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ChildAtHeart82 12-31-2010 02:35 PM

We're from South Dakota. This Cold Shouldn't Bother Us!! - A Dec 2010 TR -UPDATE 2/7
I've been dragging my feet since we got back when it comes to starting this trip report. I just haven't been in the right mood to write it, but I have the day off, it's blizzard conditions outside, and if I don't start it now, I probably never will. So, here goes! :)

For anyone who didn't read my PTR, here's the quick details of our trip. There were nine of us on this trip, eight adults and our six month-old daughter. We were at Disney 19-27 December, stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter through the 26th and then DW, DD, and I stayed at Pop our last night. I'll include a link to the post from my PTR about the cast of our trip in my table of contents. The pictures will be a little out of date (especially of DD), but I will post new pictures of everyone soon enough.

Up next, table of contents and our arrival day. :banana:

ChildAtHeart82 12-31-2010 02:38 PM

Table of Contents
The Cast
Arrival Day - Is It Time to Wake Up Yet?
Arrival Day (cont.) - Dinner at Downtown Disney
Hollywood Studios - You've Dropped the Rope, Now What?
Hollywood Studios (cont.) - Lights, Motors, Action!
Hollywood Studios (cont.) - Let's Go This Way...And Now Back
Hollywood Studios (cont.) - We Had to Come to Florida to Get Snow
DHS Recap
Magic Kingdom - Where Did All the People Go?
Magic Kingdom (cont.) - Another Boat Ride?
Magic Kingdom Recap
Epcot Part 1 - How Did Getting Into the Park Early Put Us BEHIND Schedule?!?
Victoria & Albert's - How Did We Get So Full from Such Small Portions?!?
Animal Kingdom - Saved by the DIS
Animal Kingdom Recap
Photopass Pictures!!
Epcot Part 2 - One Little Spark
Epcot Part 2(cont) -Now That We're Done Eating Around the World, It's Time for Dinner
Epcot Part 2(cont) - We Missed Illuminations! It's Way Past 9:30 in Japan!
Epcot Part 2 Recap
Christmas - Finally, We Can Sleep In
Christmas (cont) - Wave After Wave of Food
Last Day - It's So Cold!!
Last Day (cont.) - Why Are We Going to Dinner? We Just Ate Lunch?
Last Day(cont.) - Maybe We Should Have Stayed at CBR?
The Sad Day and Final Thoughts

ChildAtHeart82 12-31-2010 04:18 PM

Arrival Day - Is It Time to Wake Up Yet?
After months of planning and waiting, the day before our trip finally arrived. Until this trip, my packing style had been to pack quickly the night before a trip. For this trip, a combination of excitement and the Disney planning bug caused us to start packing a few days ahead of time. This turned out to be a great decision! With all of the other little things we had to get done to be ready for our trip, waiting to pack until the day before would have been ridiculously stressful. We dropped off our dog, Rhino, at a friend's house, had a nice dinner out, and returned home to finish up a few things. We packed up most of our bags in the car and headed to bed about an hour after we had planned to. Not a bad start.
Our mascot, Rhino, with some of our bags.

DD fell asleep very quickly. DW took a few hours. I took a little while longer. I tossed and turned and the last time I remember seeing on the clock was 12:30, about two hours from our alarms going off. Still, we were going to Disney and I woke up excited and as alert as one can be at three in the morning. DW woke Lucy up and got her ready while I threw a few last things into our luggage and finished packing the car. We had coffee and then it was time to leave for the airport.
Our other checked bag. I thought I had pictures of the rest of our carry-ons, but I guess we didn't take any. This proved to be a theme of our trip. There are a lot of pictures I thought about taking, but apparently never did.

The roads, not surprisingly were empty on our way to the airport. We thought about taking the shortcut to the airport, which is not maintained during the winter. We hadn't seen any snow for a while so we thought it would probably be clear. In the end, we decided the risk wasn't worth the twenty minutes it would save us and went the long way.
It was cold when we got to the airport.

We had no trouble checking in or getting through security and our flight was on time.
Lucy, waiting in line to check-in.
Waiting to board.

The flight to Denver is always a short one. We all slept for most of it. By the time we collected everything we gate-checked (stroller, baby carrier, rolling bag) and made it to our next gate, they were about to start boarding. Soon after we were on our way to Orlando! :yay: Most of the flight went smoothly. Lucy and I slept while DW watched the in-flight movie. With about an hour left, we hit some very rough air and were bounced around a lot. DW is a little afraid of flying and this did not help. After that was over, Lucy decided she no longer enjoyed flying and started a meltdown. It was at this point that we discovered a strategy that would prove useful for the entire trip. We got out Lucy's rice puffs and she calmed down immediately.
The headphones made a good distraction.

We had a minor setback getting off the plane. The agent in Denver had assured me that the rolling bag we gate-checked would meet us at the gate in Orlando. Otherwise, I wouldn't have gate-checked it. When we exited the plane, the agent there kindly told me that gate-checked bags always go straight to baggage claim. This meant we would not be able to skip baggage claim on our way to magical express. Sigh. In the first of a week full of blessings, our bag was one of the first to come out at baggage claim. I'd say our little detour only added about give minutes to our time at the airport. We grabbed our bag and headed toward magical express. We walked right on to a bus and were on our way.
On the way to POFQ.
Another bus on the way to the World.

We stopped at one other resort, Saratoga Springs I think, and then we were at French Quarter!
Waiting to check-in.

Reason #1 that I'm a bad Dis-er. We didn't take a whole lot of pictures of the resort. I think we had planned to do it later but then it got busy...and cold.

We checked-in about 2:30PM. They assigned us a room in building 1 and told us it wasn't ready yet. I was fine with the room assignment, but since we requested building 7 (opposite side of the resort) I asked about our request, telling the CM I understood if our request couldn't be met and emphasized that it was more important for us to have two rooms close together than to have a room in building 7. We had also wanted building 7 because those were the recently renovated rooms and had queen beds. The CM went to the back room and came back a few minutes later. She said she'd found us a room in building 7 and that it was ready. I asked again if there would be another room close by for the rest of our group. She said there would be. I think you can probably see where this is going. We headed to our room and dropped off our bags. Then, we went to the food court to feed Lucy and to wait for the rest of our group to get there. We knew they were in the area and would arrive soon.
Walking down Rue D'Baga. I laughed every time I read the street sign for this one.

While we waited, we bought our refillable mugs and the first of many beignets. Reason #2 I'm a bad Dis-er. I managed to not take pictures of a lot of our food, including the beignets. About the time we were biting into our beignets, the rest of our group arrived. I went with my father-in-law to check-in. The CM initially assigned them a room in Building 3, which is next to building 1 and was not really close at all to our room in building 7. I politely asked that they look for a room closer to ours, saying that we would be willing to move from our room if necessary. He made a call and gave the rest of our group a new room in building 7. It was on the second floor, a floor below our room, but it was on the same side of the building which made for a pretty short walk to meet up in the mornings. Though none of our request were met initially, the CM's were very helpful and we ended up with everything we requested except for connecting rooms. We were very happy.

We helped our family unload their car and get settled and then we relaxed while DW's parents made a trip to the grocery store to get milk and a few other breakfast items. We talked and watched the new Disney must-do's show on the TV. I miss the old one, but this one still passes the time.

Up next, Downtown Disney and dinner at T-Rex...

ChildAtHeart82 12-31-2010 05:14 PM

Arrival Day (cont.) - Dinner at Downtown Disney
After the parents returned from their grocery trip, we went to catch a boat to Downtown Disney. At this point, it was starting to cool off but even riding a boat on the water wasn't too bad.
DW on the boat.
A few pics of DTD from the boat. They're from my phone so they're not the best.

By the time we got to DTD, it was almost time for our dinner ADR. We walked quickly through DTD toward

The line for the podium was really long and that was just to put your name on the waiting list for a table. We checked in and then I went to park the stroller. By the time I got back, we were being led to our table.

The restaurant has a lot of great theming. I enjoyed the theming here even more than the theming at Rainforest Cafe. We were in the ocean area.
Lucy loved this aquarium which was right next to our table.
Looking over the menus.
Lucy didn't need to look at the menu, but she thought it was very tasty. :)

We were on the regular dining plan because of the free dining promotion. This meal was out of pocket since we really wanted to eat here. I've wanted to eat here since our Disneymoon in 2008. T-Rex has just opened and the standby waits were way too long. It was worth the wait.

We are Rainforest Cafe Safari Club members so we got a free appetizer. We had the dual dip. I didn't get a picture. It was basically chips with two dips, a queso and a shrimp and artichoke dip. It was delicious and it was just what we needed since we were starting to get hungry after all of the travelling.

I made the decision for the trip that I would only take pictures of DW's and my food. I knew the rest of our family was already going to think it was weird that I was taking pictures of all of our food and I figured it would be too much if I was taking pictures of all of their food.

I ordered the Tribal Tacos, which were fish tacos with fried mahi mahi. I thought it was okay but I probably wouldn't order it again.

DW had the Mammoth Mushroom Ravioli. We both thought this was delicious.

We decided to skip dessert since we were all pretty full. Overall, T-Rex was great experience and we would eat here again, but it's not a must for every trip. Our server, Mike, was great and very helpful.

By the time we left T-Rex, it was getting chilly outside. We made a quick stop at World of Disney, but Lucy was getting fussy and we were all ready to get back to our rooms. The boat ride back was into the wind the entire way and was pretty cold. This caused our first uttering of our trip report title, but we wouldn't say it with full force until much later in the trip. We had a quick meeting in the room about what to expect for the next day and then we went to bed.

Daddy_of_Princesses 12-31-2010 06:31 PM

I'm in. Loved the line about pictures you thought you took. As far as the food goes, I didn't take many either so we are both bad DISers

ChildAtHeart82 01-01-2011 11:23 AM


Originally Posted by Daddy_of_Princesses (Post 39364158)
I'm in. Loved the line about pictures you thought you took. As far as the food goes, I didn't take many either so we are both bad DISers

Welcome! :) I'm glad I'm not the only one. For a lot of the food pictures I did get, I'd be a bite or two in and then realize I hadn't taken one. The ones I missed were either ones I thought I took or we'd be finishing up and I'd remember. It's just not in my habit pattern to take pictures of food before I eat it. :confused3

Nermel9 01-01-2011 12:41 PM

I'm in! I've seen you on Joni's PTR so I figured I'd read your TR! :thumbsup2 Great start! T Rex looks awesome, I keep seeing it on everyone's TR's lately, so now I want to give it a try! Lucy is adorable!

ChildAtHeart82 01-01-2011 10:44 PM


Originally Posted by Nermel9 (Post 39370044)
I'm in! I've seen you on Joni's PTR so I figured I'd read your TR! :thumbsup2 Great start! T Rex looks awesome, I keep seeing it on everyone's TR's lately, so now I want to give it a try! Lucy is adorable!

Welcome and thank you! :yay: We were really happy with T-Rex. We definitely think Lucy is cute, but we're kind of biased. ;)

ChildAtHeart82 01-02-2011 12:14 AM

Hollywood Studios - You've Dropped the Rope, Now What?
For our first morning, we woke up bright and early to our alarms, at least DW and I did. Before our trip, we were so unsure of how much time we would need to get ready in the mornings, that we had actually practiced and timed how long it would take to get up and get all three of us ready in the morning. We figured it would take an hour and half if we wanted breakfast before heading to the bus. Andrea woke Lucy up and I started getting dressed. Lucy is not the happiest of people in the mornings, but she did okay. Two of Andrea's sisters were staying in the room with us. We woke them up about half an hour after we were up and they slowly stirred. We left our room about an hour after waking up and right on schedule. This would not be the case for the entire trip, but at least we started well.

We went down to our other room, where everyone was awake and close to being ready. Andrea's family had brought breakfast food with them. We had breakfast and talked as people finished getting ready. We headed down to the bus stop at about 7:30AM. There was a pretty big crowd at the bus stop when we got there, but the stop was for Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. A Studios bus came after a few minutes. We were the only ones to get on. I did a quick check of park time and it made sense that more people were going to Magic Kingdom since they had EMH that morning. We were sharing buses with Riverside this morning so we went through all the stops there. Only one person got on.
On the bus!

When we got to the turnstiles at about 7:50AM, there were only about 20 people there already. The park opened at 9:00. We got in line and took some pictures. A woman came up to me with her daughter and asked what time the park opened. I told her it didn't open for another hour. She gave me a weird look and asked, "You knew that and you're here this early?" I just shrugged and nodded. I went over to guest relations to grab buttons. We needed six first visit buttons, two anniversary buttons, and a birthday button. I'd say it took me about ten minutes to make the trip. When I got back, there were a lot more people in line. It made me a feel a little better about getting there so early if ten minutes made such a big difference. It was a little chilly this morning, but it took almost until rope drop before the cold broke through our excitement. While I was gone, a CM handed out fastpasses for Lights, Motors, Action! to our group. They were for the first show of the day. It seemed like a nice bit of pixie dust.
Lucy remained calm for a little while, but by rope drop she started to get a little fussy.

Just before they started letting people through the turnstiles, we spotted a CM opening up another turnstile and we headed toward it. I mention this mostly to contrast our complete lack of observation the following day at Magic Kingdom. After the turnstiles, I noticed a CM handing out something. It turned out she was handing out more fastpasses for LMA. They handed out a bunch of these apparently. Still, a lot of people were just passing her by. I began to question how good a deal our fastpasses were. I found a spot right on the rope and the rest of our group was a little behind me. I grabbed everyone's tickets. The plan was to join the stampede for Toy Story. I would grab fastpasses and then we would ride standby. While we waited, I took out a copy of our touring plan for the day. A man noticed and asked where I'd gotten the plan. I told him Ridemax. It turns out he was one of the owners of the company!
Waiting for rope drop.

They dropped the rope about five minutes before nine and then we waited...and waited. 9:00AM passed and we were still waiting. Finally, at about 9:05, they played the automated welcome message and let us go through. I got stepped on a few times and accidentally stepped on a few people in return. The plan couldn't have gone better. I was one of the first ones to a fastpass machine and got fastpasses with a return time of 9:35AM. I left the machines and found our family passing by right then. We quickly joined the standby line. The line never stopped moving and I think it took us a little over five minutes from entering the line to boarding the ride.
Working our way through the queue.
Lucy noticed that everyone else had glasses and insisted that she have some too.

I really love this ride, but I still don't think I'd wait more than 45 minutes to ride it. I managed to get the top score for the group this time at 111,200, but I did have the advantage of having played before.
By the time we were done riding, the posted standby wait was 70 minutes and the line for fastpasses was out past One Man's Dream.

We waved by to Woody on our way out and headed toward

As you can see, the crowds weren't too bad at this point in the morning. We took a break at the bathrooms right outside Tower of Terror and it's at this point, two steps into our carefully constructed touring plan that our plan began to fall apart. The wait for ToT was 30 minutes when we got there. People needed to go to the bathroom and Lucy needed to nurse. I ran and grabbed fastpasses for Rockin' Roller Coaster while we waited. We knew that if were going to make our Lights, Motors, Action fastpass time that we needed to get in line for ToT soon or skip it for now. By the time Lucy was done nursing, the wait was up to 50 minutes so we decided to skip it. I really think the delay ended up saving our day because if we had jumped in line, the wait would have probably been longer than the posted 30 minutes and we would have missed our LMA return time.

We made our way to Lights, Motors, Action! On the way, we saw
I think this is the first time I've seen Piglet in the parks.

We also stopped and took some pictures on the Streets of America.

[continued in next post]

ChildAtHeart82 01-02-2011 12:37 AM

Hollywood Studios (cont.) - Lights, Motors, Action!
Finally, we made it to

We got really good seats from the earlier fastpass entry.

As it turns out, the fastpass was a good deal. Here's the standby line getting in after the first ten rows at least across the stadium were filled. I don't think there's really a bad seat in the stadium, but the closer seats were nice and they allowed us to get out of the stadium much more quickly after the show.

Waiting for the show to start.

The show got off to a rough start. The first time they tried the opening sequence, one of the cars stalled so they reset and tried again. During the second run-through, two of the cars scraped against each other and they had to stop and do a safety check. A little swapped paint was the only damage. They picked up from where they stopped and the show continued without any problems. During all of the problems, the CM's stayed completely in character as they were working through the issues. If I hadn't seen the show before, it would have been hard for me to tell that things weren't going normally.

I think we all enjoyed the show and it was a highlight of the day.

Up next, lunch at Pizza Planet and Beauty and the Beast. Plus, we wander Hollywood Studios aimlessly.

BelleTinkMom 01-02-2011 12:42 AM

Subbing. Can't wait to hear about your trip. Lucy is adorable.

Daddy_of_Princesses 01-02-2011 06:54 AM


we wander Hollywood Studios aimlessly.
That sounds like what our plans turned into at HS. I think you got more done in the first hour than I did on our first day.:lmao:

ChildAtHeart82 01-02-2011 10:49 AM


Originally Posted by BelleTinkMom (Post 39376954)
Subbing. Can't wait to hear about your trip. Lucy is adorable.

Welcome and thank you!! :yay:


Originally Posted by Daddy_of_Princesses (Post 39377598)
That sounds like what our plans turned into at HS. I think you got more done in the first hour than I did on our first day.:lmao:

Things started well but unraveled quickly. It was never that bad since we only had a few must-sees for this day, but we walked back and forth a lot without accomplishing anything. I was fine with it because as commando as we are, I don't mind just walking around a park. The rest of our group started to rebel, though. :)

ChildAtHeart82 01-02-2011 11:58 PM

Hollywood Studios (cont.) - Let's Go This Way...And Now Back
After Lights, Motors, Action!, it was time for lunch. We decided to go to

I was worried that everyone getting out of LMA would head straight to Pizza Planet for lunch since it was close, but when we got there it was pretty empty. This was our first time ordering on the dining plan so it was nice to have a little more time to order. We got our food and then found a seat on the second floor. Every time we've eaten here in the past, we've chosen a table outside, but it was still a little too cold to be comfortable outside. The balcony was nice, though.

DW got the pepperoni pizza and a caesar salad. I didn't get a picture of the salad. There wasn't really anything special about it.

I decided I wasn't in a pizza mood and ordered the meatball sub. I liked it. I also had a salad.

Lucy had apples. :)

The dessert options at Pizza Planet are a cookie or a Mickey rice krispie treat. We ordered some of both in our group.

I tried to take a picture to show how huge the cookies were. Looking at the picture now, the cookies don't look as big. That, or my head is a lot bigger than I thought. :confused3 At the time, I was thinking we would be eating a lot of rice krispie treats and cookies for our desserts but this ended up being one of two times I think where those were our choices. I think chocolate cake or carrot cake ended up being the majority of our dessert choices.

We decided that we needed one of these as a souvenir. No one would notice if we walked out with one under a jacket, right?

After lunch, we went back toward Sunset Boulevard. As you can see, the crowds had started to pick up.

I went to grab Tower of Terror fastpasses while everyone else found seats for

We had missed the show during our honeymoon so we were really looking forward to it, especially DW since she hadn't ever seen it.
Waiting for the show to start.

I really like this show. Some of our group thought that it would be confusing if you'd never seen the movie. I can see that, but I think they do as good as job as possible of condensing a 90 minute movie into a 25 minute show.

Lucy paid a lot attention to the show.

At this point, we were still trying to convince DW to ride Rockin' Roller Coaster since she's apprehensive about roller coasters so we decided to give it some more time. After a short bathroom stop turned into an extended bathroom/nursing/random shopping stop, some of the sisters grew restless. We decided that we would leave my mother-in-law, Karen, Andrea, and Lucy behind and head back toward Toy Story. They would catch up a little later and then we would use our fastpasses. They caught up to us right after we got to Pizar Place. It was about five minutes before some hour at this point (I think 2:00). I knew the Animation Academy classes started at the top and bottom of the hour so I elected to change directions and head that way.

I marveled at the number of strollers parked outside Playhouse Disney. I wish I had taken a picture because there were so many of them and they were all neatly organized.

This is when my loyal followers disbanded. The thrill-seekers in our group decided that they could learn to draw a Disney character at home from the internet and wanted to go ride Rockin' Roller Coaster. They left. We found the line to the animation academy and I was surprised to find a very sizable line. We didn't get into the class that was about to start and I think it would have been at least two more classes before we got in. Animation academy seems like a neat experience, but I don't think it's worth a 90 minute wait, at least it wasn't for this trip.

Paul (father-in-law) and Karen decided they would go ride the backlot tour. We called the rest of our group and found out that they hadn't made it past the bathroom on their way to the coaster. We met back up with them. Andrea decided she was not going to ride, which left us with eight fastpasses for four people. We were more than happy to ride twice. :banana:

Rhino rode with us and as you can see, he kind of met the height requirement.

For some reason, the second time we rode was a lot more fun than the first time. We talked about it for a while and couldn't figure out what the difference was. After we rode RNR, we were still waiting for the others to be done riding the backlot tour. We were able to get more fastpasses and ToT was about to run out of fastpasses so I grabbed us another set. They were for pretty late in the night and I wasn't sure if we'd still be in the park. I thought that some some of us might stay late and if not, I would find someone to give them to. Instead of stand around and wait, four of us decided to wait in the standby line for Tower of Terror. The posted wait was 50 minutes, but the lines app on my phone said the estimated wait time was 33 minutes. It took us 22 minutes to get to the preshow and then another eight minutes after that to board. There were a few times after this where the lines app was validated and I will definitely trust it over posted wait times on future trips.

We joined up with the rest of our group after ToT and used our Toy Story fastpasses. I ended up with a decent score this time, 101,800, but was beaten by one of my sisters who got 113,200. Oh well. :) Paul's stomach was bothering him and he decided to go back to the hotel. The rest of us headed back to ToT to use our fastpasses. Five of us, including DW rode ToT this time, leaving us with three fastpasses from that set and the eight others in the other set that I had grabbed. That will be important for later. We finished up with ToT about 5:40. None of us were really hungry yet. We decided to wait until later for dinner and got in line for Fantasmic. They had apparently just started letting people into the theater for the 6:30 show and so we ended up walking straight in and getting really good seats on the left side of the theater.

[continued in next post]

ChildAtHeart82 01-03-2011 12:21 AM

Hollywood Studios (cont.) - We Had to Come to Florida to Get Snow
We always enjoy Fanstasmic and the rest of our group had a great time! :)

After Fantasmic, we were sure we weren't going to be in the park long enough to use our ToT fastpasses. We began searching the crowd for a group that could use them. Andrea spotted a group of people that looked about college age and called out to them. Surprisingly, they stopped and turned around. I asked them if they were planning on riding ToT and they were. I told them we had 11 fastpasses. They smiled really big and said "That's perfect because there's 11 of us!" It was really nice to give some pixie dust to another group! :yay:

We had one more thing on our to do list and that was the Osbourne lights!!

We were all completely amazed by the lights. The falling snow made the display even more magical. It was kind of ironic that we got more snow walking down the Streets of America then we had seen in South Dakota (up until then at least).
It's hard to get the effect from this picture, but I thought that the moving fireplace of lights was really neat!

We headed toward the bus stop and waited only a few minutes for a bus. Paul was doing a little better when we got back to POFQ and met us in the food court for dinner. Andrea and I both got muffalettas for dinner and beignets for dessert. I did not get a picture of this meal. We were all really hungry and the food was delicious.

When we got back to the room, this was waiting for us

It was a deal for 20% off of a Disney Photopass order. It said it was for our celebration. Since we had a few on the reservation, I'm not sure for which one we were actually given this, but I think it was our anniversary. I just ordered our photpass CD tonight and the discount, combined with our preporder allowed us to order some picture frames that Andrea had wanted along with our CD and only pay about $5.

We went to bed, but Lucy had plans other than sleep.

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