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ashleyrm 12-14-2008 01:48 PM

Road Trippiní to WDW to drop off my son for WDWCP
Who: Becky (me) 48 year old, Disney veteran
Dan (DS) 23 years old Ė Disney raised kid, now young adult Ė doing the Walt Disney World College Program for Spring 2009


When my son changed his major to Hotel and Restaurant Management a couple years back, I mentioned the Disney College Program to him several times, but he never really expressed much interest. Then, last month, he came home from school one day and told me that they were having an informational session for the Walt Disney World College Program (WDWCP) at the local university the following week. (Dan attends one of the local community colleges). So, off he went to the meeting, came home and told me that he had a phone interview the next day! We searched around the web, and got a pretty good idea of what sort of questions he could expect during the interview. Dan felt that the interview went very well and they were impressed with his work experience and his answers to the questions posed. Two weeks later, the highly-valued purple folder arrived at our house announcing that Dan had been accepted for Spring 2009 for quick food and beverage service (QFSB)! He would have preferred full service food and beverage, particularly, bartending, but was nonetheless very excited about being selected. As the pay is fairly low and housing and food are not included in the program, there was some family discussion about finances (Dan makes his own car payments, insurance and cell phone bills) and more discussion about postponing his already delayed graduation by one semester. My husband and I agreed to cover some of Danís financial burden and both feel that the College Program will be a great experience for him and will hopefully carry some weight on his resume for future employment. Given this, Dan sent off his acceptance and is due to report to Vista Way on January 26, 2009!

Students in the WDWCP have the option of having their own car with them and from what weíve been told it is very advantageous to have oneís own transportation if possible, so Dan will be taking his car with him. We did not want him to make the 15-16 hour drive by himself, so I grudgingly (nod, nod, wink, wink) agreed to drive down with him and return some time later by plane.

This will be the first time that I have ever driven from home (Newark, DE) to Disney Ė in fact, I think the most Iíve ever driven is about 9 hours. Dan and I have been discussing how we are going to drive. He wants to do it all at once. I would like to do it over two days (I am old, I need my rest). We are currently planning on the two day option. Here is what the current plan looks like:

Saturday 1/24
Ė pack up the car with all of Danís worldly belongings. From what Iíve seen in pictures, it looks like the guys get along with a lot less stuff than the girls, but we still have to take the computer, the tv, the video gaming system, etc.
Ė leave home by 10:00 a.m. and drive to Florence, S.C.

Sunday 1/25
- Drive the rest of the way
- Check in at Port Orleans French Quarter (POFQ)

Monday 1/25
- 9:00 a.m. Check in at Vista Way

After that Ė thing are kind of up in the air. I canít really make any hard and fast plans for what will go on once weíre there. A lot of it will depend on Danís training schedule and his desire to spend time with his new roommates/friends versus spending time with me. I have reservations at Port Orleans French Quarter ($94/night + tax) and an airline ticket home on Southwest ($89 + tax) for Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 6:35 p.m. I have 2 park hopper passes that each have one day left on them, and a Disney Reward card that expires in December that I plan to use to buy a two day park hopper pass.

A few new things for me Ė I have previously stayed at the Poly, the Beach Club, All Star Movies, Port Orleans Riverside, Caribbean Beach and Old Key West. I considered staying at one of the All Star resorts that I hadnít stayed at before (for $49/night), but I really am a bit spoiled and feel that the moderates are worth the extra money. I chose POFQ since I hadnít stayed there before, it is a relatively small resort and it has the requisite hot tub.

Iím used to having my own car and I wonít have one for this trip since my son will keep his car with him. As this is a low visitor period and Iím not planning on doing any commando touring, not having a car shouldnít be too big of a deal. Also, Iím using the Disney Magical Express to get back to the airport.

Lastly, although Iíve been to the parks be myself for brief periods, Iíve never spent this much time alone. I am kind of excited about getting to do some of the things in the parks that I donít get to do with the rest of my family. Also, Iím not sure how much time my son will be with me. He doesnít get into the parks for free until his first few days of training so I may need to buy a couple more days worth of passes.

Thatís all for now. Will update as time goes along.


kaguilbeau 12-14-2008 08:47 PM

This will be something I'm going to enjoy reading about!

It's something I've wanted my girls to experience (but they wouldn't) . .. hope you have a pleasant time while you're alone and maybe DS will get to visit with you some too!

ashleyrm 12-30-2008 08:40 AM

Brief Update
Not much new to report. Still trying to decide how far to drive the first day. According to google maps, Florence SC is about 8 hours from our home. There is a Holiday Inn Express at 499.47 miles (8 hours and 3 minutes). That would leave us another 473 miles (7 hours and 9 minutes) for the second day. I was thinking of driving more like 10 hours the first day and 5 hours the second. Again, according to Google maps, that would take us to about Yemasee, SC where there is a Holiday Inn Express (can you tell I like these hotels?). Then, the second day, it would be about 340 miles (5 hours) to Disney. I'd rather push early and have extra time to relax in Disney before my son starts his program!

Also, I just found out that I have a business meeting in Florida from Feb 10-12 at the Regal Sun Resort (which is an "official Walt Disney World Resort") so I'll be adding a couple of extra days onto that trip as well! I think I may just use my disney reward card and some additional funds and buy an annual pass!

ashleyrm 01-09-2009 10:56 AM

This and That
Things that are new or are new to me that I will do this trip:

The Seas w/ Nemo and Friends
Turtle Talk with Crush

Animal Kingdom
Expedition Everest
Finding Nemo the Musical

Magic Kingdom
Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
Pirates of the Caribbean (since the movie rehab)

Hollywood Studios
Toy Story Mania
American Idol Experience (soft openings?)

ashleyrm 04-28-2009 02:07 PM

Delivering my first born into Disney's Care - a very brief January 2009 trip
Pretrip report here:

Part 1:

A quick trip to drop off my son for the College Program at Disney World:

Me, late (okay, very late) 40ís, WDW veteran
Dan, my DS, 23, WDW veteran reporting for duty in the Disney College Program.

Where: Port Orleans French Quarter

Saturday 1/24:

Sometime around 10 a.m. After packing up Danís car, we leave the comfort of our Newark, Delaware home and hop on I-95 and head south. Donít want to bore you with details, but we drove as far as Santee, South Carolina where we spent the night and enjoyed the free breakfast on Sunday morning.

Sunday 1/25:

Left Santee, South Carolina and headed down 1-95 and then onto I-4 and arrived at WDW around 4:00 p.m. and proceeded to Port Orleans French Quarter, left the car out front and went to check-in. Very few people in line and Check-in went smoothly. The CM who checked us in was earning her ears so I was glad that I didnít have any complicated requests. I hadnít made any room requests and was assigned room 8264 in Building 1.

The room was a second floor corner room at the far right end of the complex. Since it was a corner room, it had the two windows which I really like as it lets a lot of sunlight in and really brightens up the room.

One window faced the parking lot and the other window faced the woods. Standing on the walkway to the room the Sassagoula River and one of the golf courses was to the left and was a very nice view. I enjoyed sitting outside the room on the warm concrete soaking up the Florida sunshine. Iím sure people think itís strange, but I donít really care!!!

The room itself seemed very similar to one of the Mansion room at Port Orleans Riverside. Upon checking in, there was a ďMickey headĒ towel one of the beds (which seems to be kind of a standard these days) and another Mickey in the bathroom made from the soaps. While Daniel rested, I took a walk around the resort to check things out. I really enjoyed all of the street names, especially Rue DíBaga.

I find it amusing that most people walk on the sidewalks and avoid the ďstreetsĒ. I of course, to be different, had to walk in the street! Stopped by Scatís Lounge and picked up a rum and coke (let the vacation begin!). Then I went into Jackson Square (the market at POFQ) and impulsively bought a black sparkly WDW t-shirt. I hardly ever buy myself anything, but I thought I might wear it to dinner that evening. However, when I mentioned it to my son, he seemed less than enthused and made it seem kind of dweebish, so I decided not to wear it and returned it later in the week.

We had a prearranged dinner at the Lake Buena Vista Chiliís with some of the other college program folks (and their assorted parents) that were starting the program on Monday. I had a shrimp and chicken fajita and Dan has the bacon cheeseburger. Nothing very exciting, but it was kind of nice to see some of the other college program kids. Two of the people there ended up being my sonís roommates. After dinner we returned to POFQ, watched tv and slept.

ashleyrm 04-28-2009 02:39 PM

Day 2 - I get to the parks - eventually
Monday, January 26th

After getting a 7:30 a.m. coffee at Sassagoula Food Court, I returned to the room and woke up Daniel to get an early start over to the WDWCP check-in.

Check-in officially started at 9:00 a.m. but we were told to get there earlier if we wanted to get our choice of apartment complex/number of roommates and to avoid long waits. We drove over from POFQ to the Vista Way apartment complex and were directed where to park. Dan got in line at the Check-in pavilion and I was directed to the Parents/Friends tent. While Daniel went through the check-in process (including fingerprinting!), I hung out at the parents/friends tent. They had a large tent set-up and had a presentation every hour giving information about the program. There were also tables set-up outside that included general CP information, information on the educational opportunities for the CP program, banking options and also the ubiquitous DVC table (where I snagged some free DVC chapstick!). They had CMs wondering around offering information and chatting with the parents. I spent quite awhile talking with one CM, Arlyn from the Dominican Republic, who had started out in the international program and was now a food manager at Epcot. She was very enthusiastic and after Dan finished his check-in I introduced them and she had lots of advice for Daniel on how to have a successful CP program. I never did attend the “official” presentation – I think I already knew enough about the program and found it much more valuable to spend my time talking with the CMs and other parents. After Dan completed the check-in, we drove over to Chatham apartments and proceeded to unload his car and move his stuff into his 2nd floor apartment. As he was the first one there, he had his pick of bedrooms. After looking over the apartment, we both decided the rear bedroom would be preferable to the front bedroom. As we were unloading stuff, Daniel’s other roommates appeared. He already knew two of the roommates (Andrew and John) from check-in and the previous night’s dinner. His final roommate was Dan from Pennsylvania. So, Dan would be sharing a room with Dan for the next 5 months. After completing the move-in, Dan and I returned to POFQ and had and early lunch (11:20 a.m.) at the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory. Dan had the Philly Cheese steak Basket and I had the first of many Kids meal Chicken Nuggets with grapes, applesauce and a water. I don’t know where Disney is getting their fries from these days, but they are way better than they used to be. The CM who waited on me was named Martha. I had almost forgotten that today was the one year anniversary of my mother’s death until I saw the girl’s nametag (my mom’s name was Martha). It made me tear up for a second or two. Dan returned to his apartment as he had to attend a housing meeting in the afternoon. He ended up spending the rest of the day chilling in his new apartment.

The parks – Finally!

Animal Kingdom

After Dan left, I wondered out to the bus stop with no particular destination in mind. Just decided to take the first bus that came along, which happened to be the Animal Kingdom bus. The bus stops at the 4 Port Orleans Riverside Stops and at Blizzard Beach before going to the AK. However, the bus driver asked if anyone was going to Blizzard Beach and since no one was, it was straight onto the Animal Kingdom where I purchased my first ever Annual Pass!!! This turned out to be a rather complicated procedure as I used three different types of payment. I used Disney Rewards from my Disney Visa, a gift card that I had received for Christmas and put the rest of the total on my regular credit card. The poor woman had a heck of a time getting the computer to figure all of this out, but by the end of the transaction, I had my very own flimsy paper annual pass. My main park purpose on this trip was to see the attractions that were new since my last visit and maybe see some things that the rest of my family wouldn’t want to do. So, entering the park I made a bee line to Expedition Everest. I got in the single riders line and was paired up with 3 young men who had requested the front row. Just great. It was a fun ride, but I my stomach does not like going in the “wrong” direction so it made me a bit queasy. I somehow totally missed the Yeti. I know that people say that since it no longer swipes and is just illuminated by strobe lights that it can be hard to see. Still don’t know how I missed it completely, but I did! Maybe I’ll catch it next time. After my ride, I wandered over to Finding Nemo – the Musical. Had about a 10 minute wait until the show started – just enough time for my stomach to settle after EE! This show was also a first for me. Disney, Pixar, Music, Songs, Puppets – what more does one need? This one got an “A” grade from me. Disney did a very good job of condensing the movie into a stage version. I particularly enjoyed Bruce and his companions. There was a youngster sitting next to me who wanted to know why Nemo was a girl. It was pretty obvious that the voice of Nemo was a girl’s voice, but I guess Disney can’t have a young boy in a daily stage production!

After Nemo, I headed over the Festival of the Lion King. II hadn’t seen this in quite some time, and I really, really (no really) enjoyed it. My daughter was around 6 or 7 years old when the Lion King came out and it was quite the big deal around our house. We had Simba and Nala plushes all over the house. We watched the movie on the VCR. My daughter was never the princess-y type, so the Lion King was a big hit in our house. So, all of the music brings back lots of family memories and then there was the whole circle of life thing and the day I was there just happened to be the one year anniversary of my mom’s passing, so here I am sitting watching the show and really, really enjoying it and yet the tears just started to flow. It was a pretty amazing experience. I hope the people around me didn’t think I was some kind of nut job! I had forgotten how much I like this show. Again, it is an example of what Disney does best – music, singing, dancing, acrobatics and fire! And I know all the words to the songs. I roared the good lion roar, hand jived with the monkeys and generally had a swell time.

After the show, I tried to squeeze in a trip on the Kiliminjaro Safaris before the 4:00 p.m. parade. Since most of my trips included kids, we were typically at the pool and or napping at this time of day and were rarely ever in the parks so I have missed afternoon parades fro the most part. I walked right onto the safari and everything was moving along fine until the white rhinos decided to stand in the middle of the road! While it was exciting to seem them so close, I knew that I had probably missed the opportunity to see the parade. Saw the cheetahs, the male lion, and assorted wildebeasts and gazelles and finished my Safari just in time to get stuck behind the rope carriers at the end of the parade.

If I had been smart, I would have just stopped somewhere and had some relaxing refreshment, but I figured that at some point in the parade route, I would be able to make my escape past the rope carriers. However, I was wrong and just ended up trudging behind the parade until it finally made a left hand turn and I made my break for the exits I would have liked to have seen the entire parade – maybe next time. So, I exited the park, and got on the bus which did stop at Blizzard Beach this time before returning to POFQ. At least POFQ is the first stop on the return trip. Stopped at Sassagoula and at 5:09 p.m. bought a chocolate muffin (which was not very good) and went back to my room.

Magic Kingdom -Evening EMH

Getting there:

I took a few minutes to take a quick dip in the hot tub before returning to my room and heading out to the Magic Kingdom for EMH night. I went to the bus stop and tried to wait patiently for a bus to the MK, but after about 7 busses for other destinations came and went I decided to hop on the Epcot bus and transfer to the monorail to get to MK. Sounded like a good plan at the time, but I always forget how long it takes to get from one transportation area to another. While on the bus, I struck up a conversation with a family with a daughter who had decided to do the same thing that I did. Their daughter had never ridden on the monorail and they decided that this would be a good opportunity for her to do so. So, I suggested to them that they ask about riding up front on the monorail. They didn’t know that they could do that and were very appreciative of my suggestion. Luckily when we got to the Epcot monorail station, no one else had requested the front so they got to do it. When we disembarked I saw their daughter proudly showing off her new license. Made me all warm and fuzzy inside to pass on the Disney magic to another family. By the time we got to the ticket and transportation center, Wishes was just about to start, so I ambled over to the ferry and got to watch the fireworks while crossing the Seven Seas Lagoon. I don’t remember exactly what all I did at the MK. I remember it was very crowded upon arrival as the fireworks had just ended – I was like a fish swimming upstream.

Liberty Square and Frontierland:

I believe I started off with the Haunted Mansion – they were checking resort IDs for the EMH. The CMs at HM were checking resort IDs very carefully with small flashlights, but other CMs (at Splash, for example) barely looked at them. This was my first time on Haunted Mansion since the updates were done and I agree with others that the many, but subtle changes have enhanced the ride. After HM, I headed over and rode Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. Splash was fun as always. I sat in the second row. The young couple in front of me got quite wet. My butt got damp, but I managed to stay dry by throwing my jacket over my head during the drop. I’ve gotten quite good at the timing. Hands up, flash, throw jacket over head. The picture always comes out good and I stay relatively dry. The hopping waters in the ride were not functioning. Makes it a bit boring going through that section! They had the water towards the end of the ride turned off which made me quite happy as I didn’t want to get too wet – it wasn’t that warm out! When disembarking, I saw two young woman getting on the ride and putting on ponchos and I couldn’t resist telling them that they were being Splash mountain wimps! After stopping to look at my picture (thanks, but no thanks!) I headed over to BTMRR and walked on with no wait. A few years back I had a very rough ride on BTMRR and had decided that I didn’t much like it anymore. Then I read somewhere that the riding in the rear of the cars made for a much rougher ride so I am now careful to try to get a car closer to the front. I really enjoyed my ride this time. Had a seat all to myself, kept my arms up in the air the whole ride and woohoo’d throughout the whole thing! I really like riding SM and BTMRR at night. Something about being in the dark makes me less inhibited – of course not having to worry about embarrassing my poor children probably makes it more fun too!

Onto Adventureland:

After doing the splash and dash, I decided to ride the updated Pirates of the Caribbean, but for some reason I couldn’t find the darn thing. I’m not sure if it was because it was dark or because someone put a ride with camels and flying carpets in the middle of Adventureland, but I actually had to borrow a map from someone to find it. Anyway, the movie tie-ins probably will help keep this ride viable for a while longer. It’s still the same ride just with some Jack Sparrow thrown in. The “last” Jack Sparrow on the attraction is definitely the most realistic. About this time, I realized that 1) my feet were starting to hurt and 2) I was really, really hungry. It occurred to me that aside from the dusty dry half of a muffin, I hadn’t had anything to eat since my kid’s meal lunch at 11 a.m. According to my receipts, I then stopped at the Aloha Isle (at 9:30 p.m.) and had a really delicious Pineapple Dole Whip – although my receipt lists it as a “pineapple cup”. In all my trips to Disney, this was my first ever Dole Whip and it definitely will not be my last!

And finishing in Tommowland:

After resting my feet for a few minutes while I rested my poor feet, I spent some time wandering through Tomorrowland. Nothing there I really wanted to do, and I knew that Cosmic Rays was open for EMH and I really needed some dinner. I had hoped to do Monster Inc. Laugh Floor, but it is not open for EMH, so it was going to have to wait for another time. I did some browsing at Merchant of Venus and then headed over to Rays for dinner. They only had a few stations open, but it wasn’t very croweded. I noticed a lot of people in the parks are wearing the “First time Visitors” buttons for the “what are you going to celebrate” theme. While at Rays, a family wearing these buttons was ordering their meal and the manager made everyone stop working and announced to the crowd that the “so and so family” was having their first visit and we all had to cheer for them. Kind of cool. I again had the kids meal chicken nuggets but substituted French fried and chocolate pudding for the grapes and got a Mickey milk. A very good dinner for $4.99 + tax. After finishing my dinner, I started my way down Main Street browsing in the shops on my way out. Exited the park and headed to the POFQ bus stop. Some of the CMs were wearing Mickey hands and waving to the departing guests. I noticed this the next night at Epcot as well. I joked with the CMs and told them to give themselves a “big hand.” Stupid YMCA camp jokes, but they seemed to enjoy it. The bus came fairly promptly and I was back in my room by 11:00 p.m.

ashleyrm 04-28-2009 03:57 PM

Day 3 - At the end of which "every person comes out tired"
Tuesday, January 27

EMH at Epcot, but I am lazy and tired and do not make it there until almost regular park time, maybe 8:45 a.m. The bus went directly from POFQ to Epcot with no stops at Port Orleans Riverside – Woohooo! When I approached the turnstiles, there is a really long line, but then I realized that this was the “regular” people line and there was a turnstile open for us EMH folks so flashed my resort ID and strolled right in. This was the first time that I had seen Spaceship Earth without the Mickey arm since our December 1998 trip. During that trip they were in the middle of construction of the arm for the 2000 millennium celebration. Hard to believe that it was there for almost 9 years! I headed over to the Land for my inaugural ride on Soarin’. While making my way there, I noticed the absence of a sound that I always associate with Epcot – the slapping of the water in the Epcot fountain. I then saw that the fountain was shut down and boarded off. I asked several CMs what the deal was, but no one seemed to know. I did find out later that they were just doing general maintenance and that the fountain was expected to be open by spring break time. Got to the land, made my way downstairs and grabbed a fast pass with a 10:20 a.m. return time for Soarin’. I then got in line and went on the attraction. Going through the queue, the line splits to the right or left (I assume there are two separate theatres). Had about a three minute wait until I was viewing Captain Patrick’s video – Puddy!!!!! This time, I am directed to the right and then into the ride loading area where I was then seated in the second row of the middle set of seats. It was a good view being in the middle but the feet above me were a bit of a distraction. There were a couple of small glitches in the film. I wonder how long these films hold up being played over and over again throughout the day. The attraction definitely catches the essence of California and I especially love the ending sequence.

After my ride, I headed over the Sunshine Seasons to grab some breakfast. I ordered the kids meal breakfast (sensing a meal theme here?). As advertised, this breakfast included 2 pieces of French toast, piece of sausage and some potatoes. I asked if I could get bacon instead of sausage and the CM said sure, and also asked me if I wanted scrambled eggs instead of the potatoes – Sure thing! I also got a Mickey milk and a coffee. When I went through the checkout line I was only charged the price for the kids breakfast ($4.68 inc. tax) and not the coffee – Sweet!

After breakfast, I made my way over to the Living Seas with Nemo. Took some pictures of the Nemo characters and Spaceship Earth while I finished my coffee. I hadn’t been to the Living Seas in many years, so this was my first time for the whole Nemo upgrade. I enjoyed the queue area even though I didn’t have any time to stop and peruse all of the theming as there was no line to wait in. I enjoyed my ride in my clamshell, but there weren’t very many fishies in the tanks during my trip. I must say that I am pretty impressed with the insertion of the animation in the tanks! After the ride I meandered in Turtle Talk with Crush and sat on one of the benches enjoying watching the parents trying to get their kids situated on the floor. The CM repeatedly told the kids to “Please sit on the green area of carpet.” If they sit on the blue area of carpet they will be reminded over and over again to sit on the green area of carpet…Here’s a tip if you want your child (grandchild, etc) to get picked for a question, have them wear a hat or glasses (lids and goggles in Crush speak). A colorful shirt probably helps as well.

After exiting from Crush, I made my way back over to the Land for another ride on Soarin’. What a difference an hour makes. The place was humming. There was a very short line for Living with the Land so I hopped in line. There was a family with two teenage boys and their parents who will still drinking their coffee. You are not allowed to enter the queue with coffee, so the CM let the boys get in the queue and then told the parents to finish their coffees and then let them in through the rope to meet up with their kids after they finished. I thought that was rather nice of the CM. The CM loading the ride was “earning her ears” and was learning how to do the counting to get the right number of people on the seat rows. Since I was a “how many?” “one”, I got put in the front seat with another “one”. The other CM there told me that this was to make the counting method easier for the new CM. Interesting stuff for me now that my son is a CM! Anyhow, I hadn’t done this attraction for years and years and since I work in crop protection for a major chemical company, I find this attraction very interesting. Working here would likely be a dream retirement job for me. I should look at the USDA website and see if they are hiring anyone to work there! After viewing all of the nifty plantings I made my way back to do my Soarin’ Fastpass. Had about a 2 minute wait at the end of the queue before the boarding area. This time I went on the left side of the attraction and ended up on the far right set of “cars” at the left end of the middle row. Again with the feet! This film had a few little glitches as well. And I noticed the orange smell while flying over the orange groves. I had totally forgotten about that and somehow missed it on my first ride! After exiting, I meandered outside and took a few minutes to let my feet free of their athletic shoe shackles. I really wish I hadn’t forgotten to pack my sandals. My feet were killing me. I walked over to the Fountainview Cafť to look for some baked goods only to find out that the Fountainview Cafť was now an ice cream shop and did not have any delicious looking home made bakery treats. I’m sure I already knew this, but it was a disappointment nonetheless. So, I walked out and realized that the new Coca Cola place (Club Cool) was right next door. This was my first visit. I did kind of miss Refreshus Maximus and the cold iciness of Ice Station Cool. On the plus side, the floor of Club Cool was not quite as sticky as Ice Station Cool always seemed to be. Drank a fair amount of “Lift” from Mexico, some Costa Rican “Fanta” and the watermelon drink from China. As always, I took a few moments to watch various people have their first taste of the Beverly. Never fails to amuse…

After finishing my drinks, I made my way out of the park and found the bus back to Port Orleans French Quarter. Made my way to Sassagoula Food Court where I ordered the kids meal Grilled Cheese which I got with French fries, apple sauce and a Mickey milk. ($5.32 with tax). While waiting for my food, I spent some time talking with the cook about his job and what it was like working in quick service food and beverage. He seemed very happy and said he liked working in a food court. After lunch, I went back to my room and relaxed for a bit, waiting for Daniel to finish his training course. When he finally called me he informed me that he would be working at The Mara which is the food court at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I was a bit disappointed that he wasn’t going to be working at one of the parks, but working in the food court does have some advantages. One doesn’t have to be concerned with the weather, the hours are pretty regular (no EMH or anything), and he gets to work with a group as opposed to being at a popcorn stand or ice cream stand. Also, it is a deluxe resort. Not that it means that there is a more refined and polite clientele, but I do think it would be a bit more serene and less hectic than say the All Star Sports food court. He also told me that he had Traditions on Wednesday, general quick service food and beverage training on Friday and then starts work at Mara on Saturday. He came by and picked me up and we made a trip to Walmart to pick up a few items for his apartment and about $100 worth of food. I also filled up his gas tank for him one last time. I went back with him to his apartment where he got a lecture from the guard at the gatehouse for not putting me on the visitor list. They are very strict with security at these places which I guess is a good thing, but jeez, I am his mother! I spent a few minutes at his place chatting with his roommates and taking some pictures, and then he delivered me back to POFQ and that was the last I saw of him on this trip!

A couple of pictures of Chatham Square (Disney College Program Housing):

This is already starting to look like my son's room at home!

When I got back to my room, I decided I needed a bit of hot tub before heading back out to the parks so off I went to the pool area. One of the reasons I choose POFQ over POR was that I like the hot tub being off in it’s own little area away from the pool. This doesn’t completely keep the little folks out, but there is a lot less pool to hot tub traffic here than there is at POR. I lasted for about the requisite 15 minutes and then headed back to the room for a refreshing hot shower. After my shower I headed down to the bus stop and grabbed the first bus for Epcot. We did stop at all of the POR bus depots before making our way to Epcot, but it wasn’t too bad. Made the long walk from the bus stop to the turnstiles and made my way into Epcot.

Wandered back toward World Showcase and decided to treat myself to a nice dinner. Stopped at the podium outside the Rose and Crown, and asked how long of a wait it would be for a single diner and was told it would be about a Ĺ hour or so. So, to kill time I wandered into the Pub, had a Welsh Dragon (Peach Schnapps, Melon Liqueur, Creme de Menthe, orange juice, and pineapple juice) and listened to the Hat Lady sing a few songs. While there, I noticed a non-costumed CM who’s name tag read Dan (not another one!) and whose home town was listed as Ocean City, Maryland. So, I struck up a conversation with him regarding my son, Dan, and how he was a CM in the college program, and a hotel/restaurant management major and had lived/worked in Dewey Beach (which is about 20 miles from Ocean City, MD) last summer. Turns outs that Dan is the general manager at the Rose and Crown and that he was a hotel/restaurant major at University of Maryland and had started at WDW in the college program. Anyway, he was a very nice young man and told me to have my son stop by and visit with him sometime. He even gave me his business card. Eventually, my buzzer buzzed and I made my way to the podium only to find Dan once again. I was given a very nice table outside with a good view of the water. According to my receipt, I ordered the apple salad ($7.99) and the Fish and Chips ($15.99) and a diet coke. The apple salad which I’m sure had a fancier name on the menu, was mixed greens, stilton cheese, granny smith apples, cranberries and candied walnuts. It was good, but rather pricey for what it was. In addition, when it was served I only found 2 candied walnuts. I made a comment about this to my server (who’s name I cannot remember – on my receipt the cast member name is listed as “Woowoo” which I am sure was not his name!), and when he brought out my entrťe his also brought out a very large cup of candied walnuts. They were a great substitute for desert! So, the fish and chips were quite yummy and I thought reasonably priced at least until I had the same thing from the cart outside. They’re twice the price inside the restaurant, but you don’t get twice as much. I guess one is paying a premium for having a table and chair. I noticed you can by them on the pub grub menu in the pub for $7.99 (same price as Kiosk). Along with my bill, my server brought me out a fresh diet coke in a “to go” cup “for my travels” which I thought was a very nice gesture. I would have sent a note to Dan regarding my pleasure with my server, but since I didn’t have his real name that would have been kind of silly. So after dinner, I wandered around a bit, listened to the British Invasion and then settle in to watch Illuminations from the bridge between France and Morocco. Spent the time until the show chatting with a nice couple from Chicago who were on their annual trip to WDW. After Illuminations, I trudged back to the bus stop and made my way back to POFQ. After taking off my socks, I found what was causing so much pain in my foot. There was a very sizable blister on the bottom of my little itty bitty pinky toe!

ashleyrm 04-28-2009 04:23 PM

My last day in which I do not go to a park
Wednesday, January 28:

Wednesday morning I had planned to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but my little feet just were not going to make it. I knew I was coming back next month so I wasn’t too concerned about not making it to DHS on this trip. I managed to hobble over to Sassagoula food court and have another kid’s breakfast. Don’t remember what I had.

Some random Port Orleans French Quarter Pictures:

After packing up my stuff and stashing my suitcase at Bell Services, I spent the most of the day relaxing and hanging by the pool and using the hot tub. I met a woman about my age who was at WDW on a solo trip. Her kids were about the same age as mine and like me, she said here husband wasn’t really into Disney like she was so she takes a solo trip every year or so. Good for me to hear. People think it is so strange that I go to WDW without my husband, but really why should I force him to go somewhere he doesn’t really like. It just kind of ruins the trip for both of us. He can take Disney in small doses, but he definitely would not have enjoyed this trip.

A few more random POFQ pics:

I had a snack of carrot sticks and celery with ranch dressing from the food court and then used the shower at the pool to clean up and get ready for my trip home. Unfortunately, I did not realize until I got in the shower that there was no soap. While waiting for the ME, I noticed that there was a greeter (or doorman) at the front entrance to POFQ named Beau. Apparently, they were testing whether or not to add greeters to the moderate resorts. Now, he was no Art, but he was very friendly and seemed to enjoy his job. He had been a general manager at Pleasure Island and when they shut that down, he had a choice between the greeter job and working in the call center. He said that that wasn’t much of a choice! He told me that the hotel had gotten a lot of positive feedback on having a greeter there. He was handing out “coins” to all of the children to throw in the courtyard fountain. My Magical Express bus showed up on time and we were off to Orlando International. I think this is a great option for those who don’t want to have a rental car. The pick-up times are a bit early (3:00 p.m. for a 6:10 p.m. flight), but I guess they have to build in extra time in case they get help up for some reason. All I know is that there was nothing “magical” about leaving Disney World…

Wrap up

All in all, this was a very successful trip. I got my son delivered on time and situated in the college program. I got to do a lot of attractions that I hadn’t done before. It was all very hectic, but I knew that going in. Glad I get to come back next month and will hopefully get another trip or two in before my son comes home in June.

One last shot:

Lori77 04-29-2009 10:18 AM

Great report!
Great report! I was supposed to do the college program, but ended up having to cancel. It was cool to get the insiders view!

I would also say that solo trips are great and I agree that the trip would be a waste if someone did not enjoy being there!

Will you be doing another trip report for the trip you made after this one?

ashleyrm 04-29-2009 10:26 AM


Originally Posted by Lori77 (Post 31577270)
Great report! I was supposed to do the college program, but ended up having to cancel. It was cool to get the insiders view!

I would also say that solo trips are great and I agree that the trip would be a waste if someone did not enjoy being there!

Will you be doing another trip report for the trip you made after this one?

Thanks for the post. I am almost done writing up the trip report for my trip in February. Much more detailed and many more pictures!

Then I have to start writing a trip report for the trip that I took with my daughter at the end of March!

Also - I found some additional trip notes, so will be doing a bit of editing to this trip report.

Never done!!!

ashleyrm 05-03-2009 09:46 AM

Added a link to my trip report. Also now have live links in my sig to old and very detailed trip reports...

hill6 05-03-2009 01:10 PM

Great report. I need to have my daughter look into the Disney College Program. If you don't mind my asking, how did your son sign up?

We loved POFQ when we were there in November. They did have a greeter when we were there. Our daughter traded pins with him almost every day.

ashleyrm 05-03-2009 02:07 PM


Originally Posted by hill6 (Post 31641720)
Great report. I need to have my daughter look into the Disney College Program. If you don't mind my asking, how did your son sign up?

We loved POFQ when we were there in November. They did have a greeter when we were there. Our daughter traded pins with him almost every day.

I found a note where I had written down the greeter's name. It was Beau.

As for the College Program, Disney does presentations at many colleges and universities. There is also an online version of the presentation for those that can't get to one of the live presentations.

For more info, visit here:

Tiffanova 05-03-2009 04:53 PM

Yay College Program! Your son's apartment looks just about identical to the one my brother lived in during his 2nd program. I stayed in Chatham too but I didn't think my apartment was as nice. Oh well. I hope your son has a great program! I loved mine. :goodvibes

APB513 05-05-2009 04:27 PM

I really enjoyed reading your trip report. I'll be staying at POFQ for the first time during my first solo trip next week!!!

I can't wait!

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