Trip Report Livin' La Vida Local


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All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.

For those of you that have been following my adventures for awhile now, welcome back! 😊 For those of you that are just joining my adventures, I'll do some quick introductions before we jump on in!

I'm Brittany and this is my prince, Dylan. ❀ We are from Pennsylvania and got engaged at MK a little over a year ago. We took a page from Walt's book shortly thereafter and chased our dreams, leading us to central Florida. I teach 1st grade and Dylan works at the Magnolia/Palm (Disney) golf courses located across from the Poly and Grand Floridian. After living in FL for a full year now, we are 100% certain that we won't be moving back to PA. We are Floridians through and through and can't imagine living our crazy life together anywhere else. ☺

You'll see lots of faces in my report (including some of yours!), but this is the one you'll see most often. πŸ˜‰ This is my very best Disney friend, Brooke (@wishes2013)! We met through this site and were brought together when we realized that we would both be teaching 1st grade at the same school. I'm not exaggerating when I say that you can either find us at school or Disney... we're together more often than we're not. πŸ˜‹

You can find the ongoing trip report that chronicles our first year living in FL and being passholders here. 😊 This report will serve as more of a "highlight reel," rather than detailing every moment of every trip we take to the parks. But fear not, there will still be lots of report to read! If you're looking for your Disney fix or a way to chase those Disney blues away, you can most certainly find it here. πŸ€—

To all who come to this happy place, welcome!
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Saturday, July 14 - Happy birthday to me!

Dylan had us up bright and early and on our way to MK for my surprise birthday present! 😁 The only two things that I could think of were breakfast reservations or a tour, but I had no idea which restaurant or which tour. I love Disney, Dylan, my birthday, and surprises, so the day was already off to a perfect start. 😍 When we scanned our bands the CM wished me a happy birthday and asked how old I was turning, following it up by asking if I was 22. I used to be a huge Taylor Swift fan and her song "22" was my anthem for years, so there's a big joke in my family that I'll always be 22. Dylan refuses to partake in my nonsense so when that was the age the CM guessed, I immediately turned to him like 😏😬. He was not amused. πŸ˜‚

He told me that we needed to go to Town Square, and soon we were checking in for the tour I've been DYING to do forever. 😍

We were given our name tags, earpieces, and water and they took our order for lunch at Pecos Bill's. We had a few minutes until the tour began, so we used the restroom and waited in the lobby area.

Disney is the only thing that will get this much excitement out of me so early in the morning. 😝

I still can't believe that he did this for me. I'm marrying the most amazing, thoughtful man in the entire world. 😘

Our tour guide's name was Kelli and she was great. We learned that she started out working at Splash Mountain and also worked at Big Thunder before moving into the Guest Relations arena and starting to do tours. Her fiancé (who we met later on) is also a tour guide and Disney is what brought them together. ❀ She's a teacher and this is her summer gig... won't be long before you can come take a tour with @blgauger in the summer. 😜

The tour was 5 hours long with a break for lunch in the middle. We got to ride Jungle Cruise and Haunted Mansion, learning some REALLY interesting facts about both of them. I won't share all of the awesome things that we learned and got to see, but I will share some of my favorites.

1. Walt LOVED ice cream and ate a bowl every night before bed (SAME 😎), explaining the placement of his window on Main Street above the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. Vanilla was his flavor of choice.
2. We got to see the staging area for the parade floats and learn how they are driven. They had all of the MNSSHP floats out and were working on them while we were there.
3. We learned a lot about Cinderella's Castle and the suite. As if I didn't want to win a stay there bad enough. 😍
4. We talked about Tinkerbell's flight during the fireworks and the logistics of that, which I found really interesting.
5. The highlight, of course, was getting to go into the utilidors. It was what I expected, but so much more. I was really hoping to see a half dressed character, but the closest we came was seeing a dancer with her wig on and makeup done, but not yet in costume. They had some really neat artifacts and pictures displayed, as well as all of the completed pin collections from over the years.

I seriously cannot recommend this tour enough. It was INCREDIBLE and didn't ruin the magic at all whatsoever... it simply enhanced it. Dylan loved it almost as much and is already looking forward to our next tour. πŸ™ƒ

We stopped for a few pictures while we decided what to do next. 😊

The balloons in this magic shot are different than they used to be and I love them. 😍

It was really hot at that point in the day and we were ready for some sort of break. We decided to go check out Cast Connection, which is the shopping warehouse available only to CM's and their guests. There is a back room that only CM's with valid ID can enter, but Dylan said there wasn't anything exciting back there anyway. I picked up a few things, including one of the adorable Minnie dog harnesses for Tink. ☺ They're still being sold in the parks for $35 but I got hers for $15 plus Dylan's discount. 😱 Overall, Cast Connection had some pretty good deals but it's honestly not much different than the Character Warehouse at the outlets. There are some things there that they don't send to the outlets, but it was mostly the same stuff.

I had originally made FP's for Hollywood Studios (before I knew that Dylan booked the tour), and it ended up being perfect timing to use them following our break! We made it to the park just in time for Tower of Terror and lucked into my favorite drop sequence. 😬

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Saturday, July 14 cont. - Happy birthday to me!

We stopped at the Joffrey's stand outside the ride and decided to try the current specialty drink.

Guys... I'm going to be SO SAD when this goes away. It's amazing!!! We got it with vodka and cheers-ed to 26. πŸ€—

Dylan had not yet gotten to see Toy Story Land, so we headed that way! 🀠

We had a FP for Midway Mania, so decided to use that while we were in the area. I love all of the new queue details. 😍


I'm pretty sure that we take this same picture every time we ride lol.

I was in the lead for the majority of the ride and being that I haven't won for quite some time, I yelled at him and told him not to let me win just because it was my birthday. πŸ˜‚ He assured me that he wasn't and he ended up coming back to beat me. πŸ™„

We stopped for a popsicle wall selfie on our way out. He questioned me and I told him "it's a thing, just like the purple wall." πŸ™ƒπŸ˜‚

We decided to wait standby for Slinky Dog next.. It was posted at 60 minutes and ended up being accurate. The skies looked ominous, but it never did end up raining. 😊

While in line, these people pulled out burgers from McDonald's and started eating. πŸ€¨πŸ€”
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Saturday, July 14 cont. - Happy birthday to me!

We were scratching our heads at this part of the queue. πŸ€”πŸ˜‚

We finally made it to the load zone and were given the back row - happy birthday to me! πŸ€— It's definitely more fun in the back.. I'm glad this was Dylan's first experience because he really enjoyed it!

We used our last FP for RnRC before heading back to MK for the rest of the evening!

We parked at the golf course and popped inside to grab some bottles of water before walking over to the monorail. Fun perk of being engaged to a golf course CM: you get to ride the Mickey golf cart. πŸ˜‹ We didn't ride it today since he wasn't working, but he's taken me for a ride on it before!

I was able to get a FP for Buzz so we went straight to Tomorrowland when we got to the park. Remember how Buzz had been back THE DAY BEFORE? He's gone again. πŸ€¨πŸ™„

Dylan kicked my butt on this one too... I surrender. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ˜‚

It was time for us to get to our dinner reservation, so we bid Tomorrowland farewell and headed for Fantasyland.

I went back and forth about keeping our reservation at BOG... we've eaten here many times and my birthday was a great excuse to try somewhere new. However, I doubt we'll be doing dinner there again now that they've switched over to the prix fixe menu (my birthday was just before the switch). I really do love everything about this restaurant, so we decided to go ahead and dine there. 😊

We checked in a little early so did have to wait a few minutes. We were called inside just before our official 8:05pm reservation time.
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Saturday, July 14 cont. - Happy birthday to me!

I was overjoyed when we were led to the Rose Gallery! 😍🌹 I truly love the Ballroom, however it's much quieter and more intimate in the Rose Gallery.

Yes I will accept this rose! 😘

Our waiter was wonderful and made our entire meal perfect. I started with the French Onion Soup and we demolished the basket of bread. πŸ˜›


As always, I had the Grilled Strip Steak. It was better than I remembered! I also subbed the mini red potatoes for fries, which was such a good decision. They were YUMMY!

Dylan decided to branch out and try something new... he went with the Ratatouille. He said it was fine, but strange. He ate it but wouldn't get it again. πŸ˜‰ He ended up finishing off my meal when I got full, so he didn't leave hungry!

We chose to forgo dessert but our sweet waiter brought out a birthday treat anyway. ☺ Yes I will try the grey stuff!

Dylan settled our bill while I went to say hello to the master of this beautiful castle. 😍
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Saturday, July 14 cont. - Happy birthday to me!

Prepare for an overload of Beast pictures! 😍

I told him that it was my birthday and I couldn't imagine dining anywhere else! 😌

We started talking about the wedding and I told him that Dylan's attire will mirror his, which made him very happy! The CM asked if I would be wearing a yellow dress like Belle and it resulted in this picture. πŸ˜‚

I told him that though my dress will be white, it will rival any dress that Belle has in her closet. πŸ˜‰



He bowed to me as we said our goodbyes and this was the best I could manage. πŸ˜‹

I had a great interaction with him and it reassured me that I had made the right decision in keeping the reservation. 😊 I met Dylan outside and we hustled to the front of the park to find a spot for fireworks! We weren't able to get a great spot because we were cutting it so close to showtime, but we've had worse views. πŸ™ƒ


After fireworks, we headed out for the night. I had such a wonderful birthday and wouldn't have changed a single thing about it. ❀
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Love the title! What an awesome birthday. So glad you loved Keys to the Kingdom! I really want to do that one day. Glad it enhanced the Magic. One thing holding me back was worry that it would ruin the Magic for me.


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What a day for your birthday! Happy belated birthday by the way πŸŽ‰πŸ°.
A few years ago I also did the keys to the kingdom tour. At that moment they were practising for the Christmas parade and I did see a half dressed character. Didn β€˜t spoiled the magic!


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Happy belated birthday.πŸŽ‰ SO glad to hear you got to do the KTTK tour. I did it a few years ago and it was brilliant. Have also done a couple of others now but this was far by the most enjoyable - maybe as it was the first?
Also loved your year long report and pleased to see another TR from you.:)


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Another fan of the Keys to the Kingdom Tour. We've also done the tours at Epcot(Undiscovered Future World and DestiNations Discovered), enjoyed them as well. Also, you two are adorable, and happy (belated) birthday. And, school starts way too early, growing up in PA we always started the day after Labor Day.
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Happy Birthday again - great TR title and I’ll be here to continue hearing about your adventures.
We’ve done KTTK tour twice now and loved it - also did backstage magic years back (it was expensive but it was a full day tour so you get what you pay for). What a great birthday present Dylan got for you.
I think I’m a long lost relative of Walt as we all know how much I like ice cream - maybe I should check my family tree :D
And the beast - we’ll you can never have too many pictures of him - the love of my life!
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