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DisneyLifer87 12-30-2013 02:37 AM

The Trip Report that (almost) never was.... a January 2013 TR ~ (Completed 4/17)
Well, hello and thanks for finding me! This has been a trip report long in the making - a year to be precise. Unfortunately, the reason for each delay (2 failed attempts, to be accurate) is from multiple poor life events. But, I am ready now to devote time and energy to finishing this trip report. Finally! :thumbsup2 Before I explain the events that led to the delay in this TR, let's introduce the cast for those who may not know us (and who are not into checking the PTR).

Cast of Characters

This was a trip just for DH and myself like it usually is. Our fourth time traveling to the World together and unfortunately a break is going to happen between this one and the next - DH claims he is Disney-ed out :worried:. We will try to change that.

Me: Meagan, or Lifer on the DIS. I'm a 26 year old English Language Arts teacher for an online charter high school. I'm also currently working on my Masters in teaching and a certification for postsecondary adjunct professorship.
DH: Matt, 25 year old who works as an overnight baker for Panera Bread and will shorty be the reason I become very fat. I just can't say no to those pastries that come home!

The Details
January 19th - 26th, 2013 (Saturday to Saturday)
We stayed at the Pop Century Resort in the 60's with park hopper tickets and the dining plan. I do not have food pictures, however I will review each place we visited!

ADR reviews: - in order of appearance, look for the GREEN text within the daily post-
Earl of Sandwich (dinner)
Flame Tree BBQ (lunch)
Le Cellier Steakhouse (dinner)
Backlot Express (lunch)
50's PrimeTime Cafe (dinner)
Yorkshire County Fish Stand (lunch)
La Cantina de San Angel (lunch)
Coral Reef (dinner)
Casey's Corner (lunch)
'Ohana (dinner)
Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe (lunch)
Be Our Guest (dinner)
Kouzzina (dinner)

Coming up I shall explain how we came to be a year late on a TR that almost never was.

DisneyLifer87 12-30-2013 02:41 AM

Table of Contents

0 - Why this TR almost didn't happen
01 - Day One - Heading to the World!
02 - Day Two - Animal Kingdom and Nala souvenirs!
03 - Day Two, part 2 - The Safari of a Lifetime and farewell to AK
04 - Day Two, part 3 - Le Cellier and Illuminations
05 - Day Three - We're Movie Stars!
06 - Day Three, part 2 - Rain, rain, go away!
07 - Day Three, part 3 - Time Travels with a Bit of Magic!
08 - Day Four - EPCOT and a random act of romance (RAOR)?
09 - Day Five - Water Parks or more?
10 - Day Five, part 2 - Ohana means Family!
11 - Day Six - Making Magical Memories at Magic Kingdom
12 - Day Six, part 2 - Magical Nighttime!
13 - Day Seven - Swimming, but a Poor Ending
14 - Day Eight - Headaches and Heading Home

DisneyLifer87 12-30-2013 03:00 AM

Why this TR almost wasn't made...
The Trip Report that (almost) wasn't...

If you browse to my PTR for this Winter Getaway, you will notice that we are fur-baby enthusiasts. Prior to our January trip we had introduced a new kitten into our family after losing our 18 year old, Nala. Alex was a great companion to our elderly Simba and a wonderful addition to our family.

The first failed attempt...

Shortly after our return from vacation, Alex fell very ill. My trip report had started, but went on a hiatus. After a week of ER hospital visits and thousands of dollars later, we learned that Alex had a heart murmur which was causing him to throw frequent blood clots in his lungs, heart, legs, and kidneys. We had to humanely put down our kitten at 10 months old after only having him in our family for 6 months. It was a difficult time for both DH and myself, but also on our elderly Simba who had now lost two companions. We did find it in our hearts to adopt another kitten on a bitterly cold February morning. She is now a year old and a energetic lift to our spirits. Her name is Belle :lovestruc

She is much bigger and a bit fatter now, but still as devilish as she appears. Our Christmas tree only lasted 3 weeks, just to give you an idea.

The second failed attempt...

I decided in March to attempt another shot at a TR. This was an even shorter failure! My grandmother who had been suffering from dementia was moved to an assistant living facility in April and her memory declined rapidly. Needless to say, the TR was put on a back burner as my family and I tried to adjust to this change. Then, of course, I was licensed as a teacher and began an extensive job search and, well... the TR just fell away.

Grandma suffered a series of seizures in November before Thanksgiving, but made an amazing recovery. I visited her the week after Thanksgiving and she recognized me and DH. We shared some laughs, exchanged hugs and kisses, and told each other we loved one another. A few weeks later, Grandma suffered a stroke and sadly passed on December 16th. The holidays have been very difficult, but now I am looking forward to a better 2014 and with a fresh start comes a fresh attempt at this cursed TR!

I hope you will join me on this adventure!

NoOrdinaryPrincess 12-30-2013 06:47 AM

I'm on board. Can't wait to hear more!

DisneyLifer87 12-30-2013 05:14 PM


Originally Posted by NoOrdinaryPrincess (Post 50350407)
I'm on board. Can't wait to hear more!

pixiedust: Welcome! So happy you could join in!

And also a fond hello to any lurkers nearby. I am going to post our first day in just a few short moments. (Delay in having some issues with picture formatting.

DisneyLifer87 12-30-2013 05:20 PM

Journey to the World!
Day One - Heading to the World! (1/19/13)

--The Journey--
For our first day we had a little bit of a later flight. I woke DH around 8:00am so we could finish up some last minute morning packing and preparations. I double checked our flight was on time, which it was, and we left the house around 9:30am right on time.
We headed to my mother's house where we were going to leave the cars for the week, as well as hitch a ride to the airport (an easy decision when I realized that if it snowed and our apartment elected to plow, no one would be around to move the vehicles). We transferred luggage to her car and headed for Minneapolis with surprisingly little traffic. The whole security check was fast and the airport was really quiet for a Saturday afternoon. DH and I were through everything by 11:30am and began wondering what to do for the next hour and a half before take off. We grabbed some lunch at Taco Bell (great dining already.. right? ;) ) and then headed to our terminal where I did some homework before take off.
The flight itself was smooth and we landed as scheduled by 5:00pm. We got right onto a ME bus and rode off to our happy place.

.... now I did not take ANY pictures this night because I was tired and we were moving around way too much. However, I will continue on with the evening...

--We're HERE!!--
We checked in at Pop Century and found that we were in the 60's building which made me happy. But then I learned we had a ground level as requested (!!) and it was NOT facing the pool (!!!) so I was happy from the get go. We detoured through the food court to get our complimentary mugs (I didn't know till then that they were included on the DDP). They are the same designs from 2011 which is sad, but I got a pink one (I had a black at home) and DH got a blue one since he lost the blue one we got in 2011. We found our room, dropped off our stuff and just headed out. The weather was a little chilly with the sun down (mid 50's) but we had just come from Minnesota so it was a heat wave in comparison to the 19 degrees we had left. Still sweatshirt weather by far.

--Downtown Disney--
We waited for a bus from Pop with a lot of other people. I mean... a lot. :headache: I seriously hoped this was not a sign of bad things to come. DH told me it was Saturday night and people were probably just looking for dinner like we were - it was 7:00pm roughly anyway. So off we went (standing the whole ride). And when we got to Downtown Disney?.....


:crowded: Just wall to wall people. Cheer groups and high school aged tour groups. I had never in all of my years seen it this insane! DH and I didn't even know what to do, but we knew we needed food. We headed to Earl of Sandwich and waited 35 min (:eek:) for some food. Granted, we had never been and we were starving so dirt would have been appetizing, but let's do a little review:

Earl of Sandwich
Again, I apologize for the lack of food pictures. And for some reason on this evening I forgot to keep the receipt so I'm even lacking on prices! :sad2: I swear this is the only missing one! I got a lot better!
DH and I both ordered the Earl's Club which was fantastic. The bread was very soft and the bacon had a lot of flavor. Zero complaints from this department. I ordered my side of red potato salad and DH got a dessert, the chocolate mousse. We used the dining plan and paid nothing out of pocket, but I think the total was around $25 with drinks.

Rating: 5/5 stars. We'd do this again if we were in DD and needed a meal. It's a great use of QS credits.

After DD we did wander over to DisneyQuest to check it out. Really, I don't get it. We only spent about an hour here playing Fix it Felix and PacMan. We did ride the virtual Pirates of the Caribbean which was fun, but nothing too special. It was crowded here and we were tired, so by 10pm we left and headed back to the hotel. Unfortunately the night ended here after some luggage unpacking, but it was nice to be home again.

I feel bad for the lack of photos in this post, so I will give you a sneak peak of what day two shall bring:

DisneyLifer87 12-31-2013 11:38 PM

Lions, Tigers, and Grey Gooses!

Day 2 - Lions, Tigers, and Grey Goose(s) (1/20/13)

Our first Disney day we woke up to a beautiful, sunny Florida morning. The weather was high 60's and very few clouds were in the sky - I was loving it! We had planned to spend the early morning in Animal Kingdom and with the beautiful weather, that's exactly what we did! I rolled out of bed and began getting ready around 7am while DH continued snoozing. (He can be difficult to wake in the morning). He did finally submit to the Disney life of early mornings around 7:45am, which was nice considering he gets ready quick. We headed to the food court for breakfast, though I'm not much for big morning meals.

-One of many Everything Pop stops-
DH had a Ham and Cheese Omelette and I opted for some grapes. We filled out mugs and ate while watching Mickey cartoons. I do enjoy the feel of the Pop Century food court area, though in the morning it was a little cramped. DH thought the omelette was a great size and tasted fine. The grapes were very plump and not too watery, so I had no complaints.
We elected to pay OOP for this meal instead of use our credits. It was $12.34.

Following breakfast we jumped on the bus for Animal Kingdom, though it was a long wait. Usually Pop has quick transportation, but this trip seemed to disappoint. We actually got to the park shortly after 9:15am and headed straight to Expedition Everest. The park wasn't too crowded and DH hates thrill rides, so I walked right on with the single rider line even being closed. Unfortunately the Yeti was still in disco mode, but the ride was as thrilling as ever! I snagged a fastpass for 10:05-11:05am return time, but forgot to use it due to shopping :goodvibes

It really was a beautiful day! We walked back around to the main entrance of the park enjoying the scenery and looking in and out of shops where we did decide to pick up a stuffed Nala plushie as a sort of memorial to our passed kitty of 18 years. I had gotten $150 in Disney giftcards from family and we dipped into that for the 14 in. gift which was $21.25. This did, however, spark a later quest to find the Simba matching mate before the end of the trip. Do we find it?!!?! Who knows...
DH thought it was more fun and convenient to backpack Nala around the park instead of put her in a bag.

From our shopping excursion, we veered towards Dinosaur! which is a favorite of DH's and mine. There was absolutely no wait and we elected to skip the pre-show (heck, we know the story by now). Always a great time. I admit that I was not picture happy this first day, but I promise that changes eventually. After Dinosaur we wandered around to Kilimanjaro Safaris for our fastpasses returning at 2:15pm. We took a leisurely stroll and took some expected Tree of Life pictures.

Clouds were rolling in and we started to fear for rain. We were hoping it would hold off! The next stop was lunch followed by the most incredible Safari trip I have ever experienced during my time in Disney!!! :thumbsup2 but you'll have to wait until the next post...

DisneyLifer87 01-02-2014 04:00 PM

Just a minor update for the moment!

Today marked a return to work after a glorious winter break. Things are a little hectic for grading, but I will try to get a post out later this evening. We also are expecting (and currently experiencing) some arctic cold temperatures in Minnesota. Monday's HIGH is supposed to be -11 :scared1: I really wish that was a joke.

Also, I am starting a PTR (check the link below) for a vacation that may or may not happen in the next year. I'm trying to start my New Year right with a goal of getting some budgeting and couponing success to afford a return to the World. Just... don't tell my DH ;) Head on over if you'd like, but not literally due to the temperature.

DisneyLifer87 01-03-2014 01:18 PM

Lions, Tigers, and Grey Goose(s) - Day Two, cont.
Day 2 - Lions, Tigers, and Grey Goose(s) (1/20/13), Cont.

When I left you last, DH and I were fearing rain and feeling a hunger for some lunch before our FP for Kilimanjaro Safari. I am happy to say that the clouds were only a warning and not a certainty for any rain! They did make it a little cooler in temperature, though as we headed to our lunch destination of Flame Tree BBQ.

Flame Tree BBQ - Lunch
DH and I frequently return to this lunch spot in Animal Kingdom, though I'm not sure why. I suppose it is one of the only things we can agree on? Either way, we arrived at our destination 1:30pm and did not have too bad of a line ahead of us. DH and I both got the pork sandwich with fries. We used our quick service credits and got 2 chocolate mousse desserts are well. The sandwiches allow you to add your own BBQ which is great for someone like myself who prefers less, or for DH who loves to slather it on. The pork was tender and flavorful, but the fries were a little soggy - that's probably what we get for delaying lunch due to crowds. All in all, we were happy with our meal and will continue to come back.

After lunch we headed over to Kilimanjaro Safari. We were a little early (2pm) but the CM lets us through anyway ;) and we walked pretty straight onto the ride. Now, I know I hyped this up previously, but I would like to reiterate that this was the best safari experience I have had at the Animal Kingdom. No, our CM was extra friendly or anything, but the animals were all so very active and photogenic! Instead of describing it to you in words, I'll let my pictures do the talking.
Aww :lovestruc a baby!
The baby cuteness is overwhelming on this safari! :love:

And then it happened... after multiple trips and countless attempts.. I was able to meet the King himself...
So majestic. So beautiful!
And the zebras gave us one final farewell.

It was an amazing experience and one I would not trade in a second! Typically we get distance shots of all of the animals, but this trip was different. Well, that and we had a far better camera with higher resolution zoom capabilities :thumbsup2

After the safari we headed to the 3pm showing of Festival of the Lion King. I have always spent more time viewing this behind a camera lens (as has DH) so this time we put electronics away and just immersed ourselves in the experience. Afterwards I had one last place to go before we headed out for a quick nap. I needed to see my favorite animal, the tiger :bitelip:

And with that, we said a farewell to Animal Kingdom for this trip and headed back to the hotel around 4pm for a much needed nap (for DH) before dinner at one dining place I had been dying to try... and will review in the next post!

DisneyLifer87 01-07-2014 01:46 PM

Real Life Update
Hello to anyone I have still traveling along with me. A little real life update. It has been extremely cold here in Minnesota (-50 wind chills) which has given me a nice two day vacation from work. Got to love being a teacher some times (or, all of the time because this job would never be possible without love and care). However, I will be using my time to update after a nice little shopping trip in the frozen tundra. But, when my Target is at 90% clearance on Christmas items.... you bet I'm going to raid it one last time!

Stay tuned for the end of Day One within the next few hours!

DisneyLifer87 01-09-2014 12:34 AM

Lions, Tigers, and Grey Gooses! - Day Two, finish
Lions, Tigers, and Grey Gooses! - Day Two, night (1/20/13)

When last we met DH and I had enjoyed a fantastic day at Animal Kingdom and were heading back to the hotel for a rest prior to our 7pm ADR. We got back to our hotel room and DH did lie down for a little bit. I caught up on some reading and Stacy!

In no time we were on the bus to Epcot. We arrived after dark (which was a first for our Disney trips to walk in and see the night lights instead of a bright sun). I tried very hard to restrain myself from hiding behind a camera lens, however the crowds were so low that on our way to our ADR in the World Showcase, I had to take at least one!

DH and I continued on to our ADR in Canada at Le Cellier. Both of us were very excited for this ADR that we were willing to wait until 7pm just to enjoy a great steak.

Le Cellier - Dinner
I had heard great things here on the DIS regarding dinner at Le Cellier. I had high expectations going into it and it did not disappoint. Both DH and I paid OOP for beer cheese soup with our pretzel bread. It was creamy and deliciously flavored - great for dipping!
For dinner, DH had the mushroom filet mignon, which wouldn't have been my choice for hating mushrooms. However, he said it was tender and tasted amazing.
I had the bone-in ribeye which was so amazingly flavored, but such a large amount of steak! I finished 3/4 of it before I remember I still needed to fit dessert in. I felt terrible, but I did stop the meat overload to enjoy something sweet. Almost a year later and I still feel bad for not cleaning my plate :sad:
For dessert, DH had the maple creme brule which he says was a little too sweet. I elected for a seasonal berry cheesecake because I'm a big cheesecake fan and it did not disappoint.
Overall, this was a great dining experience and I'm glad we had the dining plan to pay for it! We paid about $12 for the soups OOP and used 4 TS credits for the rest. We look forward to coming back here!

After dinner we walked some of our meal off shopping around the World. We bought a few pins for our collection, but tried to keep the rest of our money for the trip. As Illuminations neared, I needed to stop for my staple alcoholic drink - A grey goose slushie! :bitelip: It was hitting the low 60's and the frozen beverage was perhaps not the best choice, but it was very worth it the chilling feeling! We snagged a spot for Illuminations in Canada... and now you can finish your evening with some photos:

We headed with the crowds back to the hotel and fell asleep right away. Thus ended Day Two - our first full Disney day!

jrj 01-09-2014 03:18 AM

:wave2: Great TR :thumbsup2 Hope it's warmer now :goodvibes It's gotten colder here in Texas and I thought we would just :faint: or get :sick:

Thankfully, we seem to be coming out of the cold snap and are heading towards warmer weather :beach:

Can't wait to read more of your TR :surfweb:

DisneyLifer87 01-09-2014 11:52 AM

It's a pleasant and balmy 6 degrees this morning. But, on the positive side, it's supposed to be 16 today :beach:
...sad to think that I'm actually excited for that since it's about 30 degrees higher than it was two days ago! :sad2: I need to move.

Next week is the end of term which means a massive amount of grading. I will try to at least get through another two trip days before that hits!

wiigirl 01-09-2014 11:54 AM

Following along! :)

nutz2notz 01-09-2014 02:08 PM

Just found your report today.

From one teacher to another: Great job!

Looking forward to more. :thumbsup2

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