Quick Trip Report - See how another family Disneys :)

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by Mano22, Sep 6, 2017.

  1. Mano22

    Mano22 Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2015
    Messages:
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    Hi all. Haven't posted a ton here, but we just got back from a truly magical trip and i figured I would write a quick report. No pics, just a quick and dirty synopsis of our plans and how everything worked out. Went with DW, DD (9), DD (7), DS (5), and DD (2.)

    Sat - 8/26

    Left from Philly, flew Spirit even though everyone says they are garbage, because the price was right (~$1200 all-in including taxes/bags/etc for 6 tix.) No hickups, even landed a little early. Hopped right onto DME, got to Grand Floridian around 6:00. We were not originally going to stay there as it is so expensive, but we got a truly MAGICAL deal that we could not pass up. Fit all 6 of us into a regular room (2 queens and a daybed) and generally slept pretty well most nights.

    Hopped a bus to Disney Springs, since we have not been since most of the renovations, and had Morimoto QS, really good and reasonably priced (for Disney.) Also no line at 7:00 on a Saturday somehow. Then the 6 of us split 2 Ghirardelli sundaes (brownie and cookie dough obv.) Their brownies are amazing, and FYI you can get the their boxed brownie mix in the grocery store and it is totally worth the extra .50 over Betty Crocker or whatever. Then we spent like an hour looking at stuff in World of Disney, planning for potential souvenir buying later. Bus home, were asleep in bed by 10:30 or so.

    Sun - 8/27

    Pre-open ADR at BOG. Everyone up at 7:15, out the door before 7:30. 1 Monorail stop to MK. Got to BOG around 7:55 and got in a very short line. Ordered and ate in the west wing (best room by far.) Generally the kids menu food was garbage, but the adult food was solid enough. Got 4 total things for the 6 of us. Those plus the pastries were enough, especially with all the potential snacking later.

    Left BOG 8:40 to get in line for SDMT. Were in the first 50 people or so. There was Early Morning Magic that morning so they did not let us on the ride until just before 9:00, but we still walked on with no wait at that point. DD (2) was not having it because it was fast and was a "drop ride."

    We had fastpasses between 10 and 1 for Enchanted Tales with Belle, Splash, and HM. Splash was especially important because it is one of our (my) favorite rides and it was closing for renovations the next day so we had to get on it, which we did with almost no wait. Also did Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Pirates, and got Mickey ice creams for lunch before going back to the hotel to relax in room, nap (not really), swim, etc. Also got a 4th fastpass for Toy Story at like 4:30, which I thought was pretty lucky as I got the pass at 12:30 or so.

    After siesta, hopped a bus to MGM for 5:40 ADR at 50's Prime Time. Did the Toy story Past pass first, got another fastpass to TOT somehow, then just went to dinner a little early. This was easily our worst meal of the trip. They had a BBQ ribs and pulled pork "special", which was bad. The fried chicken was ok, but in general it was just not great Bob. Then we did Muppets, Star Tours, and a little window shopping before TOT. DD (2) is only 39.5 inches, so we got her some nice thick sandals that put her over 40", but we forgot to bring them to the park!!! With her regular sneaks she was only 39.8 inches or so. She got through the first gate ok, but at the end when they are about to strap you in, the guy measured her again and she failed :( She was not thrilled to be going on this ride though, and when she failed she was soooooo happy, so that was a win I guess. I rode it with the big kids, while DW stayed with her. God TOT is just sooooooo good. Had been my favorite ride in Disney until being usurped by a certain ride I will get to later, but it is really just a phenomenal ride. By then it was 8:15 or so, and we decided to save energy for EMH later in the week so we skipped Aerosmith and Star Wars Show to beat the rush out and get on the early bus. Again were in bed by 10:00 or so.

    Mon - 8/28

    Another pre-opening ADR, this time at Akershus so we could ride FEA before RD. Up 7:00, out the door 7:15, got to Epcot 7:48, which was perfect because they would not even let us in for our ADR until 7:55! Had to double time it but made it there fine. Sat right down. Saw all the princesses, kids did the parade. Food was pretty good, good lox/cream cheese, croissants, plus they bring you a plate of bacon/eggs/potatoes/etc right to your table, buffet line is only cold stuff. Left at like 8:50 and rode FEA twice in a row back to back with no line at all! They did not even make us walk all the way out, CM opened a secret door and we just hopped on the ride again! FEA is def good/cute, but not even close to worth the normal 90 min wait times. Glad ours was zero!

    Epcot is always weird for us (as I'm sure everyone) as there are really only 2 rides worth FP'ing, and even thought TT is a little harder to get (somehow) it is a much worse ride that Soarin. So we did our BS fastpasses at Figment (cute) and TT with Crush (very cute.) We also let DD (7) and DD (9) do the single rider on TT which went off without a hitch. Then it was time for the new and improved Soarin. I think it is a LOT better than the old one, and my 3rd favorite ride at Disney. After that more Mickey Ice creams for lunch before heading back to hotel for siesta.

    Evening was 6:55 Tusker House res at AK, which I thought was great. Coconut curry shrimp was amazing. Coffee cake was too. We also scored a 4th fastpass for Everest, which I thought was pretty good until I found out that no one rides it anymore. The longest I ever saw that line was maybe 20 mins the whole week we were at the park! After dinner it started to rain, but it was so hot it didnt really matter. We had bought ponchos on Amazon before anyway so we were prepared. We saw Festival of the Lion King (worth Seeing.) We rode KRR, which is fun to do as a whole family, and we didnt mind getting wet because it was hot and raining anyway! After Everest (DD (7) LOVED it, DD (9) would not ride :), we watch a little bit of ROL before beating the crowd out of there. Again home/in bed by around 10:00.

    Tues - 8/29

    We had another Pre-open ADR for BOG at MK, but cancelled it so we could sleep in a little. Slept till 8:15, out the door 8:30, got to the barber shop on Main Street a little before 9:00 to schedule my first haircut for DD (2.) They keep some times open through out the day for walk-ins, so we scheduled for 11:00 to do some rides beforehand. Did Treehouse, Pirates, and a SM fastpass before returning to the barbershop at 11:00. My first haircut is only like $25, plus they give you mickey ears that retail for like $15 so it is really a steal. She got pixie dust in her hair too, she really loved it. In fact she still has some pixie dust in her hair 6 days later. After that is was Sleepy Hollow for the best kept secret at Disney. We split 2 chicken waffles, 1 egg and cheese waffle, and 2 fruit and nutella waffles between the 6 of us. Ate every last bite. Highly recommend this place, it's kind of tucked into a weird corner of liberty square so it's not really ever busy. After lunch it was FP's for SDMN and Peter Pan before another siesta back at the GF.

    Dinner tonight was at Epcot, Teppan Edo in Japan (the Hibachi place.) We were very excited about this place, but I was kind of underwhelmed. The kids loved it though and the price was surprisingly decent (again, for Disney.) Was like $35 for adult and $14 for kids Hibachi. Also shopped in Japan before hand, got a cute fan they wrote DD's name on in Japanese and some insane Japanese candy/treats. This is one of our favorite stores. After that we got caramel corn and a caramel apple form Werther's in Germany (the only Werther's store on earth btw.) They will cut the apple up for you too if you ask, which makes it MUCH easier to eat/share. Then Norway for School Bread, which apparently only I like so I ate the whole thing myself. Illuminations was great as usual, and there were EMH in Epcot that night, but the lines were crazy long so we just kinda sauntered back to the monorail and called it a night. Little later bedtime tonight, after 11:00.

    Wed - 8/30

    Blizzard beach today, which doesn't open until 10:00, so the kids slept in until almost 9:00. Then cereal in the room (which we got delivered along with milk and water and other snacks from Amazon Prime Pantry before we arrived.) Then bus to Blizzard beach. Shoved everything into one small locker before waiting for them to open the ropes at 10:00. Rode the chair lift first up to Teamboat Springs (the giant raft ride that you can fit 6 people in.) It's one of our favorite rides in all of Disney because we can all go together. DD (2) did not love it because it was another "drop ride." But we made her do it another time anyway. After that did a few of the other slides, but not Summit Plummit or whatever the insanely steep one is. Spent a little time is the tiny tot area for DD (2.) Lost DD (7) for about 5 mins, but eventually found her. We got these insanely huge donuts from Joffrey's coffee for a snack. They are $4 each but we shared 2 of them between the 6 of us. They were really pretty darn good. Then we ate at whatever the main place is there. They have a bacon cheeseburger with guac that is surprisingly decent, as well as a Tomato/Mozz/Pesto/Balsamic bruschetta that I might actually be willing to call good? After lunch 1 more family raft ride, then left the park for siesta around 2:00.

    Wednesday was O'hana for early diner (5:30) followed by MK EMH till 11! O'hana was just great, by far our best meal there. I seriously ate 40-50 shrimp. One time she even loaded the whole skewer onto my plate. The steak was pretty rare, chicken juicy, dipping sauces/apps good, and the dessert (pineapple coconut bread pudding) was also superb. This is an absolute must do for us going forward.

    We had Fastpasses for JC, HM, and SDMN between 6:30 and 9. We powered through all of those, and then watched Happily Ever After from main street. DD (2) fell asleep, DW held DS (5), and I had DD (9) on my shoulders and held DD (7.) Was a long 18 mins :) Still this new show is just superb. Soooo much better than Wishes was and even better than Illuminations (even adjusting for my nostalgia bias.) I guess I am a sucker for Disney music, and this is just a perfect montage of most of the best Disney songs/movies of all time with super cool graphics on the castle. Fireworks are not even the star of the show, they are just the icing on the cake. Lines were insane during EMH again, so we did not stay till the end. Historically we have done well getting on rides during PM EMH, but both times this trip the park seemed to be packed. Took the boat back go GF since the monorail line was pretty nuts. If you can get on a boat quick it is really fast, boat ride itself is like 2 mins.

    Thurs - 8/31

    Pre-open ADR at MGM for Disney Jr Hollywood and Vine. Again up 7:00, out by 7:15, on but 7:30, at park 7:45. Wife signed kids up for Jedi while I checked into breakfast. Pretty standard character breakfast here, although they did have an omelet station, which not all character breakfasts do. The croissants were also top notch, super flaky real french croissants. In general I was surprised by the quality of the croissants across the whole trip, and they were by bread of choice whenever there was a choice. Also they had a build your own ice cream sundae station which the kids LOVED. This is basically the 4th meal so far where the kids had ice cream as their primary source of calories :)

    Fastpasses at Toy Story and Star tours, which we did right after the Ariel show. Then we checked into Jedi Training, all 3 big kids did it. Lot of sitting around waiting until they get up to march to the show. But was totally worth the wait. Kids get trained by a Jedi master (there was a girl and a guy trainer) as part of the show, then Vader comes to attack and the kids have to fight him off! Got some great pics. Was super hot (real feel 108!) so they gave all the participants an icy bottled water after the show! Kids each got a sip while I drank 2 of them myself.

    We had a 1:20 TOT fastpass, so kids got a snack (Ice cream obv), before catching the 1:00 Belle show before TOT one last time. Left the park before 2, back to the room before 2:30 for another swim. This was prolly the hottest day of the trip. Pool water had to be 90, was barely even refreshing.

    Dinner was Hoop-dee-doo Revue! DW and I did this 10+ years ago and remembered loving it, but didn't really remember much about it. Took the monorail to MK and then the boat to Fort Wilderness. Staff was super fast and friendly. The cornbread it absolutely top notch. Comes with generous amounts of butter and no actual corn in the bread which would of course make it inedible. Then the show starts, and it is super quick/fun, all 4 kids loved it. We got some fries for the kids, but other than that they ate the fried chicken and ribs. Fried chicken is pretty good, ribs were fine, maybe slightly above meh. Good flavor, but not super tender. Then they bring out the dessert, really good strawberry shortcake, and I get tapped by one of the girls in the show to follow her to the stage! I forgot people were plucked from the audience to be in it! I was the Indian Chief, the most boring role, but still insanely awesome to be on stage. They even gave me a line, I had to scream and cry and yell when Davey dies! Got a certificate, and free photos on our photopass! The kids were in awe that somehow I was on the stage! This was pretty much the high point of the trip for me, looking out at them watching me on the stage, just hit me in all the right spots. Felt like that was what Disney is all about, or is supposed to be about at least.

    We hadn't planned to do much after Hoop-Dee-Doo, as all the parks closed ~9:00 that night, but we were done at like 8:15 and had just enough time to get to MK for HEA again! Yes it was just as magical the second time :)

    Fri - 9/1

    Pre-open ADR at Tusker House in AK! Plan was to pre-RD Avatar. Tusker house breakfast was also pretty good. Had more lox and a few African dishes which we mostly skipped. But the Mickey waffles and Bacon were top notch :) Also they had the same coffee cake that I had had at dinner, so I had 2-3 more pieces of that. It is really good. Oh and they had this amazing orange/mango/(guava?) juice that we must have drank 3-4 liters of as a family.

    We got to Pandora by about 8:50 and the line for Flight of Passage was already 120 mins!!! We had a fastpass for later (1:45) but were hoping to ride it twice. Were not gonna wait 2 hrs though, so we tried Navi River Journey, which had literally zero wait, we just walked right on! Was cute, I am kind of an Avatar Junkie so I liked it. Kids had all seen the movie so they also got a kick out of it. DW is basically anti-sci-fi so it got a big meh from her. For those that haven't been on it, it is basically Small Word with Avatar stuff. It is a LOT better if you have seen the movie though because you recognize everything.

    Our fastpasses were for later in the day, starting at 11:00 Safari. So after Pandora we saw It's Tough to be a Bug, and signed up for Wilderness Explorers for the big kids, which they loved. Then some Dino land stuff before heading back to the Safari. We CRUSHED the safari. Saw basically everything including some super closeups of the giraffes who crossed the road right in front of our truck as well as baby elephants! I think every single animal was out and active on our safari. I guess because it was 108 degrees again so it was close to their natural habitat :) Then we everest'd again this time DD (9) did it. Said it was good, but she didnt wanna do it again :) We also Rider switched this as well as a bunch of other rides, which let me ride it twice (1st time I FP with 2 kids, get a RS. Then DW goes with 1 kid with her fastpass. Now we are left with a RS for me and 2 kids who wanna ride the ride again :) Oldest trick in the book.

    So now it was time for Flight of Passage. I figured the fastpass line would be pretty long given the 200 min standby wait or whatever. I went on it first with DD (9) and DD (7.) It was only about 10 mins before we got into our pod. The whole beginning thing is very cool. I think they are really measuring you so you get on the right sized banshee? Then we moved out into the main room and strapped in. Had literally no idea what to expect for any of this. Turns out it is actually the greatest ride on planet earth. Was just absolutely incredible. It's like Soarin and Star Tours and Avatar had a baby. On crack. If is the best ride in Disney BY FAR, and I would bet a lot it is the best ride on earth. I would totally wait 3 hours to ride it. I would basically fly to Orlando and wait around all day just to ride it. So after we get out, shaking etc because it was so good, DW went on with DS (5.) Wife liked it less than me, but even she admitted it was insane. Since we rider switched, I got to ride it again with 2 of the big kids! Just about as good the second time. Grabbed one of those fruity bubble tea things right next door (which was great. They also have some bubble tea alcoholic drinks as well I will try out another time) for the walk out, did not leave the park till close to 3 this time, but it was worth it it. Riding Avatar was up there with Hoop-dee-doo for me, another absolute highlight of the trip.

    We had no plans that night, were just going to wing it. Wife wanted to Epcot again, so we hit the Mexico QS for dinner and shop/eat snacks/illuminations. It was the first day of Food and Wine, so the park was really packed. Could not get a 4th fastpass today unfortunately, and the lines for Soarin/TT were all 70+ mins, so we basically didnt ride anything. At that point it really started to rain, so we decided to bail on Illuminations (easier since we were coming back the following night) and walked out the back end of the park to the Boardwalk and got Ample Hills, this amazing Ice cream place that we had tried earlier in the year in Brooklyn and just opened at DW. Try the Oatmeal Lace-something, it is the best. They are all great. They also have this thing where you can try 6 different scoops in a sampler for like $9, was basically perfect, we got to try everything (well they did. I got myself my own triple scoop of course.) From there it is tough to get back to GF, but we knew those new Minnie Vans (hah!) were running from the boardwalk hotels, so I just downloaded the Lyft app and called a Minnie Van. From the moment I downloaded the app till the car showed up could not have been more than 10 mins, and that included a lot of app setup/logistics. Car showed up maybe 2 mins after I requested it. While you go through the lyft app, the cars are driven by Disney cast members! So super fun/friendly etc. It is $20 to go anywhere on Disney property. They can hold up to 6 people, including 2 car seats! Basically tailor-made for us :) So that saved us about an hour of trekking through the rain to the front of epcot and switching monorails etc, so we got home at a normal-ish time, before 10:00.

    Sat - 9/2

    Last day :( Although the trip was so long (in the past we have only gone for 3-4 days) and magical I wasn't even THAT sad to leave. Usually I am in tears when I am walking out of the MK the final time. We had a pre-open ADR at BOG again, which we often get just to get a free fastpass for SDMT. Only ordered 3 of the Egg and Bacon sammies on croissants this time, for all of us to share. Again, that plus the pastries was basically the perfect amount of food.

    We had Space, Enchanted Tales with Belle, and HM fastpasses for later today (Splash under construction.) So first we knocked out SDMT, then Peter Pan, no wait on either. Then Big Thunder Mountain with no wait before doing a loop around to Pirates and some mid morning Dole Whip (I am def getting one of those Watch me Whip t-shirts) before landing at Space Mountain. Then we did Belle, and I got to be one of the knights! This is also a really great show, all the kids just love it. Then we did HM, although DS (5) did not want to do it again, so we went into the HM gift shop. All this rider switching gave us a lot of time to check out shops that we usually just pass by, which was a nice upside. They had a service where they take your pic and turn you into one of those half real/half ghost pics, depending on the angle you are looking at it, for only $25. That felt pretty cheap (again, for Disney, and especially that store.) That store has some really great stuff, but every time I would say ok I would buy this for like $25, and would check the price and it would be $90. Prolly the most overprices store in Disney unfortunately.

    For lunch I wanted to try ordering ahead on the app so we would know how well it worked for next time, so we got a couple of lobster rolls from Columbia Harbor house via the app. Was relatively simple, and saved us from a pretty long line. Lobster roll was fine. Not amazing, but decent enough. 1 or 2 more rides before our last siesta.

    Dinner than night was Via Napoli in Epcot, but early (5:30.) Was hoping to score another fastpass for Soarin/Test Track but it was Saturday and Food and Wine so just had no shot. We did Spaceship earth on the way in though and DS (5) was DYING all week to take us to the color/innovations thing he did earlier in the week while waiting for others to ride something. Was ok, mostly awesome because he was so excited to show us. Got to dinner a little early, just got one giant sheet pizza to share and a salad. Relatively light after a pretty heavy week of eating. Then we went to the store in Japan to get some souvenirs for cousins/etc. Then we did the Phineas and Ferb thing at France (you can do it at like 6 different countries.) It was really cute. Kind of Carmen San Diego-esque and you can do it right on your phone. Once we even had to talk to one of the cashiers as a part of the game and he gave us a free penny which we got to press for free as a part of the game! Kids LOVED this as well. I was just along for the ride, crushing one of those brioche ice cream sandwiches while they did all the work.

    After that I decided to audible back to HEA instead of Illuminations (which is a big deal for me, I am one of the biggest Illuminations fans around) but HEA is just so good. Plus MK was open till 11 so we could see HEA and then do a few more rides. We took the monorail back to MK and entered around 8:40. We decided to try and watch from the platform in the front, where the train loads, figuring it would prolly be too crowded but worth a try. It actually worked out pretty well! I only had to hold DD (2) who is like 30 lbs, the big kids all found little pockets in between grown-ups to get a good view from! From there we did Ariel one last time, and Space and SDMT as well since we had Rider swaps from earlier in the week. We also did a bunch of Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom (which we had been doing here and there the whole vacation and I have not mentioned yet) Highly recommend this, the kids all loved it and it was a nice break when the ride lines were getting long. We just did 1 magic band, but registered all 4 kids so they could all get a pack of cards whenever we went to MK. Stayed till the close this time (11 PM) since it was our last night. Monorail back to GF and in bed by around midnight.

    We got an email from Spirit saying our 11:30 flight got moved back to 1:30, so we decided to sleep through our 8 AM DME bus. I went down around 8:30 to try and arrange another bus, but somehow DME is super strict and only give you an extra half hour of leeway to change your reservation?!? Even if your flight got moved? I politely complained that is was crazy to leave for the airport at 8 AM for our 1:30 flight, and was rewarded with a voucher for a free cab ride. So it mostly worked out and the kids got an extra hour of sleep. Also our cabbie knew a lot about the new stuff coming out at Disney. Said within a few years, the fireworks shows are going to be completely replaced with drone shows?!?!? Not sure what that means but if Disney ditches HEA for it it better be amazing. At the airport I had my first Coke Zero Sugar which thankfully tasted mostly like Coke Zero. I had been losing sleep over Coke Zero potentially disappearing from my life, but it looks like I am saved for now (although a sample size of 1 is hardly conclusive of course.) Plane took off slightly early, and we landed in Philly and got our favorite pizza at Pica's in Upper Darby on the way home, perfect ending to a perfect trip!

    So anyway, that was a little look into how our family does Disney! Pretty standard rope-drop/pre-RD ADR, then a mid day siesta, then back to another park at night. We went a little overboard on ADR's this time, as we saved a bunch of money on the room, but overall it was still a little too pricey and I think we will dial it back next time we go. In total each kid got maybe $20 in souvenirs (1-2 small-ish things) plus a T-shirt. All in all a perfect magical trip!

    TL;DR - Flight of Passage is absurdly good, HEA is great, SOMK is great, 50's prime time sucks.

    Also: Ride Rankings (no arguing here, these are official):

    1) Avatar - Flight of Passage
    2) Tower of Terror
    3) Soarin
    4) Toy Story
    5) Rockin Roller Coaster
    6) Splash Mountain
    7) Space Mountain
    8) Haunted Mansion
    9) Everest
    10) Test Track
     
    tzeitel and BLaird like this.
  2. disneyAndi14

    disneyAndi14 DIS Veteran

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    Sounds awesome, we were there the same time 8/26-9/4/17, we also had a magical deal at the Poly, loved it! Thanks for the review!
     
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  4. DeterminedOne

    DeterminedOne <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/photopost/data/500

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    Your family is a well oiled machine - up and out the door in 15 minutes. Nice!
    Sorry to hear about your experience at 50's. We have a lunch ADR there soon that I switched from Sci-Fi. :guilty:
    How was the interaction with your server?
     
  5. thumper*

    thumper* Disney Dreamer

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
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    Love these and it's all we buy anymore

    Ha I had to get it on our last trip because of all the rave reviews but I thought it just meh...if not a little dry

    I bet

    Oh yum lucky kids

    Awesome.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this up sounds like it was great trip
     
  6. neen01

    neen01 Earning My Ears

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    Nov 3, 2018
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    What a great trip!
     
  7. a1tinkfans

    a1tinkfans Spreading Some Pixie Dust Today!

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    Great trip. Thx for sharing
     
  8. sheri18

    sheri18 Mouseketeer

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    Jul 18, 2011
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    Sounds like a fun trip...are there 2 menus at Teppan Edo ....I looked on line to see...or is it all Alacate
     
  9. Halley Fitz

    Halley Fitz Earning My Ears

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    Nov 7, 2018
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    Great review! My first trip in over 5 years, and my first ever while having a child.. How do you go about getting pre open ADR?
     

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