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Old 09-04-2012, 01:02 AM   #1
ronfin
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The cure for any illness? Ride on Mickey's Float! 2012 TR

9 Days in Walt Disney World 2012
by Ron Findlay

It's a week before we leave, and I'm sitting on my couch downstairs staring at my suitcase. This is a routine that repeats itself every year prior to vacation, for weeks up and till the day we fly. I sit here, stare at it, and think "Have I packed everything I need? Is there some things I can do without? Do I really need this many shorts, or that many shirts? I rummage through it again and again, tear it apart, repack it, try to manage my space wisely, because I know on the very last night at Disney, when it's time to repack it for Home, that somehow I wont have all of this room. Somehow the neatly packed suitcase I see before me will be a huge disaster full of those blue and white bags you get when you purchase something. There will be blinky, spinning things my daughter wanted that will sit in a closet at home and never be used again. Mugs that I tell myself I'll bring next year, but somehow always forget. Clean neatly folded clothes that I never wore this trip, again, still laying in my suitcase. I'll even have a check-list that I've checked off numerous times prior to going that will always have one or two missing items. You'd think after all these years of making this trip I'd have the perfect set-up, and know exactly what to bring. The one thing that I have learned through all this though, is that I'll always over-plan, and think I've got it down, but know deep down that next year I'll pack differently. This is my pre-Disney nightmare. A glimpse into my vacation anxiety that repeats itself every year.

August 24th: The eve of Departure

Double check, re-check, re-print, repeat. Did I make all the reservations? Check. What time do we fly, and what time will I drive to the car service? Check check. Kids to bed, batteries and chargers packed, everything is a go. Confidence is high. I repeat, confidence is high! Time to move all the suitcases onto the enclosed porch so they'll be readily available in the AM. Now all I need to do is fall asleep. Ha! Right. Like that'll happen. Oh I try, but it's more of a close-my-eyes-and-pretend-I'm-asleep type thing. I always say "I'll sleep on the plane and catch-up...", but I know that's just a little white lie to convince myself I'll do it just to justify my insomnia. Now to lay down and toss and turn. Destination Disney in a few short hours!

August 25th: Time to go!

The alarms go off. A blaring repetitive annoying sound. There are multiple alarms too. One is never enough to get me out of bed. I just love that snooze button way too much, even on a day like this. The sound is like being inside a Nuclear Reactor facility that just had an accident. WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP you get the idea. Get-up guy, it's time to move like you have a purpose! OK fine. I'm up, and I'm groggy, so what should I do first? First thing I do is roll over and start tickling the crap out of my girlfriend. That's her punishment for not beating me out of bed. I've got the upper-hand being that I've woken-up first, so I'm given her the "goocheegoos" and she's not enjoying it as much as I am, but now she's awake, so I better run before she wacks me one good. "OK 'BB'", that's her nickname, "I'll go wake the kiddies." Off to wake the kids I go, which is nothing more than shaking them with two hands while yelling "UP UP UP LETS GO LETS GO! DISNEY TIME!" I then go and get my shower, shave, and then return to find them still sleeping. Of course, as expected, so again it's the shaking and yelling to get them wide awake. "LETS GO GUYS! GIT YER BUTTS IN GEAR! We're leaving in one hour."

It's now 8:30 AM, and it's time to go. I run across the street to Wawa first to grab some gum. Can't forget gum for the plane! Now we live about 25 minutes from the airport, but I've decided to take my SUV to Winner Parking again this year. It's a great service where they'll drive you to the airport in your own vehicle, then park it for the week, and when you get back they drop the vehicle off so you can drive it directly home. Price for the 9 days was about $74. I just don't like relying on Van service to be on time, or especially on the way home having to make stops all over the place dropping others off when I'm already agitated that my vacation is over. It's definitely well worth the cost.

Once at the airport, good 'ole Philly International, we arrive at our terminal for AIRTRAN. Since we already have our boarding passes we do the curbside check-in for our luggage, and then it's upstairs to security. Hardly any line at all, so we were checked, scanned, and through within moments. Then it's a brief walk to the end of the terminal where our gate is, and of course the slowest McDonalds in the World. Oh yes people, this McDonalds is probably the worst one I've ever had the displeasure of eating at. Since we skipped breakfast at home, this is where we've chosen to grab our morning snack. I felt like at any moment a Blackhawk helicopter with a squad of Army Rangers was gonna rope-in to the establishment and find the Warlord running this joint hiding in the kitchen. Terrible place. Visiting Afghanistan this time of year would've been more pleasant. can ya tell I didn't like this Mickey D's? Yeah, not on my list of things to do ever again in the foreseeable future! So what did we get for breakfast besides slow service by smelly employees with funky BO? I honestly can't remember now. Service was so bad that my brain has tried to delete that whole section of memory. What does remain is that shortly after eating my breakfast my stomach suddenly decided to ride Space Mountain long before the rest of my body ever got there. I was stuck in the restroom for awhile contemplating my poor breakfast decision. Thank you fast food!

This is the part where I discuss the flight. I'll make it as brief as possible. Ready? Boarding, on time. Taxi onto runway, on time. Traffic? Really? 20 minute delay until take-off. Flight is pretty normal. We land in Atlanta on time and grab some lunch at a place touting "Philly Cheese Steaks". They were NOT Philly cheese steaks, but rather awful replicas. Yuck. While ordering some guy tries to pick-up my gf. She starts texting me while I'm still in line so I can watch and laugh. The guy is using cheesy oneliners on her, so I tell her I'll act like I don't know her when I sit down just to make this clown feel stupid. "Hi, is anyone sitting here" I say. "You come here often? Where ya going?" This routine plays out flawlessly until he gets up and leaves, obviously a little disgusted that I had just swooped in and taken his prize. lol Just having fun people. We're in Atlanta. Might as well make a memory of it!
Back onto the next plane and on to Disney. Quick one hour flight. Once out of the gate and off to the Magic Express, I make the first wrong turn ever in Orlando. I end-up on the A side, instead of the B side. Too much chatting and not enough paying attention, and since I'm the Point Man, it's my responsibility to guide us to our destination. Good thing I wasn't back in Iraq with my squad. OK, I take the heat for my foul-up, but we make it to the Magic Express. Holy smokes that's a huge line. Not what we're used to, but know that buses come pretty quick, so we only have to wait 25 minutes or so until we're on the bus and on our way to Disney's Pop Century Resort. I noticed that the video the bus played was different than in years past. It wasn't the Cruise video we saw the last few years.

Arrival at Pop Century: Day One


Check-in was a cinch. Everything was already prepared for us due to the fact that I did the online check-in this year prior to coming, and our request to be in a building close to the Main building with adjoining rooms was easily granted. We were given building 4 with the huge Playdough container in front right next to the Hippy Dippy pool, 3rd floor, rooms 4326 and 4327. Grandparents in 26, we "kids" in 27. First impressions of the room was great. Clean all around, and happy to see that they added a small fridge and a LG flatscreen TV this year.

Here I am shortly after we arrived checking my phone, and completely unaware that BB is snapping shots.



Now that we're unpacked, we grab a quick bite at the food court, and seeing as though it's kinda late, instead of rushing over to a park we decide to go swimming. Lets test out the waterproof camera shall we? Since I can't upload videos, I'll give ya a scary shot of me under water in the Hippy Dippy pool! haha


August 26th, Day Two: Breakfast at Cinderella's castle!

Breakfast was around 10AM, so we got up around 8 to start getting ready. Unfortunately we ran a little late, and in order to be on time, decided to take a cab to the Contemporary Hotel, and walk the 5 minutes over to the Magic Kingdom, rather than wait for the bus and be late. Sometimes it happens. Oh well.
We made reservations for Cinderella's Castle this year since by BB, and Freddy had never been inside. This was their first time eating inside the castle. We arrived just in the nick-of-time, checked-in, and got called soon after our group picture with the Princess. Right upstairs, and off to the far left we were seated. I was hungry too, and ready to chow down on some steak and eggs. It's amazing here! But first, picture time! Out came the princesses, so we took some pictures.


After breakfast we grabbed a Fast Pass for the Peter Pan ride, as it's always one of the busiest in the park. Then proceeded over to go on the Pirates of the Carribean ride, and then the Haunted Mansion ride in that order. They're my absolute favorite rides of all time. Here are three random pictures taken inside each of the rides.






Since I've been writing and editing pictures for about 3 hours now, I'll conclude this as my first entry for my Trip Report and continue it tomorrow evening. Return then for more of how my trip went, and see the pictures that compliment the storyline.

"Docs alive! HE'S ALIVE IN 1885!...."

To Be Continued....
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:00 AM   #2
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Great trip report and pictures!
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:36 AM   #3
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Followed your link from the Pop Century page. Great report. Can't wait to read more.
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:07 AM   #4
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Great way to start my morning!
Can't wait for more!
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:17 AM   #5
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Great start! Love the photos & the writing. Looking forward to more!
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:19 AM   #6
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Thanks for a great start

Loving the start of your trip report. Hoping you have a Magical Day
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Many trips in between -POFQ -- Disney World Land & Sea Cruise Poly, Sept 2001 -- POR, Sept 2002 -- Disneyland, Aug 2005 --Shades of Green, Feb 2008 -- Dreams Come True Trip, AKL, Oct 2009 --POFQ, Sept 2011 -- Pop Century, Oct 2012 -- Offsite, March 2014 an all girls trip.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:48 AM   #7
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Saw your posts on the Pop thread. Great report so far!
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:26 AM   #8
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Great beginning Ron!!

We must be related ... i have the same anxiety leading up to vacation .. the packing issues mirror my own! And I really can't sleep before a flight either.

That was so funny about the guy trying to pick up your GF and you two playing out you just met!! Just wondering, do you kids know the drill or do they just catch on fast??

Oh, fabulous pictures!!
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:41 AM   #9
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Another one joining in from the POP thread. Great start!! Can't wait to read more and see more of those amazing pictures!!
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:10 PM   #10
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August 27th: Disney's Hollywood Studio's

Today we decided to "skip breakfast", which is code for "we overslept". Everyone was beat from all the running around the night before that we all needed a few extra hours to catch-up. Mom-mom had made reservations for dinner at Hollywood Studio's at the "Hollywood and Vine" restaurant at 4:45, so we knew we'd have to get over there shorty if we were gonna see some attractions before eating. So I did what every former Army NCO is good at; I yelled to get the troops up. After a quick morning drill to get everyones blood pumping, we were quickly ready for lunch at the food court. However something just felt off. My ear was really bothering me. I had gone swimming the first night we arrived, and it started to feel kinda "funny" last night before bed, but now I knew I had an ear-ache, and was starting to get concerned. Was it from swimming? I did sleep on my left side, and it was the right ear, so maybe it was trapped water causing "swimmers ear"? Whatever was causing my discomfort I needed to find a cure for it.

After a quick lunch at the food court, BB and I walked over to the little store adjacent to it to see if they had anything for ear-aches. They had drops for "Swimmers Ear", so we decided to try it. Why not. If it got any worse I could always go to the nearby Clinic to see a doctor, so lets try this first. We walked back to the room, and BB put a few drops in my ear. I had to lay there and listen to the air bubble out, and that was kinda annoying. We talked for a few minutes about whether or not I should let the drops sit in there for a few minutes, or just drain it, since the instructions were very vague. I decided to let the drops sit for about 10 minutes. Then, before we left the room for Hollywood Studio's, I ran the hairdryer on low and into the aching ear since I had once read that it's a good way to sooth the pain. It actually worked. We then left the room after about 20 minutes, and I had planned to use a warm compress later that night.

Soon as we arrived at Hollywood Studio's we grabbed our Times guide, and saw that the Indiana Jones show was getting ready to start. I told the gang "Lets head that way" pointing across the pond towards the show, when I heard my daughter say "Dad, can we get some ice cream first?" Huh? We have 10 minutes to get there and the kids want ice cream. "Guys, lets wait till after the show huh?" "But Dad, we'll be quick, and there's a stand that sells Mickey ice cream right there!" as she points behind me. OK, I give in, lets grab some ice cream first, but tell them they'll need to eat quickly. 3 ice creams, and one Lemonade drink, and we started walking to the show. Looking at the kids eat their ice cream and not focusing on where they're walking is one concern, but also on the quickly melting ice cream. This is NOT gonna end well. Someone is getting chocolate ice cream all over them, and right now I'm praying it's just the kids!

As we get to Indiana Jones I see a staff member at the entrance. "Can we bring these in?" pointing to the melting ice creams. The guy replies "Sure, you can bring kids in here" and starts to laugh. Haha good one, and yes, he confirms that we can take the ice cream in. I direct everyone to an open row, and get them seated. The entire time my eyes are locked on the melting ice cream like a guy standing on the stern of the Titanic watching the iceberg slowly approaching. It's melting, and at any moment one giant chunk is gonna land in one of the kiddies laps. "GUYS! ONE MORE LICK, THAT'S IT! You're giving me a heart-attack!" We let the kids hurry up and get in a few last licks, then take the little remaining mess over to the nearest trashcan. Disaster averted! Now the show's starting, and I'm getting the little camera out to record it. Left the Canon in the room today since it was raining this morning pretty bad, so it'll be Lumix shots, and iPhone pics all day.




Since it had rained early in the day, the Indiana Jones show was cut a little short. The scene with the "plane" that you normally see in the finale was cut for safety reasons. Still a great show though. Now that it was over we headed right to Star Tours. There was a long wait time when we arrived, so we decided to grab Fast Passes, and go find something else until it was time to come back. We just couldn't decide on what to see, so we walked around for a little while it drizzled a little.


As we walk past the Great Movie Ride we see that it's not a long wait, so we go in. I had forgotten about this ride. We missed it last year, and it had been a few years since I had been on it. Glad we decided to go in. BB loved it, as did the kids. I took some video inside, and once i work on those clips in iMovie and get them all pieced together, I'll upload them to my YouTube account and link them for everyone to enjoy. Till then you'll have to use your memory and imaginations.

[***AWESOME RIDE IMAGES ARE HERE. FOCUS NOW AND USE YOUR IMAGINATION LIKE PIGMENT SAID! HAHAHA***]

Leaving the ride, and looking at the time, we notice that by the time we walk back to Star Tours our FP's will be good, so off we went. Only took about 5 minutes to get there, and now it's a walk-on for us. Sweet! I really like this ride too. Lets go wreck Vaders plans for defeating the Rebel cause shall we? R2, set course for awesome.


Out of Star Tours and on our way to meet the grandparents for dinner we stopped for a quick family shot.


Finally meet-up with my parents, and within 5 minutes our reservations are called. They seat us to the far left against the wall, and immediately the kids go to their iPhones to play "Minecraft". As you can see from the picture below, they were very well immersed in their respective games. This gave us enough time to go grab them a plate of food, and get them started on dinner.


After dinner we decided to take the kids back to Pop for some swimming while we did some laundry. Not only was my ear bothering me, even fading now, I was also starting to have some "digestive" issues. What kind of issues? You know what happens when you find oil? Yeah, that kind of "issue". So my ear is feeling better, while my rear is not. Great.

The bus to Pop came really fast, and we were back before we knew it. We got the kids ready for the pool, and I grabbed the laundry bag that was already full after 2 days. This year I brought my own detergent, and dryer sheets. Should've been doing this every year, but always managed to forget. Amazingly when we walked into the laundry room behind the bar, and next to the Hippy Dippy pool, it was near empty. Open washers, and plenty of dryers. This would be the fastest laundry I ever did at Pop. In and out lickitty-split! Dryers 7 & 8 really did an awesome job too. The kids were swimming, laundry was done, and between the 3-4 times I had to run to the bathroom to strike oil, the day was coming to a nice close. G'night all until I continue more tomorrow!
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:01 AM   #11
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Great Trip Report.
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:52 PM   #12
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August 28th: Polynesian Resort's Luau Dinner!~

Woke-up to gray skies, and rain. Ah Florida, soggy days are plentiful here. Started to worry about our dinner reservations at the Polynesian Resort for the Luau. If it pours will they still have it? I wasn't sure. We decided that we would go to the Magic Kingdom for a while, then come back early to get ready for dinner.

Since it was raining we went right to Tomorrow Land to take a ride on the People Mover. Maybe the rain would stop while we were on it? Nope. No such luck. Today it was pretty consistent, but at least it wasn't a heavy rain. This we could deal with. Kids had their ponchos on, and BB and I had our umbrellas. Right from the People Mover we headed back towards the Haunted Mansion. I checked my iPhone and the Disney app i had was telling me there was a 10 minute wait. It was actually right! We walked right on, and then realized we really didn't have much more time to do anything else, so we headed back to the hotel. Now that's a quick visit. Just two rides? Well, we'll come back after dinner if the kiddies are up for it. For now we need to git our rears in gear!

Back at Pop we were getting ready like a well oiled machine. Mom and Dad were in their room getting ready also. They left ahead of us. We said we'd be right behind them, and our intentions were to do so. Then, somehow, between 4 adults we lost track of time. When we got to the bus stop, and checked our watches, it was evident that we wouldn't make it in time if we waited for the bus, so we opted to grab a cab and go directly to Poly. Not thrilled about paying for a cab when transportation is FREE, but our group has some getting-ready-on-time-issues that we're still ironing-out. Lets just say I can be ready in 10 minutes, but we'll touch in that later.

Out of the cab, and inside the ground floor of the Poly, we meet-up with my parents, check-in, and get the family shot in front of the inside waterfall. The bulk of people waiting are now moving like cattle down the hallway towards the Luau area. When we reach the final door we can see that it's raining again, so the kids dawn their ponchos, and with two clicks, our umbrellas are back in action. BAM! Rain? Ha! We've met your challenge. Down the path we go passing signs like "Fiji", and my girlfriend makes a comment about my Fraternity. I'm a "Fiji", which is Phi Gamma Delta, so she jokes that this must be our Disney Chapter, and I remark back "Oh cool, lets stop in and play Mickey in some Beer Pong." Seconds later we're explaining to the kids that Mickey doesn't drink beer, and realize we have to check to see where they're at BEFORE we make jokes like that. haha.






Dinner was great, as always, although I only drank Ginger Ale and had less than 5 bites of the BBQ ribs due to the stomach bug I'm was still fighting. Everyone else enjoyed it though, and this was BB's first Luau, and she loved the show! After dinner we headed back towards the Main building and took a few shots on the sand. Also saw a little black kitten. Adorable little guy, and my daughter asked me if we could "save" him. I said "I don't think he needs saving. He lives in Disney! He should 'save' us!" haha.


Just as we were approaching the door to go out to the Monorail, we could see a line all the way to the doors. Not good, and why? I didn't think it was that crowded, and we really took our time leaving, so the majority of people should be gone. Why was there a huge line waiting for the Monorail? One of the Staff members was making an announcement. All I captured from it was that they were adding another car to the line, and that the next train wouldn't be along for at least 20-30 minutes. ugh. Seriously? With my stomach doing back-flips, this could be a disaster! We wanted to go to EPCOT, so we had to wait. The kids took out their phones to play their game, and we just stood there and waited. It seemed like forever, but in reality the next monorail arrived about 15 minutes later. It was jammed front to back, top to bottom. We had to squeeze into a car with angry looking people. It was clear they didn't want anyone else in there, and one lady said something rude as the doors closed. OK, I get it ma'am, you're not happy right now. You're cramped, and it's muggy in here, but it's not our fault. We're in the same boat as you, and we're trying to get to EPCOT before they close.

Finally, we made it to the Transportation Center, got on the monorail to EPCOT, and arrived with just enough time to get on Spaceship Earth with no wait, and then catch the fireworks. Just as the fireworks were ending my stomach was telling me it was time to leave. I had to tell everyone our night was over, and that we would come back in the morning after breakfast. I couldn't go on anymore. My night was done.




More to come tomorrow...
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2012 Trip Report: Entry #2
2012 Trip Report: Entry #3


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