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Unread 29 Jan 19, 09:04 PM  
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Gill H
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A Cowboy Christmas: November 2018. Day 3 - Calamity Gill

<<Day 2 - The Good, The Bad And The Wurst


Jessie the Yodelling Cowgirl writes:

Howdy pardners! Hope you’re enjoyin’ the adventures of my buddies Will Gill Hiccup and Pardner Pete. Today they have a whole new load o’fun, even though some of it didn’t go as expected! Pull up a chair and join them. Take it away, Wild Gill!


Hello everyone. Apologies for the lack of photos today, but do check out Peter's videos (link in the index).

This morning we woke bright and early – well, early. The alarm went off at 6.30, we ‘came round’ with a cuppa in our Mickey and Minnie mugs before getting ready, and at about 7.45 we walked through a still-dark Cheyenne into the Village, intending to have breakfast in New York Style Sandwiches again. Our plan today was to do EMT at the Studios and spend the morning there, before going to Disneyland Park for an early dinner, then watch the tree lighting and Christmas parade. Then we’d head back to Studios for the Goofy show. That was the plan. The reality would turn out to be somewhat different. (See that anvil above our heads?)

In all our years of going to DLP, we’ve only experienced EMH (as it used to be) at Disneyland Park. And it’s always been 8am. However, we’d read that now EMT includes both parks, and it’s 8.30. So it seemed rather odd to see a steady stream of people walking swiftly through the Village at such an early hour. As we got to New York Style Sandwiches I checked the park app – only to find that EMT was 8am on the weekend! When did that happen? Totally missed that bit of news.

So we abandoned the idea of breakfast and instead joined the power-walkers heading to the parks. Fortunately most of them must have been heading for Disneyland Park, as when we reached the Studios at about 8.10 we were met by a most unusual sight – the gates! Yes, for once we could actually see the gates instead of a huge crowd of people! We went straight through, and headed to Guest Services to ask about the preferred seating at shows for Mastercard holders. This is something new to us and we were hoping to get decent seats for Mickey’s Big Band, but unfortunately we discovered that DLP don’t offer this perk for the seasonal show, only for Mickey and the Magician. This was slightly disappointing, but we didn’t really have time to dwell on it as we wanted to make the most of EMT.

So it was straight through Studio 1 and down to Place de Remy, probably my favourite area of Studios. The theming here is so well done, and Ratatouille is such a great ride. Right now, it was almost completely empty, so we strolled on in, enjoying a rare chance to see areas of the queue we normally miss by doing Fastpass or single rider. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the cats and dogs before! As a bonus, once on the ride we got the best view we’d ever had – we managed to get exactly the right angle to see all the little jokes and details. It was so good we went round again straight away.

Then we walked through Toy Story Playland where we were surprised to see the rides open already. Slinky had no queue, so we walked straight on, and were directed to sit in ‘number 5’. I don’t think we’ve ever been told to go to a specific carriage before, so maybe that’s a new thing? Anyway, Slinky was, as ever, surprisingly fast for a family ride, and that sneaky old centrifugal force flung us around a bit. It’s still more sedate than the new WDW version though!

Parachute Drop was open too, so Peter went on this while I relaxed and caught up on my trip notes. He didn’t fancy RC Racers or Crush this morning, so instead he grabbed a Fastpass for Tower of Terror with a time of 10.35, and we decided it was time for breakfast.
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DLP: day trips 2000, 2003; Cheyenne Sep 2009, Feb 2011; Sequoia Lodge June 2008, May 2012; Elysee May 2012, Jan 2013, Sep 2013; Disneyland Hotel Mar 2015, Santa Fe Nov 2016; Newport Bay Sep 2017
WDW: Port Orleans Riverside Dec 10; SSR Nov 14

Edited at 09:28 PM.
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Unread 29 Jan 19, 09:05 PM  
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Gill H
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The only place we could use our breakfast vouchers in Studios was Restaurant En Coulisse. This is somewhere I usually avoid – long queues, slow service and lukewarm so-so food are not my idea of fun. But at this hour it was practically empty, so we joined the queue.

Now, if New York Style Sandwiches is the best value you can get out of the voucher (assuming you don’t want an omelette burger, that is) then Restaurant En Coulisse has to be the worst value. You don’t even get the roll and jam – just a coffee, juice (orange only) and one croissant. That’s it. So we bought ourselves an extra croissant each, and settled down to enjoy our breakfast and discuss plans for the rest of the day.



We’d decided to cancel our reservation at Plaza Gardens, as we really didn’t fancy another buffet this trip and were hankering for a nice relaxing meal with waiter service! So we went back to Guest Services and managed to book the Silver Spur for 4.30 pm. We also asked about the new Christmas show which was making its debut today in the Cinemagique Theatre, and were told it would be on at 1.20pm.

Now it was time for a quick look round the shop, where we bought ourselves some pins. As usual I tried my best to do the whole transaction in French (albeit rusty school French from a long time ago) and was really pleased when the CM asked me if I was French! Maybe she was just being nice.

We were a little early for Peter’s FP so did some filming around the Animation building. I don’t think we’ve ever stopped to really look at the statuettes here before. Be honest, how many people knew Brer Rabbit could be found in DLP?

It was now time for Peter’s FP so he went over to ToT while I strolled back to Place de Remy to get us some mulled wine. The winter market is new to DLP this year, building on the success of the food festival booths in September. I had a quick browse at the stalls and bought two steaming cups of hot mulled wine and a portion of marrons glaces – deliciously sweet candied chestnuts. However, I soon found that trying to carry both drinks and the sweeties was just not possible, so I’m afraid I ate all the marrons glaces myself!

When Peter came out of ToT he was full of praise for Yolanda, the hilarious CM who had been on the ride. The CMs on this ride really do enjoy having a bit of fun with guests and playing up the spooky image!

We drank our mulled wine and decided to go to Stitch Live. This is a favourite of ours, but it also meant we would be somewhere warm, as it really was bitterly cold at this point! Obviously others had the same idea, as I don’t think I’ve ever seen the show building so full. That made for a great show, as a good audience really does help. Richie, the enthusiastic CM, did a great job of encouraging the audience and was really funny too – probably the best CM we’ve ever had here.

By the time we came out it was 11.45 and we had just 10 minutes before Mickey’s Big Band show started. We had intended to get there much earlier and so broke into another power-walk to get over there. We managed to get into the queueing area with no problems, but by the time we got into the theatre we struggled to find a seat. We spent a good few minutes walking up and down the stairs, but apart from the odd single seat, there was nothing available. Eventually a CM took pity on us and found us some seats which actually had a pretty good view – but I really do recommend getting here in plenty of time for this show.

It was worth all the hassle though, because Mickey’s Big Band was a superb show. It was based on the show from Tokyo Disneyland, and mixed jazzy versions of Christmas songs with other standards such as ‘Sing Sing Sing’ and ‘I Love a Piano’. Production values were high, costumes were impressive, and the mix of musicians, singers and dancers made for a thoroughly entertaining experience. It sent us out with a song in our hearts and a spring in our step.
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DLP: day trips 2000, 2003; Cheyenne Sep 2009, Feb 2011; Sequoia Lodge June 2008, May 2012; Elysee May 2012, Jan 2013, Sep 2013; Disneyland Hotel Mar 2015, Santa Fe Nov 2016; Newport Bay Sep 2017
WDW: Port Orleans Riverside Dec 10; SSR Nov 14

Edited at 09:10 PM.
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Unread 29 Jan 19, 09:06 PM  
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By now it was time for lunch. We’d decided to try out the winter festival huts in Place de Remy, where we soon settled on a tartiflette each. This is a traditional dish from the Alps, mixing cooked potatoes, Reblochon cheese, onions and bacon in a satisfyingly hot and gooey concoction, guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart.



Portions weren’t large for the price (come on, this is Disney) so we also bought a cone of saucisson slices to share too.



We then moved on to another hut where we bought a portion of gingerbread to share. Rather than being a biscuit or a cake, this was actually more like bread in texture, with a nice kick of ginger.



We finished off by sharing a small version of the French Christmas classic ‘buche de noel’ or chocolate log to us Brits.



Everything we had was lovely, although I think they could have done with a greater variety of hot food. All the big queues were at the stalls which sold something hot – not surprising on such a cold day.

It was now time for the new show in the Cinemagique Theatre, so we strolled over and got ourselves some good seats. The show was called ‘Merry Jolly Jingles’ in English, though I was more taken with its French title ‘Un Noel Ding Dang Dong’ (which I couldn’t help saying in a Paddy McGuiness voice!)

What can I say about this show? If ‘Mickey’s Big Band’ is the Studio’s Christmas cracker, then ‘Ding Dang Dong’ is its enormous turkey. Seriously, it was a mess. It felt like a hotch-potch of everything they didn’t know where else to put. It began with some singers and dancers getting ready for Christmas, accompanied by another ‘big band’ (either those guys get a very short lunch break, or Disney bought a job lot!) Donald appears and wants to sing ‘Deck the Halls’ but is told it’s not time yet, and instead leads the cast in ‘From all of us to all of you’ a song used in several of Disney’s Christmas compilations. Then Donald tries to sing again, and the cast explain he can’t sing ‘Deck the Halls’ yet because … they are making a Christmas card. This is followed by the classic short ‘Pluto’s Christmas Tree’ featuring Chip and Dale, shown on a screen. That’s right. We’re sitting here watching a cartoon. It’s a good one, but still…

The cartoon ends with ‘Deck the Halls’ so the cast follow it up with a jazzy version, during which Donald rushes on late for his own song, realises he’s forgotten something, and then returns with a long rope of tinsel for the cast to use as a prop. Somehow they manage to avoid a major accident. And then one of the cast starts singing ‘Do you Wanna Build a Snowman’ and the lyrics appear on the screen. Yes folks, the leftovers of the Frozen Singalong have ended up being warmed-over here. Olaf appears and sings the French version of ‘In Summer’ despite it having no relevance to this show. Again, the lyrics appear on the screen and so we manage to sing along in French.

And of course the segment ends with a singalong version of ‘Let It Go’ – but they don’t even bother having a live Elsa, we’re just singing to the screen. Again, something I could have done in my own living room. We do have a few dancers to enliven the proceedings, though, and the live band is actually playing. Oh, and for some reason one of the male CMs, in a snazzy red and green tracksuit, is leading the singing. Ever so slightly off-key. Bless.

And er, that’s it. A few bows for the cast, the musicians and Donald, and they rush off stage, no doubt to partake of a little ‘vin chaud’ as a reward for having to do that show. So, they made all that fuss about ‘making a Christmas card’ and it never happened? And if you’re going to build a routine about not letting Donald sing his favourite song yet, surely you would put it at the end of the show? Hey DLP, want to hire us as show consultants?

So, that was Ding Dang Dong, or rather Ding Dang Don’t Bother. As we came out, the ‘Surprise Mickey’ show was starting on the stage outside, but we planned to watch it tonight before the Goofy Christmas show, so we didn’t hang around. (Oh look, those anvils are back!) And now it was time to head over to Disneyland Park for a while
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DLP: day trips 2000, 2003; Cheyenne Sep 2009, Feb 2011; Sequoia Lodge June 2008, May 2012; Elysee May 2012, Jan 2013, Sep 2013; Disneyland Hotel Mar 2015, Santa Fe Nov 2016; Newport Bay Sep 2017
WDW: Port Orleans Riverside Dec 10; SSR Nov 14

Edited at 09:12 PM.
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Unread 29 Jan 19, 09:07 PM  
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Gill H
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It being Saturday afternoon, the park was much busier, and after a quick browse in the Emporium we decided we’d warm up and escape the crowds with a hot drink somewhere.

We’d seen pictures lately of some of the delectable goodies available in Victoria’s Home Style Restaurant, which was yet another place we’d never visited, so we headed in there. We had assumed it would be counter service, but to our surprise it turned out to be a table service café.

We were soon seated in the elegant little tea room and browsing the menu. They were offering the 25th anniversary hot chocolate with blueberry syrup, which we had last year at March Hare Refreshments, and also a coffee with popcorn syrup, which sounded interesting.

However, once we saw that Victoria’s is probably the last place in DLP still serving their legendary ‘chocolat viennois’ there was no contest. Once available practically everywhere in DLP, this delectable beverage has become increasingly hard to find in recent years. It’s just hot chocolate with whipped cream on top – but oh, such rich, creamy chocolate! It really is divine, particularly on such a cold day as this was.



After our lovely luxurious drink, we paid up and went out to Discoveryland. We hadn’t yet got a picture of the Mickey birthday cake here, but at that point the cupcake girl was in front of it meeting guests, and there was a really long queue (yes, really, the cupcake girls are very popular). So instead we went right to the back of Discoveryland to watch Philharmagic again. I think at this point in the afternoon we were tired and cold, and didn’t want to bother queuing a long time for rides, so ‘sitting down in the warm’ featured heavily.

We followed this with a browse in Star Traders, where we didn’t buy anything, and in Constellations, where we found – of all things – a plush toy soldier from the Christmas parade! Peter knows I really love the toy soldiers and on a whim he bought it for me. What an odd place to find it though!

After finally getting our Mickey birthday cake photo, we left Discoveryland. We then wandered through Adventureland and browsed in La Giraffe Curieuse, which often has unusual items, but today nothing took our fancy. So, cold and footsore, we headed for the Silver Spur, hoping they might fit us in a little early.

Maybe we should have done a feature on ‘Places We’ve Never Eaten Before’ – despite 10 years of visiting DLP this trip was our first time at Billy Bob’s, New York Style Sandwiches, Victoria’s, and now Silver Spur. We’d heard mixed reports of this place over the years, but our initial impressions were good. The place was cosy and welcoming, and decked out like a saloon from every Western film you’ve ever seen. As it turned out, we weren’t able to be seated any earlier than our 4.30 reservation, but it was no hardship to sit near the entrance and enjoy our surroundings for a while.
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DLP: day trips 2000, 2003; Cheyenne Sep 2009, Feb 2011; Sequoia Lodge June 2008, May 2012; Elysee May 2012, Jan 2013, Sep 2013; Disneyland Hotel Mar 2015, Santa Fe Nov 2016; Newport Bay Sep 2017
WDW: Port Orleans Riverside Dec 10; SSR Nov 14

Edited at 09:14 PM.
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Unread 29 Jan 19, 09:07 PM  
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Gill H
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Eventually we were shown to a table and got down to the serious business of choosing our food. We knew we could use our standard half board vouchers in part payment for a meal here, and our server confirmed they were worth €29 each. This would have covered most of the cost of the ‘Sheriff’s Menu’ but we decided to go upmarket with the ‘Cowboy’s Menu’ (How come the cowboy eats better than the sheriff? I’m confused!) This was €42.99 for three courses (drink not included – we kept it simple with a couple of Cokes).

The starters didn’t seem to be typical cowboy fare, unless French cowboys like to chow down on beef carpaccio and the like. We both chose the Cobb salad to start. This version of the classic American dish was comprised of green salad, bacon, hard boiled egg, tomato, ham, roast chicken, emmental and roquefort cheeses and ranch dressing. Our previous experience of this dish was in WDW, where it arrived neatly laid out and was mixed by our server at the table. Here, in contrast, it seemed to have been dumped higgledy-piggledy on the plate. It was no less tasty for that, however, and the portion was certainly hearty.



For the main course we both chose the steak – grilled Charolais beef fillet with ‘steakhouse chips’, roasted tomato and corn on the cob. This was cooked perfectly to our liking, and came with a little dish of sauce on the side as well.



While we ate, our lovely server popped over to check all was well, and we assured her everything was delicious. We also had several visits from another CM – every time he went past our table, he would suddenly turn towards us and do a perfect Donald Duck impression! So unexpected and completely hilarious. I wish we had taken note of his name, he really enlivened our meal.

With the Cowboy’s Menu we could choose any dessert available. I went for Molly Brown’s Lemon Pie, described as ‘lemon, orange and grapefruit tart with apricot coulis’. It turned out to be lemon meringue pie with separate pieces of orange and grapefruit, and a few blobs of the coulis. Not quite as exotic as its description, but a good dessert nonetheless.



Peter chose the Kentucky Crème Brulee with bourbon cream. He suspects it featured bourbon vanilla rather than bourbon whisky! A good crème brulee with a proper hard sugar topping.



We finished the meal with a couple of lattes, paid up and bade a fond farewell to the Silver Spur. This place was so much better than our expectations. Granted, we had the more expensive menu, but I wouldn’t hesitate to come here again.

We left feeling full, happy and relaxed. It’s amazing the difference a nice leisurely table service meal makes to our mood, and one of the reasons I could never do just a quick service plan. We love our sit-down meals too much for that!
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DLP: day trips 2000, 2003; Cheyenne Sep 2009, Feb 2011; Sequoia Lodge June 2008, May 2012; Elysee May 2012, Jan 2013, Sep 2013; Disneyland Hotel Mar 2015, Santa Fe Nov 2016; Newport Bay Sep 2017
WDW: Port Orleans Riverside Dec 10; SSR Nov 14

Edited at 09:15 PM.
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Unread 29 Jan 19, 09:08 PM  
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Gill H
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By now it was just after 6pm and time to go over to Town Square for the tree lighting. According to the plan we’d put together yesterday, this was at 6.30, and the Christmas parade followed at 6.45. (Remember that anvil? It’s about to drop…)

We had a quick browse through the Emporium, coming out on Main Street, and were surprised to see that at 6.20 there were no crowds in Town Square, and the tree appeared to be very much lit already. What? How had that happened? So we grabbed our times guide to check …

… aaaaand there it goes. Of course, being Saturday there was a new times guide for this week. All our careful planning had been done using last week’s guide. And unfortunately, according to this week’s version, the tree lighting had happened at 5.45, and there hadn’t been an evening Christmas parade at all.

Meanwhile, we’d also missed the ‘Surprise Mickey’ show in Studios, as that had run at 6.05 instead of 7.45 as we’d planned.

What an Epic Christmas Fail! OK, not on the scale of the guy from Newport who’d downloaded the WDW app instead of DLP – but still, after 10 years of visiting you would think we would know the times guide changed on a Saturday!

So, rather crestfallen, we headed back over to Studios. We had a good look in the new Pandora shop in Studio 1 and asked them what DLP-specific charms they had. Unfortunately they didn’t seem to have any there – or if they did, no-one seemed to know about them. So we decided to go back to Ratatouille one more time, where yet again there was hardly any queue. Such a good ride, it never gets old for me.

This done, we decided to find ourselves a place near the stage for Goofy’s Incredible Christmas at 8pm. There was already quite a crowd, but we managed to find a place pretty near the front with a reasonable view. Which we then had to spend a good 20 minutes defending from people who thought they could push their way to the front for no reason, as ever. Even so, a bunch of people turned up at the last minute and pushed us out of the way to join the one family member who had been holding their place. And if that wasn’t bad enough, a guy standing at the front – with a perfect view for himself and his son – hoisted the kid on his shoulders just before the show started. Please. This is not Illuminations. The show is about three feet away from you and even a small child can see everything perfectly. Why should everyone behind you spend the whole time looking at the back view of you and your child?

Fortunately we weren’t the only ones who groaned loudly, because he turned round to see what was wrong. He didn’t actually take the kid off his shoulders, but he did at least move to a spot where he wasn’t blocking people’s view.

So with one thing and another, we weren’t in the best of moods before the show started. We were cold and tired, disappointed with ourselves for messing up the times, and ticked off with our fellow park guests. This show was going to have to work hard to boost our mood.

We needn’t have worried. Goofy’s Incredible Christmas was – well, incredible. Even before the show started, there were flurries of snow settling on the edges of the tower, which gradually built up as time went on. Then, with a blast of fireworks, the screens on the stage changed to a snowy street with a bright red postbox (a British one rather than French – thanks DLP!) and a dual-language narration began to tell a story about magical stars and letters to Santa. Dressed in smart Victorian outfits, Donald and Daisy, Minnie and Mickey arrived with their letters, stopping to greet lucky children at the front of the crowd. They read out their wishes for ‘the best Christmas ever for all my friends’ and posted their letters. Then Goofy rushed in, still in his pyjamas, seemingly too late to post his letter. Or was he?

I won’t go into massive detail about the impressive mix of projections, dancers, characters and music that followed. Suffice it to say, they got their wish and all ended happily. And not just for Goofy and co. By the end of the show we were as full of festive spirit as Scrooge on Christmas morning. This is one of the best shows I have ever seen at DLP, and certainly the best Christmas offering in the parks this year. If it comes back next year and you have the chance to see it, make it a priority – you won’t regret it.
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DLP: day trips 2000, 2003; Cheyenne Sep 2009, Feb 2011; Sequoia Lodge June 2008, May 2012; Elysee May 2012, Jan 2013, Sep 2013; Disneyland Hotel Mar 2015, Santa Fe Nov 2016; Newport Bay Sep 2017
WDW: Port Orleans Riverside Dec 10; SSR Nov 14
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Unread 29 Jan 19, 09:08 PM  
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Gill H
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After the show we floated out of the park on a cloud of Christmassy cheer, and strolled through the Village. World of Disney was less busy than it had been yesterday, and we soon found what we wanted – a mug with J and Jiminy Cricket on, as a present for our cat-sitter.

We also went back to the Village’s Pandora counter in the clothing shop, where they had the 2018 DLP charm with the castle, fireworks and the year on it. This was a birthday present for me from my parents, and I was very pleased to have tracked it down.
And with that it was back to the Cheyenne for our last night. As we passed the launderette we saw a soft drink vending machine, so we used up our loose change on a couple of bottles of Coke to take back to the room.

We settled down for the night and did some channel-hopping, deciding on ‘Danse Avec Les Stars’ which is – you guessed it – France’s answer to Strictly. We figured we would be able to follow what’s going on without too much difficulty, so we gave it a go. Well, goodness, if you thought the UK version was too long and drawn out sometimes, you should see the French version. Long, long sections of chat, and even longer ad breaks. Still, it was fun to see the couple attempting to do a Viennese waltz to a song in 4/4 time – not easy at the best of times!

Unfortunately it was a theme week, and the theme was a legendary French pop star we had never heard of, who was also making an appearance as guest judge. So it wasn’t exactly the most exciting episode for us to watch. Eventually the show came to an end and we danced off to dreamland not long after.

Join us tomorrow for our last few hours at DLP before a slightly less epic travel day home.

>>Day 4 - Home, Home on the Trains

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DLP: day trips 2000, 2003; Cheyenne Sep 2009, Feb 2011; Sequoia Lodge June 2008, May 2012; Elysee May 2012, Jan 2013, Sep 2013; Disneyland Hotel Mar 2015, Santa Fe Nov 2016; Newport Bay Sep 2017
WDW: Port Orleans Riverside Dec 10; SSR Nov 14

Edited at 09:04 AM.
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Unread 30 Jan 19, 12:16 AM  
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What a shame your plans went awry. I had no idea that schedules changed on a Saturday so I’ll have to make a note of that for our trip.

I’m not great with the cold, but think I would enjoy the stop offs for warm treats, especially the hot chocolates. The food booth offerings looked particularly tasty too


I’m really looking forward to experiencing Ratatouille, I’ve read so many great things about it.

Thank you for sharing.
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