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Old 01-03-2012, 05:15 PM   #1
stephielela
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The Never-Ending-Anything-Goes PTR

Welcome to another installment of the crazyness that is my Disney Obsession. I had plans to start this open ended PTR originally because I knew there would be at least one trip this year but I wasn't sure when. The only definite thing I had on the books was a cruise on the Dream in 2013, and not until October at that. I knew I would be attempting to attend an AEP (agent education program) offered to travel agents this year, as well as the Social Media Mom's conference that is held annually at WDW. What I didn't realize is another opportuinity would present itself, and soon.

Shortly before Christmas, Southwest Airlines ran this crazy 24 hour sale- 50% off fares on Jan 23,24 31 and February 1st. It took me a minute to do the math, but I soon realized if I was interested in booking it would either need to be a 6 day trip... or a 1 day trip. I got to talking with some of my fellow travel agents and realized one of them, Nikki (NikkiLovesWDW!) was arriving Feb 1st at WDW. Well, it also just so happens that my birthday is in January (the 13th to be exact) and what better birthday gift is there than a trip to WDW. Also there was a winter room only discount being offered. I ended up being crazy enough to book the flights, since I figured worst case scenario I could cancel the flights and use the credit for another trip. Then a few days later Southwest offered a few more dates at 50% off, so I was able to make my one day trip into a two day adventure!

Since this is such a quick trip, the TR portion will be posted here. And who knows, maybe by the time that trip is over, I will know when my next trip will be!


I am updating with chapter links for each mini TR to make things simpler...


WDW January/February
Arrival!
Dinner at Kona and Wishes from the Poly!
A glorious Epcot morning!
An Epic Meet, otherwise known as when Nikki and Stephanie drank themselves around the world!
Time to leave already??


DC Weekend (April)
Arrival and settling in...
Arlington
Wrap up pt 1
Wrap up pt 2


Universal Trip (June 27-30)
Getting there...
Winter Summerland

Winter Summerland continued
End of Day 1
Universal part 1
Universal part 2

Dinner and Islands
The Wizarding World!

Islands of Adventure
Universal wrap up

Breakfast and exploring
Art of Animation part 1
Art of Animation part 2
The end

Last edited by stephielela; 08-01-2012 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:11 PM   #2
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I'm in!

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Old 01-03-2012, 07:17 PM   #3
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Gianna's First of Many WDW Trips March 2013!! PTR

Gianna and Sophia's First Trip to Disney World September 2014 PTR!!

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Old 01-03-2012, 07:20 PM   #4
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:25 PM   #5
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Welcome!!! I think this is the fastest I have ever gotten followers
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:28 PM   #6
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DLR: Yearly trips from 1991-2006, AP holder Jan 06 (monthly trips thru May 2008), Nov 08 DLH-Dreams, Jan 09 GCH, June 09 DLH-Magic, June 09 Desert Inn, Oct 09 Tropicana, Mar 10 GCH, May 10 Castle Inn, Nov 10 GCH, Mar 11 DLH, Nov 11 GCH, Mar 12 PPH, Apr 12 PPH, July 12 PPH, Nov 12 DLH, May 13 GCH, July 14 VGC
WDW : June 2-8, 2008 - Pop Century, January 20-28, 2010 - CSR, Dec 8-15, 2012 AKV/BWV, Oct 5-11, 2013 SSR/AKV/BLT
DCL: Dream June 2011, Wonder Dec 2011

Food and Wine? Sounds Divine! Oct 2013 TR
Our First WDW Trip as Parents - December 2012
Mexican Riviera Cruise with WONDERful Souvenir in the Works!Dream CAME True! June 21-26, 2011 TR
Food, Fun, and Frivolity: 8 Funtabulous days
Ugh, what were we thinking?! 9 days Deluxe Dining, The Crow's fly to Disneyworld! Jan 20-28, 2010 Pre-TR, DLR - The Proposal, Bouncers, and a Celebrity! June 3-6
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Old 07-01-2012, 10:36 PM   #7
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Just testing my new Disboards app!!! This is pretty awesome! This will make live updates so much easier, except for pictures... But still! Now maybe I won't fall so far behind on my subs!
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Old 07-03-2012, 03:17 PM   #8
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Geez! I didn't even get to tell you goodbye and now i'm saying welcome back! Sorry was MIA for a bit; been sooo busy, no time for the DIS

And what's this DIS app you speak of?!
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DLR: Yearly trips from 1991-2006, AP holder Jan 06 (monthly trips thru May 2008), Nov 08 DLH-Dreams, Jan 09 GCH, June 09 DLH-Magic, June 09 Desert Inn, Oct 09 Tropicana, Mar 10 GCH, May 10 Castle Inn, Nov 10 GCH, Mar 11 DLH, Nov 11 GCH, Mar 12 PPH, Apr 12 PPH, July 12 PPH, Nov 12 DLH, May 13 GCH, July 14 VGC
WDW : June 2-8, 2008 - Pop Century, January 20-28, 2010 - CSR, Dec 8-15, 2012 AKV/BWV, Oct 5-11, 2013 SSR/AKV/BLT
DCL: Dream June 2011, Wonder Dec 2011

Food and Wine? Sounds Divine! Oct 2013 TR
Our First WDW Trip as Parents - December 2012
Mexican Riviera Cruise with WONDERful Souvenir in the Works!Dream CAME True! June 21-26, 2011 TR
Food, Fun, and Frivolity: 8 Funtabulous days
Ugh, what were we thinking?! 9 days Deluxe Dining, The Crow's fly to Disneyworld! Jan 20-28, 2010 Pre-TR, DLR - The Proposal, Bouncers, and a Celebrity! June 3-6
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Old 07-04-2012, 11:17 AM   #9
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Universal trip, getting there...

Get excited! I’m getting started on my Universal TR ALREADY! No 3 month delay this time!! At least… not yet

So where were we… It was 2 pm June 26th and I was ecstatic about being off work! I started celebrating immediately by going to our spa to get my nails done! We have a new product called Gelish which is basically like a combination of gel and shellac. It’s thinner than shellac but faster to put on the gel. I have a lot of trouble with my nails so I had been hesitant to try it out but the spa director had tried it out and hers were still looking good so I figured I would give it a shot! I LOVE it!!



The excitement continued because when I got home my brand new iPhone was waiting for me!!! I was so worried it wouldn’t get to the house at a time when someone would be there to sign for it, so I was extremely relieved! I spent some time getting that set up and finished packing.

Every year at my work we do a company challenge where the whole property is divided up into 4 teams (We’re Navy Blue) and then there are different events over a couple months that we participate in to earn points. Our team almost ALWAYS comes in last! This year though I’ve made an extra push to get my employees involved and so far it’s working! We are in 2nd place!!! Tuesday night was the bowling challenge and a big group from my team was going. It was a ton of fun though I probably drank more and stayed out later than I should have since I had a flight at 7:30 the next day!

I went home and crashed and was up bright and early the next morning. Jack woke up fairly easily and we were ready to go right on time! The day before we had gotten donut holes to eat on the plane. They come in a handy plastic container so they don’t get smushed in the backpack so we didn’t have to worry about breakfast. My mom dropped us off at 6:30 am and we were able to walk right up to the desk to check our bags (we had all the luggage with us since my mom and sister were both catching flights later in the day). After that we waltzed right through security and were sitting down waiting patiently (not so much in Jack’s case) for our plane to arrive!

We saw this sign right when we got through security… We weren’t flying Air Tran but oh well. Jack’s still a little sleepy



There’s our ride!!!


On the plane!!


This flight originated in St. Louis, then came to get us in KC, then flew to Orlando, Birmingham Alabama and Houston TX in that order. Now I have no idea what could possibly possess someone to take such a roundabout trip, but I think I would be MISERABLE.

Anywho, the flight was pretty uneventful. We were worried about a little bad weather due to what later was just tropical storm Debby, but we had no issues. Jack watched some Ducktales on his DVD player and I read. All in all a very quiet flight! Once we arrived we headed to our favorite fake monorail!



That kid is such a goof! Can you tell he was excited?

We stopped in the Universal store to get a couple maps and times guides. While I was inside Jack got a picture with one of his favorites!



Then he insisted on getting a picture with Goofy too…



Eventually we managed to tear him away. Once we got to baggage claim my dad went to go deal with the rental car while Jack and I rescued our luggage from the never ending luggage carousel. By the time we got all of it my dad was back and we were ready to walk over to the cars.

This was a first for me, usually I take the Magical Express. Or if we rent a car I wait with Jack and the luggage while my parents go get the car and bring it. I think this was the first time I’ve ever set foot in the parking garage! We got our wheels, a shiny silver Chevy Impala and headed out! We were pleasantly surprised to find out the toll sticker thing is automatic so we didn’t have to stop at each toll and pay.

I was kinda giddy about being able to take pictures since on the ME it’s often hard to get good shots…



Jack was very excited



I was a little upset when I found out the reason gas is so much cheaper everywhere else but where I live… turns out there is some sort of agreement where we have to use some sort of special gas in the summer months and it costs more? I don’t know all the details but I knew gas was around $3.30 at home…







/

Do you think people were stopping to take pictures in front of these signs and that’s why that had to put the no stopping sign up?




Our first stop was DTD! We had to look forever for a spot to park but eventually we got one… relaly fara way! We were starving so we were heading to Earl of Sandwich for lunch. This is the first time my dad had ever eaten at the one in Orlando. I went in and ordered while he and Jack got us a table outside. It was hopping in there!! Jack was dying to get his picture taken with Buzz and Mr. Potatohead





All of DTD seemed busy so we didn’t stick around for any shopping, instead we moved right on to our next stop!

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Old 07-05-2012, 11:16 AM   #10
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Winter Summerland

For Father’s Day I had given my dad a gift card to cover lunch and mini golf specifically for this trip so I was really relieved when the weather turned out decent enough to play! In case anyone is curious, this one is adjacent to Blizzard Beach. It was $10 for kids and $12 for adults and if you play a second round it’s half off. There are two courses, Winter and Summer. We played Summer. I have a ton of pictures…



Jack’s ready to get to it!




























My dad got a hole in one here



Vending machines


plenty of benches spaced out between holes in case you had to wait

















A snoring noise comes from a speaker in that cooler on the right!
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:58 AM   #11
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What's next?

My mom’s flight wasn’t due to land until 3:30 so since we had a little bit of time to kill we decided to hang around property a bit more. My dad has always been interested in staying at Coronado Springs so since it was close we headed there to look around a bit!
















We poked around the gift shop a bit. I saw a shirt that I really liked but I didn’t get it. Jack was thirsty so we bought a bottle of water and I got a postcard. I noticed more resort specific items than I usually see, and recently I read an article saying Disney was bringing back more resort specific souvenirs which I think is AWESOME!

Finally we figured we should head back to the airport to get my mom. Jack fell asleep in the car…





We picked up my mom and then headed to the house. It was EXACTLY like it was in the pictures so no surprises there except there were more bathrooms than we were expecting. We went in and got unpacked and then headed out to get a few groceries. We ended up at a Target which basically put me on !! I love Target, I love Disney, I love Florida so being at a Target IN Florida NEAR Disney was almost more than I could take!! We got our items and then dropped them back at the house. We were also scouting for a place for dinner. My mom’s best friend from childhood recently moved to New Smyrna Beach with her husband and they were driving up to see us. Right by Target was a restaurant called Bahama Breeze and the menu looked good so that’s where we met.

The food was good, and the weather was nice so we sat outside and they had a guy playing island music which was nice. The food was great as were the beverages. Jack had a good time dancing and he was soon joined by not one but TWO little girls. He was quite the happy boy.

After we sat around talking forever we finally headed back to the house. I had promised Jack he could swim so I let him in the pool for about 15 minutes. Having this little pool was so convenient! I just put his life jacket on and let him jump in while I stuck my feet in the water.





After a little while we figured out that the pool had lights in the water which Jack found fascinating!


After pool time we showered and got our stuff ready for the next day and headed to bed!
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:16 AM   #12
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Fall trip update!!!

We interrupt this TR for an update on our upcoming adventure!!

I *FINALLY* have most of the fall trip hammered out. Not a ton of details yet, but at least dates are set! This has been a complicated process due to trying to corrdinate with people who aren't OCD planners like myself

My friend Lindsay and her husband John are the basis of this trip. The plan was originally to do Disney for a week or so, maybe rent a house, whatever. Well now that she is expecting we had to alter our plans a few times. So here it is!

New Dates: 10/28-11/6!
Jack and I will head to Gainesville first where we will spend some time with Lindsay's family and have her baby shower. Then on the 1st we will head to Orlando and check in. Lindsay and her husband are flying back to Italy on the 4th and Jack and I are staying at WDW until 11/6.

New Hotel: Pop Century
I love Pop. I really do. I really wanted to stay at Art of Animation though, but they weren't part of the free dining offer that was just released. So Pop it is!

We will still be doing MNSSHP on 11/2. I am thinking of doing 5 day tickets and doing AK the morning of the party, since we don't usually spend much time there anyways and they have morning EMH so we could get in and get all the stuff we want to do done in time to go back and take a nap before the party. Plus since we are doing MK on another day besides the party, I don't feel the need to do as much AT the party so we can go a little closer to 7 pm. I'm working on a rough schedule of park days but all of that is subject to change once we figure out who exactly is going with us etc. We are also not making any ADR's yet, though I am thinking I will probably make one for just me and Jack for after everyone else leaves...

So there you have it, our new and improved plans! I'm sure they will still change about a thousand times before we actually leave but still... it's progress!
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Old 07-14-2012, 12:30 PM   #13
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Universal part 1

The next morning we were up bright and early. Jack wasn’t too sleepy, but he wasn’t thrilled at first about getting up. My dad had picked up my sister at the airport late the night before, AFTER Jack and I went to bed, so Jack was happy to see she had made it.
We actually made it out the door at 6:40 am. My mom got us to the guest drop off area by 7:10 am and then headed on to her work meeting. We headed toward Universal Studios to pick up our tickets from the kiosk.
Sister, Jack and Dad on our first of many moving walkways!



Just a side note, there were about a thousand people wearing minion t-shirts like Jack’s and they obviously sold them in parks as well. I got Jack’s on clearance at Target for $2.40, and he really got a kick out of seeing so many other people wearing shirts like his!

We wandered over through City Walk…










This was REALLY handy as we weren’t sure how Jack would measure up with shoes on



We made our way to the kiosks and got our tickets. Then I decided to check with the guy at the gate to verify what time the park opened. He asked to see my tickets and then said that the park opened at 9 but we could get in at 8!! He said the only things that would be open were Despicable Me and Shrek! We were pretty thrilled with this info. We were also hungry so we headed over to Burger King to see about getting some breakfast, but they didn’t open till 8. We went back and got in line at Universal at 7:45 and there were maybe 30 people in line already. They opened the gate and we walked right in and right onto Despicable Me!

I was really excited about this ride. Jack LOVED the movie, and I knew there was a possibility we wouldn’t be able to ride this since it was still in “technical rehearsal” so the fact that we got to ride AND didn’t have to wait to do so was AWESOME!











The preshow is very cute and soon we were being whisked inside! I really enjoyed the ride, it was very entertaining and cute, but Jack was not a fan. Afterwards we asked him if he wanted to ride again and he said no. He said it was too loud. I was bummed he didn’t like it, but he goes through weird phases sometimes like this so we moved on. We were all hungry so we headed to the Boulangerie that was right nearby for some breakfast. We also went ahead and bought the refillable mugs which were buy 2 get 1 free. They were $7.99 each and then $.95 for refills, except water which you can get for free. The woman made sure to tell us they were good for both parks and for as long as we had them, not just that day. My dad and sister got breakfast sandwiches and I got a cheese Danish. That and the 3 mugs came to about $30.

When we were done with breakfast we headed over to see Shrek. We had just recently watched Shrek at home so Jack would be familiar with the characters. At first he was scared and didn’t want to do it, but then he said he would go. He ended up liking it a lot!

Once we were done it was 9 am so we headed to RRR. We decided my dad and sister would ride first while I held the bags rather than get a locker.

For anyone not familiar with the system, basically Universal doesn’t let you take bags/purses on their big attractions. They provide lockers for free for the duration of the ride. You go to the screen, scan your finger and they assign you a locker. You can only get into it once, and if you go over the time limit (which is automatically determined using the current wait time) you get charged.



And FYI, the refillable mugs WILL fit in the lockers.

Jack had to go potty so we walked across to the restrooms by Twister. When we came back my dad called saying the ride was down, did I want to wait or did I want them to come down. I told them to wait a bit longer. Jack was getting bored so I decided to head over to the Fievel playground with him. Of course I couldn’t put the stuff in the locker because then they wouldn’t be able to get it out before meeting me since they would need my fingerprint. So now I was wearing my purse, my sister’s purse and carrying 3 refillable mugs. On our way to Fievel’s we saw a face painting spot. Jack really wanted to get his face painted like Spiderman so I figured why not! It was $12 but it didn’t take long and she was very patient with Jack’s twitching!






Once Jack was done getting painted we headed to Fievel’s but it wasn’t quite open yet so we went on ET. With my arms full of refillable mugs it was quite a trick but we managed. Man that queue is long! It was mildly entertaining but Jack didn’t love it.

Finally Fievel’s was open so I let Jack go play.







After a little while I FINALLY heard from my dad close to 10:30. They had just gotten off the ride and were headed my way. Once they met up with us we each took a turn riding the Woody Woodpecker coaster with Jack.


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Old 07-14-2012, 02:40 PM   #14
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Universal day part 2

Just as my sister was coming back my mom called to say she had parked and was on her way in. Jack and I went to meet her up front (we had her tickets) while my dad and sister rode ET.

We all met at Men In Black and put our stuff in a locker. The posted wait was 15 minutes. Jack had a lot of fun with this, but still didn’t want to ride again. I tried to take a picture of our scores, but I couldn’t’ get it to come out right. I know I won though!

After we retrieved our items we went over to ride the Simpsons. The wait was 10 minutes.



Time for a disclaimer! I didn’t watch the Simpson’s growing up. I watched it as an adult when I was living with my ex, but not very often. So while the ride was pretty technologically amazing and fun, I wasn’t familiar with most people so I didn’t connect with it. Definitely worth doing, but it might be helpful to watch a few episodes first! My mom and sister were NOT feeling well after this ride. They said it was too hot, not enough air circulating. Both occasionally get motion sick and the next day they took meclizine just in case.

By now it was time for lunch. As you may have noticed Jack’s makeup was starting to wipe off. It was also itching him and I think he was pretty much over it. I wasn’t surprised, but I wasn’t ready to try and get it all off yet. Then tragedy struck! As we were walking towards the bathrooms, Jack walked full on INTO A CHAIR. It was hard to tell if he was bleeding since he had paint all over his face. We went into the bathroom and wiped off what we could, and he was fine. It wasn’t until later that I remembered I had wet wipes in my purse.

We headed to the International Film and Food Festival for lunch. I had the orange chicken, Jack and my parents all had pizza and my sister had penne. We got 2 water refills and 1 diet coke and the total came to about $43. Really not bad for 5 people.

My parents and sister decided to head to Disaster. It was almost 1 pm and Jack wanted to see the Despicable Me street party so we chilled out for a while and watched that. The person working at the souvenir stand near us let Jack play with the bubble gun she had.




The Disaster wait ended up being really long so they headed to Twister instead and Jack and I did some window shopping and made some more pressed pennies.





When they were done with Twister we headed over to the Mummy and did the child swap. The wait was about 30 minutes. My dad and sister rode first, then my mom and I rode. It was pretty fun.

Next it was our turn to ride RRR. We waited for probably 20 minutes in the single rider line. It was a pretty intense coaster and lots of fun!

Jack and headed back to Fievel’s while the others tried to ride Disaster again. It was a 30 minute posted wait, plus the ride/show itself is pretty long. This time I let Jack ride on the water slide in Fievel’s.



Then I decided to go ahead and let him play in the Curious George water play area. He loved every second of it. Naturally I hadn’t brought swim trunks. I thought about buying some but they were over $20. I decided I would let him have fun and deal with it later, after all, this was his vacation too!





We had a dinner reservation at 5 so about 10 till 4 when the others were done at Disaster I popped Jack into the people dryer… which worked, but not well enough. It was $5



I started looking for a pair of shorts to buy for Jack but only found one option. I ended up taking him into the bathroom and using the Dyson hand dryer to dry his shorts some more.
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:50 AM   #15
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Once I had gotten Jack’s shorts reasonably dry using the Dyson Air Blade in the restroom, we headed over to Margaritaville for dinner!



We were all pretty hungry, and very thirsty… so naturally we did exactly what we had said we wouldn’t do and ordered drinks in souvenir cups… or should I say souvenir blenders!



I can’t remember how much they were but I know it was cheaper than ordering two smaller drinks. Once we were done eating our waitress poured the rest in a to go cup so she could rinse out the “blenders” for us.

We love the food here. We ate at the Margaritaville in Grand Turk on our cruise last May, and my mom has been buying their salsa at home ever since. We got chips and salsa and nachos for appetizers. Sorry the pictures aren’t great, I almost forgot to take any!



Jack and I split the Cheeseburger in Paradise and fries…



My dad got shrimp



My sister got the pulled pork sandwich



My mom shared with my dad and sister. We were all stuffed when we were done.

Jack wanted to get up and steer the table!



After we were done with our drinks and lounging in the chairs outside the restaurant, we headed into Islands!!!



Aha! So here were the crowds we were missing at Universal!



We made a beeline for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and made it there about five minutes after 6.



We headed onto Dragon Challenge first which only had a 10 minute wait! My sister and dad and I rode first, and then my dad rode again with my mom after we swapped. We headed to Flight of the Hippogriff next so Jack could ride something. The wait was 30 minutes, and Jack and I got to ride in the front!









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