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Thread: Pammer ~ February 20 - March 10, 2021 ~ Offsite

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    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
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    Sacramento, CA

    Pammer ~ February 20 - March 10, 2021 ~ Offsite

    Warning: this is a VERY long & detailed trip ~ I hope you enjoy it!

    Travel dates: February 16 March 6, 2021 February 20 March 10, 2021
    Travel method: Plane and Rental Car
    Resort: Universal Dockside Inn & Suites and Silver Lake Resort (off-site)
    Accommodations: Standard
    Ages Represented in Group: Adult
    Disney Resort Experience Represented in Group: Veteran
    Comments: Belated Disney birthday trip for Pam!
    Cast of characters:

    • Pam, 60: 18th trip to WDW and overall Disney fanatic
    • James, 61: Pam's hubby and 15th trip to WDW


    The Planning

    I had huge plans for my milestone 60th birthday on December 5th, 2020, including a big group party here in Sacramento, followed by a trip to my beloved Disneyland. However, that was all cancelled when COVID-19 hit the world hard, impacting people and businesses alike.

    When it became evident that DL was not going to open anytime soon, I talked to James about possibly booking a trip in early 2021 to Walt Disney World instead. The Florida governor had said he would not be restricting the state (like the California governor has done repeatedly) and there had been no documented outbreaks linked to the Orlando theme parks since opening in the summer. I've had family and friends who have gone with no issues, and the theme parks are only at 35% capacity right now, so we decided to go!

    It will have been 8 years since our last trip to Florida by the time we leave on our trip, where James was having issues with flying and had to take Amtrak home (a 4-day trip!); he has since been diagnosed with sleep apnea and high blood pressure, and is actively managing both conditions with a CPAP machine and medication.

    I'm also a breast cancer survivor since then, but my body was weakened from the treatment and my stamina is nowhere near where it was 8 years ago. I'm carrying a lot more weight and have a bad right knee from twisting it 4 years ago (when I was a lot lighter!), so I expect the reduced capacity and entertainment in the parks will help me take things slower & not be the commando-style visitor I used to be! I will need to check with Guest Relations at each park on how I can avoid stairs within the attractions and prolonged standing (bad back since childhood; yes, I am a mess as I get older!).

    Since I'm not working and it's been so long since our last trip, we decided to do a mega-trip like we always did before. This would include Universal Studios and Sea World, as well as several days at WDW, and multiple rest days sprinkled throughout the trip. The only water park scheduled to be open is Aquatica, so we may try to go there one day. All of these days make for a very long trip (19 days, including 2 travel days), but help us make the most of the time available within that duration.

    For me, I'm a planner and that's a huge part of the fun! As the plans fell into place, here is what happened:

    Airfare: A day after I had checked routes and airfares on Southwest Airlines (we like to fly through southern airports like Dallas, Phoenix, & Las Vegas, with preferably only one stop & a departure time around noon or later, which is best for James' sleep issues), they changed the outgoing flights and the latest one that met our route criteria was now early morning! However, if we flew out a day later, the later flights were still there so in mid-October I booked an 11am flight out through Las Vegas on 2/18/21 (arriving around 9:45pm) & a return flight back on 3/6/21 also through Las Vegas, leaving around 2pm and arriving around 7:15pm (using points for both flights).

    This delay would impact a day at Universal, so James suggested I check out other airlines; I knew they all charge extra for baggage & choice seats, but we found an outgoing flight on American that left just before noon through Dallas (arriving just after 10pm). The Main Cabin seat was at least $200 (including one checked bag apiece), plus more if we wanted to pay for an exit row, which we would; however, we could fly in First Class for $408 apiece, which would include 2 checked bags and much more comfortable seating with only us 2 next to each other (instead of 3 squeezed together in the Main Cabin). We decided to splurge on the First-Class seats for our outgoing flight so I booked that flight for 2/17/21 & cancelled the outgoing portion on 2/18/21 of our Southwest itinerary.

    In mid-December, I saw that American had cancelled our noon flight and rebooked us on the 10:10am flight through Dallas instead; the alternative was a 1:45pm flight through Dallas, which would arrive at nearly midnight! We preferred the later flight, but since that would also impact our first day at Universal, we decided to fly out a day earlier on 2/16/21 & I made the necessary change.

    In mid-January, I was having some pain in my right knee and decided it would be more comfortable to have extra legroom for these longer flights, so I splurged for another first-class flight on American through Dallas for $416 apiece and canceled the Southwest flight.

    Airport Transportation: We didn't want to use Lyft out to the airport (so a stranger wouldn't know we were going to be gone), so I asked my friend Lois to drive us (she has a van!); we will use Lyft to get home when we return.

    Lodging: We need 2 bedrooms to accommodate our current sleep patterns (I go to bed earlier and get up earlier than James does, plus we'll sleep better separately), so the first 4 nights were booked in a 2-bedroom suite at the Universal Endless Summer Resort Dockside Inn & Suites for about $227+tax & fees/night. This is a brand-new hotel that just opened on 12/15/20, so it should be in great condition. They also have a shuttle that goes to the parks, so that will be very useful to us.

    I started watching 'Extra Vacation' and 'Last Call' rates on the RCI website (my mother-in-law has a timeshare and we use her account to book our lodging whenever we will be at WDW for at least a week); I knew I wanted to stay at the Silver Lake Resort for the 2 full weeks we are in FL, as they have 2-bedroom condos as well as washer & dryers in the rooms & are located about 5 minutes from Disney's Animal Kingdom right off of US 192, which is the vicinity where we like to stay. We've stayed there a few times in the past and it looked like there was a lot of availability due to the travel industry being so slow right now. I waited until 45 days out from the first day's check-in date to see if there was any 'Last Call' availability (which would have run about $200/week cheaper), but there wasn't any so I bought both weeks at the 'Extra Vacation' rates, which worked out to be about $85 per night ~ very affordable!

    Rental Car: I was shocked at the high rates for rental cars, and found the best deal for us was to use Alamo through Costco; fortunately, they don't charge a fee for spouses nor a daily fee for the SunPass responder (only for the days you actually use a toll road)! Their rental counter is also open 24 hours, whereas Enterprise wouldn't be open when we arrived around midnight. I'm glad I booked early as the rates only went up later to over $1000 (thank you Daytona 500 & the Presidents' Day holiday the weekend before!).

    Dining: We mostly eat at counter-service places and off-site during these trips, but we talked about whether there was anywhere we might like to eat at (table-service); we both like the San Angel Inn and were interested in trying the Coral Reef again. James also suggested trying Tony's Town Square Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom (we have never eaten at any of the table-service places there before, so this will be new to us).

    We also will probably eat at the Rainforest Cafe and Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co., since I have a couple of Landry's bonus certificates to use by 5/31/21.

    Here is our planned ADR schedule:

    • 02/19: Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville (Citiwalk) @ 6:30pm with former coworker friend Mike
    • 02/22: San Angel Inn @ 4:30pm
    • 02/25: Tony's Town Square Restaurant @ 4:30pm
    • 02/28: Rainforest Cafe (Animal Kingdom) @ 4:45pm
    • 03/04: Coral Reef Restaurant @ 4:35pm


    Tickets: We still have 2 7-day WDW park hoppers that we bought from UndercoverTourist.com in 2011 that we ended up not using when we bought the special Military Salute tickets at Shades of Green (James is former Air Force) for that trip. I've planned 8 WDW theme park days this trip without park hopping (they won't work with James' current routine), so we'll save our old tickets for another trip. Therefore, I purchased 2 8-day Base tickets via Sam's Club, to be used between 2/22/21 & 3/5/21.

    I then bought 2 2+3 free-day Park-2-Park tickets for Universal also via Sam's Club; all 5 days have to be used within 7 days of their first use.

    For Sea World, we could have had 50% off admission since James is a veteran; however, I found a special Cyber Week special via Member Deals (linked from ID.me, a military support website) and was able to purchase 2 combo 2-day 2 park Sea World/Aquatica tickets; it was only an extra dollar to add the second park!

    We are also interested in the Titanic Experience, and can get a special BOGO offer from the Entertainment book, so I plan to print that offer off of their website before we leave.


    The Itinerary

    Due to the new safety precautions in the theme parks, we need advance reservations everywhere but Universal; therefore, I determined our best itinerary (James usually lets me make all of these decisions and just drives us to where I say we need to go!) and made the necessary park reservations once I had purchased all of the tickets:

    • Tuesday (02/16): Fly to Orlando; pick-up rental car; check-in to the Universal Dockside Inn
    • Wednesday (02/17): Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure; Bigfire (Citiwalk)?
    • Thursday (02/18): Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure; Bubba Gump's (Citiwalk); International Premium Outlets
    • Friday (02/19): Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure; Dinner ADR @ Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville (Citiwalk)
    • Saturday (02/20): Check-out of the Universal Dockside Inn; Titanic Experience; check-in to the Silver Lake Resort; grocery shopping
    • Sunday (02/21): Sea World
    • Monday (02/22): Epcot; Dinner ADR @ San Angel Inn
    • Tuesday (02/23): Disney's Hollywood Studios
    • Wednesday (02/24): Ride Disney Skyliner; Disney Springs; International & Vineland Premium Outlets; Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores
    • Thursday (02/25): Magic Kingdom; Dinner ADR @ Tony's Town Square Restaurant
    • Friday (02/26): Animal Kingdom
    • Saturday (02/27): Aquatica
    • Sunday (02/28): Animal Kingdom; Dinner ADR @ Rainforest Cafe
    • Monday (03/01): Magic Kingdom
    • Tuesday (03/02): Disney Springs; International & Vineland Premium Outlets; Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores
    • Wednesday (03/03): Disney's Hollywood Studios
    • Thursday (03/04): Epcot; Dinner ADR @ Coral Reef
    • Friday (03/05): Finish shopping; finish packing
    • Saturday (03/06): Check-out of Silver Lake; return rental car; fly home to Sacramento


    Monday, February 15, 2021 (1 day before planned departure)

    Actual: I logged into my email this morning to find that our flight tomorrow from Dallas to Orlando was canceled! I scrambled to reschedule new afternoon flights for Wednesday, as well as amended both my hotel & car rental reservations. At the time, I didn't realize there was a historic ice storm shutting down Texas and was just annoyed at the inconvenience!

    That evening, I received ANOTHER email that the Wednesday afternoon flight from Dallas to Orlando was also now canceled! I was able to reschedule new flights with a 6am departure instead for the same day, which I really wasn't happy about.


    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 (1 day before 2nd amended departure)

    Actual: I logged into my email this morning to find that our flight tomorrow from Dallas to Orlando was again canceled! I was able to reschedule new afternoon flights for Thursday, as well as amended both my hotel & car rental reservations AGAIN, but boy, this is REALLY stressing me out!


    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 (1 day before 3rd amended departure)

    Actual: Once again, I find an email this morning that both flights are canceled on Thursday. It takes about 90mins for American to call me back to reschedule and this time I rebooked us for Saturday, which would be a morning departure since there wasn't anything in the afternoon. Our choice was connecting via either Dallas or Charlotte, both with 3hr layovers because the earlier connecting flights were full in first class. Not trusting Dallas yet, I booked the Charlotte connection with a 7:39am departure. Fortunately, Lois is still available to drive us at 5am (she says she is a morning person)!

    Since we lost out on going to Universal at the beginning of the trip, I moved our departure flight back from 3/6 to 3/10 and we will go at the end of the trip rather than the beginning. The new car rental duration is now 2/20 3/10 and we decided to ask Silver Lake Resort if we could stay there 3/6 3/10 and not have to change rooms; that was acceptable so I booked it (we pay when we check out) and I canceled the Universal Dockside reservation altogether.


    Thursday, February 18, 2021 (2 days before 4th amended departure)

    Actual: Nothing from American today, so we continue to hope that our Saturday plans will go forward as now scheduled!


    Friday, February 19, 2021 (1 day before 4th amended departure)

    Actual: Today we get an email from American to CHECK IN for our flights ~ happy dance!!! We did the last-minute packing & house preparation, and also picked up 3 foot-long sandwiches from Subway for our flights tomorrow (2 veggie for James and a turkey/cheese one for me).

    Our updated itinerary is as follows:

    • Saturday (02/20): Fly to Orlando; pick-up rental car; check-in to the Silver Lake Resort; grocery shopping
    • Sunday (02/21): Sea World
    • Monday (02/22): Epcot; Dinner ADR @ San Angel Inn
    • Tuesday (02/23): Disney's Hollywood Studios
    • Wednesday (02/24): Ride Disney Skyliner; Disney Springs; International & Vineland Premium Outlets; Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores
    • Thursday (02/25): Magic Kingdom; Dinner ADR @ Tony's Town Square Restaurant
    • Friday (02/26): Animal Kingdom
    • Saturday (02/27): Titanic Experience; Melting Pot
    • Sunday (02/28): Animal Kingdom; Dinner ADR @ Rainforest Cafe
    • Monday (03/01): Magic Kingdom
    • Tuesday (03/02): Disney Springs; International & Vineland Premium Outlets; Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores
    • Wednesday (03/03): Disney's Hollywood Studios
    • Thursday (03/04): Epcot; Dinner ADR @ Coral Reef
    • Friday (03/05): International & Vineland Premium Outlets
    • Saturday (03/06): Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure; Dinner ADR @ Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville (Citiwalk)
    • Sunday (03/07): Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure; Bubba Gump's (Citiwalk)
    • Monday (03/08): Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure; International Premium Outlets
    • Tuesday (03/09): Finish shopping; finish packing
    • Wednesday (03/10): Check-out of Silver Lake; return rental car; fly home to Sacramento


    Saturday, February 20, 2021 (66 degrees)
    Plan: Fly to Orlando; pick-up rental car; check-in to the Silver Lake Resort; grocery shopping

    Actual: Well, I was wide awake at 1:15am (so much for my 4-5 hours of sleep!) & couldn't get back to sleep until 3:30am! James & I were both up before 4am (I found out then that he'd gone to bed at his usual time of 2am and had been awake since 3:30am ~ so much for trying to get as much sleep as possible before our flights)!

    I medicated & fed Sidney and we both rushed around getting the last-minute packing done; for some reason, James always has more last-minute stuff than I do! A moment of panic set in for him when he couldn't find the travel case for his CPAP machine; he'd swapped out the old one a few months ago (it was over 5 years old by then), but he hadn't gone anywhere since January 2020 and could only find the old machine in the old case. He ended up using that case, but it didn't have the CPAP machine packing list in it and coupled with James' groggy condition while packing would prove detrimental later that evening.

    Lois arrived around 5am, backed into our driveway, & waited in the van as I had asked her to; I expected to be running a little behind as we usually are and was really hoping to leave the house around 5:15am, so we had plenty of time.

    We said goodbye to Sidney (I really worried about leaving him for so long, since he is almost 19 years old and getting frail), loaded our stuff into Lois' van, and were underway around 5:20am. It was an uneventful drive to the airport and Lois had us there in about 30mins. We unloaded the bags, said goodbye to Lois (I left a thank-you & some gift cards in an envelope for her on her center console), and went inside the terminal.

    We have been flying Southwest exclusively for several years now, so I first grabbed some American Airlines baggage tags for our luggage and filled out the ones for the 2 checked bags (we have 2 medium-sized bags nested inside 2 larger bags for our flight out & will have extra bags for our loot when we return!), storing the rest until later. I checked our bags in via the AA Priority lane (43# & 39.5#) and then we headed upstairs to TSA with everything else.

    We have TSA Pre-Check, so we got through security pretty quickly. We both had extra screening due to the metal clasps in my face mask strap & James' suspenders (he usually takes them off for the screening beforehand & had forgotten)! It's so great not having to remove shoes, jackets, 3-1-1 bags, or electronics! We also found it interesting that the TSA agents don't touch your boarding passes anymore; you just insert your ID into the little reader and then they have you pull down your mask so they can confirm your identity ~ very nice!

    Once we went through security, we saw a box of free masks (white cotton with elastic straps, very basic), so we each picked up a package of 5 ~ FREE! Then we stopped at a table in the Food Court and noticed how the businesses had all changed since the new terminal was built & Southwest had moved over to it. I filled out more AA baggage tags for our carry-ons and then we headed down to our gate (A5). We chatted about our lack of sleep while waiting to board, and James said even with only 75mins of sleep, he still felt more refreshed than he did pre-CPAP when he NEVER got restful sleep!

    I filled our reusable water bottle and we both used the restroom before queuing to board in Group 1 just after 7am. I had been unable to get us seats together during the rebooking, but they WERE in the same row. I had planned to ask the person in the aisle seat next to James if they would swap with me (I was in the aisle seat across the aisle), but the very nice gentlemen volunteered to do so without me even asking! We were originally in 3C & 3F, and now were in 3D & 3F. We were able to put James' carryon bag under the middle section in front of us, and we stored my carryon in the overhead bin; the other underseat sections held my backpack and James' CPAP & Star Wars sling bag.

    They fully loaded the plane and we pushed off on-time for our 7:39am PT flight; the plane had been sitting outside all night and was very cold inside, even to hot-blooded me! We were in an Airbus 321, but it didn't have any USB or electrical outlets, so James was out-of-luck on trying to use his CPAP in-flight.

    James started reading his newspapers & around 8:20am, they offered us breakfast: a turkey/Swiss cheese croissant or a cheese plate; we both opted for the sandwich and I had a Coke Zero and James had ginger ale. It would have been nice to have the hot breakfast that they used to serve pre-COVID, but it was great to get anything, as service was more limited in the rest of the plane.

    I dozed a little bit, but felt guilty to do so since James could not without his CPAP!

    It was interesting to see that when the Pilots wanted a bathroom break, a second flight attendant came up from the back of the plane and both FAs took a drink cart and blocked the aisleway into the galley while the Pilot was out of the cockpit. When he was done, he called the cockpit and the second Pilot opened the door and switched places with him. It was nice to see them get to stretch their legs like we do!

    A couple of hours after breakfast, they served us a choice of snacks: I got the small container of Pringles with Coke Zero again and James opted for a blueberry fig bar with more ginger ale.

    We landed 25mins early (2:50pm ET) and I was amazed at how large the Charlotte airport was! It took several minutes to taxi to our gate (C15) & we were among the first to disembark since we were in the third row! We arrived in concourse C and were to depart in about 3hrs from concourse B, so we started in that direction.

    We found the Food Court and decided to get some BBQ from Brookwood Farms: a pulled pork sandwich with cornbread for me and a BBQ turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes for James (they were out of baked beans). We decided to drink water from our bottle, since we'd had enough soda on the plane!

    We were able to find a table to eat at, since the area was really hopping! This section was called The Atrium, and was elevated above the concourses, which was annoying when you were trying to drag your bags between them! We finished up and headed over to our new gate (B9) and were shocked at the HUMONGOUS line for Chick-Fil-A when we passed by ~ easily 25-30 people!

    We started boarding just before 6pm ET, again Group 1, and were together in seats 1A & 1C this time. I had a small crossbody purse on that I had previously stored in my backpack for boarding, but had forgotten to do so ~ this gave us too many bags and the gate agent stopped James and made me come back & remove the bag before we could resume boarding. Of course, I took it out again once seated, but you can bet I didnt make that mistake again when we flew home!

    There was an unruly passenger sitting in a premium seat in the back section who had NOT paid for the seat (extra charge) and was giving the FA a bad time; the lead FA in the front was about to call for Security to have her escorted off the plane, but fortunately she complied with the FA in the end and we were able to push back on-time for our 6:23pm ET departure.

    We were served drinks only for this fairly short flight (Coke Zero for me and ginger ale for James) & we really missed having our bags under seats in front of us, but this row was our only choice when rebooking.

    We landed 15mins early at Gate B58 (we always seem to have gates at the end of the concourses!) and deplaned, using the restrooms in the terminal (the on-plane restrooms are so small!).

    We made our way to Baggage Claim 4 and were pleased to have our bags come out quickly (a perk of First Class)! The rental car counters were all closed in Terminal B where we were (thanks to COVID), so we had to haul ourselves and our luggage over to Terminal A. I knew that was going to be very tiring for me, so I rented one of those Smart Carts and pushed our big heavier bags on it while James carried the smaller stuff.

    There was a long queue for Alamo, so I used one of their self-service kiosks to process our rental and we were soon over in the Midsize SUV section to pick out our car. I stood with the luggage while James checked out the 8 or 9 cars that were available; most had a dark exterior (which shows everything) and black interior (which really heats up the car) and all kinds of mileage, from 3,000 to 20,000! After 30mins (!), we settled on a silver Toyota Rav4 with about 3,000 miles on it.

    We loaded up, checked out with the attendant, and were on our way by 9pm! One of the reasons we picked Alamo, besides the rates, free additional driver, & it being our usual rental brand, was the Toll service charge: you were only charged for the days you USE the service, not every day of your rental (like some brands do)!

    We headed out the south exit to 417 and drove to Celebration, and then drove to Walmart off of 192 & Old Lake Wilson Road (built since we were last here 8 years ago). We bought groceries and other miscellaneous supplies and drove over to the Silver Lake Resort.

    We got checked in just after 10pm ET & drove over to our condo (#713), which took us several minutes to locate even with the property map I was given! We unloaded the car & started getting settled. I belatedly thought of taking pictures, but we had already unloaded the car and I didn't want our stuff in all of the pictures!

    James took the second bedroom with 2 Queen beds and adjacent to the second bathroom that had a combo shower/tub, and I took the master suite with a king bed, huge soaker tub, and huge shower. The closets were small, but there was ample dresser space in each room, and the living space was HUGE! The washer/dryer was one of those stackable ones stored in a closet with the water heater, which wasn't very easy to use because the doors to the closet weren't very wide; however, I was THRILLED to have the unit in our condo, so we could do our laundry whenever needed. There was also a small wall safe in my closet, but it was only about 3 inches deep and we couldn't store too much in it other than the notebook & extra cash/gift cards.

    James ate one of his Subway sandwiches and I ate half of mine with some Baked Lays chips while we got unpacked.

    Around midnight, everything went horribly wrong when James started to unpack his CPAP bag and realized he had left the water chamber & chin strap at HOME, over 3,000 miles away!!! Boy, the curse words that came out of his mouth were understandable!

    We spent the next 2 hours searching the internet (wonderful free fast Wi-Fi at the resort) and making phone calls. Of course, even with the late hour, tomorrow is Sunday and we are in the South where many businesses will be closed! He did find a Craigslist ad that was a few weeks old for a water chamber that would fit his unit; they were located near Ocala (about 80mins north of here), so I emailed them to see if it was still available.

    I then took my shower and got into bed around 2am; I'd been up for 17 hours on 2 hours of sleep and was TIRED!!! James took his shower as I went to bed, watching Indiana Jones & the Crystal Skull on Paramount TV. Despite everything, WE ARE HERE!!!

    Thoughts about the day:
    • First Class is definitely the way to travel for cross-country flights!
    • James is a horrible procrastinator (but I already knew that after 36 years of marriage) & he paid for it (literally) this trip!


    Steps: 11,011


    Sunday, February 21, 2021 (71 degrees)
    Plan: Sea World

    Actual: I woke up around 8:20am and checked messages; we had a "yes, it's available" response from Craigslist! James came in a few minutes later and had me respond; we ended up arranging to meet them at their home after 1pm.

    We left before noon and used 429 & the Florida Turnpike to get up to "The Villages"; this was a HUGE golfing community, where there were golf carts all over the place! Their neighborhood was gated and I didn't have a code, so it took a few minutes before the gate magically opened (no one was responding to my request for assistance); so nice that the jerk behind me kept honking at me while I was trying to push the button! I yelled at him to back off (LOL) and then he followed me most of the way to where I was going, but fortunately he didn't follow when I turned off.

    We bought the unused water chamber for James (the lady had lost a lot of weight and didn't need to use the machine anymore so she was selling the extra parts she had) and headed back towards the freeway. We passed a whole bunch of Sheriff cars on this little country road who had someone pulled over; not sure what had happened, but it looks like it might have been exciting!

    We stopped for lunch at a Hardee's in Wildwood around 2pm, which was about the only fast-food place we saw! This is like Carl's Jr. that we have in California; I had the thickburger combo & James asked for the BBQ chicken sandwich, but she rang up a grilled chicken club sandwich. I questioned it, but she said it was the right thing (it wasn't)! The food was still pretty good and we shared the drink & fries that came with my combo. We refilled the soda with Diet Dr. Pepper and were soon on our way to Orlando.

    We arrived at Sea World around 3:20pm, paid for parking, and James dropped me off near the front before going to find a spot in the very full parking lot at the end of Row #21 (what limited capacity?). I went through the temperature tent and security, and then used the restroom while waiting for James.

    We met up around 3:30pm and, after pausing to see the flamingoes,



    headed to the 4pm presentation of Sea Lion High: The New Class; we used the wheelchair ramp so I could avoid the stairs. They had every other row blocked off and sections of each row were marked as well, so groups could maintain their social distancing. It was a cute little show, but we missed seeing the mime at the beginning making fun of everyone as they arrived (COVID cut)!





    We next were going to try to catch the 4:30pm presentation at Dolphin Cove, but it was just a talk and not a show (the Dolphin Days show was closed),



    so we decided to ditch the small crowd and went over to see the Manatee Rehabilitation Area and the Turtle Trek aquarium.







    We watched the riders on Journey to Atlantis for a little bit, and then headed towards Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.



    Only the habitat was open, but it was a was a long wait that I knew I wouldnt be able to stand in, so I asked the employee at the entrance if there were any alternatives for me. Since it was just James & me, he let us go in the Quick Queue and avoid the long standby line! It was very chilly inside, but fun to see all of the penguins.



    I thought it was interesting that there was a stockpile of fish on the bottom where penguins would individually go to grab one, sometimes being picky about their choice! The trainer told me that the current pulled the fish to that spot, the penguins weren't storing them there! Very funny ~




    ...to be continued
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



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    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Sacramento, CA
    Sunday, February 21, 2021 (71 degrees) ~ Part II
    Plan: Sea World

    We next walked over to Pacific Point Preserve to watch the seals & sea lions hang out; there was one sea lion that totally pushed another one off of his perch as he wanted to lie there instead! Also funny to watch ~





    We were disappointed that the Sky Tower was closed (thank you COVID), so we headed over to the Shark Encounter and had to enter through a backstage entrance; there were 4 steps that I had to descend, which caused my right knee a lot of pain to do so because of their angle! I guess if I'd been in a wheelchair, they wouldn't have sent us that way, but who knew?





    Sea World had a special event going on while we were there: the Seven Seas Food Festival. It only was on the weekends and I had perused the offerings beforehand and noted a couple things I wanted to try (James usually isn't interested in this stuff, but will look at the descriptions & pictures, if any, at the booths). I got some Cheddar Hushpuppies and a Diet Coke from the North Atlantic Market ~ they were delicious & I welcomed the chance to sit down, remove my mask, and enjoy them!



    We walked past the closed Nautilus Theater and ended up getting a jumbo pretzel from the Pretzel Kitchen to share; they came with delicious kettle chips ~ what a combination! We sat down outside the restaurant to share our goodies, then went to see the 6:30pm presentation of the Orca Encounter. The trainers do not enter the water with these giants anymore, but it's still a remarkable show. Our favorite part is where they splash the audience! The sun had set and it was getting a bit chilly (even for me), so we would not have wanted to get wet!





    We next went searching for the Wild Arctic; only the habitat was open (which is fine for us) but we'd gone the wrong way out of the Orca stadium! We eventually found the entrance through the exit inside the store, and I went in to see the walruses & beluga whales (too cold for James). I remember when they housed Klondike & Snow, twin polar bears from the Denver Zoo, but they are long gone now.





    I met back up with James inside the store and we headed out across the wood bridge towards the park exit; I enjoyed hearing "What a man gotta do" by the Jonas Brothers at one point while we were walking (a peppy tune and fun video; my BFF's daughters were huge fans of the JoBros way back when they first started out and were relatively unknown, so I am well aware of their music)!

    Things we missed: the little aquariums (Manta, Jewel of the Sea), the stingrays, pelicans, & the Mardi Gras celebration stuff.

    We left around 7:30pm; a kind employee got a wheelchair for me to sit in and wheeled me to the edge of the parking lot while James went to get the car and come back to pick me up; it was nice to sit down!

    We left and drove over to the same Walmart we went to last night; James wanted to get some more groceries and I waited in the car for him while he went inside.

    We then stopped at the Arby's on 192 and went through their drive-through because their dining room had closed at 8pm (it was now almost 9pm). They weren't having their 5 classic roast beef sandwiches for $10 promotion anymore, so I thought I would be clever and order the 2 Beef & Cheddar sandwiches for $6, but without the cheddar, and then we drove back to the resort. I tried one, but they come on an onion bun and it didn't set well with me so I won't make that mistake again (James ended up eating the other 3 during the week)!

    I worked on our trip notes while James watched TV and videos on the notebook computer; I showered and was in bed around midnight (James around 2am).

    Thoughts about the day:
    • I should have worn my back support, as I know walking and standing on concrete, even for a short period of only 4 hours, is very hard on my back & feet; plus, the 4 steps at the Shark Encounter caused my right knee a great deal of pain!
    • We were sorry that the Dolphin Days show and the Sky Tower were closed.


    Steps: 12,665
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  4. #3
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Monday, February 22, 2021 (81 degrees)
    Plan: Epcot; Dinner ADR @ San Angel Inn

    Actual: We got up around 9am and were out the door around 10:15am; however, I realized I didn't have my Magic Band with me, so I went back into the condo to look for it. It wasn't there, and I eventually found it in the back seat of the car with my knee support that I had carried out previously!

    We left the resort about 5mins later and drove to the Local CPAP store, near the Crossroads Shopping Center, so James could buy a chin strap, then we drove over to Epcot (arriving around the opening time of 11am).

    We parked in Discovery 19, and were really excited to be near the end of the row closest to the tram route! I put on my knee support (I already had the back support on) and we started walking towards the entrance (the trams were not currently running, thanks to COVID); all of our excitement of being close to the tram route dissipated when we saw that cars were now being directed to the sections on the other side of the tram route, which was a lot closer to the entrance! Oh well ~

    I walked a lot slower than James, mainly because I didn't want to get over-heated before getting my temperature checked! We both passed and went quickly through the security stations (you keep all of your gear on and only get your stuff checked if you set off the sensors ~ very modern!) and then used our Magic Bands for the first time to enter the park ~ all very smooth! We were very impressed with how easy the Magic Bands were to use for park entrance & attraction returns (we never used it to buy merchandise or food, as we used Gift Cards or the app instead).

    After the difficulty I had yesterday with being on my feet for 4 hours straight on a hard surface, we had realized that it was going to be necessary to rent an ECV for me for our theme park days. It was an expense we had wanted to avoid, but it couldn't be helped as it would have been hard on James to push me around in a wheelchair all day (especially since the parks are not flat!) & I would have been in great pain each night otherwise. Therefore, I went to rent my first ECV ever!

    I met up with James and we stopped at Guest Relations for a Disability Guide, before heading over to The Land. Boy, those ECV's are slow, so it took a while!

    I rode the ECV in to The Land, with the intention of going to Soarin' Around the World, but then James wanted to eat, so I rode it back and parked it by the entrance. There were a lot of people down there, and it was difficult to maneuver in such tight spaces.

    We went to the Sunshine Season Food Fair, where we asked to place the order in person rather than via the app (we were still trying to figure things out); we were directed to a cashier and I ordered The Land Crusher Sandwich (Pulled Pork and Cheddar piled high on Texas Toast served with Chips) and James ordered the Power Salad with Chicken (Oak-fired Chicken, Almonds, and Honey Vinaigrette) & a bottle of Diet Coke. My sandwich had sauce on it (which had NOT been in the description), so I took it back for a replacement.

    We next walked over to ride Living with the Land just after noon (standby = 5mins), and they sent us through the exit so I could avoid stepping down into the boat. They set up a wheelchair on the flat section in the back and then had James go in and sit on the bench before having me sit in the parked wheelchair ~ so much better than stepping down and back up out of the boat afterwards (the pain from yesterday at Sea World was still fresh in my mind)!






















    ...to be continued
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  5. #4
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Monday, February 22, 2021 (81 degrees) ~ Part II
    Plan: Epcot; Dinner ADR @ San Angel Inn

    James went to get the ECV for me while I waited on a bench by Soarin', and then we joined the queue; standby was 30mins, and we were on in 25mins. They had built the new concourse since we were last here, but we were sent to the left concourse (A, I believe). Due to the ECV, we were directed to the bottom row, but people's feet dangling above me has never bothered me on this attraction!

    We left The Land and went to ride The Seas with Nemo & Friends around 1:30pm (standby = 10mins). They SAY that the queue is ECV-friendly, but it had tons of tight turns and it was so dim in there, I don't know how I kept from bashing into the walls all over the place! We also looked around Seabase Alpha at the huge aquarium, the manatees, and all of the other exhibits. Turtle Talk with Crush and Bruce were both closed.





















    We next headed up to the Imagination pavilion to ride Journey into Imagination with Figment (standby = 15mins, but on in about 7mins) and then stopped to do the Chase Disney Visa Magic Shot with CM Sarah (this has temporarily replaced the character meet & greet; instead, they take several pictures of you with different backdrops).

    We next waited to see the Disney/Pixar Short Film Festival and then went over to World Showcase, where we watched the new (to us) Canada Far and Wide 360o film.

    It was sprinkling when we came out of the Canada film, so we went into the shops in Showcase Plaza (Port of Entry & Disney Traders) to stay dry.

    It was getting close to our 4:30pm ADR at the San Angel Inn, so we headed over to the Mexico pavilion; today was the last day of the Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts, so things were pretty busy. We had to queue up just to enter the pavilion, and then James checked us in while I parked the ECV near the restaurant entrance. They called us after a few minutes and then took us in a roundabout way past the queue for the Gran Fiesta Tour to our table so I wouldn't have to use the stairs.

    Our server, Gerardo, came by to get our drink order (Diet Coke for us both) and then took our food order after a brief discussion of entrees: we each got the Pollo a Las Rajas (Grilled Chicken Breast over a bed of Roasted Garlic Potatoes with Onions, Poblano Peppers, Corn, and Poblano Pepper Cream Sauce topped with Queso Fresco) with the sauce on the side, rather than the Enchiladas de Pollo (chicken enchiladas) we usually get!

    Gerardo also brought us the yummy chips & salsa, which we almost completely devoured before our entrees came! I apparently forgot to take photos of it, but the chicken & potatoes were really tasty! I didn't care for the sauce (too much kick for me), but James ended up using all of mine and his as well!

    We settled the bill and then tried to ride the Gran Fiesta Tour, but it went down so we left. There was some excitement at the top of the ramps, where some guests were yelling at each other for some reason (line-jumping, maybe?); the CMs didn't seem to be stepping in and I couldn't get past them to get over to the exit ramp until they calmed down and got out of the way.

    We went to Norway and got in the queue for the new (to us) Frozen Ever After ride around 5:35pm; standby was listed as 45mins, but we were on in 25mins. We both were fans of the old Maelstrom ride, but we really enjoyed this new reimagining of the attraction. (I was later surprised to find a ride photo on my account, thanks to the linkage of our Magic Bands! This benefit would pop up every once in a while, and was fun to see.)

    We continued up to see my favorite attraction at Epcot: The American Adventure at 6:30pm. We had a 10min wait and we spoke to the CM at the exit about getting a replacement ECV for me, because the battery was running low. He was able to arrange a swap for us from the nearby Art of Disney store while we were inside enjoying the attraction!

    When we came out, there was my new ECV! We thanked the CM and then listened a bit to the Voices of Liberty, who were singing at the American Gardens Theatre. I would have loved to stay for their whole set, but we were running out of time before park closing and the ECV only goes so fast! 😊

    We next went to see Impressions de France, which only plays during the last 90mins before park closing (it shares its theater with the Beauty and the Beast Singalong, which runs until 6pm). It's also a big favorite of ours!

    I needed to use the restroom afterwards, so we eventually located the new ones that are down by the new Remy's Ratatouille Adventure ride, which isn't due to open until later this year. Only a few people were down there at 7:45pm, so it was a quick trip.

    We next headed back to the front of the park as fast as the ECV would go (thank goodness we had one with a fresh battery)! We got to Spaceship Earth at 8:05pm and went in the exit, taking a chance that they would let us on since there was quite a queue outside. They called for approval and got it, so I parked the ECV and they got us right on! The video didn't pick up our faces, but oh well! I let James pick the choices at the end and he went the Health route ~ I don't think we have EVER picked that one before!

    After our ride, we were unsuccessful in finding our photo on the big monitor, so we headed over to Guest Relations so I could get a 60th birthday button (it was 2 1/2 months ago, but this IS my belated birthday trip!) I then returned the ECV key for the $20 deposit refund, which they put back on my Gift Card, while James walked out to get the car and drive it up towards the Rideshare dropoff/pickup spot so I wouldn't have to walk so far.

    We drove back to the resort, arriving around 9pm, and I started updating trip notes while James did his usual watching of TV and also videos on the notebook. I set two alarms for tomorrow morning between 6:45am & 6:50am, and was in bed around 11pm (James followed around 1am).

    Things we missed: Test Track, Mission: Space (me only; too intense for James), Awesome Planet, Reflections of China, & the Beauty and the Beast Singalong.

    Thoughts about the day:
    • The ECV REALLY saved my back, knee, & feet today; I know I really would have been in a lot of pain by the end of the day otherwise!
    • We were big fans of IllumiNations and were sorry there wasn't a replacement firework show during our visit.
    • We both LOVE the San Angel Inn; even though we weren't waterside this time, we still had an excellent meal & service there!
    • I was SO VERY HAPPY to see The American Adventure & Impressions de France again, as well as the new Frozen Ever After attraction!


    Steps: 6,264
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  6. #5
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 (76 degrees)
    Plan: Disney's Hollywood Studios

    Actual: My first alarm went off at 6:45am, but I was already awake! I went to get my phone from the charger, got back into bed, and opened the My Disney Experience (MDX) app so I was already to go BEFORE 7am!

    I kept refreshing the app every few seconds in the minute before 7am by pulling down on the screen, and suddenly a blue "Join" button appeared! I immediately tapped it and then the "Continue" button since I didn't have to uncheck any names, and then got the best news of all: we were boarding group #44 with an estimated return time of 270mins (this is for the new Rise of the Resistance attraction, in case you were confused)! I didn't know if that meant from now (7am) or from park opening (9am), but I was SO excited!!! Of course, that meant that I really couldn't get back to sleep ~ LOL!

    James got up around 9am and I shared the wonderful news with him! Now the estimated return time is for about 150mins from now, which means around 11:30am, so we got ready and left for the Disney Hollywood Studios about an hour later.

    They've changed the parking lot entrance since we were last here in 2013, which circled us around to enter from the north side rather than enter from the south side. We parked in Mickey 313 at the end of the row nearest the tram route and walked up to the entrance, which wasn't too far.

    We made it through temperature checks, security, & the entrance turnstiles, and then went to rent me an ECV around 10:30am. The park was very busy (35% capacity? We don't think so!), with huge queues for everything, so we went to the one with the shortest wait: Walt Disney Presents Gallery & Exhibits. We have NEVER seen so many people trying to look at the exhibits before and it's very difficult to maneuver around them all with my ECV, so I really didn't get to enjoy everything like I usually do.

    We stayed to watch the film inside the Walt Disney Theater (One Man's Dream), and then stopped at the restrooms outside of the exit. We were going to do the Star Wars Chase Disney Visa Magic Shot, but our BG for Rise of the Resistance was called so we headed over there instead ~ whoo-hoo!

    We cut through the new (to us) Toy Story Land, noted the new (to us) entrance for Toy Story Mania, and then continued through Star Wars: Galaxy Edge to check in for our BG at Rise of the Resistance. Our wait in the queue was only about 15mins and then we were off
     
    being recruited by the Resistance, captured by the First Order, and eventually rescued by the Resistance again!
    We've each ridden this once apiece at Disneyland in January 2020, and it is GREAT FUN and TOTALLY AWESOME!!!

    We were hungry for lunch and James wanted pizza, so we headed over to PizzeRizzo, which was pretty close to where we were. Even though I like using Mobile Order, especially since I can now use a Disney Gift Card to pay for the meal, I don't like it when I cannot customize the food! We ran into that problem here when I couldn't exclude the cheese from James' pizza (he's not allergic, he just doesn't like cheese) & they won't let you go inside to order!

    I spoke to the CM outside, who was verifying that people's orders were ready before they could go inside to pick them up, and she told me to place the order, give her the order number, and then she would call the kitchen with the special-order instructions. Of course, then I was having trouble getting the order placed (Pepperoni Pizza for me, Vegetable Pizza no cheese for James, and a large Coke Zero for us to share), James was Mr. Impatient standing nearby, and I ended up not using the Disney Gift Card for the order as I had intended!

    I gave the CM the order number, she called the special instructions in, and we waited nearby in the shade. It was about 12:30pm, so there were plenty of other guests also waiting for food. They called our order after about 10mins and we went inside to get our food; a CM asked me to wait to the side since I was still in my ECV & James went up to get our food order; he ended up having to go to the side for his special order (I forgot to take the photos of the food again!).

    We found a table upstairs (I took the elevator & James took the stairs) and I parked the ECV over to the side. We enjoyed our lunch and then used the restroom before heading back downstairs and over to Muppet*Vision 3D around 1:20pm (standby = 30mins). We got to see almost the entire preshow ("Up, Chuck"), which is as good as the show!

    We next went to Star Tours ~ The Adventures Continue (standby = 40mins), and they motioned us to the Accessible ramp, which we had never seen before (it's to the left of the other queues); there were several other parties in the queue as well, but we were soon enjoying the attraction, entering from the exit hallway (Stormtroopers, Pod Race, Yoda, & Naboo)!

    After looking through the store at the exit, we decided to try Vacation Fun around 2:40pm; we saw both Mickey & Minnie go by in their cars and were waiting near the theater doors for them to open, when I noticed Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway (which had been down for the past hour or so) was now open with a 25min standby! We looked at each other and decided to go join that queue instead (because standby had been running 45-60mins earlier)!

    Standby was about 35mins by the time we got there (darn slow ECV) and we enjoyed the reimagining of the old Great Movie Ride (which we actually still prefer to this one).

    We still had time to do the Star Wars Chase Disney Visa Magic Shot over at the Animation Courtyard before they closed at 4pm, so we headed over there. They took about 8 photos with the same backdrop (only 2 had characters "magically" inserted into the photo, which was pretty lame compared to having the real deal instead!

    We next went to Toy Story Mania, where standby was listed as 30mins and we were on in less than 10! James beat me like usual (194,900 to my 173,900)





    and we went back to ride a second time since the queue was so short (James again beat me 205,600 to my 165,200 ~ he improved while I got worse!) ~ he was the "Best in Car" both rides!





    The queue for Slinky Dog Dash was still ridiculously long (70mins), so we went over to get in line for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror instead ~ this also had huge queues all day and was currently listed at 50mins (around 5pm). After 10mins, standby was listed at 100mins ~ WHAT? They were using the Fantasmic! area to queue and we decided to bail and make it a priority on our second day.

    We stopped inside the Tower of Terror Shop, where I bought the DHS small & medium reusable bags, and then went to return the ECV. James walked out to the car and I stopped at the Guest Relations window outside the entrance to exchange our vouchers for physical tickets; even though we have the Magic Bands, we wanted physical tickets as a backup (and a souvenir!). There was only ONE party in front of me, but they were taking FOREVER (it seemed); I belatedly thought to go back inside to the main Guest Relations counter, but ultimately stayed where I was.

    Eventually my transaction was completed and I called James to pick me up at the Rideshare dropoff/pickup area next to the Skyliner Station around 6:30pm. We drove to the Wendy's by the resort and went inside; I got the 2 for $5 Singles (one for now and one for another day) and James got the taco salad combo, so we could share the fries & drink (Cherry Vanilla Coke Zero). I'd forgotten the gift card in the room, so I paid with a credit card instead.

    After we ate, we went to Dollar Tree for some laundry detergent & a black Sharpie, Target for groceries, and then Publix for additional groceries. We were back at the resort around 8:20pm, did our usual nighttime routine, and were in bed around midnight.

    Things we missed: For the First Time in Forever: Frozen Singalong, Vacation Fun, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run, Slinky Dog Dash, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith (me only, too intense for James), The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, & Lightning McQueen Racing Academy.

    Thoughts about the day:
    • I was beyond excited to get a Boarding Group for Rise of the Resistance at 7am & then getting to ride it together with James (we rode separately at Disneyland)!!!
    • Mobile Order is great, but they need to modify the app so that ALL of the foods are customizable!!!
    • 'Up, Chuck!!!
    • How much is 35% capacity, because it sure seemed like 75% capacity to us!!!
    • We were sorry that the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular was closed.


    Steps: 7,201


    Wednesday, February 24, 2021 (81 degrees)
    Plan: Ride Disney Skyliner; Disney Springs; International & Vineland Premium Outlets; Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores

    Actual: I was awake early (7:20am) and James got up around 9:45am; we got ready and left around 11am for the Vineland Premium Outlets. We signed up for the virtual waitlist at Disney's Character Warehouse and then went into the food court for lunch. I got the pizza combo at Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen (cheese pizza slice, garlic rolls, & a large Diet Pepsi) and James got bourbon chicken, orange chicken, & brown rice at Asian Chao. The bourbon chicken was especially tasty!

    After we finished eating, we went to Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Nautica (James got a shirt), & Tommy Hilfiger before we were called back to the Disney store around 1pm. We headed over there, checked in, and were soon inside. We got clothes, jewelry, gifts, and other miscellaneous items, and we discovered that Disney now owns these outlets and we could have used our Disney gift cards here (good to know for future reference ~ buy them discounted at either Sam's Club or Target, and then use them here!).

    I sat in the food court with our purchases while James went to Columbia (bought 2 shirts) & Zwilling J.A. Henckels (can opener). We met back up, I bought a bottle of Coke Zero from a vending machine, and we left for the International Premium Outlets around 3pm.

    We signed up for the virtual waitlist at Disney's Character Warehouse & I waited in the food court while James went to Nautica (jeans & shirts). He came back at 4:20pm and we were called at 4:25pm!

    We bought some more clothes, jewelry, gifts, & miscellaneous items, and then I bought another bottle of Coke Zero and waited for James in the food court while he went to Nike & Columbia.

    He FINALLY came back around 6:30pm and we drove over to Sonny's BBQ. I had the pulled pork sandwich Big Deal (with garlic bread & Diet Pepsi) and James got the BBQ chicken salad with iced tea; he felt the BBQ chicken didn't taste too BBQ-y but I absolutely LOVE their pulled pork!

    We drove back to the condo around 7:30pm, where I updated my trip notes and wrote out my postcards. I also called Accessible Services to see about drop-off options for the Magic Kingdom tomorrow, since the parking lot is to heck and gone from the park! They recommended James dropping me off at the Contemporary and me walking over from there while James parks in the main MK lot.

    I was in bed around 11pm and James around 1am.

    Thoughts about the day:
    • It's a big pain to have to sign-up for waitlists, rather than just being free to enter a store regardless of how full it is (darn social-distancing)! I prefer it to standing outside the store for an hour to enter, but it's still inconvenient in the long run. It takes a lot more time to do so, instead of just popping into one store for a half hour to see what's new, & keeps us at the Outlets longer than normal for us just sitting & waiting.
    • LOVE the pulled pork sandwich at Sonny's BBQ (one of my very favorite places to eat in Florida)!!!



    Steps: 8,864
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  7. #6
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA

    Here are some more photos that I forgot to include previously:

    Sea World:














    Epcot:



    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  8. #7
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA

    And some more from the past couple of days:

    Disney's Hollywood Studios:












    Sonny's BBQ:



    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  9. #8
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Thursday, February 25, 2021 (80 degrees)
    Plan: Magic Kingdom; Dinner ADR @ Tony's Town Square Restaurant

    Actual: We were up at 9am and out the door by 10am; I drove us over to the Contemporary, where the gate guard told us we could not drop off anywhere on their property! We made a U-Turn and then I pulled over to the curb before the intersection to get out; James got in the driver's seat and headed over to the MK parking lot toll entrance while I walked over to the sidewalk.

    It was an easy walk over to the MK entrance; I got my temp check and went through the scanners on the MK side of World Drive. They needed to check my fanny pack afterwards and determined that my camera set off the sensor (strangely, it only set off the scanners at this location both today & next week, and never at the other parks or Disney Springs); I was soon on my way!




    I stopped to rent an ECV, which took about 10-15mins, and then went to City Hall to inquire about accessibility options; I had hoped for a Disability Access pass, but my ECV kept me from getting one. I forgot to mention how the heat and waiting in the long queues in the direct sunlight is very hard on me, but maybe next time!

    While I was finishing up around 10:40am, James called to say he was at The Hub already! I was shocked he'd made such great time, but the monorail had just pulled in and the line wasnt too long, plus he can also walk very quickly around slower folks.

    We met back up, checked wait times, and decided to go to Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress; along the way we stopped for photos with Cinderella Castle behind us.




    CoP is always a must-do for us, a classic we miss at Disneyland!


















    ...to be continued
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  10. #9
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Thursday, February 25, 2021 (80 degrees) ~ Part II
    Plan: Magic Kingdom; Dinner ADR @ Tony's Town Square Restaurant

    We were getting hungry so I did a mobile order at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe around 11:30am, as they were the closest counter-service to us. I ordered the All-Beef Foot Long Hot Dog with fries, James ordered the Greek Salad with Chicken Strips, and we shared a Diet Coke; while waiting for our order, we perused the nearby Star Traders store.

    I received the notification that our order was ready, and we went inside; James was able to snag a table for two inside farthest away from Cosmic Ray, but that was okay ~ it was indoors! I got our food and we enjoyed our tasty lunch; afterwards, I asked a nearby CM about which counters I could get free ice water cups from, and she got them for me herself! We put the ice in our reusable water bottle, visited the restrooms, and decided our next steps.

    We decided to go to Winnie the Pooh (standby = 35mins, but at least much of the queue is indoors) around 12:30pm, where the interactive components in the queue were not operational. We then headed to Journey of The Little Mermaid, where standby was listed as 30mins, but we basically walked through the entire queue non-stop!

    We next went to enter the Peter Pan's Flight queue around 1:35pm (standby = 35mins), but were directed back towards the exit to get a return time instead since my ECV could not negotiate the entire queue; we were told to come back at 2pm, so we headed over to ride the Haunted Mansion. We got in the main queue, and then were directed over to the accessible entrance; since I already had a return time for Peter, they let us on through the back way right then!



    When we got off the HM, we headed back to ride Peter since it was just after 2pm (always a favorite of ours!). We next went to Mickey's PhilharMagic; we had JUST missed a show, but were indoors and at the front of the line waiting for the next one!

    James wanted to ride the Liberty Square Riverboat, but we just missed it, so we continued on to another favorite classic of ours: Country Bear Jamboree! Again, we had missed a show, so we waited for the next one that started around 3:15pm.










    Afterwards, we had less than an hour to go until our dinner ADR and most queues were still very long, so we headed back to look through the shops along Main Street; I also mailed my postcards and my brother's birthday card at the lone mailbox near the Emporium entrance at Town Square.

    We checked in for our 4:30pm dinner ADR at Tony's Town Square Restaurant, and then were shown to our booth a few minutes later. Our server, Bethany, came by to get our drink order (Diet Coke for me & iced tea for James) and then took our food order: I got a Tony's Pizza Pie (Hand-tossed Pizza Dough, Blend of Cheeses, and Tony's Pizza Sauce with Pepperoni) and James got the Spaghetti and Impossible Meatballs [Spaghetti, Mushroom Garlic Basil Impossible Meatballs, and Tony's Marinara Sauce (Plant-based)]. Bethany also brought us some yummy bread with our drinks!







    The restaurant was busy and it was difficult to take pictures of the decor, due to respecting social-distancing guidelines; however, we enjoyed our meal very much! I, of course, had leftovers, so we got that boxed up to take with us, settled the bill, and headed out.


    ...to be continued
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  11. #10
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Thursday, February 25, 2021 (80 degrees) ~ Part III
    Plan: Magic Kingdom; Dinner ADR @ Tonys Town Square Restaurant

    I was able to get a return time for the Jungle Cruise around 5:25pm for 6:10pm (standby = 50mins), and then we went to ride Pirates of the Caribbean; standby was listed as 50mins, but we were on in 35mins. I couldn't take my ECV with me, so they switched me to a manual wheelchair and James had to push me through the long, winding queue. There was plexiglass everywhere to block you from the queue on either side of you, and then they were only boarding the front and back parts of the boat (we were in the back).





    We went back to ride the JC around 6:20pm; they let me board at the exit and we had a fun skipper, Tori, aboard the Volta Val. James always prefers this at night for some reason, and the sun was setting during our ride; we had a lot of fun as usual and were soon disembarking at the dock, where I had to call James back to help me out of the boat!

    We were interested in riding the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but the queue was STILL over 60mins at this point, and the park was due to close in less than 20mins. Even though it would be a cooler wait at night, we were getting tired and decided to skip it until our second day.

    Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin FINALLY had a short wait posted (standby = 30mins), but was basically a walk-on; James beat me as always, although neither one of us got the scores we usually get at Disneyland since you cannot remove the guns from the holsters! I only got 33,200, whereas I ALWAYS get well over 100,000 at DL!





    Just before the park was due to close at 7pm, James wanted to ride the Tomorrowland Speedway and went to do that while I hung out elsewhere waiting for him to come back. He had no wait, and we met back up around 7:15pm (he had the ECV key in his pocket, so I was stranded anyway!).

    We headed towards the entrance, took photos of the nighttime Cinderella Castle,



    and then I stopped at the Main Street Bakery to pick up the mini "Been There" MK mug/ornament that my friend Juanita wanted; lots of people wanting refreshments on their way out so it took 15mins just to get through the queue and buy it!

    I met back up with James and returned the ECV around 7:40pm, then we went to ride the Resort Monorail back to the TTC (James thought it would be faster, but there are more of the Express Monorails at this time and they were really clearing the crowds out faster).

    James walked out to get the car, while I took my time and waited by the Accessible parking lot; he was able to drive the car closer to me to pick me up, and we were back at the condo by 8:30pm.

    We did our usual nighttime routine and I was in bed around 11:30pm with James following a couple of hours later.

    Things we missed: The Enchanted Tiki Room, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Liberty Square Riverboat, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, it's a small world, & Space Mountain (me only, too intense for James).

    Thoughts about the day:
    • We were REALLY sorry that the TTA Peoplemover (a classic and one of our all-time favorites) & Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor were closed, and also that there were no fireworks or parades, thanks to COVID.
    • We DEFINITELY enjoyed riding our other two favorite classics: Carousel of Progress and Country Bear Jamboree again!
    • We prefer Disneyland's version of Buzz MUCH better!
    • Looking back, we TRULY wish we'd gotten in line to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, as we had a blast on it our second day!
    • After the trip, I purchased a one-day Memory Maker package for today, since we had several PhotoPass & attraction photos.



    Steps: 8,034
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  12. #11
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Friday, February 26, 2021 (83 degrees)
    Plan: Animal Kingdom

    Actual: We were again up around 9am and out the door just after 10am; we paid for parking and asked how James could drop me off closer to the gate and then go back and park, and the CM said to ask the next CM at the split; that CM had us stay right and follow the blue line as if we were Accessible (we noticed an electric sign that said "Medical Drop-off Keep Right" as well). James dropped me off and then went to park; he was directed to Peacock 8, which was the accessible overflow lot, rather than going all the way around to park in the regular lot, so that was great!

    I went to rent an ECV around 10:25am, and then switched it out when the chair back was at a bad angle and the leg room was too short ~ of course, then it seemed even slower than the prior one!

    James & I met back up, checked wait times, and decided to go ride DINOSAUR; he got there a lot sooner than my slowpoke ECV! Standby was listed as 40, but we were on in 30mins; we'd never been in the curvy outside queue before, so you know it was a long wait! They were not seating the middle row, and they had us in the back row, which we are fine with. We still prefer Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland, though (similar ride system)!

    It was now about 11:30am and we were ready for lunch, so we went to our favorite restaurant at Animal Kingdom: Flame Tree BBQ! I did a Mobile Order through the app: I ordered the Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich with fries, James ordered the Marinated Slow-smoked Half Chicken with baked beans & a mandarin orange, and we shared a large Coke Zero.

    We found a table near the ramp to the left of the restaurant so I wouldnt have to do any stairs; I'm not sure if the tables down by the water were even open! We enjoyed our food, but James felt the Half Chicken was too much food and he was pretty full afterwards. I absolutely LOVE this pulled pork sandwich and devoured most of it before remembering to take a picture ~ LOL!





    After we finished eating, we went to see It's Tough to be a Bug around 12:20pm; standby was listed as 30mins, but we were inside within 15mins ~ still a fun little show.

    We next headed into Asia and did the Maharajah Jungle Trek; we really enjoyed the tiger that was carrying an old ball in its mouth as it paced in & out of the water!














    ...to be continued
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  13. #12
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Friday, February 26, 2021 (83 degrees) ~ Part II
    Plan: Animal Kingdom

    We also saw some birds in the aviary, but I miss out on a lot when Im trying to maneuver an ECV around people.









    Our next stop was Kilimanjaro Safaris in Africa around 1:30pm; standby was listed as 25mins, but we were aboard our truck within 15mins with CM Bailey. We saw lots of animals, including the elusive cheetahs & lions, and also were delayed about 15mins to wait for some giraffes to cross the road!














    ...to be continued
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  14. #13
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Friday, February 26, 2021 (83 degrees) ~ Part III
    Plan: Animal Kingdom

    A few more pictures from the Safari:
















    I asked James if he wanted to do either the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail or the Wildlife Express Train afterwards, but he wasn't interested in either one; I think the heat & long lines were getting to him too!

    I stopped at Creature Comforts to pick up the mini "Been There" AK mug/ornament that my friend Juanita wanted; lots of people wanting refreshments here as well, so it took quite a while again just to get through the queue and buy it!

    We headed towards Pandora and got in a very long line around 2:35pm; I thought it was for Flight of Passage and then realized it was a 90min standby wait for Na'vi River Journey! I couldn't believe it was such a long wait for that attraction; we ended up bailing after the line barely moved in 10mins and we were in the direct sunlight (too hot for me)! James went up ahead to check things out and said that there was a strong paint smell farther up in the queue that was going to be too nauseating for us to stand near, so that helped make up our minds right then.

    We went into Island Mercantile to buy this Cat Lady hat that I really liked; I dont usually wear hats as they make me hotter, but I felt it would come in handy to block the sun from my eyes in the afternoons (my sunglasses werent getting the job done).




    ...to be continued
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  15. #14
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Friday, February 26, 2021 (83 degrees) ~ Part IV
    Plan: Animal Kingdom

    We next headed to see the 3:30pm Feathered Friends in Flight show; we were just glad to see ONE show at this park that wasn't still closed! It really was just a bird presentation show, without the backstory they usually have.





    We were about done at this point (the park was due to close at 5pm), so we just headed for the exit so I could return the ECV. We decided to eat at the Rainforest Cafe today instead of waiting until Sunday, so we headed there next.

    I checked us in at the Elephant with my Landry's Select Club card, and we looked around the retail store while waiting to be called to our table. Our server, Colin, came by to get our drink order [Coke Zero for me & a Rainforest Ricky Up (Mix of apple, pineapple, orange, strawberry, & grapefruit juices served over ice or straight up) for James] and then took our food order: I got a Chicken Strips Basket (with fries) and James got the Rasta Pasta (Sauteed Chicken, Penne Pasta, Broccoli, Red Peppers, Spinach, but without sauce).





    I used the app to cancel the RFC ADR for Sunday afternoon while we waited for our food to arrive. Everything was really good, and I was pleased when Colin brought me a birthday cupcake as well!



    We noticed that the restaurant was emptying out, because they were essentially "closed" to new guests starting at 5pm.

    We settled the bill and headed out around 6pm; James went to get the car and then picked me up where he had dropped me off this morning (may also be the Rideshare dropoff/pickup place).

    We drove over to the Vineland Premium Outlets and James dropped me off to get our name on the Disney Character Warehouse waitlist around 6:20pm (80 groups ahead of me) while he went to park in the garage.

    We met back up and went over to the Nike store, where I sat while he tried on some shoes; fortunately, he didn't buy anything! We then went to the Food Court to wait until we were called back to the Disney outlet around 7:30pm. We bought some more clothes, gifts, and other things, and then went back to the car.

    We had decided that we wanted more Disney Gift Cards (I hadn't expected to use them for ECV rentals or the Character Warehouse stores, so I hadn't brought enough with me), so we drove to a nearby Target, intending to use my Target Red Card so I could get a 5% discount! They didn't have any $100 denomination ones, only $50 & $25 ones, so we bought 4 $50 gift cards, plus some grape juice & Shout wipes.

    We drove back to the condo, arriving around 8:45pm; I did a load of laundry and called our pet-sitter to check on Sidney. We also called the front desk to see if the spare water chamber James had ordered on Sunday night from Apria had ever arrived; it had, so James went over to pick it up from the front desk (he hadn't put the unit number on it is why I think they never called).

    We did our usual nighttime routine & I went to bed around midnight (James around 1:30am).

    Things we missed: The Oasis Exhibits, Discovery Island Trails, Na'vi River Journey, Avatar Flight of Passage, Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, Wildlife Express Train, Conservation Station, Affection Section, & Expedition Everest (me only, too intense for James).

    Thoughts about the day:
    • We were REALLY sorry that the Festival of the Lion King (my FAVORITE live show on property) & Finding Nemo were closed!!!
    • I absolutely LOVE that pulled pork sandwich from Flame Tree BBQ!!!
    • The heat & long lines are starting to get to us.
    • I missed out on a lot of the animal exhibits this trip, being in the ECV.
    • It takes a lot more time having to hang around for a waitlist return time, instead of just popping into one store for a half hour to see what's new.


    Steps: 8,632
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  16. #15
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Saturday, February 27, 2021 (86 degrees)
    Plan: Titanic Experience; Melting Pot

    Actual: I was awake about 9am and James got up around 11:30am; we left around 12:45pm to check the local Target for $100 Disney gift cards (they only carry $25 & $50 denominations, and were completely out!) and then got gas at the Walmart gas station ($2.50/gallon!).

    We are HUGE fans of our local Melting Pot restaurant, who have been reduced to only cheese & chocolate takeout during COVID. James & I always do the entree fondue together and have missed it very much, so we drove up to the Melting Pot on Sand Lake Road for a late lunch. They were pretty busy at 1:30pm and asked if we had a reservation (I didn't know what time we would be arriving, so no), but were able to seat us anyway. I had the Steak Lovers entree (but with only premium filet mignon) and James had The Garden Pot (all veggies), and we cooked everything in their signature Court Bouillon. They also give you potatoes, broccoli, & mushrooms to cook and we always ask for extra potatoes. Their sauces are excellent as well!



    We had a wonderful late lunch & then drove to the other side of I-4 to the Titanic Exhibition. I've ALWAYS wanted to go here and we have never found the time on our prior visits; I was able to see the one at The Luxor in Las Vegas in September 2019 and loved that one ~ this was very similar. I used the BOGO coupon from The Entertainment Book for our admission (saved nearly $24!) and we spent the next hour checking everything out. In LV, you couldn't take photos but you can now; however, you can't touch the iceberg like you can in LV (stupid COVID)!




















    ...to be continued
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  17. #16
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Saturday, February 27, 2021 (86 degrees) ~ Part II
    Plan: Titanic Experience; Melting Pot

    A few more pictures from the Titanic Exhibit:





















    I bought the photos & a postcard pack and then we drove over to Lowe's, as James needed some supplies; I sat in the car and enjoyed the nice breeze.

    We next drove over to Sam's Club and got a Coke Icee, some Disney gift cards (they are at a 3% discount here, plus I get 2% back by using my American Express), groceries, and some wicking shirts for James.

    We drove back to the condo and arrived around 6:10pm; we ate leftovers for dinner & I did another load of laundry. We also made a list of our must-do attractions for our second day at the AK tomorrow.

    We did our usual evening routine, then I went to bed around 11pm (not sure about James).


    Thoughts about the day:
    • Loved BOTH the Melting Pot and the Titanic Exhibition ~ a great day!


    Steps: 4,983
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  18. #17
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Sunday, February 28, 2021 (86 degrees)
    Plan: Animal Kingdom; Dinner ADR @ Rainforest Cafe

    Actual: Today we were up around 8:15am and were out the door around 9:20am; we paid for parking and asked for the Medical Drop-off section at the split like we did on Friday. James dropped me off and then went to park; he was directed to Peacock 9 today.

    I went to rent my ECV around 9:40am, and then rode it over to meet up with James in the queue for the Na'vi River Journey (standby = 85mins). After a few minutes, I rode over to try out the seat for the Flight of Passage attraction, as I was concerned that I wouldn't fit in the seat; it worked out okay, so I rode back to meet up with James in the other queue again. I'd always read that the longer lines were at FoP, so I was really surprised at how long they were for NRJ this trip!

    We were on in 65mins, and while the Imagineers did an amazing job designing the attraction, we just are not that fond of the movie and couldn't justify such a long wait.

    We next got in the queue for FoP (standby = 60mins); again, the design is just amazing, and I took some pictures of the floating mountains and other parts of the queue.











    Right before we got on our Banshees and I was already away from my ECV (where my water bottle was), my throat become completely dry and I couldn't swallow! It took several tries before I could conjure up some saliva and "wet my whistle", but I came close to an anxiety attack; that had never happened to me before! I chalk it up to nerves about the ride, but it definitely affected my experience and I don't remember too much about it other than I was glad to get back to my ECV and get a drink of water afterwards!

    We were off just after noon, so I used Mobile Order to place our lunch order at the Flame Tree BBQ; I again ordered my favorite (the Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich with fries), and this time James got the Smokehouse Chicken Salad (Pulled Chicken on top of Mixed Greens Salad tossed with Smoked Cheddar, Diced Granny Smith Apples, Dried Cranberries, Cornbread Croutons, Crispy Onions, and Barbecue-Ranch Dressing), and we shared a large Coke Zero. It took quite a while to ride over to the restaurant in my slow ECV from Pandora and THEN it was 12:45pm before the food was ready; we sat in the same area as we did on Friday and truly enjoyed our yummy lunch!




    ...to be continued
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  19. #18
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Sunday, February 28, 2021 (86 degrees) ~ Part II
    Plan: Animal Kingdom; Dinner ADR @ Rainforest Cafe

    Around 1:30pm, we went to get in line for the Kilimanjaro Safaris; standby was listed as 30mins, but we were on in 15mins. We had CM Ricky this time and again saw a lot of animals, but no giraffe delays!













    I didn't think I would be riding Expedition Everest this trip, as I didn't think I was up to it; however, I decided to try it around 2:30pm; standby was listed as 20mins, and I was on in 15mins. You know, they SAY the queues are ECV-friendly, but I bet none of them ever tried maneuvering one of them in those tight curves; they have a small building in the middle of the queue with small doorway both in AND out ~ sure, the ECV will fit if you come at it straight-on, but no, you have a tight 45-degree angle to do it! BAM, I rammed the door jam on the way out, not once but twice as I tried to get in the right area to make the turn! The nice lady behind me helped me back up enough and get lined up right, but I sure was annoyed by the time I got to the loading platform!

    I rode in the back row, as they have a special transfer row that opens up and gives me a little more room to step in, and felt totally wiped out after the ride was done! I staggered out of the row and into my ECV, and felt every day of my 60+ years! Oh well, I'm glad the day is nearly over ~ LOL!

    I called James (he'd been perusing shops while I was on EE) and arranged to meet him at It's Tough to be a Bug; I was parched, so I stopped at Drinkwallah for a bottle of Diet Coke. The very nice CM gave it to me for free as a birthday present! I was so touched ~

    I met back up with James around 3:10pm at ITtbaB (standby = 30mins)




    and then stopped at Discovery Trading Company for the small & medium AK reusable bags.

    I asked James if he wanted to do anything else, like the Gorilla trail or the Oasis Exhibits, but he was done with the heat & humidity like I was. I returned the ECV just after 4pm and James went to get the car; he picked me up where he'd dropped me off this morning and we left the AK for good this trip.

    We stopped briefly at the condo so I could pick up our On the Border gift cards, and then went to the one nearby for dinner. They've closed all 3 in Sacramento (thank you COVID), so we were looking forward to having our favorites again! They sat us right away (not very busy at 4:30pm), but in the corner WAY away from almost everybody (only one table with about 8-10 people were nearby, everyone else was on the other side of the restaurant).

    Our server, Kayla, was very nice, but service was SO SLOW! I think she was working the other side too; it took a while just to order drinks (Coke Zero for me & iced tea for James)!

    I wanted their carnitas street tacos; they don't have carnitas listed as a choice (they haven't for YEARS), but I was hopeful to still order it like I used to in Sacramento, but NO ~ they didn't have any carnitas at all! I then went with the Carne Asada & James got his usual chicken Big Bordurrito. I was disappointed that my Carne Asada was fattier than I would have liked and a bit overdone, but I wasn't going to risk waiting for another one!





    Kayla had lots of problems using my eGift Cards and they had to be re-rung over again; not a great experience for a restaurant that wasn't THAT busy!

    We drove back to the condo around 6pm and I uploaded some of the pictures from my camera onto Facebook using the notebook computer; I also updated my trip notes and then made a list of our must-do attractions for our second day at the MK tomorrow.

    I was in bed around 10:30am and James around midnight.

    Things we missed: We were able to hit everything on our must-do list that we wanted to today!

    Thoughts about the day:
    • Although Pandora is stunning in its creation, we don't ever see waiting more than 15-20mins for either attraction; I know we are in the minority, but hopefully, we'll be able to use FastPass on our next visit so we don't have to skip them!
    • Pulled Pork Sandwich at the Flame Tree BBQ ~ double yum for me!
    • Very disappointed not to get my carnitas street tacos at On the Border!
    • It's February ~ we're done with the high-80s heat & humidity!


    Steps: 4,752
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  20. #19
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Monday, March 1, 2021 (87 degrees)
    Plan: Magic Kingdom

    Actual: We were up at 8am and out the door by 9:15am; I again drove us over to the Contemporary, where we made a U-Turn and then I pulled over to the curb before the intersection to get out like I did last week; James got in the driver's seat and headed over to the MK parking lot toll entrance while I walked over to the sidewalk.

    I again got my temp check and went through the scanners on the MK side of World Drive. My camera set off the sensor again, so Security checked my fanny pack before sending me on my way.

    I stopped to rent an ECV and then made my way over to get in line for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train around 10am (standby = 55mins). In the meantime, James endured longer waits at the toll entrance and then elected to take the ferryboat, because the line for the monorail was horrendous!

    When I got to the entrance where the CMs were, I told them I was still waiting for James to join me, so they had me move out of the queue to a marked spot about 6 feet away; James called once he was in the park and I talked him over to where I was waiting. I'd been out of the queue about 15mins, and they let me re-enter right away; the total wait time was 70mins before we were on the attraction.

    WOW ~ we absolutely LOVED this ride and were so sorry the waits were too long for us to do it again!

    We next headed over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, James walking ahead of my pokey ECV; I got hung up briefly by a character cavalcade, and then met up with James at BTMR. We got a return time for 12:10pm at 11:40am (standby = 40mins) and then went to get lunch while waiting.

    I did a mobile order at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe around 11:45am, as they were the closest counter-service to us. I ordered the 1/3 lb Angus Hamburger with tortilla chips instead of fries, James ordered the Chicken Rice Bowl (Yellow Rice topped with Seasoned Chicken, Grilled Peppers and Onions, Black Beans, Lettuce, Tomato, Sour Cream, and Salsa), and we shared a Diet Coke.

    We found seating in the old Tortuga Tavern seating area and enjoyed our lunch; it was nice to have the choice of tortilla chips instead of fries for a change too. We didn't linger afterwards, as the place was very busy and our table was in demand!

    It was about time, so we headed back to BTMR; I rode my ECV up the exit and then swapped to a wheelchair. They sat us in the back rows, so I could use their transfer car again, but the ride was very rough! Not the "Wildest Ride in the Wilderness", but certainly the "Roughest" one!!!

    We next went to see the Country Bear Jamboree one last time around 12:30pm & rode the Liberty Square Riverboat around 1pm:






















    We next went into Fantasyland to get a return time for Peter Pan's Flight (2:05pm at 1:30pm).

    James was still hungry, so I stood in line at The Friars Nook around 1:40pm, as I'd wanted to try their tater tots. I ordered the All-Beef Hot Dog with tots, James ordered the Loaded Buffalo Chicken Tots, and we shared a Coke Zero. We went over to the restrooms by Pinocchio Village Haus as there is a cement ledge there to sit on, and proceeded to eat our snack; I really liked the hot dog & tots, but there was too much "stuff" on the loaded tots James got, so he wasn't satisfied with them. The bad part of where we were sitting is that it was in the hot sun! I gave my tots to James to finish up while I used the restroom; when I came back, people were sitting right next to him & my ECV ~ hey, social distancing people! If the roles were reversed and James was the one in the restroom, you can bet I would have told them to give us some space! The park was pretty busy today, so table space was really at a premium.

    We went back to ride Peter at 2:05pm and then went to ride Carousel of Progress one last time for this trip; I didn't park my ECV outside this time, so they had me park it along the wall on the right inside and then we sat in the front row. Two seniors parked their ECVs behind mine, but then were so pokey when it came time to back out at the end! I couldn't go anywhere until they moved, and the lady went forward instead of backward and rammed into me while I was waiting, she was so flustered! James was able to talk her through backing up and all 3 of us were able to get out in the short time they have before the auditorium starts moving again! Poor lady (that's probably me in 10yrs) ~

    James wanted to ride the Tomorrowland Speedway again (standby = 10mins), so I headed over to get a return time for Jungle Cruise (3:40pm at 3:05pm) while he did that. I then went to see The Enchanted Tiki Room, thinking it was going to take James a lot longer to ride the Speedway than it did! I had to wait through 2 showings (he called me while I was still waiting outside) before FINALLY getting to see the show!

    We met back up by the Aladdin ride, and I used the restroom before we went to ride the JC just before 4pm; this time we came in through the exit but then went to board with everyone else (just not waiting in the long queue), which was a lot harder for me to get in & out. We had Skipper Jerry on the Sankuru Sadie.

    We headed for Main Street, intending to buy the small & medium MK reusable bags again; the Emporium only had the small one, so James walked over to Star Traders to get the medium one.

    We were done with the heat & humidity, so I returned the ECV around 4:45pm and we rode the Express Monorail back to the TTC. A Security CM got me one of the parking lot wheelchairs and James pushed me to the end of one of the parking lots; he intended to go get the car and drive up to where I was, but there was a barricade and he couldn't do it after all! A Security CM in the lot even tried to help him, but in the end, I just had to walk to where he was.

    We drove over to the International Premium Outlets and James dropped me off to get our name on the Disney Character Warehouse waitlist just before 6pm (only 17 groups ahead of me!) while he went to park.

    We met back up and James went over to the Nike store, while I sat in the Food Court to wait until we were called back to the Disney outlet about 30mins later. I called James to come back & we still had to wait in a short line outside before being let inside (this is the only time we had to wait outside at either location). We bought some more clothes, gifts, and other things, and then went back to the car.

    We next drove over to Sonny's BBQ, where I again had the pulled pork sandwich Big Deal (with garlic bread & Diet Pepsi) and James got all side dishes: green beans, potato salad, & baked sweet potato with iced tea.

    We got back to the condo around 9:10pm, did our usual nighttime routine, and I was in bed around midnight (James followed around 1am).

    Things we missed: We were able to hit everything on our must-do list we wanted to today!

    Thoughts about the day:
    • We regretted not riding the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train last week, as it was SO MUCH FUN!!!
    • It looks like the Spring Break crowds are starting to arrive, as the park was very busy!
    • Hating the heat & humidity, but loving that pulled pork sandwich at Sonny's!


    Steps: 6,711
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  21. #20
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 (82 degrees)
    Plan: Disney Springs; International & Vineland Premium Outlets; Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores

    Actual: Today was a sleep-in day; James was up around 10am, but I'd been awake watching TV for a little while by then. We got ready and left for Disney Springs around 11:20am. My plan was to park in the Lime Garage, as it was the closest to World of Disney; however, it was closed so we U-Turned back to park in Level 1 of the Grapefruit Garage across the street. Not many cars around and the few people we saw were employees.

    We took the escalator up so we could use the pedestrian overcrossings to get to DS; we passed 2 Security CMs who just smiled and motioned us forward across the first bridge and another Security CM at the junction who totally ignored us as we passed by to cross the 2nd bridge. We took the elevator down to the street level and were stopped by another Security CM from going further without showing our ID badges; apparently this entrance was ONLY for employees and we would have to trek quite a distance in either direction so we could go through the security checkpoints! I was quite irate that no one had stopped us before now, and mentioned as much to him; he was apologetic, but firm. I'd intended to make a complaint at Guest Relations later about the Security CMs who had neglected to stop us at the first bridge, but forgot to do so when I was in their vicinity later!

    Anyway, we trekked back to our car and drove over to the Orange Garage, which was at the far end of DS; so much for trying to limit my walking today in the heat & humidity! We could have parked here 20mins ago, had we known about the Grapefruit Garage being mainly for employees & the Lime Garage not opening until 1pm! It was quite busy, and James dropped me off near the elevators and went to park on level 3 that wasn't too busy yet. I took the elevator to the security level (2nd, I think?) and went through a temp check and security screening; no problems, so I continued on my way towards the World of Disney (I hoped!). James caught up to me before I got there and we mentioned how different everything looked from 2013!

    We spent some time perusing the WoD store (no virtual waitlist needed) from about 12:30-1pm, and then I sat outside on a shaded bench while he finished looking through everything; I made a list of things we might want to buy, and met back up with him.

    I stopped at a nearby restroom, gave him my fanny pack & phone to hold, and then couldn't find him when I came out! I sat on a bench (no shade this time) across from Disney's Pin Traders for over 30mins waiting for him!!! He'd said that he was going to see if Earl of Sandwich had some sort of smoothie, but he was nowhere to be found & I couldn't even call him because he had my phone! GRRR!!!

    I finally found him and scolded him for leaving the area so I couldn't find him (he'd forgotten that he had my phone)! I was dragging from the humidity, and only walked through the Disney's Days of Christmas for the air-conditioning! We also perused the Rainforest Cafe Retail Village, before stopping at the Star Wars Trading Post around 1:45pm. They had the Star Wars Galaxy Edge reusable bags, so we bought one; then we noticed their Star Wars-themed gift cards and I bought 2 with $15 loaded upon each one (the current minimum; you used to only have to load a minimum of $5 on them!).

    I next went into WoD around 2pm to buy the items we wanted (Monsters University tank, Briar Rose Gold Glitter spirit jersey, an Earhat ring, and the Epcot small & medium reusable bags, using the 10% Disney Visa discount); James went to Joffrey's Coffee & Tea outside for a Tropical Sunset Smoothie.

    After I came outside, I realized I'd forgotten the auto magnets & decals, so I went back inside; I had to ask a CM to help me find them again (she even had trouble doing so!), and then I picked up a Disney Springs reusable bag to get over the $50 minimum for the Disney Visa 10% discount again!

    We met back up and it had started to sprinkle; it kept increasing as we were making our way back to the far side of DS and we even had to take temporary refuge under the overhang of the closed Wine Bar George with several other guests!

    I pin-pointed where Gideon's Bakehouse was in relation to our current position, and we headed over there when the downpour subsided (right around the corner from us, as it happened); there was a long line of people outside and we didn't want to wait since it was still raining off and on, so we continued on to the parking garage.

    We were pretty wet by the time we reached our car around 2:35pm & I was done with shopping, so we went to TGI Friday's near our resort; we don't have any of these in Sacramento anymore, and I'd spent both my 21st birthday (in Fresno) and my 40th birthday (Sacramento) at them (fond memories)!

    We arrived around 3pm and they sat us in the bar area; our server, Lisa, took our drink order: Long Island Iced Tea for me and regular iced tea for James ~ I rarely drink anymore, but I wasn't driving and it was happy hour pricing ($5!)! We also ordered Loaded Potato Skins (oh yeah), plus I got the Chicken Fingers with fries while James got the Million Dollar Cobb Salad with Chicken. By the time our entrees arrived, I had already ordered a second drink!









    Everything was very good; we settled the bill and James drove us back to the condo as I was a bit tipsy! With a few minutes of arriving a bit after 4pm, we both laid down for a nap!

    The rain was pretty much done for the day; of course, the worst of it was when we were trying to walk back to the parking garage at DS! We did our usual nighttime thing, and made a list of our must-do attractions for our second day at DHS tomorrow. I set both alarms and was in bed by 11pm, with James sometime thereafter.

    Thoughts about the day:
    • I wish the first Security CMs had stopped us, so we didn't waste the extra time & walking in the humidity!
    • I wish the hours at the parking garages were posted where you would know which to try first!
    • I wish James hadn't taken off with my phone so I wouldn't have wasted 30mins waiting in the humid afternoon for him!
    • I wish the rain hadn't impacted my chance at getting some Gideon's Bakehouse cookies!
    • I absolutely LOVED having the Long Island Iced Teas again, even though I was a little tipsy afterwards! The potato skins did not disappoint either!


    Steps: 8,793
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  22. #21
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 (74 degrees)
    Plan: Disney's Hollywood Studios

    Actual: My first alarm went off at 6:45am, but I was already awake! I went to get my phone from the charger, got back into bed, and opened the My Disney Experience (MDX) app so I was already to go BEFORE 7am!

    I kept refreshing the app every few seconds in the minute before 7am by pulling down on the screen, and suddenly a blue "Join" button appeared for the Rise of the Resistance boarding groups! Unfortunately, I apparently didn't tap right on it in my excitement, and it went to a screen describing the attraction! EEK!!! I panicked and went back to try again and missed it again! When I went back a second time, all of the boarding groups had been given out ~ NOOOOOO!!!

    I was so distressed and had trouble getting any more sleep; I shared my failure with James when he got up around 9:15am, and we resolved to try again at 1pm. I had already set another alarm for it and we got ready; we were out the door around 10:30am.

    This time we asked about a medical overflow lot, and were directed in that direction; I started walking towards the entrance and then realized that I'd forgotten my Cat Lady hat in the back seat, so I asked James to get it for me (he can catch up to me very easily).

    We got through temp check and security, and then I stopped to rent an ECV, while James went ahead to get in line for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror just before 11am (standby = 80mins). James called me about the time I reached the attraction exit and told me to wait there, instead of wasting battery power in the switchbacks he was currently in, so I U-Turned and parked along the wall on the right, a bit in the shade.

    When James caught up to me 20mins later, I joined him in the regular queue. When we reached the actual attraction queue entrance, they had me switch to a wheelchair; it's quite hilly in that part of the queue, so I just used it to steady myself rather than have James push me. We finally got to the ride and they put us in the front row; we had a WONDERFUL ride and wished the lines weren't so long so we could ride again.

    We were hungry for lunch and James wanted pizza again, so we headed over to PizzeRizzo around 12:15pm. This time we knew the drill: make the order and then give the order number & what to customize to the CM outside. I did the same order as last week: Pepperoni Pizza for me, Vegetable Pizza no cheese for James, and a large Coke Zero for us to share. We hung out outside while waiting to be called, then I gave James the phone and went upstairs to get us a table. Unfortunately, they hadn't done his pizza right, so James brought mine and the drink upstairs to me and then the manager came up to apologize and fix the order.

    When they brought the correct pizza to him, they brought another salad and Diet Coke as well! We enjoyed our lunch, used the restroom, and then I prepared to try for another Rise of the Resistance boarding group at 1pm. I kept refreshing the app every few seconds in the minute before by pulling down on the screen, and suddenly the blue "Join" button appeared! I carefully tapped the button and the subsequent "Submit" button and was rewarded with Boarding Group #85, with an estimated return time of 50mins! SCORE ~ WHEW!!!

    We left and went to join the queue for Muppet*Vision 3D (standby & actual wait = 25mins) and were rewarded with seeing almost the entire preshow again!

    When we came out, I checked our status for RotR and we had been called at 1:42pm! We headed that way and entered their queue around 2pm, where we had a lot more queuing in the outside queue today. We had another wonderful experience and were off around 2:45pm.

    We went to Star Tours, where they gave us a return time of 3:15pm at 2:50pm (standby = 25mins); we then went to see Vacation Fun, where they had the cutest seatbacks that were designed as Mickey Mouse!



    We went back to Star Tours around 3:30pm, where the accessible queue was practically a walk-on, and I WAS THE REBEL SPY!!! That was fun! We had Kylo, BB8, and the new scenes from The Rise of Skywalker film ~ LOVED IT!!! I'd been interested in a Star Wars tank top in the store afterwards, but it didn't really fit right so I skipped it.

    The app showed standby for Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway was only 25mins around 3:45pm (and it was), so we went over there as slowly as my ECV would go ~ LOL!

    The last two things on our list were Slinky Dog Dash & Toy Story Mania, so we went to the former around 4:20pm; standby was 60mins, but we were off just after 5pm. We sat in separate rows and James' picture didn't show up for some reason. This was another attraction we simply didn't like; this time because it was too rough on both of us, but especially James! It shook us both up and I doubt even I will ride it again.

    James wanted something to eat, so we went to Woody's Lunch Box; however, they had just closed! Therefore, we stopped at the nearby restroom and then went back into SWGE. James started going into all of the shops and checking out what food options were still open, and I just tagged along. The area wasn't very crowded at this hour and was cooler, since the sun was going down; we just kept working our way through to the other side.



    He was too spent to even try Toy Story Mania, so I left him behind and started for the entrance while he was still looking around at things. I stopped at the Trolley Car Cafe to pick up the mini "Been There" DHS mug/ornament that my friend Juanita wanted; I also got a slice of Iced Red Velvet Cake for me (10mins wait) since it looked delicious!

    James called while I was in line, and then we met back up for me to return the ECV just before 6pm. James then went out to get the car & picked me up by the Skyliner Station.

    We drove over to the Vineland Premium Outlets (both eating the cake as we drove) and James dropped me off to get our name on the Disney Character Warehouse waitlist around 6:20pm while he went to park.

    We met back up & went into the Food Court for dinner: I got the pizza combo at Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen (pepperoni pizza slice, roasted potatoes, & a large Diet Pepsi) and James got a chicken burrito bowl at Currito Burrito.

    We searched for a nearby smoothie place on my phone, found one just down the street, and planned to go there after our shopping if they were still open. We were called back to the Disney outlet just before 7pm, where we bought some more clothes, gifts, and other things, and then went back to the car.

    We stopped at the Tropical Smoothie Cafe, where James got a large Sunrise Sunset Smoothie while I waited in the car. It was cheaper & larger than the one he got yesterday at Disney Springs!

    We got back to the condo around 8pm, did our usual nighttime routine, and made a list of our must-do attractions for our second day at Epcot tomorrow. I was in bed around 11pm & James followed around 1am.

    Things we missed: We were able to hit everything on our must-do list we wanted to today, except for Toy Story Mania a second time (we were too woozy after Slinky Dog Dash to do anything else!)

    Thoughts about the day:
    • It was such a relief to get the boarding group for Rise of the Resistance, since I had bobbled my first attempt that morning!
    • It was very exciting to be the Rebel Spy on Star Tours; that happened to me once before at Disneyland but I was alone with no one to share my happiness!
    • The long lines SUCK!
    • It was a shame that Slinky Dog Dash was so rough on us ~ "One and Done"!


    Steps: 6,422
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  23. #22
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Thursday, March 4, 2021 (75 degrees)
    Plan: Epcot; Dinner ADR @ Coral Reef

    Actual: We were up at 9am & out the door around 10:25am; we drove over to Epcot & asked about a medical overflow lot when we paid for parking; we were directed over to the left side and parked. We started for the entrance and I noticed all of the cars had disabled placards, so I double-checked with the CM that we wouldn't get a $250 ticket for not having a disabled placard or license plate! He said I was fine, as long as I didn't park in the spaces with blue lines (that was the next section forward), so I continued on.

    James had walked ahead and went over to get in the queue for Test Track once he was inside around 11am; I went through the temp & security checks, and then rented my ECV. I slowly made my way over to TT and called him once I'd arrived; he was queuing outside and told me to wait until he got up to the entrance like we did yesterday for Tower of Terror.

    Standby was listed as 60mins, but we were on in 35mins ~ so much fun! We next went briefly through the Epcot Experience, before heading on into World Showcase. We got in the short queue for the Mexico pavilion just after noon and waited for the Gran Fiesta Tour (standby = 5mins). I had a lot of trouble stepping down into the boat, and needed James to help me because I had nothing to steady myself.

    We enjoyed our ride with The Three Caballeros and then headed for lunch somewhere; James had wanted to eat at the Lotus Blossom Cafe, but it showed to be closed on the app, so we kept going.

    I ended up doing a mobile order at Regal Eagle Smokehouse BBQ around 12:45pm; I ordered the Hamburger with garlic toast as my side (I didn't know it was served ON garlic toast as well, or I would have ordered a different side!), James ordered the Power Greens Salad (Mixed Greens tossed with Fresh Citrus Fruit, Sunflower Seeds, Dried Cranberries, and Radishes in a Fresh Citrus Vinaigrette Dressing), and we shared a Diet Coke.





    Everything was very yummy and I made a trip to the new (to us) restrooms (now located on the opposite side of The American Adventure than they were in 2013); on the way back, I noticed they were about to start the next showing of The American Adventure (I thought it wasn't for another 15mins!), so I quickly got James, left the ECV parked outside, and we hurried in to see it! We were able to ride the escalator up with the flags above us and quickly found our seats inside ~ LOVE this show!!!

    We collected the ECV and headed back to Norway, where we got in line for Frozen Ever After around 2pm; standby was listed as 35mins, but we were on in 20mins. I again had a lot of trouble getting into the boat (at least on the outside, I can usually pull myself out, but the plexiglass above the row backs made everything very difficult for me).

    We next stopped to see Reflections of China and noticed that the Lotus Blossom Cafe was now open ~ oops!

    We spent a little more time checking out the Epcot Experience this time through



    and then went through Mousegears. Afterwards, we went into the exit for Spaceship Earth and rode around 3:45pm (standby = 15mins).


    ...to be continued
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  24. #23
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Thursday, March 4, 2021 (75 degrees) ~ Part II
    Plan: Epcot; Dinner ADR @ Coral Reef

    We checked in about 15mins early for our 4:35pm dinner ADR at The Coral Reef Restaurant, but had to wait for a tankside table; at least we were able to wait inside! After about 15mins, we were shown to our booth. Our server, Toan, came by to get our drink order (Diet Coke for me & iced tea for James) and then took our food order: I got the 10-oz Slow-roasted Grilled Rib-Eye with Loaded Mashed Potatoes with Bacon and James got the Grilled Vegetable Skewer with Impossible Kefta [Basmati Rice, Lentils, Smoked Eggplant Salad (Plant-based)]. Toan also brought us some yummy bread with our drinks!





    I was disappointed with my steak, as it was a bit too fatty for me, but I really liked the mashed potatoes! At the end, Toan brought me a Chocolate Wave (Warm Flourless Chocolate Cake, Raspberry Gelato) as a birthday dessert.



    I asked Toan about the old turtle who used to love sleeping in our little corner of the tank; he was still alive, but he hadn't seen him today ~ darn!














    We left around 5:30pm and headed for The Land, where we got in line for Soarin' (standby = 35mins, but we were on in 25mins); this time we were directed to the new concourse, but it took a lot longer to get on the ride going this way.

    We headed back to World Showcase, where I attempted to find the Starbucks mini "Been There" Epcot mug/ornament that my friend Juanita wanted, but they were sold out! Rats ~ I wasn't able to complete her set!

    We went to France to see Impressions de France one last time around 7pm; we had to wait a complete rotation, but then were enjoying the beautiful music & scenery again!

    We headed back to the front of the park and went into the exit for Spaceship Earth again, where we were able to get one last ride in before the park closed at 8pm.



    I returned the ECV, while James went out to get the car & then he picked me up closer to the entrance.

    We drove over to the Target by us around 9pm and bought bananas and mini-cupcakes and were back at the resort shortly thereafter.

    I paid our first of the month bills online, as well as doing our usual nighttime routine; I was in bed around midnight and James followed around 1am.

    Things we missed: We were able to hit everything on our must-do list we wanted to today, except for Mission: Space (me only, but I didn't feel up to waiting) & the Canada film a second time.

    Thoughts about the day:
    • So sad this was our last Disney theme park day!
    • Very glad to hit our favorites again!
    • Too bad we didn't get to see the old turtle again!


    Steps: 5,739
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  25. #24
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Friday, March 5, 2021 (79 degrees)
    Plan: International & Vineland Premium Outlets

    Actual: At some point yesterday, I had texted my friend Mike to see if he could meet up today instead of tomorrow at Citiwalk for dinner, as Saturday was forecasting stormy weather; he was available, so we decided to spend a few hours at Universal before meeting him at 6:30pm for dinner.

    We slept in and left around 1pm for the Wendy's by us; we got the 2 for $5 singles and Taco Salad Combo (small size this time) again, along with a free chocolate Junior Frosty with my key tag. We ate and then dropped off the leftovers at the condo before heading to Universal.

    We asked at the parking booth about parking options for me, and they put a blue courtesy slip under our wiper and gave us directions to get to the disabled section (parking is a dollar more here than either Disney or Sea World!). We parked in the southern garage (completely new to us) in Cat in the Hat 457 around 2pm.

    We went through temp & security checks (standard scanner with manual bag check), and James got pulled aside for the metal clasps of his suspenders. We walked through Citiwalk and turned right to Universal Studios, where the entrance lines were fairly short at this hour. We rented a wheelchair ($3 more than Disney!), since we only needed it for a short time. The employee also exchanged our vouchers for physical paper tickets, which are a lot smaller to carry in our wallets every day!

    We then went to It's a Wrap, the store by the exit that has marked-down merchandise, since we were right next to it. We ended up getting a long-sleeve Hogwarts Alumni shirt for James ($11 off!).

    We next crossed over to Guest Services, so I could pick up a hard copy of their Guide for Rider Safety & Accessibility (it's over 50 pages long, so I definitely didn't want to print one out at home!). The employee was very nice and asked me a few questions, which I had trouble hearing due to our masks, the plexiglass, and the loud conversation going on a few feet away between another employee & guest! The next thing I know she is giving us an Attractions Assistance Pass, similar to those they use at Disney, where we can get return times and use alternative entrances for many attractions ~ very nice! She also gave me a birthday button.

    I checked wait times on their app, which were all pretty long, and we went to Shrek 4-D just before 3pm; they directed us to the left in the queue outside the building, parts of which were in the hot sun so we stopped about 6 feet from the end to stay in the shade. We were confused to see some guests were directed from the main queue into the theater door back behind us ~ not sure why. After several minutes, we were let into the preshow area and were the first ones there; we saw the complete preshow & then asked to sit in the stationary seats in the front row. The theater used to be a lot bigger and the stationary seats were just a few to the left in the front row; now the entire front row is just regular chairs. We wondered if they have 2 theaters now? The did totally social-distance the guests really well, every-other-row and only 4 seats together.

    The show was fun as always, and we were done around 3:30pm. We then hurried over to see the Universal Horror Make-up Show at 3:45pm, wheeled right into the middle section, and sat in the nearby seats; they also had groups socially-distanced every other row and in groups of 4. We really love this show; its always very funny and hasn't changed too much in 8 years! The only thing is that they keep their distance as much as they can from the "volunteer" they bring up on stage and wear a face guard with them too. It was also a surprise to see Beetlejuice greeting guests from the stage!



    There was a 4:15pm show for The Bourne Stuntacular nearby, but it was full when we got there (in the old days, you could practically walk right in to see The Terminator show without a long wait in a queue), so we decided to go to Despicable Me Minion Mayhem instead. When I asked the Attractions Attendant at the entrance about sitting in the stationary seats, he took us through the exit and we got in the very next show! We are now more familiar with the Minion characters than we were 8 years ago, so it was easier to follow the plot. The stationary seating is in the front, which really makes it too close for us, but we definitely don't want to be bounced around in the regular seating!

    We headed towards the back of the park and were let in to the alternate entrance for Fast & Furious Supercharged; this replaced the Disaster! attraction we were such huge fans of. The line moved quickly and we were done within 20mins. They had plexiglass between the rows and you didn't have to share your row like you used to, so it was a lot easier to see things during the attraction. It was fun!

    We next wheeled on towards The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley; there were a LOT of people in the area and we totally missed the entrance, so no frozen butterbeer for me today!

    We continued on around the lagoon and James asked (the first of about 5 times this trip) about MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack; I had to remind him that it totally nauseates me, but he was free to try it if he wanted to! He decided no, and we headed over to the E.T. Adventure around 5:15pm; we stayed to the right and bypassed people standing in the left 2 sections (all were open)! They put us through to the alternative entrance and we were soon gliding over the treetops. The main difference here is that you don't give your name at the beginning of the queue that gets scanned onto a little card so E.T. can personally "thank you" at the end of the attraction! They also had plexiglass & other social-distancing markers in place.

    We next went to Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon; there was hardly anyone there so we got on fairly quickly. Its a cute little theme with another moving theater, and we again asked to sit where there was little movement to us!

    It was now almost 6pm, so we just started working our way back towards the exit, stopping at the main Universal Studios store along the way; around 6:15pm, I received a text from Mike that he had just parked and was on his way, so we headed towards Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville to meet up.



    James checked us in and our table was ready about 6:25pm; Mike arrived a few minutes thereafter ~ it was so great to see him again!



    We were seated and our server, Roy, came over to take our drink order (Coke Zero for me & iced tea for James; I don't remember if Mike got water or a soda); I was delighted that Roy had spent time in the Sacramento area and was familiar with many landmarks and streets! Indeed a small world

    I ordered the Cheddar BBQ Burger (cheddar cheese & applewood smoked bacon on a brioche bun), James order the Chicken & Shrimp Teriyaki Bowl (Chicken and shrimp sauteed with grilled pineapple, broccoli, peppers and onions, tossed in a pineapple teriyaki glaze served over white rice), and I remember that Mike ordered his favorite Cheeseburger in Paradise (American cheese, lettuce, sliced tomato, pickles, paradise island sauce, brioche bun); the food was all very good and we had a very nice 2-hour visit!









    We settled our bills and headed out of Citiwalk together; I left the wheelchair at the moving sidewalks, and we continued on until we got to their hub. We said our goodbyes and went to our respective vehicles in our respective parking garages.

    We got back to the condo just after 9pm, did our usual routine, and went to bed at some point.

    Things we missed: Lots of things, but we only had 4 hours and still have 2 more days to visit; however, I really missed getting my first frozen Butterbeer!!!

    Thoughts about the day:
    • A great visit with Mike!
    • Chatting with our server Roy about places he remembered about the Sacramento area; it has been years for him, but his memory was remarkable!
    • Getting the unexpected Attractions Assistance Pass!


    Steps: 5,684



    Saturday, March 6, 2021 (70 degrees)
    Plan: Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure; Dinner ADR @ Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville (Citiwalk)

    Actual: Since today was supposed to be stormy (which never really materialized, it went to the south and north of us instead) and we'd switched today's plans with yesterday's, we decided to just hang out at the condo all day. I got up around 10am and I worked on laundry once James got up around 11am. We ate leftovers and I watched Indiana Jones movies on Paramount TV while starting our packing, and James watched TV and videos on the notebook.

    I was in bed around 10:30pm and James followed around midnight.

    Thoughts about the day:
    • A full day of relaxation (except for the chores of laundry & packing!) was greatly needed by now!


    Steps: No pedometer
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



  26. #25
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Sunday, March 7, 2021 (68 degrees)
    Plan: Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure; Bubba Gump's (Citiwalk)

    Actual: We were up at 9am and out the door around 10:25am, heading over to Universal again. We paid for parking, got the little blue courtesy slip under the wiper, and this time parked in Spiderman 555.

    We did the usual temp & security checks, and again turned right to go to Universal Studios; after finally getting through the turnstile (where it did NOT accept my finger scan), we went to rent an ECV around 11:15am. They only had the ones with a canopy left, which are $20 more; however, the very nice employee, who was from Modesto (a town about 70miles south of us) gave us one at the no-canopy price of $55 ($5 more than Disney, but no deposit required; the with-canopy ones are $75!!!) because she said it wasn't fair to us to have to pay for something we didn't want (the canopy) just because they were out of them! So true; we were very thankful!

    We checked wait times and headed to the Animal Actors on Location show at 11:30am; they sat us in the front row and we had a great view of everything. They again social-distance the rows and parties, and no longer have a volunteer (usually a child) sit on a chair onstage for one of the bits involving a dog knowing what items of clothing the volunteer is thinking of; still a cute show, but I wish they had more kitties!







    We got a return time for the 1pm showing of The Bourne Stuntacular (1:05pm at 12:05pm), and then got in the long line for Mel's Drive-In; it took until 12:30pm just to get a table! They've added a lot more seating than they had 8 years ago, but were still social-distancing the tables.

    While we were in line, I was trying to get the dining mobile order setup on the app, but the connection was slow & I still hadn't gotten anywhere by the time we were seated! I asked how I could place an order, so they took me to a station to place and pay for it: a hamburger & fries for me, a grilled chicken salad for James, and we shared a one-time Cherry Vanilla Coke Zero from the Freestyle machine.

    The food came out 20mins later and we were very hungry by then! However, we ended up missing our return time for the 1pm Bourne show, so we were added to the queue for the 1:45pm show instead. I couldn't take the ECV into the queue, so I needed to transfer to a wheelchair first; however, they were out of them for quite a while! They had me waiting at the entrance for probably 15mins, and then finally Chris went over to the Minions attraction to snag one from them.

    They had everyone spaced out within the indoor queue and then they didn't have a preshow like they used to for Terminator so people wouldn't clump together. We had great seats in the middle of the theater and the actors don't run through the audience like they did in the other show either, so we didn't worry about tripping anyone; the show was really well-done and we liked it a lot!

    We next headed back to Diagon Alley, where we got a return time for the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade Station (3:15pm @ 2:30pm; standby = 70mins); we then found the land entrance and James got in the very long line to get me a frozen butterbeer at The Hopping Pot while I found a spot in the shade to wait for him.





    OMG ~ I love that drink SO MUCH, despite the many brain freezes it gives me!!!

    We returned to King's Cross Station around 3:20pm and got in the alternative queue; it took about 20mins to get onto the ride itself. The Attendants stored my ECV while we sat in a compartment; I'm glad we had the compartment all to ourselves, or it could get pretty cramped in there. Wow ~ what fun & great special effects of the scenery passing by outside the window and the people out in the corridor! We really enjoyed it, but it is crazy to have such long waits for a short train ride!

    Hogsmeade was also crazy busy (well, it is a Sunday), so we headed out towards the front of the park. We got a return time for The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride (4:15pm @ 5pm; standby = 30mins) and then did a little shopping in the surrounding stores. James bought an eyeglass lanyard for me at The Mulberry Street Store because mine had torn,




    and then we went back to the ride around 4:15pm. We went through the alternative entrance so we could take the elevator & I could use the modified ride vehicle; it was supposed to be easier to board, but still had yucky leg room for me!

    The wait times were still huge for everything, so we just made our way towards the exit; we looked through the Trading Company Store (main Universal store in Islands of Adventure), where I bought a Hogwarts shirt, and we also looked through the clearance store by the exit turnstiles.

    I returned the ECV around 5pm and we headed over to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant & Market, where I used my Landry's Select Club card to request priority seating. We sat down on a ledge nearby until they called us back about 15mins later.

    They also were practicing social distancing with the tables, so that was nice too.



    Our server, Mikey, took our drink order: Diet Pepsi for me and iced tea for James; we also ordered the Mama Gump's Garlic Bread Basket for an appetizer. When Mikey came back with our drinks, we ordered: Garlic-style Shrimper's Net Catch (Peel 'n' Eat Shrimp steamed in Beer) for me and the Shrimp Strawberry Salad (Mixed Greens, Strawberries, Apples, Raspberry Vinaigrette, Feta Cheese, Glazed Pecans) for James. Everything was very tasty!





    We settled our bill and headed for our car just before 6:30pm. Google Maps showed horrible traffic in the I-4 / 192 / Sherberth Road area, which is where we were headed, so we cut through Disney property to come into the back way of our resort near the Animal Kingdom; they had just closed at 7pm so it took a REALLY long time to make the light onto Sherberth Road and inch our way to the resort's back entrance. We had originally planned to stop at Walmart, but decided to skip the rest of the traffic jam down to 192; we were back at our condo around 7:15pm.

    We did our usual nighttime routine and made a list of our must-do attractions for our last day at Universal tomorrow. I was in bed around 10:30pm and James followed around midnight.

    Things we missed: Escape from Gringotts (new to us), Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure (new to us), Revenge of the Mummy (me only, too intense for James), Reign of Kong (new to us), & Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (also me only, too intense for James).

    Thoughts about the day:
    • We truly appreciated the effort by the ECV attendant, who didn't charge us for a canopied ECV when we didn't want one (although it did help shade me sometimes from the hot sun); it would be nice if the canopies were removable by the staff if not needed!
    • It's hard to believe they are only 35% capacity as well, as the parks were extremely crowded!
    • Hooray for frozen butterbeer!


    Steps: 5,166
    Pam
    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2021



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