View Full Version : An Extreme Couponer's Surprise Trip to Tatooine-12/4 Bringing the Magic Back

06-18-2011, 09:55 AM
Hi. Welcome to my Trip Report. I'll be back a little later with more details. I'm getting this report started with a title because if I post it, I will have to write it.

If you are reading this and trying to decide if you should subscribe or check back, here's the bottom line synopsis:
1 mom. 2 sons. 10 nights. 3 hotels. 4 days of Star Wars Weekend adventures. 3 major surprises including telling the boys at the airport that they are going with me to Disney.

Want to come along to Tatooine?

Who-What-Where-When-Why (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41528133&postcount=6)
Mommy Guilt (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41541425&postcount=7)
A Slip Up (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41554724&postcount=8)
The Worst Mother EVER (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41568324&postcount=9)
Are You Serious? (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41574343&postcount=12)
A Bad Check In (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41576440&postcount=20)
Hello to Disney World (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41591956&postcount=27)
No Freaking Way (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41592238&postcount=28)
No Wake Up Call (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41594483&postcount=30)
Room Service (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41602863&postcount=31)
Getting My Geek On (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41611548&postcount=32)
Nonsense Ensues! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41614055&postcount=33)
Tears on a Lightsaber (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41650066&postcount=35)
Alex's Best Day Ever (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41659243&postcount=38)
SWW Bonus Pics (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41665140&postcount=39)
Boring Old Epcot (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41697187&postcount=44)
Kringla - Kring u lah - Kringa lahh (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41756915&postcount=49)
10 hours at Animal Kingdom (was not enough) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41880459&postcount=56)
AK - Bonus Pics (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41892935&postcount=57)
Extreme Couponing and Disney Fruit Bars (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41915732&postcount=64)
AK Day Continued (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41935256&postcount=66)
Happy Birthday to Nick! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41996873&postcount=70)
Nick's Birthday Party Day (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42044512&postcount=75)
'Ohana with Real Cousins (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42133515&postcount=77)
The Freak Out! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42176664&postcount=79)
Babysitting Night (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42212994&postcount=97)
Pizza Party Picnic (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42276892&postcount=105)
Star Wars Friday! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42419630&postcount=110)
Jedi Training (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43382253&postcount=118)
Our Night at the Dolphin (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43395682&postcount=120)
Bringing the Magic to the Kingdom (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43399345&postcount=121)

06-18-2011, 10:18 AM
I'm in!

06-18-2011, 10:54 AM
Yay! Welcome to my first subscriber! :goodvibes I'm glad that you're here.

06-18-2011, 04:08 PM
Now this should be interesting. . .


06-18-2011, 04:36 PM
I love a new trip report! Can't wait!popcorn::

06-18-2011, 09:45 PM
Thanks for joining me on my adventure. This wasn’t my first trip - it was my 14th. Like my children, each one has been unique and amazing and unpredictable and worth every penny. This one was no different.

Who-What-When-Where and Why -

I am bizeemom4 -
Here I am on a trip last year -

I have four kiddos and a husband - The husband and the older two did not come on this trip - work, school, life are other priorities for them. Some people just don’t know how to manage their time. :)

The two boys that accompanied me are -

Alex - 15 years old. Loves swimming, soccer and Star Wars but growing out of Disney.


Nick - turned twelve on the trip. Still loves Disney!

Nick’s birthday is the same day as my niece Zoe. She was born 10 years after Nick. My Dsis wanted to go to WDW to celebrate her 10th wedding anniversary which is the day after Nick and Zoe’s birthday. Got that? Nick and Zoe’s birthday June 8. Anniversary June 9.

As all of my trips to Disney do, it started out with me going for a long weekend. I would fly in late Wednesday, June 8th and leave Sunday, June 12th. We ended up going Friday, June 3rd thru Monday, June 13th. That’s some long weekend, eh?

My favorite - Pop Century. It’s my favorite only because the transportation and customer service has always been penultimate. I always feel happy and energized at this hotel. Note that is a very important point for later on in the report. We also will be staying three nights at the Dolphin. On Nick’s last birthday trip in 2006, we stayed at the Dolphin. Nick commented then that he wished we could have paid the extra ‘50 bucks’ so that we could have had a balcony - a comment that ripped thru my heart. I suffer from serious mommy guilt at times such as that and the comment has never left me. There was no doubt that when I contemplated a stay at the Dolphin, we were getting a balcony room no matter how many streets I had to walk or kidneys I needed to sell on Craigslist.

Those are the two hotels where we have reservations. As noted in the synopsis, we stayed in 3 hotels. Details on that will come later on that.

DSis began talking about her plans and I really don’t remember if I volunteered to babysit on her anniversary or if she asked me to fly down to help out but the decision was made that I would join her for Zoe’s birthday and their anniversary. School would be finished and because it was Nick’s birthday also, he is coming along. Initially, I had not planned to bring Alex. I often travel to WDW with a child or a couple of them or a few times just by myself with my Dsis and nephews/niece. So this trip was only going to be a celebration of Nick’s and Zoe’s birthday and my Dsis’s anniversary. But then….Mommy guilt and Star Wars showed up.

06-20-2011, 08:42 AM
I booked the trip for Nick and I for Tuesday, June 7 to Sunday, June 12th and shared the trip information with DSis. She offers to pay for 2 nights of my trip if I will babysit her three kiddos on her anniversary!

I tried to justify not taking Alex with me.
He would miss a week of swimming practice.
It would be another $700-800 to bring him.
He had a birthday trip in 2009.
I would have five kids to 'babysit' during my sister's anniversary dinner instead of 4.

There are many compelling reasons to support not bring him with me. A niggle of mommy guilt here and there when I realized that it would be Star Wars weekend. And a little more when I justify the money my DSis would be contributing because I'm babysitting.

I ponder this for a week or so (we are about 3 weeks away from the trip at this point) and then I asked him if he would be sad if I went to Star Wars Weekend without him. His response was "Not saaaaaad. Just probably kind of jealous." HA! Ok so he wants to go. I book the plane ticket but I decide not to tell my sister. I thought it would be a nice surprise. Her oldest son likes to be Alex's ride buddy so this will be a very fun surprise.

At this point, neither Nick nor Alex knows that they are going to Disney. DSis doesn't know that Alex is coming. The trip is less than 3 weeks away. I think - hmmmm - that's not toooo long to keep a secret. Right?

06-21-2011, 07:57 AM
My boys know that I'm going to Disney so I can dwell on Disney planning sites without being suspect. It does get tricky communicating with DSis. I have caught myself typing "the boys" in emails to her then backspacing and typing Nick. I am careful. I can do this.

The problem is that now that I think there is too much to do in just one weekend. To change flights from first flight Tuesday the 7th to last flight Friday the 3rd, I have to give up the great $69 one way rate but $84 still isn't that bad. Sold.

Next is to get a spy on the inside to help me keep tabs on her. I send her husband an email with the Subject line: I need a co-conspirator. As her husband is an attorney in the public arena, I knew that would definitely get his attention.

Here's the content of the email to him:
"I am praying that your wife doesn't have access to your email! I really want this to remain a surprise.

J thinks that I'm arriving at Disney on Tuesday the 7th to help you guys with your anniversary dinner. BUT I booked flights to Orlando for a late Friday (the 3rd) night arrival. I plan to surprise her on Saturday morning when you guys are heading in to Magic Kingdom (because she will have Nick's park ticket). I'm also surprising Matthew by bringing his buddy Alex. J has NO idea!

I spent over an hour on the phone with her yesterday trying to ply her itinerary out of her for the trip so I know what you guys are planning to do. What I need from you is to be my itinerary spy. If she goes off the grid and changes her mind about where you will be and when on Saturday the 4th, I need you to update/text me. I can't wait to see her face when I run into her!"

His response was similar to what my husband's would have been:
"Good God do you understand what you are asking of me? Now I have to pay attention to when she prattles on about Disney! Usually I smile and nod at appropriate intervals, perhaps throw a chuckle in there every now and then, but this....you are asking a lot."

He does agree to help me out and we're good to go. I head out of town the weekend before Disney for a girls weekend at the beach. Late one night, I found myself reading a post on here about Star Wars planning. Without reading each post, I typed "I will be there the next two weekends…..blah, blah, blah"

The next morning, I received a message via Facebook from DSis….."SOOOOO, um, you're going to be there for the next TWO weekends eh bizeemom4? is there something you're not telling me about your flight???????"


06-22-2011, 08:30 AM
What I missed in my late night - post girls night out at the club - is that my Dsis (who is also a member here at DISboards) had just posted prior to my posting. So she read my post and was understandably confused.

Anxiety and a few curse words ensue and I start muttering repeatedly to myself "What do I say to her?" I send her a response of "Ooooh. Well, it was after midnight when we got back to the hotel and instead of typing out my sister will be there this weekend and I will be there next weekend, I just put I will be there the next 2 weekends." Then I try to change the subject and complain about how long the lines have been lately. I have been monitoring the wait times all week to see what lines are like at the park where we would be on that day using the Free WDW Waits app.

Will she buy it? Her response was "Yeah. That is too much information for the Dis. I have to be honest. I was really excited there for a minute." YES! She falls for it. I try to use the Disboards to throw her off track. I posted a question about what time to show up for the Star Wars parade and make sure to mention that she will be there this weekend and I will be joining her the next weekend so that she will read it and know it's true. She never sees it.

When I get home from the beach weekend, I walk in and find Alex and Nick watching a Star Wars movie marathon. I almost cave and tell them about the trip. What a perfect time to do it, right?!??! I run and ask hubby and he says to keep it a secret. We are only 4 days away now. Stay strong.

I almost spilled the whole secret the next day. A better person than I would have caved. I had told the boys weeks ago that my Dsis was going to be paying two nights of the hotel for me as a thanks for watching her kids. So the kids think that this is the only reason that I'm able to go on this trip. Here's the scene: Me - sitting at the computer desk, checking on park hours and so on. Nick - comes up beside me and very quietly says "If Aunt J had sent you $200 more, maybe I could have come along too." OMGGGGGGGGGG. I felt so bad that he was secretly hoping that we had enough money for him to go on the trip too. I AM THE WORST MOTHER EVER. I want to tell him in the worst way. It killed me to not tell him the truth. I ask him to tell me what characters he would like me to meet and get autographs from to bring home for him. Really, he's helping me plan his trip but he doesn't know.

You may be wondering how I managed to pack clothes for the boys for 10 days at Disney without them noticing. I was lax this year in switching out their winter clothes with summer. Their dressers were still full of turtle necks, sweaters, jeans. Well, I also found candy wrappers, legos, pencils, art projects, and snow pants stuffed in them as well. I feign (well not a stretch) disgust and state that we have to clean out and reorganize these dressers. I unpacked the summer stuff, making a few different piles of clothes around their room. To them, it was organized chaos. To me, it was clothes to stay here, clothes to pack on Thursday, clothes that are for my sister's boys. Genius if I do say so.

They need new sandals for the trip. Alex has none at all and Nick has one flip flop. How does that happen? I feign (well not a stretch) guilt that "I have been such a bad mom and didn't even buy you new sandals this year and tomorrow is the very last day of school. I have to get you new sandals or I will feel really bad!" That's the last purchase needed for the trip. I've already hit CVS and purchased my Aveeno sunscreen - 3 of them for $11 out of pocket after coupons and extra care bucks. If you've ever run out of sunscreen at Disney, you know that Disney will be glad to sell it to you for $11 each and they don't accept coupons!

Thursday night after work, swim practice and dinner, the boys are watching TV in their room. I swoop in and snag the 'take' piles and they don't even glance at me. So easy.

I pack everything quietly in my room and Friday morning while they are still sleeping (hooray for first day of summer vacation!) and my dog is still in bed, my husband and I put everything in the car. My dog knows what suitcases mean and she gets depressed so we had to hide them from her as well as the boys.

The boys had agreed to ride along with me to the airport. I want a hug goodbye before my trip. They have no reason at all to be hopeful or suspicious. My DD wants to ride along to say goodbye (really to see their reaction to their surprise) and DH is going to drive and drop us off. Parking for 10 nights at BWI is more expensive than a tank of gas spent driving to Baltimore and back. Besides, what husband doesn't enjoy driving a three hour roundtrip on the beltway on a Friday night?!

I leave work at 3. I walk in the door and yell for the boys. Two little hobos show up ready to go with me to the airport. I guess when I took 12 of the nicest polos and shorts from each kid, it left them with nothing better than gym uniforms and old hand-me-down condition t-shirts. Alex is complaining that he can't find any shorts at all. "I don't know what happened to all my clothes!!!!!!!!!" Hahaha.

We find ourselves at the airport at 5:15 - almost 3 hours before the flight. That's perfect for us. We always get there super early. It's peace of mind for me and also because I need the extra time to obsessively check that I have the plane tickets, my license, credit card, money, everyone's stuff and so on.
Brian parks in hourly parking and I jump out and grab the camera. I can't wait to see the reaction when the van door opens up and they see a mountain of luggage.

06-22-2011, 09:39 AM

You're going to leave us with THAT cliffhanger??


06-22-2011, 09:43 AM
OMG! You can't leave me hanging there!!

I seriously don't know how you didn't spill the beans when your DS came to you about the extra $200. That would've broken me right there!

Great job packing without anyone noticing. My dog has suitcase anxiety too. We have to do all our packing in the basement.

06-22-2011, 03:48 PM
When DH had removed the summer clothes from the attic, he pulled all of the suitcases down too. Alex asked me how many I was taking on my trip. I said "Just three." I'm glad that they are both going because I need a suitcase for my shoes - only 9 pair for the 10 day trip and another for my makeup/shampoo/bodywash/etc. My DH thinks that's a lot. Clueless.

Back to BWI………….and the back of the van goes up and there are SEVEN suitcases, a jammed Disney backpack, a small Igloo cooler and a Disney messenger bag stuffed with my laptop and camera.

The boys are standing by the van and see the luggage. Alex says "Mom! I thought you were only taking three suitcases." I say "Yeah. And I also told you that you weren't coming with me." Nick looks puzzled but then I see it in his eyes right away. He realizes what I mean. It takes Alex a beat longer. DH is all business. He pulls luggage out of the van, opens a suitcase to show Alex and says "Alex. You'll need these clothes." Alex then starts reacting with "Are you serious? We're going? Are you serious? When? Right now? Are you going too Dad?"

I did it! They really didn't suspect anything. As they process the news, it all starts making sense. Why they couldn't find clothes to wear this afternoon. Why my story kept changing - I told Nick that I would be back for his birthday because I wouldn't miss it but then how could I be there for my Dsis's anniversary? Things that weren't adding up but they didn't question. It all clicked. We talked about all the character autographs that they had asked me to bring home and all the Star Wars seminars and shows that I talked about recording for them. Well they were going to be able to do it all! Alex says "Too bad we didn't bring our light sabers." Oh but you did. I thought of that too and Dad scrounged around in the basement and found them and they are in the suitcases. Very happy boys.

I needed a few minutes to make sure that I had everything and then we started the walk to the ticket counter. I had checked in on my phone but didn't print the actual boarding passes so we needed to do that and surrender all this baggage. Thanks to my daughter and my husband for coming along. I definitely couldn't handle all of these bags by myself! It was a challenge for five people to get [reminder - the 7 suitcases, the backpack, the laptop/camera bag and a cooler of Alex's meds] from the car in/out of the elevator, down the moving sidewalks, thru the airport and the snaking line at Southwest.

I had debated the 'magical express delay or claim our luggage ourselves' argument with myself and some folks here on the Dis. Our flight was arriving after 10 p.m. so you have to either go to baggage claim to get your bags or wait until the next morning to let Disney do the work for you. I was thinking (when we were still at home) that it wouldn't be too hard to get the bags myself and drag them to the bus. Was I crazy? There is no way! I had packed a 'tomorrow' carry-on that had everything that we needed for Saturday just in case all of our bags were sent to Buffalo. I decide at the counter in Baltimore that we are going to use the 'tomorrow' inventory and wait for the luggage to arrive on its own time. I make sure that there isn't anything over 3 fluid ounces in that bag and then send everything else over the wall into the screening room.

Wave to Dad and Chloe! He hangs around to make sure that the meds clear security. It's not life-sustaining but Alex is supposed to have it daily. We had $1,000 worth of medicine (about a week and a half) and DH was not going to allow them to throw it away. He would take it back with him if he had to. I had assured him that all would be fine as the prescription is right on the cooler but he insisted on standing and watching until we were cleared and I shooed him away.

I was too nervous to eat dinner (as I always am when I fly) but the boys split two stuffed pieces of pizza and a soda. We go to the gate and not too much later, I tell the boys "Hey. Your ride's here!" We line up at the gate and the boys were 3 people back in the line (A40 and A43/A44). They had a different confirmation number than I did so I checked them in a nano-second after me. Shot in the dark here but I guess I wasn't thinking right. I should have let A41 and A42 in front of me and stood with the boys. Instead, I stood there and turned around every 30 seconds (seriously) to make sure that they were still there and nothing had been stolen or left behind. Maybe my greedy mind was thinking the seating choices of A41 and A42 would have such a negative impact on our selection that I refused to consider letting them cut in line. Idiot.

Next up - Hello to Disney World

06-22-2011, 04:35 PM
Hi there! bizeemom4's DD here. Just needed to show bizeemom4 that yes, mother, I am indeed reading your trip report, and I am fascinated. Lol keep the posts coming mom!

06-22-2011, 05:03 PM
Now this should be interesting. . .


Hi and welcome. I hope it will be interesting!

06-22-2011, 05:17 PM
I love a new trip report! Can't wait!popcorn::

Welcome to my Trip Report! I hope that you enjoy!

06-22-2011, 05:18 PM

You're going to leave us with THAT cliffhanger??


Welcome. I hope that you enjoyed the next chapter!

06-22-2011, 05:20 PM
OMG! You can't leave me hanging there!!

I seriously don't know how you didn't spill the beans when your DS came to you about the extra $200. That would've broken me right there!

Great job packing without anyone noticing. My dog has suitcase anxiety too. We have to do all our packing in the basement.

Hi. I posted the next chapter. I hope you enjoy it!

It's silly what lengths we go to for our dogs, huh? :)

06-22-2011, 05:22 PM
Hi there! bizeemom4's DD here. Just needed to show bizeemom4 that yes, mother, I am indeed reading your trip report, and I am fascinated. Lol keep the posts coming mom!

Welcome, DD. Hope you enjoy reading about my trip. Now that school's out, you should be in need of something to keep your mind occupied.

06-22-2011, 05:27 PM
Here are the pics from the parking garage.

Group shot before I told them -


And after -


06-22-2011, 06:49 PM
It was announced that the flight is not full so you can spread out a little. Guess what that means. The first half of the plane is 1 person planted in each 3-seat section. Even though we are A passes, we end up near the back of the plane for 3 seats together. Not cool when you know the flight will be arriving late in the evening and you want to race off of it to the Happiest Place on Earth. I didn’t pay attention to how the rest of the plane was loading but I remember hoping that we wouldn’t have to take off with all the weight loaded in the back half of the 737.

My amazing friend from work had gone with me on a trip to Border’s and found the boys a book ON CLEARANCE called “Obsessed with Star Wars.” It has 2,500 trivia questions with pictures and information from all six movies. I had it packed in the backpack and after we were seated, I gave it to them. They loved it! Seriously I think they were just as excited about this book as the trip!


I also bought the first two Kingdom Keepers mystery books but that was rejected. They wanted to share the SW book. We read our books for half the flight and then we all tried to sleep a little before we landed. Nick was seated in the middle and he curled into me and napped. He’s way too old for me to hold and rock to sleep on a normal day so flying late at night is my only chance to cuddle him and pretend he’s still little. I didn’t sleep - I just closed my eyes and tried to conserve my energy. We had miles to go before we slept tonight. :)

We landed 11 minutes early and quickly bounded down the escalators to Magical Express. The CM’s at the bus podium had no problem taking my baggage claim tickets and reminded me that I wouldn’t get the luggage until tomorrow. We’re cool with that! Let us pass.

We are on the bus and backing away from the airport when I spy some folks from our flight trying to hurry thru the lines with all of their luggage. I admit that I took a small bit of pleasure in knowing that we didn’t have to do all that heavy labor. Things are going well already!

A very blurry picture with the movie screen playing and the Welcome To sign in the background. I take a picture of the Welcome To sign every single trip. Why? It's not like they change it!


I did the online checkin and have expectations of having an as-always amazing room waiting for me. The bus stopped at Pop first and I burst thru the doors making a B-line for the Online checkin line. Here’s when I commited my second Disboard sin. I rejected the room that was assigned to me. Building 7, 2nd floor! Eww. :snooty: That’s a million miles away from the food court and buses. I ask if there is anything else available and she said no. "Oh. That’s just so far and I’m here by myself with the kids." Hmmm. Just a moment. Checking Checking. It seems that there is a 3rd floor lake view room in building 5. That’s what I had in my room requests - I’m sure they were confused and holding it for me and just forgot. :)

We find the room easily but none of the keys work. WHAT?! No way. BACK we go to the front desk. We now have to wait in the regular checkin line. I explain what happened and that I had JUST checked in. She disappears in the back and comes back with keys that I’m told will work. We head back to the room again. Can you imagine what this ordeal would have turned into had I brought the luggage with me instead of waiting until the next morning? I would have died! Fortunately, the second go-round with the keys worked! Even the Stacy channel works!

Tomorrow (er, the day that begins in 35 minutes) will be Star Wars Saturday. But I goofed up this time and didn't get park tickets. Concierge desk is closed. No way to purchase theme park tickets. Unfortunately, we wish to arrive at Studios tomorrow verrry early to get autograph fast passes. From what I have been reading, they scan your park ticket when they give you a wristband. How can we do that if we arrive without tickets? I decide to head out to Magic Kingdom with the boys to buy tickets there (they are open til 2 am!) and maybe get a little bite to eat then straight to bed! :rolleyes1

Corrine 1973
06-22-2011, 07:35 PM
I am loving your TR. I an also a mom of 4 kids, though my kids are on the young side, the oldest being 9.:thumbsup2

We were there around the same time you were and also stayed at Pop. We left florida at about 9pm on June 3rd so we probably passed by each other in the air.:lmao:

Can't wait to read your TR and see what stars you saw at SWW!!!


06-22-2011, 07:51 PM
I love the way you told your boys. That's awesome!!!

06-23-2011, 09:23 AM
Oh my! You got into your room after packing, working, travelling all day, at 11:30 and THEN went to MK to buy tickets?! Wow! The things we do for kids!

06-23-2011, 06:02 PM
You are GOOD!!!
It had to be so hard to keep the secret. We made a countdown calendar for my kids but we had it set up with us leaving on friday but we really left on tue :thumbsup2
Can't wait to read more.

06-23-2011, 08:12 PM
I am worn out and I'm just reading! LOVE that you held out and got your Secret Keeper badge ~ especially after the comment your Son made! I bow - I would have broke under the pressure!

Can't wait to read more!

06-23-2011, 08:26 PM
Count me in! I cannot wait to hear more!

06-23-2011, 09:48 PM
We needed tickets and dinner. That’s all. Shouldn’t take too long to accomplish that. We head out to the bus stop and I'm running after the boys snapping pictures with my iPhone.


We step onto a bus that pulls up to the Magic Kingdom stop. We are confused because it says Hollywood Studios on the marquee but the driver says that yes, he is going to Magic Kingdom. As soon as we sit down, he pulls away and we are off on a private bus ride to Magic Kingdom.

We tell the driver that we just got off the plane! Bus driver was cheerful and chatty. He begins shouting out trivia to us.
What’s the world’s biggest parking lot? TTC? No. I can’t remember what he said.
What’s the world 2nd largest parking lot? TTC.
What’s the world’s 4th largest parking lot? Epcot.

And so it went all the way to Magic Kingdom.

We arrive at MK and make our way walking against the tide of tired tourists leaving for the evening. I look around and realize that there are no windows at which to buy park tickets. WHY did I never notice this before? I have picked up Will Call party tickets before and I guess I thought you could buy park tickets there as well? All the windows are closed. I ask a security CM at the bag check where I can buy park tickets. "I'm sorry. You can't buy them. Everything is closed." No way! He confers with another security CM who says you can probably buy them at the ticket machine over there - gestures towards the ATM style machine by Will Call. Wow. And I'm even wearing glasses!

I had brought two leftover one day tickets that I had wanted to use towards my ticket costs. But with everything closed, there is nowhere to stick the leftover tickets to get credit. I pay for 3 2-day base tickets for now, a sum exceeding $500 is promptly withdrawn from my bank account (CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!) and we are granted access to the park. I figure that I can use the credit on the one day ticket tomorrow when I upgrade the tickets.

It is now after midnight and I ask the CMs at the gate if this counts as using my ticket on Saturday or Friday since it's now Saturday. They respond quite emphatically that even though it is Saturday, the ticket counts as using it yesterday. Sounds like Mickey math to me but whatev.

Here we are ready to Make Memories and grab some food quickly and leave so that we can get to bed.


I really do apologize for this picture. I was going on my 20th hour of this day.


Well, we are already in the park and we just arrived on our vacation. It wouldn't hurt to pick ONE ride (not a Mountain) on our way to get something to eat. Right?

06-23-2011, 10:11 PM
The boys agree to ride POTC and we request to wait for the next boat to get the front row. I told her that we had just walked off the plane and wanted to make our first ride special. I felt like she thought I was lying just to get the front seat. Maybe she was tired because it was late but I wasn't dazzled by her Disney magic. There was no line so I really don't know what harm it was in waiting 30 seconds.

We enjoyed our ride and then decided Peco's Bills would be a good first dinner. We arrive to the site of CMs mopping floors. They are closed. "What is open?" we ask and we are told Cosmic Ray's all the way in Tomorrowland and the ice cream place in Fantasyland are our choices. Ice Cream is half the distance to Cosmic Ray's so we head over there. We ordered a Fudge Brownie Sundae and a Strawberry Shortcake Sundae and three waters (nice dinner huh?).

Unfortunately, while they are making the first sundae, my room key card is declined. She swipes it again and it isn't working. The supervisor comes over and he tells her (and me) that I am over my credit limit on the room key. Pretty sure that isn't true because I JUST GOT HERE AND HAVEN'T CHARGED ANYTHING YET! I use my VISA card to pay and tell them that I just arrived and have already had so much trouble at Pop with my room keys. I felt like I was on the edge (probably from frustration and exhaustion) while I was talking. They must have felt sorry for me because the second sundae that they handed me had 6 pounds of ice cream on it. It was the biggest 'single serving' sundae that I've ever had. It was so heavy. Thanks for feeling sorry for me! The three of us split our ice cream and even after 1 in the morning, the air is so warm that it starts melting everywhere! We ate it as fast as we could and then found a bathroom to scrub off the super sticky hands. Let's go. Oh wait. Goofy! There's only one other family in line so we took a quick picture with Goofy and head to the buses.



We get back to the room......As I'm typing this and reliving it, I feel so angry and panicked. This was really a horrible thing for our first night at Disney but we were definitely Making Memories......We get back to the room so tired and ready for bed. We try a room key and YOU GUESSED IT! It didn't work. We try the other two and the boys who are asleep on their feet are really unhappy about having to walk all the way back to the lobby. It is 2:30 in the morning when I get in the line. Yes. LINE. I waited 20 minutes to speak to one of the two CMs working at the desk. I was holding back tears and my temper as I explain that this was the.third.time.that.I.have.been.here.in.4.hours. My card was declined at the park. Look at my boys asleep on the couch! I point them out to the CM:


We are supposed to get up in 4 hours to go to Star Wars Saturday (an event that I paid extra to upgrade my plane and park tickets to attend remember). It took another 10 minutes to determine that when they reset the keys the second time, they never added my credit card which is why I couldn't charge on the room. She tells me that the keys will work for tonight but in the morning, I need to come back because she can only reset them for now. Are you kidding? No way. I ask for the phone number of the front desk. If these suckers don't work this time, I will be calling and someone will be coming to meet me and unlock my door. I will not drag those poor, sleeping boys back to the lobby again. No freaking way.

06-23-2011, 10:31 PM
Oh my! What a rotten start to your trip! It almost feels like I'm living our most recent Pop stay as I read what happened though. We checked in on June 12th and went through sooo many of the same issues! It took FOUR different sets of cards and THREE hours with GS before they got it right! I hope you have better luck straightening things up soon. Your poor boys look exhausted! :sad2:

Looking forward to the rest of your TR! :thumbsup2

06-24-2011, 07:01 AM
I had changed my mind days ago about meeting DSis first thing tomorrow (er, Saturday) morning. With the Star Wars Weekend fast pass distributions happening so early in the morning, I thought we could start there, pick up our fast pass and then bus over to Magic Kingdom to surprise my sister. I thought if everything went well, we might be done with Studios well before 9 a.m. and make it to MK by park opening.

As you can see, things are not going well. IF I had known how tonight would have gone, we would have ordered a Disney pizza for delivery, showered and gone to bed. It looks like we did all of the work to obtain the tickets to arrive early for nothing as there is no way that we are going to be able to turnaround to start over in 4 hours. I know if I was here by myself that I could but these are children. I will not do that to them. I already feel horrible that they are so tired and sleeping on the couch in the lobby! Great parenting there huh?

So we find ourselves walking back to the room from the lobby praying that these keys work. And they do. Think positive - we now have the walk from lobby to room and back memorized.

They crawl into bed. I cancel the already set 6 a.m. wake up call and tell them that we will do what we can tomorrow and you guys wake up when you wake up.

It's good that Pop doesn't have free wi-fi or I would have unleashed a torrent of hate and all of Disboards would have shared in my live report about how my used to be perfect hotel has let me down.

06-24-2011, 06:50 PM
I snap awake around 7 when my brain processes that I am in WDW. Boys are sound asleep. I get dressed and head to the front desk to speak to a manager about my ordeal last night and to get the room keys fixed for good. I explain everything that happened last night in detail. I said "I don't normally do this but is there a way to comp my room for last night? It was really a disaster and we are missing out on the activities that we planned for this morning." She offers me half off my room rate which I accept. We did sleep in the room for half the night so I'm only paying for half the night.

I take the new set of keys to the food court and buy the boys a gigantic breakfast. The charging privileges on the new key work so it looks like the computers have resolved my issues.

I head back to the room with a very heavy tray of chocolate chip pancakes, bacon, chocolate milks and a breakfast platter to share. I bring it in and say "Room Service!" They come around as I am taking the lids off and getting everything ready for them. Yes. I kind of woke them up.

We finish our breakfast and head to Hollywood Studios and see what we can get accomplished with our late start. I had packed the Star Wars t-shirts in the 'tomorrow' suitcase. The boys wore these at our first two SWWeekends. Alex is wearing his older brother's shirt and Nick fits into Alex's old one. The 2005 (and 2006 on the back) that I had written on in Sharpie marker has faded but they are oldies but goodies and perfect for this weekend.

Here they are at our 2005 SWW with older brother -


And 2011 -

06-25-2011, 04:43 PM
I check us in at Star Wars Weekend just before 9 a.m. on my iPhone and post this picture. We are only 3 hours late but it's time to get my geek on!

Alex runs to get us FPasses for TSMania. We aren't that late!

Our first character stop is Queen Amadala. When it's our turn, FP guy takes pics. I take pics. We get our Photopass card and we're done. Except Q.A. continues to talk to Alex and I can see that my Alex is getting a bit flustered. I think there's a love connection here. I was hoping his first girlfriend would have been someone from our galaxy but it's ok. What happens in Naboo stays in Naboo.

We stood in line to meet Anakin. Each line for each character at these weekends is about an hour wait. We knew that going in and they are old enough to be patient while waiting. It also helps to have this walking by and people willing to hold your spot in line so that you can jump out and get a picture/autograph. Footini!

We ride Star Tours stand by and get fast passes for later. I'm really excited at this point to be here and I take a picture of the fast passes to commemorate the day. The new version of this ride is spectacular. Kudos to Disney and Master Lucas for taking a tired attraction and turning it into a hot ticket again.

Speaking of hot…we went to the seminar with Matt Lanter. I didn't know Star Wars celebs were that cute. J He's the voice of Anakin in the Clone Wars. I haven't watched a single episode but the boys are avid viewers. It's thrilling for them to hear the voices from the show (me too :love:) and see the process that goes into doing the voices.


We decide to do Great Movie Ride. I want to do the cowboy scene. I never get it and I want to try for it this time. We wind down to the front of the screening room and they are looking for a group of 2 or 3 which is us. They load us in the second group of cars about to depart but it turns out not to be the cowboy scene. Next time, I will not volunteer to jump in line unless it's for the cowboy car (which I know now after 14 trips is the first half).

We walk around looking to join lines for SW characters but all the lines are closing. Everyone is going backstage to prep for the parade. Let's burn TSM FPasses.

We walked past the empty cue for the Disney star wars characters on our way to Toy Story. I ask the CM if I have time to do TSM before the line opens. She said that she wouldn't wait too long to get in line. We were on our way to use our Mania FP but I have second thoughts and double back. Someone else has lined up to be first in line and we decide to just wait until 1:20 (about half an hour). The benefit of waiting at this vantage point is that you get to see these guys as they are exiting the stage after the parade!




We were able to see all of the Disney Star Wars characters but only had to wait in one line get this very awesome picture taken and then head to Toy Story and Star Tours.

After Jedi Mickey and R2MK, we joined the line for Chewbacca. It had been on pause during the parade and the line is now to the DVC desk near Sci Fi Dine In. An hour later, we get this great picture.

My plan was to eventually shower and change clothes back at the room (hopefully luggage will be there) and head over to join DSis for a fun-filled evening at MK. I receive a text from my co-conspirator when we are waiting to board Star Tours. DSis has changed plans and they are now planning to leave MK for the day at 6. Shoooooot. Change in plans. This is our last ride and then we will have to go straight over to MK.

Next up: Nonsense ensues.

06-25-2011, 09:29 PM
2:45pm - Leaving HS to go to MK. Taking Contemporary resort bus. While on the bus DBIL texts that they are now leaving the park at 4! That’s fine. We can surprise her on the way out of the park. We arrive at Contemporary and stop to take some cool pictures.



We make it almost all the way to MK when we receive a text from DBIL. Dsis changed her mind again. They are staying in MK and booked a 4 o’clock dining reservation. Well I’m not going to surprise her right before they go in to eat dinner. We have time now to go back to the hotel and shower and change and meet her at MK later. We finish our walk to MK and make a giant circle ALLLLLL the way around the bus stop area to the Pop Century bus stop.

3:45 - Text from DBIL. They are skipping the reservation and leaving after all. Ya know what? I’m going to strangle my Dsis. We are on the bus on the way to Pop Century. We will meet her later. Enough already. I could have taken a bus an hour ago that went straight to Pop.

5ish - Can’t recall when it was that we ended up getting on the bus at MK. We assume that they are at the hotel as the last text that I had received said that they were leaving 2 hours ago. We head over towards the hotel via the walkway from MK to CR. I get a text that they are just now leaving the park. I freak out thinking that they are on the walkway also and she or the kids may spot us. We start walking really fast, looking over our shoulders to try to spot them. We are in the parking lot area when DBIL texts “Where are you?” Walking to the hotel. “We took the monorail. What do you want me to do?” Meet us in the lobby. He texts “Get there NOW!” We hurry in and Nick and I hide in a seating area by the registration desk. We hide Alex in the men‘s room! That will be part 2 of the surprise.

We sit on the couch and wait. There is some weird kind of privacy screen behind the couch so Nick peeks thru that (while crouching down on the couch). He watches for her from his direction and I watch the other direction with my camera on and ready to capture her surprise! Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Oh! My DBIL pushing a stroller. I stand at the edge of the corner of the wall thinking he’s going to bring her around that way. I keep peeking around and peeking around. I’m sure that I’m on surveilance video somewhere. I was definitely acting odd. Nothing. Nothing. Text from DBIL. They are leaving. Seriously. This is ridiculous. I tell him to just go with her to her room and I’ll meet her there. Nick goes to get his brother who has been hiding in the men’s room all this time and we head to the garden wing.

We give them a minute to get there and I text him to answer the door when I knock. I motion for Alex to stop short of the room. I get close and turn the camera to record. Knock. Knock. I hear him telling her “Put some clothes on.” She tried to argue that she would just go in the bathroom and he insists that she get dressed. LOL. Yes. Please put some clothes on. LOL.

He opens the door and I step into the room. She sees me, points to me and says “I KNEW IT!”

Gah! I guess she didn’t buy my explanation 100%. It’s ok. Hugs all around and we visit for a little bit. Another knock on the door and my Dsis looks a little panic stricken. Rudy answers it and Alex comes in. Dsis is stunned! I wish that I had the camera running for that reaction because THAT was priceless.

Zoe was reserving a poolside Cabana when we arrived.

Some love for Nick and Alex


The kids were getting ready to go swimming and my boys were wearing swimsuits because those are the bottoms that I had packed in the 'tomorrow' suitcase. We head down to the pool and the boys swim while Dsis and I catch up.

Whoops. There goes Disboard Rule #3. The cousins had a good time playing together and the time flew by. It’s soon time to get her kids (and mine) to bed. It was tempting to take the boys into Magic Kingdom since we are right there but after last night’s late night adventure, I didn’t give us the chance to go and play. As we are walking to the Pop buses again, Alex comments that this is the third time that we walked right by Magic Kingdom today but didn’t go in. I felt bad about that but I knew that we had goals and priorities tomorrow that required a great night’s sleep so we keep going on our way to the bus. We had eaten dinner at Pop when we came back for our shower break but we were a little hungry so we stopped for our traditional Pop treat - Tie Die Cheesecake. What a perfect Disney nightcap.

Tomorrow - Tears on a Lightsaber

06-27-2011, 11:06 AM
Nice job Mom! Keep the posts coming!:cheer2:

06-28-2011, 07:32 PM
The kids crawled in bed with their cheesecakes and I told them to brush their teeth before they fell asleep (more than likely they didn't do this) and I got in the shower. They were asleep when I came out and I quietly put out all the clothing for tomorrow and got our backpack ready for tomorrow with keys, tickets, hats, sunscreen, hand san, the Star Wars book, lightsabers, sharpie markers, camera, phone, etc. Henceforth, it shall be known as the backpack from He*& (BPFH) because it was. I should have rented a stroller for it.

Set my iPhone alarm clock for 6 a.m. I woke up and thought it was odd because I could see the sun coming in behind the curtains. So bright for 6 a.m…..oh noooooooooo. It's 7:37 a.m.!!!!!!!! I jump up out of bed and over to shake the boys awake. "Boys! Wake up! We overslept! It's 7:37." We got dressed, took turns in the bathroom and were exiting the room exactly 10 minutes later. A-mazing hustle on our part don't you think? Oh and if you're wondering about the alarm, here's what happened. It's a funny thing. Even though you wish for the alarm to ring, it will only do so when it's set for the day that you want it to ring. Alas, today is a SUNDAY and the phone is set for Weekdays Only thus the failure. Idiot.

Pop Century is a five minute bus ride away from Hollywood Studios. We arrived at the park at 8:04! We obtained wristbands and fast passes for Jeremy Bulloch (the voice of Boba Fett).

28 minutes ago we were in bed and now we're zooming thru the park. No way! Pretty sure that's a record.

We went for the Bulloch meet and greet because we were able to get a picture of Ray Park (Darth Maul) yesterday via Stalkerazzi.

What are Stalkerazzi? You know the people that stand on the periphery and snap pictures of the characters without waiting in line? I hate those people and I'm ashamed to admit that we were those people yesterday when our (ok MY) excitement gave way to common courtesy. I will try hard not to judge stalkerazzi here on out.

From there, we move down to TSMania together. Here is a picture of Alex getting our fast passes. If you've ever been to Studios during the early morning stampede or read any trip report on here, you know that you will NEVER see this - a deserted fast pass cue and a ZERO wait time.



We walked on the ride and then to Star Tours. Vader is supposed to be signing autographs at 9 a.m. We joined his line with my sister and the boys who had caught up with us. At 9 o'clock, they announce that Darth is delayed and will not be here until 9:30. How can Darth Vader be LATE TO WORK? Was there traffic? No parking spaces available for the world's biggest villain?

I love that he's signing my book with a pink Walt Disney World pen.

From there, we need coffee and a late breakfast at our traditional Writer's Stop. DSis and I love this little nook and make sure to stop every trip. An iced Mocha and a Carrot Cake cookie (a delightful breakfast!) with chocolate milks and muffins for the boys.

Zoe in front of GMR.

We picked up Rock n Roller coaster fast passes then shopped at Jabba's Hut. We tried to get Luke & Leia autographs. They were signing when we joined the line. With two families to go until our turn, they switched out for R2D2 and C3PO.



We had lunch at Backlot Express - a new one for us. We found a table for 4 and I pushed two chairs together to make a couch for Alex, Nick and Matthew. Good thing they all belong to the tiny hiney club. We scored an extra chair, the youngest 2 sat in their strollers and our party of 8 had a very quick and crowded lunch.

DSis and family left for the day to meet up with an old friend in Orlando. We did Great Movie Ride again and this time requested the cowboy scene. They held us until the next car and then we got the front row!

This is Boba Fett but Alex had the page turned to Jango Fett which Boba didn't like and demanded that Alex find a page with his picture before he would sign it. :laughing:

We had great luck today with Star Wars characters. We got Boba Fett, Darth Maul, a few storm troopers and this creeper. We were trying to get her to sign our book but we didn't think she heard us and thought she had walked away. We turned around and she was right behind us. So creepy cool.


We also stood in the long line to meet Buzz & Woody - mainly because it was air conditioned. Mania was down so it probably wasn't the best time to get in this line although the CM insisted "Shortest line of the day, folks!" The wait time for Mania had been running as high as 150 minutes today. What happens when the ride goes down and people have been waiting for 150 minutes?! Do the CMs get combat pay?

We went to the Trip to the Maul seminar with Ray Park and sat in the back by the exit door because we were going to have to leave early to get to our meet and greet. The show started late and we had to leave early so we didn't see that much - although what we did see was excellent. The premiere theater is behind Muppet Vision and the m&g is way over by the dinosaur at Echo Lake. We were so afraid that we would get turned away if we were late! We ran in the heat with the enormous BPFH and made it on time. We joined the line and we were soon face to flushed and sweaty face with Mr. Bulloch.



The boys asked him if he would sign their lightsabers and he happily obliged. I got emotional watching them watch him sign these. I couldn't help it. All of my boys spent countless hours in the yard and in every room in the house playing Star Wars. Here they were meeting a living, breathing actor from the movies! Dreams Really Do Come True every day at Disney.


06-28-2011, 09:45 PM
Love your update. Sorry about oversleeping. Cool you got Darth Vader to sign your books we got crabbed at by him. He did NOT like our shirts and didn't even want to take pictures with the kids :rolleyes1

06-28-2011, 10:10 PM
Love your update. Sorry about oversleeping. Cool you got Darth Vader to sign your books we got crabbed at by him. He did NOT like our shirts and didn't even want to take pictures with the kids :rolleyes1

Thanks for reading the report!

I saw Darth refuse to sign little girls' books when they handed him a Princess pen. He requested a plain one from his wrangler. What was his deal with your shirts?

06-29-2011, 01:39 PM
I sent a picture of the autographs to my DH and told him about how amazing our day has been. We left the park at this point to take our treasure to the room and drop kick the BPFH. A quick dinner at Pop and then back to Studios to use our Mania and TOT fast passes and to see the Hoopla.

The show is starting as we were walking in and we were pretty far back. I am not strong enough to hold Nick up so that he can see. Some of the folks around me have kids standing on the railing on the sides of the street area. I pop Nick up on that and he leans against a light pole and stands on the railing. This crazy janitor starts yelling at everyone to get those kids down off the railing. Disney security is standing two rows behind us and hasn't said one word to anyone. This yahoo continues to yell that he's going to get security if we don't take those kids down. Lighten up, man. It's the Hoopla!

I found a trash can and I put Nick on that telling him that he has to sit. Another little girl can't see so I tell her mom that she's more than welcome to share Nick's filthy can. I told Nick that ONLY in Disney would I allow him to use a trashcan as a chair. [Just a disclaimer in case he was having thoughts of pulling up the kitchen trash can to eat dinner when we get home.]

We were not going to see Fantasmic. I like it but the hassle trumps my joy. The boys don't want to see it so that's fine with me. After the Hoopla, we went to TSMania to use our last fast pass set for the day. The boys have to do TOT but as we are exiting Mania, it is almost 9 p.m. If they don't hurry, we are going to get stuck behind the entire crowd exiting F! I send them on ahead with the fast passes and a last minute shout of "DON'T LOSE EACH OTHER!"

They are gone before I can round the corner and I don't know if they are still together. I have this sinking feeling like I just messed up and now I'll be here late searching for them because someone is lost and neither one of them has a cell phone. :scared1:

I pace in the gift shop and then go back outside to look to see if anyone is out there. Back to the room with the ride photos. Back to the gift shop. Back to the ride photos. I'm working up to that "It's been too long. Something must have happened" feeling and then THERE THEY ARE! YAY! They did it. Whew. It's 9:20-something and we do our last wind sprint of the day to the buses. One is pulling up right after we get to the bus stop. We are on our way as the crowds begin to ooze out of the gates.

Our timing today (with the exception of the alarm clock) was superb. We accomplished so much! I asked them if today was the best day ever. Alex confirms that Yes. Today was the best day that he's ever had. Nick said that it is second. I asked what was first and he said his birthday at Disney last time. He said that he'll have to see if his birthday this year can beat it. Haha. No pressure buddy.

Tomorrow we are going to boring, old Epcot. I love Epcot but after the exceptional fun that we've had these last two days, it seems tame and lame. Alex says "So tomorrow we're going to start touring the parks and doing stuff?" Puzzled by that statement, I just laughed and said Yes. I think he meant that we were going to start doing normal and familiar stuff. I hope he didn't think that we didn't do anything these last two days…….

Next Up: SWW Bonus Pix

06-29-2011, 09:30 PM
Bonus Outtakes and Bloopers

The Tiny Hiney Club in a really bad picture

Fun in Jabba's Hut




Sir! Yes, Sir!

Random Characters


Another bad one


The Best Homemade SW costumes

A Picture of Nick's Dirty Can

Balancing at the Hoopla

PO' Century - Remember When.....you didn't go to Disney and had money!

06-29-2011, 09:52 PM
I love your pictures and the details of trip report. Keep it coming!

06-30-2011, 01:25 AM
Joining in. I have a huge Star Wars fan in my house. We were there during SWW, but I neglected to tell him it was going on because I didn't want to fight the crowds or stand in M&G lines all day. ;) So I hope to become a pro from reading your TP so I will be more willing to try SWW next time.

Sorry you had such a bad check-in/first night. That does stink. I don't blame you for not wanting to be in the 70's section. We love the 50's.

I bet you were ready to strangle your Dsis for changing her mind about leaving/staying in the MK. She definitely didn't make it easy on you. :rotfl:

I am totally amazed at how you were able to get out of bed and to the park in 30 minutes. That has to be a new record!!! And I am also amazed at all of the M&G's that you had. Your boys look pretty excited about it too.

Can't wait to read more. :)

06-30-2011, 06:54 PM
Joining in. I have a huge Star Wars fan in my house. We were there during SWW, but I neglected to tell him it was going on because I didn't want to fight the crowds or stand in M&G lines all day. ;) So I hope to become a pro from reading your TP so I will be more willing to try SWW next time.

Sorry you had such a bad check-in/first night. That does stink. I don't blame you for not wanting to be in the 70's section. We love the 50's.

I bet you were ready to strangle your Dsis for changing her mind about leaving/staying in the MK. She definitely didn't make it easy on you. :rotfl:

I am totally amazed at how you were able to get out of bed and to the park in 30 minutes. That has to be a new record!!! And I am also amazed at all of the M&G's that you had. Your boys look pretty excited about it too.

Can't wait to read more. :)

You really must try it! The lines seem to be longer than I remember 5 years ago. You have to sacrifice a whole day to Bounty Hunting but it's totally worth it.

07-02-2011, 08:06 AM
I love your pictures and the details of trip report. Keep it coming!


Stay tuned for another episode this afternoon!

07-02-2011, 06:51 PM
We made it to Epcot before park opening.

This is was today's facebook Check In photo posted for the folks back home.

As soon as we're in, Alex gets our tickets and he's instructed to go line up for Soarin'. "Don't go in and stop as soon as you see the crowd of people lined up. Lemmings group together as soon as they see the rope. Keep walking past everyone and you'll find empty spots at the rope." Nick and I amble our way through the park and see Alex in an excellent position poised ropeside. I must get that child on the high school track team. He can move!

The Fab 5 come out for a quick meet and greet, the family of the day make their way in the test track vehicle and then....the imaginary firing of the Soarin' starters pistol.

Nick and I lose sight of Alex because we are not racing with the crowd (a first for me not to be huffing and shoving with the leader). We make it into the Land and Alex is standing on the standby entrance waiting for us with 3 fast passes in hand. Really, Alex. Why are you not on the track team?

If I had been here alone, I would have jumped in the standby line. The boys only want to ride it once so we turn around and leave and head to Test Track. We go on it together standby and then again single rider. Nick and I end up in the same car and Alex is in the one right behind us. Gotta love single rider! At this point, DSis texts that they have their Soarin' fast passes. Where are we? Just finished TT and heading over to Mission Space. DSis texts that she is headed that way. We think she means Mission Space so we go there and stand around. She meant that she's headed to TT. We find each other via text message and we ride TT together, getting a kiddie swap pass for DBil who sits out with Zoe. She's not ready for fast cars and freedom.

Next is "Memo" for the little guys then Soarin' with a FP without DBil and Zoe again. I love riding this with newbies. The family to my left had never ridden it and their reactions don't disappoint. I like listening to the ooohs and ahs and how happy people get on this ride. Alex runs off to Mission Space to get FP. I think he's out of the building before we all manage to get on the escalator.

Time for lunch and another family tradition. We love to eat on the Yakitori House patio. It's so peaceful and we never skip it. On our way there, we stop in Morocco to get Nick a lamb gyro and a Baklava.

We have a local Greek Festival one weekend every May. It is so popular that the lines are half an hour or more for each food section. We went for gyros this year and we were going to go back another day for Baklava but it rained the remainder of the weekend and we never made it back. Mommy guilt that I failed BUT when I started planning for this trip, I knew that I had a chance for Baklava and redemption.

We carry Nick's lunch with us with us to Japan and DBil and I go in to get lunch for the rest of the crew.

Sippy cup not included.

Unfortunately, today's lunch will not be a zen experience. The table beside us has 5 very naughty boys around Nick's age who thought it would be great fun to harass and kick the ducks. My DSis finally had enough and said "Don't kick them!" We thought that they were unsupervised but DSis's comment gets the attention of one of the two women gabbing at a table behind them. She comments "What???" At this point, the boys start feeding the ducks broccoli and other food and the women become animated and laugh and encourage the bad behavior. Ladies - if you are reading this, shame on you.

They run out of ammunition and move on to harass other poor helpless creatures and other tourists. We tried to conjur up the peace and serenity that we expect in this place although the behavior of that family really tarnished the experience and still hangs with us.

Next Up: Kringa. Kring a luh. Kringal ah.

07-03-2011, 09:31 AM
Thanks for reading the report!

I saw Darth refuse to sign little girls' books when they handed him a Princess pen. He requested a plain one from his wrangler. What was his deal with your shirts?

The kids received these awesome shirts as part of the Big Give.
Darth Vader and Darth Maul were in full character mode and did not want to have anything to do with my kids. Darth Maul even saw my kids at the parade and looked right at them like he remembered them. It freaked the kids out. The Rebels totally loved my kids. Chewbecca was so excited when he saw my kids. He was suppose to leave but came right down to them in their wheels chairs it was amazing. :lovestruc

Sorry I have to mess with C's face he is not legally adopted yet and you are not suppose to post his picture online :rolleyes1
You can see from the look on Ella's face he was in Character mode.

07-04-2011, 03:21 PM
Joining in! :) Just caught up and I can't wait to read more. It was great to read about Star Wars weekend. popcorn::

07-06-2011, 07:58 PM
Hi! Sorry for the delay in getting the next chapter up.

In the meantime, for those that are thinking about taking the kids next year, enjoy this little video. This was from our meeting with Chewie on our first day.

Chewbacca Meet and Greet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAHUHJnpaoo)

You will want to turn your sound down. My camera records really loud. Sorry for being a loud mouth. :rotfl:

07-07-2011, 07:10 AM
Test track never disappoints. The single rider line is the best way to move right through. I can't wait until our kids are big enough to ride things that way!

Just how tall is that Chewie anyway?

07-07-2011, 07:41 PM
Ok so our lunch break didn't go as planned. Let's get out of here for a swim break to lighten our spirits. We all begin the exceptionally long walk from the back of World Showcase.

As we are walking by Italy, I mention to DSis and family that they should see the Ziti sisters show if they have time. I saw it last year and thought it was funny. DBil reads the sign as we walk by and says to DSis "It's starting in 4 minutes..." She waves him off and we all keep walking. When you are hot and headed to the pool, 4 minutes is an awfully long time.

It was so hot. We saw no shows. We saw no movies. We met no characters. We did get a fastpass on our way out for Maelstrom. I've never needed one but the crowds seem thick today. I pocket these just in case.

On the first monorail from Epcot to the TTC, I took pictures of Matthew. He stood up, he sat down. He laid down. At one point, he was holding on to the pole and hanging in a standing backbend looking at the boys. One of us wasn't tired yet.


We changed in DSis's room which took an awfully long time with one bathroom and eight people - three of whom were very excited people happy to run around with no clothes on in anticipation of another fun swimming break. No! It was not me, my sister and her husband! We skillfully averted our eyes by speaking while staring at the ceiling while my DSis and DBil wrangled everyone ages 7 and under into swimming suits.

Returning to the park later after a nice respite, DSis took my boys to Mission Space while I went with DBil to the UK. They had dinner reservations at Beach Club at 5:20 so I walked with him to help get all the kids closer to the hotel. The Showcase Players are starting their show and we decide to watch. As I'm starting to sit down, DSis texts "Can you come to Mission Space? I need to leave for dinner." I walk to M:S but I don't see her anywhere. My boys always stop in the arcade to make a video in the little photobooths so this is the best place to wait for them. I make a video and I'm ready to start another one just as DSis and the boys exit the ride. DSis says that she decided to ride with them after all and she has to run! I could have stayed in the UK for the show after all. She races to the back of the park to meet up with her family.

Alex, Nick and I hit Spaceship Earth then Imagination. There was no one in the Imagination Pavilion so we took our time walking in, taking pictures.


We rode the ride, holding our breath in the scent room and then played in the music makers. I was disappointed to see that they had removed the computers where you used to take pictures and email them.
Fun with the Music Machines! (http://s4.photobucket.com/albums/y111/balletmom2/Disboard%20Share/?action=view&current=DSCN3475.mp4)

We had dinner reservations in Mexico at San Angel - another new place for us. We walked to the restaurant and looked at the menu. The boys don't like the menu choices though so we pass on both eating here and doing the boat ride. Are the boys too big for a Donald Duck boat ride through pseudo-Mexico? I guess so.

I must say that it's a nice option to walk away from a restaurant and not feel compelled to burn dining credits! We have had the dining plan on the last 4 or 5 trips but this time we don't. I'll opt in for Nick when it's free dining time and not worry about how little he eats. When I have to pay for it, it's not worth the money for him to get it. He barely eats more than what you get with an average kids meal but I have to pay for an adult plan. I can't help him out with his dining credits either because I can barely finish my credits without sleeping sitting up!

We go next door and ride Maelstrom with FP. This is the line and the queue inside was FULL!
That's a first! I've never seen it busy. Gloating slightly, we walked on to the front row of the boat via the fast pass line without even pausing and cut through the movie just as it was starting when we got back.

We split 2 sandwiches for dinner and get 3 school breads to-go at Kringla. I like the food here but I like going just to say the name. Kringla. Kring u lah. Kringa lahhh...sorry. The sandwiches were great. One was turkey, cheese and bacon and the other was ham and apple. Loved.them.both! DSis texts where are we? Meet us at Kringla. Yeah in Norway. Kring u lah. :) The boys were still hungry so they asked if they could share one of the schoolbreads while we waited for her. They were so good that they asked if they could each eat their other half. Well, I ate mine too. So much for to-go for tomorrow.

DSis arrives with just her two boys. Zoe choked on some fruit during dinner and got sick all over herself and Cape May. DSis was thankful that the bathrooms at Beach Club have real washcloths for damage control.
Schoolbread -
Mmmm. Kringla

We rode Test Track with a fast pass and call it a night. Fun on Test Track! (http://s4.photobucket.com/albums/y111/balletmom2/Disboard%20Share/?action=view&current=DSCN3496.mp4)

We still had 3 fast passes for TT (and a rider swap for TT and Soarin) and as we were walking out, we pulled out the fast passes to regift them as the wait was
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y111/balletmom2/Beeks%20Birthday%202011/IMG_0268.jpg. Yep - 70 minutes!

We got distracted walking DSis to the monorail and ended up carrying them back to the hotel. We were going to give them to people waiting at the bus stop but somehow forgot to do that too so we took them back to Pennsylvania with us.

See ya boring, old Epcot. ;)

Next up: 10 hours at Animal Kingdom (was not enough)

07-07-2011, 10:38 PM
To be fair, I would say that the original plan was for the "big boys" to go on the Orange line of the Mission Space ride. As we got there, there was definitely some hesitation, even if they are big boys. That is the first time that the Orange line was waiting 15 minutes with a fast pass, whereas the Green was not waiting. Waa laa! I think that provided the "perfect out" for the older boys since we could ride green and I could still sprint across the entire park then arrive at dinner (sweating and red faced).

Who ever thought the Orange line would be crowded? Most of the time people are avoiding that line like the plague!

07-07-2011, 10:41 PM
So Epcot is boring? My kids would agree. I meant for them to try a KP mission, but forgot to do that.

The school bread looks yummy. I'm still kicking myself for not getting any when we were there. I was even standing outside the Norway pavilion thinking I should go get some and still didn't do it. Oh well, next trip, right?

We loved Animal Kingdom, too. Can't wait to read about your day there.

07-08-2011, 06:32 AM
Joining in! :) Just caught up and I can't wait to read more. It was great to read about Star Wars weekend. popcorn::

Thanks! We have another Star Wars weekend planned at the end of the trip so stick around.

07-08-2011, 06:34 AM
To be fair, I would say that the original plan was for the "big boys" to go on the Orange line of the Mission Space ride. As we got there, there was definitely some hesitation, even if they are big boys. That is the first time that the Orange line was waiting 15 minutes with a fast pass, whereas the Green was not waiting. Waa laa! I think that provided the "perfect out" for the older boys since we could ride green and I could still sprint across the entire park then arrive at dinner (sweating and red faced).

Who ever thought the Orange line would be crowded? Most of the time people are avoiding that line like the plague!

And for those of you just joining, this is DSis folks. :flower3:

Orange line. Green line. Guess which line I pick. No line. I think it's awesome that anyone is brave enough for this ride. For me, it was a Once in a Lifetime experience. As in, one time was enough to hold me for the rest of my life.

07-08-2011, 06:36 AM
So Epcot is boring? My kids would agree. I meant for them to try a KP mission, but forgot to do that.

The school bread looks yummy. I'm still kicking myself for not getting any when we were there. I was even standing outside the Norway pavilion thinking I should go get some and still didn't do it. Oh well, next trip, right?

We loved Animal Kingdom, too. Can't wait to read about your day there.

We were just saying that after a weekend of chasing bounty hunters at Star Wars events, that Epcot was much more tame. We still loved it although we didn't really do much this time because of the heat.

I love School Bread. I only tried it the first time because of reading raving about it on Disboards. Now we love it!

07-14-2011, 12:29 PM
keep the posts coming mom! want to hear about the rest of your trip! :)

07-17-2011, 07:06 PM
Animal Kingdom morning dawned after a nice, long sleep. We showered, dressed and left the room early enough (we thought) to make rope drop. I had to stop by the front desk to check out/in. We had a continuing reservation here and these were the 2 nights that DSis was paying for so I had a separate ressie for tonight/tomorrow. The computers were all down and they could not issue any new keys at this time. I was advised by a very smiley cast member to stop back again tonight when we return and we can get new keys. I certainly did not have luck on my side at the Pop this trip and would need to return later for my SIXTH trip to the check in desk on this trip. :sad2:

We waited a longer than usual time for a bus. Lots of every park except AK buses until we got one. Bad key and bus karma this morning and we missed the park opening time! I'm stressed out because we were definitely supposed to meet sister for RD and now we're late.

We text her when we get in the park and she texts that she is headed to Everest for Fast Passes. Can we get Kali FP and meet at the Safari entrance? They were a smidge after RD too so it's all good. Phew. Alex is off like the flash that he is to Kali and meets up with us as we are watching the African drummer near Tusker house. And we wait. And we wait as the crowds file passed us to get on Safari. We bought breakfast at the stand outside of Tusker house. I finally have to text her "Where are you?" They decided to jump on Dinosaur. The standby is now 30 minutes for Safari so we don't get in line to ride it. We walk towards Everest stopping to take a few quick pics -

The boys ride Everest Standby 10 minutes then 2 more times in single rider! While they were gone, I tried out the camera's Close Up button on this dragonfly.
When did I get so old that taking pictures of dragonflies is more exciting that riding roller coasters?

We make our way to Dinoland and DSis's family is riding TriCeratops. The boys get a turn to spin on a triceratops.
All we need to do is round up the group and move on so we send DBil and Alex off to Africa for FP for Safari. We told them to meet us outside of the Pangani Trail after they get FP. As we are herding the cats together, we see Goofy walking towards the M&G line. We jumped over the chains and lined up right away and we are the second family.

We also tried to get a cute random picture of the boys. Can't decide which one is my favorite -

Oh forget it. We'd better go. We rush our way over to the Pangani trail ready to apologize for the impromptu character pictures slightly detaining us. We arrive but Alex and DBil are nowhere to be found. A quick text and we find out that they went to the other trail - the tiger trail in Asia. Ooops. We wait for them, hitting the bathrooms and then the gift shop.

While we waited, I bought a postcard to send home. Every trip, I always vow to send a postcard home on the first day. The first day slips into the next and sometimes, I'm mailing something home hoping that it beats my plane home. So here we are on Tuesday of the trip (5th day into the trip) and I've yet to mail anything. I select a cool Gorilla postcard but they don't sell any stamps. So I carry the postcard around all day. We are reunited and now DSis wants to get her kids a snack. We move the group closer to the Forest Trail and she and DBil head off for Jalapeño pretzels. I stand with the kids and entertain them by playing Disney theme park music on my phone.
"Play the Haunted Mansion one again Aunt Lala!" DBil and DSis return to the group huddled over my phone and I graciously wave my hand over the group and say "I've got everything under control." like I'm the Pied Piper of Parenting. DSis and family decide to sit out the Trail and enjoy their snack while the safari FP mature. Can I ask why they put the gorillas at the end of the trail? That's all that I want to see. We hurry thru the deer and the fish and the birds. We found one Timon standing guard and then head off in search of the stars of the show.

Not too much happening today. We did find this guy heading off to take a nap with his blankey.
After the trail, we ride the Safari. Ok. Show of hands. How many repeat visitors ride the Safari vowing at the beginning not to take any more animal pictures? "We've ridden it plenty of times and always take the same ones. You'll just have more pictures to delete when you get home. Don't do it again this time." I say to myself. Well, as soon as we are off on our 2 week adventure, the lens cap comes off and I am animatedly snapping away.

Rationalization - I'm having fun and last time I didn't have this fancy new camera with the sports feature that allows me to take 30 pictures in a row of the same giraffe.

We made two more trips to Everest. I sat out as did DBil and their younger two. With 4 FPasses and a kiddie swap pass used now and another 3 FPasses for later, we head for Kali River. DBil took my boys and Matthew and got a kiddie swap. DSis used that to take Matthew and Alex and 1 FP for Nick. I enjoyed the downtime with a delightful Raspberry iced tea from the tea stand. It was $4 for a large tea but oh so good. In fact, it was so good that when we came back later for another round of Kali, I bought another one. They were 'Mrs. Cheapskate spent $8 on two iced teas' good.

DSis got a set of Kali river Fast Passes for later and we went off on our own in search of lunch. We didn't go far and voted for A/C and burgers in Restaurantasaurus. Alex and I ordered a 1/3 pound burger and Nick got a Po boy sandwich to go with the Po Century resort (that still wasn't fixed from the other night by the way). Nick didn't care too much for his entrée - too much bread for him. Here's a picture of Alex's burger -
Too slow. I should have used the sports mode. He inhaled it so I gave him half of mine which he ate along with all his fries. Too bad I couldn’t get the dining plan just for him!

Not the best choice but we rode Dinosaur right after lunch.
Run, boys, run!

We saw the parade after finding a spot at the rope. My boys didn't want to see it but we were right here and it was about to start so I made them watch it. We rode Kali with DSis 1 more time. I rode it this time with the boys and my pretty light and airy sundress became a cling-to-my-skin-and-show-the-goods dress that I needed to blow dry in the ladies room. NO photos for that 1. Sorry.

My DSis left for dinner at Boma and the boys used their leftover Everest FP to push their total for the day to SIX times on Everest and 3 trips on Kali. We also saw Tough to be a Bug and went left instead of right at the exit and saw the big tortoise and some beautiful birds.

The park was a bit congested today don't you think?

We hit the Safari with our last set of Fast Passes that I don't remember when exactly we obtained them (the heat must have been getting to me, maybe we got them before the parade?) at 6:30. The last Safari departed at 7 today per the sign and the standby line was backed up. How does that work when the queue is full but the animals need to go to bed?

The animals were on the move and before I knew it, the lens cap was coming down and off I went, snapping away.

This time the giraffes were walking the other way. I should take a picture of that. 30 to be sure I got it.

The driver stopped the jeep and told us that if we were quiet, we could hear the lion roaring but we didn't. I did use the sports mode to capture a 150 semi-identical photo sequence of the male lion pacing around.

We stayed until just before the park closed and as we were leaving they were preparing the front area for something. We stuck around to see what was coming. It was the closing show for the park which I hadn't heard of or seen before.

There we go - 10 hours in Animal Kingdom. We didn't see Fish Sticks (the name that my sister and I have given to the Nemo show) or Lion King. We only stopped to grab breakfast to go and a counter service lunch. Somehow we didn't fit anything else into 10 hours!!!

07-18-2011, 05:37 PM
I know that you've been just...hanging around....
hoping that I would come back tonight at post some more great photos that I snapped on the Safari ride and around the park. :laughing:
Thought so!!!

The Timon - ok. I don't remember his species but I do know his stage name.


Betcha can't spot the fake bird in this photo series:






Don't let the vultures fool you. This rhino was merely resting on the Safari.

07-18-2011, 11:45 PM
I do believe that if everyone combines their pictures, we could make a family album for the animals. It's like a family reunion with the animals every year. LOL:lmao:

07-19-2011, 06:18 AM
I do believe that if everyone combines their pictures, we could make a family album for the animals. It's like a family reunion with the animals every year. LOL:lmao:

That's a good idea. Too bad they can't look at it like humans do. "Oh, Giraffe1. You look good in this one." "You don't think it makes my neck look short?"

There was a thread awhile ago where people were to post a picture and if someone else had the identical picture, they posted it. I wonder how many duplicates we could get? I think I may start that.

07-19-2011, 01:34 PM
Well I have sat here for an hour and read through your entire TR. Guess I'm enjoying it :lmao: Seriously, great report so far, Looking forward to more! ;)

07-19-2011, 09:25 PM
Well I have sat here for an hour and read through your entire TR. Guess I'm enjoying it :lmao: Seriously, great report so far, Looking forward to more! ;)

Hi. Thanks for reading! I'm so glad that you're enjoying my trip so far. I will try to get another segment up soon.

07-20-2011, 12:33 AM
Wow, you got some great close-ups of the lion and the giraffes. I couldn't get good close-ups of either, so I am jealous. And I am in total awe of your ride totals for EE and Kali. :thumbsup2 That is amazing. Great update!

07-20-2011, 12:09 PM
Wow, you got some great close-ups of the lion and the giraffes. I couldn't get good close-ups of either, so I am jealous. And I am in total awe of your ride totals for EE and Kali. :thumbsup2 That is amazing. Great update!

Thanks! Each safari 'trip' truly is different and sometimes you get lucky. I actually saw the Cheetahs up close on this trip which was a first. Usually they say that they are in the area but I never see them.

07-20-2011, 12:11 PM
Hi. I'm breaking into the trip report to bring you an Extreme Couponing moment.

On a day that is yet to be written on the trip report (spoiler alert), we stopped to buy frozen ice cream bars to keep us from passing out from the heat. We bought strawberry ice cream bars. We had never had them before and despite being loyal, devoted fans to Cream Cheese pretzels, Carrot cake cookies and all things chocolate, we pronounced these our new favorite treat at WDW!

I have been a bargain CVS shopper for several years. I declared that I was taking a break this summer from the mad coupon clipping and pressure to get to the store first thing in the morning. Well that leads me to yesterday - I realized that I had a whole bunch of CVS money (extra care bucks=ECBs) that expired last night. We were running low on food so I decided to spend them at CVS to get groceries.

Guess what? The new-favorite frozen fruit bars that Disney sells are in the freezer at CVS! And they are on sale! I printed a $1 off coupon for the bars before I left and coupled it with a $1 off 2 tubs of Edy's ice cream. CVS price for the boxes of bars and tubs of ice cream is 3/$10 and they will give me $3 back in ECBs for buying them. With my $2 in coupons and $3 in ECBs that I already had from a trip last month, that makes them 3/$5 plus $3 back to use next time. Pretty cheap compared to park prices!

I scanned my membership card at the store at the little coupon kiosk and I can't believe it - it printed out $4 off a $20 grocery order. I seriously did not expect that. I'm sure it's because they are having a big sale on groceries this week and maybe every CVS shopper is receiving one but for me, it felt like the store knows me and knew what I was here to buy. Thank you, store, for sensing my presence and knowing that I needed free money!

My whole order:
3 12 packs of Pepsi products - 3/$10 with $3 ecbs back
3 packages of the aforementioned Edy's products
4 Bumble Bee albacore tuna cans
6 boxes of CVS brand pasta
2 'imitation' vanilla extracts (on sale as BOGO so .99 for both)
2 Giant instant noodle bowl things for the boy in my house about to go to college
2 boxes of microwave popcorn (also for boy listed above)
2 tubes of Crest toothpaste - 1.99/each with $1 back on each - $1 coupon. Normally, I would never actually PAY for toothpaste. I always get it for free with coupons and sales but these two boxes have "$10 in coupons" listed on the box so I 'paid' .50 for each box of coupons and got the toothpaste free. ;)

I used $3 in coupons and the $4 off coupon and $31.48 in ECBs that I had from last month that were going to expire tonight anyway.

My total out of pocket $2.13. And I earned $8 back for next time. And we have delicious frozen fruit bars that we can pretend came from Disneyworld, not CVS.

Ok. Enough about my coupons. I'll be returning you to the trip on the next update.

07-21-2011, 11:30 AM
I just found your trip report and find it an amazing read! Great job at keeping us hooked! I can't wait to read another installment!!

07-21-2011, 07:35 PM
We completed 10 hours of park touring at Animal Kingdom but we didn't have time for dinner. It's only 7 o'clock and way too early to call it a night so we decide to head to Magic Kingdom for dinner. We had our hearts set on Peco's Bills Pork BBQ sandwiches last Friday night but if you recall, we arrived after they had closed for the night and had to settle for 6 pound ice cream sundaes at Mrs. Potts. To our delight, a Wilderness Lodge/Contemporary Bus was sitting waiting for passengers. We hopped on that thinking that it would stop at CR first (since those are the more expensive rooms and would get better service, right?). Nope. First stop, Wilderness Lodge. That's ok. I've stayed there before so we are easily able to blaze a trail thru the Wilderness (ahem, Lodge).


We breezed right thru the Lodge with only a brief stop at the pin trading kiosk. This is Nick's first trip with pins. I gave both Alex and Nick 3 pins at the beginning of the trip. Alex was apathetic to the pin trading game and immediately gave his pins to Nick. So far, Nick has made 1 trade and doesn't seem to be able to find any others that catch his fancy. Not because I bought him limited edition/one of a kind pins or anything either. I bought 1 random assortment from ebay and he seems to be very fond of those. :confused:

On the boat ride over to the park, it's obvious that Alex is pondering something. I ask him what he's thinking about and he starts explaining a concept to me about time travel or light speed or well, I'm not exactly sure. I guess his mind is still in Naboo.

If you are a scientist or a Star Wars junkie, you might understand this and if so, could you explain it to me? Otherwise, enjoy the sounds of arriving at MK on the WL boat. It Makes Sense to Alex Videoclip (http://s4.photobucket.com/albums/y111/balletmom2/Disboard%20Share/?action=view&current=DSCN3965.mp4)

We succeeded in obtaining dinner and a table on the patio at Peco's Bills. We called DH during dinner to let him know how our day had been today and then went to Haunted Mansion to play in the new queue.

After HM, we headed back to Pop for the evening.

We just have to stop off at the front desk to get our keys reprinted. Look familiar?
Even though it's not even 9 p.m., he's sleeping. Poor baby. More than likely, his body remembers napping here at 2:30 in the morning last time and assumed he should conserve resources just in case 1. this takes all night and/or 2. we have to make a series of repeat visits for keys that won't work. Good news - It didn't take long this time AND these keys worked on the first try!

We have not used the Pop swimming pool on this trip so I suggested a night swim (no 'illegal' pool hopping for us today!). The boys changed into swimsuits and I dropped them off at the pool on my way to the food court. They were splashing in the flower fountain area of the main pool when I returned with their bedtime hot chocolates. To be sure and save me any grief, I 'tested' the ability to charge goods and services on these new keys and bought a nice little adult beverage to enjoy while they swam. I gave them a time limit of 30 minutes which would be around 10 p.m. Coincidentally, this is the approximate time 1. it takes me to nurse one beer and 2. the lifeguards go off duty.

Tomorrow is Nick's birthday and he turns the big 1-2! I wanted to make sure that we used our early evening to get rested. He has high expectations and is counting on me to make this one surpass his experiences from his last birthday at Disney!

The swim and the tall cool one did the trick. We were all very relaxed when we went to the room and fell asleep immediately.

Does Nick's 12th birthday turn into Nick's best day ever? That's for next time!

07-21-2011, 07:57 PM
I just found your trip report and find it an amazing read! Great job at keeping us hooked! I can't wait to read another installment!!

Wow and thanks! I'm glad that you are enjoying the report! I see that this is your first post on the Disboards! Welcome!!! :cheer2:

Grumpy's Wife
07-22-2011, 08:04 AM
Whew, I'm all caught up. Love the trip report and of course you left me hanging to see if Nick's birthday was the best ever. :rotfl: How can you not have a wonderful birthday if you are at the happiest place on earth? A belated Happy Birthday to you Nick.:bday:

07-26-2011, 07:48 PM
Whew, I'm all caught up. Love the trip report and of course you left me hanging to see if Nick's birthday was the best ever. :rotfl: How can you not have a wonderful birthday if you are at the happiest place on earth? A belated Happy Birthday to you Nick.:bday:

Sorry. I did kind of leave everyone hanging! I'm finally back to writing and I'll post a new installment in just a few minutes. :)

07-26-2011, 08:21 PM
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday, dear Nicholas
Happy Birthday to You

Today is Nicholas's 12th birthday! I have a whole itinerary planned that I shared loosely with him. Here is his schedule:
8 a.m. - extra magic hours at Studios
10:30 - birthday party breakfast at Cape May
A Brief Nap
Magic Kingdom - 3ish to get a FP then
5:30 - 'OHana for dinner then
MK - after dinner til midnight

You'll notice that I have Nap listed on his birthday. I felt guilty about scheduling that (of course I would) but I thought there's no way he's going to make it from 8am until midnight without some kind of rest. I don't think I really shared that part when I gave him a brief overview of what I had planned for him. I assumed that I could skillfully weave that into our day and he would agree to it somehow.

The Cape May breakfast reservation is a ressie for my DSis and her birthday girl and another one for Nick. DSis and I could not book a reservation for seven people at Cape May at all. She had a reservation for 5 at 10:20 and I told her that I had booked a reservation for 2 at 10:30. It was actually for three but I hadn't told her that because she would have figured out that I was bringing a plus 2 instead of a plus 1 on the trip. The 'Ohana reservation is an ADR for 7. DSis booked it and she was so pleased with herself when she snagged a ressie for 7 people at 'Ohana a few weeks ago. I couldn't tell her then that we really needed it for 8 but I assumed it would be ok because most tables that seat 7 will also seat 8.

Before the trip, I purchased a giant Happy Birthday banner and decorations that I wanted to set up around the room. I actually cried a bit in the store when I was selecting the decorations because I could envision Nick waking up on his birthday at Disney so happy to see the room decorated for his special day. I also cry reading greeting cards in the store too so I guess I'm a little sentimental. Or unstable. Let's go with sentimental.

I didn't buy him a big present - just a teddy bear that I found in the candy shop on clearance during my Ocean City girls weekend. I'm pretty confident that getting surprised with an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney for your birthday is quite enough for a person of any age so no guilt over just one little present (she types out so all will read and believe her but secretly she doubts that this is true and why didn't she buy the new Legos Star Wars game for his DS and get him a $100 Disney Gift card so that he could buy himself a very nice gift also?).

Nick is a gatherer of bears and all things plush. It is to his advantage that his DSis is putting herself through college as a manager at a 'local-retail-establishment-that-lets-you-make-a-new-best-friend." I'm not listing them by name because that expensive make-your-own bear store isn't a sponsor of this trip report.

I brought a plain white t-shirt and some fabric paint to make a Happy Birthday t-shirt for Nick. As I’m standing in the tiny Po' Century bathroom at 6 a.m. reading the directions on the paint, I realize that the shirt has to sit for a few hours before he can wear it. We have to be at a bus stop in an hour so no Birthday t-shirt.

I also waited until the last minute to assemble the gift bags for the party. I bought Minnie Mouse treat bags and filled them with kiddie sunglasses, a sheet of Star Wars stickers, and a Minnie Mouse blowout for each person. I brought party hats but they are buried in luggage somewhere and I can’t find them. I also brought mini tubes of bubbles as well as Cars and Winnie the Pooh crayons for the bags but I can’t find them either. The bags would have been spectacular if I’d been more organized and had everything ready to go the night before but I had shrugged off that responsibility last night in favor of sleep.

We brought a present for Zoe too. Her Aunt Lala is dying to buy her Barbies and Coach purses and girly things but she's only 2 so she's not quite ready for the good stuff. Last year, my family made fleece blankets to donate to a local pediatric ward as part of Disney's Give a Day promotion. I am the least 'crafts-y' person ever so it was astounding that I was able to make 6 blankets with DH and the boys that were donate-able. I had to watch the how-to video a few times on Youtube until I understood you know, how-to do it.

And now finally today is their big day. I woke up and began quietly opening the Happy Birthday banner and setting out Nick's present and other decorations. I kissed him on the cheek and woke him up and told him Happy Birthday!

He loved the decorations and laughed at how big the banner was. I couldn’t find the tape that I had packed so I draped it over the chairs and table and across the top of the TV center. He opened his present and picked out his outfit. I thought it was cute that he picked out Yoda's "Judge me by my size" t-shirt to wear on his birthday. We piled on the lanyards and the birthday buttons and headed to Studios. We also had to bring Zoe's gift and the gift bags for the breakfast. Weeks ago, I had suggested buying a Sponge Bob piñata for the party but DSis had vetoed that. I just wanted this to be the very bestest birthday ever and for him to be full of joy even if I had to drag a Sponge Bob piñata all over Disney World.

Next Up: Birthday Party Breakfast!

07-26-2011, 10:07 PM
I think a surprise trip to WDW is the perfect present. It is a little hard to choose which special extra to do-- a character breakfast, fancy meal or gifts? We to Matthew for his birthday when they were giving away those big gift cards for birthdays two years ago. Boy, I wish they would do that again!

The famous birthday button was really used this year. Other guests were saying "Happy Birthday" to each other more than I have ever noticed before. We also saw several birthday Wishes cruises go out with streamers from the Grand Floridian. People were really celebrating this trip.

P.S. When you make a blanket using Disney printed fleece like the OP did, it looks so awesome! Kids will even want to cling to it in June.

07-26-2011, 11:00 PM
I'm very impressed by the couponing. I so want to do this, but I still haven't quite got the hang of it. I will have to look for those Disney fruit bars, but there is no CVS nearby.

It looks like Nick's bday surprise is off to a good start.

07-30-2011, 03:08 PM
I think a surprise trip to WDW is the perfect present. It is a little hard to choose which special extra to do-- a character breakfast, fancy meal or gifts? We to Matthew for his birthday when they were giving away those big gift cards for birthdays two years ago. Boy, I wish they would do that again!

The famous birthday button was really used this year. Other guests were saying "Happy Birthday" to each other more than I have ever noticed before. We also saw several birthday Wishes cruises go out with streamers from the Grand Floridian. People were really celebrating this trip.

P.S. When you make a blanket using Disney printed fleece like the OP did, it looks so awesome! Kids will even want to cling to it in June.

How is Miss Zoe doing? Maybe you could take a pic of the blanket and post it since I didn't get one when we were together?

07-30-2011, 03:11 PM
I'm very impressed by the couponing. I so want to do this, but I still haven't quite got the hang of it. I will have to look for those Disney fruit bars, but there is no CVS nearby.

It looks like Nick's bday surprise is off to a good start.

The couponing is something that really takes a big committment of time. I used to spend every Saturday getting my lists together and matching the coupons to the sneak preview of Sunday's sale flyer. I'm taking a break because I'm a bit burned out. I'm waiting for the older kids to clean out my stockpiles when they leave for college so that I have space for more stuff when I start up again in the fall.

07-30-2011, 03:48 PM
We arrive at the bus stop for Hollywood Studios and it is pretty full which is surprising at this hour (around 7:45). We waited a few minutes and then this bus arrives and parks at our stop.

Mears bus

We were in the ’World’ during Easter Week 2010 when DD was doing her College Program and these buses were running to supplement Disney transportation. We’d never ever seen them being used before that trip and we associated Disney utilizing Mears buses with crowds. Seeing a Mears bus pulling up this morning makes me wonder if this is an indicator of how busy the rest of the trip will be?

We end up being stopped just as we are the next family to board. There’s only 1 seat left and the driver won’t let anyone stand on the bus. Really? No place for the birthday boy? We are literally shut out as the bus driver closes the door and drives away without another word.

We eventually did get another bus and got to Studios after 8. Security didn’t stop us from bringing in the birthday bags and Pia’s blanket. Fortunately, the BPFH (back pack from well you remember) has the capacity for all of our party goods so we don’t look to conspicuous walking thru the park.

As is our usual protocol, we hit Mania for a FP and then a ride via standby. The boys then want a ride on Star Tours which we did. Alex says I hope we go to Tatooine this time. That’s one of the places that he wants to go on the new ride but hasn’t had it in the random scene selections and it didn’t happen again today. Shut out of Mears and Tatooine.

It’s soon time to get to the birthday breakfast. We arrived at Beach Club 15 minutes early and Dsis and family have already checked in and the kids are in the kiddie section of the lobby watching TV.

Although the kids are on their best behavior this morning, it seems as if it’s taking a long time for our beeper to go off. I notice DBIL is a bit antsy, as he wonders out loud about why it’s taking so long. Dsis goes to the podium to find out the status of our table and comes back with bad news. Unfortunately, they have given our table away. Good thing she stopped to ask! We are given reassurance that now we are the very next table. The beeper goes off, we round up the troops, and head off into Cape May (a first for my family).

They are planning to sit us at two separate tables, close but too far away. Our hostess heads off to see if there are any tables that are closer together, leaving all eight of us standing in the middle of the restaurant staring at the other guests eating their breakfast.

Okay okay. Enough whining. They locate two tables side by side, by the buffet (who was sitting here 2 minutes ago when our buzzer went off?). Everyone hits the buffet for food and then it’s time for visits with the characters.


It was a very nice breakfast, in spite of the rocky start, and our server ended up going above and beyond to be nice to the birthday kids. Goofy and the restaurant patrons sang happy birthday, and each birthday child received a chocolate birthday cupcake with a candle. What a great way to celebrate a birthday!!

We were still eating and partying when they were starting to close up for the morning. Our server had extra birthday cupcakes in the back, and brought them out to share with the rest of the boys. Everyone liked their gift bags, and loved the sunglasses.

We managed to leave before they kicked us out.

Dsis had moved to Yacht Club that morning so she went back to her room; Alex, Nick, and I went back to DHS to use our Fps for TSM.
Here we are sitting on the dock of the bay waiting for the boat to come our way.

We had fun finishing off our morning at Studios. Can you believe that I am THE next American Idol! IF you had ever had the chance to hear me sing, you definitely wouldn’t believe it.

I LOVE these guys. Their skit with the cat food is so hilarious.


It’s at this point that I tell Nick that I think it would be a good idea to go back to the room to lay down. They don’t have to sleep but we need to get out of the heat and relax so that we can party the night away at Magic Kingdom. That’s what you really want to do tonight right? He agrees and we take the quick bus back to Po Century.

We made a quick mug run when we got back to the hotel and it was so stinkin’ hot that we stood in the food court filling the mugs and guzzling down lemonade, green tea and Powerade. The heat coupled with all-you-can-swallow fountain drinks brought on this slovenly behavior. I think three or four refills later and we were satiated enough to go back to the room (with an extra mugful) to get some rest.

There is no free WIFI at Po’ but I pull out my laptop to work on organizing pictures. 6 days into the trip and I’ve managed to completely fill a 4 MG camera card. That’s what I get for riding the safari multiple times yesterday! 7,000 pictures of rare nocturnal animals and giraffes that keep changing direction. I spend naptime pulling off precious bird pictures and sorting them on the laptop while the boys…get this…. Are Sound ASLEEP. Yep. Out like a light.

Now please reference this thread where I asked for advice on whether or not a 12 year old was too old for napping. As you can see, I wasn't sold on the nap idea. Does a 12 year old take a Nap? (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2732615)

The definitive answer that I can deliver to you now is “If you are at the parks, they won’t sleep. If you take them out of the 100 degree heat and put them in a comfy, air conditioned room, YES! They will sleep." They will sleep so well, in fact, that you will have to awaken them 3 hours later and say “We Really have to get up and get going guys!”

Next Up - 'Ohana with Real Cousins

08-02-2011, 12:01 AM
Sounds like a great morning at DHS. :) Looks like your family enjoyed a nice birthday breakfast, in spite of the delays in getting a table.

My family really enjoyed our mid day naps back in June. At least the adults did. ;) Glad to hear your boys took advantage of their break time.

08-05-2011, 05:58 PM
Nap time is over and we really need to get moving. As good as it feels to get off of my feet, I don’t want Nick to miss any more of his birthday. Should I feel guilty that these boys are so tired that they would rather sleep for hours than get up and go have fun? Nah! It means that I’m doing my job by giving them a phenomenal trip!

On our way to the busses, we got to see a little of the pool party under way. This looked like a fun job to have! When they aren't guarding lives, they get to judge Big Wheel races!

This is the time that we got on the bus to go to Magic Kingdom for part 2 of Nick’s birthday.

As soon as we got to MK, we scurried over to Buzz Lightyear to get passes for later. My little nephew Corey tells his mommy all the time (when we're not at WDW) that he wants to go back to Magic Kingdom and ride Buzz Lightyear with Aunt Lala. They already had their FPasses so tonight, we get to ride it together! YAY! I’m so excited for that!

I wanted some birthday pictures in front of the castle and I got this one on our way back out to head over to ‘Ohana for dinner.

I also snapped a picture of this lovely lady. We wondered why on Earth she would wear that to a theme park. She was certainly getting a LOT of attention from passers-by.

On to ‘OHana to meet up with their cousins. We got to see the flag retreat while we made ours to the exit.
Let’s take the boat! It’s such a pretty ride. We get to the boat and it’s just finished loading and is full. Unsure how long it takes to get another one, I steer the boys to the resort monorail. We waited for a looong time for the next train and waited and waited. Some women pushed in to stand realllly close beside me and the boys and started going on and on about how long it takes to get places ‘here.’ They should really tell you that it takes forever! And on and on. They were headed to the Luau and were late. Yeah, we’re late too. Actually, we aren’t late yet. DSis was really early and texts me that they are at the restaurant already at about 5:10 for our 5:30 reservation. Great.

Finally, when it appeared that no train was ever going to come our way and the crowds had grown HUGE, I bailed and went BACK to the boat dock. My new BFF whiny ladies actually said “GOOD!” when we left the line. Seriously? Like me and the 2 tiny hiney boys were impeding on your chances of getting on the monorail. We were just standing here waiting (and seriously not saying ANYTHING) while listening to you b*&^%@ing for 10 minutes and you’re glad that I’M leaving? Wow.

We got another text from DSis while we were on the boat that they went ahead and got seated without us. Hey! Didn’t Stitch say that ‘Ohana means no one gets left behind? LOL. It’s 5:25 and we’re on a slow boat to Polynesia but we will be there as soon as we can.

We stop at the GF and as we’re about to pull away, two teenage girls, yell “WAIT!”and come running all the way down the boat ramp. The captain anchors us back to the dock and allows them to board. Come ON!!!!!

We putter on over to the Polynesian and we wind our way into the restaurant as fast as we can walk. I don’t ask anyone at the podium where we are sitting. We blow into the restaurant and find DSis and family already eating at a big table in the back corner. Hmph. Now her kids are a lot less patient in restaurants than mine uh, because they are 10 years younger so we know that we are going to have to speed thru this meal to avoid flying lo mien. We wolfed down the leftover salad and bread and noodles and pot stickers right as it was time for the limbo and the meat and shrimp portion of the evening.


This is really not a fun meal to eat that fast!! Not being a big fan of meat in general, I would have liked to have had more time to enjoy the veggies and bread. By the time dessert came around, her kiddos were really getting antsy and we knew we were done. I captured some yummy pics of the dessert and DSis using the camera’s ‘Food’ setting.


DSis and family bought Nick two very nice pins for his birthday present. Nick also got to make a wish on a cupcake at this restaurant and I took some photos for his Daddy who was missing his birthday. :sad1:

Well rested and refueled, the whole group hit Magic Kingdom. First stop Buzz Lightyear fast pass line with just a few minutes wait. We spent enough time in line for Corey to decide that he would rather ride it with Alex than me. He’s 4. I forgive him for ditching me.

Alex really enjoyed Buzz tonight.

We watched the Laugh Floor together and then found a spot close to the castle to get a good view of the Castle preshow. I haven’t seen this yet and DSis is just gushing about how great it is and I’m thinking “Ok, crazy girl. It can’t be thaaaat good.” Well, I was blown away. It was a super fun awesome new thing and I loved it. Weird though. My boys didn’t really seem as excited by it. Maybe it’s a greeting card and birthday kind of sentimental thing?

Here they are waiting for Wishes.


After Wishes, DSis and family went back to the Yacht Club and we headed for Splash Mountain. There was no line at all and the boys rode it while I sat out and called DD to tell her all about Nick’s birthday.

They rode BTMR, we did Buzz again and we watched Philharmagic before heading to the exits for the evening. I had wanted to ride IASW but 1. the line was 10 minutes and 2. I was afraid that the slow moving boat ride might induce sleep at this point – remember I didn’t nap while everyone else did – so we skipped it.

Here is a picture of the birthday boy after his very long, very awesome birthday.

And here is a picture on the bus before we pulled away from Magic Kingdom.

Back at the hotel and I wanted just one more picture. The boys were thrilled.


Tomorrow, is going to be an exciting day! It’s our scheduled day off from the parks, moving day to the Dolphin and Aunt Lala’s big night to babysit all the kids! Can’t wait!

08-05-2011, 10:34 PM
aww. nicky had a great day, im sure!

08-09-2011, 07:25 AM
We had agreed to wake up when we wanted and get moving how we wanted before we head over to the Dolphin to check in. We woke up around 8ish and had to pack everything! Since we were here for 6 nights, I had unloaded most everything and stuffed it in the drawers and the shelves so we had a lot of repacking to do. Oh and you’ve got to love folding dirty clothes and underwear. There’s nothing better than that. Ick. We have to fold it because it’s not fitting back into the suitcases in the big heap that it is right now.

Pop has no true luggage services so we drag everything that we wish to transfer to the Dolphin down to the lobby (Ugh. Stupid lobby. I don’t want to be here again after everything that’s happened this trip) and make a left turn and out to the back corner where the suitcase mix and mingle is. We have no problems dropping them off with a request to transfer to the Dolphin. We stop in the Food Court for breakfast and then to the room to gather the rest of the belongings that we didn’t check (like the camera, the laptop, the BPFH, light sabers, etc.). One last trip to Everything Pop for free drinks and then we are off to the Dolphin.

Transferring to the Dolphin is a painless process. A quick bus trip to Studios and then a boat ride from Studios to the Dolphin and then we are there. Drinking in the beautiful lobby. Smelling that Dolphin smell - not a stinky, fishy Dolphin smell but a delicious, spiffy hotel smell.

I approach the desk and give him my best Disney smile and tell him we are checking in. In the course of doing business, I ask if there are any Epcot balcony rooms available. There are but he offers the upgrade to me for $20 a night. Hmmm. I look at the boys and they look at me and they don’t seem to care so I pass. We’ll just take a really awesome room in the category that I booked. Thanks.

Has anyone ever seen the Chevy Chase movie "Vegas Vacation"? You know the scene where they are checking into the Mirage? 'Now to get to your room, go thru the Casino. Veer to the left. Make a right at the first giant palm tree. You’ll see a bank of elevators. Those aren’t your elevators. Go down a set of escalators'…..Well that’s how it felt for a second and the movie popped into my head when he explained how to the get to the room. For some reason, whenever people explain directions to me, my brain dissolves and I zone out. I even do it in the drive thru at McDs. As soon as they tell me how much I owe, they tell me 'First Window' or 'Second Window' and I NEVER hear them. I'll be lingering at the first window wondering if this is right or not seeing anyone at window 1, I blow passed it only to be waved back. Clearly following directions is not a strength of mine.

No matter. We were here and instantly, we were feeling good. We pass the giant palm tree and a bank of elevator and go down the escalators. Just kidding. We head to the West Wing, 7th Floor.

We walked in to the room and dropped the belongings that we had carried from Pop.
Ah! Real, free Starbucks!

We were so anxious to see if we had a good view. Some of the balconies are rather low and face nothing much. I had pointed those out to the boys when we were riding in on the boat with a disclaimer that we don’t know which one we would get other than a room with a balcony. We already knew that we didn’t have a view of Illuminations. So we could have a inner facing 'resort' view room of nothing other than our neighbors on the other side.

We ran to the window like it was a pile of presents on Christmas morning. I pulled open the heavier curtain. As if the Disney Gods are toying with me, the faster that I try to pull back the lighter exterior curtain, the more difficult it is to get passed it. I am struggling to get the door unlocked with one hand and escape the room while holding my camera ready for pictures while standing ready to elbow the small children so that I'm first on the balcony. :)

Finally, after a few tense seconds of anticipation overload, the Freak Out.

Am I alone in saying that this is one of the most succulent parts of any Disney vacation . The anticipation of the resort experience begins when you start selecting this trip’s resort and culminates with cracking the door open the first time to see if you were on the good side of Mickey’s room selection team. There's always that hope that you received THE room. You know, the one that they could have used in the marketing materials that entices you to want to book a stay at that resort?

Let’s see. Where did we leave off? Oh yeah. Head ducked under the curtain, eyes eagerly locked on the horizon just beyond the balcony, ready to lay eyes on what our view will be for the next 3 nights. I stepped out on to the balcony first, followed right behind by Alex and Nick.

We all gasped and shouted at the same time….This is our view?!




We freaked out! We start shouting and pointing. There’s the Tower of Tower. Oh there’s the grotto pool! Look it’s Everest and the Tree of Life!! Are you kidding me?

This is the very best that we could have hoped for.


We could barely contain our excitement as we change into our swimsuits. We cannot wait to get ourselves into that Grotto pool. There were about 10 people at the pool. Ok. That’s an exaggeration. 5 people. It was not a problem AT ALL to secure my favorite spot at the pool and snagged three lounge chairs behind the waterfall.

The boys ran off to play on the slide and I quickly pull out some magazines and commence relaxing. ;) A few pages into my first trash mag and I’m interrupted by a very cute pool boy wanting to know if I would like to order anything from the bar. Oh but of course. Intending to get lunch at the poolside restaurant today, this actually works brilliantly. I order burgers and chicken fingers, iced waters and a pina colada. After all, it is five o'clock somewhere.

Today’s face book status photo -


Well, this was the way we spent the day until it was time to get ready to head over to Yacht Club for babysitting duty. While the boys swam, I plotted how we could squeeze more time out of our schedule to repeat this afternoon again. The change to the Dolphin felt spectacular and I want more time here to really relax.


Come back to find out what plan I cook up and how a veteran Mom of 4 handles her night with the little guys.

08-09-2011, 10:12 AM
Fab report!

08-09-2011, 10:35 AM
Hey! Joining in!

08-09-2011, 05:52 PM
Sounds wonderful! I'm looking forward to doing some relaxing on our upcoming trip...not too much mind you! But just taking it a little slower than in the past! :thumbsup2

Abby's Dad
08-10-2011, 09:19 AM
In the meantime, for those that are thinking about taking the kids next year, enjoy this little video. This was from our meeting with Chewie on our first day.

Great meet! DD27 will be SO jealous if she sees this! And from what I've seen here, she just has to go for a SWW. And if she is ever able to be there at a time when you are, she would have a riot with you.


Abby's Dad
08-10-2011, 09:34 AM
Here's a picture of Alex's burger -
Too slow. I should have used the sports mode.

Just too funny!

And you have a lot of really good pictures, I'm enjoying all of them (and the pic of the dragonfly was really good - I'm glad you stopped for that).


Abby's Dad
08-10-2011, 10:06 AM
I also snapped a picture of this lovely lady. We wondered why on Earth she would wear that to a theme park. She was certainly getting a LOT of attention from passers-by.

Can I order an 8 x 10?:lmao:

Abby's Dad
08-10-2011, 10:19 AM
YOU are SOOOO funny - and a good planner , Mom, and photographer too! How did you get so lucky - and great kids too!?

Really enjoying your TR, and I hope that I can find a FOOD setting on my camera too!

Now, do you want to plan my birthday celebration for our March trip? (The December trip from the planning group is only for our 30th Anniversary - and I've pretty much got the planning down for that one).

I'm holding my breath waiting to find out about the babysitting .....

08-10-2011, 01:29 PM
Can I order an 8 x 10?:lmao:

Oh my gosh. That made me laugh. I'm glad that you are enjoying the report. I'll be posting about the babysitting tonight. Promise! :goodvibes

08-10-2011, 01:31 PM
Fab report!

Thanks! Glad that you found me.

08-10-2011, 01:31 PM
Hey! Joining in!

Hi! Welcome to my trip (report)!

08-10-2011, 01:33 PM
Sounds wonderful! I'm looking forward to doing some relaxing on our upcoming trip...not too much mind you! But just taking it a little slower than in the past! :thumbsup2

I really wish I was there right now, listening to the waterfall and having a nice frozen drink.

08-10-2011, 09:51 PM
I'm still enjoying your trip report!! But I have a question: what is Tatooine? Is it something to do with Star Wars?

08-11-2011, 07:29 AM
I'm still enjoying your trip report!! But I have a question: what is Tatooine? Is it something to do with Star Wars?

Yes. I think it's a planet or a moon - apparently a destination of choice because the boys talked about it quite a bit. Alex would be better able to describe it for me but he's on vacation with the in-laws.

08-11-2011, 07:32 AM
Hi. I posted the new update last night (well tried to) but in the middle of posting the report, my laptop began shutting down to install all kinds of updates. Sorry about that. I'll get it updated tonight after work. Thanks for your patience. :flower3:

Abby's Dad
08-11-2011, 10:20 AM
I got the update and shutdown thing earlier this morning - I need to remember to check the task bar for those things, so that they happen on my time, not theirs.

Anyway - will look forward to the update when you are able. For now, I'm still enjoying the view from your room at the Dolphin - that was pretty spectacular. Now THAT'S a birthday present!

08-11-2011, 12:46 PM
What is Tatooine -

I looked this up in Wookieepedia.

Tatooine was the "home of Anakin Skywalker. It was here that Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn recognized Anakin's potential to become a Jedi and where he introduced him to Obi-Wan Kenobi, his future master and mentor. Tatooine was also the home of Anakin's son, Luke, where he lived until his early adulthood. The planet built up a very bad reputation, often being viewed as the cesspool of the galaxy due to the high-level of criminals who could be found onworld."

So there we go.

08-11-2011, 03:05 PM
OK! Thanks for letting me know!! I first became interested in your tr due to the fact that the title was Extreme couponer.... Anyway, I love coupons/ couponing as well.

08-11-2011, 06:34 PM
Today was a blast! We are reluctant to pull ourselves away from the Grotto but we have a commitment. I also have reached a decision about the rest of the trip and have some business to attend to online.

We are scheduled on a 9 a.m. flight out Sunday morning which means that we have to leave the Dolphin by taxi around 7 a.m. We planned to do another hard core day at Star Wars Weekend tomorrow and a Magic Kingdom morning park hopping directly to Epcot for the evening on Saturday. That means no down time to come back here and enjoy the beautiful hotel. I have the W word on Monday with 2 meetings scheduled that I have to attend. Checking Southwest, I can change our flights to a 6:30 a.m. flight out Monday morning. That would put us in Baltimore by 8:45! With luck, I can make my 10:30! We can do that.

Do I extend the Dolphin for another night? No. If we change back to a value, we can use Disney’s Magical Express and I won’t have to worry about the luggage or pay for a taxi! And a value resort is $80 cheaper than our rate at the Dolphin so it’s like saving that $80 plus the cost of the taxi, which would have been another $65! So it’s practically free to stay another night! Not really when you consider the small rate increase on the plane tickets that I paid to switch to Monday’s flight but we’ll not mix that into the math.

Phew. The pressure of only having 2 days left in the world vanishes and we head over to Yacht Club via water taxi.

The grown ups have reservations tonight at Victoria and Albert’s followed by a Wishes cruise (a surprise gift from DSis to DBil) to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. Before the trip commenced, DSis mentioned that she thought maybe we should join her for the cruise after their dinner. That would have been fine if she had still been at Contemporary and I could have walked the kids onto the monorail. But transporting 5 kids from Yacht Club to the marina at the GF or Polynesian at bedtime just didn’t seem like a grand idea so I assured her that we would be content to stay back at the hotel while she and her DH enjoyed a kid-free evening.

I grabbed her kids and all the room keys and we headed down to the pool. We presented room keys to the wrist band CMs and took the kids in to swim for awhile. Nick and Matthew partnered together as Nick dug an enormous hole in the sand bar and Matthew tried to fill it with water. Corey entertained himself by collecting as many abandoned little green buckets as he could find and amassed a nice collection. Little Zoe was Alex’s partner. She’s all of 2 feet tall so when she stands in the deepest part of the shallow sandy pool, the water is too deep and she panics. Alex crawled along on his belly staying by her side the whole time. When it got too deep he would just say “Too deep” and she would head in a different direction. He has never spent time babysitting anyone other than Nick but he was absolutely fantastic! It was endearing to see my 15 year old son acting so gentle with her and it made me love him a little bit more. I made a mental note to pay him for his services when we got home.

Matthew and Corey started to tussle a little bit over the buckets so I called it Time to Go Eat Dinner! Back in the room, I changed Zoe out of her swimsuit and into a cute little purple shirt and leggings. OK. Technically they were her pajamas. But when we came back to the room, all the outfits that my DSis had placed out on the bed for me to dress her three kids in somehow ended up being tossed around the room. By the time that I got the wet swimsuit off and the dry diaper on, only pajamas are left. I have no idea where the little darlings have hidden all the outfits that their mommy wanted them to wear. Corey needs shorts and undies. No one knew which suitcase or dresser drawer belonged to Corey so I rooted thru everything and went with stuff that looked close enough to fitting and we went out for dinner.

We walked over to the Boardwalk for pizza but halfway there, the sky was gray and it started to sprits just a little bit. I thought it would be safer to get the kids into Epcot in case we needed to seek shelter.

W stopped for Fish in the UK because it’s right inside the gate. I charged a counter service meal credit on DSis’s room charge but then no one wanted the fish. They wanted Pizza. We head to Via Napoli for pizza. I was thinking for some reason that we could get a pizza to go here. Nope. The hostess tells Alex that they sell it for kids at the American restaurant. In America, we find that there is NO pizza on the menu and they refer me back to Italy. Geez. I need to feed these kids.

Still carrying the fish, we stop in Morocco. DSis had purchased a meal here the other day so I’m thinking her kids might eat that. I burned another counter service and we sit down to eat. Zoe is sound asleep in her stroller and I’m thinking BAD BABYSITTER! She went to bed without dinner! Oh NO. Corey and Matthew don’t want any of the Moroccan foods either. I end up splitting the two entrees with my boys because I’m not throwing it out. Zoe woke up while we were eating and she ate the shortbread cookies and she and Matthew split the lemonade that came with the fish.

The kiddos seemed interested in watching MoRockin so we stopped for that then as it seems it isn’t going to storm after all, we get out of the park to get some p.i.z.z.a. Here's a minute at MoRockin (http://s4.photobucket.com/albums/y111/balletmom2/Disboard%20Share/?action=view&current=IMG_0351-1.mp4)

Another shout out to Alex’s sitter skills. He took his brother and the two little boys to the bathroom at the back exit of Epcot all by myself. He managed to get them in and out PLUS making sure everyone washed their hands while Zoe and I stood guard outside to make sure no one was abducted or escaped Alex’s supervision.

We stop to pick up pizza at the Boardwalk where we started over an hour ago. I put in the order for a large cheese pizza with 5 little ice waters. Everyone sat drinking water and patiently waiting for the pizza. Or maybe they are exhausted and dehydrated from Aunt Lala dragging them halfway around the world (showcase)?

Having finally succeeded in acquiring a pizza, we head to the room. Matthew is asking me how many pieces of pizza can he eat? His Dad lets him eat three. How many can he eat? But how much can he eat. His Dad lets him eat as much as he wants. And on we went until…..Oh look a juggler! Go sit down in the front row with Nick so you can see! We stop and watch for a little while until Zoe starts to get antsy. I call the boys back out of the front row and the juggler actually starts yelling after me “Next time come for the whooooole show. Loooook at that lady leaving before my show is over….” I just waved and smiled at the crowd which is now staring at me but what I wanted to do is give him a special non-Disney wave and die of embarrassment. Have a magical day. I hope you drop your balls.

Next up: Pizza Party Picnic

Abby's Dad
08-11-2011, 07:18 PM
Never a dull moment! And I am so impressed by your Alex, but your boys have seemed like pretty nice young men all along.

And your rearranging of your departure - you certainly do identify what you want to do and go about making it happen. Picture me sitting here applauding!:worship:

08-11-2011, 08:44 PM
Really enjoying your trip report! You are doing a fantastic job with it. I enjoy hearing all about the family scenarios and you know just the right time to insert photos, all of which are very good. Would you share with me the camera you are using?

I will try to post as my time allows, which once classes start back up on 8/22, I may be more of a 'lurker'.

08-11-2011, 10:21 PM
great trip report! Can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip.

08-13-2011, 08:03 AM
Never a dull moment! And I am so impressed by your Alex, but your boys have seemed like pretty nice young men all along.

And your rearranging of your departure - you certainly do identify what you want to do and go about making it happen. Picture me sitting here applauding!:worship:

Awww. Thanks so much! I am missing my nice young men right now. They have been out of town at the in-laws for TWO WEEKS! Can't wait for them to come home today. The reports from father-in-law have been how respectful and polite they are. :banana:

08-13-2011, 08:07 AM
Really enjoying your trip report! You are doing a fantastic job with it. I enjoy hearing all about the family scenarios and you know just the right time to insert photos, all of which are very good. Would you share with me the camera you are using?

I will try to post as my time allows, which once classes start back up on 8/22, I may be more of a 'lurker'.

Hi! Welcome to the report. Thanks for reading.

Hmm. The cameras were my iPhone and a Nikon Coolpix L110. It was less than $200 and I love it. It works great as a video recorder too!

08-13-2011, 08:08 AM
great trip report! Can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip.

Thanks for posting! I'm glad that you like it. I'm going to post another update tonight before Alex and Nick get home from their summer vacation.

Abby's Dad
08-13-2011, 07:25 PM
The cameras were my iPhone and a Nikon Coolpix L110. It was less than $200 and I love it. It works great as a video recorder too!

Like I have always said, it isn't necessarily the camera that makes great pictures, but the person who is behind the camera - and you do very well.

Oh, and BTW - LynnieLou is my other half.


08-16-2011, 07:06 PM
We left Epcot thru the International Gateway (e.g. rear exit). DSis's room is reached via 10 long, carpeted miles of hallway. Back in the room and OMG! It’s 8:30 at night! These kids are supposed to be asleep already. BAD BABYSITTER. Ok let’s have a Pizza Party Picnic and then it’s bedtime.

If you want pizza, you have to sit on the couch. Look how cute they all are waiting for pizza.


Poor Zoe. I fed her shortbread cookies earlier. Her Mom said that she’s allergic to pizza crust so I pull the cheese and sauce off of her pizza and feed her just that. I can’t believe it but I don’t have a clue how much she’s supposed to eat. How is it possible to forget how much to feed a small child after raising four of my own? She doesn’t seem that hungry anymore but she’s SUCH a good baby that she never cries or asks me for anything. I have no idea what to do! There’s no baby food or anything that I can find except for Pop Tarts so I tear open a package and give her small pieces of that.

Matthew gets his coveted 2nd slice of pizza, eats half of it and crawls in bed to watch some Disney cartoons. Not long after, he falls asleep while Corey and Miss Zoe are still awake tossing and turning. Alex and Nick are sitting on the floor looking sleepy and bored.

I’m thinking that maybe the little guys are feeling like they can’t go to sleep because they might miss fun with Alex and Nick. I send my boys back to the Dolphin to go to bed. I almost didn’t do this because I was so scared that they would get lost or worse. Woman next year Alex is old enough to DRIVE himself to Disney and you’re scared to let him walk from this hotel to the one right next door? I hug them like I’m never going to see them again and make them promise to stay on the main path and take the bridge into the door by the big fountain and go straight to the room without going anywhere else. After they leave, I dig out the phone book and find the Dolphin’s phone number. I wait half an hour then call the hotel to check on the boys. Please answer. Please answer. “Hello? Yes, mom. We’re fine. No problems. No we didn’t lock the top lock. See you later.” I knew they would be ok the whole time! And YOU were worried!

I lay down on the side of the bed and pretend to sleep, hoping that the babies will follow suit. Nope. Not Zoe. I pat her back for a long time but she doesn’t drop off. I’m not her Mama. I understand. Every so often, Corey sits straight up to make sure I’m still here and then lays back down. He falls asleep eventually but Zoe’s still awake when her Mama and Daddy come in looking really happy!

They had a great time and I’m glad that they had a nice anniversary! And I’m sorry that I fed your daughter cookies, cheese and pop tarts for dinner. Goodnight!!!! Click.

DSis walks me out the side door of the Yacht Club which is literally on the other side of the trees from the backside of the Dolphin. I walk along the sidewalk that follows the little water inlets in front of the Dolphin and can’t help but wonder if there are any critters like snakes or alligators just waiting for a tourist to walk along. Of course, not too much later, there is rustling in the grass and I panic until I realize it’s just a rabbit. Silly rabbit.

Back in the room, all is well and the boys are asleep. I called bell services to have the luggage brought up. It comes up just a few minutes later and the bellman is not taking my cue of speaking in a whisper. Suitcases are falling over on the tile floor in the foyer and he’s chatting with me but the boys don’t move.

I set the alarm for early tomorrow morning. Guess why. Another Star Wars day is ahead of us! And we are going to make it before the gate opens this time. We’re right beside the park. We can’t miss it! Sure.

Abby's Dad
08-16-2011, 08:05 PM
You've got me on the edge of my seat! And while we laugh about your boys going back to the room, and your checking on them, I still want to know that DD27 is home safely - and she doesn't even live at home anymore. I guess it's just part of our programming.

08-17-2011, 07:01 AM
You've got me on the edge of my seat! And while we laugh about your boys going back to the room, and your checking on them, I still want to know that DD27 is home safely - and she doesn't even live at home anymore. I guess it's just part of our programming.

My DD's first year in college in Florida took about five years off of my life. She had to text me every night when she was in her dorm safe for the evening. Some nights she would forget and I would get alarmed. I guess I watch too much Nancy Grace. HA HA.

You really never stop being worried about them I guess?

08-18-2011, 03:44 PM
Hi i like your TR very much... i almost never post a replay because my English is not that good but i like it so much i wanted to let you know.. cant wait for the rest of it :)

08-21-2011, 05:30 PM
Thank you thank you thank you for taking excellent care of the babies. They all had a great time. I realize that it did take three of you to manage their needs, but that allowed us to have a really romantic dinner at Vic & Albert's that cannot be duplicated. What a great night. And, didn't you know that toddlers can still grow on just air and water?

08-28-2011, 11:02 AM
Welcome to another Star Wars Weekend day and the final Friday of our trip. We begin the day with a spirited walk from the Dolphin hotel along the Boardwalk to Hollywood Studios. We walked down the path, leaving a trail of Pop Tart crumbs as we made our way as quickly as possible to the front gates thinking that the boats and busses weren’t running at 7 a.m.

We made the peaceful yet rapid pace walk over to the park. As we rounded the turn where the offsite buses drop off, we were getting warm and tired from walking and noticed a Caribbean Beach resort bus dropping off guests. Awww, really? There are busses running this early? Busses but no boats and the Dolphin doesn’t have a bus to this park.

Today, our target for celebrity fastpasses was the human embodiment of Darth Maul – Mr. Ray Park. He is the star that we captured via Stalkerazzi last weekend. I really wanted Peter Mayhew but the boys wanted Park so that’s what we did.

We were actually EARLY enough that we got to stand in line at the turnstiles and soak in the Star Wars vibe. This you might say is the sweet spot and is where the money that you spent becomes worth it. Goose bumps when you hear the Star Wars themed music. The little songs from the Cantina Band on the soundtrack. Storm troopers standing guard on the roof. You know that everyone here is a Fan and is standing around in nervous anticipation of today’s events.

Waiting at the Gates (http://s4.photobucket.com/albums/y111/balletmom2/Disboard%20Share/?action=view&current=DSCN4179.mp4)
Please open the gates! (http://s4.photobucket.com/albums/y111/balletmom2/Disboard%20Share/?action=view&current=DSCN4180.mp4)

Today we forego our traditional running of the bulls to Toy Story Mania because Nick would like to make it into Jedi Training. When we promise not to tell anyone, the Storm Troopers open the gates and we race to the tables to get him registered for a training class. We walk-ran right up and got a purple slip of paper for his class.

So far, so great! Guaranteed face time with the legendary Ray Park AND a Jedi Training reservation accomplished by 8:15. We tucked the paper away for safe keeping and walked towards Mania. Here is the line as we ventured away from the registration desk.
You really need to be quick as this event is survival of the fittest/fastest! We scanned the line for DSis but didn’t see her. She is attending today and wanted to get Matthew signed up as well. She texted me shortly thereafter saying that she couldn’t sign up Nick because he had to be with her to sign up. We’re good but thanks anyway! She got Matthew signed up for a very late class even though she was only minutes behind us.

We had pretty much killed the list for meet and greet last weekend so today, we wanted to knock out all the seminars. We attended all three today "Stars of the Saga, Behind the Force, and A Visit to the Maul". The boys were enjoying it and I was fine with focusing on the seminars as it was 150 degrees today with the heat and humidity. There wasn’t much more that I wanted to do today anyway besides stand in the shade drinking $3 bottles of lemonade or sit in the air conditioning.

We somehow ended up being in the right place at the right time after the Star Wars parade. We were on our way thru Pixar Place to redeem a Toy Story fast pass and ran into this amazing photo op.


They were making their exit from the parade and walked down the ramp on the way to Pixar Place. It was just the coolest thing to see this squadron walking thru the park like it was perfectly normal. Only at Star Wars Weekend!

We then got stopped by a CM who was holding up traffic. We stopped and ended up seeing this….
And this.
And this.

Really too many pictures to post in this update.

We jumped in the Clone Wars meet and greet to meet Commander Cody? I had no idea who he was but they boys did. The line felt really slow today while we waited for the Commander to show up. We had just missed the previous set so we waited in the line for the next one. We needed to be finished in half an hour because Nick had to report at least 15 minutes before his training session time or he would lose his spot to a wait list-er. So that stressor mixed with the heat made the wait oppressive. We developed a strategy as we were standing in line. They would pose with the characters, I would snap ONE photo and they would travel together with the little purple piece of paper to the Sounds Dangerous theater to check in. When the Commander (who was delayed for whatever reason according to the CM) did return to work, he brought with him an extra guest (Rex) which was our bonus today for standing so long in the heat. We went over directions to the theater with a CM so they were familiar with how to get there.


The minute that I snapped that photo and the Photopass photog fired off a few, they took off. I took the time to put the lens cap back on, get the Photopass card scanned and hoisted the BPFH on, choosing to save time by hand carrying the light sabers and the trivia/autograph book instead of stuffing them back in the BPFH. What we do for our kids, right? It might not sound like a lot but it with the heat and time constraint, it felt like a lot and I looked like I was reaching the pinnacle of Disney he*&. :love: I exchanged knowing looks from other pack mule parents doing the same thing.

I made my way and found Nick lined up with all the other padowans ready for class. Alex and I walk over to the stage and I ask a CM where I should stand if my child is in the next class. There is a roped off area that is reserved for ONE parent per child. I asked if I could go ahead and stand there and she said the other parent walking over with my child won’t be able to join me. I explained that there isn’t anyone waiting with me and she raises her eyebrow and scoffs and says “Usually, we have a parent waiting with the child.” He’s 12. There are other CMs babysitting the line. I’m not sure why I would need to hold his hand on the way over??? Maybe I missed the part about parents having to remain with the children when I had Alex check him in. Maybe it’s my inability to hear and follow directions. Maybe it’s the ringing in my ears from carrying all that stuff across the park in the heat. I don’t know.

Continued with Jedi Training and our Meet and Greet with Ray Park

09-09-2011, 07:29 AM
Your trip report makes me think of the song at the end of the Hoopla:

"If you really want more-- scream it out louder"


Abby's Dad
09-09-2011, 09:09 AM
What a relief - I can finally quit holding my breath, ah, another wonderful installment. We need to take you with us in December so that you can write our trip report - you have a talent.!

09-28-2011, 06:37 AM
Hi! Remember me? I'm going to get another installment up this week. I promise. :thumbsup2

The rest of the story is worth waiting for.

09-28-2011, 06:39 AM
What a relief - I can finally quit holding my breath, ah, another wonderful installment. We need to take you with us in December so that you can write our trip report - you have a talent.!

Oh I think you'll do just fine without me. :)

11-30-2011, 04:24 AM
I leave next week for another adventure - just Nicholas and I on this one. I really am going to finish this report before I leave!


Abby's Dad
11-30-2011, 07:53 AM
I leave next week for another adventure - just Nicholas and I on this one. I really am going to finish this report before I leave!

I'll tell ya Bizee, your enthusiasm for Disney, your kids, and life in general certainly shine through in you TR - and in fact, this is uplifting for me, and I suspect for others. Thank you for your TR - and I'll be even more thankful when you finish it! :rotfl:

Have a great time down at WDW - I'm only sorry that our trips didn't match up to be able to meet you in person. Hopefully another time!

11-30-2011, 05:29 PM
Oh Yeah! I really hope you do finish this one! Glad to see that you haven't forgotten us! :goodvibes

12-01-2011, 07:59 PM
When I last left you in a galaxy far, far away, we were waiting for Mr. Nick to learn the skills needed to defeat the Empire. The kiddos are escorted by the CMs that have been babysitting them and are divided into two groups when they get to the stage. Half get to battle Darth Vader on the stage. The other half battle another villain on the concrete in front of the stage. Last time we did the JedI training in 2005, all 3 boys participated and ended up in the ground group battling Darth Maul. This year, Nick ended up in the ground group again and battled Veentress. I had no clue who this purple lady was but I found out afterwards that she is featured in Clone Wars.


He is definitely one of the oldest participants. I guess there’s no denying that next year, he will be too old for this activity. In case you are wondering, he’s the Padawan in the snappy Adidas.


What do you do with a Padawan to celebrate the triumph of good over evil? At Hollywood Studios, you visit ABC Commissary with your Mommy to get a cupcake as big as your head!


After cupcakes and light sabers, it was time to meet Ray Park. We queued up and it was HOT. Yes, I found a use for my guide map and I was cranky in the heat. So what?!!! :)

Yes, not my most flattering photo but I’m including it hoping that it will demonstrate how hot it felt that day.

It wasn’t too long until we were meeting and greeting with Mr. Park. The boys were fascinated with him. He was soooo nice to us. I can only imagine how many people he has met over the weekend and yet he’s patient and respectful. Being quite cute with an adorable accent didn't hurt my opinion either. I was impressed.


We did some ‘normal’ Studios activities - like backlot tour

He looks awfully calm for a kid about to be in the middle of a large explosion.

I took a picture of this sign.
It struck me as so funny. Say “Theater of the Stars” in your best show bizzy voice. THEATER OF THE STAHRRRRRRZZZZ. Restrooms. . THEATER OF THE STAHRRRRRRZZZZ. Restrooms. The contrast cracked me up and I just thought it was silly that they chose to share the space on this sign with two polar opposite destinations.

Ok. Up to now you thought that bizeemom4 was really nice. Right? Yep. Ok so this confession may disappoint you. I took a picture of these people. I don’t know them. Their outfits were just bizarre! I saw the girl wearing the tutu and cowboy boots and thought weird but then when I saw her boyfriend, brother, friend, whatever also wearing a tutu, I just had to snap it.


On the way out of the park for the evening, I passed the first ones in line for the park opening TOMORROW. Or, now that I think about it, she could have been there to rest up for the walk back to her car. I get how tired touring the parks can be in this heat!

Yes, that is a full sized blow up mattress!

We took the boat back to the Dolphin and walked in to our room. As I cracked the door open, we could hear very loud voices discussing something inside the room. What is going on and who is in our room????

Next Up: Our evening at the Dolphin

Abby's Dad
12-01-2011, 08:27 PM
Here I am, on the edge of my seat, bearly hanging on by my fingernails, and what - we pause for a commercial?!! No !!!!!

Thanks for another great installment.

12-03-2011, 07:29 PM
We took the boat back to the Dolphin and walked in to our room. We could hear very loud voices discussing something inside the room. What is going on and who is in our room? How did someone get in our room?

Where are the voices coming from? Oh. It sounds like they are Star Wars characters. That makes no sense. We left that behind at Studios. I turn on the light. We didn’t leave the TV on. No one could get into our room anyway with the trap that bell services had left the night before (that we were apparently too busy to clean up).
Somewhere out there, Alex is wandering the World in just one sneaker. :rotfl:

We open the curtains and step out on to the balcony. It’s even louder out here. Aha. The staff at the Swolphin have moved my lounge chairs out from under the waterfall and replaced them with a large movie screen. They are showing the Phantom Menace! We can hear it from inside the room. Out on the balcony, it’s as loud as if you were at the theater. The building acts like an amplifier for the sound.

Boys+Star Wars Weekend +Movie by the pool. Yeah. We had to go. We changed into swimsuits and headed down. The towel cabana was closed for the day so there was not an option that I could find for getting fresh towels and we didn’t bring them from the room. We nix the idea of getting in the pool because it would be a long, chilly walk back to the room through the lobby, passed the palm trees, along the bank of elevators, down the escalators, through the casino to our room.

We sat for a bit and soaked our feet in the pool and watched the movie. I had promised ice cream tonight so when I suggested that we leave to get it, they agreed but were reluctant and continued to watch the movie while putting on their sandals. “This is a goooood part.” Like they had not seen that scene 100 times before???

Turtle Milkshake and Peanut Butter and Jelly milkshake. Nick got a kids sundae with sprinkles (not pictured here).

We took our treats back upstairs to the room and they finished the movie from the balcony while I relaxed on the heavenly beds and watched it through the open balcony door.



I had no idea that this was going to happen. It was one of those unexpected awesome moments at Disney that doesn’t get planned for or listed on a spreadsheet but ends up making the entire trip that much more special. I think this was a top 5 moment for us. Maybe top 3. Definitely magical.

Tomorrow we take the magic back to the Kingdom and then say goodbye to DSis and family.

12-04-2011, 12:09 PM
Most tour plans will advise you to avoid Magic Kingdom on a Saturday. But our time is running short on the trip now and we needed this morning to cover some ground that we missed.

Guess what we found out? The Saturday of a Star Wars Weekend is a perfect time to visit Magic Kingdom! We arrive just after rope drop (tardy again!!) and head straight to Fantasyland. The boys were telling me on the bus ride over that they did not want to ride Dumbo. I was stunned by that actually. I guess I thought that they would always want to do the classics. Well, no one comes to Disney on my watch and doesn’t ride the most iconic ride in the ‘World.’ So the mean Mommy that I am hustled us down Main Street and over to Fantasyland.

Don’t they look thrilled?

The best group shot that I could get.

The boys doing their best to emulate marble busts, of the greatest ghost writers, the literary world has even known.

We lunched at Columbia Harbor House in upstairs dining room. I apologize for not taking a photo of our tuna sandwiches for the trip report.

I did take time to photograph the stash of fast passes that we had accrued this morning.

Who could anticipate this wait time in mid-June on a Saturday?

Where is everyone?

We left Magic Kingdom having a very successful day. I’m so glad that I switched our flights around so that we could push Hollywood Studios to tomorrow and squeeze in another morning at Magic Kingdom. Well worth it. But again, like last night, you can't plan or expect magic to happen. It just sneaks up on you.

We visited with Dsis and family at Yacht Club for a bit. I wanted to reproduce some photos of the boys that I had taken when we stayed there in ‘05.
Then and Now


On our walk back, I took this picture. Look how close all the hotels look from this perspective - Yacht Club, Swan and Boardwalk.

We spent a little time resting and Nick enjoyed his balcony. A wedding was imminent but we didn’t stick around to watch.

Instead, we ventured downstairs for dinner at The Fountain. Alex’s cheeseburger. He finally met his match.

Nick’s kids meal - ok for a 4 year old. Not adequate for a 12 year old.

My Salmon salad. It was eh.

The service was really, really slow and we almost missed Illuminations. We were supposed to meet up with Dsis. We start walking around the Showcase looking for where they might be, assuming that since we were both staying outside of the International Gateway that we would stop and watch very near the exit. Not so. DSis has walked aaaaalllllll the way to Italy to watch these. We don’t reach her in time for the kickoff of the show so we stopped and watched where we were. Not the best viewpoint and I was disappointed that we missed the beginning where they blow out the torches.

As soon as the lights came back on, we found them in about 60 seconds. I got on her case about having to walk all the way around the world to find her. :lmao:

We walked out together and walked with them to their hotel. I bid a tearful farewell to my little Corey.

One more quick picture to hold us until we meet again.

They fly back home tomorrow morning and we have one more day in the World.

Tomorrow - SWW Wrap-up

04-25-2012, 12:21 PM
Guess what? We are heading back for another year of Star Wars Weekend adventures! So, I am planning to finish this report, albeit very late, and continue to post with an abbreviated report from this year!

We are heading back and bringing Eeyore (my DH)! This year, we will be staying at the Beach Club and will be at the very last SWW (June 8-10).