eiblehs

Expedition Everest Enthusiast
Joined
May 31, 2017
Hello, everyone! My name is Shelbie and this is my first Disney trip report. I'm a longtime fan of The Dis, but I'm fairly new to the Disboards. Last summer, I ventured back to the happiest place on Earth for the first time in 16 years. I had dreamed about going back one day. Well, after years of dreaming, wishing, and hoping... My vacation was finally booked!

I only had the privilege of visiting Walt Disney World once as a child, but that trip still holds a special place in my heart. It was our first major family vacation, and even my grandmother got to come with us. We stayed at Coronado Springs and visited all four Disney parks. We even had plans to end our vacation with a trip to Universal Studios, but my dad got food poisoning the morning we were supposed to go. As the wonderful child that I was, I chose to stay behind in the hotel and take care of him while the rest of my family went to Universal. Honestly, I was only seven and I cried during "It's Tough to be a Bug" AND Haunted Mansion... Universal Studios was not the place for me. I'm sure my older brother appreciated that I wasn't there to be a crybaby on Jaws. LOL!


Here I am with Chip and Dale in November 2001.
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Here we are again in August 2017.

I asked Chip and Dale, "The last time I met you was 16 years ago. How come I am the only one who has aged?" They got a kick out of that. They were definitely my favorite character experience from this trip! :lovestruc

I was really itching to go back to Walt Disney World that I almost booked a solo trip. I grew tired of waiting on friends and family to agree to go with me. Nobody was able to make the financial commitment. But I had worked hard for a Disney vacation and my patience was thin. I supported myself through college, I have a career--I deserved a Disney vacation, dang it! ;) Finally, my boyfriend agreed to go with me. (Seriously, I had the solo trip in my cart ready to book! I was tired of waiting!) My boyfriend, Bradley, had never been to Walt Disney World (or even on a plane for that matter). He was nowhere obsessed like me, but I knew once he'd get there that he'd feel the magic. So, the trip was booked and I had to wait 212 days. I had already waited 16 years, but those 212 days felt like eternity.

I am a planner. My career revolves around planning. Believe me when I say that I had a three-page digital itinerary for our trip ready the same week I booked it. I tried to involve Bradley, but he was just along for the ride. (Opposites attract?) I would show him menus and ask, "Would you rather eat here or there?" His response: "You pick." :sad2:
(Spoiler alert: This is not the case with our upcoming trip. Yay! He has been converted!)

As time got closer, the ADRs were booked, the Fastpasses were scheduled, and we were ready to go! Our travel dates were from July 30 through August 4, 2017. I landed the Summer Quick Service Dining Plan when I booked through Disney, so that meant one free quick service meal per person per night of our stay. This ended up saving us quite a bit of money!

On our arrival day, we would land in Orlando just in time for our 3 p.m. check-in at Pop Century. Then, we'd head to Magic Kingdom for a half-day in the park!

Stay tuned... :earsboy::earsgirl:
 
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eiblehs

Expedition Everest Enthusiast
Joined
May 31, 2017
Arrival Day & Magic Kingdom

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Here we are boarded on our first flight at 7:00 in the morning! (I originally booked a 6:00 a.m. flight, but American Airlines changed it a couple months prior to our trip... Oh well, it gave us a little extra time to sleep in!) This was also Bradley's first time flying! He handled it like a champ by sleeping nearly the entire time. Lol! We flew out of Little Rock, Arkansas and then had a connecting flight in Charlotte, North Carolina. We landed in Orlando around 2:00 p.m. At this point, the weather was pretty yucky. The sky was gray and the rain did not stop. Our flight attendant jokingly told me, "Looks like no Disney for you tonight!" Little did she know that even with all of the rain, we were about to have an amazing time! I had to remind myself that a rainy day in Disney is better than a sunny day anywhere else.

Luckily, I checked-in online for Pop Century before we left, and was able to skip the front desk entirely! They texted me my room number and as soon as we got off the Magical Express bus, we headed straight for our room. I put in a room request five months before our trip for a room with a king size bed. I also requested that we get a newly renovated room. Both wishes came true! Our room was in the 90s section--perfect for us 90s kids. ;) The room was very nice! I loved the sliding door separating the room from the bathroom. That made getting ready in the morning so easy while Bradley slept. Unfortunately, by day 3, it felt like walking a million miles to get to-and-from the bus stop from the 90s section. Lol!
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We spent very little time freshening up before heading to the Magic Kingdom! I had our FastPasses booked for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Not knowing what time we'd actually get to the parks, I planned them all for pretty late in the evening just in case. So we actually had almost four hours in the park before our first FastPass. I checked the MyDisneyExperience app as we were going through security and saw that the Jungle Cruise had only a 5 minute wait, so we headed straight there!

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I checked the Weather Channel app religiously before our trip and came to terms that we were going to get rained on every single day. We were in the park maybe five minutes before we had to put on our ponchos. (Pro tip: We bought our ponchos ahead of time from Dollar Tree. Don't spend $10 in the parks on a garbage bag with a hood. Just don't.)

Jungle Cruise was awesome and now it was time for an early dinner. I planned for us to enjoy our first free quick service meal at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe. The unlimited guacamole summoned me. I couldn't pass it up. I ordered the fajita platter and Bradley chose the beef burrito. Now, we weren't starving by any means, but I usually have a large appetite. I couldn't finish my fajita platter--there was so much food! It was pretty yummy! Though, it's just your average Tex-Mex restaurant. The toppings bar is what makes it a must-do if you're into this kind of food. Bradley is a very picky eater; he's a meat, cheese, potato, and bread kind of guy. Pecos Bill was probably his least favorite dining experience from the trip. (He's already asked that we not go back for our upcoming trip.) I enjoyed it, but that's because I like just about everything!

After our meal, we decided to walk around a bit and take pictures of the castle.
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It's just so beautiful!

We then rode the People Mover, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, and the Astro Orbiter in Tomorrowland before our first FastPass. All three rides were walk-ons. I'm not sure if it was the rain keeping people out of the park, but we didn't have a single wait time longer than 5 minutes the entire evening. I intentionally timed our Big Thunder Mountain during Happily Ever After and let me just say--Wow!!! That firework show is already amazing on its own, but getting to ride BTM while watching the fireworks above your head... There's nothing like it! We ended our night with our final FastPass on Splash Mountain. I didn't realize how long that ride was! Since my first trip to WDW was in November, I had never ridden Splash Mountain before. It is definitely worth the hype! Although the rain had lightened up, we just kept our ponchos on for the ride. Why not? ;)

Overall, we had a great evening at the Magic Kingdom. I am glad that I planned essentially two days in the park because there is just so much to do, see, ride, and eat! One day is definitely not enough. We headed back to our hotel to unpack (finally) and rest up before day 2 in Animal Kingdom!

Stay tuned... :simba:
 
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eiblehs

Expedition Everest Enthusiast
Joined
May 31, 2017
Day 2: Animal Kingdom

Let me just start by saying that this day was my favorite day of our trip! Although it was late July in Florida, the weather was perfect. We were still dealing with rain showers throughout the day but the temperature stayed around 75 degrees. The wait times were low (with the exception of FOP... duh) and it wasn't very crowded. It was a really great start to our vacation!

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We had Early Magic Hours from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. but didn't make it to the park until about 8:30 a.m. We had FastPasses sprinkled throughout the day for Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, and Flight of Passage. When we got to the park, we headed straight to Dinoland USA. Our first ride of the day was on Dinosaur and it was a walk-on. Our seats were even right at the front of the ride vehicle. Let me just say, I am not a fan of being scared. I don't watch scary movies, I don't do haunted houses, none of it. This ride was so terrifying! I had fun and I will ride it again in the future, but my legs were shaking by the end of the ride. :eek:

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We then rode Primeval Whirl because it had like a 5 minute wait. Ouch! This ride was rough. It was fun, but never again. :confused3 After feeling like I just got whiplash, we decided to walk it off. We did a bit of sightseeing around the park and some shopping. It was finally time for our first FastPass: Expedition Everest. Oh my gosh! This ride was so, so, so fun! We loved it. We loved it so much that when we got off, we went to the single riders line because it had a 5 minute wait.

Lunch time! Let me tell you, you could smell Flame Tree Barbecue before you even got to the restaurant. We had already planned to eat here for lunch, and I am so glad we did. We used our free quick service meal and both ordered the ribs, chicken, and pulled pork platter. This was one of our favorite meals from the trip! I highly recommend eating here if you're a fan of barbecue.

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Guys, this was A LOT of food! My boyfriend and I like to eat; we both have big appetites and didn't eat breakfast. We couldn't clean our plates. It's very filling. It's definitely shareable if you don't have a big appetite or like to snack throughout the day. I still dream about their jalapeno cornbread. I've already asked Bradley if he wants to try something else when we go back to Animal Kingdom, but he is set on going back to Flame Tree. I can't complain. So yummy!

A rain storm came out of nowhere after our meal. Rather than trying to huddle and find shelter like a majority of the people in the park, we got in line for Kali River Rapids. We thought, "Why not? We're going to be wet all day anyways!" Plus, there was only a 10 minute wait! It was surprisingly really fun. I love the story behind the queue and the message of conservationism.

We decided to visit all of the animal treks offered in the park. We wanted to see all of the cute animals. Surprisingly, even with the rain showers, the animals were out. We then went and waited for the next Lion King show. I remember seeing this show as a kid; I don't think anything has changed in 16 years. :laughing: We were in the lion section. Roar! The show was still very enjoyable. The actors are very talented.

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It was time for our second FastPass! We headed to Kilimanjaro Safaris. At this point, the park is starting to get a bit more crowded. I am glad we had a FP for it, because I believe the wait time reached 40 minutes. (The highest I had seen that day.) The sun actually came out at this time as well. It was a great safari ride! I even got to see the baby elephant. :love: I couldn't get a good picture of it though. Sorry! I did have some good pictures turn out of the giraffes. They're so cute!

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We then took the train to Rafiki's Planet Watch to visit the petting zoo. This is a hidden gem at Animal Kingdom. The short train ride itself is neat, but all of the attractions at RPW are so worth making time for. The petting zoo was our favorite part. We also got to meet Rafiki! (He made me laugh during our picture, so I look ridiculous. No eyes shall see that picture. Sorry! Lol.) BEWARE! Mosquitoes were reallllly bad in this area. I'm prone to getting bitten, so I had already packed my bug spray. I don't recall seeing any complimentary sprays at RPW like you can normally find at other spots in the park. I am so glad I had it with me because after the first couple bites, I was fed up. They swarmed me!

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Bradley made a friend in the petting zoo at Rafiki's Planet Watch. :o

Our FastPass for Flight of Passage was at 7 p.m. so once the sun started to set, we headed to Pandora. We wanted to see it at both day and night time because we had heard it was like two different experiences. We decided to walk around Pandora and take pictures. This place is breathtaking! I wish I had re-watched Avatar just to be brushed up on my knowledge. (I have watched it since my trip and the imagineers really hit a home-run with this park! It's amazingly accurate!) We stopped at Pongu Pongu refreshments to get some drinks. I got the blood orange margarita and Bradley got one of the beers. The margarita was so yummy! I know the nonalcoholic drink there is a big hit with people, but don't be afraid to try the other one. It was really good! Bradley also liked his beer.

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It was Flight of Passage time! The long awaited ride that we had heard so much about was definitely worth the hype. I am so thankful we had a FastPass for it because the standby line was 150 minutes and we only waited for 5 minutes. It was an amazing experience. I can't wait to ride it again! If you can't get a FP for it, I would still wait in line for the ungodly amount of time. There is nothing like it!

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We decided to wait in the standby line for Na'vi River Journey because it only had a 45 minute wait. The line looked much longer and so intimidating, but it moved fairly quickly. As most of you know, the ride is pretty disappointing because of its short ride time. However, we felt we got pretty lucky all day not having to wait in lines, so we sucked it up and stood for the 45 minutes. I think it's still a beautiful ride despite it's abruptness. Not to mention it showcases the most advanced animatronic on Disney property.

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We ended up calling it a night after we got off Na'vi River Journey. We realized that we had been at Animal Kingdom for 13 hours. We were able to ride every ride in Animal Kingdom except for the Triceratops Spin. (We did the Astro Orbiter the night before. When you've done one, you've done them all, right?) I also chose not to do the "It's Tough to be a Bug" show because it gave me PTSD at the age of seven. (Joking. Kind of.) I cried so much my dad and I had to leave half-way through. I've always been a huge pansy when it comes to bugs. (Last year I cried because a grasshopper was inside my car. I was 24 years old.) I enjoy the movie A Bug's Life but I can live without the feeling of spiders going up my legs. :scared:

It was time to go back to the hotel to rest. We finally regained our appetites as we got back to Pop Century. (I'm telling you--Flame Tree was so filling!) We decided to check out the food court to see what they had. Bradley decided on some sort of chicken pasta dish and I got jerk chicken with mashed potatoes. The portion size seemed small after having Pecos Bill the night before and Flame Tree for lunch. Then again, we ordered regular sized meals this time and not "platters." The good news was that we weren't super hungry anyways. It was a good way to end the day. We walked around the Pop Century gift shop for a bit before heading back to our room.
Stay tuned for day 3: Epcot and our quest to drink around the world! :figment:

 
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  • eiblehs

    Expedition Everest Enthusiast
    Joined
    May 31, 2017
    Day 3: Epcot

    Bradley had been looking forward to our day in Epcot more than any other park. While I planned for our trip, he always seemed to pay the most attention to videos about the World Showcase. He was on a mission. He would conquer the infamous challenge: He would drink around the world. :drinking1

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    Check out these awesome buttons I ordered beforehand! We got a lot of compliments on them, even from cast members, in the park!

    Unfortunately, our day in Epcot was the worst day of the trip. Our pet guinea pig, Ellie, unexpectedly became very ill the week before our trip. After two different vet visits, three medicines, and $200 later... We thought she was getting better. It was tough to be under that much emotional and sudden financial stress right before our Disney vacation. We left Ellie in the care of my brother and sister-in-law who absolutely adored her. The morning of our Epcot day, I noticed I had missed a call from my brother. I called him back and could tell immediately from the tone of his voice that something was wrong. He informed me that Ellie passed away in her sleep the night before. I immediately collapsed on our bed and sobbed into the phone. Bradley had to wake up to me crying over her death. It was a rough morning. At first, I was almost angry that my brother didn't wait to tell me until the end of the day... But I understand tough decisions had to be made since I would not be home for another three days.

    So, Ellie's death really put us behind schedule. (So much for that itinerary!) We didn't get to the park until about an hour and a half after opening. I booked our FastPasses for Soarin', Under the Seas with Nemo, and Spaceship Earth. My plan was to get to the park at rope drop and head straight to TestTrack... Yeah, that obviously didn't get to happen. We actually never had the opportunity the entire day to make it over to TT. Mission Space was also closed for refurbishments at this time, so that was another ride we didn't get to experience.

    But wait... It gets worse.

    Our previous two days in the parks were amazing regarding low crowd levels and low temperatures. I guess we couldn't have it perfect forever! It was August 1, 2017 and the sun was out and blazing away, so that brought the crowd levels up. Well, I lost my sunglasses somewhere between getting on the bus at Pop Century and getting to the entrance of Epcot. I had them hanging on my backpack when I left our hotel room, but they were nowhere to be found. Great, I thought. I checked out the sunglasses selection in a couple of gift shops but I couldn't stomach the $25 price-tag on cheap, plastic sunglasses. I don't normally wear sunglasses... Like ever. I knew I would probably never use them after the trip, so I opted for sun in my eyes rather than spending the money.

    Since we got a late start, we got to the park about 45 minutes before we needed to head to Soarin', our first FP for the day. We went to Club Cool to try all of the sodas around the world--including Beverly. Oh my gosh, that tasted like straight up medicine. Yuck! It was a fun and cool experience, especially for it being free! Definitely check out Club Cool when you're in Future World. We then headed to The Land pavilion to look around until it was time to ride Soarin'. Well... We got the back row and my seat was at the very end. I tried to block out the dangling feet and enjoy the ride, but I not only lost my sunglasses, but also my "rose-colored glasses" as well. I still had a good time, but the next time I ride it I will wait another turn (if I have to) so I don't have to be in the back row. After we got off the ride, we decided to grab a quick bite at Sunshine Seasons. I opted not to use my free quick service meal credit for the day here. I had plans for that in the World Showcase! I got a cold noodle salad from the grab-and-go salad section that wasn't too bad. Bradley actually got a meal from one of the serving stations. (I can't remember what he ate... Whoops!) After our meal, we decided to ride Living with the Land. This ride had a 40 minute stand-by line wait time, but I swear we waited an hour. Maybe it felt longer because I was emotionally and physically drained, but I remember feeling miserable. My feet were killing me. I had been wearing sandals every day of the trip so far; however, I decided to switch it up and wear my Nike tennis shoes that day. Huge mistake. I ended up taking off my shoes on the ride and massaging my feet. I know, gross, but we were in the back of the boat so nobody saw me. I was in so much pain I wouldn't have cared anyways. :upsidedow

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    Our next FP was for Nemo and this was actually a really cute attraction. I knew it was a dark ride, but I didn't know much else about it. I had no idea that once you got off the ride that there was so much to do and see! We spent quite a bit of time at the aquarium and looking at fish. I had reached my pain limit: I told Bradley I needed to go back to the hotel and change shoes. We never planned for mid-day breaks. (I know some people swear by them...) I couldn't handle my tennis shoes any longer. Once we got back to Pop Century, I headed straight for the gift shop to buy some pain relief medication. After shelling out $8 for a small bottle of Aleve, I headed straight to our room so I could prop my feet up! We ended up resting for nearly two hours in the room. (I was really straying away from my plans at this point.) I changed back into my sandals and we were out the door! We had another FP to make for Spaceship Earth, and then it was finally time to go to the World Showcase!

    As I mentioned above, Bradley was on a mission to drink around the world. Unfortunately, we had already hit so many bumps in the road that we made it to the entrance just before 5 p.m. and the WS closed at 9 p.m. that night. So, yes, we had four hours to visit 11 countries. You can already guess how this was going to go. Let me clarify that I had zero intention of drinking at all 11 stops; I only ordered food and drinks from my "must-try" list.


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    We started at the Canada pavilion. I stopped at the Refreshment Port so I could try the beloved croissant doughnut. Oh my goodness. 75% of my problems from earlier melted away with the first bite. It was warm, flaky, cinnamon-y, and sugary... So, so, yummy. And the best part? I didn't have to share because Bradley was focused on booze. :cool:

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    Here he is with his first drink!

    We made it to the United Kingdom pavilion next. We spent quite a bit of time here but there was surprisingly a lot to look at. We stopped at the Rose and Crown Pub for our drinks. I ordered a Strongbow cider and Bradley ordered the other dark beer on the menu that's not Guiness. (Forgive my poor memory!) Rose and Crown was busy and we actually sat with a stranger who had a table to himself just because there was nowhere to go. The atmosphere of the pub was great and our bartender was super sweet. I will definitely make my way back when we visit again. I also waited to meet Alice here because her line was short. She commented on my button by saying, "Are you drinking all of the teas around the world?" Very clever. ;)

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    Up next, we stopped in France. I ordered the frozen Grey Goose lemonade because it was on my list. It was so good! Bradley and I opted to share this one; although, it was so good that he has already said that he is ordering his own next time.

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    Next up: Morocco! We headed straight to Tangierine Cafe because that's where I wanted to eat dinner. I love Greek and Mediterranean food, so I was really excited to try this place. I ordered the chicken and lamb shawarma platter and it was delicious. I was so impressed with the quality and freshness. I will definitely be ordering it again next time I go back. Picky-ole-Bradley waited to eat somewhere else, but he did order the Casa beer from there and he said it was really good.

    We got to Japan and I chose not to order any beverages from here. Bradley ordered the beer with the frozen foam on top and he was so disappointed. He said the foam on top was super gross. He did not enjoy that drink near as much as the ones from Canada and Morocco. We did walk around the shops in the Japan pavilion to see all of the awesome merchandise before heading on to the next one.

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    Uh, oh. It's getting darker. We made it to the American pavilion for Bradley to grab some dinner. He had a burger and ordered a Yeungling beer. I don't see why domestic beer is part of the challenge, but that's why I don't make the rules. Illuminations had just started and we were only half-way! It was not looking good for us.

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    This picture makes me laugh. It seems appropriate for fireworks to be going off behind him for his American picture.


    Next we popped into one of Italy's wine shops to keep pushing on. We were really on a time limit now. I am not a wine drinker; that is, I haven't found one I enjoy. I asked the cast member, "What is the sweetest wine you have on the menu?" and ordered what she suggested. It was actually really yummy (sorry, I can't remember the name... Are you noticing a pattern?) but the tiny portion size was cringe-worthy.

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    This was taken after I had only had one drink out of it. What a shame.

    We had just made it to Germany when BOOM! it starts pouring down rain out of nowhere. It had been sunny and warm all day, where did this rain come from?! Well, guess what? When we stopped for our mid-day break earlier, I unpacked our ponchos and umbrella because I thought we didn't need them. HA! I was so angry with myself for unpacking them. I should have known Florida's weather was unpredictable. Bradley ordered the Oktoberfest in the souvenir plastic stein. Spoiler alert: He was unimpressed with it. He had such high expectations for the German beer and he said it wasn't good.

    It was raining so much that the streets are forming puddles at this point. Bradley is unhappy with me for unpacking our weather supplies, so this puts even more of a damper on my already bittersweet day. Oh well, we had to push on! We make it to Joy of Tea in China and Bradley ordered the Tsing Tao beer. He said it was actually really, really good. So skip Germany and head to China if you want beer, I guess. Lol!

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    Check out the flooded sidewalk in the background... :scared:

    We make it to Norway and guess what? No more alcohol sells. NOOOOOOOO! :faint: So we leave and quickly head to Mexico. Now, let me start by saying that I had been dreaming of trying an avocado margarita. Well... Guess what? No alcohol sells here anymore either. We were too late. WE. FAILED. OUR. MISSION.

    I decide to head back to Norway to eat my feelings. If I couldn't get an avocado margarita from Mexico, I was going to try something else. I ordered the school bread because I had heard so much about it. This thing was a lot larger than I expected. Bradley hates coconut so he wasn't about to eat any of it. I ended up eating about 3/4 of it before tossing it. It was good, but I won't be ordering it again. I'm still glad I tried it!


    We headed back to Mexico because The Grand Fiesta Tour ride was still going and there was nobody in line. Although we didn't get to drink in Mexico, I am glad we got to go on the ride before closing. It's such a cute ride and the song at the end is really catchy. We were the only people on the attraction, too! That was a pretty neat experience.

    Overall, our day in Epcot definitely did not go as planned. Lessons I learned from this day: Always pack your ponchos, don't expect for everything to go as planned, and spend two days in Epcot if you want to do everything. We are going back to WDW this summer and I have already worked two days for Epcot rather than one. We must redeem ourselves because this day was rough. Luckily, the next two days ahead were a whole lot better!

    Stay tuned for more Magic Kingdom goodness on day four! :goofy:

     
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    eiblehs

    Expedition Everest Enthusiast
    Joined
    May 31, 2017
    Day 4: Magic Kingdom (Part ONE)

    Yay! We finally got to spend an entire day at Magic Kingdom! We were ready for an exciting day. We had FastPasses for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Haunted Mansion, and The Barnstormer. We also had lunch reservations for Be Our Guest that afternoon. We had Early Magic Hours from 10 pm to 12 am, so we definitely were planning on taking a mid-day break in the early evening.

    We arrived shortly after rope drop, and noticed lines were forming for character meet-and-greet spots on Main Street. I asked the cast member who would be coming out; I had to make the choice between Pluto and Chip and Dale. Easy choice for me because I wanted to recreate my picture from 16 years ago: Chip and Dale! (See photos above in the first post!) As I previously mentioned, they were my favorite character meeting experience from the entire trip. They were so playful and generous with hugs. Maybe next time we'll meet Pluto. pluto:

    My goal was to ride Space Mountain first thing in the morning, but the wait time had already reached 45 minutes. We did not want to waste that much time right off the bat, so we headed to Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid because it had a 5 minute wait. This ride was so cute! I would recommend that you not book a FP for this ride because the wait times stayed generally low through out the day.

    We then went to check out the Storybook Circus part of Fantasyland. I saw there was only a 10 minute wait to meet Goofy and Donald, so we jumped in line. (We did not purchase Memory Maker because we originally had zero intentions of waiting in line to meet characters. I simply asked the cast member to take pictures with my phone for both of these meet and greets. Unfortunately, the lighting in the Donald area shone a red light on my face. This was the only picture that didn't make me look like Darth Maul.)

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    :goofy:


    We then headed into Gaston's Tavern to relax and wait for our reservation at BOG. As much as I wanted to order a cinnamon roll, I chose not to so I wouldn't spoil my appetite for lunch. I will get one during our upcoming trip. They just look too yummy!

    It was Be Our Guest time! Pro-tip: Order online before your trip. Just do it. Look at the menu and decide what looks good before your trip. This will save you so much time, especially if you go when it's busy. We checked in with our reservation, said we pre-ordered, and immediately got to find a seat. No line!

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    Bradley opted for the Croque Monsieur. This was absolutely delicious! It's so much more than a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

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    I chose the braised pork bowl. It was pretty good but also super average. The sauce on top was cold so it made the whole thing taste kind of weird. We have lunch reservations for BOG this summer, so I don't think I will order this again.

    After our meal, we headed to ride our first FastPass for the day: The Barnstormer. This was a cute ride, but it was pretty lame. I regret booking a FP for it. I remember saying, "That's it?" when the ride stopped. It is a kid-friendly coaster, but we're two adults. I should have booked one for Space Mountain. Lesson learned. Lol! We then headed to Tomorrowland to ride the People Mover again... I just love that ride. We also checked out the legendary Carousel of Progress. I kept keeping an eye on the wait time for Space Mountain, but it just would not come down. We then rode Winnie the Pooh and Mad Tea Party because they had short wait times.

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    It started to sprinkle and so we headed to Mickey's PhilharMagic. I think that show is so underrated. We really enjoyed it. We were on our way to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for our second FP when out of nowhere, a heavy rain storm hit the Magic Kingdom. The ride closed until the rain stopped, which ultimately took about 35-45 minutes. We decided to camp out under Friar's Nook the whole time just to stay dry. We had our ponchos and umbrella, but this rain was no joke. We got a bonus FP to use anytime on any attraction since SDMT closed. We were looking forward to the new coaster, so we stuck it out until it opened. The FP line was so long that they actually closed the standby line when it opened just to get everyone who had a FP on.


    It was time for something sweet! I had to find the famous Dole Whip and give it a shot. Bradley isn't a fan of pineapple, so he opted for an ice cream cookie sandwich from The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. Both were so, so, so yummy! (Confession: I ate the entire Dole Whip by myself and about a 1/3 of Bradley's treat! No shame!)
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    We headed over to the Haunted Mansion so we could use our final FP! Despite waiting in line and making it to the stretching room 16 years ago, this was my first time riding it. I got too scared to ride it at the age of seven and chickened out. We both really enjoyed this classic ride. We actually got stuck for about a minute on the ride. No worries, it just gave us more time to look for little details that could easily be missed!

    It was time for our mid-day break! We knew that we had those Extra Magic Hours that night, so we wanted to take advantage of a quick cat nap during the day. We headed back to Pop Century for a couple hours to rest our feet and freshen up.

    We headed back to the Magic Kingdom that evening to ride Space Mountain (finally!) and catch the fireworks show. Little did we know that we would get stuck on a ride for AN HOUR and watch our EMH tick slowly away. Stay tuned... It's a wild story! :earboy2:
     
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    eiblehs

    Expedition Everest Enthusiast
    Joined
    May 31, 2017
    Day 4: Magic Kingdom (Part TWO)

    After we rested for a couple hours in the hotel room, we headed for the bus stop to go back to Magic Kingdom for the rest of the night. Our dinner plans were for Bradley to try Casey's Corner and for me to try Columbia Harbor House. We also were determined to ride Space Mountain and watch the Happily Ever After fireworks show from Main Street.

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    I had no problem asking strangers to take our pictures on our trip. Before we left for our trip, I considered having our picture taken in front of the castle by a PhotoPass photographer, and just paying the price for the digital download ($14). However, I thought this one turned out pretty great for a picture taken on a phone, so I never splurged on a PhotoPass picture. Maybe next time! :earboy2:

    We decided to do a little shopping in all of the wonderful gift shops in the Magic Kingdom. Fun fact: My entire Christmas tree is filled with Disney ornaments. Growing up, my mom was a member of some type of Disney ornament club. Every year, we would get several ornaments to use on our Christmas tree. When I moved out and got a home of my own, my mom gifted me all of the ornaments. They mean a lot to me. They're so cute and still in amazing condition despite some of them being close to 20 years old! She also gave me all of the ornaments she bought from our trip back in 2001. So, I knew I definitely wanted ornaments from our trip in 2017. The Christmas shop in Magic Kingdom is so cute. I think I drove Bradley insane with how much time we spent in here. I had to look at everything. I was so indecisive... I wanted them all! (The woman in front of us in line bought the entire Disney ornament shoe collection... Her total was like $500. Wow!!!) I chose a really pretty glass snowflake ornament that had Mickey on one side and Walt Disney World 2017 on the other. :santa: (Side note: Let me know if you guys would be interested in seeing a post about my Disney tree! I can post pictures when we put our tree up this Christmas season.) I also got a coffee mug that matches the ornament's design. And, of course, I bought about three different magnets. I collect magnets from everywhere I visit; my refrigerator is covered! I got my family and friends some other items such as mugs, magnets, and even car antenna toppers.

    Our appetites were back so we headed to Casey's Corner. I had my heart set on trying the lobster roll at Columbia Harbor House, so I was going to go there once Bradley was finished with his meal.
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    Bradley ordered the macaroni and cheese all-beef foot long hot dog with fries. It costs about $13. Bradley let me have a couple bites. This thing was actually really good. I was surprised how good it was because I thought it was just going to be a regular hot dog, but it actually had a unique flavor. For our upcoming trip, we will both make a trip here for a meal. My only complaint about Casey's is the lack of seating. It took us a bit to find a spot to sit down. We actually sat at a dirty table because it was the only empty one at the time. HEA was starting soon, so people were sitting outside for a good spot for the fireworks. Unpopular opinion: I think only people who are actually eating should be allowed to sit at the tables.

    So, then we headed to Columbia Harbor House for my dinner... Well... They were closed. I got there too late. :sad: I walked in and a cast member told me they were no longer serving food. I'm not sure what time of the evening it was at this point, but the fireworks were starting soon. We headed to find a good spot on Main Street to watch Happily Ever After. Remember, we had already seen bits and pieces of it from our first night in Magic Kingdom. But this time we were actually stopping to pay attention. W-O-W. This show is spectacular. The lights, music, and fireworks are all so magical.

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    After the show, I knew I wanted to find something for me to eat since my lobster roll dream didn't come true. We headed back to Casey's (since we knew it was still open) but the line was ridiculously long. I didn't want to waste our Extra Magic Hours waiting for a hot dog. Pecos Bill was also still open but we had already eaten there on our trip. I wanted something new, dang it! Luckily, I wasn't starving or anything. I mean, I almost went into a sugar coma a few hours ago from the Dole whip and ice cream cookie sandwich. :rotfl:

    We headed for Space Mountain because it had about a 25 minute wait. I remember riding this on my first trip 16 years ago, but other than it being an inside roller coaster, I couldn't recall much else about it. We were both pleasantly surprised as to how much FUN this ride was! Unpopular opinion #2: We both preferred this coaster over Seven Dwarfs Mine Train... I didn't pay attention to which side of Space Mountain we got to ride. There were a lot of sudden drops that were so fun, and I got to sit in the very back! We had a blast!

    I saw on the My Disney Experience app that Pirates of the Caribbean had a 5 minute wait and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad had a 15 minute wait. We had already ridden both rides from our first night in Magic Kingdom, but we loved them so much we wanted to ride again! Our game plan was to ride POTC first and then head to BTMR.

    We rode in the back of the boat on POTC the last time we rode, so we wanted to be at the front this time. We didn't mind getting a little wet from the drop. As we approached the scene with the dog outside of the jail cell, all boats came to a stop. Our ride on the Haunted Mansion earlier that day came to a stop as well, but it only lasted less than a minute. No big deal to stop again... So we thought. We sat there for about five minutes wondering what was going on. The boats were all starting to push up against one another. And the music continued to play... "Yo-ho, Yo-ho, a pirate's life for me!" pirate: Finally, the ride starts going again. Woo-hoo! We make it to the end with Jack Sparrow in sight when, you guessed it, we stop AGAIN. Our boat did not quite make it to the ramp just yet, so we were still in the water off the tracks. Guess how long we got stuck this time? Did you guess 45 minutes? Then you'd be right! Yes, we sat on POTC for almost an hour that night between the dog scene and Jack Sparrow. Thankfully, they shut off the music shortly after our second, longest stop... They also turned off his animatronic and turned the lights on. I was able to snag a pretty descent picture!

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    "Why were you stuck for so long?" you ask. Well, our boat was the only one that was not on a track. They were able to evacuate the boats in front of us off the ramp fairly easily, and the boats behind us were still on track. It was our boat, our luck that was the last one to be "saved." We were instructed by several cast members that none of us were allowed to climb out of the boat at the Jack Sparrow scene because it was too unsafe. A cast member was going to have to put on waders and get in the water to push us to the nearest emergency exit. We all had to agree verbally that we were capable of climbing out without the assistance of the fire department. (Wow!)

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    This cast member said this was her first time ever having to do one of these exits. She said they had all practiced for one, but had never actually had to do one with guests.

    The nearest emergency exit was at this scene:

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    So, as you can see, she had to push us backwards quite a bit of a ways. All of the animatronics had been shut off and the lights were on, so I was able to get a good picture of these guys too. One by one, a cast member had to help us off the boat. We got to leave through an emergency exit door right next to these guys. Let me just say... Going behind the scenes of POTC was crazy! I took pictures and videos from inside the building and outside in the lot, but I have decided not to share them because they will ruin the magic for you. The cast member escorting Bradley and I out made sure not to show us too much, but it was neat getting to see the spare boats in storage. Walking through the lot in the back of the POTC building kind of takes you out of the experience.

    Now, I'm not one to complain much about anything. However, I was really disappointed that nobody on our boat was offered a FastPass ticket since we had all lost nearly an entire hour of our extra magic hours. The park was now closed and so were all of the restaurants and rides. They did give everyone a free Mickey ice cream bar and a child's sized bottled water.

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    I was trying to make the best of the situation because I got to try the iconic ice cream bar for free, but I would have much rather appreciated a FastPass since I basically wasted my EMH... I wonder what would have happened had I asked a CM for one... And what about if a guest was lactose intolerant? What would have been the compensation then? Hmm...

    So yes, at this point, the only sustainable food I had that day was our BOG lunch and everything else was dessert. Ice cream for dinner is appropriate when on vacation! Although getting stuck on a ride for that long and getting to use an emergency exit was a memorable experience, I would have much rather continued on with a regular night of rides.

    We haven't decided if we will brave POTC for our upcoming trip or not... We don't want to get stuck again! :rotfl2:

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    The best part about being some of the last people in the park was that there wasn't much of a line for a bus headed back to Pop Century! We were ready to go back and get some sleep.


    Stay tuned for our final day in the parks: Hollywood Studios! :darth:



     
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  • eiblehs

    Expedition Everest Enthusiast
    Joined
    May 31, 2017
    Find my Hollywood Studios and a table service dining review post below!
     
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  • eiblehs

    Expedition Everest Enthusiast
    Joined
    May 31, 2017
    Day 5: Hollywood Studios
    Our last night in Walt Disney World was spent in Hollywood Studios. Of course, when I was there 16 years prior, it was MGM Studios. (I still have an awesome souvenir MGM Studios glass from my first trip.) I know HS gets a bad reputation for being a half-day park, but we surprisingly spent all day here and had plenty to do! I agree, however, that there is a lot missing when compared to the other three parks. Our upcoming trip will be after Toy Story Land opens, so I'm excited to see what much-needed magic that will bring.

    We had FastPasses for Tower of Terror, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, and Star Tours. We also had a dinner reservation for Sci-Fi Dine-In later that evening. And, of course, watching Fantasmic! was a MUST.

    We got to the park shortly after it opened. The weather was finally acting as expected for August. I was already sweating before 10 a.m. The park also seemed crowded, especially compared to our first couple days in Disney, but it was totally manageable.

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    "Yassssss" :earboy2:

    Fortunately for us, The Great Movie Ride was still open for our trip. Knowing it would permanently close only 10 days later, I knew we had to head straight there for one last ride since we did not have a FP for it. Luckily, the wait time was only about 20 minutes.
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    16 years ago, one of the few things I remembered about this ride was the gangster shoot-out scene. It was something unexpected and added some fun to the ride. On my last ride, we got the cowboy shoot-out scene. Most would call it coincidence but I call it fate. I was so happy that I was able to see both in person. I am excited for Mickey's Runaway Railway, but I am going to miss The Great Movie Ride. It really was such a classic piece of HS.

    Next we headed to catch the Star Wars show because Bradley is a huge Star Wars fan. (I'm slowly coming around... Slowly...) It was a pretty neat experience! I like how you get to see all of the characters and scenes from the movies.

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    One of my favorite pictures from our trip! :darth:

    It was time for a quick lunch! We had our last free quick service meal to use and I chose Rosie's All-American Cafe for our lunch spot because I had to try the highly recommended fried green tomato sandwich. As most of you know, Hollywood Studios' bad reputation also comes from its lack of "good" QS restaurants. Fairfax Fare was closed for refurbishments at the time of our trip, so we had limited options. Bradley opted for the chicken nugget meal and I got the fried green tomato sandwich.
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    *Maybe* I got a bad sandwich that day because I was really not impressed. I had been looking forward to trying this sandwich after seeing so many good reviews for it. Now, I'm from the south so I have had plenty of fried green tomatoes. The ones on this sandwich were unseasoned and the sandwich overall was dry. There was little to no sauce on it; I had to grab a ranch packet from the condiment cart just to make it taste better. Was it terrible? No. Will I order it again? No.

    We sat and let our food settle for a bit because it was time for our first FP: Tower of Terror. This ended up being Bradley's favorite ride of the whole trip. It's definitely in my top 3. It was also my first time riding it because my parents are chickens and wouldn't take us on it 16 years ago. We ended up getting to ride in the front row, so that added a bit more excitement. I loved the video of our ride that was added to our My Disney Experience account afterwards too. I didn't know that was even a thing!


    Our next FP was for Rock 'n' Roll Roller Coaster. I kept my eyes shut the entire time I rode this when I was seven, so it was almost as if I got to ride it for the first time because I kept my eyes open. :rotfl:

    I noticed the Beauty and the Beast show was starting soon, so we headed that way. (Pro tip: Unless sitting super close to the stage is a must for you (or you don't like thrill rides), don't use a FP on this show. Even with a fairly crowded park, we still got good seats just from the standy-by line.)
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    This was a great show!
    We then spent some time walking around Hollywood Studios to kill some time before our next FP. We checked out a lot of the gift shops and bought some souvenirs. We headed over to Star Tours when it was time for our FP. Guess what... I WAS THE REBEL SPY! :cool1: Now, I'll be honest... I didn't even know this was a thing until after our trip. When my picture showed up on the screen, I said, "Hey! That's me!" aloud. It was pretty funny! After using up our three FPs all before 3 pm, I was able to snag a fourth FP for Toy Story Mania that night. Woohoo!

    Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage was great and all... But Pixar Live! was SPECTACULAR. We didn't plan on seeing another show, but we had time to kill before our dinner reservation and I saw this limited-time show was starting soon. You guys... This show was incredible. I can't brag on it enough. I wish it wasn't a limited-time thing; I wish it was a permanent addition to the park. If you didn't get a chance to see the show, it was a live orchestra playing music from almost all of our beloved Disney/Pixar movies with the scenes playing in the background. Characters from the movies also made appearances on stage. This included music and scenes from Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Up, The Incredibles, Cars, and Finding Nemo.

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    Confession: The scene they played from Up made me cry... Every time!

    We had dinner reservations for 6:15 p.m. at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. We checked in 15 minutes prior to our reservation. Since we had the free quick service summer dining plan, we never ate at any table service restaurants for our trip. We decided that since this was our last night in WDW, that we would book a reservation for dinner. When planning for our vacation, I gave Bradley the option of 50's Prime Time Diner or Sci-Fi: He chose the latter based off the menu options. Even though we had a reservation booked in advance, we ended up having to wait a solid 40 minutes before a table opened.

    Overall, this was a pretty good restaurant. It's super expensive ($50 for two sandwiches,waters, and an appetizer) but the food quality was good. And, of course, the ambiance and theme of the restaurant is unique. We enjoyed our dining experience. We won't be running back to Sci-Fi for our upcoming trip, but we weren't disappointed!
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    We ordered the spinach artichoke dip for our appetizer. Guys, this stuff was AMAZING. I'm aware you can get this dip just about anywhere, but the quality was something else. We enjoyed our appetizer more than our entrees. Lol! (Pro tip: Ask for extra chips. You'll need them.)

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    Bradley ordered the Sci-Fi Burger with fries. It had bacon, fried jalapenos, fried onions, cheese, and barbecue sauce. He said it was pretty good but not worth $20.

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    I ordered the Reuben sandwich and opted for the cucumber salad. I still think about that cucumber salad... I make a version that is my grandmother's recipe, but this one was unique. I must find the recipe! The sandwich was tasty as well. (My stomach is growling as I type this.)

    Due to our unexpectedly long wait at Sci-Fi, we had to power-walk to Toy Story Mania to make our last FP. This ride was so much fun! I understand now why it has such long wait times. I am so glad we got an extra FP for it. Oh, and I kicked Bradley's butt. No big deal. :thumbsup2
    It was finally time for Fantasmic! :maleficen Unpopular opinion #3: I like Fantasmic more than any other night-time show in Disney World. It's just too good! I love the music, characters, water effects, fireworks--I love it all!


    We headed back to the hotel once Fantasmic was over. Our departure flight was for 10 a.m. so the Magical Express would pick us up at 8:00 a.m. We still needed to pack up the room and get our suitcases ready. I bought a strawberry Mickey rice krispie treat to enjoy for breakfast that morning so I could have one last bit of magic before going home.

    Overall, we had a truly wonderful time at Walt Disney World. So much so that I asked Bradley every week afterwards, "When are we going back?" He finally caved and said we could book another trip for this summer! This time, we are staying one extra night. I'm so excited! I will definitely have to do another trip report for our summer 2018 trip! This was a lot of fun getting to relive my trip and share my story with other Disney fanatics. Thank you for following along! :mickeyjum
     
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    eiblehs

    Expedition Everest Enthusiast
    Joined
    May 31, 2017
    The spinach and artichoke dip looks so good! Such a good TR! Will you write another one?
    It was really, really good. Thank you so much! Yes, I have a trip booked for August 2018, so I will definitely write another one for that trip. pooh:
     

    Spencer Wright

    Constantly craving a zebra dome...
    Joined
    Jul 31, 2017
    It was really, really good. Thank you so much! Yes, I have a trip booked for August 2018, so I will definitely write another one for that trip. pooh:
    Great! Loved the report!

    It's great to see such a positive report with all the negativity going around with Disney fans online. It looks like you were able to do a ton!

    I could never drink around the world. All the walking and heat I'm done with a margarita.
     

    eiblehs

    Expedition Everest Enthusiast
    Joined
    May 31, 2017
    Great! Loved the report!

    It's great to see such a positive report with all the negativity going around with Disney fans online. It looks like you were able to do a ton!

    I could never drink around the world. All the walking and heat I'm done with a margarita.
    Thank you so much for following along! Yes, we really were able to do a lot during our trip. It makes me worried that we won’t have it as good for our upcoming trip. I see pictures of current crowd levels and it gives me anxiety! Lol! I purposefully booked our second trip during the same week we went last time in hopes that we will have a similar experience.

    We didn’t succeed with the drinking around the world last time, so we’re going to attempt it again! :rotfl:
     



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