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Friday, June 8, 2012

Thanksgiving trip to Walt Disney World - November 1997 - Day 5

Day 5 - Sunday November 30 - Downtown Disney

No pesky call from the Mouse this morning.

We all slept in, no surprise there. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 2:30 in the afternoon, but we had a little time to kill so we decided to spend it at Downtown Disney. The only part of the complex that had been there on our previous trip was Pleasure Island, so I was interested in seeing what it was like.

We finished packing, got dressed and went downstairs to check out. One thing that I think makes going home from vacation easier is to leave in small increments. We had said good-bye to the WDW parks the afternoon before, now it was time to say good-bye to our hotel. I hate checking out of hotels, and it is especially hard when the hotel you are checking is as wonderful as the Wilderness Lodge is. The lobby, with its woodsy atmosphere and its rocking chairs beckoning you to sit and relax in front of the incredible fireplace, is not exactly a place that makes you want to leave. And of course the night before we had received a message from the management suggesting that we extend out stay at reduced room rates. Maybe in another life.

We spent the rest of the morning walking around the Downtown Disney. Pleasure Island was all closed. The West Side was mostly under construction, except for the theaters and the House of Blues. We ended up spending most of our time at the Disney Marketplace.

In terms purely of shopping, this place is incredible. There are some really cool shops there, including a Lego store that has gigantic Lego sculptures that must be seen to be believed. Of course, our money was spent at the World of Disney which is, as I understand it, the largest Disney Store in the World. I work near two showcase Disney Stores in New York City, one which is very big. This place, however, puts them both to shame. I have to point out that there was a particular stuffed animal that I wanted to get for Charlie which I have seen in the 5th Avenue store and didn't see at the World of Disney.

We told Nat she could get one last item. She picked out an Esmarelda outfit with matching slippers. Andie had not been able to pick up a birthday present for me, so she told me to pick something out at WoD. I knew exactly what I wanted: a Mickey Mouse Watch. I wanted on of the "classic" style watched, with Mickey on the dial, his arms used as the hands on the watch. There must have been at least two dozen to chose from, and I didn't like any of them. I ended up getting a chronograph style watch with auxiliary dials that form the familiar Mickey shape. There was a bit of money left in the budget, so I also picked up a copy of "Building the Dream".

After a lunch of pizza at Wolfgang Puck's it was time to say goodbye to Disney World and head back to the real world. It would have been nice to stay longer, but then it's also nice when you leave wanting more.

One thing I was really hoping to do on this trip was to make Andie a bit more of a willing participant in our Disney excursions. She enjoys Disney parks, don't get me wrong, but she's not quite as enthusiastic as I am. As we were making out way through Downtown Disney to our car, Andie said, "You know, we should come back here sometime without kids. We could do the Disney Institute and really check out the night life".

It was then that I knew that I had a convert on my hands.

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