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Old 02-15-2012, 07:06 PM   #1
SOUTHERNtinkerBELLE
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"It's better when it's just the two of us" - aka - Our first family trip! HI!!! 1/4!

Hello! And welcome to my fourth trip report! I am so happy you have decided to join in! If you’re new to my reports and would like to check out some of our other adventures, I hope you will take a peek at our previous trips (TR links in signature!). You can also find the PTR for this trip, with all my crazy planning!

As you can probably tell from the title, we just returned from our first family vacation where we made the not so shocking discovery that we really prefer Disney when it's just the two of us. And just who is this “us” I speak ok? That would be me, Courtney and my husband Miguel.


Miguel and I were married last June and have been together for close to five years. During those five years, we have taken many, many trips to Disney. This was our sixth! All of Miguel’s trips have been with me, but I took many trips before as a child with my family – the other stars of this cast!


From left to right there is Miguel and I, then there's Mike (my dad's business partner/my second dad), my father Jeff, my grandmother Barbara and my grandfather Jerry.

My family started taking me to Disney when I was 2 years old. My father had just moved to Tampa (about an hour from Disney) and it became very easy to vacation in the world. We went back at least once a year (sometimes twice) until I was around 12 or so.

I went on a Disney hiatus in my teenage years, and then about a year after dating Miguel, I brought up Disney as a possible location for our first vacation together. We returned there after our engagement, for our honeymoon and a few times in between! Disney has definitely become “our place”, so we knew that sharing it with others would be a bit different – and it definitely was! Conforming to four other people’s schedules and personalities was at time’s challenging. As the planner of the trip, I of course wanted everyone to have an amazing time, and when they seemed to be having less than that, I took it personally. I’m also used to Miguel, who comes from very humble beginnings and is very easily impressed. My family on the other hand, is a little more used to the “finer things” and is a bit more critical.


Still though, we had a wonderful trip! We were blessed with wonderful weather and low crowds and we ate TONS of yummy food! This trip report, just as our trip, should be quite an adventure. I promise to keep things honest, and tell you exactly what I thought of traveling with a group! I hope you will join me!

Up Next: Time to go to Disney!

Last edited by SOUTHERNtinkerBELLE; 01-04-2013 at 01:04 AM.
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:07 PM   #2
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Table of Contents

ARRIVAL DAY - PART 1
ARRIVAL DAY - PART 2
ARRIVAL DAY - PART 3

DAY 1 - PART 1
DAY 1 - PART 2
DAY 1 - PART 3
DAY 1 - PART 4

Last edited by SOUTHERNtinkerBELLE; 02-26-2012 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:11 PM   #3
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I'm here, gonna go back to read in a second, was just hoping to be first!

(Editing, went back and read the intro)-Aww, I'm sorry your family wasn't impressed with Disney like you were hoping! You did such a great job planning the trip, it must have been disappointing when people weren't so pleased with things! Can't wait to read about your trip, though, it still sounds like you guys had a lot of fun!
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nermel9 View Post
I'm here, gonna go back to read in a second, was just hoping to be first!
Yay!!! So glad you're here!
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:20 PM   #5
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YAY!!! Joining in.
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:46 PM   #7
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Wouldn't miss it for anything!
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Old 02-19-2012, 02:24 PM   #8
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I'm joining in.
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Old 02-18-2012, 10:43 AM   #9
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im back!
Read your PTR! Can't wait to hear about this trip!
hope all is well!
xxoo
Christina
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:41 PM   #10
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Subscribing! I always love following all of your reports! You and Miguel remind me so much of me and my future hubby Samir (we are getting married in April) ! We will also be disneymooning in May! Any tips or must dos for our disneymoon?
Can't wait to read more about your trip!



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Old 02-18-2012, 06:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel1025 View Post
I'm here, I'm here! I am beyond excited to hear everything. I can't wait to hear about BC, traveling with a group, and what you thought of Shulas
Yay! I'm so glad you made it over Shannon! I thought about you during our Shula's meal!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 407-W-DISNEY View Post
I'm here! I've read your other trip reports and really enjoyed them...looking forward to reading this one..
My husband doesn't want to travel to Disney with a group....he only wants us to go together...judging by your title, he might be right
I'm so glad you enjoyed the other reports! I completely understand your husband. I think the allure of traveling with a group is better than actually doing it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by merbobear View Post
I'm excited to read about the differences you found with traveling in a group vs just the two of you - this is a source of nervousness for me with our upcoming vacation! Let the fun begin!
So glad you're here! There are definitely a lot of differences!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamerchic33 View Post
im back!
Read your PTR! Can't wait to hear about this trip!
hope all is well!
xxoo
Christina
Hi Christina! I'm so glad you made it over! It's so nice to "see" you again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by emilita423 View Post
Subscribing! I always love following all of your reports! You and Miguel remind me so much of me and my future hubby Samir (we are getting married in April) ! We will also be disneymooning in May! Any tips or must dos for our disneymoon?
Can't wait to read more about your trip!



Emily
Hi Emily! Congratulations on the upcoming wedding and honeymoon! One thing that I would recommend for a really special trip is one of the fireworks cruises. They are pricey, but I think they are so worth it. We loved the Wishes cruise for the honeymoon, but we did the Illuminations cruise on this trip and it was AMAZING! The view was incredible - I would highly recommend it! If you end up doing a PTR or TR for your trip let me know - I love to read about trips with other couples!
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:27 AM   #12
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Hi everyone! Thank you all so much for joining in! I'm so excited to be able to share our trip with so many of you!

So normally, I just do a portion of a day as an update, but I was thinking about doing things differently this time. I'm already thinking ahead to our October trip and the PTR for it, and I'd really like to get it started more than two months out like I ended up doing for this trip's PTR. So, I was thinking of doing a whole day at one time, broken up into different posts. I hope this will work out ok and that you all don't mind! I figure this way, I can get through the trip faster!

Ok, let's get started!

ARRIVAL DAY - PART 1


It was Saturday, February 4, the day I had been looking forward to pretty much since we got in the car to drive home from our honeymoon. Thankfully the previous evening had been fairly relaxed – I was actually able to leave work on time and get home with plenty of time to do the last minute things. I had done pretty much all of our packing the weekend before our trip, but there always seems to be things that pop up at the last minute!

Still though, Miguel and I didn’t make it into bed until 2:00 Friday night and I was a little concerned that we would have a hard time getting up when the alarm went off at 7:00 on Saturday morning. I of course, hopped out of bed with ease! If only it was that easy to get up every morning! Miguel slept a little while longer while I showered and got my makeup on, and then he got up and got ready while I closed up the suitcases and did one last sweep through the house to make sure we had everything.

We were taking my grandparents’ car, so Miguel and I got our luggage outside and waited for my grandfather to drive the car over and pick it up.


After he got our bags, we went back over to my grandparents’ house (they live next door to us) and my grandfather and Miguel loaded up the car.


Finally, it was time to go!




Our goal was to leave between 8:30 and 9:00 so that we would have plenty of time to get checked in at the BC, settle into our rooms and freshen up before our dinner at ADR in Epcot! My grandmother is notoriously slow leaving for vacations (she normally ends up leaving about an hour after she plans to), and I was worried that we wouldn’t make our departure time. So, when the clock showed 8:48 when we were pulling out of the driveway I was very happy to leave on time and not have to stress out right off the bat!

We all settled in and got comfortable for the 7-hour drive. I normally do all the driving when it’s just Miguel and I, so I was very happy that my grandfather was being the chauffeur this time.

It didn’t take us long to reach our first destination for some breakfast. Chicken biscuits for all of us!




Some time after breakfast, I fell asleep. In fact, I think we all did. Well, except for my grandfather of course! I woke up somewhere after Valdosta – we were already in Florida and more than halfway through our trip! We had originally planned to stop for lunch in Valdosta, but apparently we got there a little too quickly and my grandparents decided to keep on driving until we reached the next large (well, large in a sense that there were actually places to eat) city.

We ended up in Lake City at one of the two places that we typically stop for lunch:


Steak and Shake ended up being pretty slow, and by the time we finished up our meals and made it back out to the car, an hour had passed by. Still though, we were making great timing and I calculated us to arrive at the BC right at 5:00, just as planned!

Around 4:00, we made it to the Turnpike, which is always when I start to get really excited because I know we are so close!


We made a quick stop at one of the service centers to fill up on gas for the week and grab a few drinks (and a couple of Disney brochures, because I couldn’t resist) and before we knew it, we were on I-4 and cruising towards Disney World!

Once we got to the Disney exits, I let my grandfather know to take the Epcot exit.


For some reason, the welcome sign completely snuck up on me this time. I think I was folding my blanket or something, but when I looked up, there it was! I quickly got out my phone to take a picture, and I must have sound distressed because my grandmother got mad at my grandfather because he was driving too fast and I was trying to take a picture. So then he got frustrated because, as he said, he couldn’t just stop in the middle of the road. So my picture isn’t too great, and our entrance into Disney was pretty anti-climactic, which made me sad.


Of course, you can’t be too sad when you’re in the Disney bubble since everything is so Disney! I was so happy to be seeing Disney buses and Disney signs again! We followed those signs, right to the Beach Club!


My grandfather pulled the car up front and we all got out to go check in. Now, for all of you that didn’t read the PTR and for those who did and don’t remember, my dad decided that he wanted to stay club level at the Beach Club. Mike ended up staying club level as well. My grandmother and I debated about upgrading our rooms, but since the CM at the reservation center let me know that we could all enjoy the club lounge as long as we had my dad with us, we figured it wouldn’t really be worth the money. My grandmother was really hoping for a complimentary upgrade, though. I told her that an upgrade is always possible, but not to get her hopes up too much, and to just be super nice when she was checking in.

We all went up to the check-in desk, and one CM helped Miguel and I while the other helped my grandmother. Since I knew that the club level rooms were only on the fifth floor, I knew we didn’t get upgraded when the CM told us that our room was on the third floor. I wasn’t really expecting an upgrade, so I was completely ok with it. My grandmother though, was pretty disappointed when she got a third floor room as well. I overheard her asking the CM why my father got upgraded and none of us did. She knew that my dad wasn’t upgraded and that he paid for his club level room, so this was just a “tactic” for us to get upgraded as well. I felt so embarrassed! That wasn’t exactly my idea of nice. I could tell the CM wasn’t sympathetic because she basically said, “there’s no way you would all get upgraded”. Ok, time to just get to the room...

Continued in next post
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:29 AM   #13
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ARRIVAL DAY - PART 2

Miguel and I had a great room location, right around the corner from the elevator, so it was very easy and convenient to get downstairs to the lobby. We absolutely loved the room at the BC, it was so bright and airy and just comfortable feeling. In fact, even though the Poly is our favorite resort, the BC room was my favorite room that we’d ever stayed in. There was something about it that was just so calming and luxurious. Here are TONS of pictures!










I think this little ledge is the best idea! Miguel always complains about how he doesn’t have night stand for his phone and things (I always take side of the bed with the night stand since I’m the one who sets the alarm), so this was perfect!






I loved those little pull-out drawers! Sadly, I never actually put anything in them.


I loved the frame for the TV as well.




I thought this lamp was so cute!














The Beach Club has a combination of full balconies and “standing” balconies. I was hoping for a full balcony, but I didn’t feel like we needed one enough to actually request one. We ended up with the standing balcony, which is big enough for one person. This was our view.


Sorry some of the pictures are a little dark! The bellman hadn’t brought our luggage yet, so I didn’t have the bag with my camera and I was using my phone.

After we had thoroughly explored the room, we were all anxious to check out the club level and my dad’s room! For some odd reason, we were able to get up to the fifth floor without a club level KTTW (that was the only time it happened during the week, every other time either my dad or Mike would have to meet us at the elevator) and after winding down many halls, we made it to my dad’s room!

My dad, Mike and a mutual friend of theirs who lives in Orlando were all in the room enjoying the balcony (the friend left before dinner). After we all said our hellos, we went out to admire the view – it was INCREDIBLE!






My grandmother was obviously jealous because she kept mentioning how her view was just nothing like that, and how her room seemed so small and how it didn’t have a couch in it like mine and Miguel’s did (my dad’s didn’t have a couch either). Seriously? The BC rooms are all so nice, and spacious! My dad mentioned that this wasn’t the first view that he had, because he had to change rooms as soon as he checked in because the first one didn’t smell good. Ok…

After sitting on the balcony for a while, my grandmother mentioned that she wanted to go down to the club lounge to get some hot tea. Mike then mentioned that he and my dad had already gone down there and that it was “about the size of this room” meaning that it was small. Clearly, Miguel and I were the only ones who were actually happy with our rooms and the hotel. The BEAUTIFUL hotel! By that point, I just wanted to get out of there. This was not how I imagined our arrival day to be! We decided to forgo checking out the club lounge and instead told everyone that we were heading back to our room to get changed for dinner and that we would meet them in the lobby at 6:45 for our 7:15 dinner.

Continued in next post.
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:37 PM   #14
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Hey Courtney!! I didn't realize you had started! Just wanted to subscribe now-- I have to go back and read the updates! Can't wait to hear all about your trip!!
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Old 02-26-2012, 09:46 PM   #15
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Wow, I thought I'd subscribed to this TR but I hadn't! Well, I'm here now!

As soon as I saw your title, I knew I had to join in. You've been reading my TR from our trip we just took and you can I'm sure see the similarities in disappointment with travel partners!! Chris and I were doing anything we could by the end of our trip to get off on our own because, "it's better just the 2 of us!!" Can't wait to read more
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