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Thread: Existential Crisis: It's in the Past

  1. #1
    he's right
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    Existential Crisis: It's in the Past

    A year ago, I was at a crossroads. It was pretty bleak.

    Today I turn 50. I started my morning from the balcony of room 5533 at Boulder Ridge Villas. This was my view as I was sipping my morning coffee.

    IMG_4566.jpg

    I'll have more to say later. Here's the TL;DR version: my birthday is not the most important milestone on this trip, and it will be different from any other in many important ways, though a casual observer wouldn't know.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nolarookie's Avatar
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    Happy birthday, hope your trip is everything you hope it will be.
    Brandi

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    Happy Birthday! Hope you're enjoying Boulder Ridge as much as we do.

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    What a beautiful sunrise and an amazing start to your special day.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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    I love that place and that view. Hope it's a wonderful trip for you.

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    Senior Member ChristineOH's Avatar
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    Happy birthday! Have a great trip.

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    Senior Member BSS's Avatar
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    Happy Birthday! Enjoy!!
    Jen

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    wishes he had a pink frolicing llama under his tagline George's Avatar
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    Happy Birthday, Brian! What a great start to the day. I see that the trees have mostly been removed, providing for nice lake views, albeit over the tops of the cabins. Which do/did you prefer?
    http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2150/847827/22364569/379301318.jpg

    Quiet, both of ya! You're gonna ruin Maw's birthday!

    Stupid Judy.

    But Sandy Plankton said...

  9. #9
    Senior Member mgarbowski's Avatar
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    It's not often you see a positive vague-post.

    Happy Birthday Brian.
    Mark
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    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    Happy Birthday! So glad to hear the existential crisis is resolved and you're enjoying a lovely birthday.

  11. #11
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    Happy birthday! Have a great trip!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Happy Birthday, Brian! What a great start to the day. I see that the trees have mostly been removed, providing for nice lake views, albeit over the tops of the cabins. Which do/did you prefer?
    From the fifth floor, I like the lake views. Sitting on the balcony, the cabins might as well not be there. Lower down it might be different. They did put in some pines between VLW and the cabins that are at the height of the latter or a bit taller. So, from there it might be okay too.

  13. #13
    unsure of the release date for the dumbo anniversary dvd but waiting outside best buy just the same jillyb's Avatar
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    Happy Birthday!
    Jill & Hannah

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    Senior Member Mrs Darling's Avatar
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    Happy Birthday!!
    I'm staring down my 50th this year too. Although it won't be anywhere nearly as fun as Disney
    ~Stacey

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    Senior Member Micah008's Avatar
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    Happy Birthday! That looks like a great view. Enjoy your trip!
    Micah

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    Happy Birthday!

  17. #17
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    Happy Birthday!
    And happy to read that you are working through those crossroads and coming out the other side.
    Life is hard. Looking forward to learning from your important milestones.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Disneyfan's Avatar
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    Welcome to Club 50!! It's actually a good place to be.

  19. #19
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    It's an overcast afternoon, with just a sprinkle or two. I'm chilling on my balcony (the 5th floor 1BR balconies cover the entire unit, with doors to bedroom and living room.) A few thoughts:

    Bodh'aktan (folk-rock act in Canada during Art Festival and maybe Food & Wine? I don't remember) is a worthy successor to Off Kilter. Great energy at the show, lots of little-kid-dancing, etc.

    Delta Q (humorous a capella act in Germany, also probably a limited run) worked better than it sounds like it should.

    I don't know if the Arts Festival drives attendance, but I suspect it does generate good marginal revenue. I saw lots of people carrying $5 dixie cups of beer, and some of the food prices were eye popping even for me, and I almost never care about prices in WDW. On the other hand, there is definitely a higher standard of care in the food booths during Arts vs. F&W.

    That pricing theme carries over. I paid $29 (including tax+tip) at Sci Fi today for a black & bleu burger and an iced tea. Granted, the burger was pretty good, and a QS "burger" and fountain drink would have been right around $17 after tax, so it's worth doing, but still. Again, I'm the guy who doesn't really care what things cost at WDW, and even I'm starting to notice.

    Speaking of Sci Fi, I have not been there in years---certainly well before #MeToo and the work I've been doing on getting out of the Man Box lately. The patriarchy was in-your-face alive and well during the period from which those clips are taken. At least two featured films had as their premise a race of fierce women warriors who lived in a male-free society (horrors! women who don't need men!), plus lots more that was more subtle, but not at all subtle.

    I had my birthday dinner at Jiko, eating at the appetizer prep counter. There were only four seats set up there, so it might be hard to get, but as a solo diner I like setups like that or eating at the bar, where I can strike up a conversation. The food was *very* good. I had the curried shrimp off the "Enhancements" menu as an appetizer, the lamb shank for an entree, and had ordered the "Sunset Safari" for dessert. The server knew I was celebrating my birthday plus another event, so she brought me a second dessert (the Kilimanjaro) on the house to account for both things. That plus a club soda and a press pot of coffee was a shade under $100 after tax+tip. I felt a lot better about that $100 dinner than I did my $30 lunch.

    Slinky Dog Dash. The best way I can describe this is to refer to an old-timer on a coaster enthusiast discussion board. He had a rating scale for coasters that only had about four levels. The bottom ranking was, essentially: I will never ride that again. For those of you who knew e.g. Mean Streak or Son of Beast before they were torn down, you know what this means. The next level up was: "Cold Fries Bad." Cold french fries aren't very good, but you'll sometimes find yourself picking at them because after all they are still kind of good. Slinky is in that category for me; more or less forceless, but not without its moments. I rode it during AM EMH, and I might try for a night ride to see what that's like, but I'm not sure I need to spend another half-day at Studios. That said, it's a perfect addition for this park; less aggressive than either Tower or Coaster, but still exciting enough for Disney's target market of first-time roller coaster riders.

    I was serenaded by the Dans, though it was between sets so I did not also have to be the center of attention. The streetmosphere on Main Street USA is top-notch. As far as I can tell the Citizens of Hollywood were completely absent at Studios today, but maybe I just missed them.

    There is a hilarious joke in the exit of Toy Story. It won't make sense right away, but you will have enough time to get it...guaranteed. On that note, my Toy Story game is up a notch, though still not leader-board-worthy.

    I goofed rope drop at MK yesterday and arrived by boat rather than bus. I knew better, but I also wasn't really in all that much of a hurry, because I had FP+ for 7DMT, and was headed for Pan instead. Was too late for Pan, and called an audible and skipped it. I might try it later in the week.

    The Frozen Sing-Along is a lot of fun if you let yourself go. (See what I did there?)

    I leave you with this Dapper Selfie from yesterday.

    IMG_4574.jpg

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Darling View Post
    Happy Birthday!!
    I'm staring down my 50th this year too. Although it won't be anywhere nearly as fun as Disney
    Happy birthday Brian! My 50th birthday was a few weeks ago. I spent it at a surprise 50th birthday for my sister-in-law, so...yeah, WDW would have been wonderful.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Mrs Darling's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great couple of days. Love that selfie- especially the mouse ears & the smile!
    ~Stacey

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    Awesome selfie with the Dapper Dans... always a favorite of ours.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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    Senior Member momof2boys's Avatar
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    Happy Belated Birthday, Brian! Nice selfie :)

  24. #24
    unsure of the release date for the dumbo anniversary dvd but waiting outside best buy just the same jillyb's Avatar
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    Nice selfie!
    Jill & Hannah

    June 2008 @ Pop Century
    November 2010 @ Pop Century
    August 2016 @ Pop Century
    August 2017 @ DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at Seaworld
    May 2019 @ All-Stars Movies
    August 2019 @ Pop Century


    August 2016 Trip Report http://www.easywdw.com/forums/showth...ip-08-10-08-20[/B]

  25. #25
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    More notes.

    Remember how nobody knows the Avatar story? And so how building an entire land around it was a dumb idea? I mean, Disney Twitter was sure it was dumb!

    Yeah, Disney Twitter was wrong. Pandora is incredibly impressive. The level of detail, both day and night, is just stunning. Frankly, I think this is true of all of AK. For example, I had the chance to wander the Maharaja Jungle Trek today; the ruins that you walk through are worth spending a bit exploring in their own right. And FoP? I've been on it twice so far, once with a same-day stroke of luck, once pre-booked. The first time was hard to follow because I was amped with nerves and there is so. much. going. on. Both trips had me periodically shouting "Wow!" It's amazing. The standby line this morning at one point was posted at 195 minutes. (Yes, you read that right: more than three hours) and people were still getting in line. I wouldn't wait very long for the River Journey, but it was very well-executed for what it is.

    Rivers of Light is IMO under-rated. It's not A Big Spectacle, nor is it chockablock with Disney characters. So, it gets passed by. But, I like the theme and execution very much. I think if you are someone who really "gets" AK, you will like Rivers of Light. If you aren't, you may not. YMMV.

    Lunch was today at Olivia's. Pork carnitas plus an iced tea was $25 or so. Somehow that wasn't nearly so bad; this was a good dish. Olivia's always comes through for me. I took Disney transport back to WL but that was relatively calm; I did not need to be here at any particular time.

    Finally I've done two AM EMHs now: once at Studios and today at AK. I'm not sure I'd recommend doing this to get on The Big Ride in any park.

    At Studios, I was there specifically to get on Slinky. And, that worked out, but I got a little lucky and managed to make my way up front as the crowd built along Hollywood Blvd. But, that's because I was flying solo and got lucky with the bus. I got on Slinky on maybe the 4th train out, a shade before 8. By the time I was off, Slinky's posted wait was an hour. I rode Aliens after maybe a 10-15 minute wait. By the time I got off that, the entire Land was completely slammed. If I had been even a little farther back for Slinky, I would have lost the entire first hour there, or worse.

    In contrast, my bus luck for AK was not nearly as good. I got to the bus stop a bit before 7A, and there was already a decent crowd waiting. The bus arrived at 7:20. That was enough to put me far enough back that I did not have any expectation of getting on FoP. Luckily, I was not trying. But, by not trying I zigged when everyone else was zagging (to borrow an old TGM turn of phrase). I walked onto River Journey. Walked onto Primeval Hurl and was allowed to re-ride it without getting off. I then got two almost-walk-ons on Everest before the Park opened to the GP and the wait jumped to 25.

    If I could not get FP+ for one of the prime attractions (Slinky, FoP, 7DMT) I think I would either skip it or hit it at Park close. If I absolutely had to use a rope drop for any of those, I would be sure to have a car or take a cab, and not rely on bus luck.

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