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Trip Reports & Member Reviews Discuss Jaime's Todd-a-Palooza, December, 2009 in the Vacation Planning forums; THIS IS A REPORT FROM A TRIP IN DECEMBER, 2009 – IT WAS TAKEN OFF THE INTERNET BY OTHERS, SO I’M PUTTING IT BACK ON THE INTERNET. I’M ALSO GETTING ...
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    Jaime's Todd-a-Palooza, December, 2009


    Pre-Trip Chapter #1: CAST

    JAIME – Celebrity

    TODD – Famous






    Kevin, he’s with Rob (but I have dibs)


    David, Jen’s son

    And maybe a few other people I’ve met before -

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    Re: Jaime's Todd-a-Palooza, December, 2009

    Pre-Trip Chapter #2: PLANS

    Thursday, December 10th: I am meeting Todd at Midway Airport and we are flying to Orlando together – Southwest will never be the same again!

    This afternoon is a little hazy – I think we’re heading to the Magic Kingdom for a few hours before dinner at the Wave with the group, but this is up for grabs... What is NOT up for grabs is this evening – Bob Jackson!

    Friday, December 11th: Again, a little out of focus – waiting for scheduling news – so possibly a park in the morning? EPCOT this afternoon/ evening – Teppan Edo for an early dinner and Drink Around the World at 5:30.

    Saturday, December 12th: Breakfast at Boma. Over to the Animal Kingdom to get Todd on Expedition Everest and in Finding Nemo: The Musical. Tea in the afternoon. Over to the Studios – Osbourne Lights. And a December Event – Toy Story Mania after the park closes for the night – we get it for ourselves from 9:00 until midnight!

    Sunday, December 13th: Either EPCOT for the day – or a podcast taping (still waiting for that announcement) and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party that night.

    Monday, December 14th: One last park (to be decided) and flights home this evening.

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    Re: Jaime's Todd-a-Palooza, December, 2009

    Pre-Trip Chapter #3: Huffalumps and Prototypes

    Okay, I don’t really have any huffalumps.

    That would have been cool though, huh?

    Maybe the next trip.

    But I do have prototypes – you see, there are 2 members of the “entourage” that are not coming to Todd-a-Palooza...

    Jason and Shanan.

    Shanan and I made a deal – I would bring her (in flattie form) on the December trip if she would bring Flattie Jaime to the Indy Meet in September.

    But before I construct the Flatties for December, I needed to perform some tests – thus the Flattie Prototype was invented and taken to Disneyworld in September.

    Jason and Shanan had no idea they were with me!
    Last edited by tiggerbell; 03-12-2011 at 12:57 PM.

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    Re: Jaime's Todd-a-Palooza, December, 2009

    Pre-Trip (But Not Related) Chapter #7: A Pretend Trip

    Rhonda called me a while back and asked if I wanted to go check out the Crocs store on State Street. Sure – can we also hit the Disney Store and Ghirardelli’s so I can pretend it’s a trip to Florida?

    And we went Saturday, November 14th. Meg was off of work, so she came with.

    We drove to meet Rhonda at the train station – Meg packed a lunch!

    Why she thought eating chocolate pudding in my car was a good idea, I’ll never know.

    The Berwyn train station is kind of a landmark. (I was pretending it was the airport.)

    While we wait for the train (and Rhonda), I notice that Berwyn has put up the holiday decorations.

    Meg eats olives.

    I try a panorama shot – but it came out pretty blurry.

    Rhonda shows up – she walked over – and so does the train (which I'm pretending is a plane).

    20 minutes later, and we disembark.

    First Bad Shoe shot of the trip!

    We had the 3 tickets to get Downtown already but we need to buy the return tickets at Union Station. I suggest we get them now. So we get in the first queue of the trip!

    More Bad Shoes.

    Leaving Union Station for the 1 mile walk to the Crocs Store (which is located in the Orlando Airport).

    I love my zoom – these are the sky boxes on the top of the Sears Tower (I don’t care who bought it, I worked there for 12 years, it will ALWAYS be the Sears Tower!)

    We got a bunch of people on this boat to wave to us!

    Rhonda points out the cabbage-like plants – I declare we are at The Land!

    Ooh, look! A princess!

    Meg had a homework assignment where she had top get photos of 3 types of architecture downtown, so here she is actually doing her homework.

    You should feel special, dear readers, almost no one has ever seen that sight!

    We have arrived!

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    Re: Jaime's Todd-a-Palooza, December, 2009

    Pre-Trip (But Not Related) Chapter #8: A Pretend Trip Continues

    We poke around the store – Meg thinks the Jibbitz look like the charms Disney has out for sale.

    I am getting Tweets from Bret Caldwell (he was the Dad on the first Moms’ Panel) saying that he’s Downtown and at Macy’s meeting Mickey and Minnie. There’s a new Mickey doll being released today. We are passing Macy’s on our way to the next top, so we pop in and head to the 5th floor.

    We miss Bret, but we got in line for Mickey – the family in front of us were the last to see Mickey, Minnie took his place.

    Meg wants to go see the Santa display. We pass this fountain on the way and Rhonda says, “It’s like Cinderella’s fountain!”

    We go to check out the line decorations for Santa. It’s in the little girls’ section. Meg is convinced she can still fit in these clothes.

    Santa’s line:

    Believe – that’s a Disney word!

    Hidden Mickey.

    Country Bear Jamboree?

    We get to the front of the line (there were no people – they were all out by Mickey and Minnie) and Meg says, “Okay, let’s go.”

    Uh, no, you wanted to go through the line, you’re gong to see Santa.

    And she FREAKS!

    The kid who will go up to any Disney character and chat away is AFRAID of Santa Claus???

    I get her to do it anyway (she can complain to a therapist later) and we get a nice picture of Meg and Santa.

    We leave Macy’s and continue on our way. In front of the store, we come across a street performer who was phenomenal! It was a puppet show – there were a couple of puppets and the interacted with the crowd and danced together. Meg had her cell phone out taking pictures and the puppet pulled a cell phone out and was taking pictures back!

    WLS studio.

    THE Early Bird himself!

    Rhonda gives Meg a lesson on Fort Dearborn.

    Living statue.

    The city is all decorated.

    We decide to hit Ghirardelli’s before the Disney Store (we need sustenance to shop properly). We pass the Disney Store on the way – we’ll be back!

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    Re: Jaime's Todd-a-Palooza, December, 2009

    Pre-Trip (But Not Related) Chapter #9: A Pretend Trip Continued

    We pass a man on a corner handing out samples. The Disney references I’ve been making all day REALLY hit home here –

    It was a packet of 7 single serving instant coffees.

    We get to Water Tower and there’s an Osbourne Lights mini display set up – but not lit.

    And the next queue of the day is in Ghirardelli’s.

    I haven’t mentioned the weather yet – it was perfect. You don’t get any sun downtown because of the buildings, but Rhonda and I were out in just our t-shirts all day.

    We grab a table outside.

    And the Angels sing.

    Rhonda and I both got the Strike it Rich Sundae (butter pecan ice cream with butterscotch sauce, vanilla ice cream with hot fudge). Meg got chocolate ice cream in a chocolate dipped waffle cone.

    By the time I was done eating it, I was freezing. Even Rhonda had goosebumps!

    Across the street from Ghirardelli’s is the Hershey Store.

    Rhonda found another Country Bear.

    The Water Tower became our Castle.

    We get to the Disney Store –

    Rare character sighting –

    Walking back to Union Station, we pass the WGN Radio studio on Michigan. There are embedded rocks from historical sites in the wall. So we get to see the A-lame-O (Hoop Dee Doo reference).

    Nothing like a big random statue.

    It’s getting late, so the decorations are starting to show up better.

    We tried to eat at a Giordano’s for pizza, but the wait was too long – we have a train to catch in an hour. So we settle for soup at a Corner Bakery in Union Station.

    It was a fun, exhausting day. My right knee and hip (the knee I fell on again the week before) are throbbing! And I slept like a log!

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    Re: Jaime's Todd-a-Palooza, December, 2009

    Pre-Trip Chapter #10: I'm Too Excited to Sleep – for 2 Weeks?!?!?!

    Wha-hoo! Thanksgiving is over! Wait, that sounded wrong. Rude, even. Let’s try again...

    Wha-hoo! Ummm.... nope. No other way to say it – Thanksgiving is over! Now I can focus on something I'm really thankful for – Todd-a-Palooza!

    I’ve been waiting for this trip for 6 months. I promise this one will be LEGEN --- wait for it--- DARY!

    We start with having people over again – 10 at last count (and I did lose count at one point). And none of them will be my sisters. I don’t think. Now I can’t remember if Judi was coming over or not.

    Wing’s Chinese Food. Cicero, Illinois. Best egg rolls. Ever. Seriously.

    It always comes down to the food. Like breakfast at Boma (which I’ve never done.) Any chance of falafels? What if I ask? Should I ask? I'm gonna ask.

    So Thanksgiving went pretty smoothly – the dog kept an eye on the green bean casserole for me.

    (She was so TINY!)

    And then, during clean up, I sliced my finger pretty good.

    Oh, more news: The day after I e-mail Tracy Whipple asking for more Magical Express luggage tags, Todd and I get word that Priceline has ridiculous prices on rental cars – and we get a 5 day rental for just over $100.00! That’s about half of what they were!

    Oh, another HUGE announcement!!!!!!!! I thought I reported this already, but not in the official posts apparently! Ready?

    Are you sitting down?

    I get to meet someone else really special on this trip.

    Someone who I have called a friend for years and never actually met.

    Someone who I forget I have never actually met because I feel so close to her.

    Tiggerwannabe. Or, as I like to call her – Tigger(bell)wannabe.

    Colleen lives in New Jersey and our trips to Florida have never lined up.

    Until now!

    I’ll see her Friday at the Magic Kingdom.

    I also get to meet her friend, Rose, who strangely enough, I also feel like I know!

    See? I'm too excited to sleep!!!!

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    Re: Jaime's Todd-a-Palooza, December, 2009


    DISCLAIMER: (You know how much I love these!)

    This was an Adult Only trip (well, my portion of it – with 1, no 2, very cute exceptions) so the report may contain slightly adult topics (Todd was there, did you not see this coming?) I’ll try to warn you when it’s happening, but there’s just no way around a couple of instances of adult humor. Okay, who am I kidding? This was a pretty raunchy trip – I had a blast! Imagine – I was in my HAPPY place and I was actually HAPPY.

    Chapter #1: Todd-a-PaWHO???za

    PLANS: Wednesday, December 9th, 2009: I am meeting Todd at Midway Airport tonight. A bunch of friends are coming over to celebrate the Kick Off Party for Todd-a-Palooza.

    REALITY: Wha-hoo! It’s finally Thursday! Today’s gonna be perfect! Today’s gonna be great! Wait, what’s that white stuff falling?

    Weather Channel – STORM?!?!?!?!?!?


    I check the hour by hour and realize it won’t be as bad as it looks. Then I get on Facebook. Anna (aspen37) might be stuck in Colorado. I tell her “No, not acceptable. I am a princess and I get what I want. I want you in Florida.” It works, her plane makes it out.

    4:30 – my bosses let us leave half an hour early (they said it was because of the storm, but I think it was because of Todd-a-Palooza – it’s catching!).

    4:50 - Todd calls me about 15 minutes before they board. I am still driving home (it’s usually a 10-15 minute trip, but tonight will take close to an hour).

    We only got 2-3 inches of snow, but the wind was so bad, it looked like a blizzard.

    I had ordered Chinese before I left work and asked them to deliver at 7:30. Jen (jen3003) was coming over early because she was going to ride with me to get Todd from the airport.

    Alice helped set up the runner – okay, she was making sure it was dead before anyone came over.

    5:40 – Todd calls to tell me he is still in Detroit. They can’t take off because of the storm here.

    JAIME: Well, it’s started to let up, so tell the pilot I said it should be okay now.

    TODD: I’ll do that.

    About 20 minutes or so later, I think I should call Jen to let her know not to rush. She answers her phone as they park in front of my house. I get to meet her husband, Dave. Also her son, David, who is coming on the trip with us. And Alyssa is Jen’s daughter (but we’ve met a few times).

    We sit and talk – Dave is very funny - until Tracy (TyRy) comes in – carrying half a princess. Cake, that is. Lots of December birthdays this trip – Jen, Tracy, Kim.

    I make Meg come up from her Bat Cave to socialize – she also has Michelle with her.

    Brett (my nephew) turns up (I think he had run to the store).

    Cathy from work comes to meet Todd (okay, she heard about the Chinese food!) and Jason and Shanan arrive.

    Alice is having a field day! I can’t wait to see her at Christmas.

    6:52 – Todd calls!

    JAIME: Are you on the ground?

    TODD: Yes. In Detroit.

    Oh, no! He says go ahead and eat (yeah, like that was even a question!) and he’ll grab something at the airport. Hopefully, they will get out tonight still or we’ll meet up in Orlando tomorrow.

    Despite the lack of Todd at Todd-a-Palooza, we had a great time, I think! The food arrives and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen so much Chinese food at once before! The smaller box has holes poked in the top.

    JAIME: Meg, this better not be another puppy!

    It turned out to be a whole box of egg rolls and crab rangoon – much better than a puppy!

    This picture doesn’t do it justice – this is a 54” square table.

    First plate of the trip (yes, I know I'm at home, still counts): top left: beef fried rice, General Tsao’s chicken, sweet and sour pork, fried shrimp in the middle, crab rangoon, and egg roll.

    We order from Wing’s in Cicero – best egg rolls I’ve ever had. EVER! (I know I’ve said that already, but it bears repeating)

    We bring out the ½ of the Sleeping Beauty cake

    and I show everyone the knife I cut myself with on Thanksgiving. And the whole story finally gets told (and if you didn’t think I was an idiot already, you’re about to now):

    ****CUE FOG****

    My family had left and I was cleaning up after Thanksgiving. I cut all the meat off the turkey because I wanted to get the carcass thrown out tonight. The turkey pan was sitting on top of the stove and the grease had jelled. Which I thought was awesome; I was tilting the pan and watching it roll downhill. So I needed something to put the grease in so I could throw it away.

    Yes, I know this sounds easy – but I don’t cook, so I did things my way. We have this awesome set of knives that we got at Sears after watching a demonstration of what they can do (the guy cut a HAMMER!). So I get a pop can out of the trash and very carefully cut the top off (really sharp knives!). I pour the congealed grease into the can. I place the can gently into the garbage and grab another can for the rest of the grease.

    Only this time, I'm not so careful. The knife slips off the can and through my finger.

    Told you it was dumb. It’s about 1/8” deep and ½” long. And it’s GAPING OPEN. Not bleeding yet, but gaping. I take one look and say, “Crap. That needs stitches.” Out loud to no one. But I am NOT going to the ER at 8:00 on Thanksgiving. So I bandage it (using Q-Tips to keep the finger straight so it doesn’t gape).

    THEN it starts bleeding. I went through 4 bandages that night. Looks good now, just a ½” red line.

    Of course, someone who actually cooks (or has a brain) will tell me this: If you were taking it all out to the garbage can tonight anyway, why didn’t you just pour the grease into the garbage directly?

    To which I reply, Shut up.

    ****END FOG****

    So, back to cake. I'm holding the knife and everyone keeps shrinking away as I talk (I'm Italian, I talk with my hands!) But the cake was good, thanks Tracy!

    Michelle has to go home. She lives a few blocks away. Meg and Cathy decide to walk her – and they’re taking the dog.

    At 8:01, Todd calls again. They are going to reboard and try this again.

    Tomorrow’s a work/school day. We start losing people. Cathy. Jen and family (I told David I was easy on him tonight, the rest of the week would not be that way – I will live to regret those words). Tracy lasted until about 10:30, I think.

    Jason, Shanan, Meg, and I hopped in my car after Todd landed and headed to Midway. Normally a 15 minute drive. Probably 30-40 tonight.

    I don’t want Todd to have to stand outside in the cold waiting for us, so I told him to get his luggage and I’d send someone in. The pick up area at Midway usually has security out in full force – you can not sit there and wait for someone. But the weather was so awful, we never saw a single guard!

    Jason and Shanan don’t know this airport so I make Meg go in. I get a call from her about a minute later.

    MEG: I can’t find him.

    Jason volunteers to go in next. I'm having visions of never seeing anyone again.

    Jason gets out of the car and heads towards the door. You have to cross the bus lane. As he’s crossing the bus lane, he passes 2 people headed towards us – it’s Todd and Meg. Jason never sees them, although he and Todd practically brush arms as they pass.

    Shanan and I are in the car, screaming at the closed window, “JASON!!!” One of us finally has the sense to roll the window down and we scream again.

    Bags stashed in the trunk, 3 skinny people squished into the back seat, and we pull back into my garage at 11:15!

    Just a reminder – our flight leaves at 6:45 tomorrow morning! Which means waking up at 3:45 for me.

    We bring out the Chinese food for Todd. We sit and talk. Todd shows us some of the goodies he has in store to pass out to people (and some stuff I'm specifically NOT sharing right now – SHHHHH!)

    I show Todd the credentials for the party and seminar (he hasn’t seen any in person yet) and we get a picture (I wasn’t wearing ANY make-up).

    At 1:45, Jason and Shanan go. We have 2 hours before we get up. I can’t sleep. At 3:00, I gave up, turned on a light, and started to read. Brett gives us a ride to the airport and the adventure begins!

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    Re: Jaime's Todd-a-Palooza, December, 2009

    Chapter #2: Boeing or Buick?

    Thursday, December 10th: Todd and I fly out of Midway Airport at 6:45am – Southwest will never be the same again!

    This afternoon is Dole Whips with friends, the castle lighting, and Bob Jackson!

    Last night’s lack of sleep takes its toll – I stagger to the shower, pausing in Todd’s doorway to curse him (he’s asleep). The shower helps a bit; as does the coffee I put on last night for Brett. I hadn’t planned on having any, but crud happens. I grab my neck pillow as I tell Todd I am planning on sleeping on the plane.

    I also still have my glasses on – my contacts soak in a peroxide solution and have to be in it for 6 hours before I can wear them again. It’s been 2.

    I am unaware that G is a stow-away in my house (at least I didn’t realize these photos were being taken!)

    Everything is uneventful getting to - and at - the airport. Once there, I take 4 Valium, instead of the usual 3. I need sleep.

    My boarding pass is in the A group and Todd’s is in the B group. I don’t care where we sit, but Todd requests a window. I assure him I’ll get him one.

    Todd naively trusts the doped up woman.

    I find an empty row of seats about 1/3 of the way back. I sit in the center seat. I'm very proud of myself and sit there with a goofy smile on my face watching people get on the plane.

    Valium is my friend.

    It also has a nasty sense of humor, because I finally remember to check out the view and discover there’s no window in this row! How did I not notice that – oh, yeah, the Valium!

    And now there’s nothing I can do because the aisle is full and I'm giggling my head off because Todd wanted a window!

    Todd shows up and I move over to the “Wall” seat. This picture is one of 2 reasons Todd is having his camera taken away from him in May!

    He takes the center and another gentleman sits next to Todd. The plane is running gently. We are all boarded and they rev the plane up – and then the plane shuts down – lights, engines, the works.

    They get it started again, gently. Once again, they rev it up and everything turns off. And again. I tell Todd if it happens again, I'm getting off. But I don’t think I meant it, because I think I was slurring my words and possibly drooling.

    That’s when the pilot comes on the speaker:

    PILOT: Well, folks, it’s too cold to get the plane started. We’re gonna have to let it run for awhile to warm up.

    What is this, your father’s Buick??? Did you buy this plane from Boeing or Oldsmobile?

    I tell Todd I'm going to sleep. He puts on his headphones and I pass out.

    When I wake up:

    JAIME [excited]: Where are we?

    TODD: The tarmac.

    JAIME: How long was I asleep?

    TODD: 45 minutes.

    JAIME: Crud.

    The pilot comes back on to tell us they think it’ll work now and we’re gonna take off. They rev up the plane – hey! It actually works this time.

    Did I mention it was 7 degrees out this morning?

    We take off and have an uneventful 2 hours. At some point, we started talking to the man sitting with us (I offered him an almond cookie from last night). He was fascinating. He was a boater. Like races and stuff. He raced with Roy O. Disney. He even told us about sitting in the Yacht Club Resort lobby and figuring out it was done 15% bigger than scale and felt very authentic. He was a very intelligent man and I really enjoyed our conversation.

    Getting near Orlando, we are again treated by an announcement from the pilot:

    PILOT: Well, folks, when it rains it pours.

    Yes, he really said that.

    PILOT: There’s a huge storm going on in Orlando, and they are telling me we can’t land.

    Oh for Pete’s sake! We are now in a holding pattern 30,000 feet above the ground. My VERY least favorite thing to do in my VERY least favorite place in the entire world.

    JAIME: Just how much gas does this thing have anyway?

    PILOT: I'm going to turn off the seatbelt sign, sometimes that helps.

    (Like getting in the bathtub to make the phone ring?)

    Sure enough, in 2 minutes he’s back.

    PILOT: It worked! We just got clearance; we’re next in line to land. And this is going to be a very bumpy landing, so please make sure those seat belts are tightened!

    Oh, yippee.

    The first big bump – and I grabbed Todd’s thigh so hard, I'm sure I left marks! (Come to think of it, he’s never flown with me again…)

    He takes my hand (to get the nails out of his leg) the rest of the flight and the total stranger next to us says, “You’ve been on a cruise, right?”

    I can tell by the tone of his voice, he’s trying to distract me. I'm going to let him. He starts telling me facts and figures and I'm trying desperately to listen. I don’t have a clue what he told me – not a single thing he said stuck. All I know is he and Todd got me all the way to the ground before I burst into tears.

    I cry when people are nice to me.

    And we learn that 4 Valium don’t last through a 45 minute delay at take off and a 20 minute delay in landing.

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    Re: Jaime's Todd-a-Palooza, December, 2009

    Chapter #3: Todd Hoping for a Yellow Anything

    A stop at the bathroom and it’s down to baggage claim. Unbelievably uneventful. Outside to the shuttle to Hertz. Huge thanks to Tracey (tlcoke) for the heads up on the Priceline car rental deal. We got a 5 day rental for just over $100!

    The Hertz building was pretty cool.

    And there’s nothing like a Who Dressed Grandma sighting.

    We head out to the parking lot – me mourning the fact that we don’t get the red Mustang, Todd hoping for a yellow anything.

    The boy’s got some good mojo going on!

    Before I know it, we are there!

    Pop Century’s Online check in line is much quicker than the regular line and we are checked in and have our Keys to the World cards in our hands in no time. Next stop, concierge. We need to get the 1 day tickets OFF the KTTW cards. Todd will turn his into an annual pass – which he’ll have to do at the park. I will keep mine for a future trip, when it will become an AP also – probably in October.

    The KTTW card should now hold our room keys and dining plan credits.

    Notice I said SHOULD.

    We are running about an hour behind schedule and we are starving. So we head to the Pop food court, instead of eating at the park like we had planned. Good thing. Remember, I said SHOULD.

    The dining plan credits are not showing up on our cards. Of course, we had our food before this was discovered. The cashier tries both cards and tells us we have to go to the front desk. But the food will get cold! She tells us (since we’re splitting a meal) that one of us should eat while the other fixes the problem. I send Todd to a table and I go back to concierge.

    They tell me nothing’s wrong with the cards, but the manager takes the cards, speaks to the original girl who handled it (looked like he was correcting something she did), and gave them back with an apology.

    I get to the table to find the plate of food covered with another plate. I thought Todd had waited for me and I couldn’t figure out why, but he had finished and was trying to keep the rest warm.

    What a sweetie!

    I hand him his card and he goes back to the cashier. I chow down. YUM! Chicken alfredo!

    Todd comes back – Disney Magic is at work again – due to the inconvenience, and the fact that we were honest and came back to have the credit removed, the cashier comp’ed the meal.

    We save the rice krispie treat for later. We drag the luggage up to the room – 80s, Walkman building – and jump in the car.

    Magic Kingdom, here we come!

    I can’t tell you the last time I drove to the Magic Kingdom. But it was such a breeze on this trip; I don’t know why we don’t do it more often. We park so close that we walk to the TTC.

    Hop onto the monorail and we’re off!

  11. #11
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    Re: Jaime's Todd-a-Palooza, December, 2009

    My first mention and you haven't met me in person yet!!

  12. #12
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    Re: Jaime's Todd-a-Palooza, December, 2009

    Enjoying reading the report, even though some it sounds familiar.

  13. #13
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    Re: Jaime's Todd-a-Palooza, December, 2009

    enjoyed reading
    All Star Sports July 2006
    All Star Movies October 2007
    Coronado Spring February 2010
    Pop Century October 2010
    All Star Movies September 2011
    Pop Century September 2012

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