Two for the Road 9/27 - 10/9 2003
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Just a quick overview, DH and I have been to WDW 3 times prior to ...
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Just a quick overview, DH and I have been to WDW 3 times prior to this trip. The first was in May 1987 with his sister and her husband (this was prior to they having children and, for whatever reason we did not include our son or daughter in that trip. In retrospect we both feel badly for not have including them but it was during the school year and we did not want them to miss any school (one was in Jr. College the other in HS)). It was many years before we got “back home” and our next trip was in March 2000 during spring break. We then traveled with our DS1, DDinlaw, DGS, DSinlaw, DBinlaw, DNiece and Dnephew, AND DS2 and her fiance. SO MUCH had changed in 13 years!!!! The crowds were tremendous and driving from IL to FL during that time of the year was horrible. However, we had a great time and that just made it more important to get back. So, the third trip was last November 2002 during Thanksgiving.
Now on to the current trip report #4:
DH and I left home early on Saturday 9/27 with a destination of Marietta GA the first night, at my brother’s house. Our departure time was 5:10 am CDT. We stopped in Mt. Vernon IL for a quick breakfast at MickyD’s. Lunch was around noon at a Cracker Barrel in Murfreesboro TN. We arrived about 6 pm EDT in Marietta. Spent the evening with family and we hit the sack early, with the hopes of getting a good nights sleep and an early departure. As with the evening before (and several nights before that) sleep was elusive. The excitement of getting to WDW was tremendous and I did not get much sleep at all.
We did manage to get on the road early (about 6:30 am) and stopped for a quick bite about 7:45 and back on the road again. We had to, of course, stop at the FL Welcome Center for an orange and grapefruit juice pick me up at about 10 am. Lunch was snacks in the car, no time to stop now! Arriving in Orlando was a blur. Someday I want to explore more of the area, but not this time.
We had researched the moderate resorts. We had stayed at CSR last November and really liked it, but wanted to try something else. Unfortunately the deluxe resorts are not in our budget, but when you spend most of your time in the parks anywhere I put my head at night works! We selected Port Orleans Riverside. It was WONDERFUL!! We arrived about 2:10 and had about a 15-minute wait to check in. Alice, our reservations/check in CM was absolutely perfect. While we were in line we observed Alice assist another couple. They seemed to have some “issues and attitude problems”. When we stepped up to the counter Alice was taking a deep breath, but she greeted us with a smile and said to us that we looked like we were ready for a magical vacation. After having to deal with the previous couple that was very insistent on where they stayed I hoped that our preferences had arrived and that we could find the “perfect” room. Alice helped us find a second floor/corner/river view/non-smoking room in Building 27 of Alligator Bayou. Although she preferred the Mansion rooms we had our hearts set on Alligator Bayou. The room was indeed perfect. I can’t say enough for how much Alice helped us with the formalities of check in. She was great in explaining our package and gave us a lot of information and brochures and never acted like our many questions were a problem. We were her last “check in” for the day and we wished her a quiet and relaxing evening as we went to investigate the resort and our room.
As this has gotten very long I will continue with our Sunday evening adventures at DTD and Fulton’s Crab House and Days 2-9 at WDW and the return trip home as quickly as possible (work is very busy right now).
One comment on the Passporter, without it a complete and thorough report would not be possible.
Before I go on I wanted to say that I will try to get some pictures posted soon also, just need to get them prepared for posting.
Okay, back to the report - - -
Arrival on Sunday mid-afternoon. After checking out POR we did our traditional first night activity and went to DTD. We did not take the boat from the resort to DTD and never did get to ride. The fact that the boat was available was one of the reasons why we decided to stay there and then we never used it!
We had 7pm PS at Fulton’s Crab House so we wandered through the shops and took in the scenery for several hours. We decided to go to Fulton’s early and we were seated immediately. Our waiter was Kevin and he was excellent. We told him that we were using our magic wishes from the Silver package upgrade and he made several wonderful suggestions on how we could get the most of our money. As a result we had the most fabulous meal of crab cakes, shrimp cocktail (for appetizers), steak and shrimp, king crab claws (for entrée), and two extraordinary desserts. By the time we were done the bill came to $172.69! Without the “magical wishes” package we would have been eating hot-dogs somewhere. It was amazing.
After dinner we walked around Pleasure Island for awhile ending up at our very favorite place, The Adventurer’s Club. We were able to attend two major shows in the Library and one show in the Trophy Room. If you have never gone to this attraction you must try it sometime. After the second main show in the Library I decided to check out the upper level. I read somewhere that things were sometimes left for people to find. Well, after looking around I checked out the desk. Inside the desk I found a letter sent by the club’s “President” to a club member! It was hand written in turn of the century script and had period postage stamps on it. All the while I was looking around the club’s butler went by a few times but never stopped me investigating. Once I found the letter he suggested that I go downstairs as “There is no more to be found today”. I had my picture taken with him before we left, will try and post soon.
We spent a little more time walking around DTD and then back to POR. I spent some time updating my Passporter and then arranged for Mickey to wake us early the next day.
Day 2, MGM, Taking the boat from MGM to EPCOT, Enjoying the pool at POR up next!
Mickey awoke us with a happy greeting at 7:02 AM. We had stopped for some milk and juice the night before at the Cotton Mill (also got my refillable cup) and kept them in our cooler overnight so breakfast was in our room that day. After eating we headed to the bus stop to travel to the Studios. We arrived before the rope drop. I know the majority of people will head for ROR Coaster, Star Tours, or TOT but they are not for us! Instead we did the GMR, Little Mermaid, and One Man’s Dream during the morning.
Oh, and one of the first things I bought was my Pal Mickey. I really liked having the little guy with us each day. He took us to places that perhaps we wouldn’t have gone and told us things we didn’t know. His jokes can be a bit corny, but that’s what makes him so any age friendly. Little kids love the jokes, older kids like the games they can play when standing in line, and as an adult I liked the info he provided about the attractions or reminding me when a parade or special attraction would be starting.
11:30 PS for Sci-Fi Café. Had a wonderful meal in the “backseat” (You know the drivers were suppose to pick up our tab and they left without paying for us LOL). Also purchased the glow in the dark cups with glowing “ice” cubes (one red, one green). The steak sandwich was very good, as was the corn chowder.
The afternoon was spent at B&B (4 for a dollar were not there that day ) and Stars and Motor Cars parade. On our last trip (last November) we were at a horrible location and couldn’t see the parade very well. It was my goal to be able to see it and get some good pictures this time. Not only did we do that this day, but we managed to see this parade again later in the week.
Before I go on I should talk about the weather. When we arrived on Sunday it was very humid and HOT (90’s). The evening was better, mostly because the sun had set! Monday at the Studios it was overcast and a bit less humid which made it much more tolerable.
During the afternoon we also caught some of the street shows. One of them was a spelling bee among 5 CMs and one young lady from the crowd. Of course the young lady (she was maybe 10) won the spelling bee, much to the annoyance of several of the CM! Ha, Ha.
Dinner was a 5:30 PS at the 50’s Prime Time Café. I really liked the décor but the food and the server was not as good as I anticipated. Not that the food was bad, but the server really wasn’t in character. The trout dip was interesting and they did have a sugar free chocolate shake, which my husband appreciated.
We decided to take the boat from the studios to EPCOT. This took us through the Boardwalk and docked at the International entrance of the World Showcase. The trip was great and I loved how the Boardwalk looked with all the lights at night.
We walked through WS for awhile and then decided to get a bus to DTD to pick up something we had ordered the night before, however, we were told we would have to take a bus back to POR and then get a bus to DTD. So, we decided to just go back to POR and try out the pool before heading for bed. Waiting for the bus to take us back to POR was an exercise in frustration! We waited 45 minutes for the bus to come. And it wasn’t just our bus, but almost everyone’s bus. Buses would arrive in the parking lot, park, the driver would get out and leave the bus. Then it appeared that another shift of drivers arrived and buses started moving like crazy. Once we got back to POR we quickly changed into our suits and headed to the pool. I think we got there about 10:00pm. After swimming for awhile we headed to the spa. I was then ready to head to bed. Spent a few minutes, as the night before, updating my Passporter before turning off the lights.
Dreams of Mickey’s wake up call and the Magic Kingdom put me right to sleep.
Great trip report Barb! I'm another fan of Pal Mickey - I got a big kick out of all the trivia he spouts off at the drop of a hat. We're not big fans of Tower of Terror or Rock'n'Roller Coaster so our day at MGM looked a lot like your day at MGM. More please!
Tuesday we were again awoken by Mickey’s happy greeting, this time at 6:27 am. We had milk, juice, fruit and cereal for breakfast in our room again today. We needed to be at MK by 8:15 for the KttK tour so we took our car to the TC and monorailed to MK. Lots of little Princesses on board for breakfast with Cindy! We got there in plenty of time. We went directly to City Hall and were directed to the small garden just outside the building where CMs checked us in and told us we had a few minutes before the tour began. We were offered something to drink and told we could wander around Main Street until the tour was ready to begin. It was so amazing to be there with so few people around. We got a few really good pictures before the tour began.
The tour consisted of DH, myself, the CM (Robin), and 9 others. A small enough group for some good conversation and interaction. The best part was Robin! She knew her Disney upside down and backwards. In fact, she led us around by walking backwards so that we could all hear her. She asked us to keep her informed of any obstacles in her way but for the most part she had the park memorized and never got close to anything that she could walk into. However, many of the CMs and security guards around the park took great pleasure in trying to sneak up on Robin. It was clear that she was well know and well liked by all. I won’t tell details about the tour other than to say we had a separate boat on the Jungle Cruise and were given lots of inside info on the Haunted Mansion. Lunch was at the Columbia Harbor House, our “hosts” were Lowell and Holly. I’d never knew of this place before, it’s a bit off the beaten track. Since the lunch break is so short the food is not elaborate, but enough to take the edge off of our hunger before we finished the tour. If you have never done any of the tours available at WDW I strongly encourage you to try one sometime!
After the tour we found out that Mickey’s Philharmagic was officially open! We immediately went to check out the wait. We walked right in! It was great. A must see for everyone. We ended up seeing this twice this day and 3-4 times total during our stay. I bought some “first day” pins and other things at the shop immediately outside the theater.
That afternoon we also saw the “Sword in the Stone” show, rode on SWSA, IASW, PPF, PotC, and went to the HOP (hadn’t done that since our first trip in 1987) and Goofy’s Country Dancin’ Jamboree. Wanted to do WOP but the line was too long and we didn’t want to do a FastPass. We would have liked longer hours of operation today to get it all in, but there would be another day.
We had not made any PS for this day but we decided to try Tony’s for dinner. We had no problem getting a table at 6 pm. We enjoyed a wonderful meal, the best of which was dessert, Baba Al Rhum and Tiramisu.
After dinner we headed over to DTD to pick up something we had ordered on Sunday night to go along with our costumes for the MNSSHP we were to attend on 10/5. We walked around DTD for a bit then headed back to POR for a bit of Disney TV before calling it a night.