The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 1/07

It’s trip report time again! I love trip reports! I’m recapping my January 2017 trip to WDW for the marathon. Onward!

My morning began with my dad waking me up five minutes before my alarm was even set to go off, but I can’t really complain seeing as how he was giving me a ride to the airport. (Always encourage your parents to live near the airport.)

Airport portion of the story was surprisingly uneventful, given the weather patterns circling around at the time. We boarded a little late as we were waiting on the requisite number of flight attendants, but that’s all. There was definitely some turbulence during the flight, but we had a very calm and reassuring captain, and only landed about 20 minutes late. All and all not bad considering the snow predicted up north and the storms down south!

It occurred to me, like, the DAY before I left that I never received formal Magical Express tickets in the mail – possibly because I had declined an additional Magic Band? Anyway, I figured it was fine since they only scan your band anyway, and I was right. The DME bus was unusually crowded, but as that meant we got going a little quicker I had no problem with it.

Pop was the second stop, and as my room was predictably not ready – it was a little before 10am when I got there- I went straight to the handicap bathroom, complete with sink and mirror, to freshen up (this is one of my favorite hacks, but always do a quick scan for people in the area who may need it before taking this stall and be mindful of your time).

In an unexpected turn of events, I got a text that my room was ready just as I was finishing up. I figured it would be faster to drop off my stuff in my room than brave the potential line for bag check, so I headed over to my “pool view” (BARELY; luckily I don’t care but they were really stretching it) room to dump my bag. I always request the ’60s since those rooms are closest to the main hall, but this room was a good location too, just off the path.

Plot point for later: the TV was on when I arrived. I turned it off before leaving.

I headed out, noting all the half marathon runners getting their miles in around Hourglass Lake, official race cancellation or no. Good for you guys!

Less good for all of us: the expo bus line. Disney was requiring half marathoners to come back to the expo if they wanted to transfer to the marathon or needed their alternate item (tickets, gift cards) immediately. That made for a crazy bus line and an even crazier expo.

Picking up my bib wasn’t a problem since I was already signed up for just the marathon, but the vendor area was nuts. I eased into the official race merchandise area and looked at a couple things, but it was just too crowded; trying to get your hands on anything involved a lot of waiting and darting. It took about five minutes for me to get tired of that, and I headed out empty handed.

My plan was to head to the Animal Kingdom via Uber, which I deemed to be the fastest method. BUT: snag. The traffic to get into the ESPN Wide World of Sports was seriously prohibitive. I deemed it very likely that, unless an Uber driver was already on site, it would be faster just to go via Disney bus. I brought the app and the closest car was 16 minutes away; who knows if that estimate involved parking traffic.

Instead I picked up a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge, hoping there’d be a DAK bus waiting for me, and: tada! There was!

I was making good time, except I realized that I had misremembered my safari FastPass time and had overshot anyway. I changed it an available slot in late afternoon, but as the My Disney Experience app was showing a 10 minute wait time anyway, I decided to make it my first stop.

Unfortunately by the time I got through security and the tapstyles (annual passholder lines FTW!) the time had shot up to 20 minutes, which isn’t too terrible but that kind of increase that quick often bodes ill for actual wait time. I decided to skip it for now in favor of my Dinosaur FP.

I am proud to say that I no longer need to shut my eyes, squint, or look away from the carnotaurus at ALL during this ride, even when placed in an outside seat. (It’s hard to be brave when you’re such a small animal. – Piglet) I know this is not the popular opinion but I personally prefer Dinosaur to its Disneyland counterpart, Indiana Jones. Improvements from the refurb I noticed: it’s darker, right? More lightning? There wasn’t fog before, was there? What am I missing?

There was a father/son duo in the row next to me. DAD: Did you like it? SON: No. I always said this ride seems rather intense for little kids…

Next I headed over to Everest ahead of FP schedule hoping to score a speedy single rider experience, and I was rewarded with a basically nonexistent single rider line. I enjoyed a jaunt on what is possibly my very favorite ride on property (DAT BACKWARDS BIT DOE).

I pulled up the MDE app to consider my next move and saw that the safari was back down to a ten minute wait, so I scuttled on over. Indeed, at this point there was pretty much no line at all, which was great. The sad bit was that I wound up on the right side of the car, and I really think the right side gets the shaft; all the best views tend to show up on the left. The driver was also lackluster, speaking with a rote style that suggested he was reading directly off the script, but I’ll take that over WAY! TOO! PERKY! any day.

It was still a fun go-round, with lots of animals active in the comparative cool of a rainy day. Question: as parents, how do you handle wildebeests mating in front of you in a theme park?

I knew I needed to eat something soon, what with running a marathon in the morning, and all, but I wasn’t at all sure what I wanted. I perused the Yak & Yeti menu but nothing quite caught me. I wound up in Pizzafari because the seating area is inside and I was cold (yes, cold in FL – just wait until we get to the race recap, kids). I got a Mediterranean flatbread that actually wasn’t that bad, all things considered. Unremarkable but one helluva step up from the pizzas they used to crank out.

Post-lunch, I sat at my table a moment and took stock. I wasn’t enjoying myself like I usually do, especially in my favorite park. Was WDW starting to lose its luster for me? PSH. Nonsense. The problem was the temperature: I was cold. I HATE being cold.

Very well; I would step back, reassess, and make adjustments. First up: I swapped out my afternoon safari FP for a Nemo FP, which is lengthily indoors. Then I decided, despite the lack of FPs, to take in my FAVORITE show, Festival of the Lion King.

But first I used my Everest FP, because some things are sacred and not to be touched by such paltry things as the chill.

Back to FotLK. I’m very particular about my positioning during this show – the lion section for preference, the end of the row definitely. For the most part show FPs are, as far as I can tell, largely useless, but they do give you a slight edge if you have a particular spot in mind. Despite my lack, I lucked into a GREAT seat, in the giraffe section but almost right on the stage floor with no obstructions. Thanks, random family, for not sliding quite all the way down and leaving an opening for me!

I had some time to kill before Nemo, so I wandered over to Dinoland and accepted a 20 minute standby wait time for Primeval Whirl because what the hell. It’s a cute, fun little ride.

From there it was a short walk to the Theater in the Wild, and the small FP advantage won me my favorite seat there – not that I really think anyone else would want it! I like to sit waaay over to the far right, front row, back section. The bench there is really short and one or two or three smallish people can have the whole thing to themselves and then scoot right out the door at the end of the show ahead of the crowd.

While it does make for a sliiightly obstructed view during some scenes, it also affords you some backstage views. When performers are coming to come onto the promenade section, the curtain next to you is pulled back and you can sometimes catch a glimpse ahead of time.

By the time the show ended sunset was upon us. One of my goals for the trip was to ride Everest in the dark, and as it’s basically next to the theater I headed there next – only to find it down. Blast.

Somewhere in there I grabbed a cup of tea from Starbucks – a fools game, I know, but I was still leading a crusade against cold.

I consulted MDE and saw that Dinosaur had a 10 minute wait, so I headed over. Unfortunately so did everyone else on earth, as far as I can gather, as the actual wait quickly proved to be much longer. A second consult of MDE about 20 minutes later showed Everest was back up, so I bailed…

Only to find that the single rider line was closed, and the FP line was a million years long since people from multiple time slots were there to make up their FPs. Nevertheless, I was bound and determined to make that nighttime Everest ride happen, so I hopped in line.

Verdict: totally worth it, just as I remembered. The darkness intensifies the entire experience, especially the final tunnel with the yeti.

The park was closed by this point; as I headed out I saw the new Tree of Life projection show was playing, but I was already about an hour behind schedule for race prep so I head to keep walking. Next time! Lucky for me a bus for Pop was waiting for me, plus other runners were on it so I felt better. If they weren’t panicking, I didn’t need to either.

I grabbed a pasta kids meal and a Powerade from the food court and headed back to my room, where, once again, the TV was broken. Maintenance came by and fixed it – possibly even the same woman as last time – but it seems weird that the issue would recur. Oh well. No big deal, but there’s something so nice about watching TV in a hotel room, y’know?

I found a Say Yes to the Dress marathon on TLC, which I am powerless to resist because I am a card-carrying girly-girl sometimes. I watched that while eating and prepping for my race. I set eighteen thousand alarms plus a wake up call, had my traditional pre-race mini panic attack about waking up in time, and then went to sleep.

Next up: the WDW Marathon!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Self-Soothes With WDW Background Music

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’ve been in the throes of particularly strong WDW homesickness of late. I said it then and I’ll say it now: one of the best ways to cope with this terrible, terrible feeling is in the plundering of YouTube for area background music, perfect for comforting you as you cry your way through a non-Disney work day. I know a lot of people turn to radio stations and such, but I like YouTube for its ability to find me the exact music I need, plus sometimes there are some lovely accompanying videos.

Of course I have all the usual favorites: Magic Kingdom’s Main Street U.S.A. background music (hereinafter referred to as BGM), BGM from MK’s various lands (shoutout to Tomorrowland for its futuristic covers), the Epcot entrance music, the music from Wishes and IllumiNations and Fantasmic. But I’ve also been enjoying some slightly more off-the-beaten-path selections. Have you tried…

… Epcot’s Innoventions area BGM? You might not be able to place it offhand, but I guarantee with one listen you’ll be all, “Oh, yeeeeeah.” Indeed, this music is some of the most evocative of being in WDW for me.

… The Studio’s Animation Courtyard BGM? I wasn’t expecting much of this one. Because I am an idiot. While movie soundtracks aren’t quite as parks-exclusive as some other BGM, they are stirring as all hell. A Bug’s Life doesn’t even come close to numbering among my favorite Pixar offerings but the overture totally gets me. Also, who doesn’t need more of Jerry Goldsmith’s Mulan score in their life?

… Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest BGM? If you’ve got a taste for the exotic, this one’s for you. Fascinating Himalayan vocalizations and music characterize this atmospheric score. Should you love Expedition Everest as much as I do – which is really hard but maybe you’re up to the task – you’ve got to give it a go.

… The BRAND NEWEST version of the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street BGM? Most videos offer an older version, which is fine, but this one is current as of 2015 and includes such perfect fits as “Ellie’s Waltz” from Up. Plus it’s got nifty time-lapse visuals to go with it!

Let’s all pretend we’re not, repeat, not at work. Do you listen to Disney BGM? What are your favorites? I’m always eager to try more obscure park soundtracks! Also, does anyone have a link to the International Gateway BGM? I can’t find it anymore.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 11/07

It’s time for another trip report! Yay! I LOVE trip reports! This time around we’re covering the 2015 Wine & Dine HalfQuarter Marathon trip. I’ll be including reviews of my Food & Wine Festival purchases within the trip report itself, but restaurant reviews will be in their own separate posts. Commentary from Elizabeth provided in red. Click here to read all the posts in this report. Onward!

This day, I did something very unlike me: I let everyone sleep in. That’s so not my bag. But the day before had been somewhat stressful, we had a mid-morning breakfast ADR, and – most importantly – we planned to be up VERY LATE. So: we slept to a whopping 8:30am. Decadent!

We were out the door by 9:30am, though, as we needed to make it to the Wilderness Lodge by 10:30am. We made good time – bus to Magic Kingdom, resort launch boat to the Lodge – and arrived about 15 minutes early. After a quick bathroom stop (the Artist Pointe bathroom is surprisingly low on fancy details) I got in line at the Whispering Canyon Cafe desk, only to be informed that I would not be given so much as a pager until my entire group had assembled. Harrumph.

So we hung around the lobby until our Blogger Summit arrived, unfortunately waylaid by a dawdling bus, and finally managed to snag a pager around 10:50am. Then it was another 20 minute or so of perusing the gift shop and generally killing time until our pager went off. Was the ordeal worth it? Full review of the restaurant to come, but SPOILER ALERT: oh yes.

ELIZABETH: The fountain and bridge inside the building were pretty cool, too.

Post breakfast Elizabeth and I snagged a bus to the Animal Kingdom and picked up our first FP+ for the day, Kilimanjaro Safaris. The animals weren’t out much, no doubt feeling lazy due to the heat, but we got some great views of the white rhinos wallowing in their mud bath.

ELIZABETH: And baby giraffes!!

From there we ran over to Expedition Everest for FP+ #2. We asked the CM at the front of the line for the back seats, but she got confused and ended up putting us at the very front of the train. This was good too – great view to be had! Everyone knows I love Everest, and naturally the moment we got off the ride we jumped into the 5 minute single rider line and went again. Wee!

We nosed through the Everest gift shop a bit where Elizabeth got a hat and I got a Powerade. Then it was over to Dinosaur for our last FP+, after which we looked around THAT gift shop for awhile (look, we really needed the air conditioning).

ELIZABETH: Yeah…I like to think that I am fairly tolerant of the heat, but MAN was it unpleasantly hot.

While there, I checked the Festival of the Lion King show times and determined we would make the 4pm show just fine.

BUT NOT WITHOUT A FASTPASS. Our next act was to march over to the FP+ kiosks in the Oasis and pick up an FP+ for the show – no problem. We got into the FP+ line about 20 minutes early, only to be let into the show at the exact same time as the regular line. I ask you: WHAT IS THIS FASTPASS FOR?

Luckily we still got my favorite seating position (Lion section, far end next to Simba), and being that The Festival of the Lion King is the greatest show ever, I soon forgot my FP+ gripe. The bass singer (is his name Mufume? Am I making that up?) did the squeakiest “COUP” ever during “Be Prepared” which was hilarious and awesome. And high-fiving tumble monkeys FTW!

ELIZABETH: Anything that involves gymnastics and giant trampolines is a win in my book.

At this point I felt it was time to make my exit. We headed back to the front and I left Elizabeth at guest relations to figure out the location of the nearest mailbox. I ran for the bus and was at Pop Century again in due time, where I purchased a kid’s pasta meal. With a cookie, not apples or carrots, and I’ll let Leslie Knope explain why.

ELIZABETH: I didn’t do anything too exciting in the meantime (I felt weirdly aimless without Jenn to tell me where we were going next!), but I did get to the Conservation Station in enough time to watch the animals being put away for the night, and saw It’s Tough to Be a Bug, which I had never done before. I’m not a huge fan of the shows where your seat pokes you, but other than that it was actually pretty cool.  One poor kid (looked about 2) started screaming halfway through and her mom had to carry her out (it’s apparently a common occurence).

Then it was a waiting game – I killed a couple hours updating photos, typing up notes, and prepping for the race. Around 7:30pm I met Kellie and Nicole in the bus line and it was time for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon to begin!

OR SO WE THOUGHT. Tune in next time…

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Kill/Refurb/Marry: Disney Mountains

So I’m, like, a full 24 hours late on this week’s Kill/Refurb/Marry. No grand excuse; I was on vacation and I forgot about the monthly blog hop. I have had this happen before and just let the month slide, but NOT THIS TIME. Not when we’re talking Disney Mountains!

But first, a question: when we say Disney Mountains, do we mean that in the literal sense; namely, do we mean the traditional triumvirate of Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad found at Disney parks worldwide? Is Expedition: Everest eligible, being as it is subtitled a mountain?* Does the Fantasmic stage count?** Looks pretty mountainous to me.

* Yes.
** No.

Settle in: judgments begin now.

Kill: The Magic Kingdom’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

I’m sorry! I know it hurts. But BTMRR, while adorable and magnificently themed, is a glorified kiddie coaster. (Never mind that both Moon and my mother find it terrifying; they are wimps, wimping along wimpily. 😉 Because of Moon’s aforementioned terror, I did not experience Disneyland’s BTMRR during our Tink trip, so maybe it’s a little beefier?

Refurb: The Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain

Disneyland’s Space Mountain has music and lights and an overlay and – this is important – CARS YOU CAN GET INTO AND OUT OF WITHOUT FALLING ON YOUR FACE, EXPOSING YOUR UNDERWEAR, OR OTHERWISE LOOKING LIKE A RAGING IDIOT. I want the MK’s version to have cars that don’t make me look like a raging idiot!

Wrong.
Right.

Marry: Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

Counts.

Love.

<3

Jenn is running the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon for the Diabetes Action Team. Will you help her earn her bib while fighting diabetes? Click here to make your tax-deductible donation.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 1/08/15

Is it trip report time again already? Yay! I’ll be looking back at my Dopey trip at the beginning of January, with special separate posts for each race and some food experiences depending on how much I have to say about them. You can read all the posts in this particular trip report here. Ready? Let’s go!

Since it took so long to get a bus from the 5K finish, I was behind schedule for getting us to the Studios before rope drop – but I was SO COLD that I didn’t care. I asked Pat if he minded terribly if we got to the park a bit late, and as that meant he got to sleep a little longer, he readily agreed.

I immediately took what probably turned into close to a half-hour long shower and dried my hair before waking Pat up again. On our way out we stopped at the food court for coffee before picking up a bus which shared stops with POFQ and make me miss Pop. The multi-stop system is bad enough without adding other resorts. Dear Disney: people at moderate resorts should not think wistfully back to amenities from value resorts. Please quit it with the bus sharing.

We got to the Studios around 9:45AM and I did some quick calculations, determining that if there was no line (there wasn’t) we could easily fit a spin on the Great Movie Ride into our morning and still make our first FP+ window (which we did). We got the gangster, because I always get the gangster for some reason, but both the host and Mugsy were actually decent actors for once, all things considering. Mugsy in particular tried really hard to engage the front row, in particular the man right next to him, but the guy was NOT having it – no eye contact, no nothin.’

For some strange unknown and unknowable reason, Pat is a big Alien fan, so we struck a deal. Pat is in the process of quitting smoking, and we agreed that if he promised not to bum cigarettes off anyone all week, I would – GASP – keep my eyes open during the Alien portion of the GMR. I NEVER DO THIS. I get as far as the audio-animatronic Sigourney Weaver and I am OUT. But the deal was too tempting, so I watched the whole segment. I survived but the one coming out of the ceiling freaks me out. (The one on the side only seems to do anything if you happen to be in the back of the train.)

While hanging out waiting for the 5K, I had mentioned to Katherine that I had, at Pat’s behest, made FP+ reservations for Tower of Terror. As I had refused to ride this in November, Katherine was aghast at the idea that I might do it without her, and she got her own overlapping FP+ so we could ride together. We met her by the entrance and rode it and once again I survived but UGH SO MUCH ANXIETY. Stupid randomizing computer! Set up a pattern so I can brace myself properly!

By that point it was snack time. Katherine had an emergency rice krispie treat to sustain her while Pat and I shared a turkey leg from Fairfax Fare. Thus fortified, we all ran over to MuppetVision 3D, where the Swedish Chef reported that der machinen is going floomy-floomy.

Pat is a big fan of Animal, and so we went into the Muppet Stuff store in an effort to track down a t-shirt. The selection of such was decent, but even after a cast member checked in the back they didn’t have his favorite in his preferred size. We resolved to keep an eye out as we wandered the parks; you know how random merchandise selection can be.

From here Katherine split off for her Toy Story Midway Mania FP+ while Pat and I went to cash in the same for Aerosmith Rock ‘n Roller Coaster. You know how in the pre-show sometimes the cast member will shout out a really lackluster and clearly scripted line about backstage passes? Our CM did not. What he said as we exited the pre-show area was this: “Congratulations on your backstage passes. That never happens every three minutes.” We enjoyed that. Oh, and our stretch limo soundtrack featured “Love in an Elevator” AND “Walk This Way,” so that was fun.

We ducked in a couple stores to check for the Animal shirt on the way out, but no dice. Then it was time to pick up the bus to the Animal Kingdom, where we immediately hit up the FP+ kiosk and picked up a Dinosaur slot. Then it was a quick walk over to Everest where the standby line posted a 55 minute wait. Pass.

Instead we hit up the Kusafiri bakery in Africa for a brownie and a cupcake (more on this later), which we sat on a bench and ate while Burudika regaled us with their song-and-dance number to Shakira’s “Waka Waka.” I love audience participation when no one is making me participate!

After our sugar shot, we traveled back into Asia for Maharajah Jungle Trek. As on my last trip through the ruins, the bats were for some reason not out, but the tigers were! <3

By that point our Dinosaur FP+ had opened up, so we skipped over to Dinoland USA and took a trip in a Time Rover. Pat thought this ride was both awesome and hilarious and immediately began planning the bored and unconcerned faces he would make for the carnotaurus ride photo in the future.

Primeval Whirl was right there and had minimal wait, so we hopped in line. It was here that Pat had his first experience with everyone’s favorite park phenomenon: the Line Stragglers. There were three or four people initially in the group ahead of us, but by the time they reached the front of the line and additional five or six people had ‘scuse me’d their way through and joined them. I will give a pass to people traveling with small children, but there was no one younger than fifteen among them. I think the general rule should be: either everyone gets in line or no one does.

It was getting late in the afternoon and the Animal Kingdom closed at 5PM that day, so we wandered over to Everest again and got in line despite the 30 minute wait. Luckily the Everest queue is reasonably entertaining; it wasn’t too painful. And the ride was such a hit with Pat that we immediately got back into line upon exiting.

Note about Everest: remember how Estelle and I discovered that there was suddenly a bird of prey before the backwards drop on Everest? Well, Pat and I reached the top of the hill and I pointed his eyes in that direction. And then… nothing happened. No bird. Is this variable? What the heck?

Animal Kingdom was closing by then, so we hopped a bus home, passing the time by chatting with the people near us. We debarked at the main depot and swung through the gift shop for water and some Vaseline; despite having checked this off in my packing list mine didn’t seem to have made it into my suitcase. We also tried to find Pat some pajama pants as he’d forgotten his at home, but nothing quite struck his fancy.

We went back to the room briefly to drop off our stuff before heading to Boatwright’s to see if they had any walk-up availability, which, as it happened, they did. More on this later.

And so ended our day. I did some race prep, set a billion alarms, stole Pat’s hoodie again (although we’d turned up the heat; I just wanted it), and went to sleep to the sound of him working away at his laptop.

Next up: 10K time.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Trip Report of All: 11/08/14

It’s time for another trip report! Yay! As I have in the past, I’ll be saving our ADRs for a final food review post, but I’ve decided to sprinkle all the Food & Wine Festival stuff into the report itself. You can see all the entries in this report here. Okay, onward!

I woke up much earlier than expected and, upon discovering that Estelle was headed to the Animal Kingdom for rope drop, I dressed quickly and joined her.

We picked up a bus and made it to the gate just as they were letting us in – fifteen minutes early! In fact it was still 5 minutes before official park opening as we entered the line for Expedition Everest (have I mentioned that this is my favorite?). The line was still listed at a mere ten minutes when we got off, so we went through again. Has anyone else ever noticed the random hawk that flies past the mountain as you encounter the broken tracks? We never had before but it’s a nice touch.

I had a breakfast ADR to catch, but there was still time for a quick walk-on ride on Dinosaur before I headed out. It took a bus fakeout and two or three bajillion years, but a bus finally came to take me to the Polynesian; I think it was supposed to go to the Contemporary first, but as I was the only person on the bus and had been waiting so long the bus driver took pity on me. And a good thing too, because I was increasingly late for that ADR.

Lucky for me, I managed to make it to Kona a few minutes before our table was ready. Whew! Finally count included me, Katherine, Erica, DeJanea, Nicole, Kellie and her sister, and Kimberley and her husband. Awesome to match all these names to faces! More on this in my ADR post at the end of this report.

Estelle and I had made FP+ reservations earlier that day, our first being for Finding Nemo: The Musical at 12:30PM. I knew I would never make it at this point, so I texted her to go on ahead while we poked around in the Polynesian. Highlight: the tiki birds have their own bowls.

After some browsing, we caught a bus back to the Animal Kingdom, sending the rest of the group on ahead while Katherine and I renewed her Annual Pass in the super-long line at guest services. Crazy theory: My Disney Experience has increased the need for guest services. Oh, also! A random guy at the bus stop said he liked my white rabbit t-shirt. So there’s that.

From there, Katherine and I strolled on down to Everest, where we poked around the gift shop to exclaim over yeti cats and locate one of those things, you know, with the glass you can open, and there are drinks and stuff inside? You know those things? Well, we bought PowerAde from them. It was really electrolyted. Electrolit. You know.

Wait. Hmmm. I know I went through Maharajah Jungle Trek to exclaim over tigers, but now I can’t remember if I did that with Estelle or Katherine. Based on its positioning in my photos, I think I did it with Katherine. Actually, now I’m remembering that more solidly, but the brain can invent things. Yes? Is that right? Do you remember something about a lack of bats and a particularly sleepy tiger? Whatever. TIGERS ARE AWESOME.

Anyway. At some point before or after that, Katherine and I breezed on through the Everest single rider line, then Estelle showed up so she and I could use our FP+.

Katherine, DeJanea, and Erica hit the standby line while Estelle and I walked to Mr. Kamal’s so I could buy a falafel sandwich. It was pretty delicious too – soft pita and all that, although the falafel could stand to be a little crispier.

At this point I split off from the group to wander aimlessly and look for this shirt I’ve been on the hunt for for years – it’s the one with Winnie the Pooh peering at a tiger through a magnifying glass, but it says “Tigre, eres tu?” Last spotted in the spring of 2004. If anyone knows of its current whereabouts, please contact me immediately. Also I modeled tiger hats.

I AM A TIGER

A VERY FAST TIGER

On my sojourns I happened across Estelle in Harambe, so I joined her in her appreciation of the musical group Burudika. They led the crowd in something that was kind of like the electric slide, only to Shakira’s “Waka Waka?” Such a colorful culture, Harambe!

By the time the show was over, our FP+ for Festival of the Lion King was upon us. Important Fact: If you use the FP+ line, you will be let in a different door, one which, if you take the section directly across from it, will deposit you in the elephant section, not the lion section like if you come in the normal door. Oh well. It’s still the best show ever. Now I know!

As soon as the show let out it was time for me to head back to the resort to prep for the Wine & Dine Half. I caught a bus to Art of Animation in delightfully unexpected short order and was back in the room by 6PM. This gave me over an hour to charge my phone, dress, bib up, hydrate, eat my mini Clif bar and steal Katherine’s, and just generally get things rolling for W&D. More on that in my next post!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Photographic Memory: The Sherpas of Expedition Everest

JENN: Photographic Memory time!

MOON: Okay! So, we’re going to discuss another of Jenn’s favorite photos. This one is… from Expedition Everest, right?

JENN: Yup! It’s posted on the wall as you enter the final room in the queue.

MOON: I was TERRIFIED the first time. At least there were amusing things on the walls to keep my mind off of IMPENDING DOOM.

JENN: Oh, psh, eventually you got there. 🙂 Moon and I have a great fondness for Sherpas.

MOON: Yes we do!

JENN: Do you want to tell the O’Bryan story?

MOON: How much of an orchestral lesson should I provide?

JENN: As much as you like, Dr. Professor Music Theory!

MOON: Well, I did just wrap a class… AND I lectured on Beethoven’s 9th symphony, so I am pumped (as they say).

JENN: Who wouldn’t be pumped after some Beethoven?

MOON: Concerning strictly the strings section of an orchestra, from the audience’s perspective from left to right: 1st violins, 2nd violins, violas, cellos (basses behind cellos).

In most orchestral repertoire, the first violins typically are given the melody. This is very general of course, but typically the second violins and violas are tasked with the “inner voices;” they provide the harmony.

JENN: The semester when Moon and I were first and second chair second violins, our orchestra director O’Bryan told the first violins that we were “carrying them like sherpas.” It was AWESOME.

MOON: Now we have an affinity with all sherpas.

JENN: Which means we spend the entire queue area of Expedition Everest squealing “Look! SHERPAS!” Good times.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!

The Jenn Method of Haranguing Moon Into Riding Roller Coasters

JENN: Okay, so today’s topic is one that is near and dear to my heart: The Jenn Method for Haranguing Moon Into Riding Roller Coasters.

MOON: NO.

JENN: YES.

MOON: … Okay.

JENN: Annnd that’s it! Thanks everybody for your time.

Nothing a good punch in the face can’t cure.

No, but seriously: First I would like us all to cast our minds back, back, back to 2008, and our very first WDW trip of the modern era. Moon has never been a roller coaster sort of person, but because WDW coasters tend to (mostly) be on the milder side, we (Liz and Megan were with us too) collectively and I promise you GENTLY pressured her into trying things. Because you may as well try things, right?

Well, let’s try a little free association. I’m going to say a phrase, and Moon is going to react to it.
Ready? Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

MOON: Haaaaaaate. This ride is dangerous. Stay back.

JENN: Yeah. She had a tremendously violent reaction to that one… which none of us understood because it’s Big Thunder and… I mean, it’s Big Thunder. It’s barely a step above the Barnstormer. ] Nevertheless, that was a bust. Space Mountain made you cry but then you said you thought you liked it?

MOON: Tears of triumph?

JENN: And you went on Everest but missed the yeti because you refused to look up. So really I don’t know how well our campaign went, in summer of 2008.

We hadn’t even begun our ascent through the first temple yet.

MOON: Hey, at least I got on it!

JENN: True!

Now flash forward just a bit, about six months later, to December of 2008. Moon and I had gone on a last minute trip, and because it was just the two of us (and/or because I’m a terrible person?) I dragged her back onto Expedition Everest. And so occurred one of my absolute favorite exchanges of all my WDW memories.

We had just completed the last pass through the mountain, escaped the yeti, and were pulling slowly around the corner toward the station.

Moon turned to me and said, in absolute seriousness, “Is the big drop coming?”

To which I replied: “… The ride’s over.”

“Oh. Let’s go again!”

I don’t know. A flip switched or something. I got her onto Everest again. Then we went on Space Mountain three times. Then we went on Splash Mountain I don’t know how many times because she decided she loved it. It was pretty awesome.

Sometimes we just have to stop in the middle of whatever
we’re doing and gaze lovingly into each others’ eyes.

MOON: I blame it on the cool winter (Floridian) air.

JENN: And not the awakening of the lion that is the core of your soul?

MOON: Um… I think at the core of my soul is something more akin to a turtle.

JENN: Now, all of this is very impressive – a non-coaster person developing a fondness for Disney coasters. However, as I mentioned, WDW coasters tend to be on the tamer side. The exception? The Aerosmith Rock ‘n Roller Coaster. Moon, would you like to tell the nice people what you rode last trip?

MOON: Your mom.

JENN: That must’ve been awkward.

MOON: I feel like an Aerosmith pun would be appropriate here, but Jenn can tell you what I think of Aerosmith.

JENN:
But you did it! You rode the beast!

MOON: I did! But, I think I made the ride a little unbearable for the people in front of us, with the screaming. >_> And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve waited through that line with every intention of getting on and then at the last moment, I leave. It’s watching the cars take off into darkness. In my mind it is a car taking off into death.

JENN: My favorite part is about how you thought I was lying to you.

MOON: I cannot be held responsible for anything I said under duress.

JENN: I TOLD you there weren’t any drops. It’s gentle and honest coercion I dole out, I swear!

Moon has now been on almost everything, enjoys most things, and claims she will ride RnR again. But she still puts the kibosh on Big Thunder.

MOON: I did a rather nice picture of the ride, though! Even if I can’t find it. I hated it from a safe distance. 😀

JENN: Haha, that’s what counts! So, when the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opens up, will you ride it with me?

MOON: Sure. At least twice. Then I’m OUT.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!

Squirtgun to Your Head: Favorite WDW Ride?


JENN:
In my head I originally titled this series “Gun To Your Head,” the idea being that if someone were to hold a gun to your head and demand your favorite Disney ride and you can only say one with no caveats GO, what would you say?

But that seemed needlessly violent, given the subject matter, so I vote we call it Squirtgun To Your Head. Much friendlier.

So, ahem. I’m holding a squirtgun to your head. What is your favorite ride at Walt Disney World and why?

MOON: SPACESHIP EARTH! History of western civilization narrated by Judi Dench. And the sleepy monk.


JENN:
I remember when you selected the French language track, and wound up SO disappointed because you expected Judi Dench speaking French. Which she really ought to, you know, because it rhymes.

MOON:
I, as well as the French nation, have been let down.

JENN: Mine would have to be Expedition Everest, I think. It’s got thrills AND story! And sherpas! My mother had a Himalayan cat named Sherpa, because she’s clever, so I get excited at the mention of sherpas, because I’m weird.
Also, one of my favorite WDW memories is of the second time I dragged you onto the ride, but I’ll keep that one in my back pocket for our post on how I’m a terrible person who makes you ride roller coasters. 😀

MOON: I just HAD to see the yeti.

JENN: And it only took, what, four tries before you uncovered your eyes? 😉

MOON: I will say that I love that part of Animal Kingdom. And waiting in the line is pretty nice, actually. And a bucket full of tears.

Not pictured: Bucket full of tears.

JENN: Psh. You love it. And I would just like to note for the record that she goes on the ride voluntarily, even if she likes to pretend otherwise, and I don’t have to put a squirtgun to any part of her!

MOON: I have made a promise to myself: to man up.

JENN: And you’ve kept it!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!