Trip Report You'll Always Find Your Way Back Home - September 2020

Hello friends, and welcome to another K and J trip report!

We will be returning to Walt Disney World together after basically a year away…more on that later. This is my fourth trip report so I’m sure many of you know us by this point, so I’ll keep the introductions brief…well, brief for me anyway.

Who: Me, Katie

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And my husband, Jason

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We both visited Walt Disney World as kids, but our love for the Disney parks truly blossomed when we went to Walt Disney World together for the first time, for our first wedding anniversary back in 2014. We had the best time and made so many cherished memories, and we loved it so much that we ended up booking our next WDW trip before we even checked out!

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In total, we have been to Walt Disney World together 11 times, and Disneyland twice in the span of 6 years.

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In December 2017, we finally took the plunge and became annual passholders at WDW, and that’s when our trips started becoming more frequent – we average 3-4 Disney trips a year…with the exception of this year. As you may remember, I went on a Disney cruise with my mom, sister, and SIL back in February, and we spent one night at WDW, where I flew solo in Epcot for a couple hours. J and I had plans to do a WDW trip in April, and then COVID-19 happened. April became May, May became June, and then when our June trip was cancelled by Disney, we decided to cancel that trip altogether, and go to the beach in Palm Coast, FL instead. While in Palm Coast, we made a quick trip over to Disney Springs for a few hours. Aside from that time in Disney Springs, Jason and I have not been to Walt Disney World together in nearly a year. In fact, it will have been almost exactly a year when we return. I know we are so fortunate to be APs and be able to visit as often as we do, so I hate to feel like I’m complaining about my champagne problems, but I know many of you have felt the same way we have over the last few months. Being unable to be in our happy place, our home away from home, has been so hard for us, emotionally. We are so beyond ready to be back in Walt Disney World. Speaking of being back…

When: September 8th-13th

We had originally booked our trip for September 9th-13th, but then an Annual Passholder room discount came out in July, and we were able to add another night to our trip and still be paying less than what we were originally going to pay! Since we were going to be going down the Wednesday after Labor Day (the 9th), we were already planning to take the 8th off, since we didn’t see the point in being off work the 7th, working the 8th, and then being off the rest of the week. We’re excited to have a nice long weekend to get packed and prepared for the trip, rather than working all day the day prior, coming home and finishing last minute packing and preparation, and going to bed way too late the night before our trip.

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Where: Pop Century!

We have not stayed at Pop since March 2017, prior to the room renovations, so we are excited to be back. We have stayed in a renovated room at All Star Movies and loved it. I know a lot of people view the new theming as sterile, but we don’t mind it. I view it as a clean, modern look, and we absolutely love all of the added storage and USB portals/outlets. I know many folks don’t dig the “hardwood” floors and prefer carpet, but our entire house is hardwood and tile, so we’re used to it.

Our last (and only, up to this point) experience at Pop was defined by what felt like hundreds of school groups and sports teams staying at the resort at the same time as us, so we don’t exactly look back on our time at Pop with the fondest of memories. It’s not that there was anything wrong with the resort, it can just get frustrating to be surrounded by tons and tons of teenagers any time you go to ride a bus to the parks or eat in the resort food court. None of them were poorly behaved, as far as I can remember (at least not as poorly behaved as the cheerleaders when we stayed at CBR during a cheer competition, but that’s another story for another day)…there were just so many of them, everywhere, all the time…We are excited to make new, hopefully fonder memories at Pop. Jason is very excited about the Skyliner. I….am anxious. If you read my Disneyland trip report from this past December, you may remember that I have a pretty intense fear of heights. I told J that I would try the Skyliner at least once, since it’s important to him. If I absolutely can’t stand it, we’ll have our car with us, so we can drive to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

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Why: We love visiting Walt Disney World in the Fall (and the Spring, and the Holidays, and…). Typically, September/October trips mean Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. While we are totally bummed that MNSSHP is cancelled, we understand why. There will always be other years. As far as Food and Wine…we are actually looking forward to the new, scaled-down version of the festival. I have always felt the usual 30+ booths to be overwhelming, especially if you’re only at Epcot for one day. We’ve already made a big list of things we want to enjoy at Food and Wine, and I know we won’t be disappointed!

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So there’s my “brief” summary of the trip…look forward to more detailed plans coming soon!

Up next: Daily plans
 
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k8einwdw

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Who's ready for some room photos?!? I'm sure you've all seen the Pop room photos a million times, but you get to see them again!

This was our first time staying at Pop post-renovations, but we had stayed in a refurbished room at All Star Movies in 2018, so we knew what to expect. I sent this photo to my Mom, since my parents and siblings had stayed at Pop when I was in college and they went to WDW without me ( rude 😒) - her first reaction was "It's so bare!" We actually don't mind the new look. The old rooms felt very dated, dingy, and dark, and these feel modern and bright. Although I certainly wouldn't be opposed to a little artwork on the walls.

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We love this console. We bring breakfast food, snacks, and bottled water with us, so we like that there is a dedicated place in the room for all of that.

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As you can see, they have the remote control in a sealed baggie, indicated that it had been cleaned between guests. I love that they have the tv turned to the WDW Today channel when you come in the room for the first time. Jason had the remote out of the bag and the channel turned to something else within 2.5 seconds of this picture being taken. Also, we love all of the outlets and charging ports that are all over the newer rooms. We charge two phones, two handheld fans, my camera, my watch, and my portable phone charger every night, so it's nice to have plenty of spaces to charge everything at once.

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Sink and vanity area, with the magnified mirror for those of you who want to see what every individual pore looks like (no thank you!).

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The bed with a million pillows. I was bewildered by all of the pillows when we walked in, before I realized that all the pillows are meant for two beds. Since we didn't fold down the murphy bed the entire trip and we bring our own pillows anyway, most of those pillows ended up on the floor beside the bed.

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I love this wardrobe space with lots of room for shoes!

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Bathroom, with the toiletries bolted to the shower wall (also sealed in plastic, to indicate cleaning).

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And here's the window to our room, decorated with our Lost Bros reusable decals. It's hard to see the top ones, but there's a Mickey Bar, a Dole Whip, a "Welcome Home" sign, a Mickey Waffle, and an "Ohana."

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I'm sure I'll give more details about our time at Pop in my "Final Thoughts" at the end of the report, but I'll give this spoiler - we hated being on the fourth (top) floor. I prefer to be on the ground floor when we stay Value or Moderate (the vast majority of our trips), since there's usually only one elevator per building, and it's just so much easier to walk out of your room and be right there outside. Up until sometime in the last year or so, you could request first floor when you completed your online check-in. I don't know why they took that option away.

Up next: Disney Springs, and finally trying Homecomin’!
 

Minnesota disney fan

Well-Known Member
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I had to laugh at your "nagging" J to actually spend a little money on himself. My husband is exactly like that. I have gone through all the things to tell him that you listed :joyfull: but it's like pulling hens teeth!

As far as packing, I admit I am one of those people who start packing 3 months ahead of time:rolleyes:. I'm constantly reviewing the clothes laid out on the spare bed and changing things. I get serious about one week before after having things spread out all over the spare bedroom fo months.


I don't sleep before our trips either, but I beat the alarm or get up at the first annoying beep!

Can't wait for your report.
 

lindawdw

Well-Known Member
I finally got all caught up with your Pre-Trip report and the beginning of your real TR! I love all the details that you put into preparing for your WDW trip. I used to be a lot more into coordinating outfits and packing early but with so many trips under our belt now, I tend to leave a lot for the last minute. We used to stay at Pop a lot before buying into the DVC but I still stay there when I vacation with girlfriends and it always feel like I'm coming back home since I loved it so much. I really think they did a great job with the renovation there and found the beds sooo comfortable! Love all the decals that you put in your window. Can't wait to hear about your first day!
 

Back!Elbow!Shoulders!

Premium Member
I always have to quadruple-check that our reservations are indeed for the dates that I reserved them for...and yet still, then night before, I have nightmares that we're going to get there and have nowhere to stay. Before our wedding, I used to have nightmares that I forgot to buy a dress, forgot to buy shoes, forgot to tell Jason what time to be there...you know, the longer I go on about this, the more of a weirdo I appear to be...

Not at all! The more I read the more I thought “oh good- it’s not just me.”

The bed with a million pillows. I was bewildered by all of the pillows when we walked in, before I realized that all the pillows are meant for two beds. Since we didn't fold down the murphy bed the entire trip and we bring our own pillows anyway, most of those pillows ended up on the floor beside the bed.

Even divided amongst two beds it’s too many pillows.
 

k8einwdw

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I had to laugh at your "nagging" J to actually spend a little money on himself. My husband is exactly like that. I have gone through all the things to tell him that you listed :joyfull: but it's like pulling hens teeth!
It's even worse at Christmas, he will not give anyone gift ideas. I've had to start writing stuff down when he says he likes something!
Ditto; I’m from MI and we’re finally getting a Chik fil A just down the road from us. 👏🏻 👏🏻
Woo-hoo!
I finally got all caught up with your Pre-Trip report and the beginning of your real TR! I love all the details that you put into preparing for your WDW trip. I used to be a lot more into coordinating outfits and packing early but with so many trips under our belt now, I tend to leave a lot for the last minute. We used to stay at Pop a lot before buying into the DVC but I still stay there when I vacation with girlfriends and it always feel like I'm coming back home since I loved it so much. I really think they did a great job with the renovation there and found the beds sooo comfortable! Love all the decals that you put in your window. Can't wait to hear about your first day!
Thank you for following along! We stay so many different places that nowhere feels like our Disney "home," but I've heard a ton of people say that about Pop! The beds really were more comfortable than I expected!
Not at all! The more I read the more I thought “oh good- it’s not just me.”



Even divided amongst two beds it’s too many pillows.
Glad I'm not the only weirdo! And YES way too many pillows! J and I both sleep with just one pillow, so we always end up tossing a bunch of pillows in the floor when we stay at a hotel.
 

k8einwdw

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Tuesday, September 8th - Check-In Day - Continued

When I last left off, we had arrived at Pop Century shortly after Noon, and our room was ready! As soon as we arrived at Pop, we parked by our building, unloaded the car, and headed to the room. Immediately, I was regretting not sending in a request for a first-floor room, as we had to wait FOR-E-VER for an elevator, There are two elevators located in the center of each building, but only one in our building was working, the entire time we were there. In addition to that, there was signage indicating that there only needed to be one party or four individuals per elevator...that made for long elevator wait times all week. Once we finally made it to the fourth floor, we found our room, and found out that we were about as far from the lobby as you could get in the 50's section. Thankfully, it wasn't too far of a walk from our building to the Skyliner station, and we didn't have to walk to the main building too many times. I know you do a ton of walking at WDW so you'd think an extra 5 minute walk from your room to the buses/main building would be nothing, but it feels so much longer at the end of a long day, when your feet are killing you.

Once we made it to our room, I grabbed some room pics (in the last post), and then we quickly unpacked and got settled into the room. We like to completely unpack - put clothes on hangers/in drawers, put toiletries in the bathroom, etc. We hate feeling like we're living out of a suitcase. I remarked to Jason that it felt kind of unfair that it takes hours to pack, but we can unpack in the span of minutes. It's kind of like Thanksgiving, when you spend days cooking, and everyone is done eating in 30 minutes. Once we were settled in and freshened up from the long drive, it was time to head out to Disney Springs! We had a 2:00 pm lunch reservation at Homecomin' - I originally had this scheduled for our Magic Kingdom day, but swapped our dining plans at the last minute, and I'm glad I did. With Magic Kingdom only being open for 9 hours, it would have been silly to leave the park for 2-3 hours for lunch.

We left Pop around 1:00, and arrived at Disney Springs around 1:20. We normally prefer to park in the Lime Garage, but it was closed when we got there - I'm wondering if they only open that one up on nights and weekends. We parked in Orange, which worked out anyway, since Homecomin' is pretty close to that garage. We breezed through temperature check (side note: it still baffles me that they don't do bag check at Disney Springs), and we were headed down the escalator into Springs in no time. We had some time to kill before we could check in at Homecomin', so we decided to do some shopping in that area. We started off at DisneyStyle. We love this store, and it had been closed when we were at Disney Springs in June, so we were glad to see it open. Neither of us bought anything, but we had fun browsing through all of the fun clothing and accessories that we hadn't seen before. And of course, I had to get a pic in the teacup!

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By the time we left DisneyStyle, it was around 1:40, so we decided to head toward Homecomin', but not without getting a balloon pic on the way over. There is not enough money in the world to make me want to get on this balloon, but I always have to stop and take a pic when we're at Disney Springs.

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We checked in at Homecomin' shortly before 1:45, and they seated us immediately! For a restaurant that seems to always be booked up, it was pretty empty in there. We got a lovely window seat, looking out on the springs and the lovely floating lanterns.

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Shortly after we were seated, our server arrived. I wish we could remember her name, because she was a delight. She had been there since the restaurant opened, so she had a great knowledge of the menu, and seemed to have a story to tell about everything on the menu. She started off by telling us about their Shine menu. J already knew that he wanted to get one of the 22-oz refillable bottles of the shine on tap, but I was originally planning on just getting a cocktail, since the refillable bottles were $22 each. She talked me into one of the refillable bottles, since they are 1) super cute and 2) a great deal ($13 refills anytime you return). I decided on the Sweet Tea Shine, which tasted like an Arnold Palmer. Jason decided on the Blue Hooch Shine, which tasted like an electric lemonade.

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Now, I am a lightweight when it comes to alcohol. On the occasions that I do drink, I'll typically have 1-2 drinks and call it a day. I am a bit of a control freak, and I hate feeling like I don't have 100% control of a situation, so I am very mindful not to overindulge, especially in public. This stuff was way stronger than it tasted (always dangerous), and I slurped down a little too much of it before our food came. I had about 1/3 of the bottle before our server warned us. I think she saw my face and ears turning red, and by that point, I was already feeling a little loopy. I ended up only drinking about half the bottle over the course of our meal, and dumping the rest of it. Lesson learned for next time - eat some food before you suck down too much moonshine.

Speaking of food, we had already decided before we arrived that we were going to get the Bunch of Puppies appetizer ($10). While hush puppies are typically served at fish fries and I don't eat fish, I love me some hush puppies (J does too). These come served with house-made pimento cheese and red pepper jelly, and our server told us they're best if you combine the two spreads. The trick is to break a hush puppy in half, spread pimento cheese on one half, spread pepper jelly on the other half, and then smoosh them back together and eat them that way. Delish!

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For entrees, we both wanted to try the fried chicken in some form. I got the Fried Chicken Sandwich ($18), and Jason got the Art's Famous Fried Chicken ($29) and upgraded his side to Mac n Cheese, which was an additional $2-3. My sandwich was good, but not life-changing. The chips that came with it were just okay. I may have enjoyed it more if I hadn't had too much moonshine by that point. Jason really liked his fried chicken, and the mac n cheese was delicious. Overall, we liked Homecomin', and we'll definitely be back, maybe some time next year. I will probably get the regular fried chicken next time, rather than the sandwich.

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After we paid our bill, we headed out to spend some more time in Disney Springs. After the heavy food and moonshine, I was not feeling too hot at that point. We stopped to use the restroom, where I dumped out the rest of my drink. Then Jason received a call from work, which, while annoying on vacation, gave me a few minutes to sit down, take some Tums, and drink a bottle of water. While we were sitting outside the restroom, a group of three people (I'd say early 20s) came up and started doing a mask-free photoshoot. In front of a bathroom. :rolleyes: After they left, another group came up, most of them with their masks off or below their mouth, and one of them sat about six inches from me. :mad: I hate having my personal space invaded, especially right now, but I didn't want to get in a confrontation, so I got up and moved to one of the many other spots that had space to sit.

Once Jason was off the phone, we decided to check out some shops. We started out in Joffrey's, but we left empty-handed, since they didn't have any of their seasonal Pumpkin Creme Brulee coffee in the shop. After Joffrey's, we headed to Uniqlo, which was mostly the same stuff we had seen in June. Then, it was on to our favorite store - World of Disney! We got so excited when we saw the huge Halloween display.

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There were tons of new items that we hadn't seen before, so we were in there for a good bit of time. We both got some items at World of Disney (will share at the end of the report). Then, we moved on to Basin, where I started getting ideas of some things to buy for a care package to send to my sister A at UGA. After Basin, we hit up the Marketplace Co-Op, then Tren-D. I don't recall either of us buying anything at either, but we always enjoy looking around. Then, we moved on to Pin Traders. We like to buy a pin for every Disney resort we stay at together, and we had forgotten to buy a pin when we stayed at All-Star Movies (in 2018) and then again when we stayed at All-Star Music last year, so we finally bought our All-Star Resorts pin (I wish they had separate pins for each one!). Then, we moved on to Once Upon a Toy, where Jason got another call from work. While he was on the phone, I amused myself by looking at these little tiny figurines that came in blind bags. They had figurines for tons of different characters, park icons, ride vehicles, holidays, etc. They didn't seem new, but somehow I had never seen them before. I didn't think to take a picture, but I did a deep dive on the internet, and found out that they're called Disney Collector Packs. I stole someone's photo off of eBay to post here. Does anyone have any of these? How have I never seen them? I'm now obsessed, and I told J that I want to buy some next time we go to Once Upon a Toy.

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After Once Upon a Toy, we headed to one of my personal favorite, Disney Days of Christmas, where we obsessed over all of the Christmas decorations and ornaments we hadn't seen before. We bought a couple ornaments to go on our Disney tree (will share at the end of the report), and found more that I'm sure we'll buy when we're back in a couple months. After Disney Days of Christmas, we headed to Goofy's Candy Co, where I was determined to get a create-your-own Mickey rice krispie treat...except, they're not doing them right now. :cry: In fact, they only had two rice krispie treats to choose from. We found that to be the case at all of the candy shops located throughout the parks. The Mickey rice krispie treats are some of my favorite snacks, and I like to get one of the animal-print ones at Zuri's Sweet Shop in AK, one of the caramel ones at Karamell Kuche in Epcot, and one of the seasonal themed ones at The Confectionery or Big Top Souvenirs. None of those were available this trip - just the same two that we saw at Goofy's. I bought my consolation rice krispie treat, and then we started to make our way back to the car. Of course, not before stopping to grab a picture of the happiest dragon on Earth.

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By that point, we had been in Disney Springs for about four hours, and I was feeling much better than I had when we left lunch. Thankfully, since it was a weekday, during the day, Disney Springs was not too crowded, which I had been worried about, based on others’ reports. I'll echo what many others have said - mask-wearing is not great at Disney Springs. A lot of people pull their masks down (or take them off completely), and there aren't as many cast members milling around to make sure that rules are being followed, like there are in the parks. Call me a "mask Nazi" if you must (not even going to get into how inappropriate and inconsiderate that comparison is), but if a private property requires masks, and you wear one to be admitted in, you can wear one the entire duration of your time there. It's really not that difficult. Rant over...for now.

Up next: Trying out the Skyliner, and Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf
 

Zipitidoda

Well-Known Member
We found out today that the Disney Store at our mall is closing...you’ve taken it TOO FAR this time, 2020! 😭😭😭
The Disney Store in our mall has been closed for probably 10 years. I'm surprised when I actually see one open now. I think the closest one is over 2 hours away. :(
 

lindawdw

Well-Known Member
It's too bad that some people aren't following the mask rule at DS and that they aren't enforcing it as well as in the parks. :( It sounds like you enjoyed your afternoon shopping and I can't wait to see your purchases at the end of your TR!!!
 

k8einwdw

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
These have been in my curio display for nearly 20 years. Had no idea they are so valuable now, LOL!
I knew it couldn't be a new thing. I'm shocked that I had never noticed them before! When I saw the prices on eBay, I told J that we need to buy some before the eBay resellers grab them all up!
The Disney Store in our mall has been closed for probably 10 years. I'm surprised when I actually see one open now. I think the closest one is over 2 hours away. :(
Right now, we have 4 within ~an hour of us. I know 2 of the 4 are closing. I've been going to the one in our local mall since I was a kid, it feels like the end of an era! :cry:
It's too bad that some people aren't following the mask rule at DS and that they aren't enforcing it as well as in the parks. :( It sounds like you enjoyed your afternoon shopping and I can't wait to see your purchases at the end of your TR!!!
I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that so many people that work in DS are not cast members, they're employees of the non-Disney-owned stores/restaurants that are in DS. In the parks, they have cast members whose job is to monitor mask wearing, so it seems to be enforced more in the parks.
 

krisri18

Well-Known Member
We found out today that the Disney Store at our mall is closing...you’ve taken it TOO FAR this time, 2020! 😭😭😭
I couldn't even tell you when our local store closed, but I don't think I could even drive at the time so easily 20+ years. I think there might be one in Connecticut still open? But I'm not driving halfway across New England for it. Lol
 

donaldtoo

Well-Known Member
We found out today that the Disney Store at our mall is closing...you’ve taken it TOO FAR this time, 2020! 😭😭😭

Unfortunately, our local mall Disney Store closed a few years ago.
I worked there for 4+ years during the last recession (was a lead manager for over a year before my old firm hired me back full time), among other retail jobs.
By the time it closed there were no familiar faces I had worked with. Our SM moved to the outlet Store north of us long before the mall Store closure.
I didn't even l know it had closed until I went to the mall one night after work to do a closer for a guy that owned a clothing store in the same mall that I also worked for during the recession, and it was all gated up and blacked out. Woulda' been nice to have known so we were able to visit one last time.
Closest Disney Store to us now is that outlet. Next closest is another outlet about 45 miles south of us, but, San Antonio still has 3 full-blown Stores. Sadness. It wasn't all daisies and puppies ;), but, I sure had some good times workin' there...!!!!! :happy: :)
 

k8einwdw

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I couldn't even tell you when our local store closed, but I don't think I could even drive at the time so easily 20+ years. I think there might be one in Connecticut still open? But I'm not driving halfway across New England for it. Lol
Unfortunately, our local mall Disney Store closed a few years ago.
I worked there for 4+ years during the last recession (was a lead manager for over a year before my old firm hired me back full time), among other retail jobs.
By the time it closed there were no familiar faces I had worked with. Our SM moved to the outlet Store north of us long before the mall Store closure.
I didn't even l know it had closed until I went to the mall one night after work to do a closer for a guy that owned a clothing store in the same mall that I also worked for during the recession, and it was all gated up and blacked out. Woulda' been nice to have known so we were able to visit one last time.
Closest Disney Store to us now is that outlet. Next closest is another outlet about 45 miles south of us, but, San Antonio still has 3 full-blown Stores. Sadness. It wasn't all daisies and puppies ;), but, I sure had some good times workin' there...!!!!! :happy: :)
Wow, I didn't know the mall Disney Stores were so rare these days! We (for the next few days anyway) have 4 in Metro Atlanta, and a Disney Store Outlet a little further outside the perimeter. We rarely ever buy anything from there, with the exception of the holidays, when we tend to buy ornaments for our tree and gifts for the littles in our family. But it's always fun to drop in and get a little taste of Disney magic at home!
 

k8einwdw

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Tuesday, September 8th - Check-In Day - Continued

After we left Disney Springs, we headed back for Pop Century, with the plan of trying out the Skyliner when we got back. When we were pulling in, we saw that the Skyliner was stopped. We kept an eye on it on our walk back to the room, and it didn't seem to be moving, so we decided to hang out in the room for a little bit before venturing out. Eventually, my curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to head out of the room to an area on the 4th floor where we could see the Skyliner. I got to my vantage point and saw that the Skyliner was now running, so I decided to head back to the room to let Jason know. On my way back to the room, I saw a big group of people coming my direction, and I suddenly realized - I had forgotten my mask in the room! Yikes! 🤦‍♀️ That was not the last time one of us forgot our mask, but that was the furthest either of us got without one.

When I got back to the room, I let Jason know that the Skyliner was back up and running. We changed into fresh (read: non-sweaty) clothes, and headed out to the Skyliner station. Jason decided to facetime his parents while we were walking over there, to show them the resort and the Skyliner. This is something that J does often when we're on vacation, much to my annoyance. I guess it's an only child thing? I love my in-laws (most of the time 😉), but if I wanted to feel like they were on vacation with us, I would have invited them. Send pictures like a normal person! For the record, these are all things that I have expressed to J. Anyway, we got to the Skyliner station, and I bet you can guess who rode the Skyliner with us. I've expressed in the past that I have a fear of heights, so I was pretty nervous about riding the Skyliner for the first time, and having to field a thousand questions from my MIL was not helping my nerves. 🙃 When we made it from Pop to CBR, J turned to me and asked where I wanted to go next. I politely told him that we could make that decision when he was off the phone. :angelic:

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After he finally hung up, we decided that the ride from Pop to CBR was too short to base our decision off of, and we were distracted the entire time anyway, so we got in the line to ride to HS. From HS, we turned around and went back to CBR, and then back to Pop. In total, the whole journey took maybe 30 minutes, including standing in line. Out of the four gondolas we had, three were wrapped (Coco, Wreck it Ralph, and Winnie the Pooh) and one was unwrapped. The wrapped gondolas were cute, but I surprisingly preferred the unwrapped. It was a little daunting not being able to see where you were going super well, and the wrapped gondolas got eerily dark at night. Overall, I actually enjoyed the Skyliner more than I thought I would. It moved super quickly, and it was fun to get a birds-eye view of Disney property. We did get stopped once for about a minute, which was a little scary, but thankfully we were back on solid ground pretty quickly.

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Once we made it back to Pop, we headed out to our car, because we had an outing planned for that night. Our destination?

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Fantasia Gardens mini golf! We have always loved playing mini golf together, and it has become somewhat of a vacation tradition for us. Anytime we are somewhere with mini golf, we try to make time to play. We have played at both Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland at WDW multiple times. We actually prefer Winter Summerland, but it has yet to reopen. We're hoping they reopen in time for our Christmas trip, but I don't know if they're planning to open it on it's own, or wait to reopen it with Blizzard Beach, whenever that will be.If you have not been to Fantasia Gardens, the theming of the course is "Fantasia," as the name suggests. There are 3-4 different "stories" that are told over the course of the 18 holes, representing different parts of the movie, and the different musical pieces.

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We got some pretty cool/creepy shots of Tower of Terror from the course. Fantasia Gardens is located at the Swan/Dolphin, so it is right there by HS.

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The hippos and alligators are my favorite part of the course!

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And here is Jason's favorite part...

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In the end, J beat me by a measly four strokes - 50-54. While we enjoyed playing, it was a little difficult to stay six feet away from the party in front of us when the course got backed up. I don't know if there's really a solution to that, as we have never been to a Disney mini golf course when there weren't a lot of other people playing. When you have bigger groups, or groups with young kids, it tends to get backed up, as people are waiting on the group in front of them to finish. It just is what it is, all you can do is pack your patience and try to stay as physically distant as you can.

When we left Fantasia Gardens, we were both hungry, but not ravenously hungry, so we decided to order two chicken tenders kids meals from the food court at Pop. I ordered on the way over there, but didn't press "I am Here" until we were walking into the lobby, which I would soon regret. It was a little after 9:00 at this point, and there was a massive line of people waiting to get in to the food court, which was going to be closing in less than an hour. We got in the back of the line (which was out the back doors of the main building), and shortly after we joined the line, a cast member came by to tell everyone that they didn't need to get in line until their order was ready and they had a pick-up window number...remember this for later. We waited outside for another 20 minutes or so until our order was finally ready and we could head inside. We got our meals, and found an open booth to eat them in, so we didn't have to bring smelly food back to our room. Jason was shocked when the kids meal only came with two tenders - what were you expecting? 😂 But, we enjoyed our light dinner, and headed back to the room to rest and get ready for bed. Jason fell asleep about 2.5 seconds after his head hit the pillow, so I turned the tv to watch my girl Stacey while I enjoyed my Mickey rice krispie treat that I had purchased from Goofy's earlier.

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A sweet end to a long, action-packed first day at WDW!

Up next: Our first park day!
 
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PacNWTigger

Well-Known Member
Just so you know the facetime phone call is not an only child thing. I wouldn't DREAM of doing that while on vacation. They are lucky to get a text (or two) while we are away. ;)
 

lindawdw

Well-Known Member
Glad you enjoyed the Skyliner and I agree that the unwrapped ones have a better view to them! I'm starting to get the general theme on all these TR's that ordering food at CS restaurants is a frustrating thing at WDW these days! ;)
 

muddyrivers

Well-Known Member
I've never been to Fantasia Gardens as Winter Summerland is my favorite course as well. It's a bummer it wasn't open for this trip but hopefully in a few months you'll be singing "It's summer time, summer time, sum-sum-summer time" 😁
 
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