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knewton64 06-12-2009 02:51 AM

MY ADVENTURES by Disney "Spirit of America" Sept 2009 trip report (w/pics & video)
After a few months of rest from my very first trip into the House of Mouse & DCL,

I thought I would get around to beginning my pre-trip report about all things United States history wise......from the perspective of a solo ABD traveler :cool: who has never been to the northeast USA and this is also my very first ABD vacation.
And to get ya brought up to speed as to the cast of character.......well that's moi - Kris - a Disney fan and ardent fan of all things Disney. I would take Ladybug (13 year old female Beagle) with me, but this is one TR that as that announcer says on some of those Snoopy/Charlie Brown shows:

NO DOGS ALLOWED (just kiddin) but anyway...she is being well taken care of while I am gone out of the state :hug:.

Anywho - I had one incredible time at WDW / DCL in January and now am ready to take on Philly, Wash DC and Williamsburg Va. I have a pre-day tagged onto this trip (Thursday Sept 17th) and am looking at checking out the following on that day:

1). Update on renovations / rebuilding part of the Presidents House (started May 2009 & not finished until May 2010).

2) Check out Betsy Ross' house (since we only walk by it during early am of day 2).

3) Putt Putt golf at Franklin Square OR just walk around "the historical section of Philly" & take pics where I can.

4) And of course, gotta end my pre-day with a cheeseteak at Campos.
5) check out the Hyatt's swimming pool afterwards! WHY NOT?

Now am on Friday Sept 18th? Well....

1). Looking into whether or not I can take a tour of Lincoln Financial Field (if I go, I promise NOT to wear my Dallas Cowboy T-shirt).
2). If not, then... (still thinking here).....I welcome suggestions.

3). Break for lunch at ???? I welcome suggestions from you - the reader.
4). Mutter museum?? - :scared1: -
5). Be back at hotel by 4-4:30pm for the welcome dinner meet at 5:30pm.

TO BE CONTINUED..I am working on this tr and will continue to build on it as the days progress . And I promise to take plenty of video and pics where I can. if only one of these would go good with a Cheese Steak! :cloud9:.

(photo shot at MK January 2009)

knewton64 06-21-2009 04:18 AM

Williamsburg VA update, dragging out the suitcase, misc.
......It's 98 degrees outside today - so what better way to keep cool than by updating a little my trip report :goodvibes.
Williamsburg VA sounds like a whole lotta fun (the last part of the vacation) - just wish we had more time to see Jamestown but ah well.... Though I will make the time to have a small spa retreat while at the hotel where we will all be staying at (Great Wolf Lodge) :woohoo:. I mean to me, what a better way to cap off a wonderful vacation than by having a spa retreat.
But.....for the other side of the news.....

*************** UG **********************

Now, for the ever dreaded part - I actually have my suitcase opened and begun to pack a few things:headache: . Though - I am a 2 suitcase person! So this will be quite a change for me ONLY bringing o-n-e suitcase but hey....before I know it - along will be the knock on my door from UPS - MAJOR :woohoo:!!!!!!

ok.....for anyone who enjoys this kind of a vacation, I-pod music suggestions (to me) would be from the group, "Voices of Liberty." They perform at the Ameircan pavillion (World showcase) side of Epcot. Below is a pic of them - pic is a little outta focus..but I wanted to get a close up of their clothing.
CYA next time!

tchrrx 06-21-2009 02:21 PM

I really want to book this tour for next year. It will also be our first ABD tour, so I am very excitedly following your report!

knewton64 06-28-2009 06:21 AM

OK.....WHO HID MY M&M's??????????
......Wow! what a week it has been:teacher:. I have been hitting the planning books big time in relation to this trip. For starters, I have been watching the HBO dvd mini series, "John Adams" and it is a excellent primer for this trip as it is based upon David McCoulough's book. Wonderful author and writer,etc.
Secondly, I read quite a bit of the Adams letters (please look up "John Adams letters" on the internet if interested) - - - - Anywho - about the trip.............:rolleyes1.

Ok........things have changed a bit from a few weeks ago (except for the weather:headache: - it's still tooooo hot here in Dallas! But.... I actually broke down and bought a portable dvd player (6 hr battery w/9 inch screen), a Soduku hand held game and a Tetris game. I mean hey...when I am on that plane, I wanna have fun:cool1:. My "iinflight movie"? The Smithsonian's dvd of the White House (about 90 minutes long) along with a few other dvd selections.

So.......On my pre-day (09-17-09):

1) Lunch at Campos Deli (214 Market st)..take right outta hotel (201 South Columbus street) from Columbus st to Market st and take a left. Go 2 streets until n 2nd st :woohoo: & it's off on left hand side of the street.

2) From there, exit from Campos turning left & travel 4 streets until south 6th street and see the historical buildings NOT covered in our tour (LIKE THE PRESIDENTS HOUSE, etc) and take pics where I can. Around 4pm, leave for Independence Living Center and......have fun getting lost :laughing: but meander my way to 3rd & Chestnut St ...which means.....from the Presidents house, walk about 3 blcks back to 3rd (on Chestnut) and.......

3) Have fun on my "Tippler's Tour" (5:30pm to 8:30pm as it departs from the Indepence Living History Center; 3rd and Chestnut Street but I have to be there at 5pm they say). Now this oughta be I am very glad I will have a Campos cheese steak to "help" me out here for a few hours - HA!
****Tippler's Tour is NOT covered by the Spirit of America tour and is something if you are interested , you can look them up also on the internet for dates, times, etc. **** - Besides, I figure this would be a fun way to see how Colonial life was like while visiting the local tavern:goodvibes.

4) back to the Hyatt hotel for some evening swimming.

Now of course, you are no doubt wondering why I put in "turn by turn" directions here.....well - I am such the planner so these are reminders for me when my trip starts.'s my first trip into Philly, Wash Dc & Williamsburg.

But......on Friday 09-18-09 :

1) After a nice breakfast somewhere, play putt-putt golf at Franklin Square and
2) Take tour of Betsy Ross's house (Since we ONLY WALK B-Y it Saturday as this was confirmed by an e-mail response I reveived the other day from the ABD coordinator of the Spirit of America trip).

3) Lunch?? at Ginos????

4) be back at Hotel for my ABD's "meet and greet," dinner, etc by 5pm.

Now, not to be outdone here - I thought it would be cool to end the Philly part of this trip (this is NOT part of the Spirit of America trip and if interested, please also feel free to look them up on the internet for times and dates, etc) by engaging in the "Lights of Liberty Tour" (Sat 09-19-09 with meeting initially at corner of 6th And Chestnut) IF
I can't get a bunch of us Adventures by Disney DISsers together and do something fun. I mean "Rocky" and the Philly museum of art intention is to immerse myself in Colonial / US history and I feel my feelings (about this trip)can be summed up with what John wrote to Abigail on 07-03-1776. .... That's a very powerful letter due to his insight and forthought to what he and others were accomplishing at the time.
....and yes, I would like to check out "Old Ebbitt's Grill" while in Washington Dc as I will take pictures and video (where I can during this trip) and post them on my trip report. And lest we forget, I plan on also having a spa retreat of sorts while at the Great Wolf Lodge during the Williamsburg VA section of this vacation.

** Anyone else going on this trip?? If so, give me a shout out via a posting or two to this thread. **:goodvibes .

ok.....back to my m&m's and packing.........:headache:
(photo shot where else but at Goofy's Candy Shoppe Downtown Disney - Jan 2009)

knewton64 07-01-2009 05:33 AM

Happy "early July 4th" cuz.......
ya gotta check out these cool "Spirit of America" related videos:goodvibes : (shows the into of our current US President; part 3 of 3)

or.... (part 2 of 3)

and a small clip from the review via the above videos:

"...After almost 9 months the waiting was finally over. Today was the Annual Passholder Preview of the newly renovated Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

I was very excited when I first heard this attraction was being overhauled. It has always been one of my favorites. For me the Hall of Presidents epitomizes the very essence of what Walt Disney had in mind for his theme parks. It brings together masterful story telling, powerful imagery and cutting edge technology to draw the park visitor in and entertain while educating.

After the initial excitement wore off, the fear sank in. I know from experience that ‘upgrades’ and ‘rehabs’ don’t always have the best results, especially when dealing with timeless attractions that have a mythic place in most WDW veterans park going memories. I feared that my beloved attraction would be mutilated in some way that would sadden and disappoint me.

I am very happy to say that the current incarnation of this attraction does not disappoint! While many of the original elements remained, there were several improvements that I felt only helped to make the show that much more enjoyable.

The first change is the new signage outside the attraction as well as updated name….The Hall of Presidents – A Celebration of Liberty’s Leaders.

The atrium/pre-show area has been updated as well with added Presidential portraits and memorabilia. Getting the opportunity to see real articles owned by past Presidents is truly a treat. The area of the pre-show that got the most attention was the display of First Lady Dresses. Currently you can see one dress each from Edith Roosevelt, Elizabeth Monroe and Nancy Reagan.

The curtain rises and we see all of the Presidents. They are introduced to the audience one at a time in the order of their Presidency. The introductions are much more fluid and much quicker than in the past, which is a welcome change to those of us who are waiting for them to ’speak’.

Once the introductions are over, George Washington stands and addresses the audience. This is a huge change from the previous version of this attraction and the first time Mr. Washington has spoken in this attraction. Our first President is voiced by David Morse who also played George Washington in the HBO mini-series “John Adams”. A perfect match.

President Washington reminds us of the importance of a sacred oath each President must take and uphold. He then introduces President Barack Obama who repeats the Oath of Office and then gives a short speech which was written just for this attraction. This is where it truly got exciting for me. I had read that the President Obama Animatronic was going to be the most sophisticated one ever. Not quite the “next generation” Animatronic; but because the entire world has seen so many of his speeches the Imagineers had to get his facial expressions perfect. I feel they really hit a home run here. His lips purse, his brow furrows and his cheeks puff in a perfect mimicry of our current President."

More to come! CYA -

knewton64 07-12-2009 08:18 PM

WASH DC food update, misc....
wow! what a few days it has been:headache:. I have had NO A.C. in my home for a few days (exterior ac unit went out) but it's been replaced so I am back to my trip report. Ah yes..... my favorite subject - FOOD.

So , on the Wash DC side of my trip, yes - Good suggestion from Thatslygirl about:

" I agree that Old Ebbitt is a great location and good landmark. Another suggestion if you want to see another part of D.C. would be to grab a cab to Georgetown and walk around the area of Wisconsin Ave. and M Street. There are some fun places around there and great shops and nightlife/window shopping.

Filomena (1063 Wisconsin Ave) has great Italian food on Wisconsin Ave (the pasta mamas are usually in the front window hand-rolling the pasta). "

So.....looks like Old Ebbitt Grill or that sports bar and a short run into Georgetown:yay:.

.....Counting down the days as I should receive my travel doc anyday this week:thumbsup2.


aspen37 07-15-2009 12:34 AM

I'm loving your pre TR! I would like to do this tour. If one of my other trips don't workout next year this will be on my first on my list. I can't wait to hear about your trip. :goodvibes

Icemann 07-17-2009 09:30 PM

Have fun
I to did all the pre planning and their still was not enough time for it all.Did this trip last month if you get Kim and Maria as guides you will have fun.One thing try to do is the Smith,any one.You can opt out of the ABD tour and do one on your own but it won't be as good I did that and I'm sorry I did it now.I traveled with 29 super people by the second day we all were getting along well.Tell Kim and Maria the Florida Iceman said hey.

Icemann 07-17-2009 09:34 PM

I forgot if you want I can send you a link and you can see some of the pictures I took I'm not done posting them all yet.Take all the sd cards you can I took over 3000 pictures and I did manage to get a couple of good shots,the Washington Zoo was a place I really enjoyed

knewton64 07-19-2009 02:58 AM

Wash Dc update, thank yous & how many cheeseteaks did i eat today??

Originally Posted by Icemann (Post 32758056)
I to did all the pre planning and their still was not enough time for it all.Did this trip last month if you get Kim and Maria as guides you will have fun.One thing try to do is the Smith,any one.You can opt out of the ABD tour and do one on your own but it won't be as good I did that and I'm sorry I did it now.I traveled with 29 super people by the second day we all were getting along well.Tell Kim and Maria the Florida Iceman said hey.

.......I tell you what, I have been soooooo spoiled by this trip - and it hasn't even started yet:goodvibes! I have discovered a word in the dictionary that I just can't put down:

:cloud9::cloud9:****** CHEESESTEAK - ********::cloud9::cloud9:

But of course you know this means for every cheesesteak I have ( 2 a week) that means an extra 2 laps around my neighborhood with Ladybug (my 13 yr old female Beagle).

But.....I am living it up now cuz after this trip, I go back to WDW followed by a trip to Kennedy Space Center:woohoo:. And wow! during my trip to WDW in January, I average walking over 9 hours a day before I chose to stop and get anything to eat or drink - I was having tooo much fun:goodvibes.
Anywho - about the Wash DC "food report" update............. know me - I MUST innertwine this with directions:idea:. ya gotta luv it ! I am transposing these directions off the back of a Walmart sales if my writing gets a little smudgy.....well....the receipt has been in my pants pocket for a few hours.

So - without any further adeiu -

I have been hearing that the White House (DUH) is on Penn Ave and that the street in back of it is Constitution Ave and that the street to the right of it is 15th ave and the street to the left of it is 17th ave.
So, from the Mayflower hotel (127 Conn Ave), take Connecticut avenue to __________ & turn left and then turn right onto 15th street and Viola! U R at Old Ebbits Grill:woohoo: (675 15th NW). ** WILL GIVE "FOOD REPORT" FROM OLD EBBITS complete with pics - HA!:lmao:.

I mean hey....whattsa trip report without some pics of food????;).

Now, from Ebbits Grill, turn right onto 10th street and u will wind up at FORD'S MUSEUM (A PLACE I WANNA SEE!) - 511 10th ST NW.

WHEw! ;) - hope I have all that right BUT I promise to ask Kim & Maria (yes - hope they are the same guides) just to make sure. Cuz GHEESH! When we are out on those bicycles, I wanna know where I am going; esp when (later on) they drop u off places and u have to find your way back to the Wash DC hotel. for the potentially "Goofy" all of you feel that there will be enuf time to see the Smithsonians??? I wanna see Space Museum, American history, Spy museum & Natural history.
So, the morning we all go to the National Zoo - skip it and see more of the Smithsonians I didn't get a chance to see or.....let it go and see the zoo?

- opinions please -

and to ICEMAN: yes - I would really enjoy seeing your pics from the trip - what site / link do you have??

- No ABD backpack for me yet :sad1:. But - I am patient and will post once I receive mine.

Until then -
(photo shot while on the Disney Wonder; Jan 2009)

- he is my fav!

knewton64 07-20-2009 11:06 PM

Ok - think happy thoughts cuz....
....the good news is I put on order today my "Tippler's Tour" Philadelphia ticket b-u-t.........I couldn't place an order for one adult ticket for "Independence After hours" ticket for the evening of day 2 in Phildadelphia (they stop doing this 09-06-09).

So...... should there be a kind hearted DISser out there who can direct me on things to do near the Hyatt at Penn's Landing area (in Philadelphia), in the pm, I would greatly appreciate it cuz.......

I really don't wanna call it an early evening while out in Philly -

ok.....thanks 4 listening everyone.


Aburns8 07-21-2009 08:26 AM

Subscribing! I can't wait to hear about the actual trip. I bet you are excited!

Icemann 07-21-2009 10:04 PM

They have tourist trap maps at the hotel Their is the oldest steel war ship from WW1 a submarine and a sea fearer museum behind the Hyatt and the Aquarium, USS New Jersey are across the way by ferry I think it was six bucks round trip.Thats if you are in that stuff.the picture link is you will have a blast at what ever you do.O Betsy Ross house and Franklin Museum

thatslygirl 07-22-2009 01:06 AM


Originally Posted by knewton64 (Post 32772767)
Now, from Ebbits Grill, turn right onto 10th street and u will wind up at FORD'S MUSEUM (A PLACE I WANNA SEE!) - 511 10th ST NW.

There's a greasy spoon called Lincoln's Waffle Shop near Ford's Theatre if you need to get breakfast. It's what I call "good but crummy" food.

Quote: for the potentially "Goofy" all of you feel that there will be enuf time to see the Smithsonians??? I wanna see Space Museum, American history, Spy museum & Natural history.
So, the morning we all go to the National Zoo - skip it and see more of the Smithsonians I didn't get a chance to see or.....let it go and see the zoo?
- opinions please -
In my opinion, skip the zoo, especially if the weather is projected to be really hot! Mainly for the following reasons:
1. The Zoo is located on the Red line, which almost always has issues.
2. The animals are almost always inactive unless you go before 11am
3. Compared to Animal Kingdom, the animals never really look happy, either.
4. I personally think our National Zoo is in very sad shape compared to other zoos in the nation.

The Spy Museum has late admission. Usually the last admission is either at 4 or 5pm. So a little bit before the museums close you can make haste over there. It usually takes about 2 hours to see everything. I have been 3 times and I think that is enough time. It does get pretty crowded sometimes.

You can do the Space Museum on its own and go to the Spy Museum later on.

The Natural History and American History are next to one another so if you get bored, just hop on over to the other. The Space Museum is located on the further end of the Mall. A lot of people tend to overdo the museums and try to pack a lot into one day. I just say pick a few exhibits you really want to see and plan your itinerary that way. It took me 27 years to finally see the Hope Diamond and when I finally saw it, I was like, "What a small rock!" :laughing:

Icemann 07-22-2009 09:49 PM

Lincoln Museum
the museum was colsed last month but the theater was open,I too wanted too see it we were disappointed that the museum part was closed for remodeling,might be open now?The house across the street were he died had some intererting things their.Spy Museum was cool,lot of neat stuff have to agree with thatslygirl the zoo was a bummer small,dirty way to many kids food at the food court was so-so not very good.Been to alot of zoo's and behind the scenes at WDW National leaves alot to be desired I hung out in front of the panda house most of the time and took way to many pictures.The Memorials lit up at night is an awesome sight.As the Smiths go way to much to see,we did four in one day and that was to much we didn't see anything.I did learn were to stay when we go back and see the stuff we missed.Have fun

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