Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Nightmare Before Christmas In Walt Disney World

What's this? What's this?
There's color everywhere



What's this?
There's white things in the air


What's this?
I can't believe my eyes, I must be dreaming
Wake up, Jack, this isn't fair



What's this?


What's this? What's this?
There's something very wrong
What's this?
There're people singing songs


What's this?
The streets are lined with little creatures laughing
Everybody seems so happy


Have I possibly gone daffy?
What's this? What's this?
There're children throwing snowballs
Instead of throwing heads
They're busy building toys
And absolutely no one's dead


There's frost on every window
Oh, I can't believe my eyes
And in my bones I feel the warmth
That's coming from inside


Oh look - what's this?
They're hanging mistletoe
They kiss?


Why that looks so unique - inspired!

They're gathering around to hear a story



Roasting chestnuts on a fire
What's this?

What's this?
In here they've got a little tree, how queer!
And who would ever think
and why?


They're covering it with tiny little things
They've got electric lights on strings
And there's a smile on everyone
So now correct me if I'm wrong


This looks like fun
This looks like fun
Oh, could it be I got my wish?
What's this?

Oh my, what now?
The children are asleep
But look, there's nothing underneath
No ghouls, no witches here to scream and scare them or ensnare them



Only little cozy things
Secure inside their dreamland



WHAT'S THIS?

The monsters are all missing
And the nightmares can't be found



And in their place there seems to be
Good feeling all around



Instead of screams, I swear 
I can hear music in the air




The smell of cakes and pies are absolutely everywhere



The sights, the sounds!
They're everywhere and all around


I've never felt so good before



This empty place inside of me is filling up


I simply cannot get enough


I want it, oh I want it!
Oh, I want it for my own


I've got to know
I've got to know
What is this place that I have found?
What? IS? THIS???




Walt Disney World? Hmmm...

Merry Christmas from FRoA! I'm off to do Christmas-y and birthday-y things. See you in the new year!

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 12/20

Becky from Disney In Your Day challenged me to figure out which five characters I would invite to a Disney Christmas dinner party, so I'm going to start with that because it's more interesting and festive than anything else I have to say at this time, trust me.

This is an unexpectedly difficult question and I had to do some pondering before I came up with an answer. So rather than do the responsible blogger thing and craft something thoughtful, I decided to cheat. My answers are: Dug from Up, Figaro from Pinocchio, Max from Tangled, Khan from Mulan, and that cute barking stool from Beauty and the Beast. Lots of animal snuggles and Dug could translate!

There! Merry Christmas. Now for the workout log:

Sunday | rest day
This was kinda-sorta an unscheduled rest day. I had tentatively planned to run anywhere from 5 to 7 miles, but it was cold and there was residual snow on the ground and I had a 15 miler coming up later in the week so I elected to skip it. #noregrets

Monday | ran 5.31 miles outside in 55 minutes

Tuesday | walked 2.08 miles outside a 35 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Wednesday | ran 15.38 miles on the treadmill in 2:35
Also known as my long run before the WDW Marathon. Should I run longer? Probably, sure, yeah. Will I? Naaaah. Call me crazy but I think 15 is fine - I'm still mildly in IT Band injury recovery and the WDW Marathon is not that demanding. No PRs here! I did the same last year and had a great race, so we'll see what happens.

Thursday | walked 2.24 miles outside in 40 minutes; 60 minute ballet class
SO. COLD. WINTER. BLOWS.

Friday | ran 5.36 miles outside in 55 minutes

Saturday | rest day
A very Christmas-y day! We watched three Christmas movies and wrapped presents and it was awesome.



Ruffian was a huge help.

Annnnnnd the roundup:


Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Monday, December 18, 2017

In Which Jenn Goes On All-Star Runs


It's trip report time! You can see all the posts in this report here.

In a Walt Disney World trip diaspora dominated by races, there's not usually a ton of room for training runs. When you're pounding out a half or even a full marathon (or both and more!) you don't exactly want to pile it on. And so when I planned my most recent trip with my mom and there was no race in sight, I knew I needed to squeeze in some early morning solo miles.

My runs took place mostly on the sidewalk that connects all three All-Star results. Not precisely the most magical trail WDW has to offer, but a helluva lot more magical than anywhere else, y'know?

The official running path itself is pretty unassuming - you pick up the sidewalk in front of (or even inside) your resort and then pick a direction. If you head toward the main road you'll run out of the resort past the security checkpoint, a McDonald's in view across the intersection. If you go the other way you'll bottom out in All-Star Movies.

Running the whole thing out and back will net you roundabouts 3 miles if you tack on a little bit of time in Movies. Which I did, circling Bo Peep and Woody and some of Andy's toys. You could easily eke out a little more mileage snaking your way through all three resorts and their oversize decorations, but then you run a greater risk of having to dodge other people, which I didn't want to do. (And yes, there were people out and about at 6am. Go figure.)

There is another chance for expansion - I saw across from the McDonald's a bit of path and a bridge heading into the woods. I don't know where it goes or how far or if it's even accessible by the common man, but I am intrigued. Perhaps I'll have to check it out sometime.

The only other resort I've ever taken a training run in is Pop Century, and to be honest I think I prefer running lazy loops around Hourglass Lake. But the All-Star path ain't bad. And maybe, if I'm very lucky, I'll someday get to run the Boardwalk or even the monorail resort sidewalk. Goals!

Subliminal messaging?

Have you run in any of the resorts? Which is your favorite for training?

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 12/03

It's trip report time! You can see all the posts in this report here.

I had to get up and run on the last morning, because it was my final chance to run in WDW! So I took a quick jaunt around the All-Star Resorts before showering and prepping. We checked our luggage at the airline outpost and headed out.

We arrived at Disney's Animal Kingdom in due time and zipped through the Annual Passholder line before merging with the masses waiting outside Pandora. We came to a standstill at 8:32am for a 9am park opening time, and it was already nutsssss. People as far as the eye can see behind and in front. I can scarcely imagine what it was like for anyone attempting to maneuver a stroller.

They started to let us into the land about ten minutes later, and at first it was very much like being part of a herd - no room, no clear path, just wall to wall animals proceeding in one direction. Minimal pushing at least (but not, like, NO pushing; this isn't Shangra-La). 

Eventually we came upon Cast Members with organization on the mind, and we were funneled into a looooong line. A CM nearby held the stick-sign - Flights of Passage Line Stars Here. We were in the right place.

The line proceeded with surprising steadiness, and as we inched toward the real queue area we saw more and more people joining it behind us; that's how crazy it was. As we passed under the legit entrance the standby wait time read 90 minutes. But I was counting on it being shorter. I don't know why exactly; call it a Disney vet's hunch.

And I was right; we were miraculously leaving our banshee experience behind and wandering into the gift shop at 9:35am. The listed wait time was clearly inflated and the line itself was even exacerbated - Disney wasn't using the full queue area. Based on what I've seen in online photos, we never even saw half the rooms; we were straight from the caves to the hallway. I only glimpsed the avatar in a tube from afar. Ah well.

Avatar headbonking risk.

I enjoyed FoP more the second time, as is often the case with me for anything really, once the anxiety of inherent surprise has warn off and I'm better able to relax, observe, and enjoy the details. The water spray is a nice touch I didn't notice the first time. But I still don't think it's anything super special.

I was matched with avatar 13!

So that was a great triumph - getting to Pandora in time to experience FoP without waiting several billion years, or even one billion. Yet I was about to do us one better.

While enjoying the truncated FoP queue I refreshed the MDE app obsessively to see what sort of FastPasses were available; I hadn't scheduled anything for this day as I wanted to let my mother choose what we would do on the last day. Everything was open to us. And that meant that when a Na'Vi River Journey FP opened up for no less than 9:50am, I frantically stabbed at my phone until it was MINE.

A good thing, too, as even before 10am the standby wait was up to 110 minutes. I like this ride a lot, but I do not 110 minutes worth of like it. Luckily we had our last minute FP and breezed onto a boat. I am still inordinately proud of this one-two Pandora punch. Are there awards for outstanding theme park touring?

Mind you, after that A+ show of Disney pro dexterity, I proceeded to pull a minor boneheaded move. You know, to balance out the universe. Catch my error!

Step one: While in the River Journey line my mom said she wanted to see a show, and after some discussion I snagged us a largely unnecessary Finding Nemo FP.

Step two: On our way out of Pandora (because Jesus Christ, why is EVERYONE ON EARTH there at once????), all the rules of FP ownership went sailing merrily out of my head and I snagged a Soarin' FP. Now, the app didn't ping this, which I found odd, but still. C'mon, Jenn. Not even you can have FPs in two parks at once.

But that was a future problem. At that precise moment we hung a left and headed over to Africa, where we stopped at Kusafiri for coffee and watched the drummers and dancers while we sipped.

Then we did head over to Finding Nemo, where our FPs obviously did not work. But given that this is FN we're talking and the theater can fit a gazillion people, the CMs let us in all the same. After all, most of those gazillion were in Pandora anyway.

After the show my mom decided against a walk through Maharajah Jungle Trek to see tiger in favor of heading over to Epcot, as our time was growing short. On the way out I picked up an anteater stuffed animal from the gift shop, then we grabbed a bus to Epcot.

It was definitely lunchtime by that point and neither of us had eaten much breakfast, so our first act was to hightail it over to France for some of those salmon Napoleons from the Alsace holiday kiosk. The predominant flavors were smoked salmon and dill; basically if you like lox you'd like this. 

I also grabbed the holiday Kir with cranberry syrup instead of creme de cassis. It was pretty sweet but very bubbly and I enjoyed it.

Some stellar food photography. There's lox in there, I swear.

Then I left my mom on a bench with her salmon  for just a minute while I skedaddled over to Japan to get a cinnamon mochi cake. This isn't for everyone but it's definitely for me! I loved the sticky, mildly sweet texture and taste of mochi and in cake form there's more of it.


I circled back to pick up my mom and we headed into the France movie. I knew my mom would be into this because she loves classical music, and this one has it all: Debussy, Saint-Saens, Offenbach, Satie... I must say, given how old the movie is, it holds up pretty well. Nothing too dated. I wonder how much longer it'll last?

Post-show I gave my mom two choices: Voices of Liberty and The American Adventure or use our Soarin' FPs. She chose the latter, so we headed back to the Land and rode again.

It was getting to be that weird point in a trip where it's almost time to head back to the resort but not quite so you try to figure out what to do but it's really hard because what do we have time for?

Did we have time to finally get that margarita from Choza? We did not - the line was too long. But we did have space for a quick jaunt through El Rio del Tiempo. I still wonder what they'll do with Jose Carioca if that Brazil pavilion comes to fruition...

For my final act I ducked into Mouse Gears and picked up the cute Figment mug I'd been pondering since April, my last purchase with the AP discount. My only merch regret is that we never did find any rose gold Minnie ears for sale. Tons of people wearing them, yes, but for purchase, no. Maybe next time!

Now for mostly boring wrap up. We bused back to Music, I got my carryon from bell services, I peed, I changed, we waited for the bus. Oddly enough, we wound up taking a different one from the one we were assigned since he was a little late and we were early. But ultimately it doesn't really matter. Either way you're going home, and dead grandmothers and mild colds aside, that is always sad. :(

Normally I would more or less cut the trip report off here, but one more interesting thing happened to us. 

As you probably know, Disney was currently in the throes of four-hours-early pickup for the airport, so we got there in plenty of time. But that was not the case for everyone, and the TSA line was excruciatingly long.

So long, in fact, that they decided to turn protocol on its head. The line was halted entirely, and a K9 unit was brought in - an officer and a freaking gorgeous German Pointer. The K9 unit was roped off and everyone in line for screening took turns walking past it in a quick step. No shoe removal, no laptops in bins. We did put our bags through the scanner, but only walked through the metal detector, not the fancy one. So that was new and different.

Anyway. After that, it was pretty much status quo. Back to Maryland. It's cold here. It's boring here. It is not Walt Disney World here.

I DON'T LIKE IT.

At least I'll always have this trip report to remind me of the good times, even when the good times were kinda weird and off. Next up, a whirlwind weekend trip down for the Walt Disney World Marathon!

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 12/13

Another week mostly spent not in Walt Disney World. :( Eh. Roll the tape:

Sunday | ran 3.08 miles outside in 31 minutes; according to my phone walked an additional 10 or so miles around Walt Disney World
And then we left WDW. :( :( :(


Monday | ran 9.08 miles on the treadmill in 1:30

Tuesday | walked 2.33 miles outside in 40 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Wednesday | ran 5.26 miles outside in 55 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.33 miles outside in 40 minutes; 60 minute ballet class
Or I just got stuck in Tuesday's time loop.


Friday | ran 5.31 miles in 55 minutes

Saturday | rest

But at least it's Christmastime now! Pat and I went and got a Christmas tree last Wednesday and we've been slowly decorating it and putting up presents and drinking hot chocolate around it and all the good stuff. 

Please pray that my cats do not ultimately end up destroying everything, though. Ruffian has been MUCH more bold about playing around the tree. Cats, man.


Pictured: trouble.

Roundup!

Elbowglitter points out that you can't use Christmas to force other people to pick up your athletic hobbies.
The Runner's Guide to WDW dispenses WDW Marathon Weekend advice.

- You can get more specific - Half Crazy Mama can teach you how to prepare for the Dopey Challenge.
- Or if you're looking further ahead, Get Princess Half training tips from Disney In Your Day.
Jambo Everyone isn't too sure about replacing Flights of Wonder with an Up + Birds show. AND NEITHER AM I.
Mouse On The Mind got to see The Nightmare Before Christmas with a live soundtrack and Danny Elfman and everything!


Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 12/02

It's trip report time! You can see all the posts in this report here.

A point in Day 3's favor: We got significantly more sleep on a whole.

Point against Day 3: We felt a little sicker.

So... call it a wash?

We got up, got ready, and headed out for Disney's Animal Kingdom later than I would have liked for the Morning Extra Magic Hour, but we would still catch some resort-guests-only time. I kept an eye on the MDE app on our bus ride and ultimately formulated a brand new plan, essentially throwing out all the FPs I had booked so long ago in favor of an of-the-moment itinerary.

Our first stop was the Na'vi River Journey, which at that early hour had but a 10 minute posted wait. POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD! I actually enjoyed this more than Flight of Passage; despite its low thrill level I find it does a much better job of evoking a feeling, and several of the scenes are very pretty indeed.

Unfortunately I think the main criticisms leveled at it are correct: there isn't nearly enough to look at when you consider repeatability, and yes, it is WAY too short. I think another two minutes or so would've improved matters considerably, not only in terms of return on queue time investment but also in terms of emotional resonance. The Shaman of Song audioanimatronic IS impressive, but I've only barely gotten to know her, you know?

From there we hustled out of Pandora and over to nearby African for an early morning safari, where I was pleased to find the posted 20 minute wait was in fact a zero minute wait. Nice! The lions were out and about and the painted dogs were particularly active.

While in line I picked up a FP for the first Festival of the Lion King show of the day, which I know isn't strictly necessary but I'm very particular about where I sit, so. We killed the little bit of time remaining with a coffee stop at Kusafiri, where I also got one of those breakfast wraps. They're not bad for counter service.


DAMMIT.

One of the advantages of seeing the first of any show of the day is that there's no wait for the previous audience to clear out; we were let into FotLK about 20 minutes before showtime. I got my preferred spot on the side of the lion section AND a tumble monkey high five, yay!

After the show we moved toward Asia, and I stopped briefly at Serka Zong to sneak in a single rider line spin on Expedition Everest, a ride far too thrilling for my mom to ever attempt. 




Then we moved on to Flights of Wonder to see the show one more time before it evolves next year. Happily we got my favorite Guano Joe (indeed, my ONLY Guano Joe with the exception of one single time). I considered asking him for a photo afterward but by the time the crowd had moved sufficiently out of my way he was moving offstage so I decided to leave it.

A quick bathroom break later and we were on to our final FP, Dinosaur - we were in the backend buffer time by this point but I knew we could make it. I was curious to see if the preshow sparked an aha moment for my mom as to why I had named my car the Time Rover - and it did!

I was determined to get a delicious Hightower Rocks before we left DAK, so I pulled my mom over to Nomad Lounge's outdoor patio. My mom didn't want to drink because of her scratchy throat, so I drank by myself like a weirdo. :( It's just so good I have to bear the indignity!



I ducked into the big gift shop to scope out stuffed animals for Pat's younger niece, and then we headed out, picking up a bus to AKL before transferring to Disney Springs. I'm finally starting to get my footing here!



We wandered around a bit, poking here and there: World of Disney, TrenD, Cherry Tree Lane. The latter has the cutest dresses but DAMN are they expensive. The Haunted Mansion ballerina dress with the capelet is almost $200! I've no doubt I'll capitulate eventually but I haven't been able to pull the trigger. When I cave it'll probably be for the Snow White apple dress...

We also took a stroll through the Christmas tree trail, but if you can believe it, we balked at the three hour wait time to get our picture with Santa.


Kanine Krunchies can't be beat!

This tree brings honor to us all.

Movin' right along, footloose and fancy tree.

Oodelaly, oodelaly, golly what a tree.

Thinking ahead, I pondered the Magic Kingdom's food options and decided I wasn't into any of them. Instead we had a late lunch/early dinner at Jock Lindsey's. Review to come!

From there we picked up the bus to the Contemporary before walking over to the Magic Kingdom. Guys, it was CROWDED. Like, what the hell levels of crowded. My guess is because lots of people wanted to see the new fireworks show and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party precludes that most nights at the end of the year? I know that's why I was there.

Whatever the reason, I led my mom to Tomorrowland only to discover a bonkers line for - what for it - the Peoplemover. Yowza. I pivoted quickly and instead dragged her over to a just-closing showing of the Carousel of Progress. This turned out to be a big hit! She likes shows and music, and I liked the idea of an immortal dog.

After the show we skedaddled back to the hub to watch the castle lighting. It's always lovely to watch the castle light up but I miss the old Cinderella and fairy godmother version. :/ I hope Frozen fever dies down someday. (Don't tell Pat's niece I said that.)

We took another shot at the Peoplemover then, and this time we made it! Somewhere along the way I had also picked up a solo Splash Mountain FP in Pat's honor, so we started to head toward Frontierland. I had time to kill and it was on the way, so we ducked into a showing of The Country Bears. I know it's not for everybody, but I personally find the absurdist humor pretty solid. Just as soon as I find a ladder!

We tried to check out the Christmas shop afterward, but it was just too crowded. Instead I found a bench for my mom to chill on and headed into Splash Mountain. Incidentally, at that point Big Thunder had a 110 minute wait - that's the kind of crowded we're talking here.



Post Splash we headed back to Main Street and, because we were THAT desperate for throat-soothing tea, we got in a Main Street Bakery Starbucks line that spilled well out into the street. Twenty minutes or so later we had big cups of mint tea to sip while we waited for the fireworks.

Although I know it's not the optimal position, I chose us a spot down toward the entrance in front of the train station, to the right of the big Christmas tree. I wanted to be able to shoot out in front of the crowds. The tree did block some full fireworks spreads and we couldn't see the projections as well as if we were closer, but I thought it was a perfectly acceptable vantage.

As for Happily Ever After, I was pleasantly surprised. I went into this one expecting to be underwhelmed, as I am deeply suspicious of re-recordings. But there was a lot more original music featured than I expected, and the covers weren't too bad. I was also pleasantly surprised by the breadth of the movie selections. Super bonus points awarded for "That's What Friends Are For" from The Jungle Book, with Shere Khan's solo at the end and everything.



The second the show was over we spun around and booked it in front of the bulk of the crowd to the buses, and we were on our way back to Music in good time. We made a brief stop at the food court for sandwiches before slipping back into the room, eating, and conking out.

Next up: the last day. :/

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 12/01

It's trip report time! You can see all the posts in this report here.

We pick up the next morning with me bouncing out of bed at 6am and going for a run, because if a trip doesn't have a race built in you just have to do it yourself. I'll do a full post on running around the All-Star resorts at a later time.

I knocked out three miles before heading back to the room to shower and get ready to roll out. 

Finding out my grandmother had died had certainly cast a pall over things, but since my dad wanted us to stay we figured we may as well try to enjoy it. Unfortunately my mom is a light sleeper/as much of an anxiety machine as I am, so between the bad news and the late night phone call she was running on like three hours of sleep. 

Oh, and another thing! The whole trip we were surrounded by coughing children. There must be something going around. Sure enough, on the second morning we were both feeling a little under the weather. Nothing debilitating but there was a throat-tickling component.

Nevertheless we set out. Our first stop was at the front desk, where I recounted the story of the aforementioned suspicious phone call to a CM. She checked my record and confirmed that there were no problems with it; it was indeed a scam. That sucks - I could see through it because I have a strong understanding of how Disney operates and what information is on my account, but if they're targeting other Disney guests I bet some newbies might not know better. The CM promised to recount the tale to management but I'm not sure what can be done. Never give credit card information over the phone, people!

That out of the way, we picked up a bus to the Magic Kingdom for the tail end of Extra Magic Hour. Main Street was gloriously uncrowded, and as we walked toward the castle we could hear the opening strains of the trolley show, specifically "The Trolley Song." My grandmother looooooooved Judy Garland, so this was a nice nod to her.



We headed into Fantasyland and knocked out Winnie the Pooh, the Little Mermaid, and it's a small world in quick succession - only Pooh really had a wait, and it was maybe 15 minutes. Incidentally, I don't know who designed VotLM's queue, but they seriously overestimated its popularity. You could run an entire 5k in that thing.

After that it was off to our hard-won Be Our Guest breakfast reservation, a review of which I will of course be saving for a separate post because food always deserves a starring roll role, no?*

* RIP Starring Rolls.

Post-breakfast we were off to our first FP+ of the day, the Jungle Cruise - or I should say the Jingle Cruise, as it was all done up for Christmas. The modified name of our boat? Garland Gertie. Judy again! Our skipper was good but talked too fast; she never gave time for her jokes to land.



We stopped briefly at the Jack Sparrow show before using our Pirates of the Caribbean FP. Front row! Then it was over to the Haunted Mansion to try for standby. The posted wait was 25 minutes, so I gave my mom a choice: this or Philharmagic? Proving that not everyone classifies attractions on the same level, she chose Philharmagic. Oh, I kid, I kid; I find the movie quite enjoyable. And we only had to wait like 4 minutes to get into the theater, so all in all it was a successful use of time.


We says goodbye to the redhead.

I hustled us so resolutely to our Peter Pan FP that I accidentally tapped my band 4 minutes early. Oops! We backed away apologetically and people-watched for the necessary time before trying again with success. I do really like this ride but the standby line is always nuts.

By then it was time to head to Epcot, although we stopped briefly for snippets of the Great Moments Muppet show and the Dapper Dans. There was a monorail waiting for us at the MK stop and another for Epcot at the TTA, so that worked out beautifully. I picked up some Soarin' FPs while we rode.

Once inside Epcot we headed to the Fountain View because it was the closest place I could think of off the top of my head where my mom could get a smoothie. Then we headed to The Land and checked in for the Behind the Seeds tour. I've been meaning to do this for YEARS. Finally it happened! More detailed review coming in a future post.

The tour lasted over an hour, and by the time it finished it was almost time for our late lunch ADR. Almost, but not quite - we headed into the World Showcase and bypassed Morocco in favor of a stop in Japan's Mitsukoshi department store. Sadly all the Shinzi Kato merchandise my mom loves seems to be gone? But the whole place has been rearranged so I'm honestly not sure; maybe it's hiding in a corner somewhere. I'll have to check again some time.

We were still a little early but checked in at Spice Road Table for our Candlelight Processional package anyway, where we were whisked to a table with no wait. I'll do a full review post for this too, but for now let me say SRT is seriously underrated.

After lunch we backtracked to the land for our Soarin' FPs. This is about the thrill level my mom is most comfortable, and she found the new movie very enjoyable. We were in the middle left hangglider and the distortion was somewhat evident but I don't think she noticed.


I had to stop and say hi to my buddy Figment.

We also snuck in a ride on the new green side of Mission: Space. First of all, I don't understand WHY they re-recorded the preshow videos because it is literally the exact same script. I like Gina Torres and all, but I miss Gary. Second, the new green side is pretty underwhelming, no? Too much talking, and again, the ending is exactly the same as the Mars side. So weird!

By then it was high time we headed over to the American Gardens Theater, although we paused briefly at the gospel show on the way. My plan was to pick up a drink at the new Choza Margarita as we passed, but the line was INSANE. Next time!

Speaking of insane lines, the queue for the Candlelight Processional WITH the dining package was pretty nuts too. Obviously we had a seat, but it took some time to get in and my mom was starting to get cranky from sleep deprivation and residual shock. I soothed her as best I could and managed to scope out an empty area reasonably close to the stage. It was way to the right but it would do the job. And we were directly in front of the sign language interpreter so that was interesting.

My mom and I saw Whoopi narrate when we went in 2013, and my mom loved her so much she wanted to go again this year. Honestly I get it: even if she weren't a part of my beloved Star Trek franchise, I would love her delivery. My mom says she does it "very New York." I don't know what that means exactly but she's very straight ahead and maybe juuuust a little bit sassy, especially in the bit at the end about the origins of "Silent Night." My favorite part was when she danced and sang along to "Rejoice with Exceeding Great Joy." Great show, great show!




Oh, and BAM: before the show I messed around in the MDE app and snagged Frozen FPs. This was good. The bad bit was that my mom was starting to fade. I coaxed her over to Norway and sat her down on a bench before running into the Sommerhaus line to meet Anna and Elsa.

Normally face character meet and greets aren't my thing - I always feel awkward. The actors stay in character because that's their job, but I always want to be like, "you know I know you're not real, right? Can we just take the picture and roll out?" Costumed characters are much less awkward. I know; I'm a boring killjoy.

But I was in line for a reason: I wanted Anna and Elsa to sign a Christmas card for Pat's niece, who is freakin' obsessed with Frozen (attempts to divert her to Moana have been only moderately successful). This they did, and they seemed to like the idea, but it was definitely also a awkward as they talked about Olaf and his hot chocolate preferences while I stared them blankly like a weirdo. But I got what I wanted with only about 15 minutes' line time so it all worked out.


Turns out Anna and Elsa are both pretty short.

I very cruelly dragged my zombified mother through Frozen Ever After because I love the Let It Go scene more than I love her, apparently. At least I was kind enough to forego IllumiNations in exchange for an early bedtime. We grabbed a bus and headed back to Music.

Next up: we finally start to cheer up a little at DAK.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!