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Old 12-25-2011, 08:14 PM   #1
swwake
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"I Show You How To Make..." (A December Trip Report)

Welcome everyone! With this start of a trip report, I can promise you one thing. I will START the trip report. I cannot promise that it will be complete, because I have a bad habit of not completing trip reports. So I apologize in advance.

I'm going through our photos and remembering the very special time we had on our December 2011 trip, and I was really tempted to share the photos and memories. So that's why I'm starting this report.

My Pre-Trip Report can be found here. But in case you're new to my family and me, I'll introduce the cast of characters.

We have Chris (aka Dude), my husband, who enjoys all things Disney and Disney World as much as I do.


Katie, our daughter, who is 19 and a sophomore at the University of Colorado. She may not admit it, but she loves Disney and Disney World too. Right now, she just might be a little too cool for it.


Haley, my niece, who is 16 and hopes to work at Disney World one day. Her near-term goal is to get into the College Program at WDW.


Joann, my sister and Haley's mom, who also loves Disney and WDW. She may never grow up


And there's me, Susan. I have always loved all things Disney. This was my 10th trip to WDW.


Our trip started with the gift to Haley. She has been dying to go to WDW since her last trip when she was 7 years old. So we decided to give it to her as a birthday/Christmas gift (her birthday is in January). Our dates were December 16-22, 2011.

We stayed at the Polynesian Resort, for which we were super excited. It was the first time for any of us to stay there. We also tacked on a day to the front, where we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and visited Universal Orlando.

I built in 3 surprises for the girls. The first one was that I added an extra day to the trip. I had planned not to tell them until the day we were supposed to be leaving, but I ended up having to tell them as we were planning. It made it easier to make our at-home holiday plans and for everyone to plan their packing.

So come along and join the Christmastime fun! I'll share stories and photos about what we did, and I'll share how we deviated from my plans (because, as they say, the best laid plans... well, anyway).
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Visit my travel blog: Oh, the Places We'll Go!
December 2011 PTR September 2010 Trip Report Oasis of the Seas Cruise TR Las Vegas TR
1974, 1983, 1987, 1989 off property * 1988 DL * 1989 Premiere Cruise & Disney * 1997 ASMu * 1998 CBR * 2000 DL * 2008 BC * 2010 AKL CL * 2011 Poly CL * 2013 CBR

Last edited by swwake; 01-01-2012 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 12-25-2011, 08:32 PM   #2
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I'm here !!
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Old 12-25-2011, 08:33 PM   #3
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Merry Christmas Susan!

Can't wait to read all about your trip.
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Old 12-25-2011, 08:38 PM   #4
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Can't wait to read more!
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Old 12-25-2011, 08:56 PM   #5
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I'm here!
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Old 12-25-2011, 10:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moodyzblu View Post
I'm here !!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Native NYer View Post
Merry Christmas Susan!

Can't wait to read all about your trip.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sara mom View Post
Can't wait to read more!
Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgirl427 View Post
I'm here!
Hooray, I have readers! you all! And Merry Christmas!
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Visit my travel blog: Oh, the Places We'll Go!
December 2011 PTR September 2010 Trip Report Oasis of the Seas Cruise TR Las Vegas TR
1974, 1983, 1987, 1989 off property * 1988 DL * 1989 Premiere Cruise & Disney * 1997 ASMu * 1998 CBR * 2000 DL * 2008 BC * 2010 AKL CL * 2011 Poly CL * 2013 CBR
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Old 12-25-2011, 10:12 PM   #7
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"I Show You How To Make... picture with pedophile Santa"

Day 1, Part 1 (December 16)

We started with a well-planned morning, which quickly went to "pot". Chris and I had an appointment at our chiropractor, and we would have a couple of hours after that to do some work clean-up and catch up and last-minute packing.

But we got a call at 8:15 that my mom needed transportation to her dialysis appointment, due to a snafu at her assisted living facility, and that started a domino effect. By noon, we were on the road to pick up Joann and Haley at their house, then head to the airport.

At the airport, parking and check-in were a piece of cake, and Santa was on-site, courtesy of Southwest. When you're traveling with teens, you never quite know what you're gonna get (they can be a little moody), and in this case, everyone was up for the free photo with Santa. Except Katie. Katie says "all Santas are pedophiles." And she had no interest in having a photo made with him.

Well, at the end of the day, we convinced her to pose for the picture, and Santa said he would not pose for the photo unless someone sat on his lap (which Katie says is further proof he's a pedophile), and here's what we got.


Awesome, huh? Isn't the look on Haley's face awesome? She's like "why am I sitting on a pedophile's lap?"

After the photo, we each grabbed a snack/lunch and boarded the plane. Chris and I sat in a window and center seat, and Joann, Katie and Haley sat a few rows behind us. That flight had more children than I've ever seen on a plane. I am guessing it was about 2/3 kids. No issues - most were well-behaved. I always feel sorry for the babies who don't understand why their ears are hurting.

Next up: Arriving at MCO and the 1st big surprise for the girls.
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Visit my travel blog: Oh, the Places We'll Go!
December 2011 PTR September 2010 Trip Report Oasis of the Seas Cruise TR Las Vegas TR
1974, 1983, 1987, 1989 off property * 1988 DL * 1989 Premiere Cruise & Disney * 1997 ASMu * 1998 CBR * 2000 DL * 2008 BC * 2010 AKL CL * 2011 Poly CL * 2013 CBR

Last edited by swwake; 01-01-2012 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 12-25-2011, 10:34 PM   #8
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"I Show You How To Make... a rock star entrance!"

Day 1, Part 2 (December 16)

I left a couple of things out of the first chapter.

1 - As we were leaving our house, Chris grabbed his mouse ears Santa hat and wore it for the first half of our trip. Including the car ride to the airport.


2 - When Joann and Haley got into our car, I asked her if she had her sunglasses. She responded "uh...yes! Why is everyone asking me that? Mom has asked me already this morning to make sure I have my sunglasses." Then, to be funny, about five minutes and 3 conversations later, Chris asked Haley, "hey Haley, do you have your sunglasses?" She rolled her eyes. (This becomes important later in the day.)

When we arrived at the Orlando airport, we deplaned and rode our first "monorail" to the baggage claim. We didn't get to use our Magical Express luggage tags, and we had to pick up our own luggage from the carousel. But for good reason - we were headed to Universal before our Disney trip officially began!

So we rode down to baggage claim and I discretely let everyone walk ahead of me to baggage claim, while I spoke to the nice gentleman in the suit holding the sign that said "Wilson Party". Thankfully, the girls did not see him, and I somehow convinced him to play the role of the "taxi driver", as this was to be the first of 2 big surprises for the girls.

The driver helped us pick up our luggage and we headed out to the "taxi". When we walked out the back doors and rounded the corner around a large van/bus, the girls stopped dead in their tracks when they saw

THE LIMO!!

Katie said "whoa, is this our ride?" And Haley said something to the effect of "this is cool!" (I don't remember the exact words, but they were in typical teen fashion.)

They were thrilled that this was their first surprise. Some photos of the limo:




We had fun on the ride, acting like rock stars, pretending we had champagne, playing with the lights and the stereo. When we arrived at the Hard Rock Hotel, I asked the girls to put on their sunglasses, so we could get the "Kardashians exiting the limousine at the Hard Rock" paparazzi shot.


And one more shot of the rock stars with our limo


Next up: What's for dinner?

By the way, have you figured out the title of my trip report? Any guesses? It will become obvious a little later, on our Epcot day.
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Visit my travel blog: Oh, the Places We'll Go!
December 2011 PTR September 2010 Trip Report Oasis of the Seas Cruise TR Las Vegas TR
1974, 1983, 1987, 1989 off property * 1988 DL * 1989 Premiere Cruise & Disney * 1997 ASMu * 1998 CBR * 2000 DL * 2008 BC * 2010 AKL CL * 2011 Poly CL * 2013 CBR

Last edited by swwake; 01-01-2012 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 12-26-2011, 09:56 AM   #9
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Joining in Susan! Btw I was in LA LA land that day, but do you have pics from our meet? If not, I can MMS them to you.
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Old 12-26-2011, 05:29 PM   #10
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I've always thought about getting a limo but was afraid it would cost too much. That is so cool.
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Old 12-26-2011, 08:01 PM   #11
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I'm here!!
LOVE the TR so far. I just can't get over Haley's hair color. How does she do that/what brand does she use?

anyhoo...you guys really do look like rock Stars in that Limo!

how fun! Can't wait for more and I'm really dying to know what you thought of the Poly.
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Old 12-26-2011, 08:10 PM   #12
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I am here! Slowly but surely I will get caught up on all the threads I am sub'd to... but I just had to join in here

The limo ride looks fun! I can imagine how neat that was for the girls. That age is impressed with far different things than 6 year olds.

Can't wait to read more...so keep it coming. (in other words, I do hope you finish up your TR this time. )
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Old 12-26-2011, 11:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilpixiebabe101 View Post
Joining in Susan! Btw I was in LA LA land that day, but do you have pics from our meet? If not, I can MMS them to you.
Yay Ashley! Thanks for joining. Nope, I haven't seen the pic(s).

Quote:
Originally Posted by TripTime View Post
I've always thought about getting a limo but was afraid it would cost too much. That is so cool.
We were getting a town car/Escalade anyway, which isn't much more expensive than a cab (and worth it for the convenience), and I upgraded for about $40 total. For 5 people, that's not a bad splurge. It was worth it for our group.

Quote:
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I'm here!!
LOVE the TR so far. I just can't get over Haley's hair color. How does she do that/what brand does she use?

anyhoo...you guys really do look like rock Stars in that Limo!

how fun! Can't wait for more and I'm really dying to know what you thought of the Poly.
I know you do hair, so you probably know more about Haley's color than I do. We were in one line behind a hair stylist and I overheard Haley and my sister talking to her about it. She first went to Tony & Guy and had it bleached and colored. Then, as that grew out, my sister started doing the color on the roots and the revision over-all. She said she uses peroxide and 40V. She can't get it in the US because she doesn't have a stylist card, so she orders it from the UK. The hair stylist in line with us said the 40V just doesn't make sense, but I guess it works for Haley. Haley also said that she mixes a little of (some sort of) color in with her shampoo every time, shampoos only every 3 days, and uses a shower cap on the "off" days. Sounds high maintenance to me

Oh we loved the Poly. Coming up in an update soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by annmarieda View Post
I am here! Slowly but surely I will get caught up on all the threads I am sub'd to... but I just had to join in here

The limo ride looks fun! I can imagine how neat that was for the girls. That age is impressed with far different things than 6 year olds.

Can't wait to read more...so keep it coming. (in other words, I do hope you finish up your TR this time. )
Yay Ann - so glad you joined! We loved the limo ride and you're right - probably more meaningful to the teens.
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Visit my travel blog: Oh, the Places We'll Go!
December 2011 PTR September 2010 Trip Report Oasis of the Seas Cruise TR Las Vegas TR
1974, 1983, 1987, 1989 off property * 1988 DL * 1989 Premiere Cruise & Disney * 1997 ASMu * 1998 CBR * 2000 DL * 2008 BC * 2010 AKL CL * 2011 Poly CL * 2013 CBR
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Old 12-26-2011, 11:26 PM   #14
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"I Show You How To Make... lost shaker of salt"

Day 1, Part 3 (December 16)

While the rest of the group explored the lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel, I got us all checked in. A funny thing happened here (and this shows you one of the ways Universal is different from Disney). The host was printing our room keys (which work as Express Passes - like Fast Passes at Disney) and asked me for the names of everyone in our party. So I rattled them off. Then he handed me 5 room keys, complete with names. Our last name is Wilson, but that's not Katie's last name, and it's obviously not my sister's and Haley's. The room keys ALL said Wilson. So, for example, Haley was "Haley Wilson". We laughed about that the whole time we were at Universal.

After checking in, I headed over to a kiosk and printed our park tickets and CityWalk "party passes" (which came with our hotel/park ticket package). Then we set off to find our room. We had a "standard view" room that sleeps 5 with a roll-away bed. Our view wasn't too bad, as we could see the lights of Universal Studios Orlando and Rip Ride Rockit (soon to become my least favorite roller coaster of all time - more on that later - but pretty to see at night). We did some minimal unpacking and set out for our dinner reservation.

I'm guessing it was approaching 7pm and our reservation was not until 8, so we weren't in a hurry. At first, we thought we'd wait for the water taxi from the hotel to CityWalk. While we were waiting, I took these pics of the Hard Rock Hotel.




Then, we got impatient and decided to take the short stroll over to CityWalk. It's really not a bad walk, and it was a really nice evening.





We explored CityWalk a little, then went searching for my lost shaker of salt at our dinner spot.



We checked in and were told there was approximately a 20-minute wait and given a pager. Chris headed for a bar and the rest of us shopped in the store for a while. They have some cute stuff in there. Something is wrong with the clocks at Universal, but I'm not complaining, because our wait was less than 5 minutes!

We got a great table with a nice view. We all loved the atmosphere and the food. I would say the food there is above average. Good, but not excellent.

There were a male and female stilt-walker moving around the dining room, making balloon animals for the kids. The guy came by our table and let Katie try on his hat.



Then he made a balloon flower for Haley and we tried to tip him a couple of dollars. He said he appreciated it but could not accept the tip.

We all enjoyed our dinner and then moved on to show the girls the rest of CityWalk. Haley loves to sing, so I was really excited to get her over to the karaoke (with a live band) club (I think it's called Rising Star). And we all had our CityWalk Party Passes in hand and were ready to roll.

How would Karaoke go? Would Haley sing?

Next up... CityWalk and the resorts at night
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Visit my travel blog: Oh, the Places We'll Go!
December 2011 PTR September 2010 Trip Report Oasis of the Seas Cruise TR Las Vegas TR
1974, 1983, 1987, 1989 off property * 1988 DL * 1989 Premiere Cruise & Disney * 1997 ASMu * 1998 CBR * 2000 DL * 2008 BC * 2010 AKL CL * 2011 Poly CL * 2013 CBR

Last edited by swwake; 01-01-2012 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 12-26-2011, 11:55 PM   #15
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Love the limo ride surprise.
Was Universal as busy as Disney? Or were the crowds more manageable?

Can't wait to see if Haley sings.
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