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-   -   “Don’t worry…October isn’t hot or crowded"- Mother & son 2-week trip *UPDATED 1-13-13 (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3019935)

blestmom 11-11-2012 12:45 AM

“Don’t worry…October isn’t hot or crowded"- Mother & son 2-week trip *UPDATED 1-13-13
 
Links to posts:
Day 1 Saying goodbye is oh, so hard.
Day 2: Now Im a Believer
Day 3 Sneak peek!
Day 4: Will the chef hate me?
Day 5: I won! I won!
Day 6: Green vs. Orange
Day 7: Stop the music...please!
Day 8: Poor Andrew
Day 9: Then why did you order it?
Day 10: Yep, today I lost it. And caused a scene.
Day 11: “Animal Kingdom Evening EMH...why did you have to leave?”
Day 12: “Ugh…all these crowds! Let’s go mini-golf!”
Day 13: "Photography disaster and dining disappointment"
Day 14: “A quick change in plans…”
Day 15: "A picture perfect day."
Day 16: “Boo hoo…the last day of our vacation.”

Introduction:

Ah..the lure of the annual pass. Somehow I talked my hubby into thinking that the purchase of the pass actually saves us money. LOL! Our last trip was in November of 2011, so I had until the end of October this year to fit in another trip on the same annual pass.

But before going further, let me back up just a bit (okay, back up a LONG way) as to how this trip came to be, and why it is so very different than any other trip Ive taken to Disney.

My mom took us to Disney a few times in my childhood years. The blame (or credit, as I see it) rests squarely on her shoulders for getting me started in my Disney obsession. Funny thing once I had kids, she tried to tell me that there is more to see of the world than just Disney. Sorry Mom, too late.

She started way back in the 60's when WDW wasnt even around and my parents took us to Disneyland.

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...0/L/002a-L.jpg

That's me in the middle with the baggy orange pants. In almost all my early childhood photos, I'm wearing those pants. Either my parents were more destitute than they let on, or I had a weird fetish with those pants. And I think maybe that's "Flower" from Bambi. Not sure though.

And no fancy hotels for us... no, we stayed at a nearby KOA campground in our lovely burnt orange pop-up camper.

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...0/L/003a-L.jpg

A big thrill I remember was getting those variety cereal packs for breakfast... the kind where you pour the milk right in the plastic container. My parents didn't buy us fun cereal, except on vacation, so it was such a thrill to pick out Trix or Cocoa Puffs or whatever. Life WAS simpler back then. But I digress...

Fast forward a few years, to the lovely fashionable 70's, and my parents embarked on the long car journey from Minnesota to Disney World in Florida. I remember we always looked forward to Stuckey's gas stations because we could get Florida salt-water taffy there.

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...0/M/004a-M.jpg

That's me in the middle again. Look at those bell-bottom pants. Those are truly horrendous. And they're plaid.... ew! Jan Brady had nothing on me.

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...0/L/005a-L.jpg

My corporate brother would kill me if he knew I was posting these photos of him. I dont think he reads the DIS. At least, I hope not.

These trips continued through my high school years in various forms. Once I got to college, the trips pretty much stopped. Then I got married, and we had kids, and money for a Disney vacation was out of the question. Especially since I was a stay-at-home mom and we had 5 kids.

I so wanted to take my kids to Disney. So one winter, my two oldest boys (then ages 15 and 13) and I worked taking care of a lady's sled dog team up here in Alaska. It was a lot of work, especially at -30 degrees. But we earned enough money that my DH was willing to chip in the rest and let me take the kids on a very much desired Disney trip. So off we went. (One thing you'll notice... DH is not in these photos. He did not accompany us on our trips. He decided that he did not really like Disney trips, but he was more than happy to send us on our way. )

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...0/L/008a-L.jpg

If you look, you will see 6 kids here. As if taking 5 kids to Disney alone wasnt challenging enough, we invited my sons' best friend to come with us.

Over the next few years, we took a few trips. (Keep an eye on the littlest dude...he plays a part in this trip report.)

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...0/L/007a-L.jpg

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...0/L/009a-L.jpg

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...0/L/011a-L.jpg

(As a side note, you can see from their shirts that I have one son who is a Minnesota Vikings fan, and another who is a Green Bay Packers fan. Made for some fun Sunday afternoons at our house.)


But then the inevitable happened. My oldest started college and my second oldest got involved with high school sports. He simply could not miss the games and practices.

So our trip changed, from me and 5 kids, to me and 3 kids.

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...0/L/013a-L.jpg

And then it happened again. My oldest daughter is a dancer, and felt she could not miss classes and a competition. So our trip changed again, from me and 3 kids, to me and 2 kids.

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...filtered-L.jpg

And then, my second oldest daughter (also a dancer) decided that she could not miss that many classes either.


So now, it is down to just me and my youngest son. And that's what this trip report is about. Our 2-week trip was from October 10-26, 2012. I wasn't sure what this vacation would be like. My son and I get along very well...

...but would he be bored with no siblings, just his mom, for 2 weeks in Disney?


With all that background history out of the way, on with the trip report!

CAST: (very small)

Me - Mom of 5, living in Alaska.

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...743235_n-L.jpg


Andrew - 14.

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...081473_n-L.jpg


DH did not go with us on our trip, but since he is the one who has paid for much of our fun, it's only fair that I at least acknowledge him here. Thanks, honey!

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...154213_o-L.jpg

burly 11-11-2012 01:38 AM

Yay! I'm in. Love your trip reports.
My sister and i take my kids when they graduate high school. Just her and I and one child. It's a trip...always....:rotfl:

Looking forward to more...:goodvibes

KIM

MEK 11-11-2012 05:14 AM

Awesome start to your TR. I am so in. From Alaska to WDW. That is quite the hike.

Judging that you started going to DL in the 60's I would think we are similar in age, but I suspect you started going in the really LATE 60's cause you look pretty darn good. :rotfl:

I have two kids and they are now at that age where they don't travel to WDW anymore. Fortunately my DH will go with me an I only live a 2 hour plane ride away.

Loved your old pictures- especially the 70's. "Marsha Marsha Marsha"

MEK 11-11-2012 05:16 AM

Also wanted to say that I was in the world on the 16th - 23rd, so perhaps our paths crossed.

gardenia 11-11-2012 05:55 AM

Just wanted to say - love the bellbottoms. I had some plaid ones too back in the day (1968), with a matching jacket.

blestmom 11-11-2012 12:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by burly (Post 46679235)
Yay! I'm in. Love your trip reports.
My sister and i take my kids when they graduate high school. Just her and I and one child. It's a trip...always....:rotfl:

Looking forward to more...:goodvibes

KIM

Welcome aboard, Kim! Great to have you.

blestmom 11-11-2012 12:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MEK (Post 46679409)
Loved your old pictures- especially the 70's. "Marsha Marsha Marsha"

Thanks. My kids can't believe what we used to wear back in the 70's...

Happy to have you reading my trip report!

blestmom 11-11-2012 12:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MEK (Post 46679416)
Also wanted to say that I will in the world on the 16th - 23rd, so perhaps our paths crossed.

Yes, we were there the same time. Maybe you'll be in one of my photos! ;)

blestmom 11-11-2012 12:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gardenia (Post 46679478)
Just wanted to say - love the bellbottoms. I had some plaid ones too back in the day (1968), with a matching jacket.

My wardrobe back then was....interesting.

blestmom 11-11-2012 06:15 PM

Day 1 – “Saying goodbye is oh, so hard. “

Preparing for this trip was really different as well. Usually I’d be talking about all the fun stuff we were going to do, but since my other kids weren’t coming with, that seemed kind of insensitive. So I did all the planning very quietly. Andrew started coming on errands with me into town just so we could have some time to talk in the car about the trip without doing so in front of the others.

Since it was going to be just the two of us, I wanted to eat at some table service places that are too expensive with multiple kids. With 5 kids (then 3, then 2) we ate mostly at counter service places. So making some ADR’s was really fun. But I had to do it on the sly. ;)

Also done on the sly was packing. While the girls were at dance one day, I quietly went and got our suitcases and then kept them in our bedrooms until it was time to go.

I admit I was feeling pretty guilty about leaving the girls home. I wish there had been a way for them to come with, but we just couldn’t make it work with their schedules. And with 2/3 of our trip (park tickets and airline tickets) being freebies, that’s why Andrew and I still went.

But saying goodbye was hard. It was especially hard with my oldest son, who has been living at home while commuting to college. He has to finish his final training in Oklahoma, and was going to be leaving for 3 months while I was gone. So when I said goodbye to him, it was for a long time.

And the dog. Who wouldn’t be sad saying goodbye to this?

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Family...filtered-L.jpg

That sweet guy has me wrapped around his lil’ paw…and he knows it. His name is Jack, named after my favorite captain.

Okay, enough with the sentimental. (It’s bittersweet when your kids grow up.) On with the trip...


Back in the spring when I redeemed our miles for the airline tickets, I was thrilled with our flights. Usually, we do three flights, always leaving early in the morning, and getting into Orlando late at night...too late to do anything. But this time, our flights were great…Anchorage to Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City to Orlando. One. Two. Done. And…we were taking the red-eye, putting us into Orlando in the afternoon. Time to settle in, maybe swim in the pool, even head to a park if it was open late enough.

But…alas, it didn’t last. In August I got the lovely notification email from Delta I didn’t want…”There has been a change that affects one or more of your flights.” Grrrr. Usually, these changes aren’t too great, but this time, it was quite different. Now they had us on 3 flights…Anchorage to Minneapolis, Minneapolis to Detroit, Detroit to Orlando. And we are leaving early in the morning, and getting into Orlando late at night...too late to do anything.

For just a short time, I considered calling Delta and asking if there was any other option, but the more I thought about it, I thought, “Um, you’re getting a virtually free flight from Alaska to Disney World. What in world are you complaining about?” So I said to Andrew, “Let’s just go with it and have a good attitude. I’m sure it will be fine.”

Since our flight was at 6 a.m., Andrew and I left our house at 2 a.m. We were driving ourselves in and having someone pick up our car the next day. I didn’t want to ask anyone to drive us to the airport at 2 a.m.! Good thing we left early, because for the first ½ hour, the fog was so thick I couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of the car. We live in an area heavily populated with moose, and the pitch black darkness and the fog was a tricky combination. Once we got out of the fog, we started in on spoiling ourselves by stopping at the only 24-hour coffee shack and getting ourselves an over-priced frou-frou coffee drink.

Airport check-in went quickly, as there was hardly anyone there. Now another new thing for me this trip was having to sit next to a stranger on the plane. In the past, I’ve always flown with at least two kids, so I always had someone I knew on either side of me. This trip, since it was just the 2 of us, that meant that one of us was going to have to sit next to the ‘unknown.’ I volunteered. Waiting to board our flight, we had fun trying to figure out who I was going to be seated next to.

(Reminded me when I was the ‘out man out’ on our last trip…my son and daughter rode together, and I often got seated with a ‘single rider.’ That was fun. Let’s see, on Everest alone, I sat next to a Pedro (from Napoleon Dynamite) look-alike who was quite a bit of fun, then the stoic middle-aged mom who never uttered a word and sat as still as a mannequin, and then the teen-age girl who was more than a little scared on the ride, with her dad also riding single rider behind her. Ah…the memories.)

So…who did I get seated next to? Some guy probably in his 30’s who either read or slept the entire time. Not very talkative. Oh well. Thank goodness for the Kindle Fire. I loaded up a t.v. series and a movie, so that helped because it was a 5-1/2 hour flight. Once in Minneapolis, we grabbed some sandwiches, and boarded our flight to Detroit. This time I sat next to a young guy who slept the entire 1-1/2 hour flight. We have never been to the Detroit airport before. We just saw the gate area we were in, but it was quite nice. We got more over-priced frou-frou coffee drinks, and boarded our third and final flight. This time I was seated next to an older lady who played games or read on her iPad the whole flight. Three flights, and no one was in a talkative mood.

After another 2-1/2 hours, we finally arrived in Orlando. We retrieved our bags and headed over to Magical Express. The bus was already there, and there were a few others on it. We quickly boarded and headed off to Pop Century.

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...filtered-L.jpg

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...filtered-L.jpg


We were the second stop for the Magical Express bus. We got to Pop Century and went to register. I had requested a room in the 50’s section (our favorite) but NOT a ground floor.


It really makes no logical sense, but in Alaska, while hiking, I know I could encounter this...

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g7...-bear-0012.jpg

Or this…

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g7...ous/images.jpg

Or this….

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g7...us/images1.jpg


…but I really don’t like the thought of encountering this…

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g7...us/images2.jpg

Or this…

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g7...us/images3.jpg

…in my hotel room.

So I always request a non-ground flour room.

I was thrilled when we got a 4th floor room! And it was poolside. Sweet!

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...filtered-L.jpg

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...filtered-L.jpg



It was 11:45 p.m., and that meant we had 15 minutes to go down to the food court and get something to bring back to the room for dinner, and we could get our refillable resort mugs. (Even though I really don't like the current design...ugh!)

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...filtered-L.jpg

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...filtered-L.jpg

http://akblestmom.smugmug.com/Disney...filtered-L.jpg

See that fan on the nightstand? My son likes the 'white noise' when he sleeps so he brought that big fan from home in his suitcase!


After unpacking and settling in for the next two weeks, we were both pretty tired and decided not to set an alarm, but get up whenever and head over to Epcot. We're following EasyWDW this time, and that was his suggested park of the day.

debbieandroo 11-11-2012 08:57 PM

I'm in! Already a great start - I love learning the history of your past trips. My clothes at DLR were nothing to write home about either - whew! Hard to believe we survived all of that plaid and polyester.

I know what you mean about the 'economy' of the AP - ha! All that 'saving money' has set me back big time, that's for sure.

Can't wait to read more - I just adore your pictures, especially that effect of the lettuce on your sandwich and the bus seats on ME. So pretty and creative.

blestmom 11-11-2012 11:24 PM

So glad you're joining in!! :cheer2:


Quote:

Originally Posted by debbieandroo (Post 46685463)
Hard to believe we survived all of that plaid and polyester.

I know! Wasn't it awful?


Quote:

Originally Posted by debbieandroo (Post 46685463)
I know what you mean about the 'economy' of the AP - ha! All that 'saving money' has set me back big time, that's for sure.

You and me both. :)


Quote:

Originally Posted by debbieandroo (Post 46685463)
I just adore your pictures, especially that effect of the lettuce on your sandwich and the bus seats on ME. So pretty and creative.

Thank you! :goodvibes I only got the camera 3 weeks before we left, so there was definitely a learning curve for me. But what better place to practice photography than Disney World!

MEK 11-12-2012 04:46 AM

I always love arrival stories and that sure is a lot of flying to get to WDW. Too bad they changed your original flights, but heck - a free flight is a free flight!

I am not a big fan of the ground floor either. I rather walk up 3 flights of stairs then be on the ground floor. :rotfl: It's not the bugs and stuff. I just like to be up high.

Did you mention how long you have been living in Alaska? Just curious.

Your night time picture of Pop Century is really pretty.

Oh - and Jack is so cute!

dls881 11-12-2012 08:03 AM

Hi Blestmom!

Its Diane from RS. Loved reading your report and loved your pictures!

blestmom 11-12-2012 12:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MEK (Post 46686941)
Did you mention how long you have been living in Alaska? Just curious.

We've been living in Alaska 19 years.


Quote:

Originally Posted by MEK (Post 46686941)
Your night time picture of Pop Century is really pretty.

Thank you! :goodvibes


Quote:

Originally Posted by MEK (Post 46686941)
Oh - and Jack is so cute!

He sure is...and he knows it. He gets away with e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g!!


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