The 7 days of a 21st birthday celebration (May 18-24, 2011)
This is my first ever trip report! I'm kind of excited about it because it's the first time I used my DVC points, and it was also my brother's 21st birthday. It's happy coincidence the two events coincided. This vacation was my birthday present to him. He could have had a 3-day Disney cruise or a week in a villa. He choose the villa. So here's the TR!
"Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy." (entrance plaque to Disneyland)
The Plan of Attack:
The Must Dos:
Table of Contents
Early Morning Flight and the Magical Express
Check In and First Visit to the Room
EPCOT, Le Cellier, and Kouzzina
In Which I Get Sick, and they go to DHS
Joe's 21st Birthday Dinner at California Grill
JellyRolls Dueling Piano Bar
In Which the Men Sleep, and the Women Travel Around the World
Brunch At Tusker House, and the Wild African Trek
The Magic(al) Kingdom
Rose and Crown and Illuminations
Early Morning Flight and the Magical Express
The night before our departure, Joe and I had driven to Chris's house and to Gina's house to pick them up. We were having a sleep over! My mother made a fantastic early birthday dinner for my brother which we ate while we finished up our packing. I'm terrible about waiting until the last minute to pack for anything.
While we were packing, Joe knocks on my door and walks into my room. He has a smirk on his face, and his hands behind his back.
"So," he starts off, "I wanted to pack this and then wear it the night we go to California Grill, but it won't fit in my suitcase." He then pulls out a stripped bowler hat and puts it on his head! "I hope you don't mind if I wear it on the airplane?"
How could I refuse?! He looked adorable! I realize I should say handsome because he's a man of 20, soon to be 21, but he's my younger brother so I'll stick with adorable.
On the 18th, we woke up at 4:30 am to catch our 6:55 am flight out of Philadelphia. My mom was our chauffer (but don't tell her I said that! :)). She dropped us off outside of the Southwest Terminal and left us to our own devices. She trusted our ability to navigate the airport, after all, she's the one who trained us from a very young age.
We made it through security without any issues, and arrived at the gate just in time. By this time, it was beginning to sink in for Gina that she was going on vacation. She hasn't been to Disney World since her senior class trip, and she hasn't been on a vacation in quite a long time. That's one of the best things about bringing a newbie to Disney World, her excitement is so infectious!
The flight was uneventful. Both Joe and Chris slept, but Gina and I were too excited too sleep! We drank airplane tea and ate airplane peanuts. Gina colored in the Disney World coloring book I had given her the night before, and I read a book.
It was 9:30am when we landed in Orlando, and we all were feeling hunger pangs. We all decided that we were unable to wait another hour or so until we arrived at the resort, so we ate a quick breakfast at the terminal. The boys decided on pizza ("It's almost lunch time!) while Gina and I settled on a more traditional oatmeal with maple syrup, and an egg wrap from Au Bon Pain.
After our breakfast, we went down to the ground floor. Our excitement was escalating as we started passing signs with Mickey and the Castle. By the time we arrived on the ground floor, Gina was nearly bursting with excitement! The woman for the Magical Express scanned our tickets and directed us to the line for the Boardwalk.
The movie on the bus hasn’t changed in years, but I still find it is a great way to “warm up” for a Disney vacation. It excites me to watch the characters and listen to the advice that is presented. This time there were some trivia questions which Gina and I tried to answer while the bus drove through the non-Disney bits of Florida. The boys slept some more!
Next up: check in!
Check In and First Visit to the Room
As the Magical Express pulled up to the Boardwalk, the four of us looked out the windows with awe. Joe, Chris and I had eaten at the Flying Fish and Kouzzina before, but we had never pulled up in the Magical Express with the Disney music playing in the background. The music adds a kind of movie-esque atmosphere and makes the simple drive magical.
When we told Gina we were getting off the bus here, her jaw dropped. We disembarked under the porte-cochere and stood on the brick pavement in the shade. After receiving our carry on luggage, we walked through the doors and into the lobby. You're first greeted with the miniature carousel, and off to the left is the check in desk. While Gina, Chris, and Joe milled around the lobby I went to stand in the online check in line.
By the time I got up to the desk, the three had joined me again and we were greeted by a wonderful man named Andy. And I say wonderful because he put the right spin on the start of our vacation. Once he realized it was a 21st birthday, he started pulling out all kinds of birthday pins! Joe's was christened with a hand drawn Mickey Mouse, and the rest of us recieved "I'm Celebrating Joe's 21st Birthday!" buttons. Furthermore, I received a "New DVC Member" button once he found out this was the first use of my membership!
Andy explained how the dinning plan would work for us, he gave us directions to our room (which was ready when we arrived!), and gave us a schedule of events going on at the BWV.
I had booked a one bedroom villa with a standard view, and we received a great room! It was right on the second floor and overlooked the theme pool! There was a tree blocking our view, but the tree helped shade the balconys.
When Gina walked into the room, she stopped dead! She looks around and says "There's...there's a kitchen! And a couch! And...another room!" This is one of the reasons I love taking people to Disney World. It's one place where you can take a wonderful vacation for a relatively inexpensive price, and you know that the service you will get will be wonderful.
Chris headed right for the balcony and sat down on one of the chairs. He discovered a love of balconies about two years prior during our first trip together.
We took a quick picture on the couch before heading back down to the concierge desk to pick up passes and then over to EPCOT for our lunch reservations at Le Cellier.
Next up: EPCOT, Le Cellier, and Kouzzina
EPCOT, Le Cellier, and Kouzzina
We headed over to EPCOT after picking up our tickets and wandered around a bit before heading over to Le Cellier where we had lunch reservations. Between the four of us, we decided to buy a dinning plan for $276 rather than try to split the cost of meals at the end. So with this plan we got 1 table service meal, 1 quick service meal, and 1 snack every day! It was only $45 a day and I think it was well worth. Of course, we were stuffed by the end!
First we stopped in the UK and posed in a red phone booth (a must for all tourists!)
Then we went to lunch over at Le Cellier, which is not complete without have a moose for desert!
Gina rearranged the remnants of her moose into a smiley face. When the waiter returned after taking away the plates he wanted to extend the compliments of the chef. It was her last day, and Gina's was the last moose she had to make! The waiter said it had made the chef's day to receive a smiley face on her last day before she returned to Canada!
Following lunch we decided to travel around the world! Since Joe was not yet 21, we kept it dry.
We stopped in Morocco to model some decorative head gear:
And the boys had to do it as well!
Stopped to take pictures in front of Spaceship Earth:
Gina and Joe
Kayti and Chris
And finally had a friendly sibling duel in Japan! (I think I look more ferocious, but I'm pretty sure I would have lost this duel.)
By that time it was getting pretty late and we had dinner reservations with some friends at Kouzzina (Cat Cora's restaurant at the Boardwalk.) So we went to the room and rested a bit. Luckily all of our luggage was there, along with our Owner's Locker and the food order we had placed through WeGoShop.
I told Joe to open the Owner's Locker because I knew our parents have left him a birthday present in there. He opens it and starts pulling items out, and finally he reaches something wrapped in a washcloth. He gives the item a puzzled look and unwraps a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey. He looks at me and asks, "Did you know about this?" All I could do was shrug and say, "Who me?" Good thing I had order a liter of coke from WeGoShop! :rotfl:
Joe STILL wasn't 21, so we "adults" split a sangria, and he drank a cherry coke. Less than 6 hours until he was old enough to join us!!
By the time we returned to the room, the four of us were exhausted! Joe decided he didn't want to go out for his first legal drink and had it in the room. Surprisingly, he was so tired he didn't even want to finish it! The poor uneducated boy threw his jack and coke down the drain to three cries of "NOO!" After educating him in the miracle of the refrigerator and cellophane the four of us went to bed.
Next up: In Which I Get Sick, and they go to DHS
I'm in! Can't wait to read more.
In Which I Get Sick, and they go to DHS
I was finishing up my first year of law school, and Joe's birthday fell just after my exams ended. Unfortunately, about one week before my exams I came down with a really bad case of tonsilitis, and was still recovering when we left for vacation. (And trying to sit a law exam while you're tired, can't breath, and have a major migraine is not fun!) My doctor had given me enough medication to get me through my exams, and through my vacation. Unfortunately, I became sick again on the second day. I spent that whole day in the room! I was a miserable reveler, especially since this was the day of Joe's actual birthday!
Fortunately, I have a wonderful brother who went with Gina down to the general store and purchase some Robitussin for me. I reminded them, as they walked out the door, to be back around 4:30 because we had dinner reservations at California Grill that night.
I spent much of the day watching the Disney Channel. I took a walk down to the Boardwalk Bakery and grabbed a salad for lunch. And then I laid down again to another 3 hours of Phineas and Ferb.
Joe, Chris and Gina had a wonderful time at DHS. I wish I had some story to share with you, but I only have the pictures. And I think the pictures speak for themselves!
They rode on Toy Story. I'm pretty sure I remember my brother kicking butt at this game!
They "monkeyed" around outside of Toy Story Mania.
Someone (*cough cough* Joe) had his hands in the GIANT cookie jar!
All told, they had a great time!
When they returned to BWV, we got ready to go out to Joe's birthday dinner at the California Grill! I was feeling much, much, MUCH better by that time. TGIR! (thank god for robitussin!)
Next: Joe's 21st Birthday Dinner at California Grill
Great start! Can't wait to read more. Sorry you felt sick.:sad2: Being sick while at WDW isn't much fun but sounds like you recovered quickly. In all our trips I've only been sick once, and that was a migraine that built up all day and finally kept me in my room for the night. Biggest deal was my DM had to go to WM and buy a few things (I knew we should have stopped on the way from the airport) and she had really never driven around WDW before. I'm always the driver. Luckily she, and DD (then 5) made it there and back in a reasonable time. And I was better the next day. Thank goodness for extra strength Excedrine!
Nice photos. :)
Can't wait for your next update....
Waiting for more!
Joe's 21st Birthday Dinner at California Grill
California Grill is something of a tradition in my family. My Grandmother celebrated her 76th birthday there (she loved the asparagus soup!), last year we celebrated Christmas dinner in the wine room with 25 members of our family, and various other celebrations. Joe wanted to celebrate his 21st in style! When I called to make the reservations with Disney Dinning, the woman I spoke to was wonderful. She made sure to put the information on the reservation, and gave me the number I was supposed to call to order a cake. Even better, this was my dad's birhtday gift to Joe!
The four of us got dressed to leave. This is when I learned that Joe and our mom had conspired against me! He knocked on the bathroom door and walked in and said, "Does this shirt make me look fat?" So I turned around and he was wearing black slacks, a purple polo, and the stripped bowler hat. Purple is my favorite color! He's never worn purple before! So, of course I told him that he looked very handsome and gave him a hug. :thumbsup2 He was very spiffy looking.
We went down to the port cochere and requested a taxi fromt he valet, who signalled to the line of them waiting for revelers like us. We four piled inside and took off to California Grill.
We got there early enough to wander around the grounds of the Contemporary and take some pictures.
All four of us together.
I think this is awesome! I looks especially cool when you can flip back and forth between the pictures (I'm not tech savvy enough to create something like that though.)
When we reentered the Contemporary and went to the second floor to check in, I had Gina distract Joe so I could talk to the host behind the desk. I double checked to make sure the cake was there (the host called up to the kitchen to make sure for us!), I requested candles, and made a general nuissance of myself. They took it wonderfully!
We were then directed to the express elevator up to the 15th floor. While we were in the elevator, the conductor reminded Joe that he had to remove his hat while in the restaurant. Joe did so with a sheepish look on his face. They seeated us at our table which was in the wine room. The table was placed in the center of the giant picture window overlooking the lagoon towards Wilderness Lodge. The restaurant had even put shiny Mickey confetti on the table to help us celebrate! The placement of the table was perfect! Our two waiters were introduced to us, and were extremely wonderful throughout the whole evening.
I hate to admit that I'm terrible about taking pictures of food. I just don't really think about it when we go to restaurants. I'm usually too ready to eat to contemplate the minute hesitation that a photograph would take. So I sadly do not have pictures of the food we ate.
For the appetizers, Joe ordered the goat cheese ravioli. Gina said she had to try this ravioli because Joe would not stop talking about it for the months leading up to the vacation. After she took a bite, she understood. The goat cheese ravioli at California Grill is amazing! (I say "is" because you receive one huge ravioli in a dish with sauce.) We split two orders of sashimi and sushi which comes out on a block of pink salt, and a flatbread.
I do have a food allergy, and one of the wonderful things about Disney is that the chefs of the various restaurants will come out and talk to me, usually creating a special plate for me from various other dishes. I honestly don't remember what we ordered for our dinner portion, I wish I did. I probably would if I had taken pictures! :rolleyes1
Since it was Joe's first night, we did order champagne before dinner to celebrate, and it was delicious! (sadly no pictures again :() Then I let Joe do the wine choosing and tasting. I had ordered a Helfrich Reisling knowing it would be sweet enough for his palate, unfortunately the California Grill had no bottles left! Catastrophe was averted though because our wonderful waiter returned with THREE other bottles of interesting white wines. Since it was Joe's birthday he did the wine tasting. He did protest saying he doesn't know what to look for in a "good" wine. I told him just to choose the one he liked the best. I wish I could say I remember the wine he chose, but I don't. :( It was delicious though. And it was only $39 on the bill! That's one of the best things about the waiters here. The wine I was originally going to order was more expensive, so the waiter knowingly kept the wine within our price range.
So, here is the much awaited picture of the cake! There was even a lit candle on the cake!
Gina asked Joe if we could sing the birthday song to him. The table next to us overheard and broke out into song! Pretty soon the whole wine room was singing "Happy Birthday Joe!" (I think this is a much better way to celebrate than with singing and dancing waiters. The waiter delivered the cake so Joe could see it and blow out the candle, then he took it away to slice it. Beyond that, they did not join in the festivities.)
We did offer cake to everyone else in the room, but no one took us up on the offer. :confused3
We then went outside to watch Wishes from the large balconies, and afterwards we went back to our table and finished up our wine, and had our coffee and tea.
We left the restaurant and took a cab back to BWV to hit up JellyRolls.
Next: JellyRolls Dueling Piano Bar
JellyRolls Dueling Piano Bar
Following dinner at the California Grill we headed over to Jellyrolls to really celebrate Joe's birthday. Joe was the perfect gentleman and paid the cover for each of us, we got stamped with a Cars tattoo and entered the dueling piano bar. I suppose we were lucky in that we're old souls because the two men played a lot of old songs and it was a blast! I did not hear one Ke$ha song, nothing by Britney Spears or Jay-Z. Nothing! They played Elton John, Billy Joel, the Foundations, Van Morrison, etc. Actual music! It was amazing!
We ordered the first round of drinks. Joe and Chris each got a Yuengling and a shot of Patron, and Gina had I just had the specials that night.
After the first round, I decided to request the piano players embarrass my brother. I mentioned that it was his 21st birthday and that anything would be good. I could not have imagined anything better for him. They made him do the teapot dance on the piano!
I actually very nearly panicked once the two men asked him to jump until the piano. I figured the night was going to get very expensive. I think the piano was reinforced because it seemed to support him.
So after he did the teapot dance. The piano players asked him to make it a "sexy teapot dance." Did you know a teapot could gyrate? Me neither! But apparently a teapot can.
After the bar realized it was his 21st birthday, Joe's drink became noticeably stronger. I think there was a conspiracy! I'm not sure Joe minded though. When we returned to the table after Joe's show, the waitress came up to us and said "There are two women who would like to buy you a drink." Joe's jaw dropped! "What do I do?" he asked. The waitress shrugged, "You order something?" Joe decided to order a jack and coke, which is what he had been drinking most of the night. He then went down to thank the two women, and came back a bit flushed. I think they were enjoying making fun of him. :rotfl2:
Now, if the chesire cat grin is anything to judge by, then I think Joe is enjoying himself.
One of our older cousins told Joe that he had to have an Irish carbomb. So Joe "reluctantly" complied. And Chris was a far from willing accomplice (as you can tell by his grin.)
Joe did seem to like this much better than the shot of Patron.
Last call was around 1:00 or so. When we left Jellyrolls, the two women who bought Joe a drink came up to me and said that he had made their night! They had come down for a girls' vacation, and watching him do a sexy teapot was the most amusing thing they had seen in awhile. They were very nice, and it made his night that two women had bought him a drink. I still laugh about it.
As we left, Disney security followed everyone up the Boardwalk in their little golfcarts. I think they were making sure no one jumped into the lagoon. :dance3:
It was a good night with clean fun. (Is there any other type of fun in Disney?)
Next day: In Which the Men Sleep, and the Women Travel Around the World
A sexy teapot dance? Ha ha! That is too funny!
Hi! just caught up on your TR .. looks like a really fun trip so far :goodvibes I went to WDW with my sister for her 21st in 2009.. so much fun - love your pictures of Jelly Rolls, I didn't take any photos when we went there but it was such a great night! :thumbsup2
Looking forward to more .. and btw hope you & your family are ok this weekend with the hurricane :hug:
Emma princess: x
I kind of wish I had taken more pictures, at least looking back. I usually make sure to take pictures of people, but now that I'm typing this up I think it would be better with some pics of food, and places. But I'll know better for future TRs.
It's been raining here since noon, and it's now 6:30 pm. It's not too heavy yet, but they've issued hurricane warnings and flood advisories. Some counties have tornado warnings issued as well. Apparently tornadoes occur with hurricanes? The main part of the storm is supposed to be in my area overnight through early afternoon tomorrow, with rain continuing until about 6 pm tomorrow. Their forecasting sunshine tomorrow evening! I'll believe that when I see it! But the main problem is that we've already had over 13" of rain this August, and they're expecting another 5-10" with the hurricane. It seems that the real concern is the stability of the trees in such saturated soil, especially with the high winds. Also, there are a lot of rivers where I live and there has been a lot of evacuations along the banks of the rivers, and obviously all the coastal counties have been evacuated. The news showed the lines of cars trying to leave the state, and unfortunately you can only leave NJ by bridge. The lines to the bridges were miles and miles long! Fortunately, the government was waiving the tolls on the roads, I'm not sure about the bridges though.
Sorry about such a long reply. I think we're pretty well prepared though. My dad went food shopping on Thursday before everyone did, so we have milk, water, and other essentials all stocked up. We couldn't get any flashlights though :confused3 everywhere was sold out! So we have lots of candles in case we lose power. Also tonight we cooked a large roast so we have food just in case.
It's kind of funny (in a puzzling way)....the news station was showing images from one of the shelters that is located on a university campus. The American Red Cross had put in port-a-johns because the facilities at the shelter weren't enough for the 1,000 people they were expecting. But for some reason they were placed outside! I'm not sure how they could be placed inside the building, but I feel like it defeats the purpose to have them located outside. They're supposed to be on the side of the building that's most protected from the wind, but I can't imagine trying to go outside in a hurricane to use a toilet... especially in those winds! I'd be worried that it would tip over!
So far, the worst thing that's happened is that we lost our satellite, so no more television. :scared1: I'm thinking that we'll play rummikub later! It's a fun game, like rummy, but played with tiles instead of cards.
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