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Old 04-15-2012, 05:38 PM   #1
FrankPhillips
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Default Woooo Hoooo! BLT Spring Break Trip Report with PHOTOS!

Phillips BLT Spring Break 2012 Trip Report
With over 100 Photos!


Primary Cast: Me (Dad), DW, DS15, DS’s friend15, DD13, DD6
Extended Cast: DMIL, DSIL, DBIL, Neice17…that makes 10 of us!
My cameras: Canon G1X (large sensor compact), Canon 5DMkII (full frame DSLR), Sony TX10 (waterproof), iPhone 4s, and Canon M41 camcorder


This was our 3rd trip to BLT as BLT owners (March ’10 and November ’10 previously). Our last trip to Disney was over New Year’s, but to BCV, (see that trip report at http://www.mouseowners.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=60809 ) so it had been only 3½ months since our last trip. Since I’m kind of cheap (when it makes sense) and since we had plenty of time, I determined to drive from central Alabama down to Orlando, despite protests from wife and kids about the 10 to 11 hour drive. We spent the night in Lake City (Florida) at the Holiday Inn (stayed there in 2005 too) and it was very nice – and a good way to break up the drive. When we were in south Georgia, we stopped for a break and I noticed a cloud formation I had never seen before:



There were no storms in the area, but being from tornado country I thought this looked significant….turned out to be nothing. I love the Holiday Inn at Lake City – I think it must have been (in a previous life) an Embassy Suites because of the huge central atrium. It’s nice, but what a waste of square footage.



So we busted it out of bed the next morning (St Patrick’s Day) to book it down to WDW, a 3 hour drive from Lake City, so that we could request the room we wanted and DW was prepared to wait for it…the view is VERY important to her. It’s always a thrill – no matter how many times you’ve seen it – to see the Magic Kingdom sign…I’ll never get tired of seeing this.



So….we arrived at the Contemporary to check in around 10:30, and it was not very busy.



We formally checked in, requesting a high floor with a view facing Epcot, and knew that it would take quite a while, but we were willing to wait. We turned the two boys loose to go have fun at the MK while I (and the girls) took a loop through BLT and a walk on the breezeway from the Contemporary to BLT before heading to MK.



We entered the Contemporary on the 4th floor and saw the familiar gift shop…



…then we boarded the Monorail and made the loop to the MK. On the way, I grabbed this shot of the sitework being done to prepare for construction of the Grand Floridian DVC property.



We entered the MK and it’s always a thrill to see the Castle from Main Street – I’ll never get tired of seeing this either:



We had seen reports on MouseOwners that the Great Goofini and the new Dumbo were on a soft opening, so we couldn’t resist going there first. Here is a shot of the new (what used to be Toontown) Train Station at Storybook Circus:



…and Goofy’s rocket-stunt-gone-wrong in the queue:



...to be continued in upcoming thread...
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:53 PM   #2
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Phillips Trip Report, continued...

After riding the Great Goofini (Barnstormer) for the “first” time, we hit the Dumbo queue. From that line you have fantastic view of the Goofini. Here’s a shot where the riders are going “through” the sign…this used to be the section just before going through the chicken house of the Barnstormer:



After riding Goofini and Dumbo, we headed over to catch Philharmagic, and then on to Columbia Harbor House for lunch. The selection there is amazing…you can have good quality cuisine – like the roasted salmon (shown on the right), or fried who-knows-what shown on the left. I ate some of the who-knows-what and it was damn good.



As we were finishing up our lunch at Columbia Harbor House, seated next to a window with a view of the Haunted Mansion, we noticed that the HM was closed as they were turning away guests for some reason. We assumed that there was a mechanical breakdown until we saw this:



I have obscured the faces of the guests in order to protect their identities (because I wouldn’t want some guy in the CHH shooting pictures of me on a stretcher coming out of the HM if it had been me), but she looked okay. Maybe it was too scary for her, or maybe it was the heat (and yes, it was already hot in mid-March).

Then I saw that the riverboat was approaching, so I couldn’t resist getting a nice shot of it:



No pictures for the next few events, but DD13 and I went to catch the HM as soon as it opened after the stretcher lady was okay and evacuated, then we met DW and DD6 back outside of the Columbia Harbor House and went to see the Hall of Presidents, which (amazingly) after 8 trips since 2004 we had never seen.

BEGIN RANT: With apologies to my liberal friends here on MouseOwners, I’m no fan of our current President, but I certainly would NOT “boo” or “hiss” during his presentation, nor would I “cheer” for Presidents that I like – I have more respect for the office than that. Unfortunately, there was a crowd of individuals behind us who particularly liked FDR, JFK, Clinton, and Obama (cheering and clapping) and particularly disliked Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II (jeers and booing), and I was particularly offended by that in such a place where all U.S. Presidents were being honored as parts of our history. This was not a football or hockey game. Shame on them, and shame on anyone who would have cheered or jeered the other Presidents. Like them or not, they were all our Presidents. I didn’t vote for Clinton (either time), but I would love to go play golf with him because he seems like a really fun guy, and though it’s very self-righteous for me to say so, I would never publicly boo him or any other President under any circumstances, unlike those losers behind us were doing to some Presidents. END RANT

After we exited Hall of Presidents they were just about to start the parade route through Liberty Square, and we just happened to be standing in a very choice spot, so we stayed there to watch. It’s been a long time since I’ve actually stopped to watch an entire parade go by, and it really is something to see. For little kids it’s really cool because there are so many characters who get so close to them and even interact with some of the kids. Unfortunately for this Trip Report, I didn’t get any photos because I was too busy getting a video of the whole thing. It was cool because my DD13 was wearing a “happy birthday” button and Ariel saw that while she went by on her float and yelled “Happy Birthday!” to DD, as did another character that I can’t remember at the moment. Below is not a “camera” photo – it’s a screen grab from the video I shot…HD video is very useful because you can get a 2 megapixel photo from any given frame as long as you’re shooting 1080p (doesn’t work as well for 1080i).



So…..when the parade was over, we crossed the park to ride the TTA PeopeMover (my family calls it the “Blue Line”) because that’s a must-do for us each time we’re in the MK. While on the TTA they texted DW to let her know the room was ready, so we left the park and headed back to BLT. Once the room passed inspection (don’t get me started…) I hopped in the car to go down to Publix and stock up while the girls went to Community Hall in BLT for some crafts. We got room #7944, which is a dedicated 2BR on the 9th floor all the way down at the very end with a view of the lake, dock, Wilderness Lodge, Epcot, etc. I will post photos of that view later in this report.

By the time I got back with the groceries it was time for marshmallow roasting on the beach, so the whole family went down there to participate. Disney has hired these “camp counselor” types to lead those activities (including the outdoor movie, which was Enchanted that night) and they’re quite good at their job – very kind and clean cut, with wonderful personalities and excellent ability to interact pleasantly with guests.

After dinner (don’t remember where we ate) the girls and I went for a swim – they love the BLT pool at night. Finally, we headed up to Top of the World to watch the fireworks, then off to bed. At this point, there were only 6 of us (out of 10) there, as the others would be coming down over the next two days, and they’d be staying in a Studio two doors down from our 2BR.

END OF DAY 1

We rose early the next day to bust it on over to Epcot for EMH, but we missed rope drop by about 7 minutes. Anyhoo, I took the girls to Test Track while DW braved the crowds to go pick up FPs for Soarin’, then she got into the single rider line at TT. After that, we walked over to Spaceship Earth and rode (DD6 loves SE, and like everyone else, calls it the golf ball). Then we rode Nemo (and I got a great short video of the gulls doing the “Mine Mine Mine” routine), and finally were ready to use our FPs at Soarin’. I never get tired of that attraction. This time, I planned ahead and brought in a full frame camcorder with a wide angle lens and videoed the whole thing in HD1080p for viewing later when I need a Soarin’ fix.

After Soarin’ it had started getting hot, so we took a quick break to sample the various flavors of Coca-Cola across the globe at the Coke Cool Spot. If you’ve never been in there, you really should go because you get little mini-cups to try the different flavors – all free. Too bad they were out of the Chinese flavor this time – they must have had a bad watermelon crop.



We’re getting hungry by now, so we decided to make the trek through World Showcase to find something to eat. On the way, we passed this topiary of Pan and Hook (it was Flower & Garden season at Epcot), and this sand sculpture:





We passed by England…



…on the way to France...



…where we found a new treasure: the Patisserie. DW had heard about it and wanted to visit on our last trip (over New Years), but it was too crowded at that time. Now it wasn’t, and we immediately started drooling when we saw what was inside….WOW. If you’ve never eaten there, it’s a must-do. And it’s incredibly affordable! For example, a croissant with ham and melted brie for $3.25. You can’t beat that with a stick. I wish I had some foodporn to show you, but at the time I was more interested in eating it than photographing it.

STAY TUNED: I have an “Oh, No They DIDN’T…” story about the Patisserie to relay later in the trip report. Yes, I am going to “out” some really rude guests by showing their picture and telling what they did. You don’t want to miss that.


...Trip Report to be continued in a later thread...
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:01 PM   #3
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Phillips Trip Report, continued...

After finishing a fabulous lunch at the Patisserie – complimented by frozen citron martinis nearby – we strolled on through World Showcase, where we passed by Lightning McQueen and Mater topiaries at the Japan pavilion:



…and I never can resist shots like this:



In Italy we saw these Lady & Tramp topiaries, and I got an awesome shot of St Mark’s glowing in the midday sun:





It was a gorgeous day to be at Epcot…



…and here are some Dwarf topiaries:



We continued our tour around World Showcase, stopping in Norway to ride “Maelstrom”, which I have never bothered to see. Not bad…we ended up riding it again later in the trip. After Norway we stopped at Mexico to get a photo with Donald… here’s me and my favorite duck:



After the photo, we went into the Mexico pavilion and rode the Gran Fiesta boat ride. We saw the old version of this ride back in 2004, but I had not seen this new one yet – I liked it…pretty entertaining, especially since I speak Spanish. Portraits of the Three Caballeros welcome you to the ride…





I don’t remember when we got them, but we had more FPs for Soarin’ so we hit that on the way out of Epcot, then took the MR back to BLT.


...to be continued in later threads...
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:16 PM   #4
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Looking forward to seeing more pics! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:21 PM   #5
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What a fabulous TR! Your camera shots are beautiful - very clear. I can't wait to hear more!
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:38 PM   #6
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I'm enjoying your TR report so far. Thanks for sharing.

And with regards to your experience at the HoP, I have experienced the same thing on more than one occasion, sometimes when Clinton and Obama are being booed, sometimes when GW Bush is being booed. I feel the same way you do. I don't agree with every president, but I respect the presidency. And the HoP is not the place to voice your disapproval with any administration, current or former.
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B'rer Karen View Post
And with regards to your experience at the HoP, I have experienced the same thing on more than one occasion, sometimes when Clinton and Obama are being booed, sometimes when GW Bush is being booed. I feel the same way you do. I don't agree with every president, but I respect the presidency. And the HoP is not the place to voice your disapproval with any administration, current or former.

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Old 04-15-2012, 06:47 PM   #8
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Great start, keep going......
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:51 PM   #9
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Nice photos!
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:00 PM   #10
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Subscribed...
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