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  1. #1
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    Default PopPhan Party of One Wrap-Up Part 2

    Dates: November 29 – December 6, 2017
    Resort: Pop Century – Standard Room
    Visitors: Me, myself, and I -- 55 and proud to be a Disney Phanatic!


    Friday: Up again at 6:30am to get ready for my early FP+ options at MK. Haunted Mansion, Jingle Cruise and Peter Pan’s Flight were on the agenda. Also got a ride on Small World, Pirates, TTA and a few others while I was there. Timing was really in my favor for most of this trip. After leaving MK, I headed over to DHS for the afternoon. There I got in the queues for the Star Wars characters – BB-8, Chewbacca and Kylo Ren. Coming out of these, I saw the sign for the Chase Disney Visa Character Meet and Greet – StarLord and Baby Groot! Such a pleasant surprise!!! I was in my glory. Got some pics at Sunset Seasons Greetings while I was there.

    Saturday: Made my first visit to Animal Kingdom today. Park opened at 8:00am, but Pandora was packed by 8:30am and the stand-by for Flight Of Passage was already at 120 minutes. So, I went over to Na’vi River Journey and did that. That section of the park was impressive, but actually smaller than I had expected it to be, which made for tight crowds. Gotta say that the Lumpia is well worth it if you like pineapple and cream cheese!!!! Loved it! Had a safari ride and walked both trails, enjoying the fact that this was the first trip in years that I did not have either back or foot problems. Still really enjoy AK, even without the addition of Pandora.

    Evening was back to MK for FP+ options – Big Thunder Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Jingle Cruise. Did not stick around for the fireworks show and I really don’t remember why.

    Sunday: I did not have any FP+ options for this day, as I did not have my AP before my trip and didn’t even try to get anything after the upgrade. Spent the morning hours at Disney Springs. OK, here is my only real complaint for this entire trip – bus travel FROM Disney Springs back to the resort. Pop was just about as far from the exit as you can get and I waited more than 30 minutes for a bus to arrive at 12:30pm. Not impressed with only one bus drop off/pick up area.

    Disney Springs has become a big ticket area, losing some of the charm that it once had. I’m spending enough in the parks themselves, I did not need the big ticket stores in the Springs. The architecture fits the theme, so I did enjoy that, but other than the normal shops I stop at – Once Upon A Toy, World of Disney, Ghirardelli – I could have passed on this visit.

    Prior to my trip, knowing that I did not have a regular park ticket for this day, I decided to splurge and get a ticket for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. I had done this once before and decided to try it again. Lots of pics on the way in and many photo ops throughout the park during the party. I thought that the crowds were heavier for the party than during normal park hours, but it was still manageable and I was able to ride quite a few rides while still seeing the shows throughout the park. Was in line to get pics with Snow White and Aurora, but they had to leave for the second parade before I got to get pics. Bummer!! Did get to see Holiday Wishes and use my Gear 360 to video the show for posterity.

    One thing more…I arrived just in time for the Flag Retreat Ceremony, a first for me, and was awed with it. If you get a chance to see it, do so.

    Monday: Spent the morning hours bouncing between EPCOT and DHS. Found the second Character Spot and got pics with Baymax and Joy and Sorrow. A ride on Test Track through Single Rider was fun and just walking around with no particular place to be was relaxing. Over at DHS, I visited Muppet Show 3D and hit the Baseline Taphouse for a beer flight.

    Then, it was off to Animal Kingdom for my evening festivities. FP+ for Finding Nemo: The Musical, Expedition Everest, where I got my first front row seat ride ever!!, and Avatar Flights Of Passage. Two things: Front row on Everest makes it a completely different ride! Much more exciting. Second, Flights Of Passage is absolutely awesome! I tried the ‘test chair’ outside the attraction and just barely fit, so I was thinking I might be one of those who weren’t allowed on the real ride, but when I got in and seated there was no problem at all. To those who are concerned after trying the test seat, know that the real seats are a bit larger and fit much nicer. (Thank goodness for that!!! I would have HATED to miss this!) Going in, I thought this was going to be a Soarin’ on steroids ride, but it is SO much more than that. I won’t go into details, for those who may not have ridden this yet, but I can fully understand why this has 2 hour queues shortly after park open. Once I came off the ride, I decided to see if I could get to Rivers Of Light and check out that show. Turns out that I had plenty of time and got decent seats across from the entrance to Nemo. I had watched the video of the show when it opened and was kind of non-committal on what I thought about it, but actually sitting in the theater and watching it live, I can honestly say that it is a new ‘must do’ in AK.

    Tuesday: Back to MK for a final trip around the park, hitting anything that I had missed or that I wanted to hit again. Missed a chance for pics with Jasmine and Genie as they had just closed the queue before I got there. So, I treated myself to another Dole Whip instead and watched those getting pictures with them. Oh well, maybe next trip.

    Evening was spent at EPCOT with FP+ for Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth (which, for some odd reason, ALWAYS had a line when I was there,) and Soarin’. I did the Green Team side of Mission: Space to see what they had done to the story. It wasn’t bad, but didn’t have the punch that the original story has. This was my first visit with the Soarin’ update and I was happy with it. Got used to the original, but this is a nice update, getting to see places that I may never get the chance to see in person. After Soarin’, I made my way to World Showcase to get ready for Illuminations. Plenty of time, so I stopped in Norway for a School (Skul) Bread and Viking Coffee. That is a GREAT combination!!! Making my way around, I stopped to watch and listen to the Candlelight Processional. As always, a very touching show with a great choir of cast members and local school choirs with Pat Sajak as narrator. I wasn’t able to get a seat for the show, but stood in the back and took it in. Afterwards, I made my way to my ‘normal’ viewing area for Illuminations – beside the slushy stand in the France Pavilion, but all the seats were taken there as well. I stood in that area anyway to take in the show. I love Illuminations anyway, but with the ‘holiday tag’ it is even better. Great way to finish up my last night in the parks. Well, not quite. EPCOT had Evening EMH, so I just wandered about for a while, got another ride on Frozen Ever After, and checked out some of the rest of the pavilions before returning to my room.

    Wednesday: Check out day. Late flight, so I still had a chance to go to one more park. I had chosen AK beforehand. Had FP+ for Avatar Flight Of Passage (glad I did!!), Festival Of The Lion King, and Kilimanjaro Safaris. Even though it is getting a bit old, FotLK is still a great show. I am thinking that they could update or upgrade this though. The safari was excellent. My FP+ was for 11:40am, but the animals were still very active all over the savannah. After the safari, I hit Tamu Tamu Refreshments for an ‘adult’ Dole Whip. Dole Whip with coconut rum is a deadly mix! LOL I could sip on these all day long. One more walk around the park and I found Mickey and Minnie in their holiday attire at Creature Comforts, with no line, so I got my Christmas card photo with them. Hit It’s Tough To Be A Bug, then made my way back to the resort to wait for my DME bus back to the airport.

    At the airport, the place was empty! There were very few people in the main terminal and NO lines at security. That 4 hour window, rather than 3, for DME was really unnecessary. I found out that I had TSA Pre-Check and was able to go through security without emptying my backpack or taking off my shoes. That was a pleasant surprise. Uneventful flight back to Baltimore. We even arrived about 10 minutes early. A short wait for my checked bag, then the hour drive home to PA, getting in around 12:30am.

    It was a long trip, but very enjoyable. Upgrading to an AP saved me some money (the few times I remembered to check for discounts) and I am ready to make a couple shorter trips this coming year. Probably April/May and mid-October.

    Weather was outstanding. I had been watching reports before I left and was expecting mid-70’s for highs and upper 50’s for lows, but got low 80’s for highs and mid 60’s for lows the entire trip. Might have preferred the mid 70’s, but who can complain!! Clear skies and not a drop of rain the entire time.

    Crowds in the parks were moderate to low, except for the MVMCP. At the resort, the Pop Warner and Cheer groups came in for the weekend, but they were well behaved the whole time.

    Lots of road construction all over the area. Will be really nice when it’s all done, but for now, it is an eyesore. Park construction is moving apace and does not really detract from anything. Construction at Pop looks like it is going well, but not much to look at right now. Hate to see the resort prices skyrocket when the SkyLiner is completed and operational.

    Apologies for getting so long-winded. Thanks to anyone who decided to make this trip with me and actually made it to this point.
    -Bud

    Walt Disney World:
    9/03 - CBR
    1/09 - BWV
    9/05; 2/07; 12/07; 9/08; 9/09; 9/10; 9/11; 12/13; 12/17; 4/18 - PC
    5/15 - POR

    Disneyland: 12/15 - Paradise Pier Hotel

    Next up: October 16-24, 2018 Pop Century

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  4. #2
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    Thanks for sharing with us, you really lucked out with the crowds and got a lot done. Just curious but you always seemed to be on the go, what was you step total for the trip?
    - Lynn -
    INTERCOT Staff: Theme Parks, DVC

  5. #3
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    Lynn,

    I just went back and added up the readings....136,622 steps. 68.8 miles. Now, I have never 'measured' my steps, so the mileage is based on what it has determined the average step length is.

    Yes, I was quite busy, but always had time to 'stop and smell the roses.' In my case, stop and have an 'adult' beverage and a bite to eat.
    -Bud

    Walt Disney World:
    9/03 - CBR
    1/09 - BWV
    9/05; 2/07; 12/07; 9/08; 9/09; 9/10; 9/11; 12/13; 12/17; 4/18 - PC
    5/15 - POR

    Disneyland: 12/15 - Paradise Pier Hotel

    Next up: October 16-24, 2018 Pop Century

  6. #4
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    What great trip reports. Felt like I was there. Thanks so much.

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  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by PopPhan View Post
    Lynn,

    I just went back and added up the readings....136,622 steps. 68.8 miles. Now, I have never 'measured' my steps, so the mileage is based on what it has determined the average step length is.

    Yes, I was quite busy, but always had time to 'stop and smell the roses.' In my case, stop and have an 'adult' beverage and a bite to eat.
    Wow

    Glad you took the time to indulge, that's what vacations are meant for.
    - Lynn -
    INTERCOT Staff: Theme Parks, DVC

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  10. #6
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    Excellent trip and wonderful reports!!!
    Linda aka: Faline
    INTERCOT Staff: Vacation Planning,Trip Reports and Disney Camping
    faline@intercot.com

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  12. #7
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    Glad you had a good trip! Yes, we probably did cross paths several times. I am going back in April and October so will have to check dates. Trying for Pop in April but depends on rates. My daughter wants Caribbean Beach but I bet we end up with All Star. In October Shades of Green
    We'll Go On....Off To Neverland

    Wishes!

    It's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow....Where Dreams Really Do Come True

    Never Forget It was All Started By A Mouse....TTFN

  13. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katzateer View Post
    Glad you had a good trip! Yes, we probably did cross paths several times. I am going back in April and October so will have to check dates. Trying for Pop in April but depends on rates. My daughter wants Caribbean Beach but I bet we end up with All Star. In October Shades of Green
    Do you know that I have never stayed in any of the All-Stars resorts? Even from my first research, I saw the concerns over the shared buses and shied away from them. BUT, with the SkyLiner coming to Pop and AoA, I expect the prices to jump into the Moderate price range. Convenience comes at a cost.

    Since the acts playing at the Flower and Garden Festival (Garden Rocks) have been announced, I am tightening up my date ranges for my early trip -- March 30 - April 2: The Orchestra; April 27 - 30: Blood, Sweat and Tears; or May 13 - 14: Don Felder....Bouncing around and waiting to see what, if any, AP discounts come out before I pull the trigger. Might be a shorter trip - Thursday to Tuesday, rather than my normal Wednesday to Wednesday trips, but we'll see what happens.
    -Bud

    Walt Disney World:
    9/03 - CBR
    1/09 - BWV
    9/05; 2/07; 12/07; 9/08; 9/09; 9/10; 9/11; 12/13; 12/17; 4/18 - PC
    5/15 - POR

    Disneyland: 12/15 - Paradise Pier Hotel

    Next up: October 16-24, 2018 Pop Century

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