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Old 09-21-2009, 05:39 PM   #1
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Cool Funny Faces and Haircuts:The Princess and The Duck-First Trip*3/9 Earning Our Ears

Welcome to our crazy, funny face makin’, Donald Duck chasin’ trip report. We arrived back in the real world last Friday (9/18) and we are already ready to go back to our new home away from home the wonderful Wilderness Lodge. Our trip was filled with magical moments and magical meltdowns, along with memories that will last a lifetime.

Join us on our journey and you will our ups and downs, mostly caught on camera. We ended up taking about a thousand photos and we could have taken well more than that if experiencing the little moments hadn’t taken over.

For those of you who didn’t read our Pre-TR here is a link. But let me reintroduce you to our cast of crazy characters….

Me: (Mommy) Disney lover for as long as I can remember, never been to Disney World (or Disneyland for that matter) before. I was looking forward to EVERYTHING! Not only would we be experiencing things through our own eyes but the eyes of our kiddos. The magic is alive in this family! I was the master planner, packer and researcher for this trip. A job I am sure I will be sharing with DH next time since he has been converted to a Disneyaholic!!

DH: (Daddy) Had been to WDW one time about 10 years ago and was not impressed *gasp*. He was looking forward to doing Disney the right way and seeing it through the kid’s eyes. He has defiantly become a Disney convert since our trip and was saying over and over he wanted to go back as soon as we left! Lets see how that turns out....

DS (4): Our new little music box! He is our angel, most of the time. This trip was planned for maximum magic for him and he played along beautifully! He was on constant look out for his “favorite guy” (Donald Duck of course) and can sing nearly every song that played in most of the rides! He showed how fearless he was facing down roller coasters and characters alike with humor and excitement!

DD (2): Our little princess! She took this trip fantastically better than could be expected! She likes her routine so pulling her through 4 parks for 7 days was bound to be a recipe for disaster more often than not. To our surprise she was pretty go-with-the –flow for most of the trip, not to say that our meltdown moments didn’t come fast and furious at times. She didn’t lose her independent streak as she tried to push me OUT of the car on Goofy’s Barnstormer or Winnie the Pooh so she could ride alone. LOL

To begin I will give you a few highlights. Our trip not only surpassed our hopes but shot them out of the park for the most part. We learned what we liked as a family and what we can pass on for next time, which is a valuable tool to have. Our plan was a 6 night/ 7 day trip staying at the Wilderness Lodge. We had originally bought park hoppers but decided we didn’t need them so we had 6 day base tickets giving us one day off from the parks. We were arriving midday on Friday 9/11 and leaving evening Thursday 9/17 giving us half days in the parks those days.

Stay tuned for stories of DS hitting on the Princesses, DD's hair fiasco, DS finally meetin’ the Duck, 10 sets of clean towels, magical call from Goofy and touring MANY WDW bathrooms.

I finally convinced DH to join and add his two cents in so when he adds to the story I will update him in the links as well! (In red)
FIRST UP: Final Preparations!

Here We Go

We Have Arrived
Disney Meltdown
Dining With the Princesses
Around the World Part 1
Around the World Part 2
Illuminations and EMH

Waking up is hard to do...
Breakfast With Pooh and Friends
Halloween Sidebar
Tut Tut It Looks Like Rain Part 1
Tut Tut It Looks Like Rain Part 2
Mousekeeping Who? and Dinner with Mickey
DH's Trip Rememberings
DH Explains the Hairy Situation

Breakfast at DHS Part 1!
Breakfast at DHS Part 2!
Video of "CHA CHA CHA" Dance
Who Needs a Stinkin' Touring Plan Part 1
Who Needs a Stinkin' Touring Plan Part 2
DH's Magical Moment
Keep Walking Nimcompoop!

Mustang Sally has a bad day!
Lorelai's First Haircut!

Explorin' Tomorrowland
Splashin' Around

A Mad Hatter and a Pirate
Random GF Photos
A Model is Born
DH is Banished
Legos and Ponies Part 1
Legos and Ponies Part 2

Will this Bus Ride EVER END????
This is Disney Feels more like the Amazon!
What to do...
Our Last Night

The End Begins... Tales of no underpants
Earning our Ears

OT-Medieval Times TR

Last edited by PrncessA; 03-09-2010 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:44 AM   #2
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What a cute family you guys are!

Isn't it amazing how truly magical Disney World is! Our first trip to Disney back in 1998 when our son was just 1 and our daughter was 11. 11 years later, we have 14 trips under our belt. Never in a million years, did we think we'd become certified Disneyholics.

I love seeing Disney World through a first time visitor's eyes and look forward to reading all about your Disney adventures!


2014 trip report: Disney dangled the visual weinee and Mickeystoontown gobbled it up! Our two week adventure!

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Old 09-23-2009, 03:17 PM   #3
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Here we go....

Sorry about no photos in this chapter, but I promise the rest of the trip is full of them. I didn't get the camera out until after we went through airport security.
Our trip started with the day before we left. Our plan had been to have our bags packed on Wednesday so that we would have all of Thursday to relax and really start our vacation. I knew this would not happen but it was a wish none the less. LOL Those of you who read my Pre-TR know that DH had extreme dental surgery about a month ago. We were hopeful that he would be completely healed by the time we went to Disney but as we got closer we knew it was going to be a stretch. This was devesating to me since we had booked the DxDDP specifically because DH loves food. Now I was worried about what and even if he could eat. This made getting into vacation mode hard!

That day after I got off work my mom and I went and got mani-pedis and I started getting excited. She took the kids to the park to give me and DH time to pack and load things into her van since she was driving us to the airport. We managed to get most things packed and a load of laundry done but we had a lot to go. She ended up leaving her van with us since she is walking distance away and we would pick her up in the morning.

We fed and washed the kids, who were bouncing off the walls with excitement. They had no idea what was going on, just that their normal routine had changed. DS had been asking ALL day to take the last Mickey Head off his countdown and learn his surprise. The kids ended up going to bed a little later than normal even though the plan was to get them in bed early. DS pulled his last Mickey and we announced his surprise…… We were waking them up early to go to the airport to see the airplanes. DS was excited and ask if he got to go IN the airport. Yep, easy to please. Since they went to bed late they were out within’ minutes and we continued our work.

DH and I finished packing and when I was satisfied I had packed all I could we relaxed a bit. We are big Food Network fans and DVR many shows. We watched an episode of Iron Chef and an episode of Dinner Impossible. It was getting late and I knew I needed sleep so I set the alarm clock for 4:40am, since I wanted to be out of the house by 5:45am. I think I went to sleep at around 11:30 or so, DH stayed up and was watching some DVR’d sports I am sure.

Next thing I knew DH was coming in the room with my cell phone. He had fallen asleep watching TV and my cell ringing had waked him up. I looked at the clock and it was 5:00am!! My alarm hadn’t gone off! Thank goodness my boss called to wish us a good trip or we might not have made it on the plane! We got up and got ready, I called my mom to make sure she was up, and we nuked the kids some french toast sticks.

I filled their new surprise sippy cups (Cars and Princesses) with milk and we went to wake them up. It wasn’t too hard since they are very early risers and we were only getting them up an hour or so before they would have normal woke up. We got them dressed and since I had done DD’s hair before she went to bed we were ready to go. They put on their crocs and LOVED their new sippy cups and we were off, sort of. We picked up my mom and then headed to the CVS, I had realized I needed travel size SPF and laundry detergent. Traffic was actually worse than I expected but we made it to O’Hare in good time and unloaded the luggage and the kids and said goodbye to my mom. Our trip was about to begin!!!

Just a little side note: During the ride to the airport I was writing my mom directions to get back to the airport to pick us up. It isn’t that long of a drive (about a half hour) but my mom is HORRIBLE with directions. I have sooo many memories of her getting lost that I could fill up an entire TR with them. When I was about 14 we went to Kings Island in Cincinnati, OH. We left after closing and we all fell asleep with my mom driving. We were suppose to head north to Springfield where we lived but when my dad woke up he saw a sign and we were a few miles outside of Indianapolis, IN. Needless I made my directions very detailed, I was pretty sure this was useless anyway.

UP NEXT: Our first trip through airport security ever! Our first flight!
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:21 PM   #4
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I would have been flipping out when I realized the alarm didn't go off like it should have! Thank goodness for the "hope you have a great trip" call!

2014 trip report: Disney dangled the visual weinee and Mickeystoontown gobbled it up! Our two week adventure!

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Old 09-29-2009, 02:36 AM   #5
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I didn't get to make it over to your ptr yet- but how exciting that you got to surprise them! Looking forward to more
Chris Lauren James, 5 Maya, 9

May 2011 CBR TR. Oct 2012 POR PTR . May 2011 PTR. Oct/Nov 09 TR

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Old 09-29-2009, 09:24 PM   #6
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I'm following from the WL thread about your pros and cons!! We're heading to WDW in Dec for our 6th visit at WL so I can't wait to read your thoughts and opinions!!
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:22 PM   #7
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Last time we finished packing, finished our countdown and arrived at the airport… to see planes of course.

We arrived at the airport and headed to the self baggage check and checked our one large suitcase for the $15 price instead of the new $20. Nice surprise since we bought our tickets the day before the price hike. We had decided to bring our umbrella stroller to keep DD reigned in at the airports and thank goodness we did. She can sprint away from you faster than any kid I have ever known, besides my little sister. We headed into the first security checkpoint and it was empty. We were directed to the family line *sigh* and we presented our ID’s and boarding passes and we passed through.

Now for new fliers (DH hadn’t flown since all the new security procedures) we were kind of prepared. We knew that we would need all of our shoes off and that the laptop would need to be taken out of its bag. I had put all of our liquid in a quart bag (which by the way I think is a scare tactic since I forgot on our way back and nothing was said). The space between the first checkpoint and the scanners is nonexistent it seemed and all of the sudden it was crowded in my mind.

I had expected signs telling you what to do, where to go, or someone helping out but we were thrown in to mix unprepared. DS and DD took of their shoes and I started filling bins…. Then came the first blow, DD had to be out of the stroller and it had to be scanned, I had known this but it had completely slipped my mind. She FREAKED out! Next the kids had to take off their sweatshirts. Then we forgot to take the laptop out of the bag… then DH forgot his watch, then his keys, then his belt. Thank goodness our luggage all scanned okay, it was already stressful enough!

We made it through to the other side and DD refused to sit back in the stroller. This was a struggle of enormous proportions and she almost won. She put up quite a fight and was screaming like a banshee, DS bless him was trying to help calm her down but she was beyond reason. We regrouped while she screamed and finally I remembered I had bananas in a bag and that calmed her down FINALLY. I was sure that with all the commotion that TSA security agents were going to descend on us. That would have been a great way to start a trip!

I had always heard that you should arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight. Since we were running slightly late and security threw me off I was preparing for a sprint Home Alone style down the airport terminals to get to our gate. We love this movie and I always laugh at the airport scene since there is no way in the world that would ever be possible. But never the less that is what was running through my mind. DH looked at his watch and that entire process had took us about 20 minutes. *WHEW* No Home Alone style running for us this time! Maybe on our return trip!

We headed toward our gate and when we turned the corner we were greeted with a full house. No seats available here! We still had an hour before they started boarding so we backtracked to a nearly deserted hallway with tons of windows and relaxed. Turns out we were near a family restroom and after DS discovered the “cool” self-cleaning toilets and automatic hand sanitizer we made several trips to the restrooms. DH headed around the corner for some Starbucks and I pulled out the camera.

Here we are relaxin' :

FINALLY we decided to let DS “choose” where we would fly. I knew his answer would be Disney World, we had been talking nothing but Disney for a month so he was well past brainwashed on the subject. Two times it had slipped from each of us that we were going and both times Ethan began jumping up and down and yelling before we retracted our statements. I was so hopeful for this moment, I had even imagined showing it to all of my friends and family, so I began taping. I was hoping for excitement, jumping up and down, tears, anything.

DS was so out of his element at the airport he could barely keep his mind on one thing at a time, I doubt he really understood anything I was saying. I finally ask him the golden question, holding my breath that the answer would not be “Chuck-E-Cheese” and I was thrilled to hear “Um, Disney World.” YES! Being as calm as I could I said “Okay let’s go.” Now was the moment I had been waiting for the excitement and tears! Did it happen? Of course not, what I got in response was “Okay let’s go.” No excitement, not even really an acknowledgement of the surprise.

Here is the exchange:

I am not sure what I was expecting since even though he was familiar with WDW he had no idea what going meant. He had no idea how exciting it was, but I am fully confident that our next trip will be a surprise and we will get a huge reaction!

We headed to our gate a few minutes before boarding and checked our stroller, which made those last few minutes feel like hours. DD is a sprinter and has NO concept of getting lost. DS at least usually will stay in range if he runs and he always keeps his eye on us if we are out somewhere. DD is fearless and will run a half mile away before she turns back if she looks back at all. Needless to say they were feeding off each other’s excitement and began bouncing off the walls.

Since our seats were in the back of the plane we hoped they boarded back to front but no such luck. We boarded and fought our way through EVERYONE. To avoid the fortune that would have been paid if we had checked our entire luggage we decided to carry-on as much as was allowed. This means DH was struggling with two rolling suitcases both with bags resting on the top of them and the laptop backpack. I was in charge of the diaper bag and DD. Now to be fair DD is equal to the backpack and one rolling suitcase, even if she is walking herself.

We boarded the tiny plane with Ethan leading the way with DH following pushing one suitcase in front of him and pulling one behind him. Anyone who has ever tried this probably has his sympathy, he was having a lot of trouble and was making quite a scene. DD was walking behind him and I brought up the rear. About halfway down the plane I casually mentioned to DH that maybe I should have taken a suitcase, thought my sympathy would make him feel better. Then he just let go of the suitcase he was pulling and walked away. I was beyond surprised and a little mad. I could barely get to it over DD and there were a lot of people behind me pushing. I am pretty sure I said some not to kind words loudly and he came back and got it. So far boarding the plane was beginning to feel as stressful as security. We arrived at our seats only to find that the guy sitting next to me at used ALL of the above storage space. DH was already annoyed and began shoving suitcases in. Use your imagination at the scene. Luckily we were able to squeeze two of our suitcases in, not without drawing the attention of the flight attendant who told DH to calm down before he had a stroke. We got settled in and I found that DD HATED the seatbelts and this would be a constant struggle that I would more often than not loose.

So we made our little home in the beyond tiny seats of the plane. I lifted the seat divider between DD and me to give myself a little comfort… you know the kind that comes with a armrest that doesn’t really lift all the way digging into your shoulder and I was welcomed by DD pushing me away from “her seat” until I returned the divider. As we started to taxi I saw a butterfly fly by my window and felt like it was a blessing on our trip. As the plane took off I pumped DD full of gummy bears and heard DS being entertained by the stewardess across the aisle. DH said the interaction went like this:
Her: What’s blue and smells like red paint?
DS: I don’t know. What?
Her: What’s blue and smells like red paint?
DS: I don’t know. What?
Her: What’s blue and smells like red paint?
DS: I don’t know. What?
Her: What’s blue and smells like red paint?
DS: I don’t know. What?
DH: (whispering) Red paint.

LOL, DS is our comic relief in the family and loves jokes so the fact that he didn’t get this one is funny. He has a knack for getting out of almost any trouble he is in by pulling a stand-up comedy routine in the time out corner.

The flight was uneventful and fast. I didn’t hear much from DH and DS in front of us, but according to DH they had a great flight. DD on the other hand as I said HATED the seatbelt and sitting in her seat. She spent most of the flight standing in the floor playing on her seat. About an hour in we had I did beg DH to take DD to the restroom and change her. I did not want to wrestle with the man sitting next to me since he had moved a negative inch to let us in our seat originally.

We arrived about 20 minutes ahead of schedule and started following the mob toward baggage claim. As we left the gate I looked at all the exhausted people that had just ended their vacation and felt grateful that we had 7 days before we became one of them. Being new to MCO we had never experienced the shuttle from the gates to the baggage claim area, pretty cool. We moved with the crowd to our little baggage belt and we began to look for our Tiffany Town car escort. There were tons of people holding up names, but none were ours. After about 10 minutes I was beginning to pull out my confirmation page to give them a call, when she walked out of the elevator holding our name. Crisis averted! I was trying to get in vacation mode, but my mind was wanting OUT of the airport and IN to the Wilderness Lodge! As we were introducing ourselves to our driver Renata I looked down for Ethan and he was GONE.

Panic set in! I had not put his ID bracelet on him yet and there was a set of automatic doors right behind us. I began to panic and started yelling his name. It felt like forever but in reality it was about 10 seconds when his head popped up from behind the trashcan about 15 feet away. I ran and grabbed him and told him never to do that again (yeah right). Now has anyone ever looked at other parents around you when something like this happens? There is two ways other parents look at you… Parents who have kids who are faster than lightning at disappearing look at you with pity and give you a weak smile as they are holding on to the collar of their own child who is fighting to get away. Parents who have the perfect children that never step more than a few feet away look at you with a smug disapproving look that makes you feel like the worst parent in the world. Lucky us the latter was standing right next to us and gave me a smug look of huge proportions before herding her family far away from us. *shrug*

As we waited we made small talk about the weather. Finally the luggage conveyer began to move and DH went to stand closer to the beginning to grab our bag and suddenly DS needed to go potty. NOW! So our driver guarded DD in the stroller and our carry-on bags and I took DS to the restroom. DS tends to be fascinated with bathrooms. It is hard work to keep him on task and most trips include repeating the sentences “Ethan hurry up.” “Ethan, don’t touch that.” “Ethan, stop flushing the toilet.” “Ethan PLEASE pull your pants up and come on!” about 20 times each. It is almost comical. This trip was no exception and I believe he flushed the toilet 3 times.

When we made it back out to the luggage 3 hours later I expected DH to have our one checked bag and a camp set up in the airport. But no such luck! It turned out our luggage belt was being shared with another flight that arrived well after ours and their luggage was on the belt not ours. We finally got our luggage and loaded the elevator at 12:30. Quite a long time to wait for luggage seeing as we arrived at 11:40, but since we had arrived early we were still on schedule. We headed to the tunnel to load into our van and I began to get into vacation mode!

DS began asking where Donald Duck was and we spotted him in the fun wall with all the characters. We headed out of the airport and got our first glimpses off palm trees. Wahoo we were not in Chicago anymore! We were getting excited….

First off was our stop at Publix. We had decided that I would run in by myself to make it faster and less stressful. I had made a list of things to pick up before we left and of course had left it on our dining room table, lol. So I was repeating what I needed to get, DH was convinced I would forget half of it. He took this photo as a “before” picture, saying that he would take an “after” picture when I realized what I forgot. Ha ha ha, honey! I ran in and the first thing I saw was aisles of Disney merchandise. Of course I had to pick up a stuffed Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck.

I have to say the prices here are great! MUCH cheaper than in the parks and resorts I found out! I picked up bread, diapers, 2 cases of water (on sale for $3.77!), cookies and a gallon of milk. Then I spent what felt like hours searching for jelly since I had shipped peanut butter. Turns out it was at the very end of the store next to the bread and water, which I had walked by at least 3 times. They only had one lane open so I got in line. Soon a supervisor called me over to the customer service desk to ring me up and surprise of all surprises I remembered to use my Huggies coupon! I may be on vacation but I haven’t paid full price for diapers in YEARS and I wasn’t starting now! Vacation could now begin!
Here is my "before" photo and a couple from the transport:

When I got back to the van DH told me that they had lanyards in the store. Our driver had run in and picked a couple up for her grandkids who were going on a cruise. I had been torn on if we needed lanyards or not since we weren’t trading pins and I ended up regretting not buying them before we left. I ran back in and they were great! I picked up a Minnie one for me and Stitch for DH; they had clear plastic ID pouches. They were super cheap $3.99 I think, either way they were half the price that I could find online. Let me tell you, we will never take a trip without these! They were fantastic!!! It was so easy to keep our KTTW, ID’s, Credit card and Fast Passes in them for very easy access. We didn’t actually see many other people wearing these, but we didn’t care. DH wore his constantly up until we walked into our front door. LOL

Just for the record there is no after picture showing when I forgot something at Publix! I remembered everything I went in to get!
We were off! Next stop the wonderful Wilderness Lodge! Here is the obligatory entrance photo:

I wasn’t fast enough to take one of the Wilderness Lodge entrance. We were climbing the hill and turning the curb…….

NEXT UP: We’re Home, Now we have get to Epcot NOW!
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:05 PM   #8
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Not sure if I still have any readers, but here is our next update!!

Being that this was our first trip to Disney World and to the Wilderness Lodge we had no idea what to expect. Emotions were running crazy in my head. I was beyond excited that the moment I had dreamed about for years was here, we were pulling into our dream resort. Although I was excited there was a big part of me that was nervous and anxious. If I had a chance to chance to change one thing about our trip it would be for me to change this. I spent more time than I should have worried and nervous that our trip wouldn’t be perfect. I learned to relax a few days in and thing defiantly got “perfect”. None the less I was overwhelmed with excitement and worry, lol.

Our nicely air conditioned van began rounding the corner and let me tell you I was overtaken with a kind of happiness that I learned only comes from the magic of Disney! I was holding back tears as we pulled up to the front doors of our home for the next seven days and I am not ashamed to tell you that it is happening again right now as I think about it. The WL was more beautiful than pictures can express and the magic that radiates from it is bewitching. We were home! I would like to say that I can remember everything perfectly but I don’t and I have learned from this trip to take time everyday and write about the day.

DH jumped out of the car and left me in charge of the kiddos. They were quieter than I think they had been all day for some reason, I think the magic of Disney had rubbed off on them already. DS ask if Donald Duck lived here. As DH dealt with the VERY nice luggage attendants I stationed the kids next to the large stone pillars and paid our driver. It is hard to explain the feeling of complete happiness that I had at that moment. I knew we were finally here after wishing for this moment for most of my life and begging my husband for the last few years. It was complete bliss. I pulled out the camera and we released the kids……

I read somewhere while researching our trip that at WDW “kids are the rule, not the exception” and it gave me a sense of relaxation through our entire trip. Being the parents of two hyper kiddos we are constantly on the watch with our kids at any moment ready to deal with potential upset. We worry that they are too loud or if they are an inch away from breaking something, to the point where we spend more time worrying than having a good time. Our goal for this vacation was to relax and let the kids be kids and this seemed like the perfect place to do it and now after our 7 day trip I can confirm the pervious statement. Never did we feel that the kids were out of place or unwanted, even at more adult venues. We were perfectly able to let loose a little and allow the kids more freedom and room to venture out a little.

We entered the cavernous lobby and it was as beautiful as I had dreamed. I had done our online check-in 10 days before of course so I headed off to check us in leaving DH with the kids and the camera. The check-in desk was practically empty with only a few people in line at the regular check-in and no one at the online check in portion. In fact there wasn’t even anyone working the online check in desk and after standing there for a minute I was afraid I was standing in line in the wrong place. I was about to move over to the line when a manager walked out from the doorway behind the counter and confirmed I was in the correct line. She was very polite and asks my name as a CM who was helping at the regular check-in came over and apologized for the wait.

I have to say that online check-in was very fast and easy. The manager pulled our folder and my CM clicked a few buttons in the computer and we basically done. He explained where the elevators were and how to get to our room and then ask me if we were visiting a park that day. Yep, we were on our way to Epcot. He informed me that was a good choice since Epcot had EMH that night and all of the other parks were closed early due to special events (MNSSHP and Night of Joy) and since we didn’t have park hoppers it wouldn’t be worth the trip. Being the loyal Diser I am I already knew this information but as I did MANY times throughout the planning of the trip and the trip it’s self I thanked the giver of the information and tried to hide the fact that planning for this trip took more time than a full time job at times. LOL Since I was overwhelmed I ask our room location again and actually remembered to give him our luggage ticket!

I found DH and the kids sitting on one of the comfortable couches right behind me. I have to interject my story for a moment and say that I don’t think that any other hotel would have fit our family like the WL did. Honestly you can’t expect any hotel to be perfect and as we found out the WL wasn’t perfect either but it was a perfect fit for us. The vibe that the resort gives off is warm and inviting for adults and kids alike. It is quiet and peaceful inside and out but not so quiet that we felt like the kids were ever too loud or hyper and we have hyper kids. The theme is remarkable and I think it would take a week to explore and really appreciate the workmanship that is in every inch. The kids felt it too and within the first two days they were calling it home.

We headed over to the elevators and I swear the only piece of advice that I could remember from the CM just 3 minutes before was that we were on the fifth floor. Now as I am writing this a great moment that I had completely forgot has now came flooding back to my memory, a great side affect to writing a trip report! Now until this point as I said the kids had been angels but about this time they were starting to become excited and when they saw the bridge there was no turning back toward the elevators a fact that we learned quickly to address. I was still slightly overwhelmed from check-in and when the elevator arrived DH and I boarded, the kids had other ideas and ran straight to the bridge while another couple boarded the elevator.
DH jumped out and at any other time I would have followed but for some unknown reason I stayed on and yelled “I’ll meet you up there.”

This is hilarious to me since I had no idea why I did this and didn’t see anything wrong with it until I saw the dumbstruck face that DH had. I am sure I had the same one as soon as the doors closed. All I can blame it on was that fact that I was overwhelmed and worried about figuring out our room number. I got off on the fifth floor and no sooner than I had laid the folder down on the table to find our room number the rest of the family were bounding out of the elevator. Honestly I don’t think we ever had to wait longer than 10 seconds for an elevator our entire stay and 9 times out of 10 we were afforded our own private elevator.

So I was engrossed in searching for our room number on the MANY pieces of paper that the folder contained and DH was asking over and over if the guy had told me downstairs. I found at least 5 different places on the folder and papers that had spaces for our room number but they were all blank. We were about to reboard the elevator when we finally found them on the room key envelope, they were on the flap in light blue pen and not anywhere the room number line.

At this point I am sorry to say we began to lack in the magic department. We had been on the go since 5am and we had a full day ahead of us, things were a little stressed as we headed toward our room, 5050. The room was not that bad of a walk away from the lobby elevators so that was bonus considering what was about to come, lol. We were welcomed into our room by this little guy:

Entering the room seemed to be the equivalent of giving the kids 5 cans of Red Bull each and setting loose in a bouncy house. This continued to happen our entire trip.

We checked our view and acquainted ourselves with the room for a moment before my commando mentality set in. No sooner had we took a breath but our luggage had arrived and I noticed that the pack and play we had requested wasn’t in the room. It was then that I realized that I had forgotten a few things when I checked-in like the package that I had mailed and our double stroller that we had rented from Orlando Stroller rentals.

I sent a grumpy DH down to the front desk to get them and mention our pack and play problem and I began to get into Epcot mode. We had an ADR in Norway at 3:20 and if I can remember correctly it was around 1:30. Having read a lot of transportation reviews for the WL I knew that Epcot was the longest commute and wanted to be at the bus stop at 2:00. I had planned for a quick exit once we got to the resort and had packed the kid’s changes of clothes in a zip-top baggie in my carry-on. I pulled out the kid’s first new outfits and they were very excited. DS happily changed into his new Buzz Lightyear t-shirt and DD didn’t fight me at all with her new Princess Aurora dress, but she was over the moon about her new tiara.

I was beginning to do DD’s hair which is always World War 3 when the room phone rang. I answered to a gleeful “We’re at Disney!” from DH in the lobby. I admit at this point I had lost any semblance of magic but I put on a cheery voice and told DH I was VERY busy so what did he need. “Nothing, just wanted to say we’re at Disney!” I wish I could say that this brought back some of the magic but DD was fighting her way out of my grip and I am fairly certain I practically hung up on him. I managed to get DD’s hair into a pony tail when the phone rang again. Same conversation but I am certain that I hung up on him this time. I was not feelin’ the Disney vibe at that moment and I regret it now. I managed to get DD’s hair into a bun and attach her tiara and she looked regal. She strutted around like she was in a parade and preened to DH when he got back to the room with the stroller and box.

The next 20 minutes was a blur of not Disney like commotion. We were both stressed and tired and on a very tight schedule and although I knew were everything was when I packed it I couldn’t find anything I needed. We left the room looking like a tornado had hit it and headed out the door. I would elaborate on this point in our trip but honestly I think I have made myself forget most of it and chalk it up to my worst experience of the entire trip and one that was thankfully not repeated.

We made our way down to the lobby and toward our first trip to the bus stop. We had considered getting a taxi to take us to Epcot since I heard it was a long bus ride but with getting settled I think it would have taken us long to figure out how to get a taxi, than just taking the bus. With the kiddos settled in the fantastic stroller and clutching their new Disney water bottles and shades we set off, destination Epcot. Reading about bus transportation online I was always prepared for at least a 10 minute wait for a bus. When we got to the stop it was empty minus two couples.

Since we weren’t use to the stroller we unloaded the kids and tried to figure out how to fold it up and lock it. Folding it was pretty simple but we could not for the life of us figure out how to lock it. This was a constant problem for us and we never figured out if we were just being blind, but the stroller never locked closed and DH spent a lot of transportation wrestling with it. Having a large stroller to deal with was a change for us since we got rid of our double stroller a year ago and only use an umbrella stroller now. For anyone who is thinking about using Orlando Stroller Rentals here is our review. The stroller was very comfortable for the kids and VERY easy to push. It was a LOT cheaper than renting at the parks would have been and you got to use them outside of the parks. It was waiting for us when we got there and all I had to do to return it was hand it over to the concierge desk on our way out our last day. Very easy and as long as we can figure out how to lock the stroller closed we will use them again for certain.

Our bus arrived only minutes after we arrived at the bus stop and we jumped on board. The kids had the entire bus to choose from and after many different moves this is what they chose.

You can see in the photos that DH was still a little annoyed at the stroller. DD was grinning from ear to ear! As I had hoped the transportation was part of the adventure for the kids and they loved the buses and boats. I looked at the clock as we set off and it was 2:22, relief was setting in I figured even if we were on the bus for 40 minutes we would still have time to make it to Norway. Can you tell I had no reality of how BIG Epcot is? The kids loved the bus and spotting other buses with Mickey on them kept them happy. I think the bus made a stop at the Wilderness Campground but no one got on. It was a very quick ride and next thing we knew were entering Epcot. It was drizzling during our ride but it stopped as soon as we pulled in!

I am a huge fan of TR and after reading GreatBiscuts trip report I can totally agree with him that the drop off at Epcot for the POP feels like it is miles away from the entrance, since that is where we were dropped off. We unloaded with a screaming DD since when the bus had stopped she had lost her grip on the window and her arm got pinched between the window and seat, she is a lot like me and VERY prone being clumsy. We got the kids settled in to the stroller and began the very long and hot trek to Epcot’s front gates.

We had decided on Epcot being our first adventure since it seemed more educational and we thought the kids wouldn’t enjoy it as much if they had already been to MK. This turned out to be one of the parks that we wished we had a lot more time for and are planning at least 2 full days here for our next trip. I cannot stress how much larger Epcot is than I expected! We hurried through an empty bag check and activated our tickets and had our fingers scanned. We took a few minutes for photos before we headed off practically running toward Norway.

Will we make our ADR at Akershus or will be left hungry?
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Old 10-12-2009, 04:04 PM   #9
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Not many posters on my trip report, but I'll keep writing.

I have DH convinced that we should make our trip in Feb in 2010 instead of 2011. The buy4get3 was the convincer. DH said if I can find the money and we are finacially stable again by then it's a go. Crossing my fingers. DD will still be free!
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Old 10-13-2009, 02:48 PM   #10
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Keep going... :-D

Living vicariously through your report until Jan 2010!
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Old 10-13-2009, 03:34 PM   #11
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sounds good!!! I was away for the weekend and did not have a chance to read until now. I LOVE the AC of WL. Even in Dec you can feel it!!! Any pics of your room view??
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:35 PM   #12
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Hi - I'm subscribed and can't wait to read more. Your TR is sooo good! Keep it coming!

ps I'm just a couple hours south of you!
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Old 10-14-2009, 02:58 PM   #13
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Thank you all for the posts! Next chapter is almost done!
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Old 10-14-2009, 03:31 PM   #14
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I'm subscribing.

We are going to WDW 11/11 to 11/17 so the same dates but two months later. We are also essentially first timers (well, I went one time in 1989 and DH went to DL one time about 15 years ago and was "not impressed.") Like you, I've but a ton of work into planning this trip. We have a 4 year old and 3 year old, so I'm interested to see how you planned your days. Like you, we have 2 half days, as we arrive mid-day on 11/11 and leave in the evening on 11/17.
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Old 10-18-2009, 08:33 PM   #15
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We kept going and going and going and going it felt like, by the time we arrived at Mexico we were soaked and exhausted and running late. Who do we see tucked away in a shaded alcove in Mexico with a very small line…. Donald Duck. After Ethan had ask about nothing but Donald since we announced where we were going we thought about stopping but I knew we would see Donald many times this trip and our Princess meal was a onetime event. I angled the stroller so that Ethan wouldn’t see his Duck and we continued our trek towards Norway. I have to admit that the walk to the WS took FOREVER yet the walks through each country seem to be very short.

By the time we reached Akershus Castle we were running on empty and soaked to the bone! For a moment I was afraid that we were too late since there was quite a line outside the podium and I had forgotten our ADR cards in the room. DH wheeled the stroller into the shade and I stood in line to check-in, I am certain it was right at 3:20 or later. My first ADR check in went smoothly and I was told it would be a few minutes and they would call our name. Woohoo! I was startin’ to feel the Disney love.

I found DH on the other side of the entrance in the only shade he could find, he hadn’t found his Disney love yet a.k.a. air conditioning. It was time to release the kids, I had briefly looked around while standing in line and Norway was beautiful! I knew the kids would love the waterfall as they love waterfalls and water fountains, which are EVERYWHERE. I peeked in the stroller and this is what we found:

I think it one of the cutest photos of the entire trip! Poor little things were exhausted and they were use to a midday nap, one that I was hoping would happen AFTER we ate so that DH and I could enjoy the WS. Our options were either to let them sleep and wake them up right when our name was called or wake them up and let them explore for a few minutes. Either way we were risking major meltdowns but we figured a meltdown outside wasn’t as likely to echo as a meltdown inside. DS was awake instantly and amazingly wasn’t acting grumpy yet. DD on the other hand took a little work and finally really woke up when I said the Belle wanted to see her; again she didn’t seem to be very grumpy. We did a small amount of exploring in Norway and as I expected they loved the waterfall. DS wanted to ride Maelstrom but we told him we would have to put it off until after we ate.

DH in the small amount of shade he could find and DD not being a "princess" lol.

Our name was called pretty quickly considering the crowd around the podium and that’s when we joined the line. I was very excited about DD getting to meet Belle and had decided around Mexico that DH and I were way too sweaty to pose for photos. I think the concept of photo before the meal very good but I think the line is ill conceived. If I was sitting one of the tables right around the photo area I would have been annoyed at all the people hovering over me while I was eating and the line seemed to take forever. The kids were getting restless and I was afraid that the grumpiness was emerging right before our meet n’ greet. At last it was our turn and DH held DS back for an extra couple seconds so DD could have her princess moment.

I have to say this moment made the entire day worth it! It was completely magical and great memory. DD was in awe and couldn’t take her eyes off of Belle. She was entranced and not at all fearful! Score! DS was close behind and couldn’t wait to show Belle his new Buzz shades. She was perfectly in character asking DS if Buzz was his favorite storybook character and asking him about his favorite books. DH was taking photos but with all the commotion of me in the way and the photopass photographer next to him combined with the lighting only a few came out. Our photo from the Photopass was wonderful and I will try to scan it later.

We were seated straight in front of the entrance all the way in the back at a large table. I left DH with my drink order and headed to the restrooms. When I got back DH re-explained the buffet and menu combination. Snow White was at the table next to ours and the kids were getting excited but when she was done with that table she disappeared. Luckily the kiddos were satisfied with the promise she would return to them later.

We pursued the menu and I decided on a pulled pork sandwich and DH got the dumplings. Since DD is only 2 she wasn’t included on the meal plan but as I rightly guessed neither kid were all that interested in much food at meals, too much to look at and too many characters to wait for. I ordered DS ravioli with the sauce on the side and nothing for DD. The waitress told me that since DD was under 2 I could order something for her for free. I was surprised at this but I ordered DD the same as DS, I was sure they could have gotten away with sharing but just in case I ordered it.

I started to head to the buffet for our cold meats and salads when Cinderella greeted us! DD was beaming! I have to admit that after the wonderful interaction with Belle, Cinderella was a little disappointing and very quick! DD didn’t care she was on cloud nine!

I stayed put since Aurora was next and she is not only my favorite for DD’s. I was not disappointed! DD was so excited she could barely stay sitting she kept saying “MY PRINCESS MY PRINCESS” over and over, it was adorable. DS wasn’t shy either! As Aurora was talking to DD our little prince waited very patiently before saying “Excuse me Princess, excuse me Princess. Can you stay and eat with me?” I wish I had it on video because it was hilarious.

Aurora declined saying she had just had lunch with her Prince at the palace.
Disney magic had really caught our family full force now! The air conditioning and much needed caffeine had relaxed me and DH. We were finally on vacation!!

I headed to the buffet to grab some food for me and the kids. It is a nice small buffet and from what I can remember I had a salad and grabbed DS some salami and cheese. I tried to get DD a few things but she is very particular about food. I cannot get her to eat any kind of deli meat or ANY cheese other than on grilled cheeses. She doesn’t really care for any cold foods she had to pick up and eat. DS on the other hand would LIVE on crackers and cheese if we let him and salami is a favorite of his since he fell in love with the book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”. I do believe that she ate a few crackers at this point.

As the rest of the family ate their meat, cheese and salad DD was playing peek-a-boo from under her napkin. She had no idea that Ariel had come up behind her and when she peeked her head out this was her surprise:

It is one of my favorite photos of the trip! Since DD had never watched The Little Mermaid or Cinderella before I was a little concerned that she wouldn’t take to these princesses like “her princess Aurora”. Boy was I wrong! She loved Ariel! DS wasn’t shy again with his “Excuse me princess…” This time he asks Ariel if she was really a fish and why she had a star on her head. He was very comfortable talking with all of the face characters, like he had known them for years. We took the posed pic and then Ariel showed them how to make fish faces.

I looked around the restaurant and it was practically empty. There were a handful of tables full but basically we had to place to ourselves. That is when DH mentioned that they had shut the front doors and it hit me. I thought we were catching the very beginning of dinner (I had read the dinner times somewhere) but we had actually hit the very end of lunch. The Princesses had disappeared, no Snow White to be found. Luckily the kiddos had forgotten all about her.

Our food arrived and as I expected the kids wanted NOTHING to do with eating anything. We finally convinced DS to eat a couple Mickey raviolis but DD ate practically nothing but managed to get red sauce all over her new dress. DH devoured his meal and half of mine; my mind was set to rest that he wouldn’t be able to eat. The pulled pork was pretty good but I didn't eat any of the salad since I hate cucumbers. DH said the dumplings were GREAT, but he loves nearly all food.
My only food porn of the trip!

We were practically the only people left in the entire restaurant and without the Princesses the meal started dragging on..

I took DD to the restroom to try and clean her up. I changed her into her spare dress and rinsed out her now red one and placed it in a zip top bag (these are a life saver). When I got to the table our dessert was right behind me. DH left me and the kids to fight over the chocolate mousse while he took the cheesecake. I don’t think any of us ate any of the rice cream. We finished our dessert quickly and we were ready to hit the road, or the boat that is, for our first ride. Problem was we didn’t have our check and our waitress had gone MIA. When we spotted her we flagged her down and she said there had been a problem with our check and a manager had to fix it. I am not sure what the problem was but I am pretty sure she wasn’t supposed to give DD an entire meal for free.

Either way we soon broke out our virgin KTTW and used our first meal credits. Easy and quick we were paid and ready to rock and roll. I had eyed the “throne” in the lobby as we came in and on my multiple trips to the restroom and had made a mental note to grab a few pics of the kids in it while it was empty. Lucky us they had just opened the door for the dinner crowd and the seat was completely taken. Oh well a pic for next time. All in all we really enjoyed the meal and the ambiance, although it did take up quite a chunk of time. We will probably be doing the meal again on our next trip if only for the Princess interaction alone.

We headed out of our air-conditioned bliss and into the hot FL sun. DH and I commented frequently that hardly any of the Cast Members ever sweated while we looked like we were drowning in our own. Disgusting I know but anyone who has ever been hot at Disney understands!! The costumes for Norway looked especially warm and DH couldn’t stop mentioning it. We took a right headed to Maelstrom with a quick check on our stroller as we went…

I will stop here as it is a long chapter already. Up next: Our first ride and our trip around “The World”
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