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Old 01-18-2011, 04:35 PM   #31
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Dinner at Kona looked very good. Waht a great way to start your trip. Can't wait to read all about your first park day.
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:37 PM   #32
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Great report!!!! We are staying at SoG for the first time in a few weeks so I love seeing your pics
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:03 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckylady View Post
Dinner at Kona looked very good. Waht a great way to start your trip. Can't wait to read all about your first park day.
It was very good. Sorry about taking so long to get to parks; I promise it'll be nothing but the world in my posts from now on!


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Originally Posted by DCDisney View Post
Great report!!!! We are staying at SoG for the first time in a few weeks so I love seeing your pics
Oh yay! It's not as "Disney" as the other resorts, but for its size and location and the cost, it is a fabulous resort. Do you have a PTR, I'd love to follow along.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:00 AM   #34
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Dinner at Kona looked good. Thank you for the review. I hope the blinking light wasn't too bad of news.
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Old 01-19-2011, 04:30 PM   #35
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Epcot Day Part 1

Epcot Morning



About time! The first park day had arrived!

I didn't have too much trouble falling asleep the night before, although right after I crawled into bed I saw a blinking red light coming from where one of the outlets was located. I had plugged in DBF's camera to charge. Normally, the battery stays a solid color while it charges and then goes off once it's done, but I figured it might be blinking because it was completely dead. Plus, by that point I was dead tired and got my cameras mixed up. See, my camera does indeed blink while charging and then stays a solid color when ready to use.

Between the camera mix up and the dead battery scenario I didn't think too much of it. I didn't even bother asking DBF about it, which might have cleared things up, seeings as it was his camera.

Oh well.



I woke up much earlier than DBF. It's not that I take longer to get ready, (although I do) I am just a morning person. Going to school to be a teacher means I have to get up at the crack of dawn to get to various internships and observations, so my body has just become conditioned to it.

I fumbled through the dark and turned the room coffee pot on. I'd brought my own coffee and filters with me and was ready to enjoy a cup, especially after yesterday's debacle.

Oh jeez.

The coffee pot didn't turn on.

Again?!

Why can't I work a dang coffee machine??? It's a hotel one, for pete's sake! They are as basic as they come.

I grabbed my cell phone and used it as a light to try and figure out what was wrong.

Ten minutes later I discovered a previous guest had unplugged the machine.
So I crawled my way behind the dresser and shoved it back in the outlet.

It was still kind of dark out, but I decided to take my coffee outside and relax for a bit.


I took a sip of my coffee and spat it onto the grass. Apparently, the coffee filter broke and spilt the grounds while it was brewing. On top of that, I had forgotten to use water from the bottles we brought.

Now, I am not a filtered freak, but the water in Orlando is nasty! The resort used irrigated water, and I'm conditioned to a completely different taste. I'm sure people come to my town and cringe at our water. Being a military brat, I've learned that when going to a new place, it's easier to slowly integrate yourself with the local water.

I took another tentative sip of my coffee. I did not want it, but c'mon, two days without a decent cup of coffee??? It wasn't fair!

Instead of sulking, I just told myself there'd be plenty of oppurtunities to get coffee at Epcot. The sun was starting to rise, so I thought it'd be nice to get a few pics.



I went back inside the room, grabbed the camera and took the battery out of the charger. I noticed that the light was off, so I assumed the flashing light meant nothing.

Wrong

Turning on the camera, I saw the icon on the top left of the screen saying the battery was half full.


WHAT?!?!?!

Oh crud.

Apparently, the blinking light meant the charger was not plugged into the outlet completely and couldn't charge the battery.

As I'm realizing this, DBF walked outside and I explained our predicament. He told me not to panic and placed the battery back in its charger (correctly) to get as much juice in it as we could before we had to leave.

I checked my camera to see how it was, because I did NOT charge it the night before.

Perfect, everything's full.



DBF and I went about our way getting ready and eating breakfast. We made it to the bus stop about 7:35am. Epcot didn't open until 9 that morning, but we had to go to the TTC center and activate our tickets. (We had bought them ahead of time at a local ITT.)


I would have taken pictures of the TTC center, but when I turned my camera on I saw that it had gone down to half a battery. And DBF was busy talking to some other family.

Disney does reveal traits about you and others that you don't see often anywhere else. I've never seen my DBF talk to strangers so much before. Every bus ride, attraction, food line he'd find something to joke around about. I asked him about it after we got off at the TTC, and he said being on a SoG bus made it so easy for him. Him and a lot of other active duty members would get bored and ask their neighbor what branch they were and where they were stationed. And then there was me, who probably looked like the most unsociable person ever. I was tired, coffee deprived, and I just wanted to get to my destination, so I didn't talk on the bus. Call me a Grinch, I suppose.


Moving along... we got our tickets activated and made our way to the Epcot express monorail.



It was earlier than we'd anticipated; the place was empty! I told DBF to go ahead and jump on the monorail and we'd just wait by the turnstiles until Epcot opened.

We had the entire monorail to ourselves!





It was kind of weird at first, but then I really enjoyed it. I knew we'd be hitting some major crowds and took it as a little gift to appreciate later on.
I actually regret not asking to sit at the very front, because if we were ever going to get a chance to do it, it probably would've been then.



Either way, it was nice.

Going around Epcot, it felt as if we were getting a private tour.





As you can see, the closer we got to Epcot, the more the clouds rolled in.



I'd known for a couple days that it was supposed to rain on the 18th, but I'd hoped it would only be a few showers and then it would move on. But looking at those clouds, I realized it was going to be a rainy nasty day.


Meh, who cares?




We were going to enjoy ourselves, rain or not.




Up next.....Starting the day Soarin' and conserving camera batteries!
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Old 01-19-2011, 04:50 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amazingact21 View Post



Oh yay! It's not as "Disney" as the other resorts, but for its size and location and the cost, it is a fabulous resort. Do you have a PTR, I'd love to follow along.
My DH just started working for the Army this year and they go to SoG every year for a conference so it's a free extra trip for me (except plane tix). We usually go every Fall with the kiddos. I'm looking forward to some solo time to really explore all the shops esp in Epcot. I hope I love SoG because it would save a lot of $$$ for our Fall trip unless I can get a great AP rate...
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Old 01-19-2011, 04:54 PM   #37
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Just found your TR today and am loving it

Can't wait for more
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:03 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCDisney View Post
My DH just started working for the Army this year and they go to SoG every year for a conference so it's a free extra trip for me (except plane tix). We usually go every Fall with the kiddos. I'm looking forward to some solo time to really explore all the shops esp in Epcot. I hope I love SoG because it would save a lot of $$$ for our Fall trip unless I can get a great AP rate...
You really do need a lot of time to go through all the WS shops and take in all the details. I bet fall is a nice time to go, weather-wise.




Quote:
Originally Posted by mermaid764 View Post
Just found your TR today and am loving it

Can't wait for more



I'm glad you found me, and I appreciate you following along!
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:39 PM   #39
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Epcot Day Part 2

Another post so soon?! I know, I know, I need to simmer down, the TR board isn't going anywhere. Unfortunately, I am afraid school is going to be busy next week so I'm trying to take advantage of all the free time I have.


Epcot Morning Continued


DBF and I made our way to the turnstiles, which is only a hop, skip, and a jump away from the monorail.

We got in line, looked around, and saw people going inside the park. Hmmm....
It was only 8:25.

"You think they have extra magic hours?"

DBF asked me, questioning the acurracy of my planning.
He would have just loved to see me get something wrong in all my schedules and pre-predictions.

"No. I know today is another park's EMH."
(I remembered the actual park that had it back then, now it'd just be a guess.)

I could tell DBF still didn't believe me, but he was wise enough to drop the subject.

We plugged our tickets into the machine, stuck our finger on the light, and we were in!!!



I was all smiles and giggling and DBF was intent on finding a parks map.
This was the only park both of really remembered from past trips, so it was sort of like coming home again.
He went with his father for a day as a kid, but that was before MissionSpace had even opened.

I have been three times before, the last time being in 2004. It sounds like a long time, but I remembered the layout and general atmosphere once I stepped inside the gates.

First and foremost (after DBF got ahold of a map):

The obligatory photographs in front of the Epcot's mascot.


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Old 01-19-2011, 09:13 PM   #40
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Whoa there, I apparently pressed a button and posted my preview entry before I wanted to. I tried to edit it, but it kept freezing on me. So, bear with me, please...



After we snapped our pics, we moved past this:


I don't see how people were standing so close to the water. It was FREEZING out. Just looking at the water raised goosebumps on my arms.

There happened to be a nice CM standing nearby who began shouting,
"Soarin' is closing in ten minutes until opening, so please head there now!"

Our ears perked up.

Soarin'?

We want to ride Soarin'


Actually, we'd planned on riding on Soarin' first.


The CM saw us (actually, we were the only ones around) and told us to follow him. He continued to yell that Soarin' was about to close, and all I could think was, "Hush! We don't need a longer wait!"


At some point we lost the CM. I'm not sure where. One minute he was in front of us, the next DBF was leading the way.

I don't know how DBF did it. He hadn't been to Epcot in years, yet he somehow led us right to the Soarin' building.

We walked inside and were oggling everything, but the "closing soon" statement was on the forefront of our minds so we were rushing along.


We'd never been on Soarin' before, and seeing the empty waiting area, the queue felt horrendously long.

We kept walking.

And walking.

And walking.

We thought we'd made it to the ride, but nope.

It was just the main entrance for the standby line.

Oh well. We needed a morning jog.


There we go. Around a corner and past five dozen metal partions.


We hit the line right at the spot they begin sheparding you into the different "hang gliders."


Very first thing we do at Disney World and it's walk on during Christmas season?!?! Surely it couldn't get better?


Soarin' with no line. I doubt I'll ever see it this way again, so I had to memorialize the image.


A CM ushered us through and asked DBF and I how many were in a group.

Two.

"Okay, go to row 1, please."




I felt momentarily guilty because this young girl behind us let out this huge groan and proclaimed, "Awwwww, I wanted to be in the first row."

Oops


I could not believe it. I never have such luck. I'm normally the most unlucky person I know, but this trip turned the tables for me. Next time, I need to remember to buy a lotto ticket when I'm in the area.





The ride was nice. I forgot to put on my glasses, though (I HATE wearing my glasses) so a lot of the things were blurry.
I especially loved gliding over the water. It brought back fond memories of parasailing and made me pretend I was somewhere warm and sunny.

When the ride ended we followed the crowd out to the exit and stumbled upon a small cluster of people.

Hermmm.

What's going on?

I checked my phone.

8:55.

OH!

People were gathering in wait for fastpasses.
Not a bad idea.
DBF and I got in one line and were waiting, when all of a sudden DBF looked to the very far left of the fastpass kiosks and saw an empty station.

No line!

Wow, good luck struck us three times in fifteen minutes.

We skipped on over and got our fastpasses right at 9 am when the tickets distribution began. The times were for 9:45 and 10:45, I believe?


On our way out of the attraction, we saw the mob pour in:


A passing CM giggled at our expressions. "get outta here before you get trampled."

I will say, though, seeing that huge flock prepared me for TSM.


We stepped outside and BAM!

The rain had arrived.

"Time to get the ponchos out."

DBF insisted on getting a locker, because he was worried about messing up his camera and his phone. I swear, that boy treats his phone like it's his child.

We went and got the locker situation sorted out and headed over to the MissionSpace/Test Track area.

Well, DBF led and I followed.
You know the drill by now...

Test Track had a 30 minute wait and MissionSpace had a 5 minute wait.

We chose MissionSpace and walked right on. We did the orange side, and I didn't have a problem with it, but I think DBF would rather do the green side from now on.

By the time we came out of the ride, the rain was pouring down so steadily that they had to shut Test Track down.

I wish I'd taken more pictures during this time, but I had to treasure our camera batteries for dear life.

TT was a little bit of a bummer, but I had to use the restroom and DBF needed something in the locker so we headed back towards the exit.




While I was using the bathroom DBF managed to break a part of the wallet we'd brought along.


We'd used the thing for a day and DBF had already destroyed it.

Sigh.

We stood by the locker area for awhile, checking the weather radar on DBF's phone. We figured if the weather was supposed to take a turn for the better, we'd go back to our room and rest up until then.
In addition, we were worried the cameras wouldn't last all day and we both really wanted to give them another chance to charge.
Unfortunately, the map showed a constant downpour for the next several hours.

We figured since we were already wet and the park was completely empty, we'd tough it out.



The only bad thing about the rain was how cold it made us. Our ponchos kept my bag and all our important items dry, we were just freezing! My shoes were canvas and I swear I lost feeling in my toes after stepping in half a dozen puddles.

Thankfully, we saw Spaceship Earth nearby, which is a nice warm, dry attraction. Besides, I LOVE Spaceship Earth and was dying to see what the revamped version was like.

But wait!

Our Soarin' fastpasses!

I thought about it for awhile and debated if it was worth another go. Take into account, I was tired, cold, and had no caffeine in my system. I wasn't grouchy, in fact I was taking everything much better than DBF.
He was not exactly dazzled on his first day.
Yet... I still had a whole day to change his attitude.

So I thought it through and decided I wasn't really up for riding Soarin' again. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but I felt like there were better attractions to ride while the crowd levels were so low.

DBF hunted down a couple and offered them our fastpasses. We explained to them what they were and how to use them, but I'm not sure they understood the process completely. Actually, I think they were really wary of two strangers handing out tickets to them.
My DBF would pick the two people in the park who don't have a clue what or how fastpasses work.



Up next...DBF picks the wrong lunch line and I pick the right time to ride Maelstorm!
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:34 PM   #41
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Great trip report so far! I am really enjoying it. Can't wait to read more...

While reading the last installment I saw you gave away your FP to Soarin'. Do you know that you don't have to use them only within the time frame listed? You just can't use them them before the time listed or on another day. You can use them during the time frame or anytime afterwards on the same day. Anytime we get FP for Soarin' it is rare we use them within the time frame. Most of the time the window is so far out it isn't worth sticking around for the time or walking all the way back from where ever we are. We normally just save them as one of our last rides of the day and use them on our way out of the park.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:45 AM   #42
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Yay! I am loving all of these updates. That sucks that it was rainy on your first day in the parks but soarin' as a walk on is awesome!
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:53 PM   #43
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Sounds like you had a great first night! Kona Cafe looks really good. We usually go for breakfast, but maybe we will fit dinner in sometime, too. Watching Wishes from the beach is such a perfect ending to a first day.

Too bad it is rainy at Epcot. Your pictures look very cold.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:37 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdwnomad View Post
Great trip report so far! I am really enjoying it. Can't wait to read more...

While reading the last installment I saw you gave away your FP to Soarin'. Do you know that you don't have to use them only within the time frame listed? You just can't use them them before the time listed or on another day. You can use them during the time frame or anytime afterwards on the same day. Anytime we get FP for Soarin' it is rare we use them within the time frame. Most of the time the window is so far out it isn't worth sticking around for the time or walking all the way back from where ever we are. We normally just save them as one of our last rides of the day and use them on our way out of the park.

I was not aware of that! Just when I think I know all there is to know about Disney....lol. Really appreciate the tip, I will keep that in mind during my next visit and hold on to those fastpasses!!!



Quote:
Originally Posted by DisneyAsh32 View Post
Yay! I am loving all of these updates. That sucks that it was rainy on your first day in the parks but soarin' as a walk on is awesome!
I still can't believe Soarin' was so empty. DBF never believed me when I told him about how crazy crowds could be. I kept warning him on the monorail that morning that we had to hit Soarin' first. This incident made him think I was exageratting everything. (Of course, TSM redeemed me. )



Quote:
Originally Posted by PirateKate View Post
Sounds like you had a great first night! Kona Cafe looks really good. We usually go for breakfast, but maybe we will fit dinner in sometime, too. Watching Wishes from the beach is such a perfect ending to a first day.

Too bad it is rainy at Epcot. Your pictures look very cold.

Oh man, that day was cold!!! By the end of the night, the rain had stopped and I was using both the ponchos as blankets.
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Last edited by amazingact21; 01-20-2011 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 01-21-2011, 09:09 AM   #45
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Epoct Part 3

Good morning, everyone. It is freezing here in Florida! The "sunshine state"was in the teens last night, and that's way too cold for me! I'm staying inside and cozying up with the DIS boards until the sun comes back out and the weather heats up.


Lunch and Maelstorm

Handing our fastpasses out, DBF and I walked to Spaceship Earth. Apparently, everyone else had the same idea as I did, because the line was unusually long.



We made it inside and we were greeted with warmth!

Ponchos were tossed off.

Two of my toes regained feeling.

DBF began to look infinitely happier.


I noticed a few changes from the previous version, but it wasn't enough to make me not love the attraction anymore. Most importantly, though, it made us forget about the rain for a few minutes!



I wish I could remember the story they gave us at the end of the ride, but I just can't bring it to mind. I found it amusing, though, and it got a laugh out of both of us.



The first of MANY ride photos where DBF is completely prepared for the snapshot, and I'm off in la-la land.

Honestly, I forget they take photographs of you, so in every single one I have the classic "AHAHAHA! Look at that chick!" expression.

My pictures are the reason why some people hang around in the gift shop and watch the picture screens.

Don't believe me?

Hang in there with me and I will prove you wrong by my Dinosaur photo.


But I digress...


We sat around in the building after the ride. The place was warm and dry, and I think DBF was mildly interested in all the activities they had available.

However, I was getting hungry.

You should know...my life revolves around food.

Not to mention, when I am hungry, I turn into something resembling a gorgon from Greek Mythology. You so much as look at me when I'm hungry, and you'll turn to stone.

I warned DBF several times before the trip:

"Just keep me fed and we won't have any problems."

After being with me for two years, though, he was well aware of my issue. He understands the simple equation to keeping me happy.

Food+Alicia>Alicia-Food



We didn't have any ADRs for today; we were using this trip as a gauge to see if it was worth it cost-wise to eat at a TS every day or just have a few throughout the whole trip.

With that in mind, we walked around a bit and spotted the Electric Umbrella.
Better yet, I saw a food sign AND a warm place to sit down.

Unfortunately, when we went in a CM told us the lines wouldn't open until 11 and it was only 10:30.

We thought about it and decided just to go ahead and stake out a seat and wait around until the time arrived.


Around 10:45 DBF saw other people start forming lines, so I told him I'd watch the table and our stuff while he ordered our food.
He went and asked the same CM we saw earlier which line he should go in. The man pointed the first one so DBF hopped in it, along with seven or eight other people.


Eleven o'clock rolled around and suddenly all the other lines were moving, but there was nobody manning DBF's line. Turns out, that line was in fact NOT OPEN.

I watched as DBF scrambled to the back of a working line and waited to get through it.

I took some pics to take my mind off the food:



DBF eventually arrived with our food. Two bacon cheeseburgers, fries, and drinks. I discovered shortly after his arrival that Disney World does not sell Dr. Pepper in their fountains.
That made for a long trip for me, because I HATE Coke. I chose whatever root beer and sprite were available most of the time.

I could tell DBF was a little peeved about the culmination of events. The lunch, the rain, the cold, TT being closed. I was getting a little worried, because I wanted his first Disney day to be wonderful, but it wasn't ending up as such.

He did like the drink cups, though.




Trying to cheer DBF up, I suggested we visit WS, since it was after 11 and it was open.

We walked over and began with Mexico. I wish I had pictures to share, but it was raining and DBF didn't want to waste my camera's battery with dark and foggy pictures.


We moved on to Norway. Here the rain had let up a bit, and I saw something beautiful to my eyes.



No, not that...however, I do love Norway's architecture.

I saw the Maelstorm entrance had no line!!!

The wait time said five minutes, and the poor CM in charge was urging people to come try it.


She didn't have to urge me.

I raced up to the doorway and went in. It was walk-on as well, which topped my book for the best thing that happened so far.

Soarin' was great, but I love Maelstorm. Dark rides are, by far, my favorite.

I got to see the trolls and and fall down the drop. DBF, a thrill ride junkie, seemed to enjoy this ride, too, even though it was a slower ride.


We got off, skipped the movie, and walked outside to a still empty line.

Man, the rain really does keep people away.

I looked at DBF and asked if he wanted to go again. He agreed so we walked back on the ride for a second time!


I never would've thought I'd be able to go during the holidays and go on Maelstorm twice with absolutely no wait.

This was, by far, my favorite part of the day.



It also raised DBF's attitude, to where he was a little more willing to look around and enjoy all the scenery.






This was taken around twelve o'clock, right in the middle of the day. It was so dark out!


Here's Germany:



I wish we could have looked at everything more closely than we did, but there wasn't a lot going on due to the weather and we were both freezing.

More photos!






Italy is on my top three favorite stops on the WS tour (after the UK and Norway). My parents lived there for 3 years, and I have always wanted to visit the country someday. While I'm waiting for that fantasy to pan out, I indulge myself at the WS Italy.

We wandered around for a bit.

DBF found a nice person to take our pic. Naturally, we're rocking the yellow ponchos.


Thanking the person and moving along, I spotted a snack stand selling drinks. DBF bought a hot chocolate, and I ordered a cappuccino.


COFFEE!

Only....


Oh crud!


As soon as I took my first sip, my mind took me back to 2004, when my mother and I visited Epcot. I had purchased a hot cocoa from that very same spot and my mother had gotten the exact same kind of cappuccino I'd just bought.

And I remembered right then that my mother, a coffee drinker of (we'll estimate here in order to keep her age hidden and say) 20+ years couldn't finish the cup because it was so bitter.

Don't you love how your mind brings you back after you pay.


So much for my coffee.

I'm doomed to "no-coffee" land while on vacation.

I hate, hate, hate to waste things, but I just couldn't drink it and had to throw it out.


By this point, DBF and I had made our way to a boat dock (I can't remember which) and he asked if I wanted to go on it and then head back to FW to see if Test Track was open again. I looked at the sky, determined that it had stopped raining (probably for good) and agreed.



Up next.....DBF's day speeds up, and I make a CM laugh out loud.
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Current Reports: Why, My Little Guppy Has Groupies!- A December 2013 TR
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