Me, Christie, 34, stay-at-home mom and the trip organizer.
My husband, Jay, 35, production line worker at Nissan, the funding source of the trip!
Our son, Joshua, 3
Jay's sister, Melanie, 34, casino money counter and sometime cashier
Very experienced (me)
Pretty experienced (Jay)
Might-as-well-be newbie, only 1 trip in 1991 (Melanie)
First trip (Joshua)
Dates: July 1-9, 2005
EconoLodge North, Lake City, Florida (1 night)
Pop Century Resort (7 nights)
Transportation: Titan crewcab truck, 12 hours from Clinton, Mississippi
DAY 2 (SATURDAY, JULY 2, 2005)
One More Stop ...
We squeezed back into the truck again, and drove on to 192. We were going this way to pick up Melanie's ticket that we had ordered online from Maple Leaf Tickets. Their office is at the Maple Leaf Inn, which is right around mile marker either 13 or 14. I did not know that they still had so much road construction going on in this area.
We had to look very carefully to find the driveway (they were all marked with small blue road signs). If you missed your particular driveway, you'd be in big trouble with all the ditches and construction barrels all over the place!
It was pretty easy turning left to get into the parking lot. I waited in the truck, and sent Jay and Melanie in to get her ticket. I gave them the receipt to verify it. It only took them about 5 minutes and they were back. Melanie was happy with her ticket - it had Minnie Mouse on it.
Once they got back in, we thought it would be clear sailing up 192 to the "Maingate" entrance to Disney. I don't know how far the nearest traffic light was down the street (I was expecting a break in the traffic courtesy of a red light), but the traffic was so steady it took longer for us to get back on the road than it did for them to get the ticket!
Finally we were able to pull out, and then we got to witness the 192 spectacle that is "Tourist Trap Central" - T-shirt stores, giant oranges and unfortunately, several boarded-up buildings on that far end of 192. Very sad.
I did like the way 192 has spruced up closer to Disney, with the bus stops and sidewalks. Finally, Celebration could be sighted on the left, so we knew our turn would be there before we knew it.
Is That Disney Property I See?
Even though it's probably much quicker to use another way into Disney, I insist on using the 192, or "Maingate" entrance. It just feels more nostalgic that way. Gee whiz, I'm so sentimental!
I kept my eyes on the map so that we wouldn't miss our turn, and soon we could see Pop Century. We pulled up to the security gate, showed our reservation form and ID, and were heartily welcomed.
We drove up to the main parking lot and felt so excited that we were finally here. And the best part was that we were an hour early! We took a few pictures out front (Melanie loved the suitcase truck!) and went inside to check in. Since the rooms were in my name, I got in line while everybody else looked around for a while. There is so much to look at in the lobby, I was sad that I didn't get a chance to check it all out.
Joshua Did WHAT???
The line for check-in wasn't too long and pretty soon it was my turn at the counter. I don't remember the cast member's name that helped me, but he could have managed to speak up a little more. I really had to strain my ears to hear him at times.
I mentioned very nicely right up front that "I was curious to see if we had received connecting, or adjoining, rooms". He pulled up my reservation on the computer and said that we did indeed have connecting rooms.
And, the rooms had already been cleaned, so they were ready for us to check in. Thank you! In addition, our rooms were in the 70's building that was right beside the main building, so it appeared that we were in a really good location. I had made several requests when I called to make the reservation: non-smoking rooms, connecting rooms, 50's or 70's, close to food court and bus stops, and on an upper floor. We got everything I had asked for, except we were only on the second floor (rooms 252 and 253). Thankfully we didn't have noisy people above us, so that was never a problem. That also gave us the option of using the stairs or the elevator, since it was only one flight of stairs to climb it wasn't so bad.
So, pleased with our room assignments, I waited for all our paperwork to be finished. Jay and Joshua walked up about that time with the best news I have ever heard in my entire life - Joshua peed in the potty!!!
I have been trying off and on for over a year to potty train him but he had absolutely no interest in it. Well, Jay had to go, and of course he had to take Joshua with him, and Joshua decided he would go too! Unfortunately, it was only a one-time occurrence and I had to change wet and dirty pull-ups the whole trip.
Even after getting back home, I had to resort to letting him pee on himself to get him to decide that using the potty was, indeed, a better choice! OK, Mommy moment over, as I realize I am digressing ...
Getting to Our Rooms
We finished up our paperwork, paid our balance and got our room keys. I showed Jay where our rooms were on the map and we drove around to the 70's parking lot. Unfortunately, if we had looked a little closer at the map, we should have parked in the 80's lot right next door. But never mind, we were now officially guests of the Walt Disney World Resort! We got a parking spot right next to the sidewalk and each grabbed a few things from the inside of the truck to take in to the room.
Once on the sidewalk, my first impression was how beautiful the lake was! And while walking along, I noticed that there were signs, one for every year, that highlighted something that happened during that year. If they ever open the other half of the resort, it would be very interesting to make the complete circuit around the lake, reading the signs. We went past the 80's and 90's buildings and saw the Rubik's Cubes and the laptop swimming pool. I took Joshua's picture with the Head family (that would be Mr. and Mrs. Potato
) at one end of our building. I noticed that Jay and Melanie had chosen to go up the stairwell on the end of the building, so I followed them that direction.
Our room was at the other end of the building about halfway between the elevator and the opposite stairwell. The best thing about the location was that it faced a wooded courtyard - nice and quiet! On the other side of the courtyard was the playground. The rooms were very nice, and Melanie was very pleased to discover that one had a king-sized bed.
Of course she claimed that room for her own! Which was fine, since the rest of us needed two beds in our room anyway. We looked around in the rooms for a minute, then Jay and Melanie went back to the truck to load up the dolly.
Say, Where'd You Get That Thing?
Some people (including Jay) might have thought we were crazy for taking a dolly with us, but several people we passed asked us where we got it, and were disappointed to learn that we had brought it from home. My dad, upon hearing this story after our return, said that we could have make a few bucks by renting it out!
I stayed in the room with Joshua while they were gone so he wouldn't get in the way and slow them down.
After they made it back with about a third to half of our stuff, they were drenched with sweat and it took Jay a while to cool off enough that he felt he could make the trip again. Melanie decided she was too hot to go back at all (the beginning of a theme!), so she stayed with Joshua and I went to help Jay. We loaded up the dolly again with almost all the rest of our bags, and I grabbed as much as I could carry.
Once again, we had to cool off before making another trip. This time we put the dolly back in the truck and used Joshua's stroller to carry as much stuff as possible, then carried the rest, and that was that! Until Melanie started looking for her money and realized she had left it in the glove compartment.
Jay was too hot and tired to get back out, so I walked with her to get her money. We were almost back to the truck when it started raining hard! We got in and waited for a few minutes, then used our umbrella to walk back.
Next up: Conclusion of Day 2 - Resort Hopping