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Old 08-22-2010, 11:05 PM   #1
wlake
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Pixie Dust in Your Eye Hurts! -- Aug. 2010 -- update on 2/25: Epcot Photopass!

We haven't even been home 24 hours and I'm already longing to go back. So I think I'll relive our trip with a nice, long TR. If you'd like to read the PTR, you can find it here.

The cast of characters that went:
me -- a school teacher, older than she's going to admit to being
DH -- a mechanical engineer. If I tell you how old he is, you'll be able to guess my age.
DS8 -- our son who thinks and thinks before he leaps. He has a sensory processing disorder which helps determine how we spend our days.
DS5 -- our son who careens from being completely impulsive to completely anxious.

The short backstory behind the trip: We werenít planning on going. My motherís family had a big reunion planned for July and that was going to be our trip for the year, despite it meaning that my DH would be spending a week living with roughly 20 in-laws. Then spring came and was incredibly difficult for my family. My FIL passed away suddenly, we were forced to make an unwelcome change in childcare arrangements (and so my DS5 lost a huge support network), a flood changed our small rural town forever, and my DS5 developed an ongoing medical problem. There were a few comparatively small illnesses and issues, as well as the continuing saga of settling my FILís estate and making sure my MIL, who lives a couple of hours away, is ok. We needed some time together as a family where we could just have fun. We got a room at my beloved POR and the free DDP, so we went!

When DH and I went in 2001 before the boys were born, I was a park commando. It killed me to spend an afternoon sitting by the pool. When we took the boys in Aug. 2009, I knew I had to be different and planned accordingly. I think I managed that again this year!

Sunday, August 15th:
We live about an hour from the nearest commercial airport, so a 7:15 AM flight meant being out of the house around 4:15. So, we put the boys to bed super early, in their clothes, and I packed muffins and juice bags to have as breakfast in the car once they fully woke up. We loaded the car the night before (and if you're one of the three people who read my PTR , all of DS5's underwear was in that load of wash!) and had nothing to pack that morning except for the boys' stuffed animals. Everything went according to plan, except s-l-o-w-l-y. We didn't leave the house until about 4:40. We left the car at the lot and got the shuttle to the airport. We were ok for time, but I almost panicked when I saw the huge security line. It wasn't even 6 AM on a Sunday, for crying out loud! Still, it moved quickly and our flight even boarded and took off on time (a first for us, as Southwest went 0 for 4 for on time flights for our family reunion trip in July). We landed in Philly as planned and headed to our next gate. We were supposed to take off at 10:10, and around 10:00 an announcement was made that there was a "maintenance delay" and the flight would be ready to go about 10:30. All I could see was my time in MK vanishing! By 11:00, we had been shifted to another gate, the plane had been switched for a smaller one, and everyone had been asked to recheck in. My DH grabbed his bag with the boarding passes and ran for the counter, along with a thundering herd of other people. I'm not just being poetic, either -- you could hear the thundering of feet dashing to the counter!

In case you're curious, if US Airways has to switch to a smaller plane, their policy is to reassign seats on board the new plane based on your seat on the old plane. People towards the front of the old plane get seats on the new one, while people in the back of the old plane are bumped from the flight. We didn't know that at first, so the rumors started flying around the gate. People who were bumped were put on a flight just after 3 PM, then when that was filled, one after 6 PM. Things were getting bad at the counter and an armed security guard arrived to try to keep it calm. Then the news about their seating policy made its way around and the rumors went like this: people after row 20 weren't getting on, people after row 22 weren't getting on, people after row 18 weren't getting on. That's when I started to get really worried -- I had heard that the 6 something flight was filled and we were sitting in rows 19 and 20! They were giving out $350 vouchers, but even the idea $1400 wasn't making me feel better (although I did think it might cover most of the hideously expensive tickets to see my cousin in Idaho). Making matters worse, I realized my DH wasn't at the counter anymore and I couldn't see him anywhere. I finally found him at another counter and my heart sank. I figured we were off the plane and not able to fly out on the next two flights either. He came back and had the precious boarding passes for the (formerly!) 10:10 flight! Our first brush of pixie dust!

The flight finally left around noon, so we were about an hour and 45 minutes late getting into Orlando. We hurried to the MME line and were on a bus about 25 minutes later! The driver even slowed down for people to get a photo of the gate, but we were so far back in the bus and my DS5 had the window seat, so my pictures weren't good. Within 45 minutes, we were at POR and checking in. The online check in service worked smoothly this year so it took about 5 minutes, as opposed to the 45 minutes it took last year. We even got our request for a close building and were in Alligator Bayou lodge 15! More pixie dust! We got our mugs and drinks, dropped our carry on bags, and caught the bus to MK. We were walking in the gates of the Magic Kingdom by 4:30, only 12 hours after leaving home.

Here the boys are with the Mickey icon in our room.

Our tradition (even if we've only been twice as a family, we've done it both times) is to get on the train and ride around the park first. We did get off in Toontown this time to get Buzz FPs first thing. The teacups had a 10 minute wait posted, so we decided to hop on. It was a great omen for our trip -- we were on, rode, and were off again in less than that! We never waited more than 15 minutes for any ride, and most of the waits were shorter than what was posted. Even more pixie dust! We managed to get on the Speedway (one of DS8's favorites!) and Buzz before our 6:35 ADR at the Plaza.

Here I am with DS5 on the Speedway -- he even steered!

Dinner at the Plaza was one of the few disappointments of the week. Despite checking in 20 minutes early, the CM wasn't overly polite and we weren't seated until about 7:00. The food was fine but the service was slow. However, the boys loved their Mickeylodeons for dessert!

Even though we really needed to head back and get the boys to sleep, one of the things DS5 really wanted to do was ride the Liberty Belle riverboat. It was closing the next day for maintenance, so we knew we needed to get on that night. We should have done it before dinner, but we were focused on the short waits on other rides. We got on the 8 PM boat just before it left the dock, which was more pixie dust -- it was the last boat of the day! We hurried back to POR and rushed the boys to bed right after arranging a Mickey and Stitch wake-up call the next morning. We collapsed not long after!

Coming next: our first full day and lunch at Chef Mickey's!
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:22 AM   #2
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Sound great so far! I can't wait to hear more. Glad you found DS5's undies!
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:25 PM   #3
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I want to hear more! Hurry up, we leave on Wednesday morning!
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:01 AM   #4
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Any chance of larger photo's?

The TR is so far so good. More more more!!
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Any chance of larger photo's?

The TR is so far so good. More more more!!
Welcome! Glad you're enjoying it. The pictures are a stumbling block for me -- sometimes I can remember how to make them smaller and sometimes they end up the size of the screen. The tiny ones are clickable to make them bigger. I tried something different with this next post, so hopefully I've got it right.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:11 PM   #6
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Monday morning, 8/16 -- day 2 begins!

I actually slept reasonably that first night, despite the fact that I hardly slept at all last year. The music that surrounds you everywhere in WDW sinks into my head and I hear it all night long. Even though I brought an entire bottle, I forgot to take the Advil PM, but it didn't matter that night.

DH and I got up before 7, but the boys slept almost until our wake up call at 7:30. We got dressed, had breakfast, and headed out the door for the bus. For the most part, we had pixie dust on our busses too and rarely waited more than 15 minutes for a bus. We were at MK by 8:30 and got a great spot for the welcome show at 8:50. I love the welcome show!

Because we were right at the wall, we hung out there for a few minutes afterwards waiting for the crowds to move. DS5 waved to Mickey and Mickey waved right back at my boys! When we got in under the train station, Pluto and Pinocchio were doing meet-and-greets in the town square. Since there was almost no one in line for Pluto and heís one of DS5ís favorites (Goofy is the other one), we jumped in line and got photos.
Now that weíre home and Iím looking at the PhotoPass ones, Iíve learned you can add that characterís signature to the picture! Iím so excited!

After we saw Pluto, we realized that the horse-drawn trolley was waiting for passengers. We hopped on with two other people -- that was it! The trolley started for the castle and then the Dapper Dans jumped on! They sang for us and we chatted. It was lovely.
(All of my photos of them actually on the trolley behind us are too dark -- bummer!)

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad had a 5 minute wait, so we got a child swap card (DS5 hates rides where you go fast or slide on the seat) and took turns riding with DS8, who loves it. It was the first roller coaster DH had ever been on (back during our 2001 trip), so he likes it too.
(DH and DS8 are in the last row of the third car. I canít believe I got the picture!)

Afterwards, we headed for Adventureland and saw the Tiki Room show. The boys love the song, which they have on their MP3 player, but I donít think they were overwhelmed by the show. It was ok, but it wonít make my ďmust doĒ list again. After the Tiki Room, we rode the flying carpets. Itís not a ride weíd go out of our way to do, but it was right there and practically a walk on, so off we flew!

By that point, it was time to head to the monorail. We had an 11:15 ADR at CM to get to!

Coming next: Lunch (really breakfast) at Chef Mickeyís!
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:51 PM   #7
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Okay I know I've said this before, but your boys are really adorable!
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:01 PM   #8
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Ack! Somehow I missed that you started a TR! I was going to go to sleep, but now I'm going to catch up instead!
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgirl427 View Post
Okay I know I've said this before, but your boys are really adorable!
Thanks! We think so too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lexmas View Post
Ack! Somehow I missed that you started a TR! I was going to go to sleep, but now I'm going to catch up instead!
There's not too much yet, so it shouldn't take long!

School starts tomorrow for the teachers, and with the challenges of the new position, I figure this TR will take me approximately forever to write! I'm going to try to work on it for a little bit each day because I don't want to forget all the things I didn't think I'd need to write down. My grandmother used to say "If you can't keep up, take notes." I can't take notes fast enough to keep up!
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:23 PM   #10
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All right, caught up now. I had been wondering, "why hasn't she started a TR yet?" when I was just missing it, apparently.

Sounds like you lucked out with your flight. I always sit in the very last row if I can so I'm disturbing the fewest number of people. That sounds like it would have cost me!

You got a lot done the first day, especially for only having less than half a day there! I'm glad you got to ride the boat! Newly there and showered with Pixie Dust already!

Day two sounds like fun. I hope to be able to get there for the opening ceremony. It seems like fun! Your boys must have been so excited that Mickey waved at them!

How very fun that you rode the trolley with the Dapper Dans. I LOVE main street, and that just makes it even better. It's like you were in a musical!

I'm not crazy about the tiki room, but I do it anyway. There are worse ways to spend your time than with singing birds. I'm actually in the minority, because I like the re-do much more than the original.

We did the carpets at MNSSHP on our last trip, and it was the only time we rode them. Fun, but just not something I really think about doing. It is the no-wait version of Dumbo though!

Can't wait to hear about your lunch at Chef Mickeys!
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Old 08-26-2010, 06:52 PM   #11
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All right, caught up now. I had been wondering, "why hasn't she started a TR yet?" when I was just missing it, apparently.

Sounds like you lucked out with your flight. I always sit in the very last row if I can so I'm disturbing the fewest number of people. That sounds like it would have cost me!

You got a lot done the first day, especially for only having less than half a day there! I'm glad you got to ride the boat! Newly there and showered with Pixie Dust already!

Day two sounds like fun. I hope to be able to get there for the opening ceremony. It seems like fun! Your boys must have been so excited that Mickey waved at them!

How very fun that you rode the trolley with the Dapper Dans. I LOVE main street, and that just makes it even better. It's like you were in a musical!

I'm not crazy about the tiki room, but I do it anyway. There are worse ways to spend your time than with singing birds. I'm actually in the minority, because I like the re-do much more than the original.

We did the carpets at MNSSHP on our last trip, and it was the only time we rode them. Fun, but just not something I really think about doing. It is the no-wait version of Dumbo though!

Can't wait to hear about your lunch at Chef Mickeys!
A musical -- that's exactly it! It was perfect for DS5 because he's fascinated by live music. We stopped for every piece of it in WDW -- I had no idea there was so much!

I so agree with you about the Tiki Room and the carpets. DS5 loves those types of rides though, especially when he can control them.

I love the welcome ceremony so much! We got to see it three times while we were there. I didn't think they did it for the EMH rope drop, but they do!
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Old 08-26-2010, 06:54 PM   #12
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Monday, 8/16, continued -- lunch!

The boys were excited about taking the monorail and getting off at CR. Every time a monorail passes, they point it out and yell what color it is (makes for long days in Future World in Epcot!). As usual for this trip, we waited just a couple of minutes. DS5 passed the time by asking the CMs for transportation cards, but had no luck getting any. When we got to CR, we had to wait in quite the line to check in. The boys kept looking at the food court area and wondering where Mickey was! We got our buzzer and headed over to the window area where we could see the lake as we waited. The buzzer went off right around 11:15, and the waitress led us to a table by the windows! Pixie dust for sure! We watched people play in the pool and on the splash pad as well as the monorail while we ate. DS8 loved watching the monorail go by inside.


Pluto was the first of the characters to stop by. DS5 was wearing his shirt with Mickey and Pluto, and Pluto made a big deal about being on the shirt! It was very cute. This photo is of him poking his picture on the shirt.


All in all, Pluto stopped by our table at least three times, although he usually just waved at us after the first stop. Goofy was our next character but he wasnít as lively as the one we saw last year at Tusker House.


Donald Duck came over after Goofy, and he really played with the boys, especial DS5 (which is probably because DS5 plays more with them!).


By this point, we were pretty much done eating and waiting for Mickey and Minnie. Mickey showed up and stopped just long enough for one photo before he left. He barely even greeted the boys, so we were really disappointed. In fact, it left us with a negative impression of the entire meal, and we probably wonít go back.

Pluto came and played with the boys again, and then the napkin song started. Did they ever have fun swinging their napkins around!


Minnie finally stopped by and was very sweet to the boys, although I didnít get pictures of her smooching them -- rats.


We had decided to head staight to AK after lunch. We had a hard time finding the bus stop outside of the CR and finally had to ask for directions! We had a quiet moment at the Mickey topary and a cool metal Mickey and ears sculpture while we were lost though.


Our pixie dust returned, because an AK bus pulled up almost immediately! (Sometimes I think bus pixie dust is the best kind!) As we climbed on, DS5 asked yet another person for transportation cards. He finally lucked out and the bus driver not only had some, but he had the cards for all three buses. He even gave a set to DS8. We had to stop at the Poly and Blizzard Beach, which the boys thought was terrific. They were excited about the idea of park hopping to begin with, and then getting a look at Summit Plummet was almost too much for DS8. He had read lots about it in his guidebook, although I know he would never go down!

Next up: the wonderful yet stormy afternoon at AK!

School has started again for teachers, so I need to start focusing on my new class, leaving me less time for my TR. Iím going to try to post a new update every couple of days, so please bear with me!
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:37 AM   #13
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That picture of your DS with Donald is precious! I'm going to get BF to wear a Donald shirt I got for him when we have breakfast at Tusker House. I can't wait to read more!

Hopefully you get a few more posts up before I leave!
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:36 PM   #14
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Hey, I am onboard! Even if it takes you awhile!! I love long reports!!

Your sons are adorable and the pictures at CM are way too cute!!

Main Street is one of my favorite things about Magic Kingdom! The Pluto pic is great!! I can't wait to hear more!!
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:46 PM   #15
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Hey, I am onboard! Even if it takes you awhile!! I love long reports!!

Your sons are adorable and the pictures at CM are way too cute!!

Main Street is one of my favorite things about Magic Kingdom! The Pluto pic is great!! I can't wait to hear more!!
Welcome! Thanks! We really had a good time on Main St., especially since my dad brought the slides and projector over just before our trip and showed us the pictures from our 1973 trip. There were little alleyways on Main St. that I had never noticed before, so this time I was on the lookout for them.
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