View Full Version : 1.19.06 Land/Sea - 1st DCL
03-09-2006, 08:31 AM
Greetings all! Upon returning from our trip my travel schedule for work flew into gear. However, I am committed to getting a detailed trip report out there! Stay tuned for my day-to-day report! To get you started:
WHO: Gayle (me), 32 and Kara (best friend), 31
WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 19 - Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006
WHY: Celebrating us both completing our doctorates!
WHAT: 3 nights on Land @ Port Orleans-Riverside and 4 nights on Disney Wonder
BACKGROUND: A 1st DCL cruise for both of us! We went on Carnival 10 years ago and had such a terrible time that we boycotted cruising. We decided the only way we would try it again would be with Disney. This was my 17th visit to WDW and my friends 6th? 8th?
03-09-2006, 12:28 PM
Jan. 18 (pre-trip night)
It was an anxious night as I arrived at Kara's concerned over my stuffed full rolling duffle. Soon I took everything out and rolled the clothes, but that was little help. I took out 2 shirts - whoopy. Being buried in work I'd tried to get Kara to pack the weekend before, but there she was - the night prior - still looking for travel necessities. Like soap. We finally decided to take a small empty suicase for all of our purchases. No good could come from this! I took a sleeping pill and was off to bed at 9:30pm.
Jan. 19 - Travel Day (Arrive, Downtown, & CHef Mickey's)
Kara's father arrived around 5am (ugh) to get us to the airport and back prior to going to work. Getting up at 5am is NOT a vacation to me! All I wanted to go was sleep, but all they wanted to do was talk! Soon the Kara Kurse was upon us. (Everytime I fly with her, something goes wrong with our flight.) Luckily we were only delayed aroudn 15 minutes getting out of Indy and we were on our way.
Upon arriving at MCO all we kept saying was "Level 1, Side A"! Although Kara used to live in FL, I was the guide. I knew my part was to get Kara to the resort and then I could relax. See, this was Kara's very first stay on property! We arrived at the Magical Express counter and I let her check us in. Then we tried to be patient to get on our bus. With noise kids around us (!) we were finally on our way. The bus stopped at Caribbean Beach to let a ton of people off, then POFQ, and then us. There was a huge bus backup at POR and I thought they were taunting us - so close, yet so far!
Checking-in: The Nightmare
We finally entered the Registration area and the nightmare began. Upon check-in we were met by Marina. Although her English was correct, there was much difficulty in understanding by both her and us. A number of basic questions regarding the cruise, our tickets, and applying Reward Cards points to our account were foreign to her and we were directed to a deserted cruise desk and crowded concierge counter. During our check-in she ignored us and began speaking Portuguese with another guest who interrupted us. Then another Cast Member interrupted us by asking about another guest's park tickets. I found this all quite startling, as Cast Members have always made me feel like their priority no matter the topic or environment. (Perhaps I was spoiled from staying at the BCV?!)
Next, to expedite our check-in, Kara waited at the cruise desk, while I waited for a concierge. The cruise Cast Member also was unable to answer some basic questions. For example, we wanted to confirm our dinner seating rotation on the cruise; we were told that this information would be printed on our Key to the World cards. However, this information was not on our cards and the cruise Cast Member could not provide this information.
At the concierge desk, I was met by Sasha. At this point we were still trying to apply the Reward Points (60 for me and 170 for Kara) to our account and also upgrade our 7 day Park Hoppers to include the No Expiration option. Having taken so many Disney trips and thoroughly researching the offerings, I knew the No Expiration option was $65 per the recent increase. Sasha proceeded to charge us an additional $100 per ticket! At this point, my patience for the POR staff was nearly non-existent and I assured him it was not $100, but $65. Sasha's face expressed both anger and frustration at me as I requested he confirm the price with another Cast Member or from documentation that I was sure was available. Eventually, the price of $65 was confirmed and our charge cards were charged. Then Sasha printed an account balance sheet, but neither of us understood it, as we had just arrived and not charged anything to our room account/Key to the World card. :confused3 (P.S. Why can't we each have separate accounts like on the ship?!)
At this point I grumbled outside to drop our carry-ons in the room. Kara had no idea where we were going, but trusted I knew, since I'd stayed at POR a couple of times previous. Not only was I angry :furious: at the POR staff, but moreso that Kara had been turned off to staying on-property within 5 minutes. It was as if my talk of how great it was was a total lie. Grrr.
Anyway, we wondered around to our room and were relived to get there! We dropped our stuff, changed into something cooler (ahhh), and headed for the food court for a light lunch.
The Mill was deserted and it was only 1pm! Ha! I love traveling in January. :woohoo: I had told Kara that the only way to get a light lunch was to order the Kid's meal, so we both got chicken nuggets in a Mickey bowl. Cooled off and fed, we were beginning to relax.
I had been watching for the boat. So soon we were sprinting down the gangplank to take the boat to DD. It was sunny, :sunny: beautiful, and relaxing. Plus, it was another thing Kara had never done at Disney.
Our first stop was at the Pin Traders, as Kara had to get her first lanyard and more pins. (It got her some for Christmas to get her started.) About $60 later she was done there! Next, we were off to World of Disney. With only 3 nights on land, our shopping needed to be expedited on a one-stop-shop! We were surprised that some of the pins were cheaper here (whoa!), so she returned some to Pin Traders. I had forgotten to tell her to tell the clerk at the beginning to have the items shipped to the room. This was a benefit she was looking forward to! Oh well, carrying bags make us feel good! Next we were off to get scrapbook items and check out some art. Luckily, I had spent hardly anything at this point since I had just been to WDW in Nov. and Dec.! However, I did a good job of helping Kara spend her $!
Soon it was time to bus to the Contemporary, as Kara wanted dinner at Chef Mickey's. We were there very early, but were soon seated. Waiting near the bar with the cigarette smoke was gross. Chef Mickey's had been remodeled since she had last been there in 1998. It was even louder than before. To be honest, I just wanted to eat. Having been up since the middle of the night (& looking like), I wasn't in a real mood for character pictures. However, Kara was psyched, so I tried to be the model, supportive friend. Taking multiple photos of her and EVERY character. They did bring Kara a cupcake to celebrate finishing her Ph.D. and then they brought me one as well. They fit perfectly into drinking cups! to take them with us. Luckily, by the time we left, she said that was the last time she needed to dine there!
We Monorailed around to the MK and headed for our bus back to POR. We needed to make it an early night to catch up on the day's lost sleep and prepare for the next day titled - Day 2: Off and running (literally).
Stay tuned for Day 2 - Jan. 20
MK, EPCOT, & more!
03-09-2006, 01:26 PM
Day 2 - Jan. 20
MK, EPCOT, & more!
We're off to the MK!
This morning we drug ourselves from bed (after being screamed awake by Stitch) and quickly switching to happy "We're at Disney" mode. We dressed, strapped on our lanyards, and ate our Chef Mickey cupcakes while waiting on the bus. We seemed to be running a few minutes behind, but what can you do? We arrived at MK just before the opening show and were able to make good use of the video and digital cameras.
I have a traditional (read: efficient) sequence of tackling the rides. However, the was Kara's trip, so I let her have her way. So we began by taking the train to Adventureland to ride Big Thunder Mt. (BTMR) I'd only been on this once - the last time Kara and I went - so I figured I get it over with. Actually I seem to like it more & more. In fact, we wode it a 2nd time without getting off! (Did I mention I love going in January?!)
Next she was to go to Pirates. Ok. As we were striding through the empty queue area, Kara realized she'd lost the bottom part of her lanyard which happened to have her KTTW card!!!! I assured her Disney would take care of it regardless if found it or not. So we quickly got back to BTMR and asked about a lost item. They had us enter the exit and amazingly enough they had her card! WHOA! Talk about a heart attack! Now with all of our energy zapped. We checked the time and knew we should get to Toontown. I had told Kara her picture could be taken with Pluto back there. Somethign you need to know: Kara is OBCESSED with Pluto. Our last trip I teased that she was stalking him! Since it wasn't open yet I didn't think the train would stop there, but we tried anyway. Yep, we could get off and it was one of the best surprises!
Having waited at the front of Toontown before, I knew a couple of characters (Pooh or Piglet, Eyore, Tigger) would great and open Toontown. However, on the train side we got time with MICKEY! He had met with a private tour and then came out to greet all of us by the rope. Our pictures were incredible! Soon we were let in, but realized Pluto wasn't there for photos. Yet, again I felt I had let Kara down. So I convinced her to go to the Judge's Tent to see Mickey while it wasn't crowded. Amazingly, we were in the room with Mickey ALL by ourselves! :Pinkbounc We got a lot of photos. Happier, we left and headed for the Teacups.
The Teacups... & Kara's Vertigo! We learned a couple of years ago Kara has vertigo, which explains why the teacups aren't her favorite. So for the 1st time, she spun the cup and I enjoyed it. Whoa. Spinning and watching are 2 different things. She had a good laugh when I was a bit dizzy afterward, while she was sprinting off to the next ride! Next, it was Dumbo, Peter Pan, small world, and Philharmagic. Amazingly, this was all Kara wanted to go at MK. So out the gates we went and steered right to the Monorail.
My Monorail (Por favor mantengense alejado de las puertas!) Did I spell it right?
On the way to the TTC, Kara got us to ride in the front. I'd done this once before, but this time we had a nice driver and we received our "Drivers License"! Cool - even for us older kids! On the way to EPCOT we had an entire Monorail car to ourselves. :woohoo: I'm sure someone somewhere was watching us dance all the way there! Because of this we also got great shots when we looped around inside EPCOT!
Time for lunch, eh?
Based solely on the menu on the internet, we made reservations at Le Cellier. Now we fully understand the rave reviews! We were both excited about the Cheddar Cheese soup, but were apprehensive. So we ordered a bowl to share. After one mouthful, I ordered my own! THAT SOUP - WOW! Plus, the breadsticks! I was in heaven. Next we split the BBQ chicken - yum - as well as the Chef's Dessert Sampler. It contained Raspberry Sorbet (Kara), Chocolate Whiskey Cake (split), and Maple Creme Brulee (me). Again, the creme brulee was to die for! That meal was more than worth the price!
I think? the next thing we did was go to the Disney Visa Cardholders Photo opportunity in Innoventions. Luckily Pluto was there, so Kara's need for that photo was taken care of! We also visited the Character Connection and got photos with everyone of the characters there. I admit there was a tearful moment when a wheelchair-bound Make-A-Wish child came through. It was awesome how EVERY character and photographer stopped to come over to the child at the same time and let her have as much time as she wanted. Even more special, not a single person said a negative word about it.
Soarin' = Sore Feet
Next, we headed for Soarin'. I had been on it in Dec. and was really happy with it. In fact, we quickly rode twice in a row in Dec. However, the middle of the day in Jan. was another issue. We got a FastPass, but went ahead and got in the standby line because the time stated about 40 minutes. During the wait we called our Travel Agent to see if we could learn anything more about our dining rotation on the cruise. Unfortunately, we were ahead of a 13? year old boy and his parents. This CHILD did NOTHING but complain about the wait and his feet the ENTIRE time. Then we had cheerleaders ahead of us - yes - cheering. Their chaperone thought it was so funny. Right. By the time we got to the ride our wait had been - wait for it - 90 minutes. Did I mention Test Track was closed during this time? I wanted to hurt myself! Then, as were were getting seated, the people behind us jumped to the back row. It then took 10 minutes to get everyone re-seated so the families were together. The violating family couldn't understand why they had to move. AUGH! We were SO glad to get out of there!
By this time the line for Turtle Talk was huge and we just couldn't take another line. So we headed back over the MK to get set for Wishes. To waste some time, we took a nice relaxing ride on Tomorrowland Transit Authority. I introduced Kara to my preferred seating for Wishes, the Terrace Noodle station. See, it did my 1.5 hrs time stratling the rod iron fencing nearer the Castle to capture on video the 13 glorious minutes of Wishes back in March. Now it was time to sit and relax! Kara and I both got some dogs at Caseys and settled in for the show. We spent time checking in with family and journaling our trip thus far. Unfortunately, it was SpectroMagic night. No offense, but that repetitive music makes me want to pull out my hair!
Since it was EMH at EPCOT, we just couldn't at least try getting over there. Like sardines we progressed to the monorail. Upon arriving at EPCOT we realize there is ONE security guard/checkpoint and only ONE turnstile to enter the park. That alone took about 20 minutes. It's EMH in Jan. Are they kidding? The line was just as bad at Soarin', so we got in the 12 minute line at Turtle Talk. By then we were thrashed, so we headed for the bus. :guilty: The line for POR at the bus stop wrapped around at least 4 times; I believe we waited at least 30 minutes to get on a bus. Finally, after stares at the traffic coordinator, we got 2 busses.
I introduced Kara to the other bus stops at POR and we drug ourselves back to the room. Unfortunately, there was no rest for the weary, as we had another full day planned.
Stay tuned for Day 3 - Jan. 21
AK, MGM, & more
03-09-2006, 02:23 PM
Im here with ya :wave: - enjoying the ride
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