Of Mice and Moleskin – A solo trip for work and most definitely, pleasure
Trip report – Feb 8-11, 2009
Pre-trip and such:
Last trip report, January 2009 (if you are interested!)
In January 2009, I drove from Delaware to WDW with my 23 year old son to deliver him to Disney for his participation in the Disney College Program. I spent a couple of extra days enjoying the parks before coming home. Shortly before we went down, I found out that that a task force of which I am a member had scheduled their February 2009 quarterly meeting in Orlando. Not only in Orlando, but at the Regal Sun Resort which is one of the Downtown Disney Resorts! The meeting was scheduled for Tuesday to Thursday so I decided to go down on Sunday and have a couple of days of Disney to myself before the meeting. I was able to use my son’s Cast Member Discount to get my one night room at Port Orleans Riverside. I wanted a rental car for the first couple of days of my trip and found out that Dollar Car Rental has an office at the Regal Sun Resort so I arranged to get a car at MCO on Sunday and drop it off at the Regal Sun Resort before my meeting.
One thing I noticed after my January trip was that I didn’t take any where near enough pictures and I didn’t do a very good job of keeping notes. I definitely took more pictures this time and tried to do a better job of taking notes, so here it is…
Who: me, WDW veteran
Why: Two days at WDW at Port Orleans Riverside followed by three days of work meetings at the Regal Sun Resort.
Sunday, February 8
Flew from Philadelphia to Orlando on the 7:55 a.m. USAir flight. I had decided to rent a car from Dollar Rental because they have an office in the Regal Sun Resort therefore, I could pick up my car at MCO and then drop it off at the hotel for no extra charge. Several weeks after I made my reservation, I signed up for Dollar Express. Since I had made my reservation before joining, when I got to MCO I decided that I had better wait in the regular line and then when I checked in the agent walked down to the Express check-in and all of my paperwork was there waiting for me! While waiting for my agent, I peered down to the Disney Magical Express (ME) line and it was really, really long. I have heard that even when it is long, they still can move people through pretty fast, but I was still glad that I didn’t have to wait in that line! I got a pretty nice Chrysler Sebring and was off to WDW. After paying my $1.50 in tolls I made my quickly to Port Orleans Riverside, parked and headed into check-in. When I first got onto Disney property some guy in a Dodge Challenger with a New Jersey plates cut into my lane without a signal and I had to slam on my brakes to not run into him. After giving him a friendly one fingered wave, I went around him so as not to get stuck behind the buses turning into Old Key West and Port Orleans French Quarter. So when I turned into POR, there was Jersey guy right behind me. Check-in went very smoothly – had a really friendly CM. When I had booked using my son’s CM discount, there were no standard view rooms available so I had to book a water view, but it was only for one night and with the discount it wasn’t that big of a deal. I got a second floor room in the Arcadia section of the Mansions. I drove over and started to park and guess what – Jersey guy was parked right next to me. Took me awhile to find my room.
The “water view” room afforded me a slight glimpse of the pool through a bunch of trees and an even smaller glimpse of the Sassagoula through even more trees. The standard room I had at Port Orleans French Quarter in January had more of a water view than this room!
View to the right - if you look really close in the center of the picture is a bridge which I think goes over the Sassagoula to Ol' Man Island
View straight ahead - Disney's idea of a "water view"
It was also right at the top of a set of stairs which was a bit of a pain. I kept the shutters closed most of the time.
View to the left - The light fixture is at the top of the much trafficked staircase:
Signing on. I often say that trip reports and pictures are what keep me sane until our next WDW vacation. I just had to laugh that Jersey checked into the same resort as you AND was assigned to the same section.
Stay tuned for part two!
Sunday, February 8 (continued)
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
After a quick change from Philly clothes to Disney clothes, I hopped in the car and made my way to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Unfortunately, I forgot my handy dandy Disney Transportation Map and ended up following the official Disney road signs which meant it took twice as long to get there. Parked my car in Film 31 and hopped on the tram. I try to pack light for the parks and have a very small pocketbook and carry only my camera, cell phone and glasses in it. I found out on my trip last month that I am definitely going to have to invest in prescription sunglasses or get photo gray lenses. After so many trips to WDW, I don’t need to read park maps, but without my glasses, I wasn’t able to read the show times that are listed on the back of the daily time guides. Really stinks getting old! I like having my cell phone as I use the memo feature to record my parking area and can also type a very brief outline of what I did in the parks so that 2 months later I can write these trip reports!
After entering the park with my annual pass (love that thing!), I got a fastpass for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror with a return time of 12:50 p.m. Walked into “Beauty and the Beast” right as it was starting. I had been listening to the Broadway soundtrack a lot lately so the vocals seemed a big lacking and Gaston was a wee bit on the small side. The show does do a really good job of condensing the story and I did enjoy it and hope that I didn’t ruin anyone’s experience with my singing.
After the show, I had to wait about 5 minutes for my fastpass time and the standby line was almost just as short. I noticed throughout this trip, that the posted standby times were rarely as long as advertised. I have read this on the discussion boards as well, and wonder if Disney is just trying to encourage people to use Fastpass as a means of crowd control. Anyway, I rode the left hand elevator in the front row which I always request. Had a blast as always.
The bouganvillea was beautiful, but when I returned to DHS in the end of March they had been completely cut it back to bare branches - overambitious landscaping!!!! Also, please note the young lady rockin' the Flashdance look...
I stopped and watched some streetmosphere – the one with the director and the newly arrived to Hollywood girl who takes everything he says literally. It was pretty humorous. At one point the director asked the girl to get a young man (late teens or early 20’s) from the crowd and he took off at a quick pace and she ran after him all over the place.
I walked over to Toy Story Mania – no Fastpasses left and a 75 minute wait in the standby line – don’t think so. Had lunch at Studio Catering using the 10% AP discount and had the chicken with beans and rice which was pretty tasty ($9.16 w/discount). While eating, the High School Musical 3 show was going on in the area by the Studio Backlot Tour. I'm not sure why it was there - when I went back in March they had it in front of the Sorcerer's hat. My kids are past that age so I don’t know anything about it except that it is phenomenally popular and has made Zac Ephron some sort of teen dream (even if he looks like a girl to me).
After lunch I went to the Indiana Jones Stunt Show which I hadn’t seen in ages. It is still the same and still very entertaining.
After the show, I walked by the rope and pulled the “Don’t pull this rope” rope and listened to various bits. As usual, no one else even noticed this. Decided it was time for a snack so I stopped by Starring Roles Café (which I think used to be Starring Roles Bakery) and got a strawberry parfait ($2.79) – it was the least expensive treat and contained fruit so I figured it must be healthy (ha-ha). I found a spot on Hollywood Boulevard, watched the Block Party parade, and enjoyed it very much.
I was amazed at how non involved people were with the parade. It felt like the CMs and characters had to beg to get people involved.
I was at the Toy Story section and had Little Bo peep in front of me.
If I see the parade again I’d like to be in the section with the Bug’s Life Characters. I did get myself one of the little balls they give out at the end of the parade.
Green Army Man
Next chapter - Visiting my son at AKL and a night at the Magic Kingdom
I love your writing style....too funny. The girl in the photo was totally rockin' the Flashdance style and I, too, think that Zac Ephron looks like a girl. Maybe that's why he's been pumping iron lately...to look more manly and muscley.
Oh! Where's the rope that says Don't Pull the Rope?
The last time we were there, the audio was turned way down, or maybe High School Musical was playing for the 20th time that day and I couldn't hear over top of the noise....
and from Allears.net
:wave2: Cute title!
I know what you mean by the water views at POR. My mom and I were suppose to a "water view" and our room had a view of a bush. (with a pool very far behind it).
Sunday, February 8 (continued)
A brief stop to see my son at Animal Kingdom Lodge
After the parade, I left DHS, got the tram to my car and drove to Animal Kingdom Lodge to see my son Dan who is at Disney in the college program. He is working at The Mara, AKL’s food court. I couldn’t find him at first as he was off doing stocking stuff. I found him wearing a big winter coat! He really did not seem too happy. I hope he starts to enjoy himself more – I know the job is not what he was hoping for, but I think there are a lot of advantages to working in a resort.
Ever since I had gotten off the plane, I was having some serious issues with my eyes. They were very irritated and it felt like I was getting conjunctivitis. For some reason, I decided that alcohol would help. I stopped at the Uzima Springs pool bar and had a good frozen drink. The barmaid’s nametag indicated that she was from Dover, DE (about 40 miles from where I live) so I tried to strike up a conversation with her, but unlike most of the bar folks at Disney she was not very friendly. (Although, my son says he met her a few weeks later and she was really nice - perhaps my red, swollen eyeballs scared her!) Drink in hand I visited the savannahs and checked out the animals and took many pictures of giraffes!
Zebras, though not zebra domes, unfortunately
These big dudes - I forget their names
The Ubiquitous Giraffes
and these guys:
and this giraffe - Check out that tongue....
I tried to take a “short cut” back to the hotel so that I wouldn't have to drive on the dreaded Buena Vista Parkway with it's two thousand red lights, but ended up getting off track and it took me twice as long to get back. Spent a bit of time catching up on my trip report. Took a shower and got ready for the extra magic hours at the Magic Kingdom (9-12!)
An evening at the Magic Kingdom
It was a long day and I didn’t think I would make it that long into the EMH. Since I was going to the Magic Kingdom I decided to take the dreaded bus so I walked over to the nearest bus stop and proceeded to watch 7 busses go by before the MK bus came. After the brief ride, we disembarked at the bus stop and then took the circuitous route to the turnstiles. I really hate the way that Disney makes one walk so far out of the way to get to the turnstiles. I am sure there is some reasonable explanation for it, but I sure can’t figure out what it is. According to my notes, I watched Wishes from the bridge between the hub and Tomorrowland. I do remember pointing out Tinkerbell to a young girl standing next to me.
Not very good Pictures of Wishes
Its a bird, its a plane, no it's a very blurry Tinkerbell...
I then got in line for Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. Had to wait about 15 minutes and for the life of me, could not think of a suitable joke to text in to the show. Well this was my first time at Laugh Floor, and I can definitely say that it won’t be my last. It was hilarious! I had dinner at Cosmic Rays, Children’s chicken nuggets with French fries, chocolate pudding and a diet coke. I took advantage of the fixings bar and added cheese to my French fries (yum!). After dinner, I decided to walk from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland and much to my surprise, Mickey’s PhilharMagic was open! It had been closed for rehab and apparently had just reopened in the last day or two. I really enjoy this attraction, mostly due to the music from Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and Lion King. After the show, I made my way down Main Street stopping at the Main Street Bakery for a Cinnamon Roll and a large bottled water. According to my receipt it was 9:30 p.m. when I got my snack. After finishing my snack, I toddled back to the bus stop and returned to POR for a good night’s sleep.
And for whatever reason, pictures of the shower tile at POR:
and close up:
Next up: A morning at the Animal Kingdom
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