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ddstratton 11-05-2008 07:45 PM

First Timers Took On The World! Updated 3/28 -- Now Complete!
We're back from our trip, and it's time to start the Trip Report!

First off, let's go over the Cast of Characters:
DH - 38 (turning 39 on our trip). Never been to Disney World. Not over-the-top thrilled about going, either. He's pretty easy-going on our vacations. Most likely will not ride many rides. He just likes to go along. I wonder how many he ended up going on???
Me - 36 (turning 37 on our trip). Never been to Disney World either. Definitely an obsessive planner type. But I don't get upset if each little thing doesn't go as planned. I just love the fun of planning. I plan on going on as many rides as I can. How about me? How many did I end up going on?
DD - 9. She's never been to Disney World. Is very excited to be going. Her main goal in going to Disney World is to meet Pluto. She says she'll go on all the rides with me, but will likely change her mind on a few of them... What do you think? Did she go on them, or back out?
DMom - 58. Never been to Disney World. My mom. VERY excited to be going. She WILL ride all of the rides with me. So, did she?

I'll post the next segment immediately. That installment will cover the beginning of our drive to Florida from New York.

ddstratton 11-05-2008 08:47 PM

Day One - October 20th
Our first official day of vacation!!! I woke up just after 5:30 in the morning. I took care of a few last-minute things, got a shower and finished packing up the van. At around 6:30, we called Mom and told her to come on down. She lives about five or six miles from us. She arrived (driven by my brother) and we packed her bags into the van. We left at 7:18 am. The trip meter read 45. I set it back when I filled the gas tank a couple of days before. It was 25 degrees when we left.

Just before the Coopers-Curtis bridge (about 20 miles down the highway), we passed an accident. A rig had overturned, right off the road, upside down, taking out the guardrail.
Notice the ice on the windshield still?

We stopped at the McDonaldís just past Williamsport, PA, at 8:51 am. DH got a large chocolate milkshake and we got 2 hashbrowns for DD. Total cost was $4.23. We left here at 8:59 am.

We stopped at a Rest Area at 10:55 am, and left at 11:03.
DD kept up her tradition of finding water fountains.

We stopped at IHOP in Hagerstown, MD, at 11:46.
Mom had the Combo (2 eggs, 2 pieces of sausage, hash browns & pancakes), DH had the Colorodo omelet with hashbrowns, DD had the chicken strips with apple slices, and I had the bacon temptation omelet with pancakes. Total here was $38.71. I don't have any pictures of the food. Even though I had meant to, I just never seemed to get pictures of our food... I always thought about it too late.

DH was apparently a wee bit bored while waiting for our food. He created a tower of coffee creamers. Then tried to hide it from me.

We left IHOP at 12:41. We stopped for gas at the 7-11 in Hagerstown. $41.00 for 14.699 gallons. $2.78/gallon.

As we were leaving Hagerstown, MD, it was 58 degrees.

We stopped at a rest area at 2:27. $1.75 for a pepsi for DH, and $1.25 for a bag of Doritos for DD. We left the rest area at 2:42 pm.
Notice the water fountain theme still?

At this rest area, we picked up some of the hotel discount books. We found a coupon for the Holiday Inn Express in Emporia, VA.
They had an indoor pool! We stopped in here (it was before our reserved hotel), and they had a room! Total cost for the room was $79.09.

I canceled the reservation for the Econo Lodge online.
This was really a very nice room. It was clean and the beds were very comfy.

We drove to the Cracker Barrel for supper.
Mom just loved the fact that they had the fireplace going.
Mom just had the house salad, DD had chicken strips and mashed potatoes, DH had a huge bacon cheeseburger and corn, and I had chicken strips, corn and mac & cheese. They brought some cornbread muffins and biscuits. Besides the meal, I bought a dot-to-dot book for DD and a big pen. Total here was $36.23. I used a $25 gift card I had earned through MyPoints.

We stopped at the gas station for some milk. One quart of milk cost us $3.19!!! Yikes!

After returning to the room, we went to the pool. The pool was very warm, but the hot tub was cold! We swam for a while. The pool was very chlorinated. I don't have any pictures of the pool, as my underwater camera took some really lousy pictures.

After swimming, I took our suits and towels to dry. The dryer cost $2.00, and didnít do a great job of drying. But at least they werenít dripping any more. I spent $1.00 on an orange soda.

While I was drying the clothes, DH gave DD a bath. Mom was already dozing when I got back from the laundry. I caught up my notes, reheated my left over chicken strips and relaxed before bed.

And that's it for Day 1 of our 14 day trip. I know, there are a lot of silly details here, but that's what I took notes on. I like the little trivia stuff, like how much time we spent at rest areas, and what we spent for meals. More of my obsessive-planning-type personality coming out. :D

tazdev3225 11-05-2008 08:54 PM

Looking forward to reading more. I'm a major planner too so I know what that can be like. That hotel looked like it was a nice place to stay. I love going to the Cracker Barrel. They opened one near us and I have to fight the urge to go there all the time. Can't wait for the next installment.

the4princesses 11-06-2008 01:07 AM

great start
can't wait to read more.

vdarrell 11-06-2008 06:43 AM


ddstratton 11-07-2008 10:09 AM


Originally Posted by tazdev3225 (Post 28563001)
Looking forward to reading more. I'm a major planner too so I know what that can be like. That hotel looked like it was a nice place to stay. I love going to the Cracker Barrel. They opened one near us and I have to fight the urge to go there all the time. Can't wait for the next installment.

Next installment, coming right up!


Originally Posted by the4princesses (Post 28565904)
great start
can't wait to read more.

Read on.... next installment following


Originally Posted by vdarrell (Post 28567024)

Thanks for reading!!

ddstratton 11-07-2008 10:13 AM

Day Two - October 21st part 1
We were all up by 6:30am. I guess we were just excited to be on vacation! Me and Mom got showers in, then we all went down to the breakfast room. They had a really nice breakfast: sausage patties, scrambled eggs, toast/bagels, danish, orange juice, milk, yogurt, etc.
The breakfast room was nice, too. They had a big flat screen TV playing a news show, a nice sofa/chair area, and plenty of little tables/chairs to eat at.

We got everything packed up and left the Holiday Inn Express at 8:42 am.

We stopped at a rest area at 10:02.
We bought 2 Pepsi’s for DH, an iced tea for DD and a Grape soda for me. Mom didn't want anything extra. We had some drinks and snacks in the van. Total cost was $4.00. We left the rest area at 10:14.

We stopped for gas at an Exxon, at 10:18 am. $3.10/gallon, 14.692 gallons. Total cost $47.00. We left the gas station at 10:24 am. Apparently, I didn't take a picture at this stop.

We stopped at a rest area at 11:07, and left again at 11:16. DD found another water fountain here.

We also found a little critter sunning himself on a bush. Can you spot him?

Of course, we saw the many South of the Border billboards along I-95.
I wasn't quick enough to get a picture of my favorite one. It said: "Keep yelling, kids. They'll stop!" I laughed until I peed my pants (well, not really, but almost!).

And these signs line I-95 also. DD couldn't figure out why anyone would want to see naked b**bs while you were eating...

We then stopped at the South Carolina Welcome Center at 12:04 pm. By this time, I'd been riding too long in the van to be a smiling face.
We left at 12:19.

We stopped at Cici’s Pizza & Pasta Buffet in Florence, SC, at 12:58. It proved to be a good thing that I packed the roll of Duct Tape. I never take a trip without packing Duct Tape, empty plastic grocery bags and wet wipes. Sometimes we need them, and sometimes we don't. But the OCD part of me cannot leave on a trip without these things in the vehicle.

We had a hose that decided to start leaking. As we stopped at Cici's, the engine was steaming a bit. It was just some overflow from the radiator (or some-such, DH is the mechanic, not me). DH put Duct Tape on the hose that was leaking, and we were good to go!
Total cost was $28.18. This was for three adults and one 9-year-old. It's all-you-can-eat pizza, pasta and salad. This total price included a soda for each of us. They had lots of different types of pizzas, including macaroni-and-cheese pizza! For pasta, they had spaghetti, elbow and fettucini type noodles, and marinara type sauce and an alfredo type sauce. Salad was your basic lettuce salad bar. We left at 1:47 pm.

Look!!! Look!!! We're on I-95!!!

We just got a kick out of these speed limit signs. Not sure why...

We stopped at another South Carolina Welcome Center at 2:43.
DD thinking she's too cool for us.
Some palm tree detail.
Another palm tree for my mom.

We left this rest area at 2:54.

We stopped at another rest area at 3:39. Total cost was $3.75. DH and DD got green tea with citrus, and I got a Dr Pepper.
Of course, DD found another drinking fountain.

This is not something we're used to seeing. The vending machines were behind bars. You had to reach through the bars to use the machines.

We left this rest area at 3:56.

We stopped at a Horizon gas station.
$2.63/gallon, 13.641 gallons. Total cost $36.00. We left the gas station at 4:37.
We got to Georgia at about 4:45.

As we're travelling down I-95, in some heavy traffic, we're in the passing lane, right behind a rig. There's an SUV right behind us, and traffic in the driving lane. The rig in front of us either runs over a recap, or just lost one of his own. It pops out from under this rig, right in front of us. It's the entire recap, not just a piece of one. DH lined up the van to hit this thing straight on. He didn't have much choice -- there was no place to go to miss it.

It hit the front of my van, and knocked my license plate partly off and thunked it's way under the van. The SUV behind us also hit it, but no one went off the road or anything. This scared the bejeezus out of my mother.

We stopped at the next rest area in Georgia at 5:47. DH checked under the van for any damage. No damage! Woo-hoo!!
And of course, DD found another water fountain. We left at 6:00.
We made it to Florida!!!! It was about 6:30ish.

We stopped at the Florida Welcome Center at 6:39. The Welcome Center was closed, but DH got us a Florida map. We left at 6:43.
I caught a pretty sunset picture on the way.

Continued in next post...

ddstratton 11-07-2008 10:14 AM

Day Two - October 21st part 2

We arrived at the Rodeway Inn at 7:01. This is in Jacksonville, FL, right near the airport. We got checked in, total cost $56.49.

Duane and Elizabeth got in the outdoor pool for a little while. Our pool has been colder than this one! We did get some strange looks from some of the other people here. They must be native to Florida, and thought we were nuts to be in the pool.
My mother is hugging a palm tree. Don't ask...

Well, OK. Since I heard you ask... She is almost 60 years old, and has never seen a palm tree up close and personal until this trip. There are several things she's never done that she'll do on this trip.

After they were done swimming, we went to the Cracker Barrel for supper. Total cost $38.24 plus tip. Apparently, I didn't write down what we ate tonight... Or take a picture of this Cracker Barrel. This one was in a mall plaza - I do remember that much about it.

We came back to the room, watched some TV. This was definitely a cheapy motel. The room was clean enough, and the beds were acceptable. But there wasn't even a clock in this room!!!

Well, that'll do it for the second day of our trip. We're actually in Florida!!! And tomorrow, we get to Disney World!! It was a bit hard to actually get to sleep on this night.

loopymommy 11-07-2008 12:36 PM

Great details so far! Can't wait to read about you guys at Disney!

Your mom is so sweet to hug the palm tree!

ddstratton 12-02-2008 09:25 AM


Originally Posted by loopymommy (Post 28594042)
Great details so far! Can't wait to read about you guys at Disney!

Your mom is so sweet to hug the palm tree!

Thank you! Sorry for the delay in posting. New update coming right up.

ddstratton 12-02-2008 09:29 AM

Day 3 - October 22nd
We left the Rodeway inn at 8:29 am. We stopped at the Walmart nearby to pick up a few groceries. I picked up stuff like some donuts, drinkable yogurt for DD, bananas, etc. Total cost was $24 and some change. We left Walmart at 8:55 am.

All through Jacksonville, Mom hid her face in her pillow. She really does not like traffic!

We stopped at a rest area at 9:48. Total cost was $2.50. Mom got a coffee for $1.00 and Elizabeth got some gummy worms for $1.50.

This was an -- interesting -- plant at the rest area.


We left the rest area at 10:03.

We're getting closer!

We made it to I-4!

Mom also hid her face through Orlando. She just does not like big cities and traffic.

DD is getting excited! We're almost there!

Look where we are!

We didnít stop until we got to the Caribbean Beach Resort!!

We got here right around 11:35 am. I only had to wait in line for the next CM to be available, less than five minutes. We got checked in, but our room wasnít ready yet. They told us which village and building we would be in, and told us to call back after lunch to see if our room was ready yet, and which room it would be.

We drove over to our village -- Barbados. We parked the van in front of the building we were told would be ours, and walked to Old Port Royale. We looked around a bit, to see what they had to offer. Mom participated in the Limbo! Sorry the picture is so very blurry. The flash was turned off on my camera, and it didn't come out well.

We got some lunch and some refillable mugs. Mom just had a yogurt parfait, DH and I both had pepperoni pizzas, and DD got spaghetti and meatballs. Hers came with a chocolate milk, a cookie and a pudding. Total cost for lunch and four refillable mugs was $75.54.

I called to check on our room at about 1:30, but the room still wasnít ready. We had our park tickets, though, so we caught a bus to the Magic Kingdom! We waited about 15 minutes for the bus.

We have arrived at the Magic Kingdom!

Mom just stopped and stared at the Castle when we got to Main Street. She was almost in tears to actually be here.

DD wanted her first ride to be on the Haunted Mansion. We stopped at the Columbia Harbor House first, for a bathroom break. We then went on the Haunted Mansion. We waited about 10 minutes. We all loved this!! After the Haunted Mansion, we went to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. All four of us rode. DH thought DD meant that this was the train ride Ė the Walt Disney World Railroad. He was not a happy camper! He does not like roller coasters or any other fast-moving type ride. I was dying laughing, though. He and DD were sitting behind me and Mom. All I heard was, "If I get off this thing, I'm going to kill you!" Now, I honestly had no idea that he thought this was the Train. I was a bit surprised that he chose to ride with us, but thought he had decided to try it. Um. NO!

He waited while Mom, DD and I went on Splash Mountain. We waited about 15 minutes, and all of us loved it!

We then went on the actual Walt Disney World Railroad, getting on and off at the Frontierland Station, by Splash Mountain.

We decided to go on one last ride for the afternoon Ė the Jungle Cruise. This one, we waited about 45 minutes for! The Stand By time was definitely wrong! It was posted at 20 minutes. It seemed like every time we turned a corner on line, it just kept going farther. The ride was fun, though.

It was now around 4:30 or so. We decided to head back to the room (if it was ready). As we were waiting for the bus, I called for our room. It was ready. Room 1307. We only waited about 5 minutes for this bus. It pulled up as I was getting off the phone.

As it turned out, we had parked right in front of the room we were assigned! We were on the first floor, as requested. We got one of the newly renovated rooms - the Nemo-themed ones.

Apparently, we never took a picture of the rest of the room. The TV/fridge were on a dresser-type piece of furniture, rather than the older armoire I've seen in other pictures.

This was the view from our "parking lot view".

We brought some of our stuff into the room from the van. We had ADRs tonight for the Whispering Canyon Cafe. We went out to catch another bus. This one was going back to Magic Kingdom Ė we waited 20 minutes for this bus. From there, we picked up the bus to Wilderness Lodge. The bus was just pulling up as we got off the Caribbean Beach bus, so we had no wait.

We arrived at the Whispering Canyon Cafť and checked in exactly on time! We were given a pager and only waited about 10 minutes to be seated. Our server was Brittany. She was great! So much fun. I had read a bit about some of the antics that the servers can get up to here, and she was up to it! She threw napkins and straws at us. I finished my drink quickly, and she brought me a half-gallon sized one!

We all got the skillet. We started out with salads. Nice salads, very fresh-looking and tasty. We also had cornbread. Then came the Skillet! The meat was wonderful! Everything was very tasty and tender. We had ribs, chicken, pulled pork and beef brisket. There was also mashed potatoes and beans. Just as we were ready to leave, our server brought me over a mini chocolate bundt cake with ice cream, sprinkles and gummy worms. The whole restaurant sang Happy Birthday to me. We were so full from supper, that the four of us couldnít finish that little cake! Total cost here was $120. The bill came to $101.85, and I left the rest as tip.

We rolled ourselves out of the restaurant and looked around the lobby of the Lodge a little. We headed for the bus stop. We waited 20 minutes for a Downtown Disney bus here. Once it finally came, we drove around forever, it felt like. We made a stop at the Grand Floridian. We finally got to Downtown Disney. We only waited about 5 minutes for a bus to the Caribbean Beach. The whole trip (including waiting for a bus) home took almost an hour! We got back to the Caribbean Beach just before 10:30 pm.

We brought some more stuff in from the car. We all got dressed and went to the quiet pool. DH didnít swim. The water was a little cool, but still felt good. Being from NY, we just loved the idea of swimming - OUTDOORS - at 11:00 at night, in OCTOBER. We left the pool at 11:15 and came back to the room. It sure didn't take us long to fall asleep!

Next up: Breakfast at the Tusker House, Animal Kingdom, and the Caribbean Beach Resort.

Disneymom77 12-02-2008 10:05 AM

Just tuned in! Great start:thumbsup2 I can't wait to eat at The Wispering Canyon Cafe on our next trip:cool1:

heaven2dc 12-02-2008 02:22 PM

Sounds like you had a great trip! I can understand your mom being skittish about traffic - I would like to close my eyes too when I'm driving anywhere on 95 (but can't since I'm the driver :scared1: )

Your room is beautiful - I've always wanted to stay at CBR but after staying at the Boardwalk Villas twice (in 11 years), I've gotten spoiled.:lovestruc

Anxious to read the rest of your TR! popcorn::

ddstratton 12-03-2008 08:37 AM


Originally Posted by Disneymom77 (Post 28992053)
Just tuned in! Great start:thumbsup2 I can't wait to eat at The Wispering Canyon Cafe on our next trip:cool1:

We loved the Whispering Canyon! Be prepared, though. It is LOUD. We knew that going in, and it didn't bother us a bit. It's not like we were expecting a nice quiet meal.


Originally Posted by heaven2dc (Post 28996823)
Sounds like you had a great trip! I can understand your mom being skittish about traffic - I would like to close my eyes too when I'm driving anywhere on 95 (but can't since I'm the driver :scared1: )

Your room is beautiful - I've always wanted to stay at CBR but after staying at the Boardwalk Villas twice (in 11 years), I've gotten spoiled.:lovestruc

Anxious to read the rest of your TR! popcorn::

Mom spent a lot of the driving portion of the trip hiding in her pillow. It is a very good thing she wasn't the driver :rotfl2: We did like the room we had. For as long as we spent in it, it was perfect. Mostly, we just used it as a crash pad at night.

Another update coming right up!

ddstratton 12-03-2008 08:49 AM

Day 4 - October 23rd
The clock went off at 6:20 this morning. We all got up and ready.

Here's the little table in our room. See my binder, just sitting there? I am so glad I had that with me. I referred to it several times throughout the trip...

We were at the bus station by 7:30 am. We waited almost 20 minutes for the bus. At the second stop at Caribbean Beach, our bus really started to fill up. A bunch of high-school kids got on. They were actually very well behaved. As others got on at other stops, the boys gave their seats to some of the women and kids that got on. It was nice to see that some kids are still taught manners.

We had an 8:20 ADR for Tusker House. We checked in right on time. It's a good thing that I brought along my confirmation number... I wasn't on their list!! I was on the main list, because they let us in, but they couldn't find us at the restaurant. We only had to wait about 5 minutes for them to call us. We bypassed the photo opportunity, and were seated and served the wonderful Jamba Juice. YUM! I cannot say enough wonderful things about this juice. It was to die for.

We went to up the buffet (we each ended up only making one trip). We didnít have anything unusual, just basic breakfast fare, but it was tasty. Characters came around in a nice time. We didn't have to wait too long, and we also didn't feel rushed when we saw them. First Mickey, then Daisy, Donald and Goofy. Daisy kissed DH, and put her finger in his ear! Of course, I missed this with the camera. I wasn't paying attention at first, and wasn't ready. Total cost here was $85. ($72.38 plus tip).

After breakfast, we rode Kilamanjaro Safari. Wait time was really minimal. Maybe about 10 minutes or so. We had a nice ride and saw some animals.

After that, we walked around Pagini Trail. This was really pretty! We got some nice animal pictures here, too.

As we left Pagini Trail and headed toward Asia, we ran into Devine! Mom got her wish!

And another thing Mom really wanted to see...

After seeing Devine, we headed toward Expedition Everest. The standby line for Expedition Everest was 35 minutes, so we grabbed some fast passes. Return time was only an hour away (12:40). We wandered over to Dino-Land and rode Dinosaur (DH sat this one out). We loved it! I bought the picture (which they sent to the Caribbean Beach for me to pick up at the gift shop on Friday). Total cost was $20.19.

She's got her ears covered because she didn't care for the loud noises, but she wasn't afraid of the ride itself.

I also bought a stuffed Pterodactyl toy for DD - she's way into dinosaurs. Total cost $12.73.

We stopped at a restroom and went back to Everest. It was MOBBED!!! The fastpass line was ridiculous. We still had a few minutes before our time anyway, so we grabbed some drinks. Total cost here was $8.81 (I think...). Three drinks were $2.09 (a lemonade, a Coke and a Sprite) and Momís bottle of water was $2.00.

We finished our drinks and went back to Everestís fast pass line. It was much better now. We only waited about five minutes. This ride was GREAT!!! But it was another that DH sat out. He only went on a few rides with us, as was expected. This is one that I thought DD would back out on. But she rode. AND LOVED IT!!!!!

After this point in the ride, I could NOT take another picture if I had wanted to! The ride is much more intense after the big drop than I thought it would be. There are a bunch of tight, fast turns that I really wasn't expecting! I had my camera around my neck, and the strap ended up twisted over a couple of times -- that's how intense the fast turns were!

I bought DD a small stuffed Yeti in the gift shop. Cost $10.60.

After riding Everest, we made our way out of the park.

Continued in next post (too many pictures...)

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