25X: Disney Decks the Halls

No matter how many “Oh, we had some airline vouchers to use up before the end of the year” excuses we try to employ, just know this: we’re crazy (also, I’m writing this with less than four hours of sleep under my belt, so Duffy the Disney Bear with me here).  Yes, we did have Southwest Airlines vouchers which were going to expire in the next six months, and yes, we got our hotel room for basically nothing, but when all’s said and done: I really just wanted to see Walt Disney World decked out for the holidays.  So we flew down Saturday morning and only returned just a few hours ago.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom, which was the main reason we went down to Orlando; today, we’re going to discuss Christmas decorations.

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One of the handful of trees in the Downtown Disney shopping district.

Christmas, to me, is about going big or going home.  If you’re not going to bring your A-game with your gifts, your cookies, or your decorations, then get the eff out.  The holidays are not about being subtle or understated, they’re about big blow-up Charlie Brown snow globes in your front yard and department stores gussied up in red like $10 hookers.

My dad makes fun of my mom for “throwing up Christmas” all over their house for a month each year, with light-up village displays and nativity scenes and wreaths and garland everywhere, but I love it: Christmas, to me, is taking the season and wrapping yourself up in it. (more…)

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Walt Disney World 2012 Day Three Trip Report

Click here for our Day One coverage….

and here for our Day Two coverage.

Now, onto Day Three!

Day 3: Alright, confession time.  This was the day in our trip where I didn’t really know what to expect.  Here was the itinerary I sorta laid out:

8:00am-9:00am: Take advantage of Hollywood Studios’ Extra Magic Hours to finally experience Toy Story Midway Mania

9:00am-1:00pm: Animal Kingdom

1:15-2:30pm: Lunch at Sanaa, in the Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village

3:00pm-6:00pm: Blizzard Beach

See, I’d only been to Animal Kingdom once before, back in 2004, and was massively underwhelmed.  As its newest park, it’s also the resort’s most spartan in terms of attractions (the addition of Avatarland will help address that, though, as I’m sure many Disney-philes feel, I’m kinda sad Disney didn’t reach into its own catalog and pull out stuff from The Lion King or something like that instead. Maybe that’s too obvious…) Granted, I should note that, the one day I visited some eight years ago, it was also pouring down rain, it was pre-Expedition: Everest, and I was with my freshman year roommate, so things like Camp Minnie-Mickey didn’t really appeal to us.

I wanted to give Animal Kingdom another shot, though, since I know there’s a small but ardent fan base for the park.  Did I just miss something the first time around? The schedule was tight, but I thought we could do most of the major Animal Kingdom attractions in about 4 hours.

Well, as it turns out, after staying in the Magic Kingdom the night before until 2:00am and not getting back to the hotel until 3:00, we were bushed, and I couldn’t get myself to wake up at 7:00am to get my butt over to Hollywood Studios for the Toy Story ride.  We were working on a combined 9 hours of sleep over the past two nights and I just had to sleep in…until 8:00am.

Was I ever going to get to ride Toy Story Midway Mania??

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