Better Late Than Never - Siblings take on MNSSHP, F&W and more + bonus MLK visit
Well, I'm a couple months late but I've decided to go ahead and put up a trip report anyway! I bought an annual pass when I visited Disney World with my husband in May for our anniversary (link to that TR in my signature), and I'm doing my best to make as much use of it as possible. Here is a photo of me and my husband from that trip.
Photo0056FourBySix by Chaita_1, on Flickr
It later turned out that my husband was going to be able to take our fall vacation due to a new job, so I decided to go to Disney World with my brother. Once my parent heard about it, of course they wanted to come along too! So the compromise was that my brother and I would go for a week and my parents would join us for the last part of the week.
024_24 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
(Photo of my brother and I from our last trip to Disney World)
Most of the planning was in my hands, which I was pretty happy about :) I did try to involve the rest of the family but they weren't too interested in contributing at the time. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, Cirque du Soleil, Victoria and Albert's, Food and Wine, and lots of dining reservations were part of the plan. We're all vegetarian (and my mother is mostly vegan) but managed to find many options. My brother and I especially indulged in lots of good food. We stayed at the Sheraton Vistana thanks to the generosity of my cousin who shared his time share points with us.
Photo0120FourBySix by Chaita_1, on Flickr
(A photo of the 4 of us from the trip... can you tell we're from Ohio?!?)
And to make it up to my husband for going to Disney World without him, I promised him we could go back in January. We're leaving in 3 days and rented points from a fellow DIS-er to stay at a studio in Bay Lake Tower! We're planning on going to IOA/US one day and we're doing the Keys to the Kingdom tour on another day. We're only going to be there Friday to Monday so it will be a packed weekend! I look forward to sharing about that trip also.
Whew... I think that's enough of an intro :) Let me know if you have any specific questions and otherwise, I hope you enjoy! A table of contents will be in the next post.
Table of Contents
Edited IMG_0596 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
1. Arrival, Downtown Disney and Fireworks from the Poly
2. Food and Wine at Epcot Part 1 and Part 2
3. Gatorland and MNSSHP
4. Hollywood Studios
5. Picking up the parents and Victoria & Albert's
6. Magic Kingdom
7. Lazy day and Cirque du Soleil evening
8. Animal Kingdom
9. Home sweet home
10. Back to Disney World in January and BLT!
11. Hollywood Studios
12. Harry Potter, here we come :)
13. Keys to the Kingdom and MK until 2am
14. Good bye to the world for good (or at least for a couple years)
Arrival, Downtown Disney and the Poly beach
The journey started on October 23rd. My husband dropped me off at the airport and because I'm paranoid about missing a flight, I was at the gate pretty early. But I had a good book to read on my nook and I didn't mind starting off the trip in a relaxed way.
IMG_0002 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
The flight from DC was non-stop and went smoothly. My brother and parents live in Ohio, so he was flying in from Columbus. Sadly, his plane landed an hour after mine. Again. I was thankful for the good book! I also got my bag from baggage claim and ate some lunch while waiting. For some reason, my mom was worried about me being at the airport alone for an hour. Even though I'm in my mid 30s and have been traveling on my own for years. I haven't lived at home for more than 15 years but I guess parents never stop worrying. My brother texted once he landed and I met him at baggage carousel. No magical express since we weren't staying on site so our next stop was the car rental company. This was a good idea since my brother hates waiting for public transportation and doesn't mind driving. Be careful when signing that car rental agreement. My brother almost signed without reading the document and they tried to sneak in some unnecessary insurance!
The roads were really easy to navigate. I had printed out directions in advance and we also used the gps function on my i-phone. The tolls were easy to pay in cash so we didn't shell out for the toll payment thingee from the rental car company. Check in at the Sheraton Vistana Resort was a breeze. I had used their diamond form to request a ground level room or a room close to the elevator since my mother has some mobility issues. We got a second floor room right by the elevator. It was toward the back of the resort so it was nice and quiet. The resort has various pools so no where is too far from a pool. We weren't that close to the main pool or food, but that was fine with us. We had a 2 bedroom condo just for the 2 of us, which was awesome! My brother took the master bedroom and I took the smaller bedroom with 2 beds. They both had attached bathrooms. Once my parents arrived, the plan was for them to take the master bedroom and for my brother to take the other bed in my room.
My brother was hungry so we went straight to Downtown Disney. The resort was right outside the Disney World gate for Downtown Disney so we were there within 10 minutes. I didn't make a dinner reservation for this evening as I wasn't sure if there would be any plane delays. He thought the menu at Portobellos looked good so we went there for dinner. We split an appetizer (mozzarella stuffed rice balls), an entree (ravioli gigante) and a bottle of wine. The food was amazing but I only have a photo of the ravioli. We also sat on the patio overlooking the river so that atmosphere was great and not too loud.
Edited IMG_0008 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
Edited IMG_0004 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
We then wandered around Downtown Disney for a while. We checked out some stores and took alot of photos. My brother and I are both shutterbugs. It was nice to be able to take as many photos as I wanted without worrying about my companion getting bored :)
Edited IMG_0017 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
IMG_0014 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
We ended the night at the Polynesian. We got fruity adult beverages from the bar by the pool, watched some Toy Story (that was the movie they were showing at the Poly beach) and set up the tripod for fireworks photos. My brother had forgotten his tripod so I let him use mine. Hence the blur in my photos. My hands are not so steady!
Edited IMG_0066 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
Edited IMG_0043 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
Edited IMG_0115 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
Then it was back to the resort for bed in preparation of an early morning tomorrow.
I'm here and woohoo I'm first!! :woohoo:
I love the photo of the four of you in front of the castle and Stitch's hat on your brother! :rotfl:
I can't believe you're staying at Bay Lake Tower this weekend! I'm soo jealous! I'm looking forward to your photos of WWoHP and may need some advice on renting points in the future? How did you find the process of doing that?
Lol parents never stop worrying, do they? My mums the same! Great pics of DTD - making me miss the Disney magic and food!
Have a great weekend at Disney World! :goodvibes
Oh, and we are going to the UK in the Fall! Probably early October so after all the Olympic stuff is over.
Epcot and Food & Wine
So we got up bright and early on Monday to head off to Epcot. I chose to do it on Monday because I felt like it would be less crowded during Food and Wine on that day. The crowd calendar seemed to agree. The drive was really easy again and we had the AAA diamond parking pass so we parked the car very close to the park entrance. We got through bag check about 30 minutes before they opened the turn stiles. We got a couple cookies from the little food kiosk outside the park so we could have breakfast while in line.
Edited IMG_0118 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
(waiting in line)
This was after they had eliminated the rope drop process, so we just went through the turn stile and walked straight onto Soarin'. My brother and I both loved this ride, and we grabbed a fast pass on the way out. Sadly, I did notice a lot of dust specks :( It would be great if they cleaned up the film a bit. I think we went off to Nemo and the aquarium next. I mentioned to my brother that they had a special tour where you could scuba dive in the aquarium. He had the nerve to say that he wished I had told him about it because he would have loved to have done it. Umm... I emailed him about it so he even had the information in writing! Of well, they weren't offering it while we were there since they were having problems with the filter so I guess it was better he ignored my emails anyway.
Edited IMG_0146 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
We went over to innoventions to ride the Sum of All Thrills since I didn't get to do it during my last visit. It was awesome! We chose the roller coaster option and my brother kept trying to make it too crazy. We found a happy medium and both enjoyed it. Then I dragged him to the front so I could get a photo with Stitch. Sadly my brother refused to get in the photo with me.
Edited IMG_0119 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
We did Test Track and Mission Space (just the green side) and then off to World Showcase! We stopped and picked up one of the gift cards on a wrist band for ease of payment. Now we're both vegetarians, so there was a limited amount of food we could eat but there were plenty of drinks :) We also stopped for nachos at La Cantina. I think both of our favorite drinks were China.
Edited IMG_0151 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
After wandering around a couple countries in world showcase we decided to go to the Food&Wine center and took part in a wine tasting seminar by a winery from South Africa. It was interesting, and the wines were pretty good, but it was clear that everyone in the seminar knew more about wine then we did!
Edited IMG_0161 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
Edited IMG_0171 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
Edited IMG_0176 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
After all that wine, I decided I was a little tired. We took some more photos on the way out and stopped by the cranberry bog.
Edited IMG_0182 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
Then we went back to the condo for a bit. We picked up some groceries on the way so we'd have food to eat in the condo, and then went to the pool. Our Epcot evening coming up soon!
I'm glad you enjoyed Soarin' but oh no on the dust specks - not what you want to see whilst up in the sky!
Love your pic with Stitch! :thumbsup2
I'm glad you enjoyed the food and wine at WS. I'm looking forward to seeing what other vegetarian options you did try.
Also thanks for the info on renting points.
It's great that you are thinking of coming to the UK in the fall - a wise decision to wait until the Olympics madness is over!
We're back from Orlando and we had a wonderful time. This trip was much more exhausting than the previous trips! I think it's because of trying to fit in too much in just a short type.
Back to the October trip though... after some lounging around time we got ready to head back to Epcot. We were able to park in the AAA diamond lot again so it wasn't too long to get back into the park. We had saved some of the less popular attractions for now so we went on Spaceship Earth, Captain EO, Maelstorm and the Mexico boat ride.
Edited IMG_0159 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
Edited IMG_0197 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
Edited IMG_0215 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
We had dinner reservations at Rose & Crown so we went over to the U.K. to do some shopping. And then we had a magical moment :) Winnie the Pooh was one of my brother's favorite movies when we were little. He used to force me and our cousins to sit and watch the movie with him repeatedly. While we were in the shop at Epcot a cast member peered around a corner at us and beckoned us over. We weren't sure what he wanted but we went over and there were Tigger and Pooh waiting for us with no line. After having our photos taken, my brother just couldn't stop smiling and actually admitted that those minutes had just made his whole trip. And to see my too-cool-for-school be a kid again made the whole trip worth it for me.
Photo0028FourBySix by Chaita_1, on Flickr
Photo0018FourBySix by Chaita_1, on Flickr
(though my brother looks like he's tackling Winnie here...)
We then went over to check in for dinner. Rose & Crown was packed and we did have to wait 15-20 minutes for our table. It wasn't too bad though. We just sat on the curb and people watched. We had the cheese plate to start, shared the vegetable curry and a cauliflower gratin side. The food was amazing. We also had a beer flight. We enjoyed the time for sibling bonding and talking more about each other's lives. I was a little disappointed by Illuminations from here, but it was just because it was very crowded and that led to it being difficult to hear the music. We also had the toffee pudding cake for dinner.
Edited IMG_0224 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
Edited IMG_0227 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
Edited IMG_0284 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
Edited IMG_0249 by Chaita_1, on Flickr
IMG_3523 ed by SideShowShrey, on Flickr
And then we went off to the car to drive back to the condo. Here are some photopass photos to end the post.
Photo0013FourBySix by Chaita_1, on Flickr
Photo0012FourBySix by Chaita_1, on Flickr
Photo0007FourBySix by Chaita_1, on Flickr
Photo0002FourBySix by Chaita_1, on Flickr
Glad to hear you had a wonderful time on your short trip!
I love your third pic of the update - the one of the fountain in the dark. It looks great!
Yay on meeting Pooh and Tigger with no line! That sure is a great hidden spot.
Glad you enjoyed R&C and Illuminations.
Loving your reviews! I'm glad you and your brother had such a great time! :thumbsup2
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