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Old 10-11-2011, 10:05 PM   #1
BennyFedora
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A Parkless Disney Adventure. A Trip Report *COMPLETE 1/18*

Hey everyone!

*crickets*

OK, so I’m not sure how many people will actually read this, but for the record, this is my second trip report. I wrote one about 25 years ago which was essentially a paragraph of run-on sentences proclaiming to a teacher that going on Space Mountain 6 times in a row made that day the best day of my life. Fast forward to my early 30s and hopefully this trip translates into as much fun on paper (interwebs) as it was in real life! Anywho…I’m Ben, and my DW (Joyce) are crazy about Disney. Well, she’s crazy about Disney. I just really enjoy it a healthy adult amount. Here we are in Epcot earlier this year displaying our enjoyment level:







Intro

Day 1: Part 1, Happy Birthday to Me!

Day 1: Part 2, Happy Birthday to Me!

Day 1: Part 3, Happy Birthday to Me!

Day 1: Part 4, Vero Beach...At Last!

Day 2: Part 1, Discovering Vero Beach

Day 2: Part 2, Treasure Hunting!

Day 2: Part 3, Sin Zin?

Day 3: Food, Sleep, Repeat

Day 4: Squid Lipless

Day 5: Part 1, Good Bye Vero Beach :-(

Day 5: Part 2, Hello Hilton Head!

Day 6: Part 1, Jellyfish Dodging

Day 6: Part 2, Is Captain Hook Right-Hooked or Left-Hooked?

Day 6: Part 3, Oceanology…Oceanography…FACT!

Day 7: Part 1, What Other People Do in HH

Day 7: Part 2, Coton de Tuléar

Day 8: Savannah!

Day 9: Part 1, So THIS is Savannah!

Day 9: Part 2, We Ain't Afraid of No Ghosts!

Day 10: Part 1, Hmmm…What’s for Breakfast?

Day 10, Part 2: Scavenger Hunt

Day 10, Part 3: Me, Joyce, and Sunday Savannah Nightlife…

Day 11: Off to MCO...But Saratoga Springs Isn’t THAT Far Out of the Way, Right?

Last edited by BennyFedora; 01-18-2012 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:13 PM   #2
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On a WDW trip a year ago we purchased 50 years of magic (DVC). Using points, we stayed at AKLKV earlier this year, but then decided to take our second DVC vacation WITHOUT GOING TO WDW! You heard that right. Joyce and I planned to fly into MCO, walk right by ME, rent a car and drive east. (Is that even possible?) The plan was to spend 4 days in Vero Beach, 3 in Hilton Head, and 3 in Savannah (not at a DVC resort).

Joyce has been writing PTRs and TRs for about a decade now, and I’ve been stalking them for probably the last 5 years. (Don’t worry, that’s well after we met!) Since we’ve been together we’ve been to DL once, WDW three times, and are planning another WDW trip for just about a year from now. (You can read about that here...if you’re so inclined!)

To my dismay, Joyce decided to forgo writing this TR and dive straight into the PTR for next year. SADFACE. Since I’m sure you’re all (both, anyone?) dying to know about VB and HH (and Savannah), I thought I’d try my hand at this DISBoard thing. After an inordinate amount of time thinking of a DISBoard name, and an equal amount of time looking for and cropping a Johnny Fedora picture, I’m finally ready to get this TR underway!

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Old 10-12-2011, 06:00 PM   #3
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A trip report I don't have to write! How exciting!

Good start, Ben! You didn't get anything wrong, yet
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:28 PM   #4
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Day 1: Happy Birthday to Me! Part 1

When planning this trip, we didn’t have a specific date in mind, but just generally knew we wanted to go in the fall…September-Octoberish. We knew we’d need a bit of a longer vacation because we were going to be visiting 3 different cities and driving on the order of 1,000 miles. *Side-bar…I’m kind of a nerd. OK, more than kind of. I’m a chemical engineer. Nerding is my 9-5.* Anyway, before this trip I calculated miles and driving times between Orlando, Vero Beach, Hilton Head, and Savannah. I priced out flights to all major airports from Raleigh to Tampa, as well as car rentals and one-way fees vs. returning to the same airport. I even considered renting a car in Boston and just driving down and back. After ALL of that, I figured the best thing to do was to fly non-stop from PVD-MCO, drive a buttload, and return MCO-PVD. In hindsight, it was definitely the best way to do everything we wanted to do. All we needed were plane tickets and a car that was up to the challenge!

It just so happens that I have a September-Octoberish birthday that fell on a Friday this year, so what better way to kick off a vacation than leaving on your B-day?! Yeah, there isn’t one. Since we were doing the PVD-MCO flight that we’ve done umpteen times before, our standard plan was in place. We’ve got friends that live in our town that can look after our 4 cats and bunny, and then we would just bring our dog to my parents’ house, and they would drop us off at the airport (20 minutes away).

We were leaving at 8AM (Southwest), so it was a bit on the early side to get all of our morning animal chores and travel done, but the drive was uneventful, as was check-in, and we were at the gate in plenty of time. As we were sitting at the gate, I remembered that FL has toll roads in and out of MCO, so I went to gather some change. The guy at the newsstand was quick to exchange my $4 for quarters with a smile and a have a nice day!



Every time I’m at PVD I’m always surprised with how friendly everyone is. Maybe it’s because it is such a small airport, and it never seems busy in the morning when we’re there, but from TSA to the ticket counter, to the store fronts, they just don’t have the grumpy New England attitudes I’m used to in the morning. (Perhaps management lubes everyone up with plenty of Dunkin Donuts.)

With plenty of time still at the gate, Joyce looks at our tickets and chuckles. Turns out our confirmation number through Southwest was WDWCHH—Walt Disney World Columbia Harbour House. I didn’t immediately recognize it, but I’ve seen enough on DISBoards to know that people abbreviate EVERYTHING. In response to her chuckle and explanation, I dubbed her Acronasty…her new rapper name for whenever she chooses to retire her animal shelter pants. For the rest of the trip, we’d string together 10 or so letters and then SITOPCG (See If The Other Person Could Guess). This was actually a fun game for the rest of the trip…ILV…(I Love Vacation).

Being a Southwest flight, we didn’t have assigned seats. What we did have (as always) was somewhere around C50 as boarding spots. (For the non-Southwesties, groups A, B, and C board in order from 1-60.) PVD-MCO flights are also always disproportionately childful, so as we would walk down the aisle, we’d constantly find two seats together that were actually occupied by little ones. Luckily, persistence prevailed and we sat in literally the last row…you know, the non-reclining one next to the bathroom? Yup, lucky us. Oh well, ALWCST.



With the flight leaving on time, we landed at MCO around 11AM. We had checked bags, so we headed to the baggage claim. Using ME makes this easy, but alas, we were not headed to WDW. This would be a parkless Disney adventure. On the way, I saw a security person on a Segway. I turned and commented that cops on Segways would be “The Roly Police” (read police as polys). Acronasty turns to me and:

Joyce: The RPs. (I hear this as “therapy-s” with an odd cadence.)
Ben: What?
Joyce: The RPs.
Ben: What?
Joyce: I can’t say it another way.
Ben: Well there’s really no way for me to know what you’re saying unless you try.
Joyce: THE…ARE…PEES.

With this, I got it, and hilarity ensued. Now the bags were on the belt and luckily it wasn’t much of a wait at all. The one other thing of note was a family with three fairly young and rowdy kids. At one point, the littlest one decided to jump up on the belt which instantly got a parental shout of “Trinity”! Uh-huh, they named their third child Trinity. I didn’t catch the other names…maybe Ace and Gemini…but I hope it wasn’t purely coincidental that little T was number 3.

OK, got the bags, now off to find Thrifty Car Rental. Let the Memories Begin! Here’s a memory for you. If you rent from Thrifty, it is actually the last counter, down the end, approximately 3000 ft from where you would like it to be. At the counter the woman tries everything possible to get us to tack on upgrades and packages and bells and whistles. I probably rent 10-20 cars a year while I travel for work, so I’m used to the process and just declining everything. When I’m stuck on getting an Economy car, she’s like, well you said you’re planning on driving a lot, wouldn’t you like power steering, power windows, and cruise control? First off, I don’t think they even rent cars without power steering in 2011 (I didn’t tell her this), but I was adamant about just an Economy and she finally let us just go pick out our car. (They don’t assign specific cars; you just take one from the appropriate section.) With this, we pick out a red Chevy Aveo (which happens to have power steering, AND power windows, AND cruise control) and head for the highway!

With a 2 hour drive to Vero Beach, we figured we’d need to eat somewhere along the way. Hmmm…wheels turning in head…what about Disney? Sure, it’s the OPPOSITE direction. Sure, we don’t have park tickets. Sure, it wasn’t on our vacation itinerary. BUT, it’s my birthday (actually it was Joyce’s idea) and I love lunch at the Whispering Canyon Café at the WL, which conveniently won’t require tickets!

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Old 10-13-2011, 07:46 PM   #5
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We are on our way!

Ben forgot about a bit of trouble we ran into before we could leave the airport... we had to get in the right car. Once we found the Thrifty row, we picked out a nice vehicle and piled in our bags. We both changed out of sneakers into sandals before I realized we were settling into an Economy car. Oops. We sheepishly gathered our stuffed and found the itty bitty cars that we were choosing from. We picked the red one.
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:53 PM   #6
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Got a reader here! I have always wanted to take a parkless trip, so I am really enjoying this!! Please go on
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:30 PM   #7
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belleofthehouse View Post
Got a reader here! I have always wanted to take a parkless trip, so I am really enjoying this!! Please go on
Woohoo! My first reader (that's not my DW ). Thanks for checking in!
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:16 PM   #9
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Another one here!
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:19 PM   #10
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So I randomly click on this TR to see what a whole parkless-Disney adventure is all about and imagine my surprise when I see that it is YOUR TR!!!

Loving it so far--I'm in!
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Another one here!
Glad to have you on board, hope you enjoy it!
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKL LOVER View Post
So I randomly click on this TR to see what a whole parkless-Disney adventure is all about and imagine my surprise when I see that it is YOUR TR!!!

Loving it so far--I'm in!
Haha, thanks! Great to see a familiar face! Do you have PTRs for your two trips in your countdown?
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joyciemc View Post
We are on our way!

Ben forgot about a bit of trouble we ran into before we could leave the airport... we had to get in the right car. Once we found the Thrifty row, we picked out a nice vehicle and piled in our bags. We both changed out of sneakers into sandals before I realized we were settling into an Economy car. Oops. We sheepishly gathered our stuffed and found the itty bitty cars that we were choosing from. We picked the red one.
Oh yeah, we originally got in a Compact car, but then Joyce noticed that it had power windows and cruise control. Clearly this COULDN'T be our car because the lady at the counter specifically said we'd need to upgrade to get those! That's when we moseyed on down to car #2 in the correct section ...when getting in the Chevy Aveo, we had to double and triple check that we were in the Economy section because it had all the "fancy" features as well! Stupid counter lady...
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:22 AM   #14
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ALWCST????

Always
Last
Winner
Claims the
Seats by the
Toilet
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:12 AM   #15
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Quote:
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ALWCST????

Always
Last
Winner
Claims the
Seats by the
Toilet

I'm going with....

At
Least
We
Could
Sit
Together
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