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Beth E. (NJ)
02-12-2001, 05:37 AM
We came, we saw, we ate some more! -- a better late than never trip report.

The vital statistics:

Cast:

Beth E. – the mom, Disney fanatic, trip planner

EE– the dad, just following mom’s well planned out footsteps

Sophie – DD 5 1/2, first trip to WDW, very outgoing child, loves the princesses, has no idea what went in to planning this trip and that anything we do is “out of the ordinary”

Dates of trip: Tuesday December 5th to Friday December 15th

Accommodations: All Star Sports Hotel

Weather: Cold in NJ, cool in Florida – clothing for day: long pants, tee shirts and sweatshirts or light jackets.

Prelude to a trip report: A few days before we left for sunny Florida I decided to reconfirm our flight information. I started by trying to check on the computer and I discovered that our flight from NJ to Orlando International Airport had moved up by 45 minutes. I couldn’t find the flight number for our return flight on the computer at all. At this point (and in a minor panic) I decided to call Continental Airlines for exact details. The man I spoke to was very nice. Sure enough our flights in both directions had changed. The flight home had been rescheduled and given a new flight number. It was now leaving an hour earlier. I was so glad I checked!

Trip report part 1 December 5th 2000 – A Tuesday

After we discovered that our flight to WDW was leaving earlier than expected, we were able to adjust our travel plans and get to the airport with plenty of time to spare – and plenty of luggage to lug. (They don’t call it luggage for nothing!) Since we were going to be away for 11 days and the weather could be anything from balmy to icy I had packed accordingly. For 2 adults and 1 child, I had 2 large suitcases, and we each had a carry-on bag. We also brought DD’s booster car seat and a cheap umbrella stroller. In order to ease the morning cries of “What should I wear?” from my DD, I packed each of her short outfits in a Ziploc bag. While I only did this with the warm weather clothes, this still definitely saved me time in the morning since I didn’t necessarily have to pick out each outfit and scramble to find the matching pieces. This also meant that my DH could get DD an outfit without having to ask me what goes with what!

The flight from Newark to Orlando International was uneventful. My DD’s carry-on had lots of things for her to do including some homework from school and a couple of surprises from my mom. One of the toys that was a big hit was called “Crocodile Dentist” you take turns pushing on the teeth in the open crocodile’s mouth and at some point the mouth closes on your hand and then you are the loser. We played this for a while on the flight home (so anyone who heard strange snapping sounds on a flight on December 15th, that was us!) The snack on the flight was a sub sandwich, which was actually not bad. I did notice that the child across the aisle had the children’s meal, which I never remember to request in advance for my daughter. Oh well! She ate a good portion of the sub without complaint, plus her baby carrots and then she even ate my baby carrots too.

We got to Orlando and picked up our bags from the carousel. Bad mommy – when we got on the monorail at the airport I told DD that this was Disney! LOL We had rented a car from National’s Emerald Aisle, so we proceeded to the rental car area to get a car. Wow! How nice to have the rental cars right there at the airport instead of having to schlep with the bags to an offsite location. I was hoping for a SUV or minivan, but there were none of them to be had when we arrived. DH revisited his teenage years when he saw the cool new VW Beetles in the row. DD seconded the motion, but it was overturned when we saw the very small size of the trunk. Couldn’t even fit one of our suitcases in it, let alone two!

We ended up with a 4-door sedan. I let DH and DD picked it out. DH went for the 6-valve engine and dd went for the color – gold. All I wanted was a car that would go, had air conditioning and comfy seats! After we loaded the luggage, carry-ons and booster seat into the car we were off. It was a very quick process and the selection of the car took longer than the rest of the procedure. After we left the airport we drove to visit a company that does computer tech support for my husband’s business. These are people he speaks to all the time and when they found out he was coming to Florida they told him that their offices were just a few minutes from the airport. We spent a while in their offices and got the grand tour. They were very nice – interrupting their day to meet us and letting our DD tear through their offices burning up “I want to go to WDW” steam.

From there we went to a local Winn Dixie to pick up “room food.” We debated buying a small cooler to keep in the room, but eventually decided against it. We just picked up some snacks and breakfast food. We got Capri Sun juices for Sophie to carry in her waist sack. We also got packets of crackers with assorted fillings, gummy snacks, pop tarts, mini donuts, individual cereal boxes, small boxes of milk, some plastic bowls, two bottles of water and a big jug of water. See how healthy we were being! Lol When we went to check out I saw the most amazing thing – self check out. We don’t have that in NJ yet and I was amazed by it. The only hitch we had was that one of the bottles of water we were buying had at one point been in a multi-pack and therefore had no UPC code on it. We tried to scan it, but there was nothing to scan. The cashier/bagger who was helping us didn’t know what to do with the package either, but a manager quickly solved the problem.

Finally, (I want to get to WDW!) we packed the groceries into the car and set off to the World. DH dropped me off at the front door to the All Star Sports Hotel (hereby referred to as ASSH) just in case there was a line for check in. There was no line! I checked us in and was given a room that met almost all of my qualifications. I had faxed my requests to the room controller a couple of days before we were due to arrive. I had asked for a non-smoking room in the Touchdown building. I also had asked for a room in a certain area of the building since DH and I had stayed in that building in 1997 and knew it to be a quiet section. I got non-smoking and the building I wanted, but the room was not particularly close to the previous room. I was slightly worried because this room was now a corner room and just around the corner was the smaller pool. I thought this might be a noisy place to be, but honestly I never heard any noise after 10pm.

While I was taking care of check in my DH got the luggage unloaded and my DD sat down in the lobby to watch the movie they were playing. When I turned from checking in I was so happy to see her sitting there, with this big grin on her face. She was so excited to be there and couldn’t believe that she could see Disney movies in the lobby of the hotel.

My next order of business was to try to get us the Fantasmic dinner package for the next night. We had tentative plans to meet friends and do the dinner and show with them. Since they had gotten to WDW a few days before us I had given my friend all the information about making the plans. When I spoke to her the previous day, she told me that she tried to make them, but the cast member she spoke to dissuaded her, telling her that she would have to eat early and that she should just eat on her own and then go to the show! I was shocked that a cast member would tell her this. So I went to guest services and spoke to a gentleman there about booking the package. My first choice was Mama Melrose. My parents had had dinner there in September and told me that they really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, it was all booked up. Then I tried to book the remaining two restaurants, but they were full too. I thought we would have to get to Fantasmic a couple of hours early and do the wait. Boo Hoo. I popped into the ASSH gift shop and got Sophie an autograph book so we would be all set for the rest of the trip. Then, since she was itching to get to the parks and we weren’t going there until the next day, we went to the playground instead.

Our plans for that evening were to go to the Contemporary Hotel and have dinner at Chef Mickey. We drove to the Contemporary, which was easy to do. I have to say that navigating WDW was much easier than I expected. The first few times we got in the car I had my trusty map at the ready, but then I realized that signs were everywhere and we only got confused once the whole trip when we missed a turn. We got to the Contemporary and valet parked our car. Sophie was entranced by the large figures of Disney characters playing in fake snow in the lobby. She had to stop and take a picture with her own camera. Aside: I had purchases some “one time use” cameras for Sophie to use during the trip. She loved to take her own pictures!

We went upstairs and checked in at Chef Mickey’s. When we were standing outside Sophie had her first character sighting. Goofy and Pluto were in the lobby area of the restaurant signing autographs. Sophie was so amazed I don’t even think she noticed that there were other people around! We were able to contain her and we went to take our picture (which came out awful!). Soon after we were seated. Sophie was so eager – she had her autograph book and pen at the ready. The minute she saw a character enter the room she stopped what she was doing and picked up her book to wait for the character to get to our table. I tried to explain to her that the character would go to these other tables first, but she wouldn’t have any of it. She didn’t want to take a chance and not be ready when they got there. Luckily she did eat some food (and she loved the dessert bar.) She saw Goofy, Pluto, Donald, Mickey, Minnie, Chip and Dale. The thing that struck my DH and I the most was the fact that Sophie is usually a very outgoing child. She has never been shy and does not have a problem starting conversations with strangers. She made more “friends” during our trip than anyone I’ve ever known, but the characters rendered her completely speechless. She would stare at them with big giant pie eyes and grin the biggest grin I have ever seen, but she could barely speak at all. My Dh was taking pictures with his new digital camera and they came out amazing. I have never seen her smile like that!

Now I know DH wasn’t expecting much food-wise at this meal. When he and I went to WDW without kiddies in 1997 we made PS for the kinds of restaurants that we would want to eat in. We didn’t do any character meals. That trip we ate dinner at Maya Grill, California Grill, Flying Fish, Spoodles, and O’Hana’s (which was our biggest disappointment.) This trip was for our DD and we planned our meal selections accordingly. We had character meals and less formal meals. But I have to say that the dinner at Chef Mickey’s was very good. Some of the things served that night include: Penne with seafood and spinach in a white sauce, leg of lamb, peel and eat shrimp, and the famous Parmesan potatoes. The children’s bar had macaroni and cheese (which my daughter didn’t like as well as some of the Mac and cheese she ate later in the trip) pizza, hot dogs and chicken nuggets. The dessert bar had a variety of cakes, pies and cookies, but the highlight of the dessert area was the ice cream served with a ton of toppings. DH and I enjoyed that as much as if not more than Sophie.

We spent long enough in Chef Mickey’s to visit with all the characters and twirl our napkins. Finally, we paid, left the Contemporary Hotel and drove back to the ASSH. At this point I went back to guest services to see if there had been any cancellations for the Fantasmic dinner package (or to see if this CM was anymore knowledgeable than the CM who helped me the first time, but didn’t really seem to understand what I was looking for). Once back in the room we all settled in and went to sleep. The next day was going to be a busy one and we wanted Sophie to get some rest.

Coming Soon: Day 2 (http://wdwinfo.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?q=Y&a=tpc&s=40009993&f=12309246&m=1450939731)Can we get the Fantasmic Dinner Package? How brave will Sophie be? And other imponderables.

http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/family/rainbow.gif Beth E. (NJ)
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[This message was edited by Beth E. (NJ) on 04-02-01 at 04:43 PM.]

[This message was edited by Beth E. (NJ) on 04-02-01 at 04:48 PM.]

Beanie
02-12-2001, 08:14 AM
Sounds great so far, Beth! My DS loves Chef Mickeys and always loves hugging the characters there!! Sounds like Sophie had lots of fun too!!

Thanks for posting!!

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Marla Hellwig
02-22-2001, 09:54 AM
We too started off our last trip with dinner at Chef Mickey's which we enjoyed. Thanks for posting!

pumba
02-22-2001, 03:41 PM
:)

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wmears13
02-22-2001, 08:43 PM
REALLY love how you told dd that the monorail at the airport was WDW! Sounds just like me! Took my niece with dh and I to Tennessee one summer. Only reason she went was to see Graceland. LOVES Elvis! Poor kid suffered with us for 1 week before we made it here. Everytime she would fall asleep in the backseat and we would stop, we'd wake her up by saying, "Sarah, we're at Graceland!" She never did get completely used to that! <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz">

Beth E. (NJ)
03-31-2001, 10:43 AM
Bumping this up since I finally intend to finish posting the trip reports. Installment two will follow shortly - so I thought I would bump up the first chapter in case anyone wanted to read it.

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http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/family/rainbow.gif Beth E. (NJ)
Co-Moderator: THE RECIPE AND SCRAPBOOK BOARD
THE DISNEY REWARDS FORUM
THEME PARK ATTRACTIONS AND STRATEGIES
http://www.busprod.com/twog/smile%20folder/niceday.gif http://www.cooking.com/images/recipes/rerecite/RE_jmc083v.jpg

sk!mom
04-01-2001, 12:25 PM
I hope that you will soon finish your report. We will be going in May and staying at the ASSP with our DD who will turn 5 during our stay, so I am very interested in hearing about your trip.

minniecarousel
04-06-2001, 07:57 AM
Thanks for the report - looking forward to #2!

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Alison
04-06-2001, 10:17 AM
Beth what a great report! Can't wait for more!

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Kirby
04-12-2001, 05:57 PM
We stayed in the Touchdown building last year and found it quite enjoyable. On to the next post....