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Dawn68PA 11-25-2008 11:07 AM

6 Adults (Mostly) November 08 TR!
Cast: me (40), DH (42), DD19, DsonIL22, DD19, DD17
November 7 ASMo, November 8-15 AKV
Invisible disability ECV users
Link to our Disney Trip Photobucket:
No trips from Photopass in there yet, waiting for my CD :)

First, before taking this trip we decided that we would drive ourselves around the world. After reading all of the comments from others regarding ECV users, I did not want to use the bus system. We did end up using the bus once, which I'll cover later. Second, driving ourselves was great. It was so nice to come and go as we pleased without having to wait for a bus or in a line.

We drove from PA and the ride was ok. Not as entertaining as previous trips. The kids are all older now and though we did talk some, they were more interested in sleeping and watching DVDs than communicating with the 'rents. I decided to type this TR during our ride home which is upsetting DD17 who wants to use the laptop to watch a DVD.

Friday, November 7

We arrived at ASMo mid-afternoon after a 17 hour mini-van ride. We requested 2 rooms close to each other and were given rooms next to each other. Very good. I had also requested a king bed in DH & I's room but was told we didn't get that. Ok. We had paid for preferred rooms and so were headed to the Fantasia building. I was disappointed to find that our view was of the parking lot. I knew this was a risk and I had made no request so had no cause for complaint. We were only staying here one night so no biggie. We unloaded what we had to for one night from our mini-van and checked out the rooms. DH & I had a cute little duck towel animal in our room on the counter by the sink. The other room had the standard Mickey towel design on one of the beds. We immediately changed into our bathing suits to enjoy the pool. It was a really great way to begin vacation. Especially since we had come from 50 degree weather in PA. The pool was very nice and we liked the water falling from Mickey's hands into the water. Personally, I liked that because it fell on my stiff shoulder strong enough to bring relief without hurting. My shoulder was sore before we left but after that long car ride it was really stiff.

We then wanted to go to the Big River Grille & Brewing Works for dinner at the BWI. DD19 & her new DH wanted to check out the resort as they booked their honeymoon there for next year. It is truly gorgeous. We walked around a little then checked in for dinner. They do not take reservations here but we were seated immediately. We had a nice table by the window and could look out onto the Boardwalk while we dined. The restaurant looked about half empty. Our waitress was a delightful girl and since my DH didn't know what the beers would taste like he asked her opinion. She told him some detail on each one and then he went with a coke as he was still unsure of what their beer would taste like. When our drinks were served, she brought DH a sample of one of the beers that she thought he may like. He ordered one then. DD17 & I ordered the ribs. We both agreed that they were the best we've ever had. DD17 orders ribs everywhere so for her to say that – it really means something. DSIL ordered the mahi mahi and it was also delish. All 6 of us were eating off of each others plates the whole way through this meal because everything was delectable. I highly recommend this restaurant and we all believe it was the best meal of the trip. DD19 had the hazelnut chicken and it was to die for. She said she must have it again on their honeymoon. DD19 had the chicken alfredo and it was also good.

After dinner we walked the Boardwalk a little bit then decided to go to MK and visit Tomorrowland since the park was open until 11. There were pros and cons to this decision that I'll cover later. First we grabbed FPs for Space Mountain. I was surprised that we could still get them. Then we went to ride Buzz. No line. Great! We had never ridden Buzz so we were really looking forward to this one. We really enjoyed it! Definitely one of my new faves. Next we did Monster Laugh Floor. What a riot! We laughed the whole way through this show! I wish we could have done this twice. We then did the Tomorrowland Transit Authority ride and it was just as I remembered, forgettable. It was a nice break though. Then came time for Space Mountain. I couldn't wait to do this because we had 2 people with us on this trip who have never been to WDW. We had FPs so no wait, but the stand-by line wasn't long either. Everyone loved it. DSIL isn't a thrill rider but he liked it too. When we emerged from SM Wishes was going on and since we have never seen it, we stopped to watch what was left. Just stunning. I definitely have to make sure we see this in it’s entirety. By the time Wishes concluded, we were exhausted and decided to head back to the resort. We knew we didn't have to get up early, which was a nice thought when going to sleep. Long car ride and a park night made for a long day. The next day's plans were to sleep in, check out of ASMo and check in to AKV where we rented points for a 2BR villa (Thanks!).

Dawn68PA 11-25-2008 11:09 AM

Saturday, November 8

We had a good night's sleep at ASMo. Our room numbers were 8937 & 8936. If you don't mind a parking lot view that is close to the main building, elevators and pool, I would recommend these rooms. They were on the 3rd floor and quiet.

After collecting our belongings, we checked out and moved on over to AKV. Upon seeing the thatch roof as we were approaching I felt butterflies. This would be our first time staying in a deluxe hotel. The building is awesome! The outside is detailed and just kind of takes your breath away. We parked and casually moseyed our way into our new home for the next 8 days. What they say is true. The lobby is jaw-droppingly beautiful. I went to check-in after staring at the chandeliers, if that's what they call them. Knowing it was only 10am, I knew the possibility of our villa being ready was slim to none. The clerk at the counter confirmed this. She said to check back with them between 3 and 5. We decided to go ahead over to DTD. DD17 could not wait to get to DQ and we all wanted to play the pirate game. What I wouldn't give to have this game at home LOL. Alas, we arrived before the opening of DQ so we decided to cruise to the other side of DTD and grab lunch and a little shopping. We spent some time checking out all of the Lego figures. They always astound me. I would never have the kind of patience it would take to build one of those. We decided to go to Earl of Sandwich for lunch. I had never had a Caprese salad so I ordered one of those. Feta cheese does not like me. I will never have it again. DH & DD17 had the meatball sub. They said it tasted good but was unproportioned. DD19 had the Hawiian BBQ sandwich and said it was really good. DD19 had the grilled chicken Cesar salad and said it was good and says I'm to quit asking her questions. DSIL doesn't remember what he ordered but he downed it.

We went into the World of Disney, which being a Saturday, was pretty crowded. I'm sure we would have spent more time here if we could have fit it in during the week. DH got some antenna toppers. Oh well, off to DQ.

Upon entering we went directly to the pirate ride with very little wait. It was a blast as always! I hope they never change this game. It's just perfect the way it is. There's not much more in DQ that interests DH & I so we left the 4 kids to play and we took off to locate grocery store. It's about 1:00 so I call AKV to see if our villa is ready. Big shock – no, not ready. I had a small hope that it would be just so we didn't have to go out to the grocery store later. We found the grocery store after Gabby, our GPS, took us the long way. You see, we approached a red light and she told us to go right. We did. The she told us to make a u-turn. We did. Then she took us back to the same red light and here the grocery store was right across the street. As punishment I shut Gabby off and stuck her in the glove box.

I went inside and bought some meds then DH & I went to McDonalds for a drink. Ah, iced coffee on a warm day is great. We spent about 45 minutes just talking in the van and then circled back to pick up the kids. Yes, our first full day of vacation and DH & I decide to sit in the van and yak in a Mickey D’s parking lot. LOL DH & I decided we would take our crew back to AKV and hang out until our villa was ready. It was about 3:00 so when we arrived at AKV I went to check-in. Surprise! Our villa was ready! I was so happy! We had 6:00 tickets for Cirque and I really wanted to check in before we had to go to the show. We had an excellent location. Rooms 5208 & 5209 right above the check-in counter. To get to our villa we had to cross that awesome wooden bridge. Directly on the other side of the bridge was us. That bridge is so cool. You have to see it. It’s very secure but gives the impression of a weaker bridge. Loved that thing. Anyway, we opened our door and discovered our beautiful suite (that for some reason I completely forgot to take any pictures of!). DH wanted to see the jacuzzi tub first. I went directly to the balcony to see animals. There they were! We had an eland and 2 giraffes on the Sunset Savanna! Totally awesome! I stood there for what seemed an hour just looking at how beautiful they were. This was what I was looking forward to the most. I had just turned 40 and all I wanted was animals on our savanna. While I was there a few ostriches came traipsing over to our savanna as well. They liked to chase each other and make their feather fan out. What a hoot. DD19 & DSIL were so happy to have a room to themselves. You see, they just got married in September but are not honeymooning until next year so this trip was a mini-moon for them. They had the studio portion of the villa all to themselves. DD17 claimed the sleeper chair in the living area and DD19 took the sofa. DH & I took our luggage into our bedroom and were so happy to see that king size bed in there. The Nala & Simba heads on the headboard is such a nice touch. I really enjoy seeing those little Disney touches everywhere. DH & DSIL made a quick trip to the grocery. Us girls stayed behind and unpacked everything. I should have known better to let the guys do the shopping. They spent way too much because they bought way too much. No time to bicker – it was time to leave for Cirque!

I cannot rave about this show enough. We all agree that it is a definite must-do. If you have never seen this show – Go. On your next trip. We had 2nd category seating and it was perfect. So much of the show goes on in the air and behind the category 1 seating that it would be difficult to watch this show from any other level than where we were at. I highly recommend our seating and this show. I just wouldn't take little, little kids or anyone who can't get there by 5:45 or anyone who can't sit for 2 hours. I mention the 5:45 thing because there is a little pre-show at 5:45 and it was highly annoying for me that people will still entering the theater during this. Yes, I know, it's advertised that the show starts at 6 but get there early people. You won't regret it and others may.

After the show I wanted to surprise my family with a trip to Beaches and Cream for the Kitchen Sink. We drove straight there and found our way down to the shop. The wait was 90 minutes for a table. No kidding. I couldn't believe it. We didn't wait and we never did make it back over. It was a sad moment. If they are that popular, they should think about taking reservations. Just a thought. We went back to the villa and made frozen pizzas. DD17 tried to open her sleeper chair and it got stuck. DH messed with it for a while and after his verbage became tainted, I decided it was time to call housekeeping. They sent the maid up and she said the chair was broken and she needed to get a maintenance man. An hour later she returned with said maintenance man and he stated that the chair was broken. Whoever put it together last did it backwards. He managed to get it open so DD could sleep on it but said in the morning we should call down and request a replacement chair. DD17 got out the supplied blanket and pillows and made her bed and lay down. She said that chair was as comfortable as her bed at home. I thought great. I spent bookoo bucks on a queen bed for her and all I really needed to do was buy a sleeper chair. Go figure. The king bed was oh so cozy. My gosh, that mattress loved me. DH & I both said it's time to buy a new bed for home after sleeping in that comfort all week. The pillows were a tad too gooshy for me but the bed itself, was pure heaven.

Dawn68PA 11-25-2008 11:09 AM

Sunday, November 9

I am used to getting up early. I do it for work all the time. I slept in until 6:15 every morning of this trip. That is sleeping in for me. Besides, after 8 hours of sleep my shoulder would stiffen up so bad I'd have to get up. I'd take a shower and throw and Icy Hot patch on my shoulder and wait for 7am – when I could rally the rest of the crew. I called housekeeping about the chair and they said it would be replaced while we were out for the day. We were out the door by 8 am to AK.

I must say handicapped parking at the parks is quite adequate. We never had an issue. Anyway, we arrived with plenty of time for rope drop and had a front row view for the opening show. It's always nice to start the day with Mickey & the gang. After rope drop we were walked to EE. I grabbed FPs for us and the stand by line was already huge. We decided to head over and ride Dinosaur. Good choice. No line. This ride was a favorite of everyone on the trip. Too bad we only got to ride once. We left here and went to let the kids ride the Triceratops Spin while DH played Whack-a-platasaurus. What a name. He lost. Fine by me, I really wasn't into having a non-Disney plushie to carry around all day. God love him, he would have won it just for me. Good man I have.

We met up and headed over to ride EE as our FP time had arrived. I had never ridden before and although it did make me just a tad dizzy, I really liked it. I could give or take it though just because I don't like the dizzy feeling. Age. My kids agreed it was my age. They love me lots, can you tell? :)

We did the Majarajah Trek which is always much more interesting than the Pangani Trail. The tigers were sleeping, darn them. The last time we were here we caught the tigers at play time and they were great. Playing with a ball and in the water. Sleeping tigers were not near so interesting although they looked so cuddly I just wanted to climb in there and hug 'em.

We then headed over to get FPs for Safari and go to lunch. The FP line was huge! Don’t let it scare you if you see it. They keep it constantly moving and it took me no time at all to get to the FP machines. We then ate at Flame Tree BBQ. I had the BBQ chicken salad and it was quite tasty. Watch eating here as the ducks will look at you with such pathetic looks, trying to convince you that they are starving on the Disney lot and they NEED your food. They're really good at it too. No, you can't feed them. There are signs. It's like being tempted by the dark side.

DSIL had the ribs, DH had the BBQ, DD19 & DD17 had the chicken and DD19 had a salad. All said their food was very good. We'd eat here again.

We then went to ride Safari and it, as always, was a high point. We didn't see any lions though. We had a rhino so close to the truck that we could have touched him. Gorgeous. We saw several elephants including a little one about the age of 6. So cute. I could ride this ride over and over and never tire of it. After this we did the Pangani trail. I have to remember to scratch this one from the list. I always feel like I waste time here.

It was hot. We were hot. It was time to leave before my good man turned into Mr. Bear. It was also very crowded by this time. I couldn't believe how many people were here. It was difficult to drive my ECV through the crowd, especially by the Safari ride. On the way out, we did find our first PP photographer and we got the special picture of me holding baby Simba. So cool. I also stopped to buy DSIL a pair of sunglasses, which he will later lose riding ToT.

Back at the hotel, I again rush to the balcony. There they are! I love this having animals out my window thing. We have the eland, and some ostriches. The eland is graceful. I love how casually he moves about the savannah. DD17 notices she has a new chair and is so happy. We relax at the resort for a bit and then change into slacks and skirts for our Narcoossee's dinner at the GF. I hadn't been in the GF for quite some time. I am not comfortable here. It is way too stuffy, high-class and white. DD17 said she is afraid to drop a crumb for fear they may put her on display in the large bird cage in the lobby. DSIL says he is glad they didn't choose to stay here for their honeymoon. We are blue collar people. This is above a white collar resort. At least it felt that way. Some day I do intend to stay here. It will probably be one of the last resorts I try though. It is absolutely beautiful. Stunningly clean. No one looks at us, talks to us, or even welcomes us to the resort and we had to walk through the whole thing to get to Narcoossee's. Weird. So far every place else we've been the CM's are so friendly and outgoing, this is just different. No one was rude, it was just different.

On to Narcoossee's. This dinner was not worth the money. All in all, the food was good. We had a table right next to the window on the water with a nice view and they were nice and seated us 20 minutes early. The waitress seemed annoyed with us throughout our meal. We are high maintenance. I know we are. 3 in my family drink water like it's going out of style, so our waitress needs to refill a lot. The food – DD17 & DSIL had the surf and turf. DD17 never had lobster before and was looking forward to trying it. She didn't realize she had to rip it's shell off to eat it. She totally lost her appetite but DSIL saved the day and ate her lobster for her. DH had the steak and liked it. Both DD19s had the chicken but didn't really like it. I don't even remember what I had, but I did eat it. That I remember, because I couldn't finish the yummy warm apple tart because I was full. DD17 tried the gelato sampler for desert and ate it all. DD19 said the cheesecake was delish. I didn't want to leave the 18% tip for the waitress but since her service didn't really lack anywhere except her attitude, I left it. She was the only server we weren't happy with during our whole trip. And she wasn't bad, maybe she was under the weather. I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt.

We leave and head back to the Lodge where I find the eland lying on our savannah looking relaxed and content. Just like us. A small fun fight breaks out between the 3 girls over who gets to use the jacuzzi first. DD19 wins with some sort of bribe to the other DD19 & DD17. I still don't know what the payoff was. I watch a little TV with DH and then drift off, anxious to take the family to EP in the morning.

Dawn68PA 11-25-2008 11:10 AM

Monday, November 10

I awaken the kids and DH at 7. They moan and slide from their beds. DD19 makes a pot of coffee. DD17 asks what day they can sleep in. I tell her tomorrow and a big smile comes across her face as she makes her way to the shower. Everyone is ready and out the door at 8.

We arrive at EP with time to spare for rope drop. We ready ourselves to rush in The Land with the Soarin stampede. Not easy in an ECV. We are far enough back that we cannot see the morning show at EP. Bummer. Anyway, we rush with the crowd. I give our KTTW cards to DD19 and tell her we'll meet her at the Soarin entrance, to go ahead and get FPs for later. Well, it's ridiculous. We get down the elevator and no kidding, the line for Soarin is almost out the door of the building. We take our FPs and leave The Land and head for Mission Space. The kids are dying to ride this. DH & I do not ride. DH is happy that there is a smoking area nearby so we agree to all meet there. Whilst the kids are riding MS our FP time for Soarin comes up so I ride over to TT and get FPs for there and scoot on back to MS before anyone even knows I'm gone. We then do Ellen's Universe of Energy. I don't get why this is a nap attraction. We really like it and yes are well rested when we emerge. We get to Soarin when our window for TT begins, grab another set of FPs for Soarin for later and ride it. We got the lowest level but it's still cool. We then head for TT and use our FPs there. This ride is a huge hit with our kids. Too bad we only got to ride it once. The kids like this better than Soarin. After TT we get lunch at the Electric Umbrella. It's the usual fast food fare, nothing to write home about but it serves the purpose. After lunch we go over to use our Soarin FPs and they stick us on the bottom row again. I look at my DH, as this is his favorite ride, and tell him I'm sorry they must always put ECV riders on the bottom. I didn't mean to but the CM working this part must have heard me and says “You guys hold up. You get put on the bottom all the time?” My DH replies with a yes. This CM says to DH “You're riding high today, go to row 1”. I couldn't believe it. This CM made my DH smile. I had made my own thank you cards to use at WDW. I pulled on out that said “You are one of the reasons we love WDW!” and gave it to this CM as we moved into the seating area. He said “This is great! Thank you so much! I'm going to show this to my manager!” What a hoot. This other CM came over to move my ECV for me and said to me “don't worry, I won't take it out long”. I said “Look buddy, you take that cruisin on a Friday night, the chics will just flock to you”. We all had a good laugh. The ride from the top is great and DH is smiling the whole time. As we land, the CM I gave the card to runs to us and says “You all have the best day! You come back again!” I was so happy that he was so happy. What a great feeling. I only gave 3 or 4 cards out all week and all of them were CM's who did these special things.

After this the family wanted to see Honey, I shrunk the audience. I opted out and watch the playful fountains outside of this attraction. Imagineers are truly talented people. Who thinks of this stuff? These fountains seem so simple but they bring hours upon hours of joy to people of all ages.

My family finally emerges and we head to The Seas to ride the new Nemo ride. What a let down. DSIL says what I'm thinking. EP seems very geared toward little kids now. This was always what I considered the more adult park and it's losing that touch little by little. Just my opinion. After the disappointing Nemo ride, DD19 & DD17 go to see Crush. I look around for DH and find him outside sitting on a bench. He says he has blisters. I go into the shop in The Seas and they are out of band-aids. I lend DD19 my scooter and she hops over to The Land to see if she can get 2 band-aids for her dad. She scoots back and says they don't give band-aids, but will sell them to her. I didn't think to send her with money. Most Amusement Parks keep band-aids on hand to give but not all places are the same. After DD19 & DD17 emerge from a visit with Crush, we head to The Land for band aids. I pay $3 for 6 band aids, but DH says he has a little relief and off to dinner at Coral Reef we go. We are early and have to wait, but it's totally worth it. I must say, if you ever get to request a waiter, Tony is awesome! This guy is worth his weight in gold. He keeps on top of my high maintenance family and then some. He laughs with us, kids around with us and gives us tips on things in the park and in the tank. He brings my DD19 refills of Coke by 2's. The kids kept asking for the pineapple out of my alcohol drink and he would play games with them to get it. Now keep in mind these are 17 & 19 year olds and he has them totally entertained. When we ordered dessert he brought them each a bonus plate of pineapple. What a guy. I stopped by the desk on the way out and asked them to tell the manager that we will come back because of Tony.

Oh yes, the food. DSIL had the mahi mahi and it was delish. DD19 & I had the pork tenderloin and it was very yummy. DH had the steak. DD19 had the salmon, DD17 had the chicken. All of the food here was excellent. Another place I'd highly recommend and go to again. Tony is a bonus :)

We are too tired to do WS & stay for Illuminations. I'd say it's that age thing again except the kids are also on their last legs. Happily satisfied with our full tummies, back to the villa we go.

We arrive at the resort and I pop into the Zawadi shop and buy moleskin for DH. This stuff really saves his feet and our trip. I arrive in our villa and I go for the balcony. There he is. The eland has made a bed on our savannah again. He loves it there. I'm so glad he does. It's somehow comforting to see him there every evening. We all decide to change into our bathing suits and check out the hot tub. I've been looking forward to this. It's everything I hope it is. So relaxing. So bubbly. So warm. I have got to get one of these babies. We all climb in except DD19 who opts for the Jacuzzi in the villa that she was bribed out of the night before.

We head to bed and the kids are all excited about sleeping in the next morning.

Dawn68PA 11-25-2008 11:11 AM

Tuesday, November 11

I am still up at 6:15. I get my shower, get ready and then I leave the room to explore the wonder of the AKL. It is so full of artwork and detail that I was still discovering new things up until the day before we left. I then found a cozy large rocker on the rock floor by the back exit to the savanna overlook and called my mom to check in.

About 10ish the troops awoke and we got ready to go to Blizzard Beach. I'm not much of a water park person myself but I knew the kids wanted to go. We got some great PP pictures of DH, DD19 & DD17 going down Summit Plummet. No way was I doing that! Crazy people. The Lazy River is my kind of speed. All 3 said they felt like they were having their butts paddled going down the bottom of that slide. The smaller one just gives massive wedgies. It's a touch chilly on this day so after 2 hours everyone decides they would like to leave and go ahead over to EP and do WS.

After changing out of my suit into park attire I go onto our balcony. It's feeding time! The ostriches follow that little pick up truck around like they're never going to eat again. It's hysterical. After the feeders put all the food out, animals appear from everywhere! We end up with 3 ostriches, 2 eland, 2 giraffes and 3 zebras all at once on our little savanna! How cool is that!

We went to WS and began on the Canada side since we had dinner reservations at 6:10 in Norway. Yes, we adults had dinner with the princesses. DD19 had never been to WDW and desperately wanted to meet Jasmine and the other DD19 has adored Aurora since she was a little girl. Anyway, back to Canada. I always have a good laugh at the animal hats there. Le Cellier looked packed. We moved onto England where my favorite, Mary Poppins was with Alice giving autographs. The line was too long so I didn't get to meet her. I did look and look for the butterfly garden but I couldn't find it. Maybe one of you could tell me where it is for my next trip. We moved on and I discovered that France sells a lot of perfume and I will never visit there. I never did try the Grand Monier Orange Slush I wanted to this trip either. Oh well, there's always next year. DH & DSIL were grabbing beer periodically as we made our way through the countries.

As a side note, none of the alcoholic drinks I had at WDW seemed to have very much alcohol. I’m not a big drinker. 2 is usually my limit. I was having 3 or 4 before noticing any alcohol. Next time, I’ll stick to Corona Light.

We got to Japan and I knew I would drop some serious coin in there. This trip was for me to do some Christmas shopping for my kids since it's hard to buy for them at their ages. My DD17 loves Japan culture and items. We went in and she picked a small porch lantern and a few other small items and then she sheepishly asked to look at the kimonos. My kids know we aren't made of money and I know she didn't want me to spend a lot on her. BUT....low and behold there was a sale rack! DD found a kimono she adored on the sale rack and I asked the salesman to help her with it. He showed her how to properly put it on, what the word on it meant (it meant beach) and it fit her perfectly. I told him we'd take it and DD17 looked at me so gratefully. I know how much it meant to her to have something that special and with it on sale, made it within my price range. It was one of the best moments of the trip. I had all of our purchases in this store sent back to the resort. I love that option. Not having to carry around delicate purchases is a big plus at WDW.

We moved on and came to Italy. My DD19s love Italy. DD19 wanted a beautiful alabaster heart necklace as her big gift. My other DD19 wanted a mask. It was a little more than I had planned to spend. I told her no and then spoke to DH. We decided that we would get it for her but she wouldn't have as much as the others on Christmas morning. I bought it and sent it to the hotel, then stepped outside the shop and told her what we did. She was so happy. Another of the best moments of the trip.

Now on to the Princess dinner. We arrived a little early and had to wait. When our time arrived, we were taken inside to have a photo taken with Belle. DD17 is totally not interested in princesses so it was just the rest of us girls in the pic. The buffet here is grand. The best swiss cheese I've had in a long, long time. I highly recommend this dinner even if you're not into the princesses. The food was really good. I can't remember the names of the dishes but we had 4 different entrees at our table and they were all delish. Then they bring you these desserts to try and it was all good! My kids got to meet the princesses that they've never met before and it was a dream come true for me to see it, even at their ages. We even got DSIL to get his picture taken with Cinderella! We'll use it for blackmail at a later date.

We left here and finished up WS and found a nice spot for Illuminations. I think the show is shorter now but I think it's definately better! Stunning, absolutely breathtaking! I can't wait to see it again next year if they don't change it before then.

We smooshed out the gate with the crowd and back to the Lodge we went. I went to the balcony and there he was. My eland. Resting in the high grass looking graceful as always.

Dawn68PA 11-25-2008 11:12 AM

Wednesday, November 12

Normal morning, out the door by 8 to MK! I was anxious to see Spectro-Magic this evening. We hadn't seen this parade in 12 years. We got there in plenty of time for rope drop. The park is empty. There's hardly anyone here. We didn't mess with Tomorrowland since we had done it Friday night and concentrated on the rest of the park. We headed straight for the HM. How cool those updates are! It was more creepy than I remembered and it remains a family favorite. We look forward to riding this more than any other ride in MK. While the rest of the fam went to ride IASW, I buzzed over to get FPs for BMTRR. Just a note, if you have an ECV, FPs are pretty useless to you in the MK. I didn’t find this out until later. It’s because you always have to use a different entrance. Next we went to the Carousel. I got to ride Cinderella's horse! DH was smoking so we didn't get a picture, which kind of irked me but hey...I rode Cinderella's horse! DD17 was my Prince Charming. We then went to do the tea cups and got pictures with Alice, and the Tweedles. We made our way through the rest of MK and there were no lines anywhere except Jungle Cruise. What's with that? This is a truly corny ride but everyone loves it. DD17 loved it and begged me to give our skipper a special thank you card. Anyway, these people were making ECV riders wait an unusually long time to ride. We didn't need a special boat since we could transfer and people who got in the regular line after us were off and gone long before we were. The other rides we encountered during our MK day were fair about waits. Although like I said, there were no lines anywhere else, so our waits were minimal. After riding JC it began to rain....hard. We were leaving to go back to the lodge anyway but we sure were drenched till we got to the monorail. I hadn't packed our ponchos this day because the weather man said 20% chance of rain.

Back at the lodge, I went to the balcony and found the eland and 2 giraffes and a crown crane. I don't know if it's the rain but I begin to notice a smell emanating from the savanna. The family all laid down for a short nap. We were tuckered. We had dinner reservations at the Crystal Palace and headed back to the MK after our rest. This is not a super place for dinner. It's terrible noisy (yes, I know it's a kid spot) and the food is nothing to write home about, although the pork and mashed potatoes are good. The tables are crowded together more so than I ever remember and this was our 3rd time eating here. I won't miss not doing this again but would go back. The waitresses here are loaded down with work with the amount of tables they have. She was slow getting our refills but when I noticed how many tables she had, I could totally understand, as could DD19 who is a waitress.

It began pouring down rain while we were having dinner and I knew I would have to miss the Spectro-Magic parade. We saw glimpses of it when we were there Friday night and also part of Wishes. I will have to wait until next year to try and see them again. Now I know when a Florida weather man says 20% chance of rain they mean that it will rain 20% of the day. Off we went to swim our way to the monorail again. We made it an early evening and I hopped online to check work email. BTW, even though we rented points, we did not have to pay for internet.

Dawn68PA 11-25-2008 11:12 AM

Thursday, November 13

I get up early again and decide to sit on the balcony and look at the savanna with my eland still resting on it. The smell is still there. I don't like it. It smells musty and mildewy. I'm sure it's from the rain and the humidity that followed. The kids have perfected getting up at 7:30 and being ready by 8:00. They've begun taking showers at night so they can sleep that extra half hour in the morning.

Off to HS! On the way DH checks our home voice mail and discovers a screw up on insurance by our doctor office. He calls to take care of it. We arrive at HS and he's still on the phone. We wait and wait. He's still on the phone. The kids and I are antsy so we decide to get the scooter out of the van and go ahead toward the gates and look around. The lines are getting longer. He finally gets off the phone and comes to us and we hop in the long lines. Everyone is pretty perturbed that this little thing couldn't wait until we got home. But DH is a man who likes instant gratification so there we were. No biggie. The lines were long to enter but looking around I realized that the park would be empty. It was! We got in and went straight for ToT. No line. We got FPs and walked right on. I love this ride. It's so much better now that they yo-yo you down instead of doing that straight 13 story drop. The kids rode RnR with DH and I waited at the exit for them. Corkscrews and I don't get along so I don't ride this one. We got another set of FPs for ToT and rode it again. We did a lot of looking around and then made our way to TSM. I was surprised that there was no one in line for FPs and I got a set for 4:00. It got really hot and humid by this time so we decided to leave the park and come back later. We went back to the resort and went swimming. That felt nice. The pool at AKV is spacious and the slide was enjoyed by little kids and my big kids too! We stayed in the air conditioning for the rest of the afternoon and returned to HS around 3:30 so we could go to the LMA show that DH has been dying to see for 2 years. The guys loved this show. Us girls thought it was ok. It was neat to see the final product after watching the filming. Then we went to TSM. We loved this! The most awesome attraction! Definitely a new favorite for us. There is a separate entrance for ECVs here and they do make you wait to ride and it's fair. Loading goes pretty quick all around though and the line seems to move non-stop. Good for such a popular ride. I hate that I can't do this again for another year.

We go to ride ToT again and DSIL confesses that he won't get on anymore. It scares him and he won't ride. I get in line and notice that I now have a spare FP. I hold on to it and hope to see a single rider who may want it. We end up in line behind a father and daughter, whom I guess was no more than 7, from France. I say hi to her and all she says is “I speak French”. Her father says they're from France and he and my DH chit chat a little. He says his DD loves this ride and it will be her 2nd time that day. He also has a spare FP and we look together in line for a couple who may want our passes. No luck. He and his DD end up on the car ahead of us and we wave good-bye. After we have our 3rd awesome ride of the day, we exit our vehicle to find the Frenchman and his DD waiting for us. He approaches me and says “Madame, may we have your fastpass? My daughter would like to ride another time”. I gladly give it to him and his daughter's face lights up and off they go to float in the elevator a 3rd time. The park is getting ready to close and we leave to head for dinner at Boma.

Boma is awesome. If you have any reservations about trying this restaurant – don't. Just do it. Go and eat. Try something new, have an old favorite and enjoy everything. I did not like everything I tried, but I did find some new things and it was good. Another highly recommended meal. Oh and the little pineapple cheesecake is to die for. Forget those oh too sweet Zebra Domes. Go for the cheesecake. You won't regret it. No one has cheesecake like Boma.

We arrive back in our villa, stuffed to the gills and hit the hay. We plan to knock out the other half of HS tomorrow, starting with another TSM ride.

Dawn68PA 11-25-2008 11:13 AM

Friday, November 14

There's my eland on the savanna again. I realize how much I'm going to miss seeing him every morning. But I won't miss that smell. Ick. It's really working on me now. I can't even sit on my balcony anymore. I stare at my eland through the glass.

Off to HS. Upon arrival and rope drop we drive with heightened anticipation of riding TSM again. We rush behind a large crowd and I begin to worry that with my ECV we will be way back in line. Hark! What's this? Everyone runs for the FP machines! We head straight for the ride and it's a walk on! We head right in, where they still make us wait a little in the ECV line, but we get on quick enough. What a blast this ride is!

We leave the ride and notice FPs are into the afternoon already. Poor souls. They should have just gotten on the bloody thing. Don't get your FP first. Just ride. Get your FP after you ride. If you get your FP first, the line will be long till you get in there. You'll save time doing it the other way.

We go on the Great Movie Ride and see Indy and the Backlot tour. The Backlot really needs some more stuff to tour and some of that stuff has been there since the 90s at least. Leaving the back lot they have Davy Jones' organ from POTC and that was really cool to check out! We leave around 1 to head back to the lodge for the afternoon.

Upon entering our villa I see a swarm of animals on the savanna again. Zebras, giraffes, ostriches and of course, my eland. Love that guy. DSIL goes onto his porch to find a palmetto bug on the rail. Ewwwwww. I know this is normal for Florida but PA girls do not do bugs.

We head out to the Sci Fi for our 4:45 dinner reservation and get seated in a car. Then we are let down. The movie clips aren't movie clips anymore. It’s a couple cartoons, lots of ads for the snack bar and hardly any campy scary clips from the 50s. Looks like another thing they are trying to tone down. I was really disappointed. We had been telling our 2 WDW newbies about this restaurant for a year and this is what they got. I felt bad and actually apologized to them. The food has gone downhill too. DD17 & I had the ribs here last time and got them again this time. Now they are half fat. Hardly anything meaty to them. Very disappointing. DH said his steak wasn't really a steak. It was a tenderloin. It was very small. Eating in a car isn't a draw for me here. It was the movies and the food. Now that they're gone, I won't miss the Sci-Fi.

After dinner both DD19s and DSIL went to see Fantasmic while DH drove DD17 & I to EP. She wanted to look for sandals in Japan for her kimono. DH went back to the lodge. DD17 & I went to go in and it said we didn't have hoppers. I said we hadn't hopped all week, but I did have hoppers. She sent me to guest relations. I waited in line at guest relations for an hour. No kidding. We arrived at EP at 6 and it was 7 till I got out of line at guest relations. Ridiculous. The guy at the window scanned my card and told me I didn't have hoppers and said I had to buy a ticket. I told him no, I did have hoppers and we were just going to Japan and leaving, let us in. He called AKV to confirm that we upgraded at check in and came back to me saying yes, I did have hoppers, gave me passes to get in and sent me on my way. DD17 was on a bench crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said she went to the rest room while I was in line and did something to her knee. I gave her some Advil and my scooter. I hadn't walked much that day and knew I'd be good for an hour or so. DD17 took my scooter and off we went. She kept asking me every couple minutes if I was ok, if I needed my scooter and I finally told her to be quiet and let me know when her knee felt better. If I was hurting I would tell her. When we began across the bridge to WS we noticed the Christmas tree was up! It wasn't there when we were at EP on Monday & Tuesday! She was so happy! DD grabbed her camera and took a couple pictures. She said it was the most beautiful tree. We walked around to Japan where DD said her knee was feeling better and I was glad as my feet were beginning to hurt. I took my scooter back and into Japan we went looking for the flip flops to go with her kimono. So you know, flip flops on sale in Japan are $100. We didn't get any. I'll look on eBay. We did buy this patch that you put on the bottom of your feet when you sleep and it's supposed to suck the toxins out of you and make you feel energized. Along with a pair of socks for the flip flops, if we ever find any.

On our way out of WS it rains again. I, once again, did not have our ponchos as they weren't calling for rain. We duck into Mouse Gears for a little reprieve and pick up a keychain for a friend of mine. DD17 & I then get drenched running for the bus stop. The bus driver was very nice in helping me on with my ECV. I have lots of experience driving it but getting in to that tiny space on the bus isn't easy. It took a couple tries. There was no long line for the bus so I didn't feel bad as everyone had a seat. After getting to the lodge the driver helped me off with my ECV and I gave him a thank you card “The world is a big place, thank you for keeping us on track” and he said thanks and laughed and said he would save it.

When we got to the room everyone was back and we chit chatted and got ready for bed. We were all tired. DD19 & DSIL said they were going to pack then hit the hay. 20 minutes later we have wild knocking on our bedroom door. DD19 is freaking out. She says there is a huge bug in their room. I go over and DSIL says he killed it but it's a roach. I told him to throw it away and don't bring it near me. DD is insisting I call and complain. I explain to her that they are native to FL and with the high humidity and since they were sitting on the balcony with their door open, it probably just flew right in. DD19 is scared and I have nightmares all night about bugs. Not a good night's sleep.

Dawn68PA 11-25-2008 11:16 AM

Saturday, November 15

DH & I are up at 6 ready to go home. I miss my dog. I want to hug her. We should get home around midnight. I love WDW but I can't wait to see my dog. I called housekeeping about our left over food and I am told that if it’s unopened, the maid is permitted to keep it. Good deal.

All in all it was a great vacation. All of the CM's were so friendly and accomodating. We didn't get to do everything, but how can you in 8 days? ASMo was a nice resort but I've definitely been spoiled with the deluxe and especially in a villa. The king size bed was a great asset. Would I go back to stay in a value? Absolutely. Each resort is unique and that makes each one a new and separate vacation. We plan to book at the Contemporary for next December though.

Doing a park on arrival day. The con to this was that we were exhausted, really exhausted. But knowing we didn't have to get up early the next day was what really encouraged us to try it. The pro to this was we knocked out part of the park early in our trip and left time to relax on our regularly scheduled MK day that we may not have had otherwise and truly needed. Would I do it again? It would depend on what was on the schedule.

Park Hoppers. Since we go at a slower time of year and break during the day, we could park hop easy. FPs really aren't needed for much. Do I really want to spend the money for them? No. But since we’re able to accomplish so much when we go and DH likes the freedom to hop, yes, I intend to get them for our next trip.

Touring Plan. I didn’t need a ride-by-ride detailed plan. DH hated with a passion, running from one side of the park to the other, and since there were no people there anyway, it wasn’t necessary. We waited to ride nothing buy doing the parks either left to right or right to left. The kids on the other hand, loved the running back and forth to ride their favorites they didn’t want to wait for.

Animals were on our savanna all the time except for one afternoon. If you love animals I would highly recommend a stay here. It's so special to have them right outside your room. I would also recommend our location. We were on the Sunset Savanna. I would periodically go and look out elsewhere and I never saw the amount of animals anywhere that I saw where we were. I had made no request to be placed anywhere and it was pure chance that we were in this excellent location. Close to the elevators and lobby.

I am sure there are things I haven’t remembered to include here. If you have any questions, let me know & I’ll be glad to answer them.

OhMari 11-25-2008 12:58 PM

I was at WDW about the same time as you.

I noted in my TR that we were at the POLY Friday nite for an ADR at 9:00 and went the wrong way and ended up in the TTA, there were no cars there. I seriously thought the MK closed at 9:00, and now you said it was 11:00.

We were at the MK on Wednesday too. The place did look sort of busy at opening, but we did all the rides as walk ons. I rode the carosel (sp?) and saw the Dream Team waiting for someone to ride the horse at the correct time. I rode it twice without getting off, and the ride was only half full.

I'm trying to think what we did while it rained. I know we sort of got wet on the Jungle Cruise and then we went to the Tiki show. We had a ADR at 6:30 for the Plaza, so that kept us out of the rain.

Spectro started at 7:30 and WISHES said it was a condensed version, but I think they changed their minds, because we saw Tink fly.

Spectro wasn't as long as it usually was either, I think they called it the "rain parade."

Glad you had a great trip.
We really had great weather.

Dawn68PA 11-25-2008 03:48 PM

Too bad the dream team didn't nab you! :goodvibes Especially after riding twice! The carousel was all but empty when we rode. I bet a dozen people or less. It was a good day to be at the MK.

Dawn68PA 11-26-2008 08:38 AM

Picture Link added to first post! :)

Aye Sea Turtles 11-26-2008 05:51 PM

Awesome trip report, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing! :thumbsup2

Bama mom to 3 11-30-2008 02:34 PM

Hey Dawn! Welcome back. I will be reading your trip report once finals are over and I have time to have fun again :)

Dawn68PA 12-01-2008 06:23 AM

Thanks for reading you guys! It was fun to write. Next year I hope to have time to do it live from WDW :goodvibes

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