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View Full Version : Tarheel Tink- 12/3-12/9 Dixie Landings-Days 1 and 2; Mom's first trip to WDW!


Tarheel Tink
01-13-2001, 05:10 AM
Tarheel Tink- December 2000 Walt Disney World Trip Report

The Posse:

Tarheel Tink- myself, planning maniac; dead set on making this a great trip for my mother

Earl- my husband, willing follower and fellow Disney Nut

Mom- first trip ever to Disney World; gonna do it in a wheelchair

Julia- friend of over 26 years and mother of Merrie; had bad experience years ago at Disney World, trying again!

Merrie- friend from high school days, has been to Disney many times

Scott- husband of Merrie, Julia’s son-in-law, friend of my family for decades: just wants to eat dinner at Emerils

Blast-Off- 12/2/00 Saturday p.m.- All night drive

I was thrilled to convince my mother to finally accompany us for her first trip to Disney World. With several physical problems, we decided she would use a wheelchair for her comfort and also to afford her a chance to see as much as possible in 7 days. The DisAbilities Board was very informative and generous with their knowledge as I tried to learn as much as possible about wheelchair accessibility, transport, etc.

As fate would have it, several kinks in my plans occurred. First, a major sewage problem arose at my home in the weeks before our trip. The stress and the expense just added to the pre-trip jitters of my injuring my back 2 weeks prior to the trip. A very humble me was medicated and bed-ridden over a weekend and recovered completely before our trip. However, Mom and Earl both acquired colds so I was staying in "plague room, Dixie-style". Add in a transmission problem with one of our vehicles and I now had a noticeable tic in one of my eyes.

I had booked us at Dixie Landings while Julia , Merrie and Scott booked the Contemporary for their stay. I had planned a pretty active itinerary and let everyone know they could bail out at any time, no hurt feelings! Earl, Mom and I drove down overnight from coastal North Carolina for the 11-12 hour drive to the gates of Disney World. "Princess" Mom rode in the backseat sleeping off and on while Earl and I shared driving, sleeping. She wore ear plugs so the stereo wouldn’t keep her awake. Whoever was driving got to choose the music selection; I have a very large Disney music selection and never tire of hearing them, unlike the other occupants of the car.

Our timing worked out perfect for pulling into Belz Outlet’s Character Warehouse at 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning, 12/3/00- we managed to find a few bargains while Mom shopped. Before the lines at the register built up too badly, we left the store and headed to the WDW entrance and Dixie Landings.

I didn’t have to wait long to check in- at noon time our room wasn’t ready yet so we decided to get lunch at the resort’s food court. Actually, the plan was to try and take the boat to Downtown Disney to do a bit of shopping but Mom vetoed that idea due to fatigue (a decision we were both to regret for the next 5 days; she was chanting all week "When do we go shopping?" like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. Repeatedly. Daily.). Finally, the chance to try the famous pralines at the bakery! It was true; they are delicious, huge and a good buy at 99 cents each. They taste like the best part of a great pecan pie! Mom got her refillable mug; Earl and I had ours from Port Orleans (sister resort) that we could use.

By this time, our room was ready and in a wonderful location- Alligator Bayou Building 14 (room 1401). It is very close to the bus stop, gift shop, food court, and marina. We love the detailing and landscaping of Dixie Landings and were deeply moved to find a huge floral arrangement (lilies,roses,carnations,snapdragons,daisies, tulips,and many more) AND a huge basket with fruit,cheese, crackers, cookies, snacks of all kinds piled in it and wrapped with a yellow ribbon with mickeys on it! We felt a bit like royalty! The cards showed that Julia had sent them as a welcome- she tried to scare us by writing "Wish I was there!" on one of the cards so we would think she had changed her mind.

We were able to clean up, unpack a bit and rest some before our Priority Seating for the Grand Floridian Tea at 4:00 p.m.- we were to be a group of 9 to take the Grand Tea, courtesy of Julia’s generosity (there is a definite trend here!).

We loaded back into the car and drove over to Shades of Green Resort (military) to purchase Mom’s Stars and Stripes pass for 5 days at the parks. Mom is a retired military dependant so the ticket was quite a savings over the standard price. There was no wait and it took less than a minute with a very friendly young woman

We then drove to the Grand Floridian but cut things a bit short not realizing how far away we would be parking. We arrived panting (well, not Mom in her chariot) but we had to wait a bit for our table so we were able to catch up with our friends and what they had done so far. They had all arrived the day before and had been pretty busy and had seen Main Street Electrical Parade at the Magic Kingdom "one and a half times" Saturday night.

The lobby of the Grand Floridian done up for Christmas is an incredible sight so we certainly didn’t mind lingering outside the lounge. A chorus was starting to sing so we pushed Mom near to them; she was within seconds handed a songbook and had a Christmas scarf wrapped around her neck. Of course, that exact moment is when our party was called to the tea so Mom "de-scarfed" and gave back the music. We were seated on a long comfortable couch against the wall with small tables for two in front of us with the other part of our party (including Merrie’s cousin and her two daughters) seated on the other side of the table in chairs.

Our very nice waitress explained some items to us and we all chose our tea variety and received a glass of sparkling wine with a strawberry (or Sprite for some). To the best of my recollection (and it is hazy, admittedly, from the pure gluttony of it all!) we were each served plates of sandwich halves on different types of breads with 4? types of filling (egg salad with chives, salmon spread, chicken salad, and cucumber/cream cheese spread). At this point a bit of trading took place amongst us as we discovered our favorites. The younger of the group were fair play for getting more sandwiches out of also (heh heh!). The plate of sandwiches also had a tart with fresh diced tomatoes in it and a crab mousse on a tart. We got our own pots of tea and refilled as needed by our attentive waitress.

I had wanted to try this tea ever since reading Dave in the Frozen North’s trip report (see the Trip Planning Classics Board!) in which the forever emblazoned in my mind quote of his wife’s in regards to our next serving- "The Scones Sucketh Not!". No one knew why Earl and I were giggling while the scones and jam tarts were brought out. My first thought when I saw the scone was "It looks like a biscuit?!". But oh, what a difference! Read Dave’s report and you will understand!

The delicious raspberry preserves (in our own individual jars) and clotted cream (another name for it would surely enhance it’s popularity in America!) were wonderful on the scones and apparently nobody wanted to share these!

More tea and then our choice of trifle or pastries. All were wonderful with only a mild scuffle over the swan shaped lemon pastry (Ok, we shared!). With our delay on the 4:00 seating, this meal took place of dinner. We all took the monorail back to the Contemporary where they were staying and decided to try and view the 7:00 Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks over the Magic Kingdom from the observation deck outside of the California Grill.

In retrospect, it WAS a good idea in theory; however the extremely cold wind kept all but the very hardy inside crowding the doorway to stay in the warm restaurant. Mom in her wheelchair did not stand a chance of seeing so out she was wheeled into the arctic wind. (little note here- she was wearing her jacket and knit hat with MY gloves and had MY blanket over her while I had on a sweater. If I heard her say one more time "It’s so cold!" I would not be responsible for my actions and I think she finally sensed it! We WERE on the 15th floor, after all!) We couldn’t hear the music like the restaurant could but it was a beautiful sight.

Exiting the California Grill was hectic with everyone wanting the elevators to the monorail. We parted company with our friends and took the monorail back to the Grand Floridian. Earl took the long trek to retrieve our car and drove up to load the wheelchair and get the two of us. We got pretty good at the chair folding/loading over the week with only one notable incident (Thursday- Animal Kingdom- bus- OUCH!).

Once back at the floral-scented (from the flower arrangement- an immense one) room, we relaxed, refilled mugs, and made it an early night for our planned Early Entry on Monday morning for the Magic Kingdom. I had requested a wake-up call for 6:00 a.m. and early housekeeping so the room would be ready after lunch for a quiet rest (our week-long plan). The phone is by Mom- heh heh!


Tarheel Tink- Dixie Landings Monday 12/4/00

Mickey called at 6:00 a.m. and a very groggy Mom grabbed the phone. Puzzled she looked at me and said "No one is there?!". I told her to keep listening and soon she was grinning and then she did a pretty good imitation of a Mickey Mouse giggle! I had gotten up earlier and was dressed so while mother and husband got ready, I took a walk to the food court for mug refills and purchase of fruit cup, chocolate chip muffin, and a sticky bun. I’ll leave it to you to guess who ate what, but one hint is that Nibbler Mom pretty much tasted everything on this trip!

We got to the bus stop and without much wait at all a Magic Kingdom bus pulled up. We nervously prepared our mentally rehearsed bus loading technique. We waited where the 2nd door on the bus should stop and set the brake on the wheelchair. I took Mom’s arm and grabbed the backpack off the back of the chair while Earl handled the chair folding. The bus driver was usually walking back to assist us unless they saw in the side mirror what we were doing. Mom would then cautiously step up the stairs with the driver and/or I assisting her followed by Earl with the chair which he held pushed against our legs so people could pass us. It seemed to work out well and was fairly a quick procedure. They then let everyone else load and on we would go.

The big decision of what ride to be Mom’s first at Disney World was settled by what we were near- Alien Encounter! Strange choice, I know, but much enjoyed. I might note that the first ride was the beginning of our noticing how efficient the Cast Members were with dealing with wheelchairs and how smoothly they showed you where to go; sometimes just a smile and gesture was all that was necessary.

After AE, we did the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (still chilly) to give Mom an overview and to see the only sight of Space Mountain she was going to get. She enjoyed the view but marveled at "how cold it is!". Of course, we found out later that back home had snow and ice so we were actually in the warmer part of the south that day. We took a ride through Buzz Lightyear Ranger Spin which Mom said she enjoyed more for having just watched Toy Story for the first time a few weeks before.

We left Tomorrowland and entered Fantasyland. Snow White was a walk on so we took a run through- one of Mom’s favorite animated movies. She lived near Hollywood when it was released and they let students out of school to see the movie. She remembers running home to ask for money for a ticket. It is also due to the 7 Dwarfs that she is looking forward to shopping for a shirt with all of them on it (remember the chant she has? "When are we going shopping?" As if she would wear me down...).

After Snow White, we did Small World, Earl took off to get us Fast Passes for Winnie the Pooh ride, and then we made the first show of Legend of the Lion King at 9:15 a.m. Mom really enjoyed the puppetry in this show. Afterwards, we used our FastPasses for the Pooh ride (gotta love those honeypot seats!). We bypassed the line at Peter Pan and left Fantasyland for Liberty Square and the Haunted Mansion! With the wheelchair entrance here, you miss the entire pre-show and are loaded right on. Our doombuggy loader had a great Scottish accent and a morose coroner-type attitude that was perfect. He dejectedly told us that "Three to a buggy would be a wee bit snug" and sent us on our way. I kept pointing out things (no, your other left, Mom! Look!) so I probably distracted her from seeing more but we all enjoyed it.

We then went to the Hall of Presidents and enjoyed the show and the audio-animatronics. Still having a bit of time before our lunch Priority Seating, we crossed over into Adventureland and rode Pirates of the Caribbean- a favorite of mine and much enjoyed by us all. I must mention again, the wheelchair access was wonderful everywhere.

We then went to the Liberty Tree Tavern for lunch, meeting up with Julia, Merrie, and Scott. Mom’s chair required a different door to avoid the stairs and put us very close to our table for 6. Mom and I split the Pilgrim’s Feast- they split it in the kitchen so it was pre-plated. No one could believe the portions and how full our plates were! I always get the Declaration Salad so it was a very filling lunch after an active morning.

It was this meal that started our small problem of splitting a check at WDW. We told them at the start of ordering, 3 on this ticket, 3 on the other. No Problem (yeah, right). Bill was completely wrong. I circled all of my groups charges and they still got it wrong. Finally, it came close to correct so we paid that amount.


After leaving the restaurant and splitting from our friends, we took the train to Toontown with plans to walk to Tomorrowland to see Carousel of Progress on our way out (it doesn’t open until 11:00 a.m.) but Mom had tired so we rode all the way around again and got off at the Main Gate and took the bus (fairly empty) back to Dixie Landings to rest a bit.

After a few hours rest/nap time, we took the bus to Epcot. We went right on Spaceship Earth (side entrance to load- chairs are left there so they are waiting when you exit) which Mom enjoyed and Earl and I always love. We then headed over to the United Kingdom in World Showcase to find a spot for Tapestry of Nations. The earlier showing had been cancelled due to winds so the parade ended rather than started at my planned spot to observe. It turned out to be the best seat in the house as far as contact for my mother with the puppets. We had a wonderful view but guess what? ("It’s really cold!")


My carefully booked Rose and Crown Priority Seating for viewing Illuminations just wasn’t going to work out- they were running a minimum of 40 minutes behind, the outside tables were too cold, no one was taking them on their offer of immediate seating for outdoors, including all of us who had been drooling for those very tables for their view. The closest patio had plastic sheeting pulled down but not seeing the heaters they had set up we optioned to wait for an indoor table (while we shivered away and chatted with other guests). Some of us took advantage of the time and did some shopping in the UK stores. The pagers the restaurant gave out would vibrate when your table was available.

Finally our table was ready and drinks and appetizers all round. Learning from lunch, we sat opposite each other at the table so the order/ticket splitting might go more smoothly. I can vouch for the 1/2 pint of Bass Ale, the delicious Mushroom Medley, Banger’s and Mash (should have split it, had to leave half), and the Millenium dessert. Others had the Prime Rib and were pleased. Our server was very good and got the bill correct.


Illuminations time was approaching so we went out the side walkway to watch. Of course, there was a cluster of us and all of us chilled. Mom couldn’t see so we had her stand and she was able to see some (I’ve taped it before so I’ll slip it into her video copy). Afterwards we agreed Reflections of Earth kicked rump over Fantasy in the Sky.


We waited a bit and then sauntered out of the park. The "Contemporary crowd" took the monorail back to their resort. Knowing the crowds would be massive for our bus and with the chill, we grabbed a checker yellow cab and were whisked to our room doorway in less than 10 minutes; the driver also loaded/unloaded the chair. The fare from Epcot to Dixie Landings- Alligator Bayou 14 was around $8.00 (plus a great tip!) and well worth it. I think that will be my future plan of action for exiting Illuminations- the cabs are closer than the bus stop and I don’t relish the thought of driving in that madhouse.

Back at the room, we huddled down into showers/sleep/note-taking tasks and I started making demands of my roomies and their possessions. The room looked like a fraternity house after a party so a little order was called for. I also set the precedent of "I refill no unwashed mugs, and I’m not washing them for you!" so muttering under their breaths husband and mother joined forces against me and washed their mugs in injured silence. Hey, it’s my vacation too!

Tarheel Tink

DIS member since 9/98 and dang proud of it!
Disneyland multiple times
WDW 1982(in a seedy off-site rathole), DxL(Bayou)1997, CBR 1998, WL 1999, PO 2000, DxL (Bayou) 2000, AS Movies 2001, WL 2001

[This message was edited by Tarheel Tink on 01-13-01 at 09:22 AM.]

whosezMN
01-13-2001, 07:08 AM
Great report, Tink ... and I love your rule about not filling or washing unwashed mugs! Might have to use that one myself. ;)

Sandy

Beanie
01-13-2001, 08:21 PM
Great trip report...looking forward to the rest...thanks for posting!!

<font color=purple>Tricia</font>
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joshua4
01-15-2001, 01:49 PM
Wonderful post -- quite colorful. I love your sense of humor. (Especially as someone who is going to WDW with her mom in three days) Well, off to read about the rest of your trip . . .

Rajah
01-15-2001, 01:58 PM
So far, so good Tink! On to part 2 :D

-Rajah
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cdrtrisal@aol.com

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Tarheel Tink
01-17-2001, 08:34 AM
:D

Tarheel Tink

DIS member since 9/98 and dang proud of it!
Disneyland multiple times
WDW 1982(in a seedy off-site rathole), DxL(Bayou)1997, CBR 1998, WL 1999, PO 2000, DxL (Bayou) 2000, AS Movies 2001, WL 2001

Marla Hellwig
02-10-2001, 05:14 PM
By the end of our trip in July our room looked like a tornado had hit it - lol. Thanks for posting!

BrerMom
02-11-2001, 05:11 PM
Oh, the patience that is needed when multiple generations travel together! Thanks for the tips; I suspect we'll need them soon.

Mamu
02-13-2001, 08:59 AM
Tink, Thanks for the great report. :) I have enjoyed reading it and looking forward to reading the rest of your reports.

Mamu http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/family/wavey.GIF

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