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Old 05-30-2011, 08:10 PM   #1
Chaitali
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We crushed our schedule! A May 2011 TR (Completed and new TR started)

Introduction

Welcome to our trip report! We were in Disney World from May 17th to May 22nd and we had an amazing time. We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside and loved the resort. For the most part, the crowds and the weather were not bad at all. It did get both hotter and more crowded on Friday and Saturday, but we were prepared for that. As my husband said multiple times, “We crushed our schedule!” He also thanked me for all my planning several times It's nice to know it paid off (and the Boards played a big part in that) even though he mocked me for it occasionally before we went on the trip.


Self portrait at Downtown Disney by Chaita_1, on Flickr

So a quick introduction – The trip was just me and my husband. The trip came about because my husband mentioned over Christmas that he had never been to Disney World. After being together for 6 years, I couldn't believe that I didn't know he had never been to Disney World. Of course, I hadn't been since I was a teenager. So we decided this needed to be fixed We looked at various dates, decided that May worked well for us, and chose Star Wars Weekend since we're both big Star Wars fans. It was also good timing since it was close to our anniversary so we decided we would celebrate our anniversary at Disney World and let a fancy dinner there be our gift to each other.

We first talked about the trip the day after Christmas and we had booked a package through AAA by New Year's Eve. When we decide on something, we move fast! To make it even better, Disney released a percent off the room discount and our AAA agent was able to take advantage of that for us and lower the cost of the package. So we decided to add the park hopper option to our tickets and still spend less than our original package price.

For any new readers who haven't seen my pre-trip report, I am lucky enough to be planning a second trip to Disney World later this year. I'll be there from October 23rd to October 30th with my brother and parents. My husband will sadly have to stay home for that trip. You'll probably read a bit about the upcoming trip too as it shapes up.

Last edited by Chaitali; 01-10-2012 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 05-30-2011, 08:12 PM   #2
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Links to chapters

Chapters

1. The journey begins!
2. Straight to the Magic Kingdom and lunch at Tortuga Tavern
3. Magic Kingdom afternoon, part II
4. Port Orleans Riverside review
5. Downtown Disney and Earl of Sandwich
6. A day at Animal Kingdom
7. A day at Animal Kingdom, Part II
8. Victoria and Albert's
9. Morning Extra Magic Hour at the Magic Kingdom
10. Rushing to Hollywood Studios for Star Tours
11. California Grill Dinner
12. Epcot Part I
13. Epcot Part II, dinner at La Hacienda, and Evening Extra Magic Hours
13. Star Wars Weekend!
14. Dinner at Jiko and a last night at the Magic Kingdom
15. The trip comes to an end


Trip down the river from Port Orleans by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Last edited by Chaitali; 08-10-2011 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 05-30-2011, 08:34 PM   #3
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The journey begins

It seemed like a great idea to book an early flight to Orlando so we would be able to have an entire day at Disney World on our first day there. At the time, I didn't think about how early we would have to get up to get to the airport on time for a 7am flight! We had set up a cab to pick us up at 5am so the alarm was set for 4:30 am. I can't say I was cheerful when I woke up, but we were both excited about the trip and had no problems waking up.

Of course, there was no line at security and there was very little traffic so early in the morning. We were at the airport, bag checked and through security by 5:30. As an aside, I hate the airline fees for checked baggage. I was determined that we wouldn't pay for more than 1 checked bag so we both packed our stuff in one suitcase. Of course, it was exactly 50 pounds, so this was going to be interesting if we bought souvenirs to bring back! Thankfully there was some room left in our carry-on since I knew that there would be souvenirs.


Waiting at the airport by Chaita_1, on Flickr

The flight was great. It was nowhere near full so we got a row to ourselves. The flight boarded early and even landed more than 15 minutes early at the airport in Orlando. I managed to take a nap on the flight too which I'm sure contributed to the success of the day.


On the plane, waiting to leave by Chaita_1, on Flickr

We never seriously thought about renting a car since we both find driving a little stressful. Anytime we can get away with not driving on vacation, we go for it. And this was one of the main perks of staying at a Disney property in our minds. We were happy to leave the driving in Disney's hands. I had read some bad reports about letting the Magical Express handle the luggage but we decided to just let them take care of the luggage since the flight landed so early and we wouldn't need our luggage for hours. We just packed one change of clothes and the things we would need the first day in our carry on. It was lovely to be able to walk straight to the Magical Express area and not have to wait for our bag at the luggage carousel.


On Disney's Magical Express by Chaita_1, on Flickr


Where Dreams Come True by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Between the little map that came with the Magical Express documents and all the signs at the airport, we had no problem finding the Magical Express area. And there was absolutely zero line. So the plane landed at 8:45am and we were on the bus by 9:15. We did have to wait 10 or so minutes for the bus to fill up a bit before we left but we were crossing under the Disney sign by 9:45 am. Port Orleans Riverside was the second stop after Port Orleans French Quarter so we were probably getting off the bus a little after 10. I hadn't checked in on-line since I had heard you may not get your room request fulfilled that way. I don't know if that's true or not but I figured it wouldn't be a big deal to wait for check in. There was only one person in line ahead of us so we didn't have to wait too long. The woman checking us in did tell us that there were no king bed rooms available in our first choice of Oak Manor but that we got our second choice of Magnolia Terrace. The room was on the second floor and close to the front of the building, so no complaints. The room wasn't ready and we were told we would get a text with the room number once it was ready. So we decided to leave our carry on bags with bell services and head off on a bus to the Magic Kingdom!
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Old 05-31-2011, 07:33 AM   #4
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I'm here and subbing!!

Will be back to read later.

Tanz


Edit: Right , am caught up! I like the idea of leaving early but know what you mean about having to be at the airport so early!

on your flight arriving earlier then planned and not being full! I look forward to reading about what you did at MK and how you liked POR!

Last edited by TanzUnited99; 05-31-2011 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:32 AM   #5
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Subbing! You're off to a great start!
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:02 PM   #6
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Thanks, guys, great to see you here Tanz, I'll be writing more about POR later but quick preview, we absolutely loved it! Oh, we got our photopass CD today which was super exciting.
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:02 AM   #7
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Hi!
Following along!!
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Old 06-03-2011, 09:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 407-W-DISNEY View Post
Hi!
Following along!!
Welcome I'm hoping to be able to post another update tonight or tomorrow so I will get this trip report moving along!
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Old 06-03-2011, 09:08 PM   #9
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We were going to watch Pirates of the Caribbean tonight but due to spectacularly bad service at dinner, we missed the movie Since we didn't feel like waiting around an hour for the next showing, we just came home. But the upside of that is that I can work on editing photos and the trip report
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Old 06-03-2011, 09:59 PM   #10
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Straight to the Magic Kingdom and Lunch at Tortuga Tavern

We did some re-shuffling of our carry-on bag so that we could sun screen up and leave our carry on bags with bell services. The only thing I carried into the park was my camera and Mike carried our day bag. Once we dropped off the bags we walked over to the bus stop. Our good bus karma was certainly with us this week. A Magic Kingdom bus showed up just as we got to the bus stop. It was a pretty quick bus ride and we were walking up to the Magic Kingdom around 10:30 am. There was no line for the bag check or going through the turnstiles with our Keys to the Kingdom cards.

The first stop was guest services on Main Street since I wanted to upgrade my ticket to an annual pass. I already knew at this point that I was going to be back at Disney World for a week in October so it just made sense to go for the annual pass. This also allowed me to purchase the Tables in Wonderland Card for $75. It saved us 20% at all our sit down meals and more than paid for itself by dinner on our third evening. We also picked up Happy Anniversary buttons while we were there. As an aside, I loved the buttons Cast members (and even other guests occasionally) gave us many anniversary greetings and it was just a nice plus to our days.

I had touring plans for most of our days, both saved on the Lines app on my I-phone and a paper version in my pocket. The AT&T service ended up being fine in the parks so I did stop carrying the paper version after the first day. Once we finished up at guest services, it was time to begin the touring plan. As we left, we saw that there was a parade coming down Main Street. Since our first stop was Frontier Land, we decided to just take the train around to the Frontier Land stop. Of course, I took a couple minutes to stop and take some photos of the parade.

Edited IMG_0015 by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Parade by Chaita_1, on Flickr

We just missed a train so I took some photos from the train station also. They had these great little old-timey movie machines that were a lot of fun to flip through. Can you tell I have no idea what they're called? It was essentially a flip book inside the machine and the pages turned as you cranked the machine.

Burlesque Bouncer by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Our first view of the monorail by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Main Street, USA by Chaita_1, on Flickr

The train came in just a few minutes and we hopped on for the quick ride to Frontier Land. This was pretty much just transportation and didn't really feel like an attraction. Though the landscaping was nice and it almost felt like you weren't even in a theme park. But I wanted to be in a theme park! Once we got off the train we went straight to Big Thunder Mountain to pick up a fast pass. We were planning to ride Pirates next but it seemed to be down I was beginning to get hungry since breakfast had been early so we decided to stop for an early lunch at Tortuga Tavern. We kept up with the early lunches all week and it was great as we managed to avoid the lunch time crowds this way.

Veggie Burrito at Tortuga Tavern by Chaita_1, on Flickr

I had a veggie burrito and it was just beans and rice in a tortilla. There was lettuce, salsa, and cheese at the toppings bar and they gave little packages of sour cream separately. The filling was pretty tasty but the tortilla seemed a bit stale. I ended up eating it like a salad with a fork since it was almost impossible to eat with my hands. Mike had a beef burrito, which he also ate with a fork. His verdict - “it was all right.” Overall, not a bad lunch.

We finished with lunch by 11:45 and Pirates was still down so we walked over to the Jungle Cruise. The sign said it would be a 20 minute wait so we hopped into line. It ended up being about 30 minutes but it wasn't too bad. And the line was interesting, so I was able to take some photos along the way. We enjoyed the ride, corny jokes and all.

Theming outside the Jungle Cruise by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Jungle Cruise ceiling by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Getting closer to the Jungle Cruise by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Mask in Jungle Cruise queue by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Elephant on the Jungle Cruise by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Jungle cruise lions by Chaita_1, on Flickr
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Old 06-03-2011, 10:20 PM   #11
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Magic Kingdom afternoon, part II

After the Jungle Cruise, we walked back to Pirates and it was just opening up, so we were able to essentially walk on! Loved the ride and the recent changes. I wasn't able to take a lot of photos during this ride because of the darkness. Here's one from the queue.

Pirates queue by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Then we headed back to Frontier Land and picked up a Splash Mountain fast pass on the way to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. There was no line with the fast pass and even the stand by line was only 30 minutes. By the time we got off we still had some time until we could use our Splash Mountain fast passes so we made some phone calls to let our parents know we made it safely. Goofy was getting photos with guests and it was a relatively short line so we hopped in.

Photopass picture with Goofy by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Once we were done with photos it was time for splash mountain. This is one of my favorite rides here. I think the theming is great. I wasn't sure how wet we would get so I stuck my camera in a zip lock bag and inside the day bag before we got in line. Again, no wait at all with the fast pass. After this, it was off to the Haunted Mansion, another favorite. The line was about 20 minutes but the new queue was awesome. They are still letting people choose whether to go through the new interactive queue or go straight ahead but we felt the the new elements were worth the bit of extra time.

One of our favorite rides by Chaita_1, on Flickr

The Haunted Mansion by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Invisible Horse by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Ghoulish fun by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Interactive queue by Chaita_1, on Flickr

We then walked through Liberty Square and decided to get silhouettes as souvenirs. I love the way these turned out. I was getting a bit hungry again so it was perfect time for a Dole Whip! I sadly didn't take a photo of it but it was amazing. We got the Dole Whip float with the pineapple juice and shared it. I've seen photos before but I didn't realize how giant it was. We sat on a bench in adventure land to savor it as we watched the people walk by.

Silhouettes by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Heading off for Dole Whip by Chaita_1, on Flickr

As we headed back toward the hub, we saw that there was another parade coming by and we were stuck. No problem, perfect time for some photos around the hub and of the parade too.

Edited IMG_0095 by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Dopey being Dopey by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Walt and Mickey by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Dumbo by Chaita_1, on Flickr

Once the parade passed, we walked over to tomorrow land for our last ride of the day, the astro orbiter. I would have skipped this one but Mike really wanted to ride it. We ended up waiting around 30 minutes and then squeezed into one of the cars. And I do mean squeezed. It was a little uncomfortable to fit two adults into one of those little cars! We walked down Main Street and checked out some of the stores on our way out, as well as saw the marching band pass by. And of course, paid homage at the Roy and Minnie statue.

Partners Statue and Mike by Chaita_1, on Flickr

We sadly just missed a bus but looked through some photos of the day as we waited for the next one. We didn't even get through all the photos before the next bus to POR came in less than 10 minutes.

Last edited by Chaitali; 06-04-2011 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:40 AM   #12
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Sounds like you had a great MK day! Love all the pics!

That veggie burrito looks yummy so it was a shame it was a bit stale. Yay on meeting Goofy and seeing the parade!

Astro orbiter is one I wouldn't mind missing either - all the reviews I have read have been negative for this one.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:47 AM   #13
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Oops, I was looking through my photos and realized that the partners statue is the Walt and Mickey statue, not the Roy and Minnie stature. Need to pay more attention I fixed it in the text of the post anyway.

Quote:
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Astro orbiter is one I wouldn't mind missing either - all the reviews I have read have been negative for this one.
Yeah. It's kind of cool because of the height and you certainly get a great view from the ride. But the line gets long because you need to take an elevator up to the ride and it's slow loading. It would probably be cool at night if there's no line but it's definitely not worth waiting for or wasting morning time for.
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Old 06-04-2011, 12:17 PM   #14
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We were at MK the same day! I had originally planned to eat at Tortuga that day. But it had not been open yet that trip so I didn't even bother checking. I was a bit bummer when we walked by a few minutes after lunch and it was. Looked good!
I love that picture of dumbo!
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Old 06-04-2011, 12:31 PM   #15
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Joining in. Your MK pictures are great. MK is my favorite park. I love walking down Main Street and seeing that castle for the first time on your trip. The sounds, the smells, everything

I can't wait to see what you thought of POR. I loved it. I thought the grounds and river were so pretty.
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