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Old 12-20-2006, 03:47 PM   #1
Ellester
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The Epic continues.....The Party's Over (***COMPLETED 3/19***)

Do you ever have the feeling that the anticipation of something is better than the event? That’s how I feel about this trip-report. I’ve been thinking of how to start it for some time now, but the report in my head is bound to be so much better than the actual report. But, I’ve found DISer’s to be particular forgiving, so I will plunge ahead!

Disney has been apart of my life as long as I can remember. My first movie at age 2 was “The Lady and the Tramp”. Thirty-five years later my mother still tells how I was inconsolable when it was over, screaming for the dogs to come back. I remember waiting in an enormous line to see “The Fox and the Hound” when it came out, similar lines for the rerelease of “Pinnochio”. This is so foreign to my kids, it’s laughable. I know many of you are contemporaries of mine and have probably had a similar conversation with your kids:

ME: “When I was your age, we only got to see Disney stuff on TV on Sunday nights when “Wide World of Disney” came on after “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom”.

DD8 or DD5:“What about Disney Channel or Toon Disney?”

ME: “Well, we didn’t have cable” (insert look of disbelief on faces here) “if we missed the show, we missed it.”

DD’s: “Why didn’t you tape it?”

ME: “We didn’t have VCR’s then” (insert mouths gaping and eyes bugging)

DD’s: “Couldn’t you rent the DVD?”

I think you get the point, my kids have no conception of only being able watch a show when the networks dictated you would watch it. This is when I usually segue into the story of going to the video store when I was in high school to pick a movie to watch at my friend, Susan’s house, and having to make sure you were in the BetaMax sections. My how times have changed!

But, I digress….My first trip to Walt Disney World was in 1973 at the tender age of 4. It was a PR trip for my dad to convince my mom to move from Chicago to Florida. I remember snippets of that trip, eating at King Stephan’s (now CRT), seeing Space Mountain being built, riding in the skybuckets, being less than impressed with the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse, not being sure whether the animals on the Jungle Cruise were real or not, loving the Country Bears, buying extra tickets when we used up all the “D” and “E” tickets in our pack, etc. We did move to South Florida in 1974.

Being only 3 house from the Mouse, trips became at least a once or twice a year event. My parents divorced in 1976, so I had trips with both of them. We’ve stayed at everything from the Save Inn to the Royal Plaza at DTD and everywhere in between. Sometime in the late 70’s we stayed at the Treehouse Villas. I remember lots of stairs and a very deep bathtub. My grandmother saved a bag from that trip, I found it with our silhouettes in it after she passed away.


There were lots of day/school trips too. Here is my friend, Christy, on the AstroOrbiters. Notice the skybuckets in the background. I miss those!


Once camping in Ft. Wilderness with the “gifted” program while in Middle School, our leader on that trip was good friends with one of Disney’s early executives and we were treated to a trip “underground”.

Here's what Prince Charming was up to in 1983. I'm on the right.


We took one of the Institute classes/tours. I did the photography option. They loaned us Polaroids and then showed us different ways to photograph the world. Here's the monorail reflected in the Universe of Energy building.


Day trips once a year sponsored by the high school, get on the bus at 6am, return at 1am. Then the much anticipated “Grad Nite”, senior year, leaving the school at 4pm and returning at 8am. Kids had to be appropriately dressed, collared shirts and ties for the boys, dresses or pantsuits for the girls. The headline band for my year was Wang Chung. “Everybody have fun tonight!” After a last precollege trip over the summer, I moved to Atlanta for college. Fell in love and discovered that my now-DH had NEVER been to Disney.

This one is from the summer of 1987, by the TTC. I'm wearing my GradNite shirt. I think that one actually disinigrated, I wore it so much.


It was such a foreign concept to me. Growing up in Florida, I assumed everyone knew how to swim and everyone had been to Disney at least once! This disturbing discovery about my DH’s past was remedied over spring break in 1989. This is us in the parking lot applying sunscreen!



After college, we made a few more short trips but we had moved Iowa by then and driving was no longer an option, ruling out those quick weekend trips I had grown up with. But kids and a return to the South were in our future....

Last edited by Ellester; 03-19-2007 at 07:19 PM. Reason: Because I'm never happy the first time!
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Old 12-20-2006, 04:30 PM   #2
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Woo, I'm first!

Great pics! I love the vintage Disney photos- so much has changed, but so much never changes!
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Old 12-20-2006, 09:29 PM   #3
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Hello fellow PEEP,

Love you, love the pictures!!!!!
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Old 12-20-2006, 10:17 PM   #4
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Hey Peep!

Love the "vintage" pictures and the trip down memory lane. I grew up in California at the other Disneyland. I have similar yellowing photos of fresh-faced, innocent ME and my friends and grad night memories and first date memories etc. ((sigh))

I really cant wait for more.

P.S. Your babies are adorable!
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Old 12-21-2006, 05:26 AM   #5
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Great start, Ellester! I love knowing the Disney background story. You and DH are so cute as are all the early pics. I miss the Skybuckets, too!! I had forgotten about riding them on our 1972 trip. Sounds like you have loads of Disney experience. Can't wait til you bring us into the present. I want to hear all about your upcoming trip!

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Old 12-21-2006, 06:57 AM   #6
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Oh my word I love your photos, I went for the first time aged 9 in 1982 (a long way from the UK) and remember those sky buckets. I even still remember the 15th year song (probably a different trip) 15 years we're having a party, Walt Disney world, the party's going on!!!!!! I think any way.

Well enough of my singing can't wait for the rest of your TR.
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Old 12-25-2006, 10:51 PM   #7
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Great start, you have me hooked! I love the pictures and the history. You really know how to tell a story and I can't wait to hear more
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Old 01-25-2007, 07:26 PM   #8
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Ah, the post vacation depression has set in. No more character breakfasts and Mickey bar snacks, it’s back to laundry and oatmeal! Oh well, at least I have this trip report to help me remember the magic! Overall, it was a wonderful vacation. We did have several bumps, as you will soon see!

On with the report…..

The weekend before we left, we drove up to Atlanta for some shopping and had dinner with my IL’s. My MIL is an animal lover and the thought of our dog being in a kennel for 10 days was too much for her. She and my FIL offered to drive down to Columbus on Friday (about 90 minutes each way) and pick up Merlin and watch him while we are gone. We made sure that they REALLY wanted to take on another dog for two weeks and they assured us it was fine. We’ll save $100+ and the dog will be much happier, so the plan is a go. Thursday night I’m talking to my MIL to finalize plans and she mentions that my FIL had fallen in the driveway (it’s very sloped) while trying to move a fallen branch and that his arm is really sore. But they are still planning on meeting us for dinner and taking the dog home. Friday, she calls and says his arm is worse and they can’t get into the orthopedic until 2:15pm and she’ll call me after. I offer to call the vet to get the dog back in there and she assures me they’ll get the dog somehow. Long story short, FIL has a broken elbow, can’t drive since he’s on painkillers and my MIL doesn’t drive on the Interstate. So, new plan, John will drive towards Atlanta and his sister will drive towards Columbus and using cellphones will determine a dog switching point. Nothing like a hitch in the plan the night before we leave. John eventually meets up with his sister and returns back home at 9:00pm. It all worked out OK, but it was stressful for a while.

We get to bed by 10:00 and try to get a good night’s sleep. I have a typical night before vacation sleep, which means not much. But we wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed and get on the road at 8:19am, just slightly passed our 8:00am goal. Pretty impressive for us! Our trip down was uneventful, traffic was light. We packed breakfast and lunch to eat in the car and just made quick stops at the Florida welcome center for OJ and potties and on the Turnpike to get gas. We used the new 429/Western Way route from the Turnpike to Disney. It was great! No traffic and you could see Spaceship Earth and the Swan/Dolphin in the distance. We got off 429 and were very soon under the arches! The kids were bouncing and screaming, well the girls were. Andrew was asleep. They woke him up and soon we were pulling into Saratoga Springs (SSR).

Anabelle on the lookout:



Rebecca also on the lookout:


They were looking for this (notice the NO TRAFFIC on this route):


And this was her reaction:


Andrew's reaction:



We had been in cell phone contact with my stepsister, Laura, as she and her two kids (Cassie-8 and Marcus-6) were driving up from Lake Worth (near Palm Beach) to meet us for the weekend. We timed it very well and she pulled into the SSR parking lot as I was checking in. Check in went smoothly, although I was a little jealous when the family checking in right next to me was chosen as the SSR “Family of the Day”. I don’t know what that got them other than buttons and a balloon bouquet, but I tried to be happy for them! I didn’t request any particular room, I figured I’d just get the luck of the draw. We were assigned to The Paddock section, third floor, room 6710. It ended up being a great location. Very close to a bus stop and an easy walk to Downtown Disney and the main pool/community area at SSR. We unloaded the van and checked out our home for the next 8 days. I was very happy with the villa. It was very nice having the extra space, two bathrooms, kitchen, and washer/dryer (for reasons that will soon become obvious). We have really been spoiled staying in condos. As much as I’d like to stay at the Poly or AKL someday, I don’t know if we will ever be willing to give up the “home away from home” amenities.

This was our home for the week:


We relaxed in the room for a while and then took the kids to the playground. I don’t have any biological siblings and John’s sister doesn’t have any kids, so my stepsister’s children are my children’s only cousins. They love them terribly and don’t get to see them as much as they would like. It was a joy to just watch them running around playing and being happy to just be with each other. My mom called, her plane from Charlotte had landed and she was on the ME bus on her way. She called once the bus was pulling into SSR and I drove the van up to meet her. We got her settled and we decided to head over to DTD for dinner. We didn’t know exactly where the walking route was, so we decided to take the bus.

We headed over to Wolfgang Puck Express and there was no line, it was about 5:15pm at this point. As we are deciding what to order, Laura looks around and realizes that Marcus is missing. He was right with the other kids sitting by the fountain, but now he is not there. We leave the remaining kids with my mom and split up to look for him. After a few minutes, Laura has Puck’s call security. Meanwhile, the other kids are getting upset and John and I are running around looking for him as well. When he was around 3, Marcus hid in a clothing rack at Burlington Coat Factory and it took over an hour and the police to find him. I had visions of a similar conclusion, but thankfully he was found much more quickly this time. He had apparently walked over to the fountain outside the Rainforest Café and then realized he didn’t know how to get back and started crying. A nice mom took him to a CM and they took him into The Art of Disney and let him draw while they figured out where he belonged. A plainclothed security CM brought him over to Puck’s and all was well. I asked one of the security CM’s how many kids they found in a day and he said “plenty”. I can only imagine how many kids get separated from their parents in a typical Disney day. The whole thing took about 20 minutes and now there was a significant line at Puck’s. It moved fairly quickly though and soon were up to order.

This was our first experience with the Dining Plan. We ordered and the CM asked if we had any counter service credits remaining. I replied yes, as we had just checked in so there should be 40 credits on the card. The card wouldn’t work, so I tried to just charge it back to the room figuring we’d clear it up at the front desk later. Well, we couldn’t charge to the room either. Great, let’s just use the debit card then. Meal finally paid for, we ate and then walked back to the villa. The walk was very doable, actually took less time than the bus with the additional stops at SSR. The kids changed into their swimsuits and we all headed to the pool. I went back to the front desk and explained what had happened at Puck’s. Turns out they had accidentally printed out two sets of keys when we checked in and had given us the wrong set. The “real” set was in the manager’s safe and, of course, the manager was not there. So, the CM printed us yet another set of keys and told us to just throw the other ones away. She credited our room the amount we spent at Puck’s and said she’d have five CS credits removed from our account. OK, all set then. Well, not really, but I’ll get to that later.

Anabelle and Cassie at the pool:


The kids had a great time in the pool. For some strange reason, the lifeguards leave and turn off the slide and sprayground at 8:00pm. The kids still had fun and we headed back to the villa for baths and were all in bed by 10:00pm. We had a breakfast appointment with some princesses to rest up for!
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Old 01-25-2007, 07:49 PM   #9
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Oh I am so glad you are starting! Love the pictures, your kids are too cute! I can't wait for more!

Allyson
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Old 01-25-2007, 08:15 PM   #10
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What a great start!! Love the cute pictures.
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