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exwdwcm 12-29-2009 03:29 PM

Holiday Dreams Do Come True with Pooh-Pooh Too! Family of 14 at WL (COMPLETED 3/23)
You can visit our PTR here:

So after almost 2 years of planning, the time had finally come for us texans to take our magical journey. Our magical holiday hoorah was here! Would the actual trip live up to all the planning and anticipation? Would it really be as good as we hyped it up to be in our pretty little heads? Let’s find out!

TABLE OF CONTENTSWHEN: Thursday, December 10th through Sunday, December 20th
WHERE: Wilderness Lodge
WHO: party of 14!

Here is a quick recap of our CAST OF CHARACTERs in case you don't want to refer to the PTR:

Mama (my Mom)- my mother and known as Mama to the grandkids. I'll just say late 50s, Super great, considerate, most giving person I know. She is retired and had a brain tumor (benign) removed for the second time this year. It ended up ruining her vision- she has no peripheral vision and very poor vision in both eyes in general. She can no longer drive due to it. She successfully raised the three of us while working full time and hey, we turned out pretty good, so I say she did a fantastic job! She has been looking forward to this trip for a long time and her and my dad are treating us all on this trip. THANK YOU!!!!

Papa (my Dad)- my dad and known as Papa to the grandkids. Again, I'll say late 50s- he is the quiet one, goes with the flow and so super sweet. He still works but plans to retire in a few years probably.

Auntie- my great aunt (my mom's aunt). She just got married a few weeks before this trip. She is retired as well and extremely excited about starting her new life with her new hubby! all the grandkids call her Auntie!

Nancy- my mom's cousin and like a second mom to us. She is single and loving it! She grew up with my mom and they are pretty much BFs. She works for a local school district and is in a 'boot' up to her knee for a torn tendon in her foot on this trip. Nancy is also a breast cancer survivor!

Chase- this is Nancy's nephew and he lives in South Carolina near Clemson. He is 18 and Nancy adores him and invited him along to enjoy some time with us! Chase has a great thick accent we like to tease him about and is addicted to texting on his phone on this trip! Teenagers. LOL

Wowo- this is my sister- the 'middle child'. Wowo is early 30s and has two children, 6 and 3. My son calls her Wowo. She is the one that makes us all laugh and it simply isn't a party without her around. She is a paralegal. The good times always roll with Wowo around! She is a big disney nut and turned me onto the podcast on the DIS!

Mike- Wowo's hubby, my brother in law. They are high school sweethearts, so he is truly a part of our family. He works full time and goes to school as well and just finished his associates. He is quite the class clown and always teasing and joking around.

Princess- this is Wowo and Mike's 6yo daughter- the first grandchild in our family and quite the spoiled princess! She loves pink, dancing, dressing up and drama! This is her second trip to WDW- she went at 2.5 as well.

Mikey- this is Wowo and MIke's 3yo son- quite the boy - loves cars, transformers, dinosaurs etc. He is very excited about seeing Mickey Mouse!

Nene- my baby sister- the youngest! she is a special ed teacher and has been married for a year. She is the fashionista and decorator!

Jeff- Nene's hubby and new to the family and on his first family WDW adventure!

Me- Michelle- 36 and mom to Pooh (2yo). Married almost 9 years to Alan and work in marketing. former college programmer at WDW (Hollywood STudios in 1996- HUGE disney nut! Type A, perfectionist and organize and overall trip planner.

Alan- my hubby- works in real estate, late 30s and not a huge disney nut. Great dad and the more serious type that doesn't like drama!

Pooh- my little boy- he turned 2 at halloween. He is all boy and just learning to really find his voice and words. He loves Muamau (mickey mouse) and his favorite is of course- Pooh bear- who he refers to as "pooh pooh". oh and my son is for some strange reason, obsessed with trash. Yes trash cans. he wants to throw everyone's trash away and find trash cans everywhere.

Thursday, December 10th – Day ONE
Well I say day one, but I don’t even really count this day, since we arrived so late. It had been a turbulent few months for all of us going on the trip, but we had a few specific ‘ooops’ pop up right before.

First, I was in the middle of quitting my old job and starting a new one post trip.
Second, my dad had just been diagnosed as pre-diabetic.
Third, my cousin Nancy thought she broke her foot, but turned out to be a tendon tear and was in a boot up to her knee!
Fourth, my little guy got sick with a bad cold right before the trip

So it was a little chaotic. Mom’s vision was still not improving so that was a concern too.

But we managed. The day before the trip, I officially signed my new job offer letter and took a drug test for the new job. Talk about last minute! My old job knew I was looking and potentially leaving them either right before or after my WDW trip. So on that Wednesday I made it official. I would return for 2 days after the trip, during Christmas week to transition projects to others and say my good byes before starting a new job on 12/28!

Most of us had been putting stuff aside or packing for almost a month now. Mom gave us all a large storage container earlier this year to put our ‘disney crap’ in! Including items like the highly popular dollar store ponchos, luggage tags, space bags etc. My Disney ‘crap’ bin was overflowing. So on Thursday, 12/10, I was off work. I took Pooh to day care that day for a few hours. Alan had to work. I had a hair appt and was worried it would take too long, but she managed to get me in and out in about 2 hours with new highlights, cut and blow dry. Of course my pocketbook wasn’t as happy. After that, I had to drop out other ‘children’, the two boston terriers at the kennel.

This was the dog’s first time EVER staying in a kennel, so we splurged a little. We got them a ‘suite’ at a highly recommended kennel in the Dallas area. They had a 10x4 room with a floor to ceiling window. I figured this way at least they had some room and it felt more open with the window, plus the fresh sunlight. My pups love laying in the sun. My two pups- Sassy and Tinkerbell (wonder where that name came from? Lol) would be sharing their temporary quarters with my sister’s dog, Sadie. Who also, had never been boarded. My dogs are 10yo and hers is a bit older, so it was a change for them to be boarded, but I felt comfortable with the place. So I dropped them off, got a few wet kisses and said good bye for 10 days! It was not cheap though- $70 a day for all 3, but that included the food, treats, walks, love sessions etc.

Then it was time to pick up Pooh from day care. He was very excited to be woken from his nap. Talk about bad timing on my part. We rushed home and got him all dressed and all the bags by the front door. Our town car service picked us up at 1:15pm. This was our first time using a car service (outside of business travel) and I highly recommend it. After our huge debacle earlier this summer, missing our flight to Vegas for my BF’s wedding, well I wasn’t risking it. We were late for that flight because we had to park off site and the shuttle took forever and much longer than we thought. This time, I wanted to be dropped off at the curb and just go. No parking, no worrying or rushing. Not to mention we had a ton of bags, it was like we were moving or something.

So the driver arrived a little early and we loaded up the car…….barely. Barely fit it all! Keep in mind we had a car seat, stroller, 3 checked bags, a backpack for me, backpack for Pooh with his toys, carry on for Alan and another carry on small roller bag. Ouch! My back hurts. We were loaded and already on our way by 1:15. We stopped at Alan’s work to pick him up, but were a bit too early for his liking. So we had to wait in the car for about 10 minutes for him, which didn’t sit well with Pooh. 2 year olds are not big fans of being patient, when strapped to a car seat in a car that isn’t moving.

Finally, Alan arrives and gets in the front seat (no room in the back with the car seat) and we are off. We were dropped curb side to check our bags at the curb with American Airlines. The AA guys were so sweet and playing with Pooh while we unloaded the ‘moving truck’. We left them a little tip and headed off with our carry ons to security. We luckily booked our tickets with AA back in May of 09, before they upped the checked bag fee in August, so we paid $15 per checked bag- so $45 total. Still a good chunk of change. Our flights ran about $350 each for a direct flight.

DFW is a huge hub of course and always packed with business travelers, especially this time of day. So the security line was not long, but it probably got longer after us. It took forever to get through with all our ‘crap’! Trying to juggle getting the laptop out, shoes off, stroller folded and prevent Pooh from running off was nothing less than a miracle! I felt bad for the folks behind us. We finally made it through security without losing anything or anyone. We re-dressed- jackets back on, shoes back on, jewelry, watches, belts. Finally, off to our gate. We found our gate, dumped our ‘crap’ and got out some toys to entertain Pooh. None of the rest of the family had arrived at the gate yet. waiting at the gate!
My sister, her DH and two kiddos were down at another gate where there was a playground. Mom and the rest of the gang were still on the way. I had gotten them a towncar too- well a SUV to drop them off. Entertaining Pooh at the gate was no easy task, he tried to escape a few times. Our flight was at 4:50pm and at about 4:15pm, they announced our gate had changed……to a different terminal. Everyone had arrived by now, with the exception of Nene and Jeff. Jeff was already in Orlando for business a few days earlier and Nene would come in the next day. She was missing her last week of school to take off for WDW, so she had to work that Friday. She already felt awful leaving her kids that last week. She teaches special ed so she has a special bond with her kiddos.

So we are all there and have to load up all the crap again and take the little train to the other terminal. That is one thing I hate about DFW- so many terminals and AA flies out of like 3 of them. Talk about confusing and a hassle.

So we get to the new gate finally and only have a short wait. Unfortunately it is really crowded – we are in the new International terminal and people are just everywhere- wall to wall people and hard to find seats together even. I get Pooh a quick snack, since we won’t arrive in Orlando until late. Finally they start boarding- we all get on first – since we have the car seats to install and Nancy has her bum foot. So we get on and struggle with the crappy car seat. I brought an old one that we don’t use in the car much, since it was lighterweight. But it was a pain. We finally get Pooh all buckled in and before we know it, we are off in the skies to Orlando! Pooh slept almost the entire flight, even the landing. This was his second time on a plane, he flew also at 4 months old. This time he was just over 2. Thankfully I didn’t have to worry about him kicking the seat since he slept. My brother in law sat up in first class and treated my 6yo niece to her first time first class experience! and Papa on the plane!
The flight was uneventful and about 2 hours later, we arrived at MCO. They recently renovated the gate/terminal we come into, so that was nice. We once again struggled with the car seat, but finally managed. Once we got off, I went to wait for the stroller, but they had issues with the ‘elevator’ thing that lifts them up to the brideway. So we waited forever- a good 15 minutes or so. Everyone else headed to baggage claim while I waited. By the time I got caught up, our bags had arrived. We did get a porter to load them all up on a cart for us. Unfortunately, my parents bag had been damaged and the zipper busted, so their bag arrived completely open. Nice.

We headed to the rental car garage where we had rented 3 vehicles through National using Emerald Aisle service- I use them for business a lot as does my BIL. So we headed over and picked out the cars we wanted, got in and drove to the exit to check out. I love Emerald Aisle, no waiting at the desk or long lines…….so I THOUGHT. Our flight arrived about 8:15pm and it was now nearing on 9pm or so. We follow the signs to the exit area where the little parking booth is- this is where we ‘check out’ and simply provide our license and the car tag. It usually only takes a minute, since everything is already paid for and registered online previously. There are two cars in front of us and only one gate functioning. There are two representatives working it though- looks like one might be training the other. We wait and wait and wait. For over 20 minutes. Finally, our turn. We had booked all the cars on my parents credit card, but in our individual names of course, since different folks were driving each car. Well that really threw this guy out of whack and he said we couldn’t do that. That we had to use a credit card in the name of whoever was renting. Which is BS. So that threw him for a loop and we spent a solid 10 minutes at the gate and by this time, the line of cars behind us was at least 15 deep and folks are honking impatiently. It was quite a scene. Now it is almost 9:45pm. I can’t figure out why they didn’t have more staffing??? This was my only bad experience with National ever. My parents were in an SUV behind us and it took them forever too- then my sister and her family were next, in an SUV as well.

What’s the story with the multiple cars? Well we had considered renting one large 15 person van, but it was so pricey, it was cheaper for us to rent 4 individual cars than it was to rent that one big van. This way we had more flexibility to split up as needed too. It worked out great for us in the end.

So we finally all get through the National chaos and head out of the airport……behind some slow moving tourist that is completely lost and driving 5mph. get out of the way, we are heading to Disney!! We stop for a quick soda at a gas station on the way. I always take the 528 toll to I-4, it is just the way I always go. We finally see I-4 and know we are close. The drive was only 20 minutes or so. My sis and her family split off to stop at Wal-mart for diapers. The rest of us proceed to our home for the next 10 nights……the Wilderness Lodge!!!!!

We drive through the downtown Disney area and then see the gates for the Magic Kingdom! as we are nearing the Old Key West area and about to turn right- we see fireworks! they are almost right on top of us- it was Illuminations from Epcot, since were right near the backstage area of the World Showcase. It was so neat to see them in all their glory as we drove in. I told everyone I had planned that especially for them!! No pics though- didn't want to crash while trying to drive and take a pic!

So- We are here! We veer off to the right to follow our way to the lodge. I loved seeing that big old sign to greet us. We check in with the guard and head in. Nancy is riding with us and has a temporary handicap tag for her foot. My mom also has a handicap for her vision issues. So we both pull up and find out they will valet us for free for handicap! Nice! This is great for my parents- dad with his foot problems and mom too. We only used the handicap tag in our car IF Nancy was with us. Otherwise, we took it down and did self parking. Nancy ended up doing her own thing a lot throughout the trip, so we didn’t use the handicap that often at the hotel or the parks. The handicap parking area was always full too in the parking lot. I guess that is why they offer valet for it. We never had a problem with the self parking. It was pretty convenient. My only gripe is that there isn’t a clear cut, direct path for the wheelchairs or strollers. You have to walk all the way around the side basically instead of going directly into the middle of the front of the lodge.
So we were welcomed to our home away from home and they took our bags for us. We walk in and are greeted with this magnificent tree! It really takes your breath away!

We headed to the check in desk and there was barely a line- only one person in front of us. I had done the online check in already for my parents and Nancy, but for some reason it kept crashing on me when I tried to do it for the rest of us. So we all got checked in. We had 5 rooms- one for my mom, dad and Auntie. One for Nancy and Chase. One for my family – Alan and Pooh and I. One for Nene and Jeff and finally one for Wowo and her family. We had paid for water views as well.

So I was hoping for a nice view of the main pool. No such luck. IF we wanted to be near each other at all, they couldn’t give us that view. My mom preferred that we were near each other over that view, so that is what we did. We ended up with a view of the Villas Pool which was nice too. We were all on the 4th floor, but way down near the end of the hall. We had to walk forever!!! NOT good with mom and Nancy. I had requested we be closer to the Roaring forks or elevators, but no such luck. Oh well.

So we finally reach our room- my parents are in 4050, Wowo is in 4052 and we are in 4054. So the three of us are in a row- and my room connects with Wowo’s. Nancy was like in 4042- so just a further bit down. Nene and Jeff would not check in until tomorrow. We get situated in our rooms and I notice it is not as ‘new’ as I expected. The room actually seemed a bit run down to me. It just didn’t meet my expectation. Again, maybe a case of expecting too much? It just seemed there were scratches on the wall/paint and things like that. Then one of us went to use the toilet and it wouldn’t flush. We had to call the front desk and they ended up having to come replace the toilet the next day- a tubing inside was messed up and they ended up just replacing almost the whole back end of it. That was a pain too to deal with. So I was already being a bit let down.

So it is now about 10:30 and we are starving! We head down to Roaring forks since they close at 11 for the hot food. I have a buffalo chicken flatbread pizza with bleu cheese that was so yummy! Alan has a grilled chicken sandwich and we get a burger for Pooh. I order all the food and Alan and Dad stay upstairs to wait on our bags to be delivered as well as our garden grocer order. As us girls are heading downstairs, we see them bringing up two huge carts with all our stuff. LOL! We all enjoy our late night meal, but are pretty exhausted. I think a few of us forgot to use our dining credits for this one- I guess that takes a little getting used too. We all had key to the world cards with free dining for the entire 10 days. night dinner - Nancy and Pooh
So after dinner, it is back upstairs to the rooms and I unpack while Alan gets Pooh ready for bed. I am the type A perfectionist and I simply can’t rest until the room is in order and all unpacked! I get all our garden grocer stuff, which includes some diapers, water, juice, cereal etc. I had also shipped a large box with some Christmas decorations to our room too. But I was too tired to mess with it. So by about midnight we are all tucked in our new bed and ready to dream about 9 days meeting the mouse! We had requested bed rails for Pooh, but they still didn’t deliver until after he was asleep, so we ended up not using them the entire trip. We put pillows on the side of him and he did fine sleeping in the bed by himself. He is still in a crib at home since he hasn’t tried to climb out yet. He did fine on the big boy bed the whole trip.

So day one (not really day one) ends with a late night and all of us with visions of Disney stuck in our heads! Tomorrow will be a busy and early morning for us all. Hopefully we recover and rest enough. It is going to be a long 9 days and 10 nights!

So we survived day one!!!!

Santa’s Nice List
  • Valet for handicap at WL
  • Town car to airport- so nice to splurge
  • Pooh slept on plane- easy peasy!
  • Yummy flatbread pizza at Roaring forks
  • Nice pool view
  • We are at DISNEY FINALLY!!!!!!

[b]Santa’s Naughty List
  • Last minute gate change with AA
  • Too much CRAP to carry!
  • LONG LONG line at National
  • Saying bye bye to doggies
  • Broken toilet and worn down room
  • Long walk to room

Pollito916 12-29-2009 05:48 PM

Hi Michelle - great start! I feel like I am there with you! :goodvibes

Isn't it amazing how different airport security is traveling alone for business vs with your family? It's really exhausting with a toddler!

You are so lucky Will slept for most of the flight! That makes it sooo much easier!

Can't wait to hear the rest!

k_reile 12-29-2009 06:34 PM

i'm here...i'll come back and read later!

weswife 12-29-2009 06:54 PM

Agree I am here too!!:goodvibes

exwdwcm 12-30-2009 03:42 PM


So after a short night of rest that was greatly needed, it was time to get going again! Morning came way too soon. Pooh usually wakes up by 7:15am most mornings, so we are up anyhow. This made it easy for us to get to the parks early most mornings- it isn’t like we were going to get to sleep in anyway.

So today’s plan was to hit the MK in the am and tackle most of Fantasyland- basically do all the things we knew Pooh would love. Then a break at DTD for lunch at Earle and shopping, followed by a break in the room and dinner at Chef Mickey’s.

So we were up and at ‘em by 7:15am or so. Alan can go to bed late and wake up early no problem. Me, not so much. I like my sleep. A lot. I am not a morning person, but hey we are in Disney, so things change. It was nice having the different rental cars for each family, because some of the family was doing breakfast at Ohana today. So Alan, Pooh and I headed to the MK in the car and my parents came along as well. We would have taken the boat from WL which is the quickest and most convenient way, but I knew we would be heading to DTD after MK, so we just drove. It was a pain having to loop back around the MK parking lot. We finally got parked, got on the tram and were soon in line for the monorail at the TTC. Talk about a process---car, tram, monorail and finally MK!!
An interesting note- see the blow up snow men on top of the MK sign? they only put those out on the MVMCP days, they were gone the next day and then back up. what a lot of work! I thought that was neat. I would have just left them the entire time though if it were me!

When we were walking up, we saw the opening show and had just missed it. Wowo and her family had done breakfast at Ohana and made it over in time to see the show.

So we entered the MK- headed through security and stepped over the mickey confetti on the ground. The magic hit! It was just a few minutes after 9am. MK opened officially at 9am. The entrance was beautiful, poinsettias galore and decked out in all the Christmas cheer. It was a little chilly this am, so we had on our hoodies/jackets. We headed into the MK and just took in the view- the beautiful tree and the magic of Main Street.
I had promised myself I would take it a little slower this trip and not go totally commando crazy, which is my habit------run with the masses to Space first thing etc. This time, I knew with Pooh we would have to slow down, for my parents too. It was nice, not feeling the ‘need’ to rush down Main St. We took our time and Pooh saw so many trash cans- he was in heaven and then the horse ‘trash can’ for none other than ‘pooh’, and I am not talking Pooh bear! We even saw the main street singers and the trolley and stopped to enjoy them for a bit and join in on a little ‘ding ding ding goes the bell!’. Pooh enjoyed that.

Then we made our way to Fantasyland. Usually I would head to get a FP first for Space or Splash, but we didn’t, we just took our time. First stop was Dumbo. We saw Wowo and her family already in line ahead of us. It was about 9:30am by now. The line was not too bad, posted at 20 minutes, but it took only about 15 or less. Pooh could not wait to get on. The three of us enjoyed our spin on dumbo and Pooh enjoyed making it go up and down. Papa got some great pics of us on Dumbo, so I’ll have to get those from him.

We then tackled the rest of Fantasyland with all of the family. We met up with mama/papa, Nancy/chase, auntie and Wowo’s family. We then quickly were able to do Pooh, Snow White, and Carousel in quick order. The waits were all under 10 minutes for each or less.
We spent some time in the Pooh store, of course Pooh decided he wanted to check out the stuffed animals and of course he wanted another Pooh bear. So he got it. He had already brought his Pooh Bear from home (he sleeps with it every night), so this was now his second Pooh bear! By then we started to split up for bathroom breaks etc. I had to change Pooh’s diaper and I thought everyone was in Philharmagic when we got out, so the three of us got in line and waited only a few minutes. Pooh thought it would be funny to drop his new pooh bear over the railing where we couldn’t reach it. Some nice kid jumped over and retrieved it for us. We got in Philharmagic and Pooh enjoyed it- he loves bubbles and water, so he had fun.

We realized we had lost part of the group on PhilHarmagic- we had caught up with my parents though who now had my niece- Princess Ally with them. Wowo and the rest had taken Mikey to the bathroom. So we headed to Small World while they were off doing that. Princess really enjoyed Small World! She is all girl and loves dolls. Pooh was enthralled too. Alan refused to ride. Yes, I said it, he refused to ride Small World. He sat outside and got some coffee instead. He said he couldn’t take the torture. I think by now it was nearing noon and folks were getting hungry.
We had accomplished a lot this morning- almost all of fanstasyland- with the exception of the tea cups and Peter Pan. Plus we had taken our time and not rushed. We didn’t wait in a line more than 5-15 minutes max. So we decided it was time to call our morning at MK a success and move on to DTD. So we headed back out slowly to the TTC and the car. We drove over to DTD Marketplace side but parking was tough as usual. I knew it would be. It was a Friday at lunchtime. I wish they would build a parking garage here or something. It is always a nightmare to park. We did have Nancy and Chase with us, so we could park in handicap, but none were available. So I dropped them off, so it was easier on her and finally found a spot a bit aways.

*taking our time at MK
*short lines!
*seeing Pooh's face as he walked down main st and rode dumbo
*watching Pooh ride Pooh

*long way around to reach MK
*Alan wouldn't ride Small World- come on now! It's not that bad, or is it?

exwdwcm 12-30-2009 03:57 PM


So you may notice Pooh isn't smiling in the pics a lot. Well I think he was completely overwhelmed and overstimulated. He is afterall only 2 years and 2 months old. But he was having a blast, we just couldn't capture his smile on camera easily!

We headed straight to Earle to grab a bite! We all love Earle of Sandwich and always eat there at least once or twice per trip. I even make an effort to get over there to eat when I travel to Orlando on business. I love their tomato soup. So for now it was just Nancy, Chase, Mama, Papa, Auntie and us. Nene and Jeff were not here yet and Wowo and her family stayed at MK a bit later than us and would meet up later. Again- loving the flexibility of the separate cars!

So a few of us got in line while others tried to find a table- another nightmare at DTD. I hate how Earle is laid out. I really think they could do a much better job with how it is done. The crowds end up building in the indoor seating area, since that is where you pick up your food then there is a ton of wasted space over to the other side near to the Pantry shop. It just seems they could use that empty space to re-organize Earle a bit or at least add more seating? But I am not in charge, so I digress. I am sure Disney is aware of the issue there. Everytime I go in Earle, there is a huge line, but it always moves quickly. We found a booth inside and Nancy/Chase found a table for two nearby. We all enjoyed our meals. Using the dining plan, we got the sandwich, drink and dessert (or side). I had the ham and swiss and I forget what DH had- something with ham too. I had the tomato soup as well. We got the jello and fruit and yogurt sides for Pooh and he ate bites of our sandwiches too. He loves yogurt and ate it all up. All of us declared the food delicious, especially the tomato soup. I could only eat half of my sandwich and was stuffed.
This would begin the first day of EATING our way through Disney 2009. Seriously, it is a LOT of food on the dining plan. I remember when Alan and I did free dining in 2006 and then it included an appetizer for each person too. Even though they took the appetizer away, it is still a lot. I simply can’t eat it all.

So after a great meal, we start shopping. First up was the pantry store next door. I found a few dish towels, cutting board and a few other things- including a cup for Pooh. We had it all sent back to the room. Next was the Christmas store. By then Mama was pretty tired. But we managed to get around and shop. I found a number of ornaments- including a tink one, a 2009 mirrored one, a gold mickey bell one and more. I got a set of holiday cup towels, a door hanger and some rice krispy holiday treats. Mama kindly bought me the light up holiday village Castle! It is gorgeous! They also had the haunted mansion and other village buildings. I have a few Disney village items at home that I found at Target years ago- including a snow white house, Cinderella castle (not like this one) and a Pooh’s treehouse. So this will fit in nicely. Mama got herself one too plus a bunch of ornaments. We had it all shipped back to my mom’s house back home, since most was breakable. Since it was still early enough (12/11), we were able to send it ground.
Next was the old scrapbook/art store which now also houses the new Hanes t-shirt store. We skipped that part, but looked through and found the scrapbook materials to be VERY lacking. I was quite disappointed. I no longer do scrapbooking except for my Disney trips. Now I do the rest online. So the only time I buy scrap stuff is for Disney trips. Not much there. We did get a few things though. We also checked out the Art of Disney store and enjoyed checking out all the nice stuff. By now, Alan and Papa were done with shopping- neither are ‘shoppers’, so they were sitting outside on the bench with Pooh waiting for us. While shopping, we got a call from Wowo that they were now in DTD. We also decided to go ahead and get Pooh his first Mickey ears. I went ahead and ordered them there and they said they would be ready in 15-20 minutes. So Mama and Papa were tired out and Nancy and Chase as well- her foot was swelling quite a bit in that boot by now. So they all headed out. Nancy rode with Mama/Papa. We had to wait on the mouse ears to be done, so we walked around a bit more and checked out the Pooh store. I found a really cute sweat suit for Pooh that is embroidered with WDW. We also did a quick scope out of the Once Upon a Toy Store and saw the light saber and potato head stations we would come back to later in the week. We didn’t buy anything here right away.

I also wanted to check out the new Trend-D store. Very cute stuff. I had my eye out for the white Dooney and Burke Disney purse. No luck here, but they had the black one. Saw some cute stuff in here, but again, didn’t buy.

By then we headed back to the shop to pick up Pooh’s mouse ears. He was melting down by now and it was after 3:30pm now. TIME!!!!! Where is my nap and who put these tight silly ears on my head???

We stopped on our way out and checked out the lego dogs. Pooh thought they were funny!

We found the car and headed back to the lodge. It was so nice walking into that huge decorated lobby each day. I think I have decided I like the AKL better though. I really thought I would prefer the WL, but in the end, I like the theming of AKL better for some reason. Alan and I stayed there for 4 nights or so in 2007 when I was in Orlando on business- and yes, the AKL was on the list of approved hotels for the show I was at! We loved AKL. WL is just as great though and by week’s end, it was a pretty close second.

So it was now time for a little rest and nap. Poor Pooh crashed out pretty quickly. Alan and I rested a bit too. I think he went down to check out the gym too. He is a work out freak and planned to work out while we were there, especially with all the crazy eating we would be doing.

So during our break, I unpacked the Christmas decorations and we got the 4ft tree all decorated that we had shipped for my parents. They were surprised to see it and happy to have some holiday magic in their room. I also added some lights on our balcony and had a mini tree for our room. Alan thought it was silly, but I thought it was fun! I noticed other balconies later in the week with lights and other decorations.

Here is the view from our room

*Food at Earle!
*Shopping, shopping, shopping!
*Tomato soup!
*cute sweat suit for Pooh- good deal on it too
*nice weather- just a chill in the air
*Pooh's first Mickey ears!
*Finally got to look in Trend-D

*horrible parking at DTD
*crowded Christmas store and crowded Earle
*no seating at Earle
*didn't get to look in all the shops I wanted- too tired!
*no D&B purse or hoodie!
*Pooh's meltdown!

MEAL REVIEW- Earle of Sandwich at DTD Marketplace- YUMMY! Our favorite. Great food, and affordable. HOrrible system and seating though. We give it 4.5 out of 5 mickey heads!

exwdwcm 12-30-2009 04:45 PM


Originally Posted by Pollito916 (Post 34795442)
Hi Michelle - great start! I feel like I am there with you! :goodvibes

Isn't it amazing how different airport security is traveling alone for business vs with your family? It's really exhausting with a toddler!

You are so lucky Will slept for most of the flight! That makes it sooo much easier!

Can't wait to hear the rest!

Sara!! welcome my friend! thanks for reading a long. Yes, very exhausting! airport security was crazy with a kid. it is so much easier when travelling alone on business- you know how that goes. It was odd being on the other side of the coin.


Originally Posted by k_reile (Post 34796008)
i'm here...i'll come back and read later!

Hi Kara- welcome and thanks so much for reading along!!!


Originally Posted by weswife (Post 34796232)
Agree I am here too!!:goodvibes

Welcome weswife and thank you so much for sharing in our adventure!!! there is lots more to come.

hopefully I will get our photopass CD ordered by next week- just waiting on Wowo to put borders on her pics this weekend and then we can order. WE actually preordered the CD, so just need to make it official on the site and get it going. We only have a week or so left to get it done. arrghh! where has the time gone? :rotfl::thumbsup2

exwdwcm 12-30-2009 05:09 PM


Our dinner reservation this evening was for Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary at 8;20pm. Yes, late dinner, but it was all I could get. Wowo and her family were doing dinner at 1900 Park Fare this evening separately from us.

So after a nice long break, we were well rested and headed downstairs around 6:45 or so to meet in the lobby and take the boat over to the Contemporary for dinner. We took a few pics first in the lobby. Pooh wore his new little sweat suit I bought at DTD earlier.

The boat ride was a little rough- it was dark and cold and a little windy/wet. So it was not a pleasant boat ride. We had to stop at Fort Wilderness first and then it was off to the Contemporary.

The new Bay Lake Towers looked pretty amazing from the boat. Once at the Contemporary, it started raining a bit more than just misting. So we ran into the hotel. We headed upstairs to shop a bit first before checking in, since we had some time to spare. Mama found a beautiful mickey ring that Papa bought her for Christmas- not a cheapie one either. We found a few interesting things in there and enjoyed the monorail display too. I was looking for a hoodie for me, but not finding one I liked. All the ones I liked were men’s. I wanted something embroidered, not just screen printed and nothing too crazy, but classic. No luck- the men’s one is too big for me even in a small- the arms are huge. So the search continues!

We checked out the little gingerbread cookie display and they were selling gingerbread ornaments for $10 each- some looked like the little dolls from Small World, very cute.

So we decided after shopping to head to Chef Mickey’s to check in a bit early. I waited in line for about 10 minutes to even check in. Once checked in (early), we were beeped almost immediately. The check in line took longer than the actual wait to be called. So we go do our quick photo, which I will have to scan in from Mama and post later. It turned out pretty good. This meal was going to be Mama, Papa, Nancy, Chase, Auntie, Alan, Me and Pooh. Wowo and her family had plans at 1900 Park Fare, but I think they ended up not going and staying in that night.
Chef Mickey’s was great. We were seated in an odd area off to the right side, overlooking the front of the Contemporary. It was in this small sectioned off room. It was odd and hard to get too. This was not good for Mama or Nancy. Nancy’s foot was swollen from walking all day and she iced it earlier. Getting around with minimal vision is hard for Mama, so we had to guide her through to that area. There were lots of people walking around and steps to go up. So the seating was not great. We had a large round table in a corner near the window. I got Pooh settled in the back, so we could ‘contain’ him. He tries to escape at meals and walk around, which wasn’t an option given how crowded it was in here. So keeping him contained was key, but made it hard for when the characters came around. Ugh.

I sat with Pooh while everyone else got their food. The food was good, but it didn’t seem to have as much variety as last time I was there years ago. Mama was disappointed in the selection too. Let me prepare you- I am a PICKY eater. I don’t like salad (lettuce), tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, no fish and picky on veggies. I am a meat and potatoes type of girl. So finding a good selection for me is hard sometimes- same for Mama. But I had some roast beef, mashed potatoes (yum!!!!!), au gratin potatoes, pasta and chicken. Alan enjoyed the food and selection, including the salmon. Pooh also ate quite a bit! We got to see Mickey first, which was great fun. Pooh calls Mickey “mau-maum”. So he was excited to see him ‘in person’. Before our trip, we had made homemade autograph books. It was a lot of fun to do. Nancy is a talented scrapper and we used a lot her materials to create them. So the characters enjoyed our unique books! and Nancy with Pluto and I with Minnie mousse oreo cookie deliciousness! bears and m&ms! from Donald! must have a secret for Auntie!

After Mickey, we also saw Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy. After the characters, it was time for some dessert too. I enjoyed the chocolate mousse on oreos cookies! Yum. Pooh enjoyed the m&ms. He isn’t big on sweets, but does love gummy bears and m&m,s. He likes to say m&m&m&m&m. So he enjoyed some of those. We gorged ourselves some more on dessert and had to roll ourselves out of there. By the time we were done with dinner, it was after 10pm. So it had been a long day and a long meal too. Pooh was getting cranky and restless. We couldn’t find our waitress. She was MIA a lot! We had to flag someone else down to find her so we could get our bills. The thing we found difficult with the dining plan was paying. With our large group, being in 5 different rooms, it made it hard. The server would usually take one card per room. However, that didn’t always work, as not all the folks in the room were always there or eating. So it was challenging to get the bills delivered and paid. Having to pay the gratuity was a pain too- not that the servers did not deserve it, but having to either dig out cash (which was easiest) or do a separate bill to charge it back to the room or on a CC was hard too. It was very confusing at first. That night, we had 3 different rooms there- my parents/auntie, Nancy/Chase and my room. We were brought 6 bills- 3 each for the meal and 3 each for the gratuity. Then add in the original receipts and the copies and it was a lot to mess with and keep straight- which one was the one to sign, which one did we keep? I don’t think we ever got it straight the entire trip!

So after finally getting our bills paid, we headed back out of the contemporary to the boat dock. Just as we were exiting, we heard WISHES going on- at least the tail end of it, since it was almost 10pm. We stood off to the side and could see some of the fireworks- it was so amazing! Pooh enjoyed that, but alas, it was starting to rain again and was nasty and cold outside. So we timed it right and got a boat almost immediately, this time one with indoor seating (our boat on the way was all outdoor seating, the smaller boat). The boat ride back was painless and direct. It had been another long day. Pooh was completely beat.
We once again took a deep breath of awe as we entered the WL and headed up to our rooms- the long walk back since our rooms were in Egypt! We settled in for another night of rest and Pooh did well once again in his bed. I slept with him a few nights, but he tends to move around a lot and push you off! So our first full day was a success and I would say it lived up to our expectations. We knew going with a toddler would be hard, yet fun and that he would get tired and overstimulated. Meal times were the hardest for us. They are at home too- out to eat that is. Pooh likes to move around- he isn’t the type of kid that cuddles and sits and watches TV. He is constantly moving and playing, doing something. He won’t sit for more than 5 minutes or so. Asking him to sit for almost 2 hours for a sit down meal was really hard. It took a lot of patience from Alan and I and help from the family to keep him occupied and interested. I often times had to leave our meals and walk him around outside to burn off energy. My sister’s 3yo, Mikey, did much better, so maybe in another y ear, it would be a different story. We knew taking a 2yo was tough, but we were ready for it., but it was trying at times. Chef Mickey’s was just a prelude of sitdown meals to come as we had one scheduled every single day! So what would the next 8 days bring? Would Pooh meltdown at dinner? Would I find my purse and hoodie? Would anyone get sick? Stay tuned to find out!!! And thanks for reading a long!

*Great character interaction at Chef Mickey's
*first time to meet Mickey for Pooh!
*great cream cheese mashed potatoes
*awesome desserts
*seeing WISHES as exiting Contemporary

*wet, cold boat ride
*meal took too long
*checks took too long- where's our server?
*horrible placement for seating in the restaurant
*not as big of selection on buffet as in past

MEAL REVIEW- Chef Mickey's. I give it 2.5 out of 5 Mickey heads. I think we might skip this in the future and try the breakfast instead.

khertz 12-30-2009 07:54 PM

I'm in & loving it so far! Our schedule was pretty much opposite from yours on Dec. 11th...we did Chef Mickey's breakfast, then went to MK. Ready for more. :thumbsup2

exwdwcm 12-31-2009 10:55 AM


Originally Posted by khertz (Post 34810232)
I'm in & loving it so far! Our schedule was pretty much opposite from yours on Dec. 11th...we did Chef Mickey's breakfast, then went to MK. Ready for more. :thumbsup2

Thanks- really enjoying yours so far too!!! Funny how we did opposite things! lol

k_reile 12-31-2009 09:26 PM

do they put bigger parties in that small room to the side?? i am afraid we will be put there too since there are 8 of us! i saw that pooh had on sweatshirts...was the weather cool?? i am thinking about getting a couple more disney sweatshirts on that are on sale...but i have like 5 or more i probably have enough...i am just parinoid that it will be cold in Feb and I will not have enough!

ImarriedGrumpy 01-01-2010 11:29 AM

I'm loving the report so far! Owen is like that for eat-out meals, too - we can keep him occupied for a little while before he's announcing "I all done! I get down! I go go go!"

Sounds like Will was hanging in there despite all the stuff going on. In the pictures from Owen's first trip to DLR he often has that same dazed look!

You really found some great souviners from your trip!

Oh, and I need to look it up, but I think when we stayed at WL our rooms were right by where you stayed.

exwdwcm 01-03-2010 05:34 PM


Originally Posted by k_reile (Post 34824353)
do they put bigger parties in that small room to the side?? i am afraid we will be put there too since there are 8 of us! i saw that pooh had on sweatshirts...was the weather cool?? i am thinking about getting a couple more disney sweatshirts on that are on sale...but i have like 5 or more i probably have enough...i am just parinoid that it will be cold in Feb and I will not have enough!

Not sure- we actually were not a huge party that night, there were only 9 of us that night (instead of all 14). there were several 4/5 top tables back there too. not my favorite location and hard to be in on the action of the napkin waving etc.

weather was cool that first day, Friday, 12/10. it warmed up the rest of the trip and only got cold again the last few days. We were able to swim!

i've never been in feb, so not sure what hte normal temps are. hey, you can always buy a sweat shirt there if you need too- just another excuse to go shopping! :confused3:rotfl::thumbsup2


Originally Posted by ImarriedGrumpy (Post 34830076)
I'm loving the report so far! Owen is like that for eat-out meals, too - we can keep him occupied for a little while before he's announcing "I all done! I get down! I go go go!"

Sounds like Will was hanging in there despite all the stuff going on. In the pictures from Owen's first trip to DLR he often has that same dazed look!

You really found some great souviners from your trip!

Oh, and I need to look it up, but I think when we stayed at WL our rooms were right by where you stayed.

lol- yeah, i notice in a lot of the pictures he has that glazed over look- not smiling, not mad, just sort of not all there. :rotfl:

thanks for reading!!!! :wizard:

wdwgirl03 01-03-2010 06:32 PM

Great report so far! Christmas is such an awesome time to visit. And the WL is an amazing resort! We stayed there for the first time over the summer and loved it. :goodvibes

Pollito916 01-04-2010 02:27 AM

Sounds like a good first day! Do you have a picture of the castle your mom bought for you? Would love to see it! :thumbsup2

Alex is the same way at restaurants too. When we go back to WDW, I will definitely schedule fewer sit down meals and I don't think I would do the dining plan with him again unless it is free. Just too much time spent in restaurants trying to keep him calm and enjoy my meal, which isn't very enjoyable sometimes that way.

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