Suprise Mom's Day Weekend Trip for the Lloyds - May 7-10 - COMPLETE with more pics
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Suprise Mom\'s Day Weekend Trip for the Lloyds - May 7-10 - COMPLETE with more pics
This is my first trip report, but not my first trip to Disney! Actually, this was my 6th trip to WDW (1st as child, 2nd for honeymoon in 1990, 3rd, 4th & 5th in 2002-2003 for first annual pass “year of Disney” and this trip.
My husband is “in the biz” and makes amusement park rides. He always has to go to a trade show in November (over my birthday), and usually in February (misses Valentine’s Day) and then had to go to a trade show for Mother’s Day weekend this year. He felt sooooo bad about this that he didn’t complain when I announced a desire to whisk our son to Florida for the weekend (knowing, of course, that we intend to join him in Orlando for his November show this year!!)
Me (Eileen), 37, complete Disneyphile
DS (Calder, also called CJ), 8, all-around-great-kid and Disney World addict.
We like to fly on AirTran because their website always beats Travelocity, Orbits, Expedia, etc. and shows you so many more possible flights for the time you want to travel if you can be flexible. When I first became obsessed with the idea of going for Mother’s Day (about two weeks before), the flights were as cheap as $79 one way. Since we each had free one-way vouchers for AirTran, we were hoping for an excellent rate. Unfortunately, our plans kept getting delayed due to a slow-moving interview process I’m going through. (I'm trying to get a new job to feed my Disney habit!!)
[EDIT: I did finally get that job, two days after we returned -- now we're thinking of going to Disney again in March '05)
Finally, on Wednesday night (the 5th), my wonderful father said he wanted me to go anyway and would lend me the money until a job came through. I know, my friends are always wanting him to adopt them.
So, with no time to spare, I grabbed flights (couldn’t use the vouchers, but will use them in Nov) for about $500 – zoiks!!. Called CRO and found there were no AP rates left for ASMovies (Calder’s preferred hotel), but there were some for Pop Century. CJ and I were game for it and we booked it. We also paid for AP vouchers to be picked up at a Will-Call window. I tried to make a few PSs, but, what with Mother’s Day and all, things were pretty tight. Nothing available all weekend for Chef Mickey’s, our favorite. Booked lunch on Friday, our arrival day, at the Garden Grille – a place we had always seen, but never tried. Contemplated ‘Ohanna, since Chip and Dale are there and they have a special place in Calder’s heart. Finally, decided to just wing it and see what happened once we got there. (Money was tight too and Character Meals are a bonus for us, not a must.)
Made on-line ressies with Tiffany’s Towncar and started printing out my packing lists and a funny little chart I make for each trip that includes the projected weather, park hours, PS numbers and other reservations for our stay.
Okay! The plans were set, arrangements were made. Time for the doubts to set in.
Could I really leave for WDW with only 36 hours of warning and planning time? Yikes!! Could I get my money back?!
I was so worried whether I could I handle all that walking and riding and kid wrangling all by my lonesome. When my DH, Bob, goes with us, he has amazing energy and goes on all the rides that Calder loves – the ones that turn my hair gray. Could I really do this??!! Primeval Whirl, Goofy’s Barnstormer…… the Teacups!!
After a sleepless Wednesday night, I threw myself into packing and prepping and cleaning the house. Exhausted, I collapsed into bed at 11 o’clock Thursday, knowing we had to be awake at 5:30am Friday to make our flight. To my surprise, I conked out and woke up energized to go. Calder popped right up and jumped into clothes, we tossed our bags in the car, gassed up the Ford, and dashed for the airport. Despite a little hiccup on the 45 min drive to Philadelphia International, when Calder decided he was desperate for the restroom (8 yo bladders, doncha know), we made it to long-term parking in good time. We got to the gate just as they were boarding and went straight down the jetway to our seats. (Love that on-line check-in and at-home printing of boarding passes!)
We got to Orlando a tad early and, because we only brought carry-on luggage, I was excited to think we’d be in the parks soon. We hit a slight snag when our Tiffany’s driver was 5 minutes late. But he was chipper and apologetic and allowed us to make a grocery store stop, even though I had forgotten to request it when I made the reservation. We grabbed bananas, water, boxed milk and OJ, cereal, extra moleskin and a pair of scissors (since I couldn’t pack one in our carry-on). The only thing I forgot was PB&J Uncrustables – the major food group of my skinny little kid. Oh, well, I’d have to pay through the nose for these at the resort.
Off to the hotel.
We got to Pop Century around noon and there were plenty of CMs at the check-in desk and no one in line. They had a woman handing out folders with what I thought would be materials about the hotel, but ended up mostly being about DVC. I’m a little spoiled by how much ASMovies gives you at check in that I later use to make scrapbooks, but there was some stuff that was helpful amid the ads.
Anyway, our room was ready – in the 90s building, by the computer pool. I knew nothing about this resort ahead of time, so room 8260 seemed great. Then I saw how far it was from Classic Hall and the foodcourt. But we trundled on and settled in. Our section had great theming and was nostalgic for me – a big WalkMan, Roger Rabbit, CDs and PacMan. Our room ended up being right on a corner within an easy walk to the buses (although, I admit, I was a bad mom and we always took a shortcut through the parking lot to save shoe leather. I kept saying, “Calder, we shouldn’t be doing it this way. It’s not safe. Don’t tell your father.”)
We had our PSs at the Garden Grille for 1:20, so we headed to Epcot. Went to the Will Call window and picked up our Annual Passes. The CM even took the time to make sure Calder had Mickey on his pass. I got Goofy. I always get Goofy. I want to be Minnie!!! (Whine, whine, whine.)
We walked through Innoventions so CJ could visit with Aibo, his favorite robotic dog. (I’m clueless as to why this dog holds so much fascination for a boy who has two fantastic border collies who think he’s the cat’s meow.) On our way out, we saw the Nemo exhibit in the distance and took the walkway between The Living Seas and The Land to check it out.
We got to the Grille with time to spare, but they seemed to be behind schedule – there were tons of people waiting with “beepers” in their hands. But, sure enough, at exactly 1:20, Calder was startled by the “beeper” going off and we were seated. Oscar brought us drinks and promised to take great care of us. Calder started staring at the interior wall, painted with sunflowers. I looked over and realized that the wall seemed to be turning clockwise and thought, “cool, the kitchen must be moving.” Calder insisted that the restaurant was moving. “No, way” I said. “How can the whole restaurant be moving?!” When Oscar brought us our drinks, Calder asked and promptly did a little celebration dance when Oscar told silly ol’ Mom that the restaurant moves slowly counterclockwise and that we’d end our meal somewhere near Mickey’s farm. Score one for the little guy. The food was delicious. Calder gobbled up the chicken and mac & cheese and I loved the grilled veggies so much that Oscar brought me more, despite the fact that I couldn’t finish all the barbeque and mashed potatoes. Stuffed but happy, we sat in the restaurant to see the whole “experience.” Plus Calder was hoping for extra interaction with the characters. He loves Chip and Dale and even got a pic with both of them. Mickey saw us admiring his farmhouse, and came over to show us how we could see into the bedroom. Great experience for both of us!
So, too full to appreciate Mission:Space immediately, we strolled through the exhibit hall for the Flower & Garden Festival and through the other Innoventions (East, I guess). Calder loves all the displays and is very into learning about anything. We played some video games too and then decided we were feeling good enough to take some G’s.
Mission:Space was awesome – as always. Calder got to be the Commander (his dream job), my eyes crossed during lift-off, and we screamed and yelled and laughed the whole way to Mars and both chanted “Don’t move a muscle” along with Gary Senise. We went to the after-show area and played the big group game and some of the smaller games, sent e-mail pictures to Bob/Daddy and generally enjoyed the atmosphere.
By that time, it was getting quite warm outside and Calder wanted to go back to the pool. A quick stop into Spaceship Earth and a (finally!) successful viewing of the Hidden Mickey by the sleeping monk and headed back to the hotel for time in the pool
My best moment of the day happened when I sat in the pool with my back to the 90s building and watched a gorgeous Florida sunset settle on the horizon between the left and right wings of the two 80s buildings. Calder came over to me for the last minute and we did a 10…9…8…7 countdown that perfectly synced-up with the last piece of orange sun.
We took showers and gobbled the sandwiches we (wisely) purchased at Classic Hall on the way back from the buses earlier. We drank the soda we (unwisely) bought the Pop Century mug for and watched some TV. I tried to read, but my eyes were closing by 9 o’clock. Lights out.
Next: we finally get to see the “park opening” show at Magic Kingdom.
Last edited by Caldercup; 01-30-2007 at 04:33 PM..
Day 2 - Suprise Mom\'s Day Weekend Trip for the Lloyds - May 7-10
Despite having fallen asleep so early the night before, we both slept in until around 7:30am. Even so, this was early for our family at Disney because my husband just will not wake up before 9am while on vacation. Calder and I decided to get up, grab some breakfast in the room and get started being “park commandos.” I debated whether to stop in at the foodcourt and fill up my mug with coffee. Knowing that I’d be lugging the water bottle (without Bob to be our packhorse this trip), I decided to forego my morning java. (A decision that seemed destined to repeat itself each day and make the mug a poor purchase decision in this instance. At ASMovies and POFrenchQtr, we used them like crazy because our rooms were so near the foodcourt. Ah, well…<sigh>.)
We dashed to the buses (through the parking lot again. Bad, bad mommy!) and realized that we could get to MK before the park opened. The bus was already there and we were off.
When we got to the gates, the park opening show was just beginning. Calder had a great view of it all and was so thrilled to see Mickey come off the train. As soon as the streamers and “pixie dust” were thrown, he looked at me and said, “we have to get some of those!” Sure enough, once we got through the turnstiles (after a hiccup caused by my having chosen the ONE line where there weren’t finger scanners for the APs!), we ran over to the CMs who were cleaning up and asked for streamers and pixie dust (actually large, gold foil circles) that we will use in our scrapbooks. It must be a common request because lots of other people came over and took care of “recycling” all the streamers!
We hopped on the train that was still waiting in the station and took it over to Frontierland. As soon as Calder saw Splash Mountain for the first time, he got a very determined look on his face and told me he HAD to do it. There was almost no one in line and we cruised right up to our “log.” I had pulled out a disposable poncho for CJ, who dislikes getting wet – go figure!! We hopped in and I explained all about Song of the South, which he hasn’t seen. He loved all the “bear butts” and the singing frogs and turtles. We both squealed when we saw a fishing float Hidden Mickey. The first drop (the one that happens in the dark) unsettled him for a sec, but he soldiered on – I mean, what else was he gonna do… Get out and swim? We got to the big hill before the big drop and I looked over at him, huddled in his red plastic “poncho bubble”. He seemed okay so I stopped worrying and just enjoyed the thrill of the big drop and the huge spray of water that completely drenched me. As I started wiping out my eyes, I could tell he was a little shaky. He looks at me with a serious look on his face as says….. “Let’s do it again, Mom.” What a trooper!!
At that moment, I had a touching thing happen that had nothing to do with Disney. You see, four years ago, I lost my mom to a sudden illness – she was my best friend and a very loving grandmother to Calder, her first grandchild. There’s a family feeling that, whenever we see a butterfly, we know she’s around us. Well, just as CJ and I were floating back into the building, a beautiful monarch butterfly started fluttering all around our heads. My boy and I looked at each other in surprise and delight and my eyes welled up with tears. She was with us at Disney – a trip she and I had planned to take the year she died. The butterfly stayed with us until our raft went back into the building. (And we saw a monarch butterfly almost everywhere we went – not a ton of them, just a single butterfly that would flutter over us for a minute before flying off. It was very touching and I felt a real connection to my mom on this Mother’s Day weekend.)
Sniff, sniff. I’m a little verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves for a moment.
As we head back to the disembarkation point, there’s no one in line. Calder yells to the cast member, “can we ride it again?” Sure enough he waves us through and, after the two people that had been on the first trip with us get off, we have the raft to ourselves. A little more Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, some stomach-flipping drops and more water to squeegee out of our hair, and we have a blast. We even decided to buy the picture since it was us completely by ourselves – me laughing and Calder screaming from inside the red poncho. (I’ll try and get Bob to scan it at work and attach it in a few days.)
Then it’s back on the train. Calder wanted to go all the way back to the start, but I convinced him to get out at ToonTown so we could dash to Buzz Lightyear before it got too crowded. Little did I know that it was three minutes to 10am and ToonTown was about to open. Chip and Dale go by, waving at us, and Mickey is signing autographs.
There’s something you should know: despite being a cool 8 year-old, Calder loves the characters and has a great “willing suspension of disbelief” (as we used to call it in the theatre!). He talks all the time about growing up to be a CM and hopes to get a job as Mickey – even though I think he’ll be 6 feet tall by the time he’s 15. I mean, he knows there are people (probably women) inside Mickey and Chip and Dale, but he still spins himself up into joy and smiles every time a character comes by, completely convinced he’s meeting his favorite characters. It’s great. I hope he never loses it. (I know I haven’t!! Heck, I still cry every time I see Cinderella’s castle – and for proof, here’s a pic my husband took of me the first time I saw Calder seeing the castle in 2002.)
So, we had to explore Mickey’s house.
And we met Mickey in the judge’s tent – but I was disappointed by the end result. All the theming was fantastic up until we were led into a dry-walled area with Mickey sitting on a bench. It didn’t have any of the magic of Minnie’s pink scrolls and hearts gazebo. Oh, well…
Then it was off to Goofy’s Barnstormer, which I had never done. I loved it! And it made me think Calder could handle Big Thunder Mountain RR. I started planting the seed for that, but he didn’t seem to feel he was ready. We went into one of shops and smelled cotton candy right away. We were thrilled to find new pieces for our Mister Potato Head (Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin car and blaster, Mickey bar, luggage, Mickey feet, etc.) and went up to pay for them – not realizing that this cash register was right in front of the cotton candy machine. Calder stood enraptured by the sugary floss and the CM took notice. She whips up a big ring of the pink fluff and hands it to him. (Yes, it was about 10:30am, but he happily ate it!) I thanked her profusely and she offered to give me some too. I declined – feeling like I should set a better nutritional example for my son.
We headed off to Tomorrowland and Calder saw the TTA – one of his favorites. We hopped on and looped around through all the cool rides. It was from the TTA that I realized that Carousel of Progress was spinning. I had never been on this ride because it’s always been closed during our trips. I begged Calder to go with me and he agreed, but only if I got a higher score than him on Buzz Lightyear. (Being that I’m an ace PS2 gamer, I figured it was a sure bet.)
After the TTA, we realized that we were hungry. Calder spotted a hot dog and I saw a turkey leg – something I had never had. They were both yummy, although I kept wishing Bob was with us because the leg was huge and I couldn’t finish it.
On to Buzz Lightyear, where, thanks to a hint from Deb Willis’ site, I knew to hit the back of the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robot’s hand for 100,000 points. Calder was a good sport about losing and we hopped off to check out our picture. CJ was crouched down below his blaster again, so we didn’t buy it.
We went to CoP and waited and waited and waited. It seemed to be having technical difficulties and Calder began to have waiting difficulties. After a little whining and “going boneless” on Calder’s part, the ride began to spin again, and Calder settled down. We got into our seats and I prayed that it wouldn’t break down while we were on it. (I have to admit, I wanted to ride this because so many people write about CoP with great nostalgia. Well…. I’m glad I can say I’ve been on it, but I didn’t love it and I don’t think I’ll ever do it again. “Good,” says Calder.)
We wandered out to the castle and I offered a Mickey bar to my little guy. Surprisingly, he wasn’t interested. (Neither of us have ever had one, so I was determined to try them – Calder was determined to undermine this attempt. God knows why!) He started to get hot and cranky and the park was quickly filling up. Since we knew we were coming back that night (the park was open until 11pm), we decided a good swim -- and maybe a nap for mom -- would be in order. Off to the hotel!
A long swim, sandwiches and, indeed, a nap for mom and we were both feeling great by about 6pm. Back to the park!!
We had a little trouble at the turnstiles and neither of our passes seemed to be working. A CM took them and reissued new ones. Aha!! I got Minnie. Finally!! But Calder got Donald and he was pretty grumpy about it. The CM said we could go to any guest services and they would get him his Mickey again. That perked him up. So, we did the train to Frontierland again – I had managed to get PS for the Liberty Tree Tavern at 7PM – and we walked over to Liberty Square, stopping on the way to shoot some critters at the arcade and grab a pic of my boy in the stocks.
Liberty Tree Tavern was crowded and lots of kids were coloring on pictures the CMs had passed out. Calder was too cool to sit with the other kids, but he took his own sheet to a quiet spot and colored Lilo and Stitch. He also found a piece of Mickey confetti, which he secretly pocketed before I saw him do it. Despite the crowd, we were seated fairly quickly in the George Washington room. We had a great server named Juanita who kept our drinks constantly filled. Once again, Calder did great justice to his mac & cheese and I struggled to finish most of the food they brought for me. Man, I wish Bob was here to finish all this great food with me!
The characters were in rare form at this meal. Just before Minnie arrived, Calder pulled the Mickey confetti from his pocket and stuck it to his forehead. Minnie saw this and made a big fuss. As she was giggling to me about it, Calder put his Mickey face hat back on (it has signatures of Mickey and Minnie on the face). Minnie always mimes that she has confused my boy with her boyfriend and starts making motions of her heart pounding. Calder thinks this is a riot and tips his hat so she can see it’s him and not the Mouse Man himself. Minnie gave him lots of kisses and I got some great pictures. Then Dale came by and was as silly as ever – he kept putting his hand over Calder’s face when I picked up my camera. We finally got him to behave and got another good picture. Then Chip showed up and noticed that Calder was wearing a Disney shirt that we had had characters sign at a meal last October. He made a big fuss over his own name being there and tried to get Dale to notice too. They were both very funny with the kids all over the room. Meeko was next and seemed to take a shine to me. There was a great deal of hugging and kissing that cracked Calder up. I finally got this furry little raccoon to let me snap a picture with Calder. We waited a few minutes and Pluto showed up. Calder loves how Pluto has to sign the book on his nose in order to see. But, once again, Pluto’s nose blocks Calder completely in the picture. Someday, I’ll remember this and move to the side to make sure Calder can be seen.
Sated and still laughing, we stepped out into Liberty Square. Calder wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, but was fascinated by some light-up glasses a vendor was selling. He kept bugging me to buy them, but wisely waited until I had gotten a cell phone call from Bob to really start getting annoying about it. He knows that I’ll hand him money to get him to leave me alone, which, of course, I did. Then I realized that we had a great spot to watch SpectroMagic – another never done for me!! – so I sat down to wait and started calling my brother and sister to make them jealous. (“Guess where I am,” I said…..What a stinker this little sister is!!) Well, Calder decided – one minute after having put on the light-up glasses – that they didn’t let him see far into the distance, like he thought they would. So, he wanted to exchange them. “Yeah, right,” I thought and told him so. He was determined, so he walked over to the vendor and, to my surprise and his delight, he came back with a light saber-like thing and a handful of change. Disney World never ceases to amaze me – I never imagined that they would exchange it for him, but they did, without complaint.
SpectroMagic was fantastic – I have to make Bob come see this. Chip and Dale on the mirrored piano was a big hit with Calder. I loved the peacock and the spinning fish.
Off to Mickey’s Philharmagic. This show always completely captures my imagination. This time, I noticed that I smelled foods in addition to the apple pie. Calder and I both were reaching for the gems in Ariel’s grotto and oohing over the magic carpet ride. When it was over, we stepped out of the theatre to be greeted by Wishes lighting up the sky overhead. We stood there in awe and kept looking from the big pom-poms in the sky to our left and then to the bright (and loud) roman candles being set off from the building to our right. We even felt some of the residue of the fireworks settling into our hair. It wasn’t the best place to view Wishes and, had we planned better, we would’ve been out where we could see the castle. But it was still one of the best shows I’ve seen since the New Year’s Eve show at Epcot in 1990. I can’t wait until November to catch a better view.
At this point, the crowds started thinning and I thought we could get on a few rides. But, I could tell Calder was starting to flag and I figured we might as well join the mass exodus from the park. We went through the castle and I touched the glass slipper on the Cinderella mural. As we walked down the ramp from the castle, I noticed a whole slew of abandoned strollers. I told Calder to hop into one of the doubles and I slowly walked us out of the park while he closed his eyes for a rest. It took almost a half hour, but that was enough rest for CJ to buck-up for the walk to the bus. To my horror, I saw that the “corral” for Pop Century was actually two corrals linked together and it was mobbed. They kept trying to bring in buses, but there were a fair number of handicap guests waiting to board and the loading was very slow. There were three buses in a row at times and still the line didn’t seem to diminish. I gave up and had Calder curl up on a bench with me until the line went down to one corral. Then we got in line and, within three buses, we had a seat for the packed ride back to the hotel. Calder and I both wished that Bob was there – Calder because he wanted to be carried to the room and me because I wanted to have my feet rubbed! Ah well…
We crashed into our beds and zonked out before I had a chance to set the alarm.
Next: Mother’s Day – the slow and easy way.
Last edited by Caldercup; 01-30-2007 at 04:33 PM..
Day 3 - Suprise Mom\'s Day Weekend Trip for the Lloyds - May 7-10
Day Three – Mother’s Day
We were both wiped out after the long day at MK, so despite our plans to go to MGM at opening, we both slept until 9AM. We watched cartoons in bed and finally got up and went to the foodcourt for breakfast. I was in the mood for pancakes, but decided the cinnamon bun looked too delicious to ignore. Once again, I forgot the mug and had to buy my coffee. We decided to give up on MGM and just do other fun things. (Calder’s previous experience at MGM was in a pouring rain in Dec 2002 and he didn’t enjoy anything other than the Playhouse Disney show. I was hoping to change his opinion, but I didn’t want to push him.)
We still had free passes for mini golf from previous trips so we hopped a bus for Blizzard Beach to get to Winter Summerland golf. We played the winter section first and loved it. Even though it was getting really hot (and Squirty the snowman became my favorite spot to stand near), Calder convinced me to go through the summer side too. This was fun (we’d done it once before), but slow moving. I felt bad for the dad ahead of us because his four year old son was clueless and all over the place. I succeeded in keeping Calder from pressuring them to move more quickly, but couldn’t do anything about the annoying family behind us who kept grumbling about the 4yo. <sigh> We got lots of holes-in-one and snickered at the silly “elf hints” puns before each hole. Unfortunately, we didn’t win a free drink this time, but we walked away happy with our trip.
By now it was almost 12:30 and we were starting to feel like roasted turkeys. The pool seemed like a great place to spend a few hours. We stopped in the gift shop to pick up some packages we had sent to the resort from the parks and we also picked up some little souvenirs – antenna toppers, magnets, etc. Calder saw a Donald Duck type “duck bill” quacker/noise maker. He begged for it. I reminded him that he wanted a clay whistle from Epcot and that he couldn’t get both. He still begged for it and said he wanted this more than the clay whistle. Three or four times we went around this issue until I was sure he was sure he wanted the duck noise maker. I bought it and he proceeded to pluck my last nerve by making duck quacks – loud duck quacks – all the way back to the room. Luckily, he couldn’t use it in the pool, so I stayed in the pool until I was wrinkled and puckered.
At three, we got showered and decided to head back to the parks. We walked through the nearby sections of Pop Century and snapped some pictures for Daddy/Bob before heading to the buses.
Epcot was first on my list because I was determined to really see the Flower and Garden fest this year. (Last year, Bob and Calder were so obsessed with Innoventions that we didn’t do much in World Showcase and missed most of the garden exhibits.) I caved and rented a stroller for Calder so I wouldn’t have to hear his feet dragging along behind me at a slow lope. With him in the stroller, I could stash my bag and water bottle and walk quickly in comfort and quiet.
We stopped to get our complimentary Mother’s Day picture taken and it looks like it’ll be a good one. I’ll scan it when it arrives.
At China, we stopped to watch the acrobats in the courtyard. Calder loved seeing these kids, who weren’t much older than him, doing these amazing tricks and feats of skill. I also got a chance to see the topiary pandas!!
We stopped at each pavilion and checked out the flower and garden exhibits, but we didn’t go into any of the stores or shows. (We’d done this thoroughly in December 2002 and I only wanted to push Calder’s patience so far….) We saw the drummers in Japan again and loved the rumbling in our chests.
Calder wasn’t hungry and, to be truthful, neither was I. But I can’t pass the Tangierine Café without having chicken and lamb shawarma, so….
Completely stuffed, I walked on and we encountered one of the funniest street performers I’ve ever seen. This fellow in France did a combination of mime, crowd interaction, and balloon blowing that was so Gallic and wonderful that we were crowing with laughter. The kids he picked to interact with were priceless and he handled them in such a fantastically funny and respectful way, that I was completely impressed. One of the best experiences I’ve had at Epcot.
On to the UK and Canada. Then we finally got to experience the Doggone Maze. (We had missed this last year and I was determined to find it this year.) Calder was entranced, but disappointed that it didn’t go on and on. I was impressed by the way the topiaries were made with all kids of different plant materials to really bring the dogs to life. Lady and the Tramp were amazing.
By the time we walked through the rose gardens, I was getting pretty bushed and asked Calder if he was ready to go too. “Let’s stop and buy the clay whistle,” he says. WHAAAAT?! What about the “I really want the duck noise maker” deal we settled on earlier that day? “I changed my mind. I want the clay whistle.” I hated to turn Mother’s Day into a day-ending tantrum, but I stuck to my guns and started walking to the exit. Calder walked (loudly) behind me, muttering. I got all the way to the bus with him dragging his feet behind me before he realized I wasn’t going to relent. He did his best to get out of his foul mood, but he wasn’t his jolly self until much later that night.
Once we got back to the room, I started packing up everything (since we had an early start at Animal Kingdom planned and I wanted to check our bags and check out at around 7:15am). Calder watched Harry Potter on TV until it got too scary. I made him watch some Goofy cartoon on ToonDisney until it was time to shut off the lights.
Unfortunately, that night I had trouble sleeping. I guess I was worried we’d wake up late again and miss Animal Kingdom. Calder was out cold. No worries for him.
Next: Animal Kingdom and the flight home.
Last edited by Caldercup; 01-30-2007 at 04:33 PM..
Day 4 - Suprise Mom\'s Day Weekend Trip for the Lloyds - May 7-10
Day 4 – Animal Kingdom
I had a wakeful night and spent the time from 4:30 to 5:30 worrying about making our flight back. (Don’t know why this is such a problem for me, but it explains why I’m writing this last installment of the Trip Report at 3AM.) I finally fell asleep, only to be wakened by the alarm clock at 6:45. Calder groaned and whined, but eventually woke up to the cartoons I started playing on the TV. As soon as we were both bathed and dressed, the bags were zipped up and we were ready to go. I had forgotten to call the night before for luggage assistance and decided we could just hoof it over to Classic Hall ourselves – which was actually quite easy since we hadn’t bought much in the way of souvenirs and we only had our rolling carry-ons to tote with us.
I knew I could’ve taken advantage of express checkout, but I had a $251 dollar Disney Rewards card from my Visa to apply to my room charges that I had forgotten to take care of the night before. (For some reason, Calder’s little tantrum over the clay whistle really whacked my list of to-do’s for a loop.) Anyway, the CM was able to credit my Visa for the amount that had already been charged to it by Express Checkout and applied the Rewards card instead. As it turned out, I only spent $20 over the $251 worth of rewards on all the food, meals, souvenirs and other incidentals while on property. Wow, that’s a record for us – it suddenly made me feel guilty for battling over a $6 clay whistle……
We checked our bags and hopped a bus for Animal Kingdom.
Another problem with our APs sent us to Guest Services at the gate. They issued Calder a new card – with Mickey… yea!!! – and then my card wouldn’t work. So they issued me a new one and I got Donald. <sigh> Then Calder speaks up, “could you help my mom out? She really wants Minnie again.” Who can say no to a blue eyed bundle of boy?! A few voided passes later and I had Minnie in my pocket!! (Turns out, I was doing something that kept de-magnetizing our APs. The CMs guessed that it was either my cell phone or a couple of fridge magnets that I had stuffed into my bag a few days before.)
We were delayed by the pass issue just long enough to miss the way they wake up the park – something I had really wanted to see. <another sigh> So, we decided to just walk quickly to Kilimanjaro Safaris and see if the animals were lively. It was a long walk and a fairly long wait since everyone else from the resorts had the same idea on Extra Magic Hour morning. But, 20 minutes later, we got on a Jeep/bus and set out to see some animals. Calder had the right-most facing seat and didn’t get to see many of the animals. He did see a big ostrich in the middle of the road and a huge Nile crocodile floating right under the bridge on his side. He had control of the camera for the whole trip and I have lots of pics of blurry greenery that I titled “Dunno #1” and “Dunno #2”, etc. But overall he did a great job. Here are some of his pics:
The lions were out and stretching – we were hoping for a few yawns or even a roar, but didn’t have Lady Luck on our side. The whole “safari” seemed rather wet and waterlogged, despite a lack of rain for several days. I wondered if it was part of the park cleaning process to produce so much run-off. <shrug> The animals we did see were mostly resting, but very close to the Jeep path.
I thought that maybe Calder would want to hop right back on for another spin, but he wanted to explore more of the park – a surprise since we spent a great deal of time wandering everywhere and taking in everything during the past few visits. We walked over to Asia, but were disappointed to learn that Kali River Rapids doesn’t open early for Extra Magic Hour. We grabbed fast passes for an hour from then.
We walked over to see the new pathway by the construction site of Everest. I now realize that I should’ve taken pictures of the construction since it was so cool, but I was totally enthralled by a wonderful CM from India who told me all about the buildings in the Asia section of AK and how close they were to his homeland and to the places he had visited in Nepal – the theme for the Everest area to come.
Anyway, CJ and I wandered into Dinoland. Much to my dismay, Calder pulls out the two Disney dollars he has and walks up to one of the carnival games. (I rolled my eyes at this because one of our trips last year was marred by having to cart around a HUGE turtle and a small dinosaur that he had won while there. It wasn’t such a big deal in the park because they were willing to send it back to the resort for us. It was the drive to the airport, the plane trip itself and the drive home that made me hate the *&%$ turtle so much. And now the blasted thing takes up room in his closet and hasn’t had the dust knocked off it in months.) Well, wouldn’t you know it, Calder wins the game. ‘Course he was playing against three 4 year olds, so he couldn’t help it. He gets another small dino and I told him he’d have to carry it himself for the rest of the day – which he did without complaint.
Then he sees Primeval Whirl – my most hated ride at WDW after the teacups. Shaking my head, I started walking away. “Please, Mom…..” Good grief. “Okay”. We get in line and within minutes we’re spinning our way to a giant headache. He gets off and says, “Man, I forgot how awful that ride is.” Sheesh!!
He tells me that he’s hungry (my stomach is still churning from my “trip back to the moment before the meteor hits"). But, we stopped by Donald’s Breakfastosaurus to see if they had any availability. Their best guess was 30-45 minutes for a table. Oh, well. I’m not staying in Dinoland a second longer than necessary just in case he begs to go on Triceratop Spin!
We head back to Kali and see that they are up and running. Our Fast Passes weren’t good for another 25 minutes and the stand-by line only had a 20 minute wait posted. Stand by it was. I think most of the 20 minutes were chewed up by the long walk through the queue area. I’m surprised they can’t shorten this up somehow at slower times. Anyway, within 10 minutes or so, we were on a raft and heading towards a “soakin’.” Calder was wrapped in his red plastic bubble once again, but I was ready to get wet – it was only 10am, but it was very hot already. The drop after the fire at the clear-cutting log camp totally soaked the folks to our left and sent water flying along the back of my seat. My front was totally dry, but I looked like I had laid down in a mud puddle. As soon as we hopped off the raft, our Fast Passes were good. We ran through the queue and were back on within a few minutes. This time I found a wave that matched my front to my back. Calder stayed completely dry under his poncho and, as we walked out, he pulled it off and offered it to the first kid in line that he saw.
I dripped my way over to Flights of Wonder and we watched the show from the back, hoping to see the birds flying out over the audience. Unfortunately we picked “house left” when we should’ve picked “house right”. (For those not in the theatre, go to the left when you enter the building and sit in either the last row of the front section or the first row of the back section if you want to have your hair ruffled by owls and falcons, etc.)
By the time we left Flights of Wonder, it was time to head out from the park to meet our Tiffany driver by one o’clock and still have time to grab some lunch. We had to wait a little for a bus (that then had to stop at Blizzard Beach), but we still made it back with plenty of time for lunch at the food court at Pop Century. I had a single hamburger and fries and thought it was quite tasty, despite not having lettuce, tomato, or pickle on it. Calder had a PB&J. (Of course.)
We picked up our bags and the Tiffany’s driver came right over to us. He whisked us to the airport and we checked in with more than an hour and a half until boarding. A little GameBoy for CJ and a little “Lovely Bones” reading time for me and it was suddenly time to get on the plane. I don’t know what it is about planes that makes me fall so quickly asleep, but I went out before we had even pulled back from the gate. Luckily, Calder is already blasé about flying, so he didn’t mind my not paying him any attention – you see, his GameBoy had lain untouched since Friday morning.
We arrived in Philadelphia and met up with my husband (who had come in on a flight from New Orleans about an hour before). What a jet set family! We didn’t have to wait for luggage since we only had carry-on stuff. We did have to wait for the shuttle to long-term parking, but we were soon home to our house, our dogs and my blossoming garden.
All in all, it was one of the most enjoyable trips I have taken. And all my worrying and wondering came to nothing. Calder and I had a blast together and there was very little whining – on either of our parts – and lots of fun and silliness enjoyed by both of us. So, Bob, you can go on all the trade show trips you want. Calder and I will just hop on down to Disney and take in the sights.
Last edited by Caldercup; 01-30-2007 at 04:33 PM..