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Thread: Random Stories - Better Late than Never - Jan 17

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    Senior Member Micah008's Avatar
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    Random Stories - Better Late than Never - Jan 17

    Table of Contents:
    BoardWalk Resort and Standard View DVC Studio
    Lost First Tooth!
    Star Tours Rides by the Numbers
    Monorail Loop Drinks, Appetizers, Drinks, Dinner, Drinks, Snacks, and Drinks
    Weather Summary
    Polynesian Resort and DVC Studio
    Peoplemover Crash!
    Illuminations and the Storm

    Upcoming Topics: (in no particular order)
    Favorite Cocktails/Lounges
    Impressions of Disney Springs
    Impressions of Epcot Festival of the Arts
    Tower of Terror Chicken Exit Tips
    Camp Dolphin
    Other Fun Pictures


    The Basic Plot:
    We visited Walt Disney World from Saturday 1/14 through Tuesday 1/24 2017 (10 nights), again doing a split stay between a couple different DVC resorts, like we have typically been doing recently. The first 5 nights were at the Polynesian in a Standard View Studio, the last 5 nights at BoardWalk Villas, again in a Standard View Studio. We selected PVB primarily for the size of the room/bathroom(s), the themeing, and proximity to Magic Kingdom. We stayed at BWV to be near Epcot and Hollywood Studios, and to be able to more easily do some things around Crescent Lake. Both resorts also helped us get closer to our goal of trying out every DVC resort at WDW.

    We typically go to Disney World in January to be able to enjoy the Florida weather, lower crowds, and value prices. We chose these specific dates in part because the kids had one day off school during that time, and also to be able to finish the trip before our Annual Passes expired.


    For a variety of reasons I haven't written a normal Trip Report this year, sorry ... and as the title implies I decided that this time I am going to tell some random stories from our trip, rather than a full day-by-day report. Hopefully some of the teasers above look interesting.


    The Cast:
    Me: This was my 13th time to WDW (see signature for the list).

    DW: She has also been to WDW 13 times including this trip, plus one trip to Disneyland growing up.

    DWTS: My wife's twin sister joined us again this trip. This was her 8th trip to WDW, and it had been 2 years since she last joined us.

    DS8: This was his 9th trip to WDW. His favorite ride is now Space Mountain, and his favorite character is still Goofy. Now at over 50" he can do pretty much everything.

    DS6: This was his 8th trip to WDW. His favorite ride is now Test Track, and his favorite character is still Pluto. He is about 42" (short for his age) but at least can do most things he is interested in.


    Some Past Trip Photos: (click for larger photo)

    February 2004 trip:
    (just DW and I)

    February 2010 trip:
    (DS8 was almost 2)

    January 2012 trip:
    (DS6 was only 1)

    January 2013 trip:

    January 2014 trip:

    August 2014 trip:

    January 2015 trip:

    January 2016 trip:

    August 2016 trip:

    Last edited by Micah008; 05-18-2017 at 09:43 PM.
    Micah

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    Yay! I'm in. I was hoping you would do a trip report.

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    Can't wait to read more!!

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    More please. Loved the timeline pics

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk

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    Senior Member Micah008's Avatar
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    BoardWalk Resort and Standard View DVC Studio

    We had never stayed at the BoardWalk Villas before, but had been through there multiple times. Here are some of my impressions of the Resort itself, and our room.



    The Resort:
    - We loved how easy it is to walk to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. I personally liked this location even better than Beach Club since we were a similar distance to both parks.
    - We intentionally avoided the bus for the most part, by planning the trip accordingly, but when we did use the bus we didn't have any issues or long waits.
    - It was very nice to have entertainment around the BoardWalk itself at night. Both kids really liked seeing some of the shows down there, and it was a fun way to wind down a little after a day at the parks, or evening at Disney Springs.
    - We loved the convenience of having plenty to do in the area for the adults after getting the kids to sleep. Most nights, 1 of the adults would stay back in the room (usually on the balcony) while the other 2 went out somewhere... either Abracadabar (a few times), Bluezoo Lounge, or even over to the Beach/Yacht Club to Crew's Cup. This was really nice to be able to do so much within walking distance.
    - The pool was good. Not my favorite, but nothing wrong with it either.
    - The biggest disappointment for us was the lack of QS breakfast options. BoardWalk Bakery was good enough, but after eating there once we needed something different for variety. From past experience we knew that the QS over at Beach Club wasn't anything special either, so we ate in the room multiple other mornings, and at a park once.
    - To get some Orange Juice and a breakfast pastry we typically just buy a few quick things at the resort. In this case, that means going all the way down to the BoardWalk itself where the bigger shop is located. They don't have food type items in the small store by the lobby.
    - Pro Tip for breakfast: On the last morning we walked over to the Dolphin for breakfast and all really enjoyed eating at Picabu. It wasn't really on our radar as a QS option, but we all liked what we had. We had omelets, waffles, etc... and I would go back again for sure.




    The Room:
    - Our Standard View Studio was room 2113.
    - This room was on the 2nd floor (same floor as lobby), a few hallway lengths south of the lobby (toward HS).
    - A room on the 1st floor would have been much more convenient, especially with a stroller, due to the location of the elevator. To walk to HS we either had to backtrack to the Elevator, or go down a flight of steps with the stroller. Since we don't always use the stroller for DS6 anymore, it wasn't a big deal... but could be for families with younger kids, so be aware.
    - Staying in a Standard View room is a great way to save some points, but can be extremely difficult to book without actually owning there. We snagged this room by doing a point transfer from a BWV owner, and then renting our own points to someone else who wanted to stay at AKV. It ended up being approximately even financially, but a win-win for everyone in being able to stay where they wanted.
    - The 'Standard' View itself wasn't bad by any means, and I enjoyed sitting on the balcony multiple times. We actually had a partial view of the fountain, a tree blocking most of the view of the driveway traffic, and found it really wasn't that busy or noisy out there... so it was quite nice. I even caught a little of Illuminations through the trees one night.
    - The room itself was recently refurbished including a Murphy Bed, which is very important to us, especially with DWTS along and squeezing 5 of us into a room.
    - Otherwise, the room was a pretty typical DVC room, not that there is anything wrong with it, but nothing stands out either.


    Here are some pictures of the room, and view...

















    Micah

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    Senior Member Micah008's Avatar
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    Lost First Tooth!

    For many weeks (ok maybe even months) before our trip DS6 had his very first loose tooth, and even though he wiggled it here and there he really was worried about losing it, since he didn't know what to expect.

    A few times during the trip he even told us that he would pull it out that day: we had caramel apples in Germany at Epcot, and even tried helping and convincing (or bribing) him other ways ... but it never came out.

    Then on our last day at Magic Kingdom towards the end of the trip, it had become very very loose, and he finally agreed to actually let someone (me) pull it out. We finished our pre-RD breakfast and had some extra time while we were waiting right in front the castle. We even happened to have a Dentist standing right next to us that gave Daddy a few tips (though was probably just laughing at me in her head). After a couple minutes, and a couple tears... out came the tooth, right in front of the castle.





    He was so excited, and we got him a special button from guest services which he wore the rest of the day. He had Cast Members congratulating him all day long on losing his very first tooth.

    That night I stopped by the desk at the BWV and asked if they did anything special. They gave us a little tooth holder, and even made up a special sign from Tinkerbell which we left by his pillow. It was a very special day for him, and a great memory for all of us.

    Micah

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    Senior Member R&RMom's Avatar
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    Yay! I love your reports. I'm in. And since you stayed at the Poly again, I'm taking notes. We are booked there for our upcoming trip in August!

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    Senior Member Micah008's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne View Post
    Yay! I'm in. I was hoping you would do a trip report.
    Quote Originally Posted by MinnesotaJenn View Post
    Can't wait to read more!!
    Quote Originally Posted by deedee73 View Post
    More please. Loved the timeline pics
    Quote Originally Posted by R&RMom View Post
    Yay! I love your reports. I'm in. And since you stayed at the Poly again, I'm taking notes. We are booked there for our upcoming trip in August!
    Glad to see everyone following along! Let me know if there is anything you want to learn more about that I don't cover in my posts.
    Micah

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    Linkura
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    Awww, your little son is so precious! What a great memory for him.

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    My nephew lost a tooth while we were staying at Caribbean Beach. He still talks about it and is now 13! You will have so much fun remembering this special event for years and years!

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    the lack of QS to grab something to eat for breakfast or a snack (even just a grab and go bagel or muffin) is the reason I am hesitant to try Boardwalk or Beach Club.

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    Senior Member ChrisScott's Avatar
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    Enjoying following along! We're staying at BWV for the first time in three weeks--can't wait. And now I kinda hope my youngest will lose a tooth while we're there! :-)

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    Senior Member Micah008's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linkura View Post
    Awww, your little son is so precious! What a great memory for him.
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by MinnesotaJenn View Post
    My nephew lost a tooth while we were staying at Caribbean Beach. He still talks about it and is now 13! You will have so much fun remembering this special event for years and years!
    I hope he remembers it well too.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajj221 View Post
    the lack of QS to grab something to eat for breakfast or a snack (even just a grab and go bagel or muffin) is the reason I am hesitant to try Boardwalk or Beach Club.
    Lack of choices at the QS is a downside for sure, of many Deluxe resorts actually, but it won't stop us from staying there in the future, and eating there at least once ... it just makes me appreciate other resorts we stayed at in the past that have a lot more variety available.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisScott View Post
    Enjoying following along! We're staying at BWV for the first time in three weeks--can't wait. And now I kinda hope my youngest will lose a tooth while we're there! :-)
    Have a great time. Let me know if you have any specific questions, and I can try to help.
    Micah

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    Senior Member pixarprincess's Avatar
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    WOW the boardwalk room upgrades look fantastic! we stayed right before they started that and man I am impressed your photos make it look so so much better and fresher than before!

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    Senior Member Micah008's Avatar
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    Star Tours Rides by the Numbers

    (Warning: Contains spoilers about Star Tours, including variants)


    One of the goals we had this trip was to attempt to see all different scenes of Star Tours. My boys are both really big into Star Wars, and absolutely love Star Tours. Before the trip DS8 and I did some research together on exactly what scenes existed, and even listing the variants we could find information about. Each time we rode we kept track of each thing. Here was our result:



    Star Tours Terminal
    6 Darth Vader, Stormtroopers
    3 variant: Boba Fett
    1 Imperial Probe Droid, Han Solo

    2 Be the Rebel Spy (I am the only one in our group of 5 who has never been selected... but both DS9 and DWTS were the Rebel Spy on this trip)

    Primary Destination
    2 Hoth - snow, AT-ATs, cliff, canyon
    1 Tatooine - podrace, Sebulba
    3 Kashyyyk - forest, Chewbacca
    1 variant: Wookie on vine
    1 Jakku - desert, Millennium Falcon

    Hologram Transmission
    2 Admiral Akbar
    0 Princess Leia
    2 Yoda
    3 BB-8

    Rebel Base
    3 Coruscant - city, Buzz Droids, traffic
    0 variant: Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca
    4 Naboo - sky, ocean, Jar Jar, planet core
    2 variant: crash into Jar Jar
    0 variant: no broken window, paint splatter
    0 Geonosis - asteroids, Boba Fett, Death Star



    As you can see, despite only having 3 options for the Rebel Base at the end... we still never ended up in Geonosis. There is always next time.
    Last edited by Micah008; 05-08-2017 at 08:29 PM.
    Micah

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    Awww, your son losing his first tooth is precious, and so fun that they have special stuff for that. Following to hear a weather report, contemplating going next year during the same week of January (week of/after MLK Day.)

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    Senior Member Micah008's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roller99 View Post
    Awww, your son losing his first tooth is precious, and so fun that they have special stuff for that.
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by roller99 View Post
    Following to hear a weather report, contemplating going next year during the same week of January (week of/after MLK Day.)
    I will make sure to do a summary of the weather we had in one of the posts. We are likely going to be back down there next year at the exact same time.
    Micah

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    Monorail Loop Drinks, Appetizers, Drinks, Dinner, Drinks, Snacks, and Drinks

    Each trip lately we had planned a special night out while the kids were at one of the Children's Activity Centers. The kids always have loved it, and we got to have a fun night ourselves. It has now become a tradition the kids each look forward to, and all 3 of us adults were looking forward to just as much.

    Since we were staying at the Polynesian we decided that on this trip we wanted to do some monorail loop resort/lounge hopping, in addition to dinner. When the Highway in the Sky was announced (just reviewed by Josh today here) we strongly considered it... but decided just to stick with our own version of it, and be able to get exactly what we want.

    Note: as I looked back through our pictures, I realized we didn't actually take very many this night, sorry for all the words... but I will sneak a few in at the end.


    Here is how the evening turned out...


    We dropped the kids off at Lilo's Playhouse right when it opened at 4:30, and headed over to the Grand Floridian to start out our journey. For this first stop we planned to go to the Citricos Lounge, since a few of the drinks looked different than the typical Disney lounge menu, and they had a few good looking appetizers. However, when we arrived (a couple minutes before 5:00) we were told that they didn't open until 5:30 along with the restaurant.

    OK, so either I made a big mistake in my planning (I have messed up before) or something changed with their hours... I looked on the Disney website on my phone and it indeed said they opened at 5:00, but the one CM working said she couldn't serve us, and we moved on.

    So, on to Mizner's Louge it was instead for our GF stop. Now, there was nothing wrong with Mizner's, but the appetizers available didn't jump out at us, and the drinks were a little more standard. We ended up splitting a Florida Manhattan and a Grand Cosmo between the 3 of us, and although the drinks were good, we skipped the apps, and headed off to our next destination a lot more quickly than we planned. We got the bill at 5:25, which was $35 after tax and tip.


    Next stop was another audible to The Wave Lounge. We chose this one mostly because we knew we wouldn't be disappointed with the appetizers, but knowing it was also a more standard drink menu. We split the Shrimp Crabcakes, and drinks were the Smoked Turkey and the Agave Nectar Margarita. Everything was very good, and the food really hit the spot, since it was the first thing we had to eat since lunch at Epcot that day. We got the bill at 6:15, which was $45 after AP discount, tax and tip.


    We didn't have far to go for our dinner reservation at California Grill, a first visit for all of us. We were early, but they seated us quickly without any issue. This was the only part of our night that truly was planned, since we got the reservation many months ahead of time, and tried to time it properly to make sure we had the right amount of time for drinks and appetizers beforehand.

    As is our usual on most meals for these trips, we decided to split 2 entrees between the 3 of us, and DW also had a glass of wine. We got the Oak-fired Filet of Beef (Duck Fat Marble Potatoes, Gruyére-Harp Lager Mornay, Roasted Tomato Peperonata, Whole-roasted Garlic, Cabernet Wine Sauce) and Seared Hokkaido Scallops (Zellwood Corn, Duck Confit, Artichokes, Verjus-Piquillo Emulsion).

    We all agreed both entrees were truly wonderful. (I am not sure why, but I had lowered my expectations a bit... but I was very impressed) We decided not to stay for dessert, and instead continued on our way. We got the bill at 7:20, which was $125 after AP discount, tax and tip.


    The original plan was to continue on to the Polynesian at this point, but we were ahead of plan for timing, and DWTS had never actually been up to the Top of the World Lounge, so we decided to go there instead.

    Until now we had been rushing a little bit just to make sure we got to as many places as possible, but it was at this point in the night that we allowed ourselves to slow down a little, and enjoy the time at the Lounge.

    We got 2 drinks off their special menu at TotWL... the Bay Lake Sunset and the Boulevardier. The Bay Lake Sunset was good, but not my favorite personally. I agree with Josh that it was 'a little fruity', but 'packs a punch'. The Boulevardier was something I was personally interested in trying (it's basically a Negroni with the gin swapped out for rye whiskey), since it is one of the few classic whiskey drinks that I can't easily make at home. The bitter Campari in it is either something you love or hate, and lets just say that I was the only one of the 3 of us that loved the drink. We got the bill at 8:35, which was $26 after tax and tip (the cheapest of the night).






    Next we had originally intended to end the night at Trader Sam's, but we had been there 2 nights already (2 of us, and then a different 2 of us anyway), so we decided to head over to the Wilderness Lodge instead. We walked over to the boat dock at the Contemporary, and ended up seeing fireworks from there when it hit 9:00.

    Although it took a lot longer to get over there than we expected, the Territory Lounge ended up being the perfect way to end the night. We looked at the desserts, but ended up ordering their Chicken Wings instead as a very good late-night snack. For drinks we went with a dessert drink: a Banana-spiced Rum Martini, and also a Bourbon Flight which included the Disney Select Single Barrel pick of Knob Creek, Angel's Envy and Blanton's. (no, you usually can't get those 3 together in a Flight, we had to pay a little extra) Everything was excellent here also, and it was fun trying out a few new Bourbons (I now own bottles of both Angel's Envy and Blanton's), and a good way to wind down the night. We got the bill at 10:20, which was $48 after tax and tip.




    Before we knew it, the time was getting pretty late, and we knew it was time to head back and pickup the kids. There is no good way to get from Wilderness Lodge back to Poly late at night (other than Uber), but we decided to just take the boat back to Magic Kingdom... more just for the experience than anything.

    We got back in plenty of time to pick up the kids, who commented they were the first dropped off and last picked up, but had a great time themselves. It was a much later night for them than normal, but well worth it for everyone.


    In total we ended up spending $279 for the 3 of us to go to 4 different Lounges, have a few appetizers, and have a nice dinner at California Grill. If we had done the Highway in the Sky it would have cost us over $500 instead. Even if you consider that we only got only 2 drinks at each stop, we still came out ahead even for "2" people ... and best of all we were able to choose exactly what we wanted at each place.


    Although we ended up changing plans multiple times throughout the night, we had an awesome time, and it will be a night to always remember.


    ETA: A few additional thoughts ...

    - If we were doing this again, I would for sure pick this again over the Highway in the Sky again, and DW agrees too. It gave us a lot more flexibility to get exactly what we wanted, and saved us money. Win-win.

    - The only things I think I would do differently... I think I would have gone back to Citricos Lounge again once it reached 5:30, just to try it out. And, I may have left Wilderness Lodge out of the loop just because of the extra time it took for transportation, and done somewhere else instead.

    - Also, I looked again and see that on the official Disney website the opening time of Citricos Lounge is still listed as 5:00, even now almost 4 months later. So, who knows what the real story is there... but apparently someone messed up.
    Last edited by Micah008; 05-10-2017 at 05:23 PM.
    Micah

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    I always enjoy your trip reports...glad you're sharing your thoughts! Looking forward to more!

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    Senior Member Micah008's Avatar
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    A few additional thoughts to go with my last post... (also added to the bottom of it)

    - If we were doing this again, I would for sure pick this again over the Highway in the Sky again, and DW agrees too. It gave us a lot more flexibility to get exactly what we wanted, and saved us money. Win-win.

    - The only things I think I would do differently... I think I would have gone back to Citricos Lounge again once it reached 5:30, just to try it out. And, I may have left Wilderness Lodge out of the loop just because of the extra time it took for transportation, and done somewhere else instead.

    - Also, I looked again and see that on the official Disney website the opening time of Citricos Lounge is still listed as 5:00, even now almost 4 months later. So, who knows what the real story is there... but apparently someone messed up.
    Micah

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    Senior Member Micah008's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carley View Post
    I always enjoy your trip reports...glad you're sharing your thoughts! Looking forward to more!
    Thanks!
    Micah

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    Following. Is that a complete list of the Star Tours possibilities? We'll have to start keeping track. Thanks for the input about breakfast when at the Boardwalk. We are in ROFR right now for a contract there.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Micah008's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptlohmysoul View Post
    Following. Is that a complete list of the Star Tours possibilities? We'll have to start keeping track. Thanks for the input about breakfast when at the Boardwalk. We are in ROFR right now for a contract there.
    It is for sure a list of all the major things that can happen. I am not 100% sure if it is all the variants, but it was the ones I could track down info on.

    Good luck in ROFR. The biggest advantages of owning there in my mind would be the Standard View rooms, and actually being able to get rooms during F&W. Both really nice to have.
    Micah

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  24. #24
    Senior Member pixarprincess's Avatar
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    thanks for the monorail crawl thoughts! I was having FOMO at Josh's Highway in the Sky posts. This makes me feel better about doing it on our own! Any comments on doing this and the new security procedures at the monorail platforms?

  25. #25
    Senior Member Micah008's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixarprincess View Post
    thanks for the monorail crawl thoughts! I was having FOMO at Josh's Highway in the Sky posts. This makes me feel better about doing it on our own! Any comments on doing this and the new security procedures at the monorail platforms?
    You bet!

    When we did it the security hadn't yet changed... so I can't speak to it first-hand. But it likely would slow things down a little, and personally would get me to not bring any kind of bag along on that night just to make it easier. Come to think if it, I am pretty sure I didn't bring a bag along anyway, since I didn't want to have to deal with it (therefore no camera either other than cell phones).
    Micah

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    Apr '87 offsite; Feb '91 offsite; Feb '04 offsite; Feb '10 Pop; Jan '12 ASSp; Jan '13 Pop; Jan '14 VGF/AKV; Mar '14 POR; Aug '14 SSR (Report); Jan '15 VGF/AKV/OKW (Report); Jan '16 BLT/BCV (Report); Aug '16 AKV; Jan '17 PVB/BWV (Report); Jan '18 Pop/BRV; Aug '18 AKV; Jan '19 PVB/BCV; Jan '20 VGF/AKV/DRR

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