|09-17-2008, 10:09 PM||#1|
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Cesario Trip 8/29/08-9/6/08
Disney September 2008 Trip Report
Amy, the writer, organizer and Disney freak, 32 years of age. 5 trips to WDW.
Matt husband of writer 32. 6 trips to WDW.
Elizabeth, writer’s oldest daughter age 14, freshman in High school 4 trips to WDW
Robin middle daughter of writer. 5 years old, Kindergarten 3 trips to WDW
Katherine youngest daughter of writer 14 months first trip to WDW.
Jenna, Niece of the writer 9 years old first trip to WDW.
Travis, handicapped nephew of writer 11 years old first trip to WDW
Donna and Dan parents of the writer in their 50’s/60’s. Also referred to as Grandma and Pop-Pop. 3rd trip to WDW
Mary Beth & Vince engaged couple friends of Amy 30 something’s. 3 trips to WDW.
Elizabeth G daughter of Marybeth, friend of writer’s daughter 17 years old senior in high school. 2nd trip to WDW
Friday August 29
3:00 flight. Kids good on the plane. First flight Katherine (14 months) slept. Second flight she got her own seat and played nicely. The girls and I took Magical express with no problems. We stayed at the All Star Music Family suites for about $250 a night. The room was nice. One side was the master bedroom with one queen, desk, entertainment unit, Kitchenette with microwave and small fridge and a bathroom. The other side was small table & chairs, entertainment unit, pull out couch, pull out chair and bathroom. We put Katie’s bed in the Kitchenette it was quite for her. The kids love the theming of the room. We also loved the music notes that went around the railings. The time was even true to the type of music and we are sure if you had an instrument the notes made a real song. We went to the smaller pool shaped like a piano it was quieter but later at the guitar pool they had more activities including movies. We ate at the food court. There were a lot of choices but it was quite crowded at 9 PM. Everyone enjoyed the food and the portions are very large. At the small store in back of the food we purchased milk and juice for breakfast in the morning and kept in the fridge. Note no towels at the pool and luggage took about 3 hours pack bathing suits in carry-on.
Saturday August 30.
Hurricane Gustav was on its way to TX and LA and we started our day early taking advantage of the EMH at HS. We got out and we positioned at the gate before 8, around 7:40. We waited at the turnstile and again in front of the hat. EVERYONE went to Toy Story Mania first. We were going there too since we were following Len Testa’s touring plans. I ignored his advice to avoid the EMH Park. Since Toy Story Mania was new we didn’t know what was going on. Two lines formed; Lines for the fast pass machine and lines to ride. We got in the regular queue and it took about 40 minutes to get out. Toy Story Mania’s queue line was very elaborately themed. I liked the cadyland path on the ground. Mr. Potato Head was very entertaining. He told Jenna that her hair was so famous that it was wearing sunglasses, very funny. The ride itself was fun. Robin had an easy time with the pull string and got some points. At one point Matt and I were facing a blank screen. We kept shooting and managed some points. The wait for Toy Story put us behind for the next rides Aerosmith and Tower of Terror had 30 minute waits. We loved Aerosmith although it was too much for Jenna (9). She choose not to go back to Aerosmith or Tower of Terror. A family we meet in line had dream fast passes on and gave us their fast pass for Toy Story Mania. I went back with Jenna, Robin (5) and Katherine. The ride is so fun and we all improved our score. Matt, Vince, Mary Beth and the Elizabeths (17, 14) did Tower and then Aerosmith again they enjoyed both. Then we rode the Great Movie Ride. I had never rode it before and I enjoyed it but I think the smaller kids were bored. The live action was a little canned but still fun. We headed for the backlot tour but we got distracted by Mater and Lighting McQueen. We stopped for pictures and autographs. Elizabeth (14) loves the movie Cars. We decided to skip back lot tours and split into two groups. Marybeth and her folk went to star tours and we went to Playhouse Disney. Robin and Katie enjoyed the show. We enjoyed watching them. When we left the theatre. Gustav’s rain was attacking Orlando. It stopped and we headed for lunch at a small stand. We ate under an umbrella with our ponchos on. At the end of lunch the rains whipped up and we were huddled inside the little pavilion. After the rain quitted we left for Epcot. It continued to rain and we were soaked when we got to Epcot. It was raining hard when we got to the Seas. There was NO line and we boarded our claim shells and swam along with Nemo and friends. Then we looked around the aquarium. The kids like the manatee. Katie enjoyed seeing the fish close up. Later we saw Turtle Talk with Crush. The show was very interactive and funny dude. We decided to try Soarin to see if it had no lines on account of the rain but the wait was 80 minutes. We stopped in the land and had a drink and a snack. It was a nice selection. We decided to grab fast passes for 8:30-9:00 in case illuminations were cancelled. We went to journey into the imagination and saw figment. Robin and Katie liked it but Jenna was bored. It was nice to see Katie get excited. They had an imagination lab. Katie like it but was hard to control. The kids liked the Kodak exhibit and added props to their pictures. We headed off to Mexico in the rain and were glad to get back inside. We rode the Donald Duck and the 3 amigos and it was very nice but the plot was hard to follow. I liked the firework affects at the end of the ride. We did pictures and shopping here. Robin, Jenna and Elizabeth G (17) bought passports. The little girls liked the mask craft and all three liked getting a stamp. Elizabeth did not ask for a passport and showed little interest. We tried to eat inside but there was no availability so we headed out into the rain for the small outdoor cantina. The margaritas were in a separate place. Everyone enjoyed their meal except me. I got nachos with beef but the cheese was in one pile, the beef in another and it was only so so. They were out of Churros. We headed on to Norway. I checked out the Princess meal here and it seemed very nice inside. It looked royal inside and would be a good alternative to the castle. We rode the Norway boat and had no trouble skipping the movie. There were lots of sword fights in the gift shops and we found many gnomes/gargoyles in the windows. The desserts smelled wonderful but we were full. It was getting late we decided to try and use our Soarin fast passes and then head back for illuminations. The wait at soarin was horrible and it took us over 40 minutes with the fast passes. Poor Matt waited with Katherine and didn’t get to ride at all because the ride closed before we got upstairs. We also missed illuminations. It only ran for about 10 minutes so we missed it walking back towards the lagoon although we could see some fireworks. I thought it was a longer show and that this was abbreviated due to refurbishment of the barge. Wet and tired we went home. I loved Soarin it was so incredible like you were really flying but I also felt bad for Matt so it was mixed feelings.
Sunday August 31
We were back at Epcot early about 30 minutes before opening. They let people in front of Spaceship Earth and then right past it by Innoventions. Mary Beth and Vince went to Test Track to get Fast passes with Katie and the rest of us went to Soarin. We were walked back at a fast pace with the rope by cast members. I had never walked with the rope before. We really hustled and we were in the first 30 people and got on the first ride. The beauty of the ride is amazing. The beaches, mountains, and national parks are so beautiful. This morning they had the scents more powerful and you could smell orange groves and pine trees. I loved the ending of Disneyland at Christmas and Tinkerbell. It was my favorite ride. It is a gentle peaceful feeling not jerky or scary. We meet up with our party for Honey I shrunk the audience. Katie and I opted for a spin with figment since she has trouble sitting. We were the only people there and she seemed to enjoy it even more the second time. Our next stop was test track. Matt loved all the engineering stuff inside. He and Robin loved the ride and proclaimed it their favorite. I enjoyed the ride but it doesn’t even make my top 10. It was hot and we were near club cool so we stopped in. The kids were excited to try drinks from different countries. Robin especially enjoyed a citrus flavored drink from Germany. I wanted real coke but you had to pay so I held off. We went to space ship earth and the sky was grey again. Robin really liked this ride and the screen at the end. Katie took a nap. I found it to be pleasant and interesting. They showed phone operators and I explained to Robin that Grandma Donna did that in her 20’s. We had previously decided to skip mission space because we were behind due to all the rain the day before. It was lunch time and we had a lot of countries left so off we went to Morocco. The food here was great. I tried two desserts one was tangerine cake the other was like strawberry shortcake both were REALLY good. Jenna surprised me by eating up a lamb wrap. We went on to France which was lovely but small. We got A LOT of dessert and ate in a small place while the kids crafted and had their passport stamped. We had chocolate Crepes (a+) a strawberry cake (a-) chocolate mousse (a) raspberry cake (c-) for dryness, crème brule (a for those who like it) and a cream type cake (a+). Matt and I decided against the wine tasting here. We wanted desert more. Next we went to the UK. There were lots of shops. The little girls loved the hedge maze and saw Winnie the Pooh and Mary Poppins here. The British bands looked and sounded like the Beatles and were enjoyable. We took pictures in the Red telephone booths and had a grand time. The UK seemed much larger than the French pavilion. We went to Canada next and had trouble navigating. It is pretty but little to do since we didn’t want to watch the movies. We walked back past UK, France and Morocco to arrive in Japan. Because we wanted to eat in Morocco we had to do some back tracking. The hill gardens were pretty. We choose not to shop in Japan’s very large mall to save time. The teenagers were mad. We stopped only to have our passports stamped in the United States. We wanted to see the rest of Epcot before the end of our day. Italy was pretty for picture taking but the shopping was small and expensive. We did do wine tasting here and I had champagne. It was hot and the champagne kicked my but, next time I’ll have to share with someone else. I was sick in Germany and sat on a bench. It was pretty in Germany and I saw the Hummel figures chime the hour. The shopping was fun here with Christmas, Hummel’s and a teddy bear store. We went on to China and some people ate. Jenna and Robin got egg rolls. We took a long time shopping and looking around here. Katie loved the silk clothes and spent a long time touching everything. We decided to eat in Mexico again. I liked my selection better this time but Mexico is only so so to me. We headed home well feed and happy with our progress. My parents and Travis arrived that day and we were switching to the time share for the week. We had two places a two bedroom and a three bedroom lock-off. We had to do our grocery shopping then. I wish we had left for shopping earlier but there was a problem at the timeshare with Travis’s (11) handicapped room and my parents had to switch rooms. Travis is in a wheel chair and is not able to walk or stand. I was glad they got the room they needed but I was exhausted after shopping.
Monday September 1
Today was Magic Kingdom day. We arrived before opening and had close parking. We were admitted through the turnstiles infront of the railroad. Mickey and a lot of his friends rode in on the train. The show is always cute. We headed quickly towards the castle and onto fantasyland. We rode Dumbo first. Katherine loved it. I love it too. The area is so beautiful from atop your flying elephant. We followed Len Testa’s plan for small kids through fantasyland and went to Peter Pan next. I ended up in a ship by myself but didn’t mind. The small details like Peter Pan, Wendy John and Michael in the moon make this ride awesome to me. Ariel opened at 9 instead of 10 and had a 40 minute wait. We decided to skip it for now and headed to Winnie the Pooh. Travis rode in his wheelchair in a honey pot. On the way out we were awarded dream fast passes! Mary Beth, Vince and Robin got off ahead of us and did not receive the passes. We were asked to wait until they were done and then they “may” be given passes . Luckily they seemed to have many left and Mary Beth Robin and Vince were given passes.. They seemed reluctant to give one to Robin and I didn’t understand. She is 40 inches and rode almost all of the rides. We were all so excited to be given dream fast passes! I knew what it meant but had to explain to my parents and the kids. I could hardly talk. From this point we totally changed plans because of our dream. We headed off to Splash Mountain and big thunder mountain railroad. Robin rode both for the first time and loved them. Jenna seemed to have recovered from Aerosmith and was ready for the rollercoaster. Splash Mountain is so neat inside with the Brear Rabbit animatronics but I’m always preoccupied for the drop. I was a little disappointed that the lines at both sides were so short we really didn’t need fast passes. We went in the regular queue for splash but used the fast pass at big thunder. It was really awesome to have the dream fast pass around our neck! Since we rode in two groups we had a surprise when Mary Beth, Vince, Elizabeth G and Elizabeth had been awarded a SECOND dream fast pass! They asked me what to do and I immediately told them to pass the magic on. While we rode they found a group of four to give the passes to. It was time for the girls’ hair appointment. We made our way to the castle and we changed Robin and Jenna in the hallway. Both girls had Cinderella costumes. Jenna slipped out of her shirt under her dress and I just changed Robin quick. We waited for about 40 minutes and the Elizabeth’s went first. They were as excited as the small girls. Elizabeth got the fairy princess again and Elizabeth G got the diva. Robin chooses the rock star again but this time with rainbow hair. Jenna went for the diva style too. Robin and Elizabeth’s hair styles seemed to take longer than the other two. Elizabeth G and Jenna both wanted crowns which we purchased for an extra fee of $10. The hair, makeup, nails package was about $50. I was shocked at how many people were going for the deluxe package of $200 which includes a costume. Robin & Jenna seemed happy with their costumes from home. It was so hot that they changed shortly after lunch so it seems like a crime to pay so much for something that only lasts a short time. All of the girls seemed delighted with their makeover. Jenna seemed in awe of herself and I thought she really looked like Cinderella with her blonde hair. Also my mom, Mary Beth and I were all doused with some pixie dust and we were delighted! We had good luck and right after hair we were admitted into the castle for lunch. Our reservation was for 1:15 and we got in and took pictures with Cinderella. They no longer do photo pass here. They have a photo package that is part of the lunch cost. Due to the # of our reservation we got 3 packages. I wanted each girl separate but I was told I would have to pay for an extra package and there was no opportunity to take extra pictures with my camera. This made me very annoyed given the expense of the meal/hair. The waiting in the castle got worse. Katherine was having 16 fits and everyone was starving. After some un –prince/princess behavior we were sent up stairs to eat! Luckily the royal dining room soothed everyone’s nerves and our excellent waiter quickly brought drinks and appetizers. The princess also started circling. They are very good with the girls and manage to stay in character. Snow white, Bell, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine came around to each table. Katherine seemed to especially like Jasmine. I also like the pose she got with the big girls. They turned sideways with hands on hips full of attitude. Robin told Belle that she was her favorite. When it was time to wish on our wishing stars belle came back to our table. She wished for adventures. Our girls agreed with her. It was nice to get the extra attention. All of the adults got the roast beef in puff pastry yummy! The little girls liked their meals too especially the sundae for dessert. I was too full for desert and only took a few bites. I enjoyed the appetizer of grapes, cheese, meat, and salad better. In addition to our 1 8x10, 4 4x6 and castle pictures in 3 poses the girls were also given wishing stars and wands. I think the lunch is worth every penny. Matt and Vince loved the food and enjoyed the girls delight! After lunch we meet up with my parents at the parade. I am no longer going to parades that happen during the day too hot! Next on our dream fast passes was the jungle cruise. Travis was a champ and got on the boat with his wheel chair. The lurching of the boat made him nervous but he did very well I thought. The jungle cruise could use an update but I like the bad puns they are very punny. Next we were off to the air conditioning of the Enchanted Tikki Room. I like the show, the birds and the music. Everyone seemed to enjoy being off their feet in the air-conditioning. We went on to Mickey’s Philharmagic to get some more air-conditioning. This show is so fun and cute. I couldn’t believe it was over so fast. We went next to Tommorowland. We headed straight for buzz light year. It was always one of my families’ favorites but seemed less fun after toy story mania. Travis did take his wheel chair on and battle zurg. To give my parents/ Travis a break we went to Space Mountain with our dream fast passes. The lines were so short that with the fast pass we didn’t even wait 5 minutes. Magic Kingdom was very uncrowned. Jenna enjoyed the roller coaster. Robin was still too short so she lay on a bench with Grandma Donna. We went next to the Monster comedy show. We were seated near the front for the handicapped seating. I really liked the show and laughed a lot. The audience participation was really funny. The little girl they choose for Boo was cute but not as cute as Robin. It was getting dark and we headed back towards fantasyland thinking about dinner. The girls were still dying to meet Ariel at her Grotto and so was Travis. We stopped there first. The wait was 40 minutes but they took us to the handicapped entrance because of Travis. We only waited about 15 minutes. Katherine loved it and I couldn’t keep her out of the water. She was like a little mermaid, soaked to the gills. Unfortunately the sun started to set and she got cold. All I had was the tinkerbell costume she wore to lunch so we put it back on her. At this point people were too hungry again. We went to Pinocchio’s haus but the kids had a meltdown regarding the seating arrangements. I had a Cesar salad which was good except the chicken. My mom had the kids’ turkey wrap and it looked really good. Robin had pizza and I had some it was very good. After dinner we took Travis on its A Small World. After some protests he took his wheel chair on and seemed to enjoy it. I was in the boat ahead of him and could see a lot of his reactions. After the happy little boat ride we used our fast passes on Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh. At this point we should have gone home. We tried to watch the fireworks. My parents were exhausted and sat at Cosmic Rays. We tried to watch from the bridge by Cosmic Rays but saw little because of the trees. Very tired we headed back to the monorail. Matt helped my Dad and pushed the wheelchair on the monorail ramps. Unfortunately because of the handicapped lots we didn’t drive out together. My parents got lost and ended up in celebration. Orlando driving is very confusing.
Tuesday September 2
Today we had to do the stinky time share presentation. Then Matt, Vince and the Elizabeth are headed to the water park. Matt really enjoyed the water park especially water roller coasters. I wanted the little ones to take a break so we stayed at the timeshare and saved $ on the water park admissions. Katherine napped and I took Jenna and Robin to the pool. When Katherine woke up Marybeth, Katie and I took a quick trip to Downtown Disney. I bought myself a pair of pumpkin ears to wear on Friday. That night my parents went out to dinner with my Aunt Nancy and I watched the kids. Jenna and I went and took advantage of some of the timeshare activities. We played ping-pong and rode bikes. It was fun. Jenna thought I rode the bike too slow but was a good ping pong player.
Wednesday September 3
This was our second day at Hollywood Studios. We were there for the rope drop and ran off to Toy Story Mania. We had an awesome time and improved out scores. I went from a rabbit to a beaver. We all got fast passes when we got off the ride and headed to Jedi training. We got there early and met my parents and Travis. We got an upfront spot in the shade. I had read that enthusiasm will get you picked. The Elizabeth’s jumped up and down behind Travis who also waved enthusiastically and he was picked! The force was strong with this one. Robin wanted to go with Travis so I told her to jump up and down. She was the last one picked. I think he choose her because she was little. He made quite a few little jokes about her size, he was funny. They both learned their moves with their light saber. Just in time because Darth Vader showed up! Travis fought a really good fight with a real look of I’m going to kick your butt. Robin also did a good job fighting Darth’s knees. From there everyone but Katie and I went to see Indiana Jones. We went to the playground. I was totally exhausted. Tiny spaces and tunnels made for Katie that lead far away so I had to go through them. I wouldn’t go back for a million dollars and I had to go sit down and get a drink, the sweat was pouring off me. We all met back at the Sci Fi Dine in theatre. I had stopped about an hour earlier on my way to the playground and reminded them about the handicapped table reservation. I explained that Travis was an 11 yr old boy and couldn’t transfer. They were very helpful and accommodating and said they would ensure the special table for us. The place was awesome. Really dark with a huge drive in screen playing old movies and cartoons. We had two cars and Travis had a handicapped accessible car. I got a Tinker Bell glow in the dark clip on my straw and it was totally awesome. Robin and Jenna were jealous of Grandma Donna and me glowing so grandma bought them a light up tinker bell too. The food was pretty bad. My turkey (Mary Beth, Grandma Donna too) was dry. The burger and ribs seemed better. Overall it was an expensive but cool experience. If you go think of it as an attraction not a culinary delight. Next my parents and Travis used the fast passes we got earlier in the day and Matt and I looked for parade seats. They all seemed to enjoy the ride but there were 4 wheel chairs ahead of them in line and they got there late for the parade. People were crawling on us and the wheelchair. The parade is more like a moving dance show and even though we were in front of the hat we couldn’t see anything. I would NEVER recommend the parade. We headed off to Lights Motor Action. It was cool to see the stunt cars. Travis was really into it and Matt enjoyed it. Robin fell asleep and slept through explosion after explosion. She and Katie continued to nap. I sat in a shady spot in a food court for about an hour. Mary Beth and crew took the back lot tour. Matt stayed with my parents and saw the Power Rangers and High school musical. Next we all went to Pizza planet. The arcade was cool with lots of references to toy story. We ate our Pizza and the kids played a few games. The Pizza tasted good, above cafeteria stuff but it is a bit expensive especially if you get the meal with salads. I also bought a Mickey shaped rice crispy treats which was very good and moist. We headed off to fantasmic. The crowds here were overwhelming. We had to get in the handicapped line. They took us to special seating at the top of the theatre. Then we waited and watched group after group sit in the special needs seating and then be asked to relocate by the cm’s. When Elizabeth was 6 she was really afraid of this show but Robin loved it. She was really into it and then Mickey started with the nightmare. Robin was on the edge of her seat and worried about Mickey. When Mickey said “hey this is my dream” she cheered. She loved his triumph over the bad guys and the happy ending. She was exhilarated by the end. The crowds were bad again leaving but we waited a long time for the crowds to clear out.
Thursday September 4
Discovery Cove Day!
My parents took Robin with them to Sea World. Matt, Vince and Katie chilled out. Mary Beth, the Elizabeth’s and I had our special day with Dolphins.
Discovery Cove is owned by Sea World and has exclusive animal interaction including a swim with dolphins. The large price tag includes, breakfast, lunch, snacks, beverages, beer, snorkel equipment, lockers, sun lotion, shampoo and towels. Only 1,200 people are admitted on any given day so unlike other parks there are no crowds or long lines. We got to Discovery Cove around 8:30. It was an easy drive and easy to find. The lobby was cool and a trainer had a sloth we were allowed to pet on the back. It had a cute little face but not real active. We went to the desk and got our pictures taken and a lanyard. We were assigned our Dolphin swim time and head off for a tour. After the tour we went for our included breakfast. We had a nice meal of pastries, juice, milk and tea. Then we got our lockers, vest and snorkel gear. We were so excited and we headed over to the fish. It took us a little while to figure to the snorkeling. We never did figure out how to laugh underwater. After a bit Elizabeth wanted prescription goggles so we went and got her a pair from customer service. She tried several pairs and in the end got a strong set. She was able to see very well in the water and I was pleased that she could enjoy the experience. She was allowed to wear her glasses in with the dolphins. This was my first experience with snorkeling. It was a huge tank with rock formations and I think it was about 20 feet deep. The entire tank was connected but the rock formations kept it from feeling like one big pool. It had the feeling of small lagoons. In some sections you could look into the rocks and see sharks swimming. The time flew by as we swam and swam with the fish. It was so quiet and relaxed when your head was underwater. The tank also had huge manta rays. I think the manta rays are as big as a compact car. There were also sting rays swimming around. They look so graceful in the water like they have wings and are flying. They also had a much less deep tank where you could touch the sting rays. It was a little challenging to touch the rays they have learned to avoid the tourists. When you did get one they felt like slippery rubber. We took a break from swimming and went to lunch. We had a beautiful lunch in a lush tropical setting to the sound of a steel drum band. The Elizabeth’s had salmon and Mary Beth and I had a roasted chicken. I also had vegetables and mashed potatoes. The Elizabeth’s got a side of Macaroni and cheese that I sampled. I also took a small Caesar salad that was very yummy. Everyone had a dessert. Elizabeth had cheesecake and I had key lime pie. After lunch we went over to the aviary to let our food digest. I am afraid of birds and I was very nervous. The birds are in 3 smallish areas all connected by doors. When you enter you can pick up small cups like plastic ramekins and feed the birds from it. The first set of birds we meet were large white birds with black markings around their eyes. Two landed on Mary Beth’s arms and one on her head. He liked her head and wanted to stay. I was getting so worried about her that we got a worker but then the bird flew away. Mary Beth’s head did hurt from the bird and it felt like small cuts. We headed off to a smaller room and robin sized birds were hoping onto Elizabeth’s and Mary Beth’s cups and hands and happily ate out of the cup. I held the cameras and took pictures. We also took a spin through the lazy river. It goes through the aviary and I saw some very pretty birds up in the trees. I much prefer them up in the trees. I was surprised by the lazy river because at points it was 8 feet deep and at different points it was only 3 feet deep. Also to enter and exit the aviary section there is a strong waterfall to keep the birds in/out. We got drenched going through those areas. We decided to spend another hour snorkeling before our dolphin adventure. Since no jewelry is allowed time is hard to keep track of and we asked the lifeguard the time about 4 times. Discovery Cove should add a big clock on the beach. We went to our cabana and signed our liability waivers and watched a video. We were assigned to the D group. We were a group of four and we were joined by two groups of two. A mother and daughter from the UK and a couple from Scotland. There were a lot of people at Discovery cove with accents or speaking a foreign language. We headed down to the water and meet Gary our Dolphin’s trainer. Next we meet the star of the day Coral. Coral was 8 years old and was born at Discovery Cove. Her mother Jen was captured in the wild and brought to Discovery Cove. I asked if they did a lot of breading there and I was told the Dolphins bred themselves. As soon as we were introduced to Coral we were lined up and allowed to touch her from behind her blow hole. She felt rubbery like the sting rays but not as slick and she felt very solid. Pretty quickly after touching Coral we were each allowed to give her a kiss and a squeeze. Coral seemed to like the attention and the plentiful fish. As we kissed and hugged they took pictures in the water but a good bit away from our group very unobtrusive. They must have a powerful lens because the pictures turned out like they were standing beside us. They gave us each a turn individually then took pictures in groups. Our group of four got pictures of all four and one of each mother daughter set. They asked if we wanted more and the Elizabeth’s wanted a picture together. I never felt rushed and we were encouraged to ask questions and take more pictures. They then talked some about Dolphins. It was interesting to learn that dolphins are born with hair around their mouth that helps to alert their mothers when they want to nurse. As they grow out of nursing the hair falls out. Coral did some clever tricks, waving hello, signing in her best Dolphin voice and splashing us with her tail. Then we headed out two at time to the deep water. Elizabeths went first. Mary Beth and I went second. Mary Beth went first so that I could watch her. I was worried that it would be hard to hold on or that the Dolphin would go real fast. It was fairly easy to get a hold on the Dolphin and it was a smooth gentle ride. It was a very different experience. After each group took a turn they had all the Dolphins jump out of the water. It was very neat to see all 4 dolphins jumping together. It was the first time during our swim that I had paid much attention to the other 3 groups and their dolphins. We were reluctant to leave Coral but they had us point back to the deep water and Coral took off without even a flip of the flipper. We went back and enjoyed some more snorkeling. We decided to get out around 4:15 so we could enjoy the locker room stocked with Crabtree and Evelyn products. I particularly wanted a nice hot shower without interruption. The first locker room was packed but the second one was empty and we did indulge in a long shower. Smelling good we wandered out slowly and took more pictures. Some of the dolphins were frolicking close to shore. I asked a lifeguard if I made the hand gestures we learned if they would do tricks. He said probably not it was their time off and they know the difference between work times and play time. The dolphin did seem to be enjoying himself and gave us a cute show. As we left we stopped at the photo store and picked up our pictures, photo CD and video. The photo and video products have an additional cost. The clerk was nice and gave us two extra key chains for the girls. We also stopped at the gift shop and purchased discovery cove pins for our lanyards. When we got home we changed for dinner. The Elizabeth’s watched Katherine and Matt, Vince, Mary Beth and I went to Artist Point for dinner. Artist Pointe is located at the Ft. Wilderness Lodge. We were seated almost immediately when we arrived. Our drink order was also taken quickly; in fact we were still undecided about the wine. The menu had changed slightly since we had been there 3 years ago. I had the artist cheese e for my appetizer, Matt had spring rolls, and Mary Beth had the Portobello soup. I tasted her soup and it was still delicious. I enjoyed all of my cheeses. Sour dough had been served for the table and it was excellent with a good sour taste. I used this to put cheese on as well. In fact I had so much cheese that I shared with everyone at the table. Matt and Vince had the buffalo sirloin. Mary Beth prefers her meat well done and was waffling about the steak. The waiter volunteered to have the beef butterflied and she enjoyed her meal. I had the pork chop and loved it. For dessert we had cocktails and sweets. I had baileys with milk and ice plus the peach upside down cake with ice cream. It was fabulous. Mary Beth and Vince shared some chocolate and Matt had berries and ice cream. We also shared a very nice bottle of wine. After dinner we walked around the beautiful grounds for a bit. The back of the lobby has a waterfall that flows down the property towards the pool. Out past the pools is a replica of old faithful. We faithfully waited and were rewarded with a very realistic geyser gushing! One of the cool things about eating at the deluxe hotels is walking the grounds and getting a sample of the hotel. Then we headed home for bed!
Friday September 5
Today was another big day because later that night was Mickey’s No So Scary Halloween Party! We got up early and headed to Animal Kingdom. My parents and Travis stayed home and rested up for the Halloween Party. We were admitted into the Oasis before opening. Robin and Jenna stopped and admired a big spider in a case. A few minutes before opening we lined up to see Mickey open the park. Following our touring plans we did Everest first. Everyone thought it was awesome. Everytime Vince walked past he called out fun to the mountain. Next we headed to Dinoland and rode dinosaur. The sky was really dark and Hannah’s rain was going to pass through Orlando on her way north. I think this really scared people off. Due to the short lines we decided to head off to the safari. With no lines we walked on the safari too. We headed back to watch the New Finding Nemo show. I really loved it. The set is beautiful and the extras like bubbles were great. We got in and seated only about 10 minutes early because of the small crowds. We were fairly near the front. After the show we headed to flame tree barbeque. The food is some of the best counter service in Disney. I hadn’t noticed how cute the pavilions are painted. They had animals and lots of cute ants painted on them. While we were eating Hannah let it all out. It rained very hard but we stayed dry in our ponchos under the pavilion. After lunch it was raining lightly and we went to see it’s tough to be a bug. The line moved fast and it was difficult to see the intricate carvings in the tree. After the show it was our deadline and we left for our afternoon nap. We left slowly and took in some of the animals in the oasis. The kids like being able to choose our path in what seems like a rainforest. Everyone but Robin took a nap. She seemed too wound up to sleep. She did lie on the bed and after a while I let her watch TV in bed. Matt was really sounded asleep and Katherine slept in the car and for a few hours at the time share. We got up and showered. Katherine was Tinkerbell the same as at lunch. Robin decided on Sleeping Beauty. Elizabeth was Minnie mouse. Jenna wore Cinderella again. The adults, Travis and Elizabeth G all wore Mickey Mouse club shirts. It was cool and had the 1956 logo on it. My mom remembers from a kid and was really excited. I got them from Zazzle.com and they had our names on them. The site was easy to use and customer service was great but the shirts run small. We stopped at McDonald’s on our way to Magic Kingdom to save time. Magic Kingdom’s extra decorations were awesome and all the cast members had Halloween outfits too. We took a lot of pictures out-front and on Main Street too. The town square had pumpkin scarecrows and all of the buildings had great detailed jack o lanterns. The lights even “danced” to the music. Since we arrived before 7:00 and the official party we headed to Fantasyland to do the Teacups because we missed it on Monday. We rode the teacups with no line and the CM kept having us yell and scream. It added to the party atmosphere. When we got off teacups we noticed a costumed eeyore and Winnie the pooh out for photographs. Eeyore was a very cute and melancholy clown. Pooh was dressed in his super sleuth costume. As we exited the line it was 7:00 and the candy was out! The kids thought it was super cool to get candy. Katherine who loves bags and purses just loved carrying her little treat bag. After the first treat station we decided to try Ariel’s dance party. Donald Duck was there dressed like a pumpkin. There were few kids there and they all danced around the characters. Shortly after we got there Donald left and Chip and Dale dressed like musketeer’s arrived. The teenagers were really getting into the music and dancing a lot. Katherine loved it and was spinning around. Jenna and Robin also were dancing like little monsters and even managed a dance with chip and dale. Once Katherine got bored I took her on Dumbo which is her favorite. Next we headed to the haunted mansion. It was great, extra lighting and fog made it extra spooky. Also the cast seemed to have enhanced costumes. We loved the fun ride and Robin thought it was hysterical that a ghost sat on her Dad’s lap. Jenna thought it was too much and became unglued. While Grandma calmed her down we got a picture in front of the haunted mansion. We headed next to adventure land and some more trick or treating. We also got in line for pictures with Aboo and genie. When we got to the front Aladdin and Jasmine came over so we were lucky enough to get pictures with ALL four characters! It was almost time for fireworks so we headed to the ice cream shop on Main Street. The little tables were empty so my Mom and Dad sat there until the fireworks started. While we waited we got some ice cream and popcorn. We had a great view and the perimeter fireworks were especially good. The Halloween theme and music was great. We held our post on Main Street to wait for the parade. It was a long wait and I feel like maybe we wasted some time sitting there. During the wait some people saw the villains mix and mingle. I took Robin to the Stitch Dance party. We saw stitch dressed as Elvis all though he didn’t mingle and danced to a song but it was nearly 10 and Robin was getting tired. We went back for the parade. They asked everyone to stand for the beginning of the parade. I asked the CM if I could bring a chair over from the ice cream parlor because it was hard for my mom to stand. He said sure and even brought the chair to her. The headless horseman came running down Main Street. It was cool but it happened so fast I can hardly remember any details. The parade was not running and we were all anxious for it to catch up with the horseman. It was a great and long. The characters were all dressed up. Mickey was a jester. I yelled hey Mickey and pointed to my shirt and he threw me a kiss the kid behind me was dressed just like Captn’ Jack Sparrow. When his pirate ship came by the little boy was yelling but couldn’t get his attention. So I said to him on the count of three yell Captain Jack. So we yelled together and he was noticed. Jack made lots of gestures and bowed to him. The kid was so excited! Matt and I liked the gravediggers and there shovels. They used them like a percussion instrument in time to the music like stomp. Then they dragged the blades in time to the music and made sparks fly. They were my favorite part. I also liked the pumpkin head man and the dead guy rock band. Of course all of the villains were there. Robin and I had fun giving them the thumbs down and seeing their reaction. At the end of the parade Goofy and his candy came by and CM’s handed out candy. At this point Katherine was asleep in the stroller, my parents, Jenna and Travis left. We wanted to do Pirates of the Caribbean so we went there and rode in two groups so Katherine could stay asleep in the stroller. At this point there was 20 minutes left but we had no more fight. Full of Candy we made our way to the exit. Mickey was waving from the train station saying goodnight. The pumpkins over the exits said see ya real soon. Out in front they were giving away Ghirardelli chocolate! A perfect ending to a magical day!
Saturday September 6
Total exhaustion and revolt. Our plan was to go back to Animal Kingdom early but no one wanted to go. We slept instead. We got up late and showered. This was our day for formal pictures at the Grand Floridian. We decided to get lunch at their quick service place. The Grand Floridian is beautiful. You can see the castle from the grounds and the beach is breathtaking. I loved it there. After lunch we met our Photo pass photographer and got started. We started inside taking pictures on the second floor of the lobby. I liked our photographer and she gave good picture direction. We quickly moved outside where it was DEADLY hot. As soon as we got in the heat Katherine became very uncooperative. We did manage some good shots the first few minutes we were outside. We got only one useable picture of Katie on the beach and I felt like I was melting. We got a ton of great shots of Robin and Elizabeth individually. We also got several nice pictures of Matt and me together. Vince and Mary Beth wanted engagement photos and I think they got many great shots. After much crying on the beach we gave up and went in. Mary Beth, Vince and Elizabeth G did take some more shots. Including more shots inside out of the heat. I wish we had stayed inside longer. I think it was worth the $25 sitting fee and we got many nice pictures on our photo pass CD. We took the monorail to Magic Kingdome and headed straight for toontown. It was our last day and somehow we had not had a picture with Mickey. We headed to the judge’s tent and waited in a fairly long line. We were rewarded because both Mickey and Minnie were there! When we got there I exclaimed Minnie’s here and told everyone how lucky we were. Later I was awarded with a hug from Minnie. It was hot and we struggled for most of the day. We did enjoy some more rides and getting wet at Ariel’s grotto. We also saw the Dreams come true show in the shade Dinner was at the Columbia Harbor house and most of my group had fish. We headed back to the time share to swim and pack. Our last day was good but I feel like I could have planned it better. It would have been better to swim in the middle of the day and relax.
Sunday September 7
We packed and headed out to Downtown Disney. We all did some shopping. We did go to the toy store and get Mr. Potato head parts. That is a cool souvenir for $20. Especially since I had a potato at home and we only got the Disney parts. I had wanted to eat at Earl of Sandwich but the line was out the door and seating was limited. We cruised over to the Rainforest Café and were seated immediately in the air conditioning and cool drinks came quickly. The food was good, plentiful and expensive. Half of our meals ended up in the trash and we left for the Orlando Airport. The flight home was rough on Katherine and I was glad to be home.
Thanks for enjoying the trip with me again.
|09-18-2008, 05:20 PM||#2|
Found the Tag Fairy's hangout
All whacked up on Scooby Snacks
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Gloucester, UK
Hey, Amy - thanks for the report, but I think you got the wrong board. This is UK DVC. Did you want Trip Reports?
October 1992 ~ Enclave Suites, I-Drive May 1996 ~ Omni Rosen, I-Drive October 1998 ~ Villa-Clear Creek August 2000 ~ Beach Club/Villa-Sunset Lakes July 2001 ~ Animal Kingdom Lodge/Hard Rock Hotel/Villa-Formosa Gdns Christmas 2001 ~ Villa-Formosa Gardens October 2002 ~ Hard Rock Hotel/Villa-Formosa Gdns May 2003 ~ Portofino Bay/Villa-Cumbrian Lakes January 2004 ~ Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes/Villa-Formosa Gardens July 2004 ~ Grand Floridian/Portofino Bay/Villa-Formosa Gardens December 2004 ~ Villa-Rolling Hills/Disney Wonder Cruise/BoardWalk Grand Villa/Contemporary April 2005 ~ Washington DC, Shenandoah, Blue Ridge Parkway, Charleston, Savannah, Royal Pacific Resort/Villa-Acadia Estates January 2006 ~ Reunion Resort/Royal Pacific Resort April 2006 ~ Celebration Hotel/NCL Jewel Cruise/Hotel Victor, Miami/Beach Cottage-Disney's Vero Beach October 2006 ~ Reunion Resort/BoardWalk Villa/Rosen Shingle Creek August 2007 ~ Saratoga Springs//Reunion Grande January 2008 ~ Saratoga Springs/Beach Club Villas/Reunion Resort November 2008 ~ BoardWalk Villas/Royal Pacific Resort/Saratoga Springs March 2011 ~ Celebrity Cruise/Veness Towers, a stone's throw from the Magic Kingdom November 2012 ~ Bay Lake Tower/Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota/Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, Jupiter/Saratoga Springs September 2013 ~ Kidani Village/Saratoga Springs May 2014 ~ Beach Club Villas/Wyndham Grand Bonnet Creek/Bay Lake Tower
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