Walt Disney World 2012 Trip Day 4 – Wednesday 12/05/12: A Trip to the 50’s

My cough woke me up again this morning, but right before sunset.  That meant I was going to go take some photos this morning.

WDW TR-202 WDW TR-203 WDW TR-204 WDW TR-205 WDW TR-206 WDW TR-207 WDW TR-208 WDW TR-209 WDW TR-210 WDW TR-211 WDW TR-212  – early morning at the Polynesian Resort

WDW TR-213 – Poly’s lobby Christmas tree

After shooting, I popped into Capt. Cook’s to try a Tonga Toast.  It was very sweet, but yummy.  So far this day has gotten off to a pretty good start.

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WDW TR-215 – Tonga Toast

We continued our “tradition” of visiting the park we had gone to the previous evening.  Today we had an ADR for 50’S Prime Time Cafe, so back to DHS we went.  We got to the park right as they were opening and headed for Toy Story Midway Mania.  The wait was already at 40 minutes, so we got fastpasses instead.

WDW TR-216

Then we went clear across the park so I could experience the awesome Star Tours building.  I’m so jealous of that area in comparison to what we have for Star Tours in Disneyland.  Moms doesn’t ride Star Tours, so I rode it, still yet to be the Rebel Spy.  When I entered the store after the ride, I went straight for the Droid Factory area.  I have a good sized Star Wars collection, and have been wanting to make my own droids since we started planning this trip.  Moms found me in line as the kids in front were finishing up.  I was planning on making three droids – a 2-pack and a single, but Moms thought they were so cute she got in and made one of her own.

WDW TR-217 – Ewok village

WDW TR-218 – AT-AT footprint

WDW TR-219 – Droid Factory setup

WDW TR-220 – riding dirty like my favorite troopers

WDW TR-221 – AT-AT lurking

WDW TR-222 – the entrance

The Muppetvision 3D show was the next place we decided to go.  I’ve seen it before in California Adventure and think it’s okay, but Moms really liked it.  After the Muppets zany antics, we went on The Great Movie Ride.  I liked it, I thought it was neat with the cast members interaction preventing it from being just static scenes; Moms loved it.

WDW TR-223 – Great Movie Ride

WDW TR-224 WDW TR-225

We headed to  50’s Prime Time for our ADR.  I wanted to eat there because it looked like a fun place when I was planning, Moms didn’t care too much back then.  She loves stuff from the 50’s, so when we walked in and she saw the atmosphere she was ecstatic.  We hadn’t even eaten yet, but she already declared it a winner.  I had the sampler plate with fried chicken, pot roast, & meatloaf, while Moms just had the meatloaf.  We both enjoyed our food, between that and the atmosphere I could see us eating here again if we make it back to Disney World.

WDW TR-226 – 50’s Prime Time

WDW TR-227 WDW TR-228    WDW TR-232 WDW TR-233 – 50’s atmosphere

WDW TR-229 – my sampler plate

WDW TR-230 – Moms meatloaf

WDW TR-231 – me & Moms enjoying our food

WDW TR-234

Moms loves the Aladdin show in California Adventure, so we went to see the Beauty & the Beast stage show since it was starting soon.  This was also the time of our Toy Story fastpasses, so we ended up skipping that.  The show was okay, Moms thought Disneyland probably has better actors since that’s what everyone is trying to be in Southern California.

WDW TR-235 WDW TR-236

After the show, Moms went back to rest while I rode Tower of Terror (ToT).  I had always been afraid of it, but in planning I kept hearing how much better the Disney World version was.  So last August when we were at Disneyland, I rode that ToT for the first time.  I wasn’t in love with it, but I knew I could do it.  The Disney World version seems more complete (especially when the elevator car goes through the 5th dimension).  I still didn’t love it, but at least now I’m ready for Japan’s version.

WDW TR-238 WDW TR-237  – the outside

WDW TR-239 – inside looks like the one in California Adventure

I wanted to check out the One Man’s Dream exhibit before I left the park.  I enjoyed seeing all Walt’s stuff and thought it was a great tribute to the man.

WDW TR-240 WDW TR-241 WDW TR-242

WDW TR-243 – someday I’ll visit you in person

I left after that to join Moms for a quick break.

WDW TR-244 WDW TR-245 WDW TR-247

WDW TR-248 – there’s our room

Moms wanted to check out the Christmas store at Magic Kingdom, so after we got some rest we headed back that evening.

WDW TR-249 WDW TR-250 WDW TR-251 WDW TR-252 WDW TR-253 – great sunset as we were heading to Magic Kingdom

The Christmas tree was up for the first time this trip since it hadn’t been put up yet for the filming of the Christmas parade.

WDW TR-254 WDW TR-255 WDW TR-256

WDW TR-257 – you know I had to get another castle shot

WDW TR-258 – back down Main Street

Wishes was about to start, so I got a spot to get some photos while Moms did some shopping.

WDW TR-259 WDW TR-260 WDW TR-261 WDW TR-262

After the fireworks we met back up and made our way to Tomorrowland for a burger at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe.  We enjoyed the toppings bar and really making the burgers to our liking.  Either that or we were really hungry.

WDW TR-263 – hadn’t seen the castle from this spot yet

WDW TR-264 – ladies and gentlemen, the incomparable Sonny Eclipse

WDW TR-265 – our Cosmic Ray’s burgers

WDW TR-266 – another new vantage point

With full stomachs a thrilling ride didn’t sound to thrilling so the Peoplemover was calling.  After another fun ride, the park was already closing, so we made our way back to the Poly.

WDW TR-267 – from the Peoplemover

WDW TR-268 WDW TR-269

WDW TR-270

WDW TR-271 – the Poly was playing the Emperor’s New Groove on the beach when we got back

Tomorrow we’d be breaking our “tradition” as we had an ADR for Le Cellier.

Link to Day 1

Link to Day 5


Walt Disney World 2012 Trip Day 3 – Tuesday 12/04/12: Turn Up the Lights

Day 3 begin as day 2 ended, with me getting off the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  I was starting to get tired, so I pulled my tripod out and took some photos as I made my way to the exit for some much needed sleep.

WDW TR-111 – probably my favorite shot of the castle from the trip

WDW TR-112 – Main Street train station

WDW TR-113 – nutcracker

WDW TR-114 – Magic Kingdom entrance

After another night’s sleep interrupted by coughing, we awoke the next morning ready to head to Magic Kingdom.  Only one slight snafu.  Moms travels with one of those small luggage locks and being a male I was done and ready much sooner than she was.  For some reason I was playing around with the lock and unknowingly accidentally reset the combination.  Then I stuck it on the luggage and couldn’t get it open.  Moms called the front desk for help, while I searched online for a locksmith.  Luckily the maintenance guy came in a few minutes and was able to break it open easily.  Now I had to go find a new lock and fortunately, the Poly’s gift shop had some.  Crisis averted, we finally made our way to the Poly’s boat launch.

WDW TR-115 – Polynesian from the boat

WDW TR-116 – Contemporary Hotel from the boat

WDW TR-117 – first sighting of the Avengers Monorail (Avengorail)

WDW TR-118 – Main Street Theater

WDW TR-119 – Castle from Main Street

As we were making our way down Main Street a parade was just starting out.  We saw that for a bit and Moms interacted with some of the streetmosphere characters that were around.  Then we made our way to Casey’s Corner during a break in the parade.  The menu item of choice was their BBQ Slaw Dog for both of us.  Very good and very messy.

WDW TR-120 WDW TR-121 – parade

WDW TR-122 – Moms with the Fire Chief

WDW TR-123 – BBQ Slaw dog

Adventureland was to be our next port of call.  Moms wanted to ride Pirates.  She’s not big into drops so she liked that this version only had one drop.

WDW TR-124 – Castle from near Casey’s

WDW TR-125 – the hub area

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WDW TR-127 – Adventureland detail

WDW TR-128 – the spitting camel almost got us

WDW TR-129 WDW TR-130 – Pirates queue in the daytime

After a quick browse through the gift shop, I wanted to check out Disney World’s version of Splash Mountain.  When I got there, it was down, so I hopped on Big Thunder Mountain which had a short wait.

WDW TR-131 WDW TR-132 WDW TR-133 – BTMRR

After another thrilling ride, there was a small line forming for Splash so I got in that line and a few minutes later, they reopened the ride.  It’s very weird to me to sit next to someone while riding Splash.  This version of the ride has more of a coherent story than the Disneyland one.  I know Disney World fans on the internet use Splash as their main point of why Disney World is falling apart, but I didn’t notice any major problems.  Sure we were stopped just before and after the drop, but all the animatronics seemed to be working to me and the music and sound effects all seemed in working order.  After reading the internets doom & gloom I was expecting Brer Rabbit’s eyes to be falling out, or even just a bunch of static figures standing there.  To me it was all good.  I enjoyed my trip to the laughing place.

WDW TR-134 WDW TR-135 WDW TR-136

After Splash we hopped on the train and rode to the New Fantasyland station.  We didn’t ride anything, just spent some time shopping and getting snacks before going to Tomorrowland with one goal in mind.  The Peoplemover.

WDW TR-137 – ornaments in New Fantasyland store

WDW TR-138 – New Fantasyland cast members hanging out

The Peoplemover was down though.  Since it was right next door, we got on Carousel of Progress.  Moms loved it and I liked it a lot as well.  Stitch was walking by after we exited and was just starting a line.  I like characters that have no wait, so I stopped for a quick picture.

WDW TR-139 – Space Mountain

WDW TR-140 – Tomorrowland’s metal trees

WDW TR-141 – It’s a great big beautiful tomorrow

WDW TR-142 – chillin with Stitch

The Peoplemover was back up and running so Moms got her first taste of that ride since it closed at Disneyland.  This ended up being her favorite ride in Disney World.

WDW TR-143 – Peoplemover vehicles

WDW TR-144 – on the tracks

WDW TR-145 WDW TR-146 – views from the Peoplemover

After Mom’s best ride ever, we started to make our way out for a break.  Moms stopped in the Emporium briefly and I visited the Fire Station for a pack of Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom cards.  The Celebrate a Dream Come True parade started and ended up separating us on each side of the street until it was over.

WDW TR-147 WDW TR-148 – similar shots from the Rose Garden

WDW TR-149 – Tomorrowland entrance

WDW TR-151 WDW TR-152 – more castle shots

WDW TR-153 WDW TR-154 WDW TR-155 WDW TR-156 – parade floats

Moms was tired and wanted to go back to the room for a rest, I on the other hand was still good to go and opted to get off the boat at the Grand Floridian to check out the giant gingerbread house.  The Grand Floridian seems way too fancy a place for me, but the gingerbread house and their Christmas tree in the lobby were both very impressive.  When I was done looking at all that sweetness I walked back to the Poly and stopped into Capt. Cook’s for a quick snack.  After seeing that gingerbread house, I just had to stop and get a gingerbread cupcake.  It was okay, the cake wasn’t moist enough for my liking.

WDW TR-157 – Grand Floridian from the boat

WDW TR-158 – view of the Contemporary from the Grand Floridian boat dock

WDW TR-159 – me looking pensive at the Grand Floridian

WDW TR-160 – grounds of the Grand Floridian

WDW TR-161 – 16 foot tall gingerbread house

WDW TR-163 – detail on the gingerbread house

WDW TR-162 – giant Christmas tree in the lobby

WDW TR-164 – view of the Poly from the walkway

WDW TR-165 – gingerbread cupcake

Our bodies slightly rested, we headed to the bust stop to catch a bus to Hollywood Studios.  With the tentative itinerary I had in my head based off of where our ADRs were at, I figured tonight was our only chance to see the Osborne lights.  I don’t know if it’s because we have the most pictures from our previous trip here and at Epcot’s World Showcase, but those are the two areas I remember most from that trip.

WDW TR-166 – I like these Coke machine inserts

WDW TR-167 – DHS’ Christmas tree

WDW TR-168 – as a Disneyland/California Adventure regular, this looks familiar

We were hungry so food was the main thing on our minds at this point.  Tomorrow we had an ADR for 50’s PrimeTime, so we figured we’d see if Hollywood & Vine had some seating.  They did.  The food was your standard cafeteria buffet.  Nothing earth-shattering, but it hit the spot.

WDW TR-169 WDW TR-170 WDW TR-171  – the first things you see when you enter Hollywood Studios

WDW TR-172 – Moms loved this window display

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WDW TR-174 – our restaurant for the evening

WDW TR-175 – that’s my restaurant alias

WDW TR-176 WDW TR-177 – my 1st plate and Moms’ plate

Knowing we’d be back the next day, we weren’t too concerned about seeing things.  Our goal was the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights so we made our way there.  Spectacle is absolutely the correct word for it.  One of the highlights of the trip for me and possibly Moms favorite part.  Rather than me continuing to gush about how great it was, I’m just going to post a bunch of photos and let them speak for themselves.

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The park closed at 8 that night, but we stayed around until at least 8:30 just in awe of the whole thing.  I absolutely loved it.  I had pulled my tripod out as the crowds started to thin, and I kept it out as we made our way to the exit with me stopping to take photos along the way.

WDW TR-197 – the infamous Sorcerer’s Hat

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WDW TR-199 – Hotel of Terror

WDW TR-200 – one of the many old cars on display

WDW TR-201 – view from the entrance

We bussed back to the Poly, tired, and with me hoping to get a full night’s sleep.


Link to Day 1

Link to Day 4

Walt Disney World 2012 Trip Day 2 – Monday 12/03/12: Shark Food

My cough kept me up part of the night and we woke up later than I would’ve liked.  Epcot was the plan today because on our last trip in ’89, we ate at Coral Reef.  I was never a big seafood person, but I learned I like shrimp there.  For this trip when we were making plans and thinking about making advanced dining reservations (ADR) Coral Reef was one we wanted to eat at for nostalgic reasons mainly.  So back on the Monorail we went.

WDW TR-43 – our building at the Poly

WDW TR-44 WDW TR-45 – views from the Monorail

WDW TR-46 WDW TR-47 – at the entrance to Epcot

We knew we had our lunch ADR at Coral Reef fairly soon, but hadn’t eaten breakfast so we made our way to The Land for a small snack at Sunshine Seasons, just so we wouldn’t be completely starving until lunch.  Soaring already had a 40 minute wait and we ride that pretty regularly at Disneyland so neither of us wanted to wait that long to ride.  Living with the Land had a wait of about 25 minutes so we decided to wait on that for now as well.

WDW TR-48 WDW TR-49 – outside and inside of the Land pavilion

I knew Epcot was a big park, so I didn’t want to go too far away from the restaurant and have to walk all the way back, so we made our way to The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion.  The Nemo ride said it had a 10 minute wait.  Which I learned at Disney World just means it will take you 10 minutes to walk through the queue and make your way to the ride.  The queue was very neat though, so it wasn’t a total waste.  The ride was okay.  After we found Nemo we headed over to Coral Reef to check in even though we were about a half hour early.  They ended up seating us after about a 10 minute wait and while we weren’t seated right next to the aquarium, we were the second closest tables to it.  So we had a good view during our lunch.  Not being a seafood eater really, I ordered the New York Strip and Moms ordered the Coral Reef Lobster Orecchiette Pasta, think of it as an adult mac and cheese with lobster.  Both of us really liked what we ordered.  Mom’s birthday, so after our food they brought at a Chocolate Wave for her.  If I remember correctly, it was a chocolate lava cake served with a scoop of raspberry gelato.  The combination of the two was fantastic.  It was a really great lunch and the action in the aquarium made it even better.

WDW TR-50 WDW TR-51 – outside and inside the Coral Reef Restaurant

WDW TR-52 – my New York strip steak

WDW TR-53 – Moms Lobster pasta dish

WDW TR-54 – the Chocolate Wave (everything on the plate was edible)

At this point Moms decided to take a break and go back to the room.  I had overheard some talk about Test Track 2.0 being open for a soft opening and wanted to check that out.  The night before when we left Epcot, the Monorail was closed and they sent us to the bus stop to take a bus back.  Moms being on her own to leave went back to the bus stop because that was the way she knew how to leave, and I told her she could do that rather than explain to her to take the Monorail back to the TTC and then transfer to the resort line.  The thing I never really thought about in planning the trip was since we were staying at a Monorail hotel, we couldn’t use the buses to get to and from those parks serviced by the Monorail.  Since we used the bus last night, I thought we could.  Moms couldn’t.  They told her the buses from Epcot only go to Magic Kingdom hotels if the Monorail is down.  Eventually she got back to the room, with a little more of an adventure than she planned for.  Test Track wasn’t around during our previous trip, so it was one of the rides I was looking forward to.  The stand-by wait was 40 minutes, so I got in the single rider line.  Test Track has you in a car to go through the various tests they perform on cars.  Handling, safety, performance are all tested.  In this new version you are given a RFID card when you enter the line and in line there are computers you use to create your own car.  I found out later that the single rider/fastpass lines only get to choose a couple of different presets in the design phase.  You tap the RFID card to the computer to store it on there and then right before you hop on the ride you tap it again to tie you into that vehicle.  As the ride goes through the various tests you see how your car was scored along with the other people in your vehicle.  I liked that aspect of the ride, but found most of the testing part, aside from the high-speed run, pretty lackluster.  Being sponsored by Chevrolet, when you exit there’s a host of new Chevy vehicles for you to look at and get your picture taken with.  I understand Radiator Springs Racers (RSR) in California Adventure uses a similar ride mechanic and vehicle, and I love that.  I think the non-thrill ride part of Test Track wasn’t as good as RSR, but it was still fun.

WDW TR-55 – entrance to Test Track

Upon exiting I thought I’d get my astronaut on.  Mission: Space was another ride that wasn’t here on our last trip.  I wasn’t sure if I could handle the more thrilling orange side, so I opted for the shorter lined green side.  On the ride there are four stations and each person is given a “task” to do to successfully complete the mission.  You don’t really have to do anything though.  I ended up in a capsule by myself so I was trying to do all the jobs.  It was fun.  I definitely enjoyed my mission to Mars.

WDW TR-56 – blasting off to Mars

I walked around a bit taking photos and then left (via the Monorail) to join Moms at the hotel.

WDW TR-57 – a general shot of how much space there is

WDW TR-58 – one of the many flower beds

WDW TR-59 – Ellen’s Universe of Energy

WDW TR-60 – fountain in Future World

WDW TR-61 – Christmas tree and dome

WDW TR-62 – World Showcase panorama

WDW TR-63 WDW TR-64 WDW TR-65 WDW TR-66 – countries of the World Showcase

WDW TR-67 -small Christmas tree

WDW TR-68 WDW TR-69 – the dome close-ups

WDW TR-70 – Stitch topiary

WDW TR-71 – Magic Kingdom from the TTC

WDW TR-72 – design on one of the buildings at the Poly

After a couple hours break, we went down to the boat dock to catch a boat to Magic Kingdom.  I thought the Monorail to Epcot was great, but the boats from the MK area hotels to the park is even better.  We were both pretty hungry so the first order of business was finding food.

WDW TR-73 – the entrance

WDW TR-74 WDW TR-75 – some shots of Main Street

WDW TR-76 WDW TR-77 WDW TR-78 WDW TR-79 WDW TR-80 – Cinderella’s Castle from a variety of viewpoints

That castle though.  Such a beautiful sight, we were distracted slightly from our mission.  As a Disneyland regular, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is great, but I definitely have castle envy now.  Eventually we broke ourselves of the spell the castle put us under and made our way to Columbia Harbour House for dinner.  Moms and I both had the fish and chicken nuggets plate.  The food was okay and did it’s job of satiating our appetites.

WDW TR-81 WDW TR-82 – outside and inside of Columbia Harbour House

WDW TR-83 – chicken and fish plate

After dinner we were right next to the Haunted Mansion, so we got in the interactive queue line and rode that.  The ride itself has some added scenes compared to Disneyland and I enjoyed it a lot.  Moms proclaimed it the “best Haunted Mansion ride ever”.  Haunted Mansion is near Fantasyland so we headed to Moms’ favorite ride, Peter Pan’s Flight.  I didn’t notice any big changes, but Moms said she liked the Disneyland version better.  When we got off Wishes, their nighttime fireworks show, had started.  It was kind of surreal to be behind the castle during the fireworks with them going off all around you.  You don’t get the best view of the show, but it was a great spot to watch from.  I don’t know why I didn’t set up my tripod unfortunately.


Mickey’s Philharmagic was next, mainly because it’s something we don’t have on the left coast and I’ve heard good things about the show.  We both really liked it a lot.

WDW TR-86 WDW TR-87 – in the gift shop upon exiting Philharmagic

I took some more castle photos and then we made our way to New Fantasyland to ride Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.  This is one we both like at California Adventure and the queue in Disney World is amazing.  This was another ride with a 10 minute wait, that really meant it will take you 10 minutes to get to the front.

WDW TR-88 – sword in the stonel, castle in the background

WDW TR-89 – Prince Charming Regal Carousel

WDW TR-90 WDW TR-91 – exterior of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

After our second undersea adventure of the day, Moms had enough and decided to leave.  Today was the only day during our trip Magic Kingdom would be open past 7, plus there were Extra Magic Hours until 2 if I remember correctly.  I took some more photos of the castle before making my way to Tomorrowland.


WDW TR-93 – Cinderella fountain


Disneyland’s Tomorrowland is an area I feel needs a huge refurbishment of the entire land.  Disney World’s Tomorrowland gets huge points for not having a wasted Peoplemover track running through the middle of it, plus it feels more cohesive to me.  Space Mountain was my first stop.  Not having the Space Mountain dome on top of another building makes it seem so much more impressive in size.  It was pretty interesting to see the video games you could play while waiting in line.  I knew the ride vehicles were single-file compared to Disneyland’s side-by-side vehicles, but it felt more cramped to me.  Maybe it was because my foot got caught by my backpack when I sat down and I was in a semi-uncomfortable position the whole time.  I prefer the Disneyland version.  This one reminded me of Goofy’s Sky School at California Adventure, plus the lack of a soundtrack during the ride makes it less exciting to me.

WDW TR-101 – Space Mountain dome

WDW TR-95 – video games in Space Mountain queue

WDW TR-96 WDW TR-97 – scenes as you exit the ride

To whom it may concern at Disneyland,

Bring back the Peoplemover!



The Tomorrowland Transit Authority, aka Peoplemover, was next on my list.  It’s great.  It’s neat that you can catch a glimpse into a couple of rides and see them from a different perspective, but it’s also a nice relaxing place to sit and get off your feet.

WDW TR-100

WDW TR-98 – Peoplemover vehicle

WDW TR-99 – view of the castle from the Peoplemover

WDW TR-102 – another castle shot, this time with the funky metal trees in Tomorrowland

I was starting to get tired, but figured I had enough energy to hit some rides in Adventureland before I left.  Of course I took more photos of the castle on my way.  Castle envy is serious and I have an appointment with a doctor next week for treatment.

WDW TR-103

WDW TR-104 – me with my Disneyland Glow-with-the-Show ears on

I enjoy the Jungle Cruise when you have a good skipper.  The corny jokes are right up my alley.  This ride had a very good skipper.  There’s some added scenes compared to the Disneyland version, and I liked it a lot as well.  I thought I would constantly be lost and feel that nothing was where it was supposed to be in Magic Kingdom before we left.  That didn’t end up happening, except when trying to make my way to Frontierland to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (BTMRR).  I got a little lost trying to get out of the Agrabah themed Adventureland.  Eventually I found my way and was able to ride BTMRR with only a 10 minute wait.  Despite hating this ride in ’89, it’s become my favorite ride at Disneyland.  This version was very good as well.  I especially enjoyed the view of the castle during some of the lifts.

WDW TR-105 – Big Thunder Mountain

After riding a runaway mine cart I started to make my way to the exit.  I was passing by Pirates of the Caribbean and since there was no wait, I went in.  This is another ride at Disney World with a fantastic exterior and queue.  The ride itself is shorter than the Disneyland version, because it doesn’t have the opening scene and drop, but the rest is pretty similar.  You also exit before the final lift and take a moving escalator up and directly into the gift shop.

WDW TR-109 – exterior of Pirates

WDW TR-106 – entrance of Pirates

WDW TR-107 WDW TR-108 – some of the queue

By the time I got off, it was past midnight.  Though my day in the park was still going on, it’s technically the end of day 2, so I must end for now.  Tomorrow, a pattern starts to emerge, plus I make a mistake that puts us behind again in the morning.



Link to Day 1

Link to Day 3