was nice & quiet. Plenty of people came, but nobody was noisy and the only kids were a young girl with her grandmother (they didnt stay long) and a teenage boy who seemed very respectful to his parents & grandparents. It was nice!

    Pete & Judy texted when they got back from Publix, and they made it out to the pool a little before noon. Id staked out a table and some shady chaise lounges for them, but I pulled my chaise into the sun most of the time. It was warm, but there are a couple outdoor showers there, so I would just stand under the shower to cool off.

    SB got back to Gainesville early so he stopped to visit with Tiana & her husband before his appointment. Tianas doing well, so thats good. Pete & Judy discussed future travel plans, and timing for their next HAL cruise (SB will get to come along on that one if he starts complaining about anything Ill send him to their stateroom, lol).

    Around 1 I decided to head upstairs, where I transferred the wet laundry from the washer to the dryer (its so nice having a washer & dryer in the villa), then took my shower. The washer/dryer is one of those stack units, and the dryer seems to take forever to dry a really small load. After dressing I watched General Hospital, and had some wine with a few crackers & cheese. I still wasnt hungry after breakfast, but figured it made sense to eat a little something if I was going to drink a glass of wine.

    At 3:45 I met Pete & Judy down in the lobby, and we rode the boat over to Epcot. Entry was quick, thanks to all the extra stations. It was quite warm, so we decided to just go find seats in the shade at the concert and eat later. The America Gardens Theater was about half full, but the rows close to the front werent full. Pete asked a cast member and learned we could sit there, so we were in the 3rd row right down right. We had over an hour to wait, but the time passed quickly as Judy & I were talking and Pete was talking to the guy next to him (turns out they grew up near each other, both worked for the phone company, both experienced some of the same crap at the phone company, etc).

    The concert was great Sheena Easton looked good, dressed nicely, and sang for more than 30 minutes. Most of the songs I recognized, which always makes it better. She closed with For Your Eyes Only from the James Bond movie. SB had texted to say he had arrived and was laying down because his mouth hurt. I suggested going to buy some pain meds, and to my shock he actually did that (the shop in the lobby extra strength Tylenol, 2 pills for $2.49). Hopefully well catch Sheena Easton again tomorrow so he can see her.

    Pete, Judy & I were sitting outside of America figuring out what to do next, and my facebook Terry Pressel recognized me and came over to say hi. It was nice to meet in person for the first time! Judy gave me some extra Tylenol for SB and I was going to run back to the Boardwalk and then return to meet them, but SB said to not bother (since hed gone to the store). I met back up with Pete & Judy, and we walked towards Future World. We stopped in Canada to rest and were going to watch the group who performs outside, but their next show was almost an hour and a half away.

    Walking into Future World, we headed towards Flavors of Fire. My friend Annemarie had been texting with me, and was able to meet us over there after she got off Test Track. Ive met her before, but this was the first time meeting her daughter Mel and Mels boyfriend Brian both seem very nice. They got to meet Pete & Judy, too. It was a short but nice visit. She had Mel take a picture of us to satisfy the rest of our group, and then they headed off to their next destination.

    At Flavors of Fire Judy had saved a bench for us while Pete & I got in line. They each got the chimichurri skirt steak on corn cake with slaw, which Id recommended. I also got one, plus the chocolate mousse w/cayenne pepper. When the cast member gave me my steak, they then gave her another steak instead of my mousse. She stood there holding it, and I waited for the mousse. Eventually I asked if I could swap mine for that one, since the meat was less rare, and she said I could have both. I also got my mousse, and carried it all to the bench to join Pete & Judy. None of us wanted another steak, so I gave it to Brian & Mel, who enjoyed it. Id say this is my favorite dish at the festival, at least in terms of food (not desserts). It might just be the winner overall, too.

    The mousse is very good too, and reasonably priced. The pepper adds some heat to it, but in a good way. Pete tried some of it and I think he liked it. After finishing we walked back towards World Showcase, and stopped at the Cheese Studio for Pete to get the cheese souffle with fig jam. He really enjoyed that, too I tried a small bite and was just ok with it.

    After that we found the fastpass area for Epcot Forever, and people were already in line despite the fact we wouldnt be let in for more than an hour, and the show wouldnt start until a half-hour after that. Pete spotted a place to sit on the other side of the gift shop, so we went over there to wait. It was humid and miserable, and eventually we decided it simply was not worth it. Epcot Forever wont be here forever, but itll be here for the rest of their trip, and for several of mine. We got up and headed for International Gateway.

    Leaving the park, the queue for the boat was ridiculously long, and an apparently full boat had disembarked a big crowd to hit the entry. We thought briefly about stopping to ride the Skyliner at night, but decided to just head back to Boardwalk. The whole Boardwalk area was very crowded, since its Halloween. They were doing a big party on the grassy area, and had trick or treating happening along the boardwalk. Lots of outsiders come in, which is why it was so crowded. As we approached the Boardwalk to Go food kiosk Pete spotted SB standing there waiting for his food. Hmmmmm.

    I checked his receipt, and hed ordered a double burger, a hot dog, and French fries! It took forever for the food to come up, and I told him hed never eat all that. He said he hadnt eaten since breakfast, but really you generally cant eat a whole days worth of food in one meal <g>. Pete & Judy went up to their room, and I waited with SB. Once the food was ready (fries were half cold) we went up to our villa.

    He ate the hotdog, a few fries, and ate one of the burger patties with half the bun then asked me to put the other half in the fridge. We threw the fries away. I spotted a bag containing some toothpast, dental floss, chap stick, and a professional version of a Sonicare electric toothbrush. I asked about the toothbrush, and he told me the periodontists office gave it to him at no charge. I recently bought him one as a Christmas gift, so I guess Ill be taking it back to Kohls! I never would have imagined getting one for free although the dental fees are quite high.

    We settled in for the night, and I gave him the Tylenol pills Judy had given me, so he could take a couple before bed if he needs to. I finished up the report, then watched a little HGTV. Today was a terrific day, again other than the heat & humidity. I loved the relaxing morning, Sheena Easton was terrific, and it was nice getting to see Annemarie & meet her daughter.

    Tomorrow it should finally NOT be hot & humid! Well have a lazy morning, then spend time at Animal Kingdom in the afternoon before returning to Epcot. Chris, Amanda & Ari will arrive some time that evening, so were looking forward to seeing them.

    DAY 4 Friday 11/01/19
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    SB (62), husband
    Pete & Judy, dvc friends from NJ
    Chris (33), son
    Amanda (31), daughter-in-law
    Ari (3), grandson

    Plan: Animal Kingdom, Food & Wine

    Actual: We slept well again and were up at the usual time to do the usual things. Around 6:30 I walked over to Boardwalk Bakery and brought us back an Ooey Gooey breakfast sandwich to share. SB had me cut half of the leftover burger patty and heat it up, and he added that to his half of the sandwich.

    I ended up changing all of our plans for the next 2 days, after texting with Amanda and learning she wasnt packing swimsuits and wanted to go to the Studios early tomorrow so Ari can ride the Toy Story stuff. So, I released Slinky Dog, figuring early in the morning wed be able to get on without a fastpass. Instead I added some Epcot fastpasses, even though its a Saturday. For Sunday I switched us to Magic Kingdom, and then discovered our Haunted Mansion fastpass is 5 minutes later than the start of Pete & Judys.

    I took my shower, and around 9:30 headed out to walk around. Im not getting many steps in these past couple days, for a number of reasons. SB chose to stay back, although if World Showcase was open he would have come to walk around there. Since I was solo I took advantage of that and began my walk through the quiet pool, then walked around the lake on the Yacht/Beach side to get to International Gateway. The Skyliner wasnt moving, so I just went ahead and entered the park.

    I walked over to Mouse Gear and bought a pair of earrings for Tianas Christmas gift, then went outside to pick up my Remy magnet and passholder coaster set. Im glad I did, as my bag would have been too small for both my set and SBs at the same time. I wandered back out to World Showcase, and walked far enough to see the Skyliner was moving. Since it was less than 10 minutes until 10:30 I walked back to Canada and got the cheddar cheese soup with pretzel breadstick (theyd opened up just before 10:30). The soup was delicious, and the pretzel breadstick was still warm! I sat on a bench across from the food stand and enjoyed my lunch.

    After eating I went to International Gateway and exited the park, thinking I had time for a quick ride on the Skyliner. But, they werent loading passengers yet so it must have just recently come back up. Annemarie texted me from the godawful disgusting front entrance of Epcot, where she said the bag check lines were backed up all the way to the wall just a ridiculous wait. Surely the Skyliner being down contributed to the crowds, but it sounds like it would have been a nightmare either way. Thats why Im glad to be a Crescent Lake Snob.
    Back at the villa we hung out for a little bit, then left at 11:20 when Pete & Judy texted to say they were ready. We went out to the bus stop and had a short wait for an Animal Kingdom bus. Several Magic Kingdom buses came within a few minutes, which was odd. Bag check at Animal Kingdom was tedious, thanks to thorough cast members and guests who like to bring big backpacks with a dozen or more zippered compartments all crammed full of stuff they cant possibly need for a simple day in a theme park. At the entry, each couple joined a different line ours moved quickly, and Pete & Judys barely moved. They eventually moved over, or they might still be standing out there.

    We were in the park by noon and really didnt have anything we wanted to do before our Lion King fastpass (12:30-12:45). None of us have ever done a fastpass for this show, always just walking in and getting a seat just fine. I wont bother getting one again. We sat on a bench until almost 12:30 and then joined the fastpass queue thinking wed be let into the theater shortly. A cast member with a very annoying voice kept coming over the intercom to tell people to take steps forward & fill in all available space but she was nearly impossible to understand (lousy sound system). Had it been hot like the last few days, it would have been hell. Then we had a young boy whining and crying behind us so obnoxious. It was well after 12:45 before they let us into the theater, and then they were herding people to a specific section. Lots of people were already seated, and we were near the front of the fastpass queue, so whats up with that??

    We broke away and took seats in the 3rd row of the section to our right rather than follow orders to sit in a row near the back of the section up ahead. Sorry, we didnt stand in line this long for crappy seats. The show itself was great, and we think there were some minor changes since the last time weve seen it.

    We got out of the show at 1:30, and thats when our Safari fastpass window opened up so we walked directly over there. The standby line looked huge, but we were on pretty quickly. The driver had to keep telling someone to make their kid sit down and not hold them up. She did a good job talking about the animals though, and we did have one delay when some giraffe on the savannah were blocking the road. Once we got out to the savannah we saw the guilty party several young giraffes and an adult or 2 who seemingly dont do much better than many of the human parents these days, lol! The little ones were cute, ranging in age from 7 months to toddler age.

    After the safari we were close enough to our Flight of Passage window that we walked right over there and joined the queue. Judy sat this one out, as she didnt like it last time. The rest of us loved it, and Pete was proud of himself for keeping his eyes open through most of it this time <g>. We met up with Judy outside of the shop, and while walking to the exit I suggested we stop for a drink at Rainforest Caf to use up our birthday credits (Petes and mine). They liked the idea, so we walked over there.

    Sadly, the bar was mobbed. There were 4 seats, but not together. Pete went up to the podium with his Landrys card and we got a table instead. It was no problem for each couple to get separate checks so we could use the birthday credits. Judy & I had wine, Pete had vodka martini and SB stuck with water. They had the crab dip with tortilla chips, SB had the jungle soup and he & I shared the appetizer chicken strips. Everything was excellent, and our server was terrific too. While waiting for the check they came over with birthday cupcakes for Pete & me, and loudly sang happy birthday. Once we settled the checks we headed out to the bus stop.

    The wait for the bus was brief, but we had a guest in a scooter who was in the regular queue. When the bus pulled in, there was hardly room for him to squeeze by the bus hopefully it was his first time using a bus, because otherwise hes not too bright. The driver was a trainee, and we literally crawled until we got out onto the road it couldnt have even been 5 miles per hour. Thankfully the bus went to Boardwalk first, so we didnt have to walk back from the Swan to avoid multiple bus stops.

    Pete & Judy are in for the night, and SB is fading fast. He was going to go in to see Sheena Easton, but changed his mind. Chris & Amanda were on the road by 5, so they probably wont get in until close to 9 or maybe even later (with charging the car). I updated the report and left at 5:45 to walk over to Epcot for the 6:30 concert. The Epcot line of the Skyliner was down again this time not even moving.

    Epcot was busier than the previous days, but not as bad as itll be tomorrow night. Some of the lines at the food booths and refreshment stands were ridiculously long. But, at some very popular places (Canada, China, Mexico) there was practically no line it was weird! I walked straight over to America, getting there by 6pm. The theater looked full, and as I walked in a cast member was telling people it was standing room only, along either side. I found a small unoccupied spot on one of the side walls, so at least I did get to sit.

    It was the same show/set as last night, but thats ok it was very enjoyable once again. She seems like a nice person, who doesnt take herself too seriously, and told us it would be a pure nostalgia show since she hasnt had a hit since the 80s <g>. Most of the audience has probably never had a hit song at all, so she still had us beat!

    After the concert I left towards Italy and made a loop around the countries. As a solo it was easy to weave in and out of the slower groups. Had I been with SB or all the others, it would have been tiresome. The people in scooters are out of their minds in my opinion coming when its so crowded, and dark outside, makes it really hard to get around. An early afternoon would be so much easier!

    When I came around to Morocco I got another piece of Baklava since this morning Id finished the one I bought Tuesday (yes, baklava is great even at 7 in the morning theres no bad time for it), and brought it back to put in the fridge. The Skyliner gondolas were running now, but it was still closed to guests. This is probably why the boat was so mobbed last night Ill bet the Skyliner was down. Tonight I heard cast members telling guests (staying at Pop or Art of Animation) they could take the boat to the Studios, and take the Studio line to the resorts. The other option is to go back into the park, walk up to the front entrance, exit and go to the bus stops. Both options are a major pain, and take a lot of time. Theyd better get this figured out, because I will NOT be happy when Im staying at Riviera for a Flower & Garden trip to have the Skyliner not working to/from Epcot.

    SB was watching some sports on tv, and wasnt hungry for anything so I sat down and updated the report. Amanda & I texted back and forth during their drive, and by 8 they were almost to the car chargers. They should arrive within an hour at this point. They already have their room number a boardwalk view studio, also on the 2nd floor. They should have a view of Epcot Forever from their room without a big fat tree blocking most of it.

    The plan for the rest of the evening is to wander around the Boardwalk area before settling down, so Ill end todays report here include that part in tomorrows. Today was a beautiful weather day Im so thrilled to not be sweating to death! I actually put on my jacket tonight, but Im not complaining, lol. We spent a great 3 hours at Animal Kingdom, other than the seemingly endless wait for Lion King with the annoying voice. Stopping off at Rainforest Caf was an idea everyone ended up loving, and it took care of us needing to get any dinner later.

    Tomorrow were doing Hollywood Studios early (not sure how early), then hopefully Skylining to breakfast at Art of Animation. There may be time for Epcot briefly before it gets crowded. I hope to enjoy the pool while Ari naps, and well be braving the mob scene at Epcot later hopefully meeting up with the others and meeting Pete & Judys family. Should be fun!

    DAY 5 Saturday 11/02/19
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    SB (62), husband
    Pete & Judy, dvc friends from NJ
    Chris (33), son
    Amanda (31), daughter-in-law
    Ari (3), grandson

    Plan: Epcot/Food & Wine, Studios, Food & Wine

    Actual: Last night SB ate most of my leftover breakfast flatbread, with the other half of a burger patty from Boardwalk to Go (previous night). It folded over to make a sandwich, and he said it was actually quite good. I saved a piece of the flatbread for myself to have this morning, knowing Id be hungry before we got to breakfast.

    Chris, Amanda & Ari were pulling into the parking lot around 8:30. We went down to meet them in the lobby. Ari was excited to see us, and came running over for hugs. He announced that he is Ari James Holland, but we sorta already knew that, lol. He jabbered away a mile a minute, not all of it very clear what he was saying (to us).

    We went with them to their studio and checked out the view theyre right over part of Big River Grill. SB went back to our villa, and soon I took Ari back there with me to get a couple things Id forgotten. He was hungry, so I cut him a chunk of cheese and grabbed the package of apple slices from the fridge. Id brought a light-up pumpkin necklace so we got that working, grabbed Amandas birthday card, and walked back to meet Chris & Amanda at the elevators.

    Once outside we stopped to watch Coney Island Chris do his show outside the screen door it was hokey but funny. After that we walked around Crescent Lake. At Beach Club Marketplace Amanda got a flatbread, and by the time we got to the bridge back to the Boardwalk there was less than 10 minutes until Epcot Forever. Amanda ate her pizza while we waited, and we had a nice view of the fireworks. Once that ended we walked back to our resort and called it a night, agreeing to meet up around 5:45 in the morning (yikes)!

    SB was still watching sports, so I quickly updated the report and then went to the bedroom to try to get some rest. It was 11 before I really went to bed, and I was up at 4. SB was up by 4:30. That gave us time to not be rushed, and still some of the stuff we each normally do in the morning. I had my cappuccino, and later ate the last piece of breakfast flatbread its even good cold.

    Amanda texted just after 5:30 to let us know they were all up and getting ready. They arrived at our villa around 5:50 and we took the path out to the parking lot (rather than walking all the way up to the lobby and then back down again). We drove to the Studios so Chris could charge his car the rest of the way, and hell go back to get it later so the spot is freed up for another electric car.

    The entrance across the street from Boardwalk is now only for Disney buses, so we had to drive around to the other parking entrance, which is quite a drive. I think from Boardwalk its faster to walk than drive. The park was already open, and it was quite busy still at the entrance. We got in without much delay though, and walked straight to Toy Story Land. This looks pretty cool in the dark, with the colorful lights.

    Slinky Dog was already posted as having a 20-minute standby wait ugh. Last time we were here early it was 5 minutes even later than this. Amanda took Ari into Toy Story Midway Mania (he calls it the shooting game), which he loves. Hed decided he was also going to ride with Grandpa (SB), which is a good thing because it should mean SB will finally (first time in his life) get the winning score, lol!

    Chris, SB & I joined the Slinky Dog standby queue and it took about 12 minutes to get into our seats. Its a fun ride, and a great way to wake up in the morning, lol! As we exited the standby queue still said 20 minutes but the line was quite a bit longer, so we didnt bother with it. Amanda & Ari were on Alien Saucer Swirl, so we watched them ride around and then went back to Toy Story Midway Mania (still a walk-on). Amanda & I rode together (she won), Chris rode solo & got the high score by far, and SB & Ari rode together. Aris score was higher than SBs, lol! I asked him afterwards how that happened, and he said he couldnt beat his grandson. I pointed out Ari is young enough that he could have had a much higher score but just agree with Ari when Ari declared himself the winner (like Amanda does) <g>.

    From there we walked through Galaxys Edge, which SB had never seen. He thought it looked impressive, although not being a Star Wars fan I dont think he knew any more about what anything was than I do. By now the sky was getting brighter, so we headed to the exit and went to the Skyliner, arriving about 7:45. We learned the Skyliner doesnt start until 8am, which surprised me since the park had opened at 6am. I figured the Pop & Art of Animations guests would have been able to use the Skyliner, but I was wrong. Chris took the stroller and put it in the car, then came back & joined us.

    We sat on a bench until close to 8, then stood by the entrance. It opened a little late, and we were the first family to ride from this station. It was the first time for Chris, Amanda & Ari, and they all really liked it. I think Ari was a little nervous at first, probably thinking back to us taking him on Slinky Dog and 7 Dwarfs, which he hated!

    At Caribbean Beach we got off and transferred to the Pop/Art line and went to the food court at Art of Animation for breakfast. My friend Donna had recommended the breakfast sandwich from the grab & go stand, so I tried that. It was very good, but it was no Ooey Gooey Sandwich. But, its also $4-5 cheaper too <g>. I couldnt finish it all, but did enjoy it and would probably get it again if I came back here for breakfast in the future. SB got the French toast bounty platter again, and Amanda ate his French toast. Chris got a blueberry pancake breakfast w/sausage and some other breakfast platter. Ari claimed the pancakes/sausage so Chris ate the other. There were a lot of pancakes left over, so we took them with us for Ari to eat tomorrow morning.

    After breakfast we checked out the shop, which is a good size. The lobby is hideous so ugly! Im not a fan of this resort at all. Its themed well, but everything looks cheap, even though its the nicest of the value resorts. We walked over to the Cars section and Ari posed with all the different cars from the movie. Once we finished there we walked back to the Skyliner station.

    We rode to Caribbean Beach, then transferred to the Epcot line. They liked seeing the new Riviera Resort, since Amandas mom bought some points there. Its also a nice long ride (the longest line). It was 9:30 by the time we got to Epcot, and they still needed to let the car charge a couple more hours, so we decided to go into Epcot to kill time. SB chose to go back to the resort, which wasnt surprising I was glad he got up early to come out with us, but I knew he was ready for a rest at this point.

    The rest of us entered Epcot, with a line at bag check. The Skyliner really does seem to impact International Gateway (negatively), even though theyve expanded the # of bag check tables. They have characters now on the ramp leading up to World Showcase, so Ari got to meet with Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy. He loves the characters, so this was great for him!

    We walked to Future World and used our fastpasses for Nemo. I wasnt sure Ari would be up for all the walking, but he was fine. He has far more energy than any of us! We enjoyed the ride, and at the end several dolphin were swimming around. Ari wanted to do Turtle Talk w/Crush, so Amanda took him to that. Chris & I opted to skip it neither of us can stand it. We walked over to get his passholder coasters but found he was only on his third visit today so we got his magnet and will have to return tomorrow for the coasters. That will work for SB to get his, too.

    We went back to the Seas to wait for Amanda & Ari, and when they came out Ari was excited to have been picked for something in the show. They asked him his name, and he said the whole thing Ari James Holland, lol! Amanda got some video of him doing whatever it was he did.

    We worked our way back towards International Gateway, and I left them at the restrooms in United Kingdom. They were going to catch the Skyliner back to the Studios to get the car, then drive back to the resort for naps. I exited the park to walk back to the resort. Along the way, I was thrilled to run into a longtime (19 years) DVC friend who Id never met in person before! I stopped to talk with Anna, who will be having her daughters wedding here Tuesday. We parted ways and as I was walking along Boardwalk I ran into Pete, Judy & Bonnie (Judys friend since kindergarten she arrived today for a few days).

    Back at the villa, SB was sound asleep. I changed into a swimsuit and went down to the quiet pool. It was totally quiet down there, but pretty warm! I lasted about an hour & a half, then went up to take my shower & get dressed. I also did one last load of laundry. I worked on updating the trip report, and had some wine & crackers & cheese. After Ari & Amanda woke up they came over and knocked on the door with my birthday gift.

    They gave me the new DVC license plate frame, the DVC member magic band, a Wine & Dine wine glass insulated tumbler, and Ari had made me a pair of holiday earrings it was all great! We heated up some pancakes and sausage for Ari, and he ate some cheese. I went to the site and linked the new magic band to my account. It worked instantly I tested it by unlocking the door.

    We left SB to watch the football game, and the rest of us walked over to Epcot. As we walked I gave Ari a little Hot Wheels car Id bought for him blue mustang racing car. It was pretty busy getting into the park again, but it moved quickly. We were in the last half of our Spaceship Earth fastpass window so we headed over there. Ari rode with me and made all of the selections at the end, and it was nice to see both of our pictures worked.

    Back outside we split up Amanda & Ari went to Hawaii while Chris & I went to Flavors of Fire. Amanda got 3 of the pulled pork sliders and gave one to Ari. Chris got the skirt steak and the blended (steak & mushrooms) burger, and I got the skirt steak again. It was all good, and he really liked the burger. We met Amanda & Ari in Hawaii, and SB called to find us since hed just entered the park. He met us over there, and got a pulled pork slider as well. He really liked it.

    We walked around World Showcase, starting with Mexico. Chris stopped earlier and got something, but caught up with us in Mexico. SB wanted a margarita and the line at the stand was crazy long, so he got one at the Cantina across the walkway instead. They have fewer choices, but much shorter lines. SB had a frozen mango margarita, and Chris got in line and got the blood orange margarita on the rocks. Both seemed to be good.

    In Norway we stopped because Ari wanted to meet Elsa. We were all going to go in, but they said no to the unfinished margaritas so Chris, SB & I sat outside to wait for them. Ari got to meet both Anna and Elsa, and was all excited when he came outside. Amanda said Ari told them Grandma bought me a car and it goes really fast, lol. We continued walking, and this is when Amanda took the picture of SB & I walking holding hands with Ari as we approached Germany. We stopped there so Ari could watch the trains in the little village, then continued to America.

    SB got the Brunswick slider but also brought me back a warm carrot cake that I didnt want. Its been a thing lately with him buying me a piece of carrot cake at Publix (he knows I love it) but I dont want the calories! This carrot cake isnt nearly as good, but it was ok. I ate most of it, Ari had a bite, and even SB had a couple bites his first sweets in several months.

    SB decided to head back to the resort, so we all walked to International Gateway to see him off. The rest of us stood around talking about our plans, and decided to go back to the resort briefly. Amanda could heat up some mac & cheese for Aris dinner, Chris could catch about 20 minutes of a football game, and get a couple of the hard seltzers theyd brought. We left and walked back to Boardwalk, and I got in just after SB (whod taken the boat).

    The others met back at our villa or Grandmas house as Ari calls it. Amanda made the microwave mac & cheese, which Ari ate at the breakfast bar. The 4 of us headed back out around 7:30 and rode the Skyliner to Caribbean Beach and back. We had to wait in line to board at Epcot but there wasnt a wait at the other end. Theres really not that much to see in the dark, especially if youre in one of the many gondolas with the images wrapped around it because its harder to see out the window. We still enjoyed the ride though.

    Back at Epcot there was pretty much no wait for bag check or entry, which was a nice surprise. We went to Appleseed Orchard, which is a Food & Wine area set up in the old 360 degree movie theater in Canada. Its odd, but people use the lean rails as tables, so people are in rows. They have wines on one side and ciders on the other. I got a dry Riesling, which was ok. Chris got a flight of ciders and some specialty drink that tasted really good (very apple flavor). Amanda took Ari to the Kidcot area right outside and he colored a card.

    We went to Soarin next and used our fastpasses. Ari is just tall enough now, and this was his first time riding. As we were in the boarding area he needed to go to the bathroom all the water hed drank with dinner and afterwards caught up with him. They let us get out of line and Amanda & I stayed against the wall while Chris took Ari out a back exit to the restroom in the pavilion. When Chris texted that they were returning, the cast member put Amanda & me back into the boarding area to hold our 4 spots.

    We got the center section, bottom row. Ari did really well he was scared at times but he didnt cry and liked most of it. The scene transitions were startling to him at times theyre annoying to me. When it ended, he was jumping up & down shouting Im a BIG boy over and over again, lol proud of himself for surviving Soarin.

    We headed for the exit at this point, via International Gateway. Chris called Big River Grill and ordered a couple of their burgers to go for him and Amanda. He went to pick them up while the rest of us went to our rooms. Amanda was hoping to get Ari a quick bath in time for him to watch the fireworks from the balcony and go to bed.

    I found SB barely awake, even though hed had a long nap today. He was hoping Id brought him a chili dog, but I wasnt about to bring him such a thing at this late hour (almost 10). He could have gone down and gotten one while we were gone, but since he didnt Im assuming he wasnt really serious.

    Today was a busy but really nice day. The weather was terrific, and we got a lot done. Ari commented on the way back that he did a lot of rides today, and he was right. I also enjoyed my time at the pool.

    Tomorrow is the last full day for SB & me. Were meeting everyone (including Pete & Judys group) in the lobby at 8:15 to head to Magic Kingdom. Once there, our fastpasses differ so well end up splitting off. We hope to see them & Bonnie again tomorrow afternoon/evening for Food & Wine.

    DAY 6 Sunday 11/03/19
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    SB (62), husband
    Pete & Judy, dvc friends from NJ
    Chris (33), son
    Amanda (31), daughter-in-law
    Ari (3), grandson

    Plan: Studios, Pool, Food & Wine

    Actual: It was another fairly late night before I actually turned in, the time change (setting the clocks back an hour) worked to my advantage. Even better, nowadays our clocks self-set, so other than changing the clock in the cars, theres no work to be done. We were both up around 4:30, which of course felt like 5:30. SB watched Netflix on his computer, since Chris was able to fix/restore it yesterday. I made my cappuccino and watched local news in the bedroom while doing online stuff.

    I made breakfast for us in the villa, using the 2 eggs and some of the bacon Id brought. I even had time to pack up most of our clothes so packing wouldnt be such a chore later. We headed down to the lobby to meet the others, arriving a little before 8:15.

    Chris, Amanda & Ari were already there, and soon Pete, Judy & Bonnie arrived. They werent sure where the rest of the family was headed, so the 8 of us walked down to the bus stop. We must have just missed a Magic Kingdom bus because it took a while to see another one. The half marathon runners were still running by, so maybe that caused some turmoil with the regular bus schedule (and car traffic).

    By the time our bus was nearby the bus stop was mobbed and the line extended halfway up the ramp. It was ridiculous! There were 3 or 4 people in scooters, too. The lady who arrived first didnt pull into the designated spot, and eventually another family came down the hill and that lady parked in the spot. An Animal Kingdom bus arrived, with ours right behind it (so we had to wait for them to load 2 scooters & a bunch of guests, and leave). The scooter lady whod arrived first zipped down to tell the lady in the spot that she was here first. I wasnt sure if there was going to be a scooter brawl, but they both managed to get on board without any bloodshed. Hopefully next time the first lady will go where shes supposed to!

    Most of the people for Magic Kingdom went crowding down to the bus (behind the Animal Kingdom bus), which was a pretty stupid move. They have to load the other scooters first, and cant do that until they can park at the bus stop, so until then the doors remained closed. When the people all stepped away to rush the bus though, that put us squarely at the front of the line so we were first to board and all had seats (except Chris, who stood with the folded stroller, and Ari sat on Amandas lap).

    Despite having started out at 8:15, it was past 9 by the time we arrived which is ridiculous! We parted ways inside the park, since we were headed in different directions. Our party went to the Magic Carpet ride first, which Ari enjoys. After that some of us rode the carousel and then we all used our Small World fastpass. From there we did the Mermaid attraction, and then were in the 10:10 window for Ari & his parents to ride Dumbo. SB & I skipped that one.

    We walked over to Tomorrowland and were somewhat disgusted to see a queue for the People Mover. Is there NO time you can come without having a wait here anymore??? Thankfully it moved steadily, and the 4 of us (SB sat out dont think he wanted to deal with the line) enjoyed the ride.

    We used mobile ordering to order some food from Caseys, then hit the button to place the order as we approached. Amanda had corn dog nuggets and fries, Ari had mac & cheese, and Chris had a massive footlong hot dog with stuff on it and fries. SB had a regular size chili cheese dog, with apple slices we gave to Ari, and I passed on the food here. I did eat a few fries and a corn dog nugget, but I prefer to eat Food & Wine food. While we were there the piano player started a set, and a couple of the Citizens of Main Street were interacting and entertaining the crowd. Although it was early, it was mobbed chairs were at a premium, so we had Ari eat in the stroller.

    After lunch we left the park, and had a long journey to get back to the resort. We were planning to get Chris and SBs passholder coasters, so we were headed to Epcot. They didnt have the express monorail open for boarding at Magic Kingdom, so we had to take the ridiculous resort monorail. After stopping at the Contemporary we continued on to our stop. From the express monorail wed just have to walk across the platform to get the Epcot monorail, but since we were on the resort monorail we had to go all the way down the ramp, around to the other side, then up that ramp. We got there as a monorail was in the station, but the cars in the direction we turned were all full and we couldnt get in with the stroller. So, we had to watch the monorail leave and wait 20 minutes for the next one what a pain! I will say, the crowds are pretty big to the point I need to rethink our plans for next year.

    Eventually our monorail came, and when we rode around Epcot Amanda noticed the line for the coasters was huge (of course). Thankfully we didnt have to go through bag check, but we did have a bit of a line at the entry. We walked over to the coasters giveaway area (across from Mouse Gear) and the roped off area was completely filled in, and the line extended back halfway to Mission Space. Chris got in line, but SB & I didnt bother. The coasters arent that nice, and we dont really need them just one more thing to take up space. We headed towards the exit.

    Chris texted after he got his coasters, and it took 12 minutes, but thats about 11 minutes more than theyre worth to me. SB & I stopped at the Chocolate Studio and got the liquid nitro chocolate (ice cream) truffle. He only had a few bites and I ate the rest it was very good. In Canada there was no wait so I got the cheese soup and pretzel breadstick for my lunch. It was delicious! We sat on a wall so I could eat it, and Amanda texted to say my jacket was still in the bottom of the stroller. They were on their way back to the resort to go home, so we agreed to meet there.

    SB & I exited via International Gateway and walked back to Boardwalk, stopping in Boardwalk Bakery along the way. He wanted to experiment to see how eating an oatmeal raisin cookie would affect his blood sugar, so we got one and took it up to the room. I waited for the others outside Bellevue, and got my jacket from them. We said our goodbyes, but Ill see them at their home in 18 days.

    I went up to the villa and then took a bag of stuff we wouldnt be needing down to the car. This way the load is lighter tomorrow, as I want to go down the stairs across from our room rather than walk a mile to the elevators. SB found a football game and ate some of the cookie. I went in the other room and uploaded pictures to the album, and updated the report.

    The photos are on Snapfish at

    We met Pete, Judy & Bonnie in the lobby at 5 and walked over to Epcot expecting a nice evening. However, Pete was already limping by the time we were heading down to International Gateway not a good sign. The bag check was backed up almost to the Skyliner, and once we got past that we found the entry stations to the right that normally are for passholders were reserved for the hordes of party people. The runners in at least the half marathon (15,000 of them) and Im not sure about the 10k and 5k people get this after hours party tonight, but they are admitted early (like with the Halloween and Christmas party ticket people). Pete, Bonnie & SB stood in that line, only to be turned away to use the other entry lines (there was no signage that we saw).

    Once we got into the park we saw the very long lines of people waiting to meet Mickey, Minnie & Goofy. Im glad Mickey will be moving out of here to a permanent location in Imagination soon, and hopefully Disney will find more appropriate places for Minnie & Goofy. Keep them out of the traffic areas, at least.

    We turned right towards France, and although the lines were horrendous in France and Brazil, the line for Belgium wasnt bad. I suggested to SB that he get his beef & gouda mashed potatoes while the rest of us waited at a bench that had room for Pete to sit down. The beef was ok a bit tough. Pete realized he wasnt going to be able to make it around, so they got dinner from Tangierine Caf in Morocco to take back to their villa. We said our goodbyes well see Pete & Judy in Hilton Head in early May, and hopefully Bonnie here in a couple years.

    SB & I continued walking and found the Kris Allen concert had started but wasnt full. There were even seats way down front, but we sat further back. We were both impressed he did a nice concert, with good music and singing. Id gladly see his show again on a future trip. After the concert SB suggested going to get his coasters, then doing a loop around the countries.

    At the coaster giveaway area, it was even worse than it was earlier! I expected the line to be shorter by now. We joined the queue, and about 15 minutes later we had his coasters and Remy magnet. Going back to World Showcase, it was crowded like a Saturday night. Sunday nights are usually very nice, but evidently not during NJ week and race weekend. Ugh. Every Food & Wine booth had crazy lines, some extending a long way outside of the queue. We weaved independently through the mob, keeping each other in sight, and left when we got back to International Gateway. What a disappointing final night of the trip. Our dates coincide with this same crap next year, and its really bothering me. After that, I guess Ill become a late October person.

    We walked back to Boardwalk and stopped in the Boardwalk Bakery to get SB some dinner. He chose the grilled cheese, which came with tomato soup. I realized later we could have gotten just the sandwich, but being clueless we ordered the combo, and took it up to the villa when it was ready. I ate the soup, which was ok. I wouldnt go out of my way to get it again. The grilled cheese was piping hot, and pretty good I dont think it was anything special but I guess it hit the spot (I tried some of it).

    Now were in for the night him watching football and me about to go watch HGTV in the bedroom. Its so nice having the villa, where we have space to do our own thing, and vacation in a homelike setting rather than a hotel room.

    Overall its been a great trip, other than the very big negatives of the hot/humid weather the first half and the ridiculous crowds the last couple days. I cant predict the weather, but I can be smarter about the crowds. The positives were many the resort was great, spending time with family & friends was wonderful, we ate good food, we enjoyed the Skyliner, and both Sheena Easton and Kris Allen did great concerts. SB did well walking around without complaining, too and he was able to indulge some while still managing his blood sugar.

    My next trip begins Friday the shortest time ever between my trips <g>. Ill work Monday through part of Friday, then return for 4 nights solo in a studio at Beach Club Villas (we have Monday off for the Veterans Day holiday). Pete & Judy will still be here, and Im looking forward to a nice relaxing trip.

    Sue (Holland) Rayford

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