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pjstevens 12-07-2010 07:45 PM

No Kids Trip to Disney (our early Christmas trip) update 1/1/11
This will be my attempt at another TR. I never did to my DL one and really do hope to do it. But enough there . . .

The cast, just me and hubby (Patty and Dale)! Left the kids at home (they are all adults) and prayed that our house would still be standing and our dogs still well!

We had an 8:25 am flight from Philly to Orlando. With all the talk about the new screening process, we thought we better get there the recommended two hours early. When we flew in January for the half marathon, there was NO ONE in the line at security. This time, all the lines were completely full and the line to get into the security area was WAY DOWN the hall. Thankfully, we allowed plenty of time and it move quickly. I will say they are efficient, yet quick there. There is no body scanner at this security check point (only one terminal has it, others are coming though).

So we get to the gate and sit and relax, waiting for time to board. Around 8am they announce that our 'crew' is delayed (Dale says overslept or enjoying their breakfast) and we'll be getting boarded as soon as they arrive. They arrive, but we then learn, one more is still at security, UGH!!! FINALLY it's time to board. We paid the extra for the emergency row as Dale has really long legs and likes this extra room. So we finally get boarded and are then told we have to go de-ice the plane. COME ON, it is 33 degrees out and it has not rained at all, we've flown in the winter and never had to do this (or maybe they just did not tell us, but this was interesting to see).

So, FINALLY, after we are de-iced we are off to Orlando. Thankfully, they made up some time so we only arrived about 15 minutes late. We quickly got to Budget where I had 'hotwired' a car. We were then on our way to our 'HOME'.

We arrived at AKV - Kidani Village and had used the online check in (which so many people had raved about). Well, our room was not ready. I was bummed. I had planned to change into something lighter since it was quite a bit warmer here in Florida than back home. Oh, well, not a big deal, off we went to DHS (still want to type MGM).

Arriving in the afternoon, there was no way we could do Toy Story, 100 minute wait and no fast passes. So, Dale and I shared a Chicken Ceasar wrap since we had a 4:25 ADR at Mama Melrose.

Then we walked around. We saw some favorites

I know we did the Great Movie Ride and Muppets, but at the moment, I do not remember what all we did.

Up next, dinner at Mama Melrose and the Osborne lights.

OhMari 12-07-2010 08:34 PM

It makes me want to cry-that I still have not see the Osbourn lites.

Didn't the airplane smell like wind shield washing fluid after they de-iced the plane. I had a window seat, and I smelled it all the way to Atlanta when I traveled in January.

pjstevens 12-08-2010 08:01 AM


Originally Posted by OhMari (Post 39168380)
It makes me want to cry-that I still have not see the Osbourn lites.

Didn't the airplane smell like wind shield washing fluid after they de-iced the plane. I had a window seat, and I smelled it all the way to Atlanta when I traveled in January.

I didn't notice any smell thankfully. I was just surprised I hadn't experienced this before, having flown in the winter before.

pjstevens 12-08-2010 08:03 AM

So back to day one...

We had a 4:25 ADR at Mama Melrose. We've not eaten there, but heard some good reviews. We are on the Disney Dining Plan, so this counts at a table service for us. We arrived about 10 minutes early and went to check in and the gal at the door said we couldn’t check in early (yet when you make the ADR they tell you to get there before your time), so we waited a few minutes, then we checked in. The lobby area was so over run with people waiting to be seated. We waited and waited and waited. Oh my goodness, it took forever to get seated. I'm wondering why Disney even does ADR's. (granted without one, you can't eat at a sit down place), but the wait is a bit much.

So once we were seated we were quickly waited on (they sure do like to get you out of there quickly for as long as you wait for a table). I had read a wonderful review of the steak so I got that, so not worth it. It was so bland, no flavor at all. Dale got a flat breakr which he really liked. We also got dessert because that is part of the plan (would really like if you could swap an appetizer for a desert.)

This is probably my only food porn from the week (sorry)

As we were eating, it was getting dark. I LOVE DISNEY AT CHRISTMAS! Here are a few pics of the holiday lights at DHS....

ktmetke 12-08-2010 08:47 AM

I'm here! Can't wait to read! :goodvibes

pjstevens 12-08-2010 12:18 PM


Originally Posted by ktmetke (Post 39171221)
I'm here! Can't wait to read! :goodvibes

Hey Karen, how is the family. Glad you decided to see if I finish this one :)

pjstevens 12-08-2010 12:19 PM

We headed to Target before heading back to the resort. Thankfully we know our way around, for the most part and got our goodies and finally got to the resort. Our Owners Locker was waiting for us. Thanks to Cam for introducing us, lol. We store all the things we don’t have to carry back and forth for Disney. Also, a few bottles of beer Dale forgot were in there. I took a photo so I’d remember how it looked packed (didn’t help later though).

We had a room not far from the lobby and just near the elevator to the garage, so it was very convenient. No pics of our room before we messed it up, sorry. I do have on later on after our trash/towel day for DVC and the nice guy doing the college program made up our bed and made it look all pretty again.

We walked around the resort for a bit. The tree in the lobby is so pretty. There is the campfire outside over looking the savannah that was still going. It was so nice and quiet out. Very relaxing.

There is another room with a fireplace, tv and this pretty tree.

Up next, day two (finally)

debsters41 12-08-2010 03:43 PM

I'm in! A delightful getaway with a Christmas party that actually makes it feel like Christmas in Florida!! What could be better! I am so loving the photos! I love living vicariously through others! That Owner's Locker looks so cool! I can't wait for more and don't get skimpy on the details! :rotfl:

pjstevens 12-08-2010 05:09 PM


Originally Posted by debsters41 (Post 39175246)
I'm in! A delightful getaway with a Christmas party that actually makes it feel like Christmas in Florida!! What could be better! I am so loving the photos! I love living vicariously through others! That Owner's Locker looks so cool! I can't wait for more and don't get skimpy on the details! :rotfl:

Thanks for joining us Deb. Dale will probably jump in at some point adding his point of view and you'll get to know him more before our cruise.

dstevens 12-09-2010 10:29 AM

I must say that when we got to security and found no body scanning machines i was a little disappointed. :goodvibes I was going to choose the grope, i mean pat down. I had a couple of jokes all lined up for the TSA agent. :laughing: Kind of like; Can i have a smoke when we are done, Will you call me in the morning. :cool1::banana:

dstevens 12-09-2010 10:47 AM

I always find it interesting how the car rental agencies try to get you to "upgrade" your car. Budget tried to get us to take a Mustang convertible for an additional $10 a day. Plus tax. Not a bad car but, we were not going to be doing enough driving to enjoy it. Plus it got COLD. We were satisfied with the Nissan Sentra. Concerning Mama's, we did arrive about 20 minutes before our reservation. We were told we could not check in till our reservation time. 10 minutes later i said the heck with that and checked in. We did wait about 40 minutes after our reservation time to be seated. Like Patty said it seemed like they were rushing people out so they could seat others. I found the food to be acceptable but not worth the wait. The Osborne lights like always were amazing. If you listen they occasionally explain the history behind the display. No wonder his neighbors complained. Afterwards we made our trek to the Super Target to do some food shopping. (Trip down memory lane: From Patty, "Hey Dale were are your......."?) Then we headed "Home" to AKV.

pjstevens 12-09-2010 03:34 PM

As I've mentioned before, I use TGM a lot for planning and it really does work. We headed to Animal Kingdom (it was a green day). We got there just after rope drop. No running people in front of us and we walked towards Dinoland. This is what it looked like.

When we went to go in line the cast member gave us one of those things they use to time the wait. This became a common occurrence for us this trip.

We walked right onto this ride and had to actually stop to look at stuff because there was no line to make you stop and look.

(took this photo on my iPhone with a neat app that stitches panoramic photos for you).

I took my panoramic photo of the giant dino and Dale had to take this shot of me taking a photo.

There was NO ONE in our car but us (no one even around).

After Dino, we walked through Dinoland, took a few holiday photos and then saw some characters.

Time to head over to the Safari, as you can see, still hardly anyone around. Saw a few more characters along the way. (I have a ton of photopass pics, but will have to post them later when I get the cd).

We saw there was a 10 or 20 minute wait for the safari, but we decided to get a fast pass and then walk around some more. As we went to the fast pass machine the cast member asked if it was just us two and then gave us a fast pass to use right away!!! First pixie dust.

We walked right on through and had to only wait at the last area when they snake down to get in the safari truck.

I took this photo cause I think it needs to be in several languages, so many people are so rude and get in your 'space' to take pics.

After a few pics, I stopped and enjoyed the safari. I always take so many pics and don't just sit and enjoy it. (so no overload of animals again).

Up next, the Conservation Station...

pjstevens 12-10-2010 04:38 PM

After the safari ride, we got a drink and some fruit. Sat for a bit and then headed to the train to the Conservation Station.

We walked around for a bit. No photos, sorry. I like to go there cause the characters there aren’t usually out other places. Jiminy Cricket was there, Pocahontas and someone else, but I can’t remember (sorry).

We took the train back to Harambe and then it was off to Camp Mickey & Minnie to see more characters (do you think I like seeing the characters, lol).

I love the Christmas decorations and how they incorporate each character into them.

I have pics with Minnie and Goofy, but only on the photopass and it will be a week or so before I get those.

After meeting all the characters, it was time to head back to the resort. It was pretty warm out so we hung out by the pool for a bit, then went to Mara (at the Jambo house) for lunch.

The tree there is beautiful and so large!

We had 7pm reservations for Ohana, so wanted to make sure we ate a little later than normal. We arrived a few minutes early (well 15) and checked in. It was so crazy busy that they did not have any more pagers and told us to check back in 15-20 minutes. Bad sign that it's going to be a long wait. We walked around a bit and then just sat and people watched. Finally 50 minutes after checking in, we were finally called for our table.

We had a great server and he knew exactly what I wanted when I told him I wanted the coconut drink, lol. I have rotated this and deleted it and uploaded it the right way and for some reason on my screen it's still sideways (and not sure why the pics are so big, sorry).

Oh boy, was this yummy! Quickly they brought out the first courses (this does keep the tables moving, no waiting to see what people are having).

I have some food porn (but only round one, I forgot to take any other pics).

We had a very enjoyable dinner.

Up next, day three, Epcot and Annual passes!!!

pjstevens 12-14-2010 02:47 PM

For anyone still following, sorry for the delays. Our granddaughter is in the hospital with MRSA and she's been pretty sick for a while. I do have an update to post now though.

Epcot this morning. We got there just before rope drop and followed the swarms of people to Soarin. We walked right onto the ride! It was amazing as usual.

We took our necessary photo of Seasons (Aubre worked there)…

Then we left Soarin to head over to Test Track. Notice NO CROWDS!!!!

But on the way we pass the Character Connection and OF COURSE I have to stop. I can’t pass up a chance to see them 

Then it’s time to head over to Test Track. The sign said 20 minute wait so we head to the fast pass machines and hear the cast member telling the people that it is only a five minute wait. We decided to go ahead and try it. We WALK right on through, even directly through the room where the play the movie, telling you what they are going to do. Only had a short line when we walked through those doors (they weren’t even closed)!

After Test Track we saw the ‘Jaminators’. They were really cute. I have a video (but can’t get them to load in photobucket) of them.

We also did Nemo, Crush, Figment and Captain something (the Michael Jackson thing).

Went back to Seasons for lunch (see lots of back and forth walking here, had to get some miles in, lol). No food porn, but we really love this place. Their strawberry shortcake it so yummy!

Soon it was time to head out.

On our way out, we stopped by one of the windows to find out the pricing to upgrade our tickets to annual passes. I bought our tickets on Undercover Tourist. They were five day tickets with one day free (so six days). I was told once you use your ticket, they have the full price as purchased in the park (not the discounted price). I had tried to figure out several times how much more it was going to cost us to upgrade. We talked about what we are going to do in January and we’ll do a couple days after the cruise in September, so this would be the best savings for us (just the initial laying out the money was harder). As a DVC member you get the annual pass for $399, vs the $499 regular price (plus tax of course). With my calculations I figured it was going to cost us $167 each to upgrade. I did this several times and when the cast member said it would be $420 something, I was like, huh? We debated and Dale said, we better think about it. I apologized to the cm for taking up her time and told her we’d have to think about it. She asked me what my figures were and said, “let me see something”.

I do not know how she did it, but she voided our tickets, issued new ones, and then upgraded those so that it cost me $167 (and some change) each to upgrade!!!! MAJOR PIXIE DUST!!!

Later that day I looked more closely at our tickets and saw that the expiration date was for one year from THIS DAY!!!! (it should of expired 11/29, but instead it is 12/1, so we got a few more days and are already planning our trip for this time next year)!

pjstevens 01-01-2011 01:29 PM

After getting our Annual passes, we decided to take the monorail and visit the Grand to see the Gingerbread house and the tree. And as a DFTW bride, I had to see the new carpet.

Another great photo with my iPhone and the auto stitch app.

We walked around the Grand. Went to Basin and got a Mickey bath bomb and found out we get a discount there for either DVC or the AP. Woohoo!!!

We traveled via the monorail to the Contemporary Resort. My attempt at a photo of the gingerbread house there didn’t come out. They also had a gingerbread tree. Walked around a bit there and then got a cup of coffee (it’s quite chilly in the Contemporary when it’s cold out).

We had ADR at the Turf Club at Saratoga Springs, so it was time to head back to AKV to get cleaned up.

The Turf Club was a great choice for an ADR. Food was very good (no photos sorry) and service was good. Only thing that bothered Dale was they swept the crumbs off the table onto the floor. They have a nice outside eating area, but thankfully we weren’t eating out as it was down right chilly. We were seated as soon as we checked in, so another good reason to make an ADR here.

Upon returning to our ‘home’ we walked around and went out and enjoyed the ‘campfire’ that they have at Kidani. The cast member there that evening was Marco. He was very informative and enjoyable listening to him.

A little bit later we stopped by the lounge in Saana for a drink. It was a nice end to a wonderful day.

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