Another Day Older & a'Deeper in Debt: Days 1-10!
About This Page: This is a discussion on Another Day Older & a'Deeper in Debt: Days 1-10! within the Sharing the Adventure: Disney World Trip Reports, part of the PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel; Wow! All these wonderful trip reports in the making...I am beside myself with the glee of it all! Yours sounds ...
Welcome! We're happy you've found the PassPorter Community -- the friendliest place to plan your vacation to Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland, and the world in general! You are now viewing the PassPorter Message Board Community as a guest, which gives you limited access. As our guest, feel free to browse our messages by selecting the forum you want to visit from the list below.
To post messages and ask questions, join our FREE community today and you'll get access to tools and resources not available to guests, such as our vacation countown timers, "living" avatars, private messaging system, database searches, downloads, and a special PassPorter discount code. Registration is fast, simple, and completely free. Just click the Join Our Community link.
Re: Another Day Older & a\'Deeper in Debt (pre trip!)
Wow! All these wonderful trip reports in the making...I am beside myself with the glee of it all! Yours sounds just a grand as the other (and humorous to boot). As for the Steelers vs. Brown I can only feel for you. In this house my DH is a Steelers fan (we are originally from PA) and I am a Browns fan. AS you can imagine, it gets a bit heated here during those particular games.
Our departure day was 11/11/04 which is Veteran’s Day and also Fasching in Germany for anyone who is interested. J Our flight was due to leave at 350 PM which was unusual for us; I’m usually a fly as early as possible to have as much “day” at my destination as I can. I think I’m a convert for mid-afternoon flights! It was nice to be able to have a relaxing morning, not rushing around making sure I’d packed everything. We had a leisurely lunch and my mom took us to the airport at around 200PM. Got through security with only a minor glitch: Sarah had put scissors in her carry-on, but we discovered that they were blunt tip, so they were OK. I was ready to deal with a meltdown if she lost her scissors, but thankfully, it was averted! We went to the waiting area and began the first of many waits. At 335 or so, we preboarded and found seats all the way in the back of the plane. Everyone was on and seated and we were ready to push back when the pilot announced that we had to all get off the plane so they could “reboot” the system. Everyone (incl the flight attendants) thought he was joking, but it was not to be, so off we went (we left our “stuff” onboard). After about 15minutes, we re-boarded and got underway. The first leg of the flight wasn’t too bad, Michael and I each had a kid and an empty seat. The second leg was fuuuuullll, so I got both girls and poor Michael moved to the window seat…bad choice! He was crammed in next to a lady who was not at all shy about hogging both armrests, poor thing. We finally arrived in Orlando, ontime (!) at 735PM.
We went to baggage claim and got our bags (eventually), then made our way to Alamo to pick up our rental. After standing in the “Quicksilver” line for 20 minutes, the counter agent told me to go to the lot and check in at the customer service booth there. So, we schlepped our stuff out and I went into the customer service area there and *they* told me to just go pick a car. I was none too happy that I’d spent about 30 minutes total waiting when they could have had a sign that said, “Quicksilver customers: Proceed to parking lot, select a vehicle, and drive to the check out line” How hard is that??? OK, so, we got our car and I picked the wrong lane, got behind some chick who left her ID in her trunk, so she pops it in reverse and starts to back up, almost hitting me, so I honked and she got out and was yelling at me to give her a break. Ummmm, you were the one who almost hit me, chicky. Anyway, it took her forever to find whatever she needed, but there was already a line behind me, so another wait. I am working on the “Patience” fruit of the spirit, which will probably become clear in this TR!!!
So, we make our way to WDW and drive toward the All Star Sports Resort for our first 2 nights. We arrive and I go to check in, taking DH and Dds with. DH didn’t understand the concept (*such* a resort snob! ), so we got our room keys in Hoops (had requested Football, but no go, the resort was at 100% capacity!!!), went to the food court to get Dds some mac and cheese (they were still hungry), and headed back to the car (What do you *mean* we have to drive to our room???) Drove around and found a parking place in the north 40, grabbed our “All Stars bag“ (smart of me to have packed one suitcase for the first 2 nights, eh? ), and headed to our room. It was on the 1st floor and not too far away, so that was good. We definitely decided that we won’t be staying there again. There is just something about it that turned us off, sorry to those of you who love it, but DH is *REALLY* a resort snob now! We each settled into a full size bed with a DD (no way DH and I are sleeping in a full bed together!) and zonked out.
Mickey woke us up at 730 am with an “Up and at ‘em, Pal!” and we were up and at it! Our plan for the day included Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival and whatever else we wanted to fit in. I had also set a PS for Cinderella’s at 735 for dinner (so we could catch Wishes at 8pm from inside the castle!) We got to Epcot in time to see the opening, which was neat, I’d never seen it before. I went to guest services and got my birthday button while Michael and Sarah went to get FP for Test Track. We had a bit of a “missed connection” which was not an auspicious beginning to our day, but we settled into a touring plan. We went through both Innoventions, but no one was really into any of the displays, so we headed out to our Test Track Fps. That ride is just too much fun! We had a great time, it was the first time we’d all ridden it together, so that was neat. Sarah was about to die to try Ice Station Cool, so we headed there next. I warned them about Beverly, but DH always the tough guy, gave it a swig. I was proud of him, he didn’t gag, just reached quickly for the German variety! There was a really rude lady behind me who filled her cup with Beverly and DH tried to warn her, but she gave him a “go to” look, so he just shrugged as she choked and spluttered on it. We were trying very hard not to laugh at her misfortune (yeah, right!)
It was nearly time for the World Showcase (and all that fooooooood!) to open, so we started that direction, only to be distracted by a shopping kiosk. Sarah bought a hat that says Princess (the meaning of her name), and I bought a visor…it was hot today! Michael was about to die for all the shopping we’d done so far (um, a set of Mickey ears and this purchase ) We wandered on into the World Showcase and Let the Eating Begin! We sampled our way around (they do really need to have some better selections for children, Breeanna can be quite adventurous eating, but she wound up with a bag of chips all the way around!) The day hit a major downhill slide in Italy. It was there that Michael discovered that his (very strong) prescription glasses were missing. He had changed into his sunglasses and had hooked his glasses case to his belt and it was gone. We don’t have a spare pair, in fact, we had just discussed the need for him to have some, but here we are in the middle of Florida with no glasses. You have to know my DH to know how devastating this was to his afternoon. Number one, he doesn’t lose things, ever. Number two, his sunglasses are his old prescription, and number three, we are supposed to be having dinner in the castle to watch Wishes, not something he wants to see through sunglasses! He was in a major funk the rest of the way around the World Showcase, so none of us enjoyed anything much past Italy. We did stop for a few more bites, but everyone was pretty blah by now. I didn’t want Dds to miss the Land Junior Chef thing, so we went there next and arrived just in time. They had a great time and we rode the Living with the Land ride. There were still some “Mickey” forms on some of the pumpkins, so that was neat to see. We went from there to guest services again to check the lost and found, but no luck. Dh was really starting to turn green at the gills about the whole situation.
I’m a take charge, deal with it kind of person, so I marched back into guest services and got a printout and a map to the nearest Lenscrafters at the Florida Mall. DH was protesting (we were supposed to be going to the Magic Kingdom for the afternoon), but we took the field trip anyway. I was not very happy b/c I only brought vacation money with us, no other cards, checks, anything, so I just about fainted when she told me it was going to be $240 for the cheapy frames I’d picked out for him. They tried bleaching his sunglasses, but that didn’t work, so they offered to sell me a “package” of sunglass frames with clear lenses, which I jumped on for $119 instead! We wandered the mall (oh, joy, a mall) went into the Playmobil store, but it was HOT, so we wandered into Build a Bear, just to say we’d been there. Found a pop machine near a nice little seating area, so we took a bit of a rest. Breeanna had fallen asleep in Lenscrafters, but I woke her up for Build a Bear and she was a bit cranky. We got DH’s glasses and lit out for the parking lot and back to Mickey‘s House. It was about 630 and our Pses were for 735.
We parked at Epcot and DH ran into check lost and found again while I took Dds up to the monorail station. He joined us with no good news and we rode the monorail to the TTC and then to the MK. We walked around to the side of the castle (where they told me to go) and I was sent back around front. There was a CM guard dog there who apparently thought he was really guarding the Queen’s jewels and we had to go through the 3rd degree before he would “allow” us to pass. I was cranky, Dds were cranky, DH was cranky, it was not a good thing! We finally made it around to check in. I asked if we might have a window table and they told me it would be a half hour wait. I said never mind, we’d take first available, everyone was *really* stressed out and I thought a nice dinner would help. They called us about 10 minutes later and led us to the *perfect* table by the window! I was thrilled! We ordered prime rib and food for Dds , but Wishes started before I could eat much. It was so beautiful watching the fireworks right out the window, hearing the beautiful music, and Breeanna kept whispering sweet things to me like, “Now it feels like we’re at Disney” and “Look at all the birthday wishes you get to make!” I was crying when it was over (of course) and the waitress asked if I was OK. I blubbered that I just love Wishes and she started to cry, too! It was quite embarrassing, but oh well, that happens when you turn 40! My prime rib was cold by now, but it was still delicious. They brought me a birthday cake, a certificate and sang to me. It was truly magical! We rode the monorail back to Epcot, picked up the car and headed back to Sports to pack up for the transfer to the AKL the next day. BTW, as an aside here, it was *MUCH* easier to park at Epcot and monorail than it was to park at the MK. I don’t know why, but that worked out *so* much better for us. Maybe it’s that I’m in with the geosphere and I want more opportunities to see it!
When we got back to the hotel, our message light was flashing and the front desk told me I had a letter. Me? A letter? At WDW? I am very curious, so I grabbed my room key and took off. How important I felt that *I* had received a letter at my resort! The CM handed me an envelope (I was sure it was a mistake!), but, no, it was addressed to me! I tore it open (think: kid at Christmas) and discovered that it was a Mickey birthday card and gift from Cheryl, NickandRyansMom!!! So, here’s a *huge* to her for being so wonderful and making me feel so special! Passporters are the best! I started crying again (surprise!) Dds also thought mom was *very* for getting mail at the resort!
Next: Transferring to the AKL, a poem for the room assignor, and another call to Lost and Found!
Re: Another Day Older & a\'Deeper in Debt: Days 1-8!
Mickey rang us at 730 am and we were up and at ‘em again! We were all a bit anxious to get over to our “home”, the Animal Kingdom Lodge! Threw our stuff in the car and drove over in about 15 minutes. There we were, pulling in! The guard checked my ID and told me “Welcome Home!” (I that!). We pulled up and I dropped off Michael and the girls while I went around and parked. I walked in the front doors to that familiar and beloved scent and…CHRISTMAS!!! Christmas had come to the AKL just in time for my birthday! I was moved to tears (this is going to be a theme, so get used to it! ) I stood in line while DH and Dds enjoyed the lobby. The CM told me that the room wasn’t ready yet (at 9am, I’m OK with that, unlike the newlyweds in front of me who were peeved as all get out and got n-a-s-t-y!) Anyway, I’m being all nice and my usual sweet self when curiosity overwhelms me and I have to ask…do you know what type of room I’m in? Yes, replied the CM, you are in a….SAVANNAH VIEW!!! So far, so good…that poem is looking’ good! I was thrilled and (yes, you guessed it) cried.
I went and got the family and we headed out to the Flamingo Pond for the first activity of the day…Flamingo Feeding (930am). Now, I had planned to spend all weekend doing the activities at the AKL, since we were always rushing out to the parks before (and I *knew* I didn’t want to be anywhere near soap stars/fans!), but little did I know how absolutely WONDERFUL those days were going to be! The savannah guide came and showed the children the shrimp and fed the flamingos. Then they brought out a tub of water with metallic confetti and laid out tweezers and combs. They had the children use the tweezers and try to get out as much “food” as they could, then try again with the comb. They learned that chickens eat like tweezers and flamingos eat like combs! It was so ! They each earned a pink bead for participating. We had a PS for Boma at 1050, but we went ahead and checked in early, since we were all hungry. We had a nice breakfast (I’m not sure it’s worth it, although Breeanna ate $15 worth of strawberries! ).
When we were done, it was time to go to the next activity at Arusha Rock: Animal Tracking (1100am-130pm). The savannah guide had strapped a radio receiver to Timon and gave the children equipment to try to find him (binoculars and the radio receiver device) They walked around listening for the signal and finally found him (stuffed!) in the shrubs. They all thought it was great fun and they learned how scientists use different methods to keep track of animals. They earned a second bead. Dds were dying to go shopping, so DH relaxed while I took them to Zawadi. They each have saved their own spending money this time ($100 each ), so it took awhile for them to make a selection (Breeanna got a Polly toy and Sarah a dancing wind-up Cinderella) I took them back to DH so I could see if our room was ready and…it was! Yay! I went to pull the car around to get the luggage and I dropped my Passporter and sprung it open (it’s an over-stuffed deluxe). A CM was helping me pick it up when he spotted the card I have from our doctor that says Breeanna uses her stroller as a wheelchair. He loaded up our luggage and told me to valet the car. I had decided to self-park b/c of the $$$ spent on glasses and he saw that I was a bit about it, so he took me over and showed the valet captain the card and they told me they would valet us for free! for them. They didn’t have to do that, but were so kind about it! Fortunately, I had already brought along a lot of singles for tipping, so I did tip generously when we parked. We went to our room and I opened the door to find that we were just a little ways down from the Mara elevator, on the Zebra trail, overlooking the Arusha savannah!!! *ALL* of my poetic requests had been granted! The girls were bummed that there were no bunk beds, but they quickly got over it when they saw the zebras and giraffes out the window! We settled in a bit and got their swimsuits on. In the meantime, I took a chance and called Lost and Found again and…more magic! They had DH’s glasses! We could pick them up the next day from central lost and found. I was delighted and so was DH. He wasn’t feeling quite well, though, so we left him to nap and went to the pool. While the girls were swimming, I went to get refills in our mugs and saw a hair wrap stand set up. I wandered over and my eye caught a pre-made one, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and get a real one! Dds were like, OK. Mine is burgundy and hunter green, with very Christmas-y beads on it. Dds wanted theirs done, but the lady had quite a line and so I told them we’d get it done on Sunday.
The girls swam for a bit and it was soon time for our next activity at the Flamingo Pond again: Junior Researcher (2-430pm). They were each given a clipboard with a chart on it and were instructed to mark down how many times the animals did a certain behavior. They learned how scientists watch and monitor behaviors to study more about animals. They earned their 3rd bead and went back to swim. We had a PS at Boma for dinner at 645, and the Music of the Savanna activity was at 5pm at the Sunset Lounge, so we got cleaned up and got Dad and headed down for that. The guides introduced them to drums, rain sticks, and some kind of rattle, each representing a different nature sound. When the guide put up the symbol, the children played their instruments and when she removed a symbol, those instruments were quiet. They had a wonderful time playing with the other children and earned another bead. It was early, but I decided to see if we could check in early for dinner and we did. I really like Boma for dinner. The selections are broad and it’s all you can eat Zebra Domes! DH on the other hand, was not impressed. He does not like any sweet with meat, so his choices were limited. Dds enjoyed it, too, so phooey on him!
After dinner, it was time to head back to the Sunset Lounge for Wildlife Games (715pm) Here, the guides put some animal cards face down and each child came forward and chose one. It was hung down their back for everyone to see (but not them!) They were then given a card that had animals to choose from and they had to ask yes or no questions to try to figure out what kind of animal they were (do I have 4 legs? Do I have spots?) Dds are too shy to participate in something like that, but they did help out with the yes and no part. Afterwards, they received their 5th bead. After the children complete all the “bead activities” (or are there for their last night) they are allowed to choose a “totem” bead that represents caring for something in nature. Each bead is carefully explained by the guides and the children are intense when they choose them. They make a promise to the guide (Sarah promised to take care of *everything*, Breeanna only promised the animals!). All the beads are tied on a piece of hemp throughout the day, BTW, so they end up with a really nice “String of Memories”.
We were all pretty tired by this point, so we went back to the room to finish unpacking, settle in, and go to bed. Breeanna was excited to see a playpen in the closet and declared that *that* was where she would sleep. DH and I stood on our heads and held our tongues just right and finally got the blasted thing set up (whatever happened to the “good old days”?) We got Sarah settled in a bed, DH and I in a bed, and Breeanna in the play pen. That’s when the nice day ended. She started to cry that she had to sleep with me. DH was ugly to her about it and she got worse and worse. I knew she was about to upchuck (does that when she cries that way), so I told him I was going to take her to the balcony to settle down. We went outside and sat in the cool night air, calmed her down and stared at the beautiful Christmas decorations we could see through the lobby windows. The zebras and wildebeests were right below us, so I used them as a calming mechanism (don’t cry, they’ll run away!). I finally got her settled, but she had those chest-sobs. The poor thing has terrible nightmares (electrified floors shocking her, dolls coming alive and chewing on her, etc); it’s clear she has some emotional problems, so I’ve always let her sleep with me when she needs to. She actually sleeps *on* me, but when she does, there are no nightmares, so it’s worth it to me. DH doesn’t see eye to eye with me, but when I went back in, he had moved in with Sarah and left the other bed for Breeanna and I. Whew. We could finally get some sleep!
Next: Lost and Found, Chalk, the Browns, and more “Artists”!
Re: Another Day Older & a\'Deeper in Debt: Days 1-8!
Mickey roused us at 8am today. First on the agenda was to find the lost and found and get DH’s glasses back. We drove over to the MK Kennel and sure enough, there they were. A bit worse for the wear (which he freaked out about ), but at least they were in good shape and back in our possession! DH wanted to go to ESPN for lunch and catch the Browns-Steelers game, so we drove over the the Boardwalk and parked. I had been having moments of “illness”, so while I went to deal with that, DH took Dds to the playground. I don’t know if that’s a no-no or not, but we were the only ones there on a Sunday morning and it was quite nice. After awhile, Dds were “starving”, so we went around to the Boardwalk and bought them a baguette at the bakery. We were sitting there eating when testosterone-laden sports fans started lining up at the ESPN. At 1015am. DH turned a bit green (he has anxiety issues) and he decided he’d rather not go there after all. We went back to the car and drove over to DTD to check out the Festival of the Masters, since both Dds are in private art lessons. Finding a parking place was a nightmare, but we finally got one and went to the Marketplace. Some of the chalk paintings were stunning! Dds were in awe and we found the area for them to do their own. They were a mess, so we went into the WoD store to wash up and it was shoulder-to-shoulder bodies. Dds wanted to shop, but I said, no way. We went to the Earl of Sandwich and DH snagged us a good table (the *only* table) while I waited in line. He had the Cannonball, Sarah and I had the American (we cranberry and turkey!) and I got a plain cheese for Breeanna, who refused to eat it b/c it was “roasted” Thank goodness for chips.
We finished up there and headed back to the AKL for Michael to watch the local game (with updates on the Browns!) and Dds to swim and get hair wraps. That’s basically all we did all afternoon, hang out by the pool, swim, hair wraps. About 4pm, we headed back to the room to get ready for Simba’s/dinner (and to learn that the Steelers had whomped on the Browns…not good). On the elevator, Breeanna said, “Dinner is more romanticker than lunch when it’s just you and Dad, isn’t it?” That child. I don’t know where she gets it! We dropped them off at Simba’s at 5pm and drove over to the Wilderness Lodge for our Artist Point dinner. I wasn’t sure about this one, I had already canceled it once, thinking we’d just do room service, but when DH didn’t like Boma, I reconsidered. Our PS was for 645 and we were way early. We sat by the fireplace and let DH deconstruct the “stone” work, but I soon tired of the masonry discussion and suggested we check in early. We were seated immediately by a window (more like a mirror) facing the waterfall area (not a very nice view, esp in a “mirror”). The waiter was a bit miffed that we weren’t having wine and I’m not sure he ever forgave us. I had the mushroom soup and DH had a salad to start. He had the tenderloin and I had the buffalo. We both thought the entrees were “eh”. DH had the berry cobbler for dessert and I was given a chocolate cake for my birthday. We drove back to the AKL, picked up Dds and turned in early, ready for our first “real” park day!
Next: Can we make early entry? Can we catch 2 fireworks shows in one night? Will DH survive Tower of Terror and, even worse, Beauty and the Beast??? HOW did Mom hurt her thumb??? Stay tuned!
Re: Another Day Older & a\'Deeper in Debt: Days 1-8!
Mickey called at 7am today, since we were trying to get to the AK at 8am for early entry. The AAA lot had a sink-hole in it, so I was directed to park in the handicapped lot, just not in one with a pole (?) since we have our stroller-as-wheelchair card. We made it through at 805 am and DH went to see Tough to be a Bug (DDs weren’t interested), so I took them to get FP for the Safari. We met up with DH and rode the Safari (got to see both elephant babies again…so cute!) I had planned to do the Jungle Trek today, but Breeanna started whining for the dinosaurs again (she did that the last trip!), so we headed over there. She wanted to ride Primeval Whirl this time, so DH took them while I got FP for Dinosaur for him and Sarah. They got off that and wanted to ride Chester and Hester’s (or whatever that is), so we did that real quick and then they spied the dreaded Whack a Mole. Now, mind you, I detest carnivals. I detest carnival games. I barely tolerate Dinoland for Dds sake and here we land in carnival heck! Dds are begging to Whack a Mole, so I finally decide that our odds are best if all 4 of us play. That’s $8 per child and an excellent chance to win. So, we all line up…and they’re off! Whacking, whacking, bell rings, siren sounds and DH has won the triceratops for DD! Now it’s time to win one for the Gipper, OK, for Breeanna, so we ante up and get ready to whack some more. Whack, whack, I’m determined that *I* will be the hero of this match, but, alas, it was not to be. DH won again! Only, I feel this strange sensation in my hand as I reach for the stroller. Ouch, it hurts, doggone it! I look down at my right thumb and…the entire pad of my thumb is a huge BLISTER! Go ahead…you have my permission to laugh at me!!! I couldn’t believe that I had gotten a blister in 2 rounds of Whack a Mole that I didn’t even WIN!!! Dds wanted to play at the bone yard, so we went over there and I was applying cold compresses to my very painful boo-boo. It was time for the Dinosaur FP, so I told DH I’d meet him over by Africa…near the first aid station I walked in and the nurse asked if she could help me. I told her I had an “injury first” for her and showed her my thumb. She burst out laughing, too, and we all got a big kick out of them needing to put health warnings on the Whack a Mole! She treated me and I went out to meet DH. We went to lunch at Tusker House (our fave) and soon it was time to go to MGM for the afternoon. As we were leaving, an acrobatic group started their routine, so we stayed and watched. DH was fascinated (unusual for him), so I didn’t push us to leave. We really enjoyed watching them…they were amazing! When they were done, we made our way back out to the car and drove to MGM. I will say that I don’t care for MGM all that much and I hate the parking there almost as much as the MK! We parked in the diamond lot and then had to HIKE all the way around the barriers and backtrack the entire length of the bus stops to get to the entrance. I was not a happy camper, when we could have jumped the barrier and been right there. It was certainly poorly designed.
The first thing on the agenda was the Beauty and the Beast show. We were seated on the second row and I thoroughly enjoyed it. DH (cro-magnon man) didn’t know the story, so he was freaked out when they started the Kill the Beast thing. He was sure Dds were terrified, but they were just enjoying it! After the show, he had to take them on Tower of Terror. This is also a recurring theme: Dad takes the kids on the scary/spinning/fast rides while Mom does her own thing or waits. This time, Mom wanted to see the Walt Disney exhibit, so he took them to the ToT and I went on my way. I spent some time looking at the exhibit, but I didn’t have time to see the film. I wrote a paper on Walt Disney when I was in college and had made a trip to the Burbank studios, got to see Little Mermaid in production, and lots of other cool things (and met his grandson!), so I knew if I watched the movie, I’d be crying again anyway. It was enough for me to see him introducing Epcot. Went out to meet DH and Dds and they wanted to go to Little Mermaid and Playhouse Disney. Poor DH. I didn’t care for Mermaid all that much, too much Ursula and not enough singing talent! We went to PD and were seated at the very front (all seating is on the floor) which was awful. Dds couldn’t see a thing and weren’t allowed to stand. I don’t know what they were thinking when they designed that stage. After that, DH went to see the Muppet 3D show while I took Dds through the Magic of Animation. We had to wait for the show, then had to wait again to meet the Incredibles (haven’t seen the movie, but Dds were downright giddy!) Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone were all there and they were excited. We had to skip the animation academy to go meet DH.
We had a PS at Hollywood and Vine for 430 for a Fantasmic package. We were seated fairly quickly, but the service was painfully slow. I thought we would have time after dinner to go to the “shrunken playground” and the animation academy, but we didn’t. The food here was excellent; next to Boma, the best buffet in my opinion. I was given a birthday cake and sung to by the whole section of the restaurant, which was fun. We didn’t get finished until about 630 (!) and DH was very worried about getting good seats for Fantasmic. We walked over to the entrance and found our way up the loooooong path. Since Breeanna is considered a “wheelchair guest”, we were seated on the top row, towards the center. The place was practically empty, but that didn’t last. An hour and 10 minutes is entirely too long to wait for this show. DH and I thought it was extremely disappointing and Dds didn’t like it at all. It seemed too chopped up, the whole Pocahontas thing didn’t make sense, the snake was creepy. We were all very disappointed and did not want to end our evening on that note (sorry to all you Fantasmic admirers out there, it just wasn’t our cup of tea!)
We hurried back out to the car and made tracks for Epcot (which, hands down, has the BEST diamond parking lot, period),and parked. Sarah had hurt her knee somehow, so I went to rent her a wheelchair for the evening and the CM just gave it to me, since it was already 8pm so we headed back to the World Showcase. We found a good spot for Illuminations, and I walked around to Norway for a sweet almond pretzel, berry tart, and a cup of coffee for me. We had our snack and watched Illuminations. We all agreed it was a much better way to end our day. Went back “home” and crashed for the night.
Next: Hippo Birdies Two Ewes! (it’s my Birthday!) my favorite things…and Stitch invades the MK!!!
Re: Another Day Older & a\'Deeper in Debt: Days 1-8!
Stitch took over the wake up call today, much to the delight of the girls! They were giggling about it all morning. Poor DH doesn’t like Stitch (he doesn’t understand the concept), so he was in for a day! We opted to take the bus to the MK today, since it is so much easier than trying to park there, but the bus was PACKED! I was really surprised, but I guess it was all the Stitch hoopla. We arrived and went straight for the train, rode around to Frontierland and walked onto both Splash and Big Thunder Mountain RR. That was fun, since DH had never been on either one of those. We started walking toward Fantasyland (it is *MY* birthday after all!) and I had some Japanese tourists stop and ask me for directions. This happened a lot on this trip; it seems that I exude some kind of “Ask me, I know everything” air, so I gave monorail lessons, directions, ride tips, you name it! A CM came over and said, “Do you need help with directions?” and I just waved her off…I have it under control, Ma’am! DH was laughing at me all day. Went on Peter Pan next and I must say that I *really* enjoyed having DD to share it with (Look, there’s Tink! Bye Nana! Take that, you old mean Hook!) I didn’t realize how much I missed that on my solo trip! After that we walked into Mickey’s Philharmagic and enjoyed that, *BUT* (that’s a big but, BTW! ) they changed the scent during the Be Our Guest segment! I was *NOT* happy about it! I am very scent-sensitive and have strong memories tied to scent, but this one smelled like chemically altered berries, not my familiar Home Sweet Home Yankee Candle! I’m writing Disney about this one, b/c DH and Dds all said it wasn’t the same and not nearly as pleasant.
After we snapped some pictures in the shop, we got Pooh FP and DH took Dds on the teacups. Not me, thank you very much! Dds chose a green cup, since green is my favorite color (awwww!) and they spun away. By this point they were getting hungry and I had planned on trying Columbia Harbor House, but they were begging for Figaro fries, so Pinnochio’s it was! We had a nice lunch there and it was time for the Pooh FP. Rode that and walked around the Wishing Well path by the castle to head back to the bus. As I rounded the corner, I wanted to take a picture and much to my surprise (and delight) the Castle had been toilet papered! Apparently, Stitch was on the loose and being bad and had Tped the Castle as well as spray painting, “Stitch is King” on one of the turrets. It was hilarious, so I started snapping pictures. We saw a crowd gathering and a bit of a commotion and I realized it was the Cinderella show beginning, so we stayed and watched that…bonus! Wandered down Main Street and back to the AKL bus, where we were the only passengers back! We went to the room to freshen up for dinner and the afternoon, retrieved the car and drove to the AK for my birthday afternoon.
Once at the AK, we made a beeline to the FOLK and watched that show (and I actually *didn’t* boo hoo this time…just a stray tear or two!) We had promised Dds ice cream (from yesterday’s “meal deal”), so we stopped and got some cool treats. DH took Sarah to see Bug and I wandered around to India and waited for them there. We met up and walked through the Maharajah Jungle Trek, which DH had never seen, either, so that was neat. The parade was lining up, so we went to find a shady spot to watch. There was room right next to the handicapped area, so I took DH and Dds and parked the stroller. There were some people sprawled out on the ground (with all their junk spread out) and they got snippy with me about invading their “space”….”we have other people coming” to which I said, “Well, they’re not here now and we are” They had plenty of space hogged with all the junk and the CM standing there told me to stay put. I’m usually a very nice person, but these people chapped my hide. Then they start griping that the rest of their group isn’t there, he’s not going to make it, he’s so irresponsible (this turns out to be the woman’s DH ) who walks up just as the parade is starting with a little kid on his shoulders. *This* was the “people” they were hogging all the room for???? Oy! We stayed in our spot, since once they stood up there was oodles of room, and watched the parade. The AK parade is definitely one of my favorites. The floats are fascinating to me and I love to watch them! After it was over, we followed it out and I got to listen to DH complain again about the inefficiencies of Disney’s people moving, which I pointed out was financially efficient if it made people stop and shop!
We drove to the Polynesian and valet parked for Dds first stay at the Neverland Club. I was a bit wary, since I Simba’s for them, but they were excited. Walking in, the desk is Wendy’s bed, and there are steps leading out of the nursery through a window into Neverland! They put their coats in Wendy’s closet and were on their way! After taking care of the paperwork, DH and I took the monorail over to the Contemporary for my birthday dinner at the California Grill. I was a bit concerned b/c DH can be very self conscious and they escort you up in an elevator! He kept muttering that he was under dressed, but once we were sitting in the lounge area and they raised the shades, he was breathtaken, so didn’t worry at all about his clothes anymore! The view was stunning and we were seated at the most perfect window seat overlooking the Magic Kingdom. It was a complete, unobstructed vista and we just stared at it all evening! Our waiter was *wonderful*, not at all snippy about the “no wine” thing. DH had the salad and I had the most delicious pumpkin soup I have ever tasted. I asked for the recipe and the waiter seemed thrilled that I thought it was so good. For entrees, DH had the steak and I had the pork tenderloin on the goat cheese risotto (which I am not a goat cheese fan, but this was ) The waiter had told us that he would send us outside to watch the fireworks and have our dessert (the molten chocolate cake) for us when we came back in. He brought me a refill of my tea, only there was no ice in it and it tasted odd. I took another sip to find that he had put coffee in my glass instead! I didn’t want to say anything and I like coffee, so I just sweetened it and went outside. As we were going through the door, I saw him swoop my glass off the table, so I thought he’d caught his mistake.
DH and I stood outside and watched Wishes from the top of the World and it was gorgeous! I kind of like experiencing it from all the different angles. We went back in to find our table had been re-set for dessert with fresh napkins and silverware and there was ice in my glass. I took a sip and it was…iced coffee! I guess he didn’t catch it after all, but I wasn’t going to fault him b/c at least he’d caught the “ice” part! He brought our dessert, complete with birthday candle and a chocolate that read “Happy Birthday from the California Grill” It was very special. I blew out the candle and, just a memo to the chef…molten chocolate *will* melt wax! Part of the candle had melted into the center, but DH didn’t care, he ate it anyway! We rode the monorail back to the Poly and picked up 2 very happy girls (they *loved* it so much, we cancelled Simba’s for Friday and brought them back here). There was a dinner buffet and all you can make crafts (which they made a *lot*!) big screen TV in a theater type area where they were *allowed to eat* (!) They played dress up and a lifeguard came and played pirate with them. A great time was had by all! Picked up the car from valet and headed back “home”. DDs wanted to go to the Zawadi again, so we stopped in and DH called and said he’d made a “boo boo”. I had called for turndown service that AM and the mousekeeper had showed up to do it, but DH told her no Poor guy doesn’t quite get the whole “deluxe” thing, yet. I came up to the room to find a room service tray with a beautiful cake on it that said, “Love Michael” and party hats! I have a sneaking suspicion that a certain MAUREEN had a hand in it, too Sneaky people…I them! We had cake (only it was white, not chocolate, but the frosting was chocolate, so that made up for it!) and Dds sang happy birthday to me. I stepped out onto the balcony to see 4 zebras, 4 wildebeests, and 3 giraffes right below our balcony, so close you could *hear* the grass ripping and their chewing it! Then there was the whole Christmas decorations in the lobby thing and, yep, crying again! It was the most wonderful birthday EVER and Passporters helped make it that way!!! We finally fell over into bed and happily fell asleep knowing that tomorrow was going to be less hectic.
Next: An Empty World of Disney Store, The Infamous Tara, a Wonderful Family from Across the Pond, and the Prettiest CM on the Property!
Re: Another Day Older & a\'Deeper in Debt: Days 1-8!
Today was mid-week and a non-park day for us. I was trying to pace us so that we didn’t get so tired and had some “down” time. I got up with Sarah today for an early morning shopping excursion to DTD. We drove over at 9am and the parking lot was empty. I hadn’t bothered to check the opening time…oops! They didn’t open until 930, so we had some time to kill. We went to Earl of Sandwich and had a fruit bowl snack and got back to the WoD in time for it to open. We had the store entirely to ourselves for 30 minutes! I’d never seen such a thing! I bought Candlelight Processional Cds for my family for Christmas and myself a red princess build-a-crown that I’d gotten the Christmas veil for in Jan, but they were out of the red crowns, so that was nice. DD wanted to go to the toy store, so we went over there and let her spend some more of her money (she bought a Stitch stuffy) and it was soon time to drive to Epcot to meet Dad and Breeanna. The idea was for DH to bus to Epcot with the littlest DD, then he would take them to ride the monorail to the TTC and back a few times while I went into Epcot (with my AP) to meet fellow Passporters Tara and Lisa (and family) at the Fountainview Bakery. The plan worked like a charm and soon I was on my way to the bakery. I went in and was looking around to see if anyone looked like they had a blind date and soon Lisa was introducing herself to me (I had on my Passholder pouch) We chatted for a few minutes, then she thought she spied Tara sitting outside on the steps, and sure enough…there she was…Miss America…oh, wait, wrong show! Lisa took us around to where her DH and boys were and we pulled up a chair and had a nice visit. I can assure you all that Tara is really a normal person! It was so nice to meet and visit with them, but soon, I could feel my DH’s patience wearing out and I checked my watch…it was time for me to go. I made a hasty exit (more hastily than I would have liked…sorry you guys!) and met up w/ DH just as he was getting to our meeting point. Dds had had to go potty, so he waited outside while they went in (he’s never had to manage that before…scary!) and he was concerned that he had done the wrong thing. I assured him that they did not suffer any emotional scarring for having to go potty on their own and we went to the car.
I dropped DH and Sarah off at Disney Quest and Breeanna and I went on our “date”. We went to McDonald’s for lunch and a family at the next table asked about our hair wraps then struck up a conversation. They were staying at the Poly on RACK RATE (!) and were wondering if there were rides at DTD I gave them a synopsis of my Disney knowledge and surprised them with the fact that there are “real animals at the Animal Kingdom”, not just “fake ones?” I don’t think they’d even read Birnbaum, muchless Passporter! I told them about the Neverland Club (they didn’t even know it was there) and that as Poly guests, they could take their kids to play there for free in the afternoon. After awhile, Breeanna got antsy to spend some cash, so we said our goodbyes and headed to WoD. We didn’t have it to ourselves anymore, but it was not at all busy. We shopped there for a bit, then went to the toy store (for a Stitch, just like Sarah’s ) I went to the scrapbook store, but was disappointed with the selection (I’m spoiled to Archiver’s now!) so I left with only a pack of Christmas papers/stickers. On the way back, my bargain-eyes spotted a little area tucked between the Pooh and the pet store that was everything under $10...OOOHHH…sales! We went over and they had several items you could buy in stores, but they also had $6.99 grab bags and some items that were any 4 for $10. I picked up 2 sheets of scrap booking puffy stickers, a luggage tag, and a stuffed/magnet Figment for 16yo for $10 and 2 grab bags. DD was begging to go to Lego, so we went there for her to play and for me to see what I got! Inside the bags were *more* stickers, 2 Figments (yay…Dds all got one!), 2 Test Track key chains…one for me, one for 16yo, 2 magnets that are “hidden mickeys” made to look like stained glass chrysanthemums, 2 packs of cell phone antenna toppers (cool!), and some haunted mansion items (that I won’t keep, but still, fun gifts!) I really got quite a bit of nice gifty things for little $$$…gotta love that at Disney! DD finished playing and wanted to “look”, so we went in and wound up buying a holiday Click it set for she and Sarah to SHARE ($32 ) I was starting to poop out at this point, so we headed for the car.
We drove over to the CB resort to see if we could find CM Kelly and finally meet her! I walked in and asked for her and she was pointed out to me. I went to say hello and I must say, she is beautiful! Her smile just lit up. I could see her spunk and her spirit right there on her face and I’m still amazed at how gracefully she has handled everything that has been thrown her way. We chatted for a few minutes and I picked up a map of the CB (to make it “official” and to scout it out for our “cruise trip” next year!) DD was getting really tired, so we said goodbye and went back to the AKL. By the time we got back, I had a migraine a’brewin’, so DD watched cartoons (quietly) while I rested until DH got back. He and Sarah had a nice time at DQ, more her than him (he’s tough to impress, this man!) I guess she made them go upside down on her roller coaster, so his head was a bit woo-woo. We were going to the Rainforest Café at AK for dinner, but decided to scrap that plan and eat at the Mara instead and let Dds swim again. DH had fish and chips, I had the African stew in a bread bowl and Dds had mac and cheese. We also shared some Zebra domes. I don’t know what happened at the poolside or in our room or what, but that night, the itching and welts began. In earnest! I had smartly packed some Caladryl with me this time to combat my “Disney Rash” I usually get (but didn’t this time ), so I slathered my feet and ankles. It only lasted about 2 hours when I found myself awake and madly itching again. The itching was so intense I was actually getting sick to my stomach from it. I finally soaked 2 hand towels in ice water and wrapped my feet so I could get some sleep. BTW, I had already take Benadryl, too, and it was NOT helping! I was miserable most of the night.
Next: The plans, they are a’changin’! (but not for the worse!)
Re: Another Day Older & a\'Deeper in Debt: Days 1-8!
We woke up at 730 again to go to Epcot first. I had originally planned for us to go to the MK in the AM, to Epcot for lunch and PM until time to go back to the MK for Spectro/Wishes, them back to Epcot for Illuminations ( what was I thinking?!?) So, we started at Epcot and went to Spaceship Earth (I this ride!) and Imagination (I *don’t* love this one anymore…I miss Dreamfinder!!!) DH took Sarah to see Honey I Shrunk the Audience and Breeanna and I just sat outside and waited for them. There was NO ONE there. Really. The ride was just us for a loooooong time. I felt sorry for the Cms there, they were so lonely! When we met back up, we went to the Living Seas. This is DH’s favorite pavilion, so we spent some time looking around (he hadn’t seen it Nemo-tized). We watched the diver in the tube and there was a line to Turtle Talk with Crush. DH asked if we wanted to see it and I brushed it off, thinking it was just a movie or something, since I had heard NOTHING about it before we left. Apparently, we missed an awesome attraction! Now that I’ve read about it I’m totally bummed, dude!
It was soon time for our 1200 PS for the Coral Reef, so we went and checked in about 15 minutes early. The desk girl acted a bit miffed we were there, but I wanted to assure a tank-side table for my DH! We waited (and waited) and were finally called and seated by the tank. Our waiter stunk, but the Mahi was good, and the chocolate wave was delicious as ever. BUT, there was no more Peanut Butter Playdough!!! Dds were devastated, they had been looking forward to that for weeks! They ordered a Coral Reef candy bar which was just a chocolate-covered peanut butter rice krispie rectangle with a fruit roll up on one end to make it look like a fish tail…not impressive and Dds didn’t like it.
We monorail-ed over to the MK and Dds had some shopping to do. Breeanna wanted a Minnie ear hat with her name embroidered and they both wanted Stitch ears, so we went to the Chapeau for that. Breeanna had gotten a Stitch sweatshirt last night at the hotel, so she was “in Stitches” today! Sarah is very difficult to fit so the Stitch sweatshirt wouldn’t fit her, so we had a mission. We went on over to Tomorrowland. We rode Buzz, DH and I did OK, but nothing will ever measure up to my first ride and 999,999 points! DH went to get FP for Space Mtn and we met him at the Carousel of Progress. I had heard recently that they are closing it for good soon and dismantling it, so I wanted DH to see it and Dds to see it again. It made me so sad that no one appreciates it anymore b/c it isn’t fast or scary or glitzy. Breeanna was crying that she’d never be able to see it again and it broke my heart. When we finished, it was time for Space Mtn, so I went with them in the queue. I figured Breeanna might bolt, so I’d better stick around. We went up to the gate and waited and waited and waited…Breeanna started to cry that she was scared, but I could not convince her that it was OK for her to stay with me, “No, I *want* to ride it, I’m just scared!”. I was getting a bit ticked that we were being ignored and just about when I was going to say something a CM appeared and put them in the car. Breeanna was still crying, but not enough that the Cms thought it was a problem, so off they went. The CM escorted me down to the unloading area and I got my camera ready. When they arrived back, Breeanna was smiling and declared that it was “boring” and “not at all fast”. OK, whatever. Sarah wanted to ride again, but Miss Boring decided she would rather ride the TTA (or WEDWay People Mover to you veterans!) with Mom, so off we went. That’s another ride that I happen to really like and Breeanna even said it was faster than Space Mtn in some spots We met back up with DH and headed toward Toon Town.
DH can’t imagine much worse, so we sent him for Philharmagic FP while I took Dds to say hi to Mickey and meet the Princesses. 30 minutes later, they were hugging Cinderella, Aurora, and Snow White. WE met back up with DH and saw Mickey’s Phil one last time (I was SAD!) then Dds wanted to ride the carousel, so I took them on that. I love the carousel at dusk with the castle all lit up and changing colors…makes me (you know the answer!) CRY! Dds were hungry, so we got a soft pretzel and sat in Fantasyland to eat it. Dds wanted to ride Dumbo, but the line was too long and DH didn’t want to lose his “Wishes Spot”, so we walked around to the Tomorrowland Bridge and staked it out. Spectro had started, but the crowds were too much for us to get close, so we had to enjoy it from afar. Not my favorite way, but Dds had seen it in December, so it was OK. They were getting a bit tired and cranky (and so was I) DH stepped away to move Dds stroller for me (we were having “issues” with it) and people pushed their way into his spot! I could not believe how rude some people were. I just butted my big ol behind right over and had DH take my spot instead. It’s not like we were being “parade squatters”, we were actually all there, he just stepped back for a minute to help DD! Anyway, it was the perfect spot for Wishes, Tink flies right overhead (and Dds declared that she waved right at them ). When it was over, we shuffled out to the ferry, then took the monorail back to Epcot for the car. We scrapped Illuminations since we’d seen it once and DH and I would see it again the next night and went back to the hotel for Dds to swim and crash.
Next: More plan changes, our last park day, and belly dancing blunder
Re: Another Day Older & a\'Deeper in Debt: Days 1-8!
Today was to be all Epcot all the time, but we had missed some important things at MGM and Sarah wanted to ride ToT again, so we changed our plan to include MGM in the AM. Hmmmm, where to park? I drove to the Beach Club and the guard waved me through to valet, so problem solved! This was new territory for me as I had never been here before and never taken the boats to MGM or Epcot. We scoped out Cape May for our character b-fast the next day and found the boats. It was a pleasant ride to MGM and Dh and DD were soon on their way to Terror! Breeanna and I went shopping and I found the *COOLEST* pajamas in the adult clothing store…they are navy blue, knit, with sorceror hats, stars, fireworks, and Walt Disney World printed all over them. They were $39 for the set and I was so numb to prices by then, I scarfed them up! I found a Stitch sweatshirt for Sarah, but it was an adult zip-up hoodie thing and she vetoed it when she saw it. Crimp in plan. We headed toward the Animation Academy and lo and behold…there were Lilo and Stitch! Dds were beside themselves and Stitch was jumping up and down at all the Stitch-gear we had! It was very cute and funny and made me…say it with me…c-r-y! We went to the Animation Academy and we learned how to draw…Stitch! It was a recurring theme, poor DH doesn’t get it. He did say once that it was apropos that an annoying alien was hanging around on my birthday, but I didn’t quite know how to take that! When we finished our lovely drawings, DH took Dds to the playground while I went to return the offending sweatshirt and get DD a plain t-shirt instead. We had a set time to meet back at the entrance, so I found a shady bench and sat under the glitz and glam of the Christmas decorations, listening to the beautiful Christmas music, much of which is in my own collection! I think that’s kind of neat that Disney has taken “ordinary” accessible music and played it, it makes it seem very “home-y” to me. Dh and Dds were walking down the street a bit ahead of schedule so we met up and headed for the boat to Epcot. One was pulling in just as we got there…perfect timing!
We had a lovely boat ride to Epcot and entered through the International Gateway, which I always knew was there, but had never actually experienced before. We had lunch ressies at Marrakesh at 1200 and we were right on time and seated immediately in the restaurant. There were a total of 10 people for a very long time; I felt sorry for the waiters that no one appreciates their offerings. Well, we do! DH had kabob and I had the appetizer for 2 (except I pigged out on it, OK, OK, I shared some with Dds, but ) There was a couple a table away from us whose snotty wife told the waiter that the food was “interesting” and he said, “Oh, you didn’t like it?” and she said, “No, not really”. I mean, it’s one thing to not like it but another to be rude about it and she was Rude. I asked our waiter for a copy of their cookbook and I thought he was going to fall all over himself to get it for me. I had set it on the table after thumbing through it and he came back, disappointed, and said, “Oh, you don’t want it?” and I said, “No, I do! It’s wonderful” (which it is, it goes into culture as well as recipes…very nice souvenir for $6.95!) and he was thrilled. DH had already announced that he was going to bus back to the AKL to “rest his tummy” a bit (which means use the bathroom…he cannot use a public toilet for anything but, well, you know) He’s quirky. Anyway, he was going to hang out with us until I paid the check and left, only the waiter thought it would be rude to bring the check in the middle of the music set, so he disappeared. In the meantime, the musicians came out and DH enjoyed them, but then came the dreaded belly dancer. Clearly, Dave’s and Jenn’s idea of modesty and mine are 2 different things b/c there was NO WAY this was a modest belly dancer! Everything was too tight and the other men were leering. It was creepy, not at all like when my mom and I were here in Jan. DH turned green and said he was going on to the hotel. He has this thing about respecting me too much to “look at another woman”, so he was VERY uncomfortable. I had thought I’d timed it so we would be out of there before she started, but I blew it. So, he left, then Breeanna knocked over all the glasses and made a mess, so I was glad when we finally got the check.
Dds continued their mask-making and Genie was in the back of Morocco, so they met him and got an autograph, which was nice. We made our way around towards the UK and there was Pooh and Piglet all the way in the back! They were lonely, so we kept them company a bit, then went on to Canada to finish up. Dds were wanting ice cream by this point, so we headed back toward the front of the WS when we saw the character caravan. Dds wanted to hug Chip and Dale and Minnie, so we did that and got pictures, then went for ice cream. The walkway between Mexico/bathroom/first aid to Future World was closed so we had to take the long way around and I was getting a bit warm. We cut through Mouse Gears to get a Test Track FP, then went back to Mouse Gears to shop a bit and cool off. We bought a few things then went to ride Test Track. We just love this ride and this time, I pretended to really be driving and Dds got a kick out of it. They were finished by this point; we were all wilting, so we went to the monorail to take them to the Neverland Club for the evening. I was afraid they wouldn’t last, but we got to the TTC just fine. I decided to take the walkway (something else I’d never done) and it was a pleasant walk to the NC from the TTC. Got them checked in, and heard a voice behind me say, “We took your advice!“ and it was the McDonald’s people! They were discovering Disney and I helped! I was very happy to have improved their vacation…I may have to consider a career in Disney vacation planning, hmmm…OK, back to the report.
I realized that I had a stroller to contend with still. We decided that I would take Stitch with me and let him enjoy the park for the evening. Dds buckled him up and kissed him goodbye and I was on my way back to meet DH. My first inclination was to catch the AKL bus and drop the stroller at the hotel, but DH was already on his way out, so we just decided to meet at Le Cellier for our 630 dinner PS. I pushed the stroller to the monorail and it was a great source of amusement to many people (incl me!) I got off at Epcot and decided to call DH to see where he was and he was just 2 security booths away from me! The ticket CM asked if I had a ticket for Stitch and I said, no that he was just here to TP the geosphere and she LOL! We met up once inside and decided to ride SpaceShip Earth together and alone for the first time! I really enjoyed it and DH offered to go again, but I told him that was OK. When we went back to pick up the stroller, the CM made a joke about it being a good thing Stitch was buckled in or we’d all be in trouble. It was really a lot of fun pushing him around! Besides, the stroller was loaded with a bunch of junk, so we needed it as a shopping cart!
We went to our PS at Le Cellier, our Last Supper so to speak and they announced to the long line that there were NO walkups that night, they were completely booked! The line cleared out and we checked in. BTW, my feet and ankles have been itching like mad and this evening was no exception. I really struggled to enjoy it! Our waiter was a bit slow and re-fills literally took a half hour (I timed it!). DH and I had the cheese soup, DH had the filet mignon and I had the strip steak. Sorry, but it really wasn’t that great. We have a local place near us that does better and more for half the price. I did like the cream cheese mashed potatoes, though. The saving grace was dessert, chocolate mousse on a beautifully decorated plate with Happy Birthday, Dawn written in chocolate and a candle, but the nicest part was the birthday card they gave me which all of them had signed…to *me*, not generic at all! It was very nice of them and finished my dinner on a high note. We went out and staked a spot for Illuminations and I went to the tea shop to get 16yo DD some Earl Grey and a pretty little tea spoon. DH and I stood and just quietly waited for the show to start. It was pleasant just being in one another’s company, quiet, with no kids. Illuminations began and we were (again) in the perfect spot for it. It was just as moving as ever. The Christmas tree had gone up at Epcot and I was hoping that on our last night, they might give it a test run along with the lighted arch, just to flash me back to last year, but it was not to be, so we left through the International Gateway and walked back to the Beach Club to get our car. Drove to the Poly and picked up Dds (and armloads of crafts!) and headed back to pack. I had a little last minute laundry to do, so I got that started and went back to Zawadi for a few last-minute impulse buys. When I got back to the room, everyone was asleep, so I packed as much as I could and went to sleep myself, sad that we were leaving WDW, but also glad to be going home, this was the longest vacation we’d ever taken.
Next: “The Best Character Breakfast Ever” and some exciting news!
Re: Another Day Older & a\'Deeper in Debt: Days 1-8!
Mickey rang us at 730 again, so Dds could have one last swim before we needed to leave the AKL at 930 am to make our 950 PS at Cape May Café for a character breakfast. I finished the packing while DH took Dds to swim. My cell phone rang and it was my oldest DD (Ok State student) calling to tell me that she had a red envelope at her spot at my parents table telling her that she had been accepted into the Disney College Internship Program! I was thrilled for her and she is beside herself with excitement. She is supposed to report in January and will be in merchandising. It was just the lift my day needed before heading home! DH and Dds came back and got ready and we had an on-time departure. Valet parked for the last time at the Beach Club and went to breakfast. We had Goofy, Chip, Dale, and Minnie in beach wear and it was a lot of fun. The waitress came out and announced that someone in her section had a birthday. The table next to us (prob 12 or 14 people) said that their DD had had a birthday on the 12th , so it must be them. It was a little girl and her face lit up at the balloon and cake, so I kept my mouth shut even though DH was kicking me under the table. I’d celebrated all week, I didn’t mind. The food was the usual breakfast fare and was good. The waitress was excellent; we never wanted to anything. She had boxed up the little girl’s cake and accidentally bumped into Goofy while delivering it back to their table. He grabbed it from her and ran off across the restaurant, much to all the children’s delight. He was “goofin’” around with it and it was hilarious. Breeanna, in the middle of a belly laugh said, “This is the best character breakfast *EVER*!” I was so glad that I had scheduled this for our last morning.
The waitress returned to our table and told me that she went back and read our PS card, so I was birthday-busted. She told me that she had worked at WDW since it opened and had never seen someone “give their birthday away” like I had. She was going on about how sweet it was of me to let the little girl have my cake and balloon and on and on. I told her I’d been celebrating all week and that it was OK, I was glad to have shared some magic and pixie dust with the girl! Well, unbeknownst to me, she had another cake and balloon waiting, so she “borrowed” Chip from another table to surprise me and had the whole restaurant sing to me. It was a very special way to end our trip.
We still had some time before we needed to go to the airport, so DH suggested that we ride the boat to Epcot and back. I had a balloon that I couldn’t take with me, so while we were in the ladies room, the birthday girl’s little sister was there and I offered it to her. She was delighted and I was glad that I’d made her smile, too! We caught the Epcot boat and rode it over to the BW, then to Epcot, and back to the BC. We decided to go on to the airport; Breeanna was wearing her Stitch sweatshirt and long pants and was starting to get “heating”. Retrieved the car and I thought I knew where a Car Care Center was, but I didn’t , so we took a right at the Palms off Osceola parkway and found our way to the “tourist trap” and a gas station. Dds needed gum and water, too, *after* I’d pulled out of the station, so I swung into Walgreens which was a ZOO. Finally got out of there and on 417 back to the airport. I do not know what happened, but I completely missed the rental car return, so I had to turn around and go back. Turned in the car with no problems, got our bags and went to check in. The line for Southwest inside was a mile long, so I parked DH and Dds at the curb with the luggage and went and stood in the outside line that was only a half mile long! We got our bags checked and learned that this flight was full, so DH decided to sit on the aisle instead. Headed in and got through security with no problems and went for the first monorail we saw. Oops. Next time, read the gate numbers! So, we had an “extra” monorail ride and got to our gate. I picked up sandwiches for the flight and in no time we were headed back, to our cold and cloudy, but also warm and welcoming home. We are glad to be back and ready to begin the Holidays!
Re: Another Day Older & a\'Deeper in Debt: Days 1-10!
Memos to self and final thoughts:
All of my Wishes came true! (well, not the Browns one, but subliminally I was hoping they’d lose so we wouldn’t have to go to ESPN! Shhhhhh!) The weather was nice, we got in all our fireworks, some more than once! The savannah view we had was gorgeous b/c not only could we see the animals, but also the Christmas decorations in the lobby. And Christmas had come in time for my birthday. I still missed seeing some things (Osborne Spectacle, it wasn’t up last year, and the CP, most notably), but there was just enough that I easily got in the spirit. We did get to relax and enjoy one another’s company and the AKL. There is still more to see and do there, but at least this time, I feel like we had quality resort time.
Memos to self:
Take enough “packing space”. If I had packed my other carry-on size rolling case rather than the smaller case, we would have had plenty of room without jamming things in. I was trying to make it easy on DH so he only had 2 (with piggy-backs) to roll. Next time, I’ll take an extra $10 and let a porter schlep it.
The kids are not going to do their spelling. Don’t pack the books.
Be flexible, be flexible, be flexible. I had a plan, but it was not set in stone and I didn’t freak out when they wanted Pinnochio’s instead of Columbia Harbor. I was able to adjust for extra time at MGM and if I hadn’t, I would have missed my relaxing time sitting listening to Christmas music. We were able to add Illuminations for Dds to see it. Dds and I had a nice afternoon together at Epcot when DH wasn’t feeling well. Adapt and adjust!
Pack spare glasses and an extra check or credit card for an emergency so you aren't dipping into vacation money.
It was really a day or so too long. I never thought I’d say that, but it was just a touch too much free time for us. We could have used one less “free day”. If I did it again, I’d stay at an airport hotel the first night and save the rental $, then transfer to the resort the next day, then I could justify the extra for the deluxe and not have to move resorts.
Meet some Passporters if at all possible! It was so nice to be able to meet Tara and Lisa (and family) and Kelly in person!
As far as budgeting goes, I was right on target. I was under the food budget by a few dollars and everything else was right on. I did spend more on souvenirs than I’d planned, but I had birthday money come after I got home, so that helped out!
It was the best birthday *ever* and I was so glad that Dds were there to share it with me. As much as I would have loved an alone trip with DH, they add something so magical to WDW for me, I can’t imagine going without them for quite a long time, sorry, honey! Their little gifts they made me at the kids clubs, holding hands, laughing, just watching their faces light up brought such joy to me and was the very best gift I could have gotten.
Re: Another Day Older & a\'Deeper in Debt: Days 1-10!
Radio Control monorail: $17 or so and has seen constant duty since we got back.
Morrocco cookbook: $7, insight into the culture and recipes!
Whack a Mole dinosaurs: $8 apiece for a good-sized stuffy (mom's pain and suffering...priceless!)
Trading pins from eBay: $2-$3 each, DDs really enjoyed trading with CMs
Antenna Toppers: $3-$4 apiece. I love these, they are great pencil toppers and the holiday ones are just fun. I got a turkey w/ a Mickey hat, a Mickey jack o' lantern and a snowman w/ Mickey hat and buttons to add to my collection.
Grab Bags: $7 each, cool stuff that I might not have bought on my own, plus, things I don't like I can give as gifts to people who do!
Anything "native" from the AKL: I got a nice letter opener w/ a giraffe for $3, got my mom an ebony comb for $8, stone-carved eggs for a few dollars apiece. The pieces are very nice, priced well, and help the people of Africa who are in poverty.