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Old 11-18-2014, 10:27 PM   #1
FrankPhillips
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Default FRANK's MASSIVE PHOTO TRIP REPORT!

Hi, fellow Mouse Owners! It’s time for yet another photo-filled Trip Report from (yet another) visit to Bay Lake Tower! I expect to post the most-ever amount of pictures this time – a total of over 400 photos!

To set the stage, my trip was Nov 6th (evening) through Nov 11th (leaving on Veterans’ Day)…in a 2BR at BLT. We visited all parks except for the lamest one (cough….AK…cough). The weather was good, but not great. We went to California Grill two times (which is about average for us). I developed a new appreciation for Food & Wine Festival. And each trip I try to do something that I’ve never done before at Disney…so hopefully by the end of this report I will come up with a few items to fit that category (such as riding 7DMT three times…but I’m still not “that guy” at Monsters Laugh Floor).

Cast: Me, DW, DD9, DD15, and DD15’s friend…in a 2BR lake view villa at BLT (DS is in college now and on a different schedule)

For you camera buffs out there (DVC Mike, Fmer55, Belle315, lisathomps, meeskamooska, Tammy, SlimJim, TomAndRobin, coastak, mattandben, and Dirk, among others who have contacted me on this subject) here is a list of what I took this time:

• Nikon D600 and D7100 bodies (with battery grips and sling straps)
• Tamron 24-70/2.8VC
• Tamron 70-200/2.8VC
• Tamron 70-300/4~5.6VC
• Nikon 16-35/4VR
• Nikon 20/2.8 and Nikon 50/1.8 (but I didn’t use them on this trip)
• Sony a5000 with 16-50PZ (for video and grab shots…surprisingly high quality)
• Sony CX-7 Infrared HD camcorder (for video in near-dark conditions)
• Nikon AW-120 waterproof camera
• PivotHead HD video glasses (for rides and just walking around)
• iPhones & iPads

CAMERA GEEK SIDE TRIP: I found that the combination of the D600 with the 24-70/2.8VC was the most versatile of my gear, but when I mounted the awesome 70-200/2.8VC I think I got the highest quality shots. My ideal was to have the D600 with the 24-70 and the D7100 with the 70-200 because I could cover such an amazingly wide range with those (24mm to 350mm, and all at f/2.8), but that tends to get pretty heavy. In retrospect, it was worth it to carry the extra weight. I’ve experimented with smaller, light-weight cameras but I’ve just never gotten the quality I want from them. If you ask me, go ahead and lug the heavy gear because the super high-quality shots you’ll get from the bulky equipment will preserve your memories better than marginal gear.

…but for those of you who do not care about camera equipment, the point is that there are 400+ pictures in this report! I hope this will provide the “Disney Fix” for those of you who don’t make it there as often as you want to…….

So, to get the trip started….we took the girls out of school, leaving BHM on a Thursday evening for a direct flight to MCO (total flight time is about 1 hour). They have just recently opened a new concourse at the Birmingham airport, and while the other two concourses have wall exhibits celebrating the Civil Rights history of BHM, this third one has a really cool “Living Wall”:



It’s a complete wall of hydroponic “art”…very refreshing to see, and it’s the largest “green wall” of any airport in America. DW’s garden club recently invited the artist to tell them all about it, and it’s fascinating. No dirt, just a drip irrigation system behind the wall. If you want to read more, see http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/in...abamas_fr.html

After getting settled in the villa, we walked to the MK ticket office to activate our APs, and then back to Contempo Café to grab a bite, then back to BLT to see the North Lake View, which we’ve never had before.















Unfortunately, this first night would NOT be a good night due to Balcony Smokers and a 1:00AM defective smoke alarm.

If you’ve ever read one of my older trip reports, you’ll know that I do everything I can to bust balcony smokers, especially if they’re smoking a cigar. But this problem seems to get worse and worse. I suffered “balcony smoke” on 4 of our 5 nights there, each time attempting to ID the unit it was coming from and then calling security about it. BLT management needs to get MUCH more aggressive in dealing with this, in my opinion.

Once we were all asleep, we were rudely awakened by the screeching sound of the smoke alarm at close to 1:00 AM. I went out into the hall to see what was going on, but no one else’s alarm was sounding….just ours. We called downstairs and after close to 15 minutes of enduring the loud-as-hell most irritating sound imaginable, someone from “engineering” shows up. He tested all three alarms, ID’d the one that was bad, and then replaced it. You know how your own home smoke alarm will “chirp” when the battery is going dead? He told me that Florida hotel code requires that smoke alarms go full-blast when the backup battery is going dead…go figure. Next time, I will just unplug the dang thing myself, then call them in the morning.

Last edited by FrankPhillips; 08-28-2015 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 11-18-2014, 10:30 PM   #2
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As I said, we were on the north tower facing the lake, but not the side we normally like, so we requested to move the next day, and they accommodated us on that request. Before I packed everything up, I got these shots of the view:













After getting everything put away with Bell Services for the room swap later, I headed over the MK to catch up with the girls. It’s great to have such a short walk from BLT to the MK.

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Old 11-18-2014, 10:36 PM   #4
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I already do.........
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Old 11-18-2014, 10:37 PM   #5
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FIRST MORNING AT THE MAGIC KINGDOM, CONTINUED…



We ate lunch at one of our favorite places, the Columbia Harbor House:



…we always like to sit near a window so that we can see what’s going on outside:





After lunch I wandered around New Fantasyland for a while, waiting for our 7DMT fastpass time to come.










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Old 11-18-2014, 10:42 PM   #7
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When you exit the 7DMT queue, you can see the dwarves’ cottage on your right…and the ride actually stops on the other side of the cottage to give you a special surprise the first time you ride it…I will have a photo of that much later in this report.



Next, we trekked over to Adventureland…





Have you ever looked at the rock at the base of the PoC sign? This is what it looks like:





And here is a spot that is reserved exclusively for people who shoot Nikon equipment...please refrain from using this spot if you shoot Canon or Sony:



Here’s something you may have never noticed before…palm trees in Adventureland, but they couldn’t hide the contrasting pine trees towering over Frontierland:


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Old 11-18-2014, 10:46 PM   #9
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THE JINGLE CRUISE, CONTINUED…







…and here is Trader Sam’s Christmas Sale; the sign reads “Get a HEAD Start on your Holiday Shopping with Trader Sam-ta! Hurry soon! Inventory is SHRINKING!”



Notice the jungle themed Santa hats the CMs are wearing:



Here are a few random photos before we “head” over to the Carousel of Progress…








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Old 11-18-2014, 10:51 PM   #10
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