Trip Report *COMPLETE* Remind Me Again Why We Agreed To Do This...Our runDisney 2020 Trip Report

MinnieM123

Well-Known Member
I am really loving all your pictures in this TR.

Question: With regard to the sign for the running trail at AKL, I'm trying to figure out why they tell people to wear light-colored clothing at dawn and dusk. Is it simply to be seen a little better, so runners don't bump into each other on the trail? Or, is there another reason as well, behind this? (Sometimes I overthink little details, and for some odd reason, I'm stuck on this one! :facepalm: )
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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I can never resist photographing Mary Blair works of art!! What a nice morning for a run! I can't believe how close you were to the Buck!
Disney is the perfect place to escape the snow, and I'm glad to hear about the pillows being amazing!
Her work is amazing. Honestly though, it took watching the Imagineering Story to really drive home just how much she has done for the Disney parks. Pretty incredible.

I am really loving all your pictures in this TR.

Question: With regard to the sign for the running trail at AKL, I'm trying to figure out why they tell people to wear light-colored clothing at dawn and dusk. Is it simply to be seen a little better, so runners don't bump into each other on the trail? Or, is there another reason as well, behind this? (Sometimes I overthink little details, and for some odd reason, I'm stuck on this one! :facepalm: )
My guess is to be seen easier in dim or darker light. I clearly didn't follow those suggestions with my dark green shirt and black running shorts but even if it were pitch dark, there was quite a bit of light throughout the resort grounds that would have made anyone visible.

Looking back to the Disney Institute training I took in 2018, the top priority in Disney's Four Key Basics is safety so it makes sense that they want to ensure every detail, including the running maps, stick to the talking points.
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The Land was the first stop on what was really turning out to be a great day weather-wise. We were hopeful that the scents would be up and running again and provide us with the full Soarin' experience.


The standby line was all of ten minutes and the only area within the pavilion that seemed busy was the Garden Grill. We have yet to eat there, but it looks like a lot of fun. Maybe on our next visit we will have to add it to our list of ADRs.

Much like the night before, we strolled through the queue unimpeded and were added to a boarding line immediately. Once again we were seated in the middle but we had the second row, instead of the top. Still, a win in my books as it's just really odd to see all those scenes bend if you're riding on one of the sides.

We said hi to our buddy Patrick again before loading into our hangers.

Our flight was delayed as some woman in the hanger beside us just could not figure out how to store her bag and then somehow buckled her seat belt without actually sitting in her seat. Even with CM assistance, she was still beyond confused on how to sit down and buckle up. Her kids didn't seem to happy with her but we had a bit of a chuckle. Perhaps she missed her morning coffee.

Since we were front and centre I figured it would be a good opportunity for a few ride photos as we soared around the world.



To our delight, the scents were working properly and it really made for such a better experience. The ride is killer no matter what, but that 4D experience is something else. Closing your eyes and smelling the grass or the jasmine, so good!

Before leaving the Land to hit up our TT FP+, Kelly wanted to stroll through Sunshine Seasons just to get a look at what tasty treats they had to offer. I guess her cereal from the hotel wasn't quite cutting it because she walked to the till to pay for an Arendelle Aqua cupcake. Probably not my choice for an early morning pick me up but it did look pretty solid!


Kerri picked up a cheese tray so we sat down to eat and talk about our plan of attack. Mike says he doesn't eat before noon but he was really eyeing up the bow of the cupcake. Like a good friend, I wanted to ensure his meal schedule stayed on track so I eliminated the temptation by eating before he could. The things we do for friends.

Kelly really enjoyed the cupcake and I did steal a taste before it was gone. It was filled with Nutella in the middle so automatically it's a winner in my books. The small taste I had was really good but would have been too rich for me at just after 9 am!

Off we set across Future World to ride TT. Mike was jacked up, Kerri was a little nervous having heard just how fast the cars rip through the outdoor track the night before and Kelly and I were excited to experience one of our favourites again.

The FP queue moved fairly quickly and we were sent into lines to wait for the vehicle design room within 5-,minutes of entering the line. The wait for the room took a little bit of time but eventually, the doors swung open and we headed into the room to design our test vehicles. I was hoping to design something sleek and stealthy, electric and fast, like my car back home, but Kelly had other ideas.

What we ended up with was like a Kia Soul version of a Minnie Van.


I wasn't sure how this would hold up against our friends, turned rivals in this battle for superior insanely designed automobiles.

As we loaded into the ride vehicle, we were joined by two single riders to fill out the six seats and off we went. Intently paying attention to the test scores as we hit each area but anxiously anticipating the speed test! Even as someone who has been on this attraction numerous times over the year, the speed test still floors me. Such a rush to feel how fast the car is going and the pull on your body. Mike and Kerri loved it, too! Mike was happy that his dad was right about what a great ride it is.


Our planning at this point wasn't ideal. We next had a FP for Living with the Land so we'd have to trek all the way back across FW. Before we did that, we stopped in the temporary Mouse Gears to browse what is a vastly reduced space. I have to say, I was thoroughly impressed with some of the new merchandise, the t-shirts especially. Some of the old school designs with the vintage colour patterns we super cool. And since they were buy two shirts for $44, I was highly considering adding to my collection. We browsed but left somewhat empty-handed. Kelly picked up a few things for the kids but nothing crazy yet.

Right outside the building was a short line to meet Daisy Duck so we jumped in. We'd come to realize that with the Character Spot no longer open, characters like Daisy, Mickey and Minnie, would post up throughout the park for guests to interact with. One thing is for sure, normally a 35-year-old man hugging someone in a duck costume would look out of place everywhere else but here!






I also realized that character visits with adult guests only, and no kids with autograph books are not only awkward (still fun!) but fly by quickly.

With that, off we went back to visit the Land and the Seas.
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We were starting to become very familiar with the Land pavilion. Our third visit in a very short amount of time. As we walked towards the stairs to get down to Living with the Land, we passed by the theatre for the new Awesome Planet movie that was not yet open at this point. Having never ever stopped to watch any show that has resided in that theatre, I am intrigued to see this new film based on some fo the initial feedback now that it's open. Having Ty Burrell as the narrator is a big draw for me, who doesn't like Phil from Modern Family?

You could tell at this point that the park was starting to get busy. The posted standby line for Living with the Land was 15 minutes and the queue did look pretty jammed. That FP line is one of the shorter on property from what I can tell so we zoomed through and were ready to board a boat fairly quickly.

I feel bad about it now but I left my phone in my pocket and simply enjoyed the ride. The first few show scenes are nothing spectacular but I do really dig the garden and fish farm areas. It's beyond fascinating to see all of the crops that WDW is harvesting and it was starting to give Mike and Kerri some ideas for their new acreage come springtime.

The highlight of the tour was the way they create Mickey-shaped pumpkins using a plastic shell to help form the shape as the pumpkin grows. So cool!

True, Living with the Land is not a thrill-seekers first stop, but I feel it's pretty much a must-do any time you visit the parks. Always cool to see what new crops and sprouting and the different techniques that are being utilized.

Wisely, we made our way from the Land to the Seas to hop on our clam-mobile and head into the big blue world with Nemo and friends. The posted line time was 25-minutes! I've yet to see that during any WDW visit but we forged ahead and started winding through the massive queue. After a while we figured that the posted time must have simply been the time it would take you to walk from the queue entrance to the boarding area as we did not stop once and found our way onto the ride within about 10 minutes.

Kerri seemed relieved that this version of Nemo was not like the Disneyland version. She was not a fan of climbing into the submarines so the clamshell was a welcome change for her. Again, the phone stayed away and we made the relaxing journey through the sea trying to reunite Nemo and Marlin.



After the ride we did take some time to explore the rest of the Seas pavilion including the huge array of aquarium space on the second floor. We did this last trip as well but I still am amazed by how much there is to look at and how many creatures there are to admire.


Always cool to see a not so hidden Mickey, but it was the giant turtle that had captured everyone's attention. Many people stopped to snap a pic before he decided to move on.


Before heading back to the main floor we stopped to watch the Manatees for a bit as the viewing area of their tank was empty. There was lots of lettuce in the water but no manatees. We waited around for a bit and suddenly one emerged to swim over and grab a snack. It's amazing how large this big fella was. I assume he was Lou as his tail looked like it may have been mangled a bit from that boat accident.



As we wandered back downstairs we stopped for a brief demo I had never watched before, but a couple of Cast Members were demonstrating a diver lock-out chamber and how they used the devices within the aquariums. Really quite cool, though the mic system was awful and the presenter was nearly inaudible.




From there it was over to SSE for our final FP booking. The sun was gorgeous at this point and it was really starting to heat up. The conditions were ideal for enjoying some time strolling around World Showcase after we were done with this FP. It was obvious the park was starting to fill up as more and more people started to crowd the bottlenecked area with all the construction walls up.

Even with the swarm of guests, the SSE line was only 15 minutes and was moving fairly quickly. We scanned our bands and made the walk up to jump aboard.


I'm very curious to see how the refurbishment turns out when everything is finally completed. I'm not sure at what point SSE closes down but I enjoyed riding once again. For Kelly, this is always a take it or leave it ride but I really enjoy it, especially when you reach the top of the dome and start to crawl back down. Those string lights acting as stars might be one of the most peaceful areas in all of WDW.

I had to laugh as we were mapping out our future. Kelly selected something about having an electric car that would drive you where you needed to go. I quickly reminded her that our car at home does that now...the future is here! As usual, the headshots the attraction takes were absolutely atrocious but great for a laugh.

We were able to find ourselves n the world map in the exit area and we were happy to see that Kerri looked just as bad as we did in our photos. Mike must have looked downright scary as they didn't even post a picture for him.

Leaving the exit we had the chance to educate Mike and Kerri about the different walls throughout the world that people love to take photos in front of. With Bubble Gum wall right there, we had to stop!


By now it was close to noon so Mike could finally eat. We were all pretty hungry and agreed that roaming WS to find something was the best plan to satisfy our hunger. I knew exactly where I was going but was happy to take a stroll and see if any of the kiosks or QS options could change my mind before we arrived.
 

slipperalwaysfits

Well-Known Member
Her work is amazing. Honestly though, it took watching the Imagineering Story to really drive home just how much she has done for the Disney parks. Pretty incredible.
The Imagineering Story makes the whole Disney + worth every penny! We loved that show and all the background info we learned! Have you watched "Waking Sleeping Beauty?" That's a really informative and interesting documentary, too.

The ride is killer no matter what, but that 4D experience is something else. Closing your eyes and smelling the grass or the jasmine, so good!
My smells must be off because I only notice the citrus one when we go (and we've been since they've redone it). I will have to try and be more aware the next time I ride.

Such a rush to feel how fast the car is going and the pull on your body. Mike and Kerri loved it, too! Mike was happy that his dad was right about what a great ride it is.
Good for Kerri for being willing to try it. The speed test is so fun; my fear is the LAUNCH on the R and RC because you go from NOTHING to 60 in 2 seconds! I still ride it, though.

Having Ty Burrell as the narrator is a big draw for me, who doesn't like Phil from Modern Family?
Love the show and Ty is hilarious!

It's beyond fascinating to see all of the crops that WDW is harvesting and it was starting to give Mike and Kerri some ideas for their new acreage come springtime.
I bet they LOVED the Land, as caretakers of their own land!


We waited around for a bit and suddenly one emerged to swim over and grab a snack. It's amazing how large this big fella was. I assume he was Lou as his tail looked like it may have been mangled a bit from that boat accident.
Wandering around the SEAS pavilion looking at all the different animals is one of my favorite parts of every trip. Seeing the manatees is fun. I love how WDW works to rehab them. WDW is so much more than "a theme park."

Those string lights acting as stars might be one of the most peaceful areas in all of WDW.
I'm sure they will change the string lights, but I do love the fully immersive experience SSE and those lights provide.

I knew exactly where I was going but was happy to take a stroll and see if any of the kiosks or QS options could change my mind before we arrived.
I haven't read enough of your trip reports to know where exactly you are going...I'd say Canada, but you can get that food at home....:jawdrop:
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The Imagineering Story makes the whole Disney + worth every penny! We loved that show and all the background info we learned! Have you watched "Waking Sleeping Beauty?" That's a really informative and interesting documentary, too.


I haven't read enough of your trip reports to know where exactly you are going...I'd say Canada, but you can get that food at home....:jawdrop:
I have not watched Waking Sleeping Beauty but it is now on my D+ list.

As for where I was headed, I'll get into that right away but it was not Canada. I do love a good meal at Le Cellier (the filet is so good) but there really isn't a huge appeal for quick service/kiosk food there when a festival isn't going on. I had my sights set on something else!
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
As we approached the WS entrance, Kelly wanted to make a quick stop in the Disney traders store to look for more merch. She was really set on trying to find some snack themed dog items to bring back for Lily. Mike and I stayed out of the store and looked across the lake at the sun shining down. It was really gorgeous to see WS in full daylight as opposed to the darkness of last night. Light or dark, the area offers so much to look at.

After a few minutes, we decided to head in and find the girls. We were pretty hungry and wanted to grab something before we made our way over to the Expo. I was quick to snap up another opportunity to take a quick photo of home before we continued on.


We started our walk around the World in Mexico, the proper way to start if you ask me, with another photo opp.


While no food was consumed here, I was surprised the girls passed up on grabbing a margarita for the walk. Of all places, Kelly decided to stop at the refreshment outpost to grab a hot dog and chips combo. All the food available and she was quite content with that hot dog. I tried to convince her to add the frozen coke but she had another treat in mind for down the road.

The next stop brought us to Germany where I made a quick pivot into the line for the pretzel and beer cart. I had been thinking about that giant german pretzel for the last hour and I was not going to pass it up. While I waited in line, the others took off to try and find something for themselves.

As I waited to place my order, I had no intention of ordering a beer until I was the next person to order and the person in front of me ordered the grapefruit beer. I've never tried one of these yet but after hearing how amazing it was after his first sip I was sold. And yet again my poor will power lets me down.

I was a happy boy with my pretzel and beer!


This would not be the last time I would pose for a photo like this during our trip. I fully admit, the beer was delicious! We have radlers back home but this is completely different. I LOVED it and on what was a pretty hot day, at least for us Canucks, it was the perfect thing to drink. I did hold off on eating the pretzel as I wanted to grab some plastic cheese instead of the mustard offered at the cart.

The girls set off to find some, knowing they could grab a cup for me in the American pavilion. I waited for Mike as he was in line to grab a brat in Germany. He polished it off in no time and was pleased with the sausage but said the bun was too much.

I waited patiently for the girls to come back with my cheese and finally, we spotted them walking back towards us in Germany. Looks like the took a quick detour so that Kelly could get her early January Christmas fix!



She was so pumped that there were still Christmas decorations in the parks even if our hotel had already taken everything down. With my cheese in hand, we set off towards France so the girls could hit up Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie for their food fix. I was happy as a clam dunking my pretzel in that cheese and eventually finished it off while Mike and I waited inside the building where the girls were in line.

There were some really cool french themed items within the store. Many of which I thought our girls might like, especially some of the purses that were on display. Knowing that Kelly is in love with the macarons from this shop, I knew we would be back the next time we had the girls with us so they could see things for themselves.

Kelly and Kerri returned with their tray of food, including a macaron for Kelly, a sandwich and a Frose to drink which actually looked really good! We found a spot to sit outside so they could eat and enjoy the sun. Both were very happy to have their treats!




Kelly loved the macaron and Kerri said the drink was excellent. Kelly did steal a few sips and definitely agreed. Something to get again when we are back for our next visit.

Now that we were refueled, we planned to take a quick break from the park to head over to the runDisney expo and pick up our race packages. Since this will likely be about as close as we ever come to actually experiencing Paris, we figured it was worth commemorating before making our move to the International Gateway to exit the park.



We decided this would be the perfect opportunity to take a ride on the new Skyliner and head over to the brand new Riveria Resort to view the grounds and catch a bus over the WWoS. I couldn't wait to experience the new transportation option and get a sneak peek at a resort we will likely want to stay at during a future trip.
 
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MinnieM123

Well-Known Member
I love how they hung the garland (with the bows) on that tall Christmas tree. It's so pretty. I'd never think to do that style, although I might "borrow" it for my own tree at home next Christmas! :D
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I love how they hung the garland (with the bows) on that tall Christmas tree. It's so pretty. I'd never think to do that style, although I might "borrow" it for my own tree at home next Christmas! :D
We love "borrowing" ideas from Disney when it comes to decorating for Christmas!
 
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Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I’m not much of a beer drinker, but that grapefruit beer on a hot day is so good
I cannot believe it's taken this long for me to get my first sip.

It took everything in my power not to go all Frank the Tank from Old School and yell "fill it up again! Once it hits your lips, it's so good!"

I guess I showed enough will power to ensure I wouldn't be running through WS naked looking for a late-night KFC fix.

*For anyone who has not watched Old School, I apologize if this reference goes over your head and highly recommend you watch it immediately!
 

Loco_driver

Well-Known Member
I cannot believe it's taken this long for me to get my first sip.

It took everything in my power not to go all Frank the Tank from Old School and yell "fill it up again! Once it hits your lips, it's so good!"

I guess I showed enough will power to ensure I wouldn't be running through WS naked looking for a late-night KFC fix.

*For anyone who has not watched Old School, I apologize if this reference goes over your head and highly recommend you watch it immediately!
I have had a few Frank the Tank moments in my life! 🤣🤣🤣
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
On our way to the International Gateway to catch the Skyliner, Ella had a bit of an issue with her glucose monitor at school so I made a quick phone call to make sure we could get it figured out. Even if we were only a day and a bit into the trip, we were really keeping a close eye on things at home to make sure that our moms weren't getting too overwhelmed with all the fun stuff that goes into Ella's diabetes.

While I was on the phone, the rest of the gang stopped to take a photo with Minnie Mouse. Both her and Mickey were set up along the gateway greeting guests and taking photos. I assume based on the lack of photos with Minnie that they didn't scan their Magic Bands for photopass or things got lost in the wash as we have no record of those pics. Oh well, what can you do?

Just as I hung up the phone and had things straightened out with Ella, we were able to jump in a surprisingly short line to meet Mickey. To me, no visit to any Disney park is complete without a visit with Mickey Mouse. How could you not want to pay homage to Walt and the character that started it all? There was one family in front of us and we were in rubbing elbows with the big cheese in no time.




With that, we exited the park and rolled up to catch the Skyliner. Unlike the night before, there was nobody in line to hop on so we were quick to get through the queue and into the boarding area. I was still very surprised by how quickly the cars move. I was not expecting it to be that fast, though it's likely it just seems a lot faster coming out of the boarding area than it really is.

As we waited to jump on our gondola, we were loving all the different character wraps that were on the cars. Such a fun element. Sadly, our car was wrap-less. Not that it made any difference.



We hopped in our car and were off in a jiffy. There is quite a bit of space in the gondolas, it was really comfortable. Didn't seem stuff at all and immediately you could notice what amazing views you could get of the parks and resort areas as you made your way down the line. I regret not snapping a pic but it was really cool to see all of the work being done in France to add the new Ratatouille ride. I'm very excited to see how everything turns out when they are finished.


Honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride over to the Riveria Resort. The turning station halfway through the trip was super cool and can see why staying at a resort with a Skyliner station would be a huge draw. Assuming they have worked out all the kinks, this mode of transportation seems very efficient. I am very much looking forward to another ride when we return. I think the girls would love it.

Soon, we arrived at the new Riveria Resort. We exited our gondola and headed down the walkway to the resort grounds. Right away you could feel that this was a very unique space. The ambiance was just so cool and the touches on the grounds were stunning. I really did not take enough photos but I did get a few shots of what was easily my favourite part. These mosaics were absolutely stunning and the fact that they spanned the entire wall, including the rooftop was just terrific.




I was blown away by the artistry and craftsmanship. Though I really shouldn't expect less from Disney. The rest of the grounds that we viewed were pretty sweet. The bocce courts, the giant chess boards, the seating areas, and the surroundings made being outside the resort a must-do. As we walked inside the building to get to the main lobby and find the transportation area, I did notice that even though the main areas were gorgeous, the lobby is so much smaller than what we are used to at a WDW hotel, especially coming from a place like Wilderness Lodge. One thing that hit me right away was how amazing the scent of the lobby was. I love that place like Riveria, Beach Club, Poly, etc. have that distinct Disney smell.

I didn't really connect the dots at first but having listened to a podcast recently, someone raised a really good point that this may become the norm with lobby construction because many guests are no longer needed to access the front desk when they arrive. If they have checked in online and receive their room number through the app, the need for grand lobbies with amble space is no longer going to be a necessity. It makes a lot more sense now but was a tad confusing at the time while we were walking through.

We asked one of the CMs how to best get to the Expo and we were directed to the bus transportation area just outside the main lobby. With a little good luck, there was a bus heading to the Expo loading up guests as we arrived so we were able to jump on and relax. The bus made several stops throughout the grounds of Caribbean Beach to pick up other runners before we finally reached the Wide World of Sports.

There were scores of people around but I immediately got excited to pick up our gear. The true reason for our trip was just around the corner and a wave of excitement and a lot of nerves was starting to take over!
 

Swissmiss

Premium Member
On the photopass website you can report a missing photo and see if they can locate it. For some reason our photo for Buzz didn’t show up, but my sister and her husband’s photo did. I looked at the time of their photo and wrote giving an exact time it would have been taken. Just a few hours later it was in MDE. And bonus: they removed the photo of strangers on Buzz that had been there instead of ours 😉
 

Hopps

New Member
Came here to say what Swissmiss did -- send Photopass an email to report your missing photos with Minnie. Along with place and time of day, you can also let them know what you were wearing to help them find the photos.

The wraps on the gondolas are very cool -- from the outside! It's much better to ride a blank one. The wraps obscure the view.

I'm enjoying your report and looking forward to the run stuff. :)
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
On the photopass website you can report a missing photo and see if they can locate it. For some reason our photo for Buzz didn’t show up, but my sister and her husband’s photo did. I looked at the time of their photo and wrote giving an exact time it would have been taken. Just a few hours later it was in MDE. And bonus: they removed the photo of strangers on Buzz that had been there instead of ours 😉
I would not have even considered this. Thank you so much for this suggestion. Having missed the photo, I cannot say that they scanned their band or not but I’ll certainly find out.

Came here to say what Swissmiss did -- send Photopass an email to report your missing photos with Minnie. Along with place and time of day, you can also let them know what you were wearing to help them find the photos.

The wraps on the gondolas are very cool -- from the outside! It's much better to ride a blank one. The wraps obscure the view.

I'm enjoying your report and looking forward to the run stuff. :)
I popped in to tell @Matt and Kelly this same thing!

#GreatMinds :D
You guys are the best! I was quite pleased we rode in a nonwrapped car for this very reason.
 

slipperalwaysfits

Well-Known Member
I have not watched Waking Sleeping Beauty but it is now on my D+ list.
Job done!! :geek:

The next stop brought us to Germany where I made a quick pivot into the line for the pretzel and beer cart. I had been thinking about that giant german pretzel for the last hour and I was not going to pass it up
That cheese is soooo worth it! Now I have to put "grapefruit beer" on my Epcot list!

As we waited to jump on our gondola, we were loving all the different character wraps that were on the cars. Such a fun element. Sadly, our car was wrap-less. Not that it made any difference.
I'm all about the view but I feel like all the gondolas will be wrapped eventually. Also, my goodness, those mosaics!! I am looking forward to seeing them in person!
 
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