Adventures in Walt Disney World

IMG_3426Psst! Hey, everyone. It’s me—Mistletoe! I figured since Laurie is too busy running around doing “life”—which includes everything but the one thing she should be doing (working on her Christmas story!)—I’d share with you my latest escapade. You know—for posterity’s sake.

Cuz for a doll like me, taking a trip to Walt Disney World is worth remembering!

Okay, okay—I snuck into WDW via Laurie’s travel bag when she wasn’t looking.

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Can you blame me? I’ve been listening to these plans since last fall! What doll wouldn’t take advantage of Laurie’s distraction during the pre-vacation packing? Um, besides all the Ellowyne dolls, the two Prudence dolls…and Tori…and Ping Lei… I almost convinced Piper to join me, but she said one doll would be less conspicuous than two.

But hoo, boy! I had no idea getting to the east coast from Montana was such a process! Two flights. Always two flights. And this time we had a four-hour layover in Minneapolis. No way was I going to stay cooped up in that bag for 240 minutes…

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At long last, after leaving Missoula, Montana around 6am, we arrived in Orlando, Florida at 5:20pm, where we hopped the Disney Express bus and joined up with Laurie’s parents and her sister’s family at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort. There we stayed for the first half of our vacation. What a fun place that was, with cobblestone streets, wrought iron fences, a pool featuring a sea serpent, and way more foliage than I’m used to! As Laurie and her family enjoyed a late dinner, I made friends with the local alligators and stretched my legs on the nearby playground.

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For the second half of the vacation, we stayed at the Polynesian, reminiscent of the South Pacific with its palm trees, tropical vegetation, and sandy beaches. The Lava Pool is the main attraction for the kids, with its 142-foot water slide through a volcano, and across the lake one can make out the distant view of Cinderella’s castle in the Magic Kingdom, just a monorail ride away.

Gazing out at the beach from the [] lounge at the Polynesian

Gazing out at the beach from the lounge in the Hawaii building at the Polynesian

Astride a horse in the lobby of the Grand Floridian

Astride a horse in the lobby of the Grand Floridian

For the next week, I called a Cabela’s knapsack “home.” Laurie carried it with her everywhere—to every kingdom, every meal, every ride, every event and show—and I fit quite well in the main compartment.

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Over the course of a few visits to the Magic Kingdom, we hit all the popular rides, such as Thunder, Splash, and Space Mountain, as well as the newest roller coaster, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. We enjoyed the less-popular but always entertaining attractions like the Carousel of Progress and Mickey’s Philharmonic in 3D. Aside from the characters we met at several character dinners, we also met Anna (Laurie’s favorite), Elsa, Merida, Tinker Bell (Laurie’s second fav), and even caught a glimpse of Flynn Rider wending through the crowds! {Swoon}

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Eek! There’s Flynn Rider! Be still my heart.

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Ahem. For lunch one day, we dined in the Beast’s Enchanted Castle. It was amazing! Most people sat in the ballroom to eat—get a load of those chandeliers!—but Laurie’s mom led them into the West Wing. Dark, gloomy, and thunderous, the room contained the enchanted rose, as well as a slashed picture of the prince over the fireplace. Every so often during a spine-chilling rumble of thunder, that prince changed into a picture of the Beast! :O Not the most cheerful atmosphere in which to eat a meal (Laurie’s youngest did not enjoy), but hey, the food tasted delicious and I got some selfies out of it! (Lighting was terrible, so sorry for the less-than-professional pics!)

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The ballroom. Check out the chandeliers!

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Cousin, daughter #2, daughter #1

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We visited Animal Kingdom only once, and only once did I sneak out of the bag. Can I say, “People!” There were people everywhere! Not only was it summer break for the US, but apparently it was also Brazil’s winter break, so that didn’t help with the congestion. But after conquering Mt. Everest (now that’s a roller coaster), bracing the Kali River Rapids (not a dry seat on the boat), and surviving the Kilimanjaro Safari (lions and rhinos and giraffes, oh my!), I did manage to get this one selfie:

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And then there’s Epcot—way more fun now than Laurie remembers it being as a kid twenty-five years ago. It offers dozens of fun rides in the Future World that hadn’t existed “back then,” and let’s face it: learning about another country’s history and culture in the World Showcase is far more interesting as an adult than as a child. Germany and France are Laurie’s natural favorite countries to visit, but Norway runs a close third. Her family on her mother’s side has an odd fixation with the trolls in that country that stems back to their first visit in the 1980’s, plus Norway will now feature characters and a ride from Frozen (Laurie’s favorite Disney animated film).

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Here is Laurie’s oldest daughter. Great pose, right? I so wanted to do that pose myself, but once again—people! So I settled for second best. (Please tell me you see the big ball behind me to the left!)

Me with my Mexican Sombrero and my German beer stein.

Me with my Mexican Sombrero and my German beer stein.

And here I am in Canada. They show a ten-minute film in a 360-degree theater, hosted by Martin Short. I didn’t stop laughing the entire time. (And I had no clue so many well-known actors call Canada home!)

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Hollywood Studios was Laurie’s hubby’s favorite kingdom, hands down. (But then, with the new Star Wars attractions, that didn’t come as much of a shocker.) We watched the theatrical performance of Beauty and the Beast, caught the Frozen Sing Along that ended with an auditorium full of snow, blasted through Star Tours, a 3D motion-simulated ride that offers over 50 story combinations—almost ensuring you’ll have a different experience each time—and stayed late one evening to watch Fantasmic (once again, Laurie’s youngest was not too thrilled by the scarier bits). Laurie’s hubby, off on his own at one point, ended up following the crowd to a huge outdoor arena where he sat spell-bound as the Extreme Stunt Show unfolded before him featuring race cars that performed high-speed chases, split-second spins, and explosions.

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Unfortunately, I have no picture of my days in Hollywood Studios, since the first day the Germaines visited, they were on a tight schedule—no time for me to sneak out and wander—and the second day it rained off and on, enough to get everything extremely wet.

Oh, well. Next time. There will be a next time, right?

Anyone else going to Walt Disney World? Mind if I tag along?

Anyone else going to Walt Disney World? Mind if I tag along?

I’ve heard Laurie’s sister (who lives 40 minutes from Walt Disney World) is going to treat herself and her family members to year-round passes to WDW as a way of celebrating her fortieth birthday. Wonder if I can ship myself back to Florida around Christmastime for some more pics? (I never did get a selfie with that Norway troll…)

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