August 22, 2018

Gary drove me to Syracuse on Tuesday August 21st and I stayed overnight at the Best Western Hotel beside Syracuse International Airport.  My Jet Blue Flight, #655 from Syracuse to Orlando, was at 6:30 in the morning, far to early to be driving down from Canada the same day!

 

As soon as I landed in Orlando I collected my suitcase, picked up my rental car and headed directly to Saratoga Springs to check in. The room wasn't ready yet so I headed off to Disney Springs; naturally the stop involved lunch at Earl of Sandwich!  Best tuna melt ever!

 

I browsed a few shops and bought my Orange Bird Pandora charm. As I was thinking about what to do next my phone beeped with a text that our room was ready so I drove back over to Saratoga Springs and got checked in.  I took my stuff to the room and started to get settled in but before long it was time to head back to the airport.  My roommate Carrie's flight from Buffalo was due to arrive.

 

The two of us headed to Saratoga Springs Resort so Carrie could get unpacked!

 

It was my first time staying at Saratoga and it was sure convenient being so close to Disney Springs.  We would have been able to walk over for dinner at The Boathouse, but it was too hot for that so I drove back to the Lime garage and we walked from there to the Boathouse.  Yum - they have the best fries . . . if you haven't had them, the 'truffle fries' are delicious!

 

After dinner we wandered through a few of the shops but decided that because of the heat and travel time we needed to call it a night.

 


August 23, 2018

Our first event was the annual Artist's Breakfast at Coronado Springs Resort.  This is a 'non-Disney' event; it's organized and hosted by Central Jersey Pin Traders and they always do a fantastic job.  Special thanks to Janis, David, Sheila and John for all their efforts!  We sure appreciate it!

 

It's so nice to be part of a small group and spend time talking one-on-one with the artists who conceive and design Disney pins.

The artists panel:  Quynn Kimball, Jess Willis, Alex Maher, Aaron Babcock and Kim Amond

 

Alex was sketching throughout the question and answer session.  Before we left there

was a free raffle and about a half dozen lucky guests took some original art home!

 

Among the happy winners - Eric and Tricia

The line up for registration is always long but they had plenty of cast members working and it moved along quite quickly. Once we had picked up our pins we went into the pin trading room to check out our goods and open our mystery boxes. This is the best time to do mystery pin trading, as everyone wants to complete their set. I was able to complete mine before we left.

After we had worked the room, visited with friends and traded what we wanted to trade we decided it was time for some food. We drove over to Pop Century and picked up our friends Jay and Chantel and headed back to Disney Springs.

 

We decided to try the new Chicken Guy eatery. We enjoyed the order of chicken tenders and sauces bursting with Guy Fieriís signature flair.

After dinner we just wandered around a bit then we dropped Jay and Chantel off back at their resort and we headed back to ours.


August 24, 2018

The two white tabs on the bottom were exchanged for event gifts.

Everyone's credentials had eight red tear-off tabs, four to a side.

Each tab allowed a trip to the trading boards.

 

For the first time in all the years that I have attended this event I was chosen to participate in one of the games.

 

The previous night I had very carefully selected 15 pins that I thought would bring me luck in the game, and I guess I did a good job as I was the winner!

The prize package was terrific.  They are worth about $400.00

That's over $500.00 in Canadian dollars!         Sweet!

 

Disney partners were displaying the pins that they would be releasing in the upcoming months.

There was always plenty of activity in the big trading room.

 

I wrapped up the day with dinner at Teppan Edo with Canadian friends Bob and Juanita and their son Joaquin  . . . and my all-star travel agent and perennial roommate Carrie!

 

It  was the first time at Teppan Edo for all four of them so naturally we had a great time, and as always the food was first class.  This is a restaurant that Gary and I seldom miss!

After dinner we said goodbye to the Dobson's and walked around World Show Case.

When we strolled past Norway Anna and Elsa called out to us and insisted that we take a ride through Arendelle.

As we headed back to our resort there was the most beautiful sunset highlighting the Canadian Pavilion.


August 25, 2018

We spent all day at the pin event, only stepping outside to dash across to Rose and Crown for lunch.

 

I picked up a few good pins at the trading boards and was quite pleased with some of the trades I made back in the trading room.

 

Of course, the characters entertaining us at the event this year were consistent with the "Animation Celebration" theme.  There were plenty of old time characters like Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow.

Next year's event theme 'Fairy Tails'

My event gifts and credentials.

After a busy day at World ShowPlace Carrie and I were both pooped!  We quickly decided that it was too hot to visit a park or to hike around Disney Springs, so we had a quick bite of dinner at the Saratoga Springs food court and crashed for the night!


August 26, 2018

 

We had no plans for Sunday morning so we just took it easy and and did a bit of touring around. We headed over to Hollywood Studios mid afternoon to meet up with Curtis, Bob, Juanita and Joaquin.

 

Curtis and I rode the Tower of Terror while Carrie looked on, then we walked over to Mama Melrose to meet up with the others. We had a wonderful dinner and then headed straight to the new Toy Story Land. It is very well done, the theme is great and the Slinky ride is a lot of fun.

 

After that we just headed back to the resort, it was just too hot to do anything else.


August 27, 2018

We woke up excited; today we were both doing something that we had wanted to do for a very long time. The Wild African Trek at Animal Kingdom. I was a little worried about doing it in the heat of the day, but figured the experience would outweigh the discomfort and it turned out to be not so bad.

We met up with Curtis and grabbed some lunch before we went for the 12:30 p.m. sign-in.

There were 12 of us in the group with 2 guides, the perfect size. We all got rigged in our safari attire, checked and double checked to make sure our equipment was functional and them we started the walk to the backstage area we were going to explore. Along the way our guides reiterated the rules and guidelines. Once we passed through the gate that took us off the beaten path we entered another world.  It was rough country . . . just like trekking through a jungle!

Yes, that's me taking a picture!  See what's below me?

 

This is a rickety old suspension bridge and those Nile crocodiles down there look very hungry!

The lunch that was provided was delicious and the ice cold jungle juice a very welcome drink.

 

Our guides, Becca and Becky

The tour was awesome, the guides were incredible and I cannot tell you how wonderful this tour is.

 

After the tour we walked over to Pandora and met up with the Dobson's.  All but Juanita and I headed off to ride Flight of Passage; we went into Satu'li Canteen and had a cold drink while we waited. When everyone returned Carrie and I decided that we were exhausted from the heat and the tour and needed to take a break.

 

We headed back to the resort for a little rest. Dinner was at Sweet Tomatoes and then back to the room to crash.


August 28, 2018

 

This was our last day before heading home and as in previous years we were ending it at the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. We met up with our Canadian friends for dinner at the Skipper Canteen before the party got into full swing,

 

Then we started some trick or treating and found a good spot to watch the parade.

Once the parade finished we rode a few rides and did some more trick or treating.

After a great evening we headed out of the park around 11 p.m.   I had an early flight to catch and we were both hot and tired. It was a great way to end a perfect week and another great pin event.

 

No dates announced yet for next year but I hope to be able to do it again.


August 29, 2018

Yikes!  It looks like the Disney Classic Collection piece I bought won't fit into my carry-on bag!

 

I was up early and off to the airport to catch an early flight, Jet Blue Flight #490 from Orlando to New York JFK left at 9:40 a.m.  Then I spent over 5 hours waiting for my connecting flight, Jet Blue Flight #2516 from JFK to Syracuse.  Gary was waiting at the baggage carousel when I got there at 6:30 and in just a few minutes we were on the way home!