Go ahead and put it on DisBoards. Beware, I will get you...eventually Final Photos!
Celebrating 20 years + in Walt Disney World !
Welcome to my latest trip report! I hope you enjoy reading along and please please comment – I love to read your feedback, thoughts and experiences! (plus I spend enough time talking to myself without doing it in cyber space as well!)
Let me introduce the characters on our trip:
First up is our daughter Katie, who did NOT make the trip with us. https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-9...s400/photo.jpg
But she was never further from our thoughts than our phones were from our hands. Katie is 9 (as of today!) --going on 18. While we traveled to Florida, she stayed with my wonderfully fantastically generous and patient sister Jean and her family. So my only child joined a family of 5 for the week. Mom & Dad taking a trip without her was a learning experience but she had fun with her cousins for the week, and she had school for most of the week.
My BFF Lesley joined us on this trip. You may remember that when we were planning this trip, the total travel party was up in the air for quite a while. Finally I planned what Joe and I wanted to do & then kept options open for Lesley & Colin. A few weeks before our trip, Colin said he was staying at home. We had hoped that when we arrived at her house in North Carolina that her hubby would make a last minute change and go with us, but it just didn’t happen. There are just too many things at Disney that won’t work for him due to some health issues, and he couldn’t see spending the $.
Lesley and I have been friends since ummm well over 30 years.
She is just like a sister to me. Les is a total Disney fan, having lived in San Pedro for a few years and visiting Disneyland probably once a week while she was there. yeah, THAT kind of fan!!! She has been in Disney withdrawal since returning tothe Northeast two years ago. I think she may have gotten me started loving all things Disney as an adult, for sure she was the one who started me collecting Disney movies long before I had Katie.
https://fbcdn-photos-a.akamaihd.net/...290_1674_a.jpg (this is Lesley as one of my bridesmaids, 20 years ago pixiedust:)
Next up is my hubby Joe. Joe is pretty adamant about me not posting his picture online – anywhere.(he has forgotten about my past TR's. shhhh)
During our trip, I took random photos of him holding something over his face and posted them to facebook.https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-B...Joecoconut.jpg
I tried to get him okay posting his picture here but have to respect his wishes – so you’ll see a fuzzy spot where Joe is. boo.
This trip was a celebration of our 20th wedding anniversary, and also coincided with the 23rd anniversary of our first date. We wanted to celebrate our marriage and to just take some time for ourselves. We explored quite a few different vacation options, but always came back to Disney – it really has turned into our happy place, and continues to be so after our fourth trip as well!
Finally there is me – Mary Ellen aka mom, moira222, crazy lady taking food pictures, and generally a fun loving person.
I love planning trips, especially Disney Trips. I learn new things every time, and try to change the “flavor” of the trip each time. I actually have thought about getting paid to plan other people’s vacation but somehow don’t see me finding the time to add that into my already busy schedule.
You may have noticed that my board time has significantly decreased in the past few months. I completely blame Joe. He gave me a nook color for Christmas and I have been over indulging in my reading addiction. Seriously giving me a Nook is like giving an alcoholic the keys to a bar. So my free time has been split with reading books and reading Dis – and I didn’t have a lot to begin with!
Oh yeah, one final note to you. If you had heard on the Dis that there is a FANTASTIC photographer named Mary Ellen and you just HAD to come check out the great photos, well, you are TOTALLY on the wrong TR! :rotfl2::rotfl: That would be MEK – while I LOVE to take photos, I have a tendency to go for totally spontaneous and random photos, and as a result they can be out of focus (thank goodness for auto focus cameras), too far, too dark, or the people not looking. Plus I used a random mix of cell phone camera, my Kodak Playsport camera, and my seven year old Canon Powershot. So I will just apologize now if the photos are not fantastic.
Let’s get this show on the road!:drive:
Saved for links (and sorry, I see that some of my pics are huge above, I just copied them from snapfish & I can't edit the size)
On the road
Day One Planning Meets Reality
Day Two: Wild Africa Trek
Wild Africa Trek part 2
Animal Kingdom & leisure time
Another Epcot Evening!
FINALLY an Update for June 6!
end of June 6 (finally!)
Thursday June 7 Magic Kingdom Day
--part 3 & Wishes Dessert Party
Friday June 8 Last Day in the World evening
So Where have I been anyway?
Saturday June 9 Long Road Home
Photo Finish & Farewell
Non disney updates:
Katie's Birthday celebrations
On the Road!
I had to work on Saturday, June 2- I work for a college and it was reunion weekend, one of our biggest events. We were all packed up, including a suitcase for Katie to take to her aunt’s house. She had given me big tearful hugs the day before, but today was better. Joe & Katie drove me to work, and then were off to replace a burned out headlight that Joe noticed the night before & to wash the car. Apparently you cannot leave on vacation in a dirty car. LOL
I’d had a nagging tickle in my throat for a day or two that had blossomed overnight into a full fledged sore throat and head cold? :faint: I was SO NOT happy! Thankfully I got some great advice from Kathy who started her last trip the same way. I stopped for Airborne, water, and cough drops on the way in to work. I stayed well hydrated all day and took the airborne twice about 6 hours apart. MAN did the day drag on for me. I wanted to GO! :moped:
Even though I was scheduled to work til 9 p.m., by dinner time almost everyone who was coming had arrived, and we had cleaned up all of the registration tables. YAY!!! I called Joe at 7 p.m. and told him I was done. I asked him to bring me some vitamin c tablets to kick the cold, and we were off!!! Since it was daylight, I offered to drive till we hit Virginia.
The drive was an easy one. We had two sets of directions – one from google maps, and one from an AAA trip tik. We were following the Google directions, and realized after a few hours that they were not taking us in exactly the way we wanted to go. We were going just outside of DC, and hit an ugly traffic jam there around 11 p.m. It took about 45 minutes to go about 2 miles. but that was it. The drive was easy other than that. just long. looooonnnngggg.
We hit a Virginia rest stop a little after midnight, Joe had the worst cup of coffee ever, and then took over driving. Before long we were on I 95 South and were going going going. Despite our best plans, neither one of really slept when we could. I dozed a little for 15 – 20 minutes here and there once Joe took over, but we were chatting and listening to music and filled with Disney anticipation.
We got to Lesley’s town at 5 a.m. We drove through to the downtown area and stopped at iHop for something to eat. Sorry, I was sleep deprived and did not take photos of this one. We finished slowly & were in Lesley’s driveway at 6 a.m. Not wanting to be totally rude, we just parked in the driveway, leaned our seats back, and closed our eyes. We were only outside about 15 minutes when Lesley came out with the dog. SURPRISE!
Joe went inside & I walked with Lesley and the dog & then went in also. We chatted about our plans and eventually Joe and I dozed a bit in the living room. We agreed that after our showers, there was no point waiting till night – we were awake with anticipation, so we were going to hit the road. By noon we were headed down 17, this time with Lesley at the wheel. :drive:
Not sure if or how much Joe napped in the back seat, but I know I dozed a bit here and there on the road in between chatting. I insisted that we stop at South of the Border in South Carolina. Joe & Lesley were so not into a long drawn out sight seeing venture, so we stopped to take in the “flavor” of the stop, and fill up on gas.
To make up for the lack of sight seeing opportunities (and the fact that I get very very silly when I am sleep deprived!) I thrilled my husband and friend with the tidbits of history and facts that our AAA TripTik included. :rotfl: Lovely little bits about the population of towns, historical figures who lived there, etc. I am a thrill to travel with, really. :goodvibes
As we drove, we agreed that we would stop around St. Augustine for the night. I had already made note of a few hotels in the area for this possibility, and I called the Best Western right off of I-95 at St. Augustine from the road to make sure they were not booked (they were not).
YAY we would be able to get a good night’s sleep and not be comatose for our first park day!!
Travel Tip: before we take any luggage inside a hotel room, Joe goes in with a flash light and checks out the seams all down the side of the mattresses of the beds. He attended a seminar about a year or so back on bed bugs and how to check for infestations. eeeewww the thought of that makes my skin crawl. So we are diligent!! we don’t want any extra visitors coming home with us!
Bug free, we got settled for the night. Lesley and I took a walk to the convenience store across the street. I forget what I was looking for but they didn’t have it. We checked out the pool (not that we were going to use it!) and the location of the breakfast room and that was it. This was probably the only night I actually had a good wifi connection on my nook, so I dis’ed a little, then got some much needed sleep.
Despite having the option of free breakfast at the hotel, we decided to go to Denny’s which was right next to the hotel. I grabbed coffee & juice from the breakfast lounge while we all showered, then we checked out & walked over for breakfast. MMMMM was it tasty!!! We had no breakfast plans for the whole week (till next Saturday) so decided to splurge on a huge vacation breakfast.
Lesley ordered a Belgian waffle with strawberries.
Joe and I went for make you own pancake specials. I had pecan pancakes with strawberries, along with scrambled eggs, potatoes and sausage.
Joe’s was the best--- pecan pancakes, topped with sliced bananas and peanut butter sauce. (and eggs, potatoes and sausage!)
We detoured just a little for a short visit to St. Augustine. Here I did not do appropriate research. I really wanted a short visit at a Florida beach. Had I read up more I would have known that St. Augustine’s beaches were a much bigger detour than I had in mind. But, we walked around the monastery grounds a little, which were very pretty and peaceful.
Then we stopped at a funny souvenir shop – Gator Bob’s. There were statues out front of a chain gang and Joe just HAD to stop. It was fun roadside stop, lots of souvenirs and doodads. Joe picked up a light house statue for his sister (St. Augustine’s light house was featured on Ghost Hunters) and a gator pencil for Katie. You might remember the he kept telling people I was going to feed him to the crocodiles on our trek, so crocs and gators were a running joke.
We finally hit the road to Orlando sometime between 10 and 11 a.m. YAY! The traveling was easy and not too much traffic. Once we hit the Orlando area, we did stop at the Orlando Premium Outlets to visit the Disney Store outlet there. While we found a good deal on fleece throw blanket of Cinderella’s castle (buy one get one) we didn’t find anything else that interested any of us, and really did not find their prices to be all that much better than in the parks. That was it – we were done and wanted to get to DISNEYWORLD!!!
continued next post
Since I was driving, I put Lesley in charge of getting the famous Disney World sign. I was just so darn excited to be driving through that lovely arch!
Before long we were following signs for Epcot Resorts and found our way to our home for the week – Disney’s Yacht Club!
Bell services helped unload our luggage, and Joe parked the car while Lesley and I headed in to check in. I had done online check in, so went there to check in.
While I’d read about being “whisked away to the Club floor” on checkin, there was no whisking! We checked in and got our gold cards, and were told we’d be notified when our room was ready. I received two anniversary pins for Joe and I and that was that! Lesley waited in the lobby while I walked out to give Joe his pin.
I was just so happy to be there! When we came back inside, we wandered around a bit looking for elevators until a kind cast person saw the lost looks on our faces and lead the way. He took us up to the fifth floor where we sort of checked in again with the concierge staff. Our rooms not ready yet (we got there around 1 pm), and having foolishly left our luggage (with our swim suits!) with bell services, we enjoyed a delicious snack of home made potato chips, trail mix, yogurt covered pretzels and Swedish fish.
mmmmm. I checked out the balcony off of the club lounge and we came up with a game plan.
we were a little annoyed with ourselves for forgetting to grab our suits. doh! We headed downstairs to find the gym, as Joe had plans to keep up his morning runs.
After the gym, we wandered down to the arcade and played a few games.
No text message yet but we headed back upstairs to see if we had a room yet. When we got back upstairs, housekeeping was just finishing our room. By this time, the lounge had switched over to hors d’ouevres and wine & beer. We had another snack and a glass of wine for me, a beer for Joe, and then our room was ready. Happily our luggage arrived just a few minutes after we did, and we quickly got the unpacking out of the way.
FINALLY we were headed to Epcot! The walk from the Yacht Club to the International Gateway is quite lovely. I meandered a bit and snapped a few pictures.
I have a little more written, but need to get a good night sleep. Today is Katie's birthday and tomorrow morning we are taking her & a her friend to a water park for the day, and the next day I am taking her to the shore for the day. I'd better get some sleep while I can!
Looks like so much fun can't wait till we go.
Thanks for heads up...be back to read tomorrow.:goodvibes
That does look like a LONG drive! But you had fun and certainly made the best of it. No fun killing time waiting for a room to be ready, loved your "snack" while you killed time and glad it was ready in time to head to Epcot! Looking forward to more.
I have been a lurker on your other reports but I guess it is time to show my face on here. ;)
Joining in. Thanks for the heads up:thumbsup2
Happy Birthday to Katie. Hope she has a great time at the waterpark today!
Great start on your TR. The YC looks so pretty and the beds look so comfy. Too bad about the no whisking though, that seems like a great CL perk.
Thanks for the heads up on the TR start. I can see your pics at work so I read the whole thing.
Boo to getting a cold. Denny had a cold on the start of our trip as well. Did you give it to him? :rotfl:
Love your DH's camo pics. Very creative ways to cover his face.
Next time you drive to WDW I highly recomment you take 301 south around DC. I actually get on 301 in Middletown De (where I live) and continue it all the way to Richmond. Yeah there are some lights, but it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much better than 95. You could probably also pick it up from 95. Its actually fairly scenic in spots.
I have always wanted to go to St Augustine. Your stops look like a lot of fun!
Yeah for the Yacht Club! I doubt I will ever stay there with DVC, but it looks like a wonderful place to stay.
That waffle looks amazing.
Which college do you work for? Just curious because we are doing the college serach for Nick now and I have been looking at some of the smaller PA schools as soccer possibilities. You can pm me if you don't want to say online.
subbing- i have to go back and catch up. i did notice the word Nook - i got a kindle for christmas and i have not put it down. seriously, i think i read maybe 10 books and probably 8 of them were kids books. now i'm reading at least that many a month. i love how many freebies there are! and i borrow from the library too. i've only spent about $2 on books so far.
Your title drew me in !! My kids are always asking me "Are you going to put this on the Dis?" answer - "yes, yes I am." Looking forward to reading more.
Really enjoying your TR! I would love to stay at the Yacht Club one day - esp concierge level! The rooms are gorgeous - what type of view did you have?
YC was very pretty, in a formal way. the beds were SOOO comfortable! I had wondered about the whisking, i mean its not like you are wearing a sign when you walk in that says "CL" on it.
301 S sounds pretty - eventually I will be driving to NC to visit Lesley when they finally get into their own house so maybe we will try that route. DC traffic is always icky.
I would love to go to St Augustine again for at least two or three days....but the call of Mickey would be nagging me the whole time. Not sure how I could get past that. :earboy2:
I am such a bookwork its not funny. and I have been going for the freebies too. I have read quite a few new types of book that I wouldn't normally read but have really enjoyed. Have you checked out the Gutenberg book project web site? TONS of freebies!
We went with the "standard" view - so we had tree tops and building tops, in the directon of the Magic Kingdom. Joe watched MK's Wishes one night from the balcony. Concierge was quite a treat for us, probably one that we won't get to do again because of the $$ (but we would love to!)
Mary Ellen, I'm so sorry it took me a while to get back here and caught up.
Hooray for a bascially uneventful trip down. And I'm so glad that the Airborne and fluids seemed to help somewhat with your oncoming cold.
Love the entry pictures to DW...always the best sight. And love the room pics.
I hope Katie had a great birthday.
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