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Old 02-06-2013, 09:10 PM   #526
tinkerbellandeeyor
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I can't wait to hear about the cruise
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:22 PM   #527
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So cool that you got to meet Ellen. She is so friendly. My first meet with her was at a Friendly's near my house (she was on her way back from HHI).

That villa looks amazing. How cool! I hope Ellen does a trip report when she isn't too busy flying all over.

Speaking of views - yours is pretty awesome, too.

Breakfast looks yummy. Too bad about the broken brush.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:36 PM   #528
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I guess I am wrong. I swear the info we received at OKW said the laundry rooms were pay. I just threw away all my paperwork from there over the weekend.

Oh well, not like it's the first time I've ever been wrong.
I've done laundry a couple of times at OKW, Tim, and it was always free.

Yep, you are wrong again.

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Old 02-06-2013, 09:43 PM   #529
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Jen, I am playing catch up...again.

LOVE all of the animal pictures.

Two DIS meets in the same morning...that's cool!

Ellen's suite at the AKL is absolutely stunning.

We sat at that very same table for breakfast at Boma two years ago...a great spot.

Claire looks like she was having a lot of fun swimming in the pool.

I'll never understand why anyone pays money for skywriting.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:35 AM   #530
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I can't wait to hear about the cruise
I am almost there!!!

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So cool that you got to meet Ellen. She is so friendly. My first meet with her was at a Friendly's near my house (she was on her way back from HHI).

That villa looks amazing. How cool! I hope Ellen does a trip report when she isn't too busy flying all over.

Speaking of views - yours is pretty awesome, too.

Breakfast looks yummy. Too bad about the broken brush.
Ellen is great. It was like we had known each other forever.
Her villa was awesome. And I am not sure if she'll write one, as I think she has taken about 3 trips that don't have reports yet.
I was really happy with our standard view. No complaints from us.
That brush was bought at the dollar store just for travel and it made a few trips, so I guess I can't complain too much.

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Jen, I am playing catch up...again.

LOVE all of the animal pictures.

Two DIS meets in the same morning...that's cool!

Ellen's suite at the AKL is absolutely stunning.

We sat at that very same table for breakfast at Boma two years ago...a great spot.

Claire looks like she was having a lot of fun swimming in the pool.

I'll never understand why anyone pays money for skywriting.
It was great meeting people! I met quite a few just walking along and I hope I can remember to mention them at the right times.
We enjoyed boma. It was a nice meal. I don't think I would purposely go over there just for that, but you never know. We have so many places we still need to try.
Claire just loves swimming, so this was wonderful for her. I told her she was going to turn into a fish pretty soon.
I don't get the who skywriting thing either.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:10 AM   #531
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Good Bye Animal Kingdom Lodge! We really enjoyed you! So much so that I think I took over 300 pictures there! Probably close to 350.

On our way to MCO! Claire kept saying how it wasn’t sad being on the bus like it was for others because we still had a long trip ahead of us, and she was right. It wasn’t the Magical Depress this time around.

Of course we had to make a few stops along the way to pick up more guests. I think our first stop was CBR, but I didn’t take pictures if it was.
Next up was Art of Animation.















And then Pop Century.



And off to MCO. I actually was starting to think we may be a little late, but we weren’t.



And this is where the whole trip was really supposed to start. Originally this was just going to be a 4 day cruise for the whole family, with flying in 1 day prior to sailing. Cousin Vicki was the one who wanted to sail as a group. Mom, Claire and I had sailed the Dream on March 31, 2011, shortly after she was inaugurated, and Mom had raved about the trip. Vicki thought it would be fun to do a family trip. When Mom first told me about it, I really never thought it would come to anything. Too many people to coordinate and settle on dates, etc. Also I didn’t think some members would actually ever cruise.
We met for a lunch one day in Sept. 2011 and it all started to come together and in Oct we had settled on dates that everyone agreed on and it was booked. I immediately began thinking that Claire and I would stay 3 days after and do the Christmas party and Hollywood Studios one day to see the Osborne lights. That eventually became almost 7 days. And of course we then added a day on to the beginning as well.
Then of course the family started thinking that if they were down there, they might as well hit some parks too, so this short vacation became a weeklong event for everyone.

We soon arrived at the Delta drop off and we collected our bags.
This is probably the one and only picture of Claire with her new sunglasses.



I got one of those rental carts. There was no way I was lugging that entire luggage around by hand. I took note of the price, and of course now I don’t remember. I want to say it was $7. WELL worth the price, whatever it was. I do think it might’ve had a refund of like 50 cents or something like that when you returned it.



After we loaded the cart, I texted a few family members to see if they had landed. At first there was no response. Then Geoff responded and said they had just landed and he and Aunt Mary were to be some of the first off as they had upgraded to bigger seats towards the front.

Claire and I just hung outside for a bit. And then moved our way inside and took turns using the restroom. We then realized we needed to go up a floor to be near the luggage claim, so we headed towards and elevator and then waited …and waited…and waited.

Geoff let us know the number to be at, so we waited some more. But then we noticed that actually it was the one next to it that was for their flight, so we planted ourselves near that one.



It really did seem to take a long time for them to arrive. I had to keep reminding myself that they probably all made a bathroom stop and then had to take the fake monorail over.
I texted back and forth a few times with Geoff and then suddenly I saw some family!
There is Rob! ….. with Alexis behind him. I also see Mom, Dad and Geoff!



Everyone made it and they were in good spirits. The big worry was how the little ones would do on the plane. Katie’s boys were just fine …and I have to admit, they are both angels at all times. She is so lucky. Even wild 3 year old Abby did well. They said they just gave her snacks and kept movies playing for her and she was perfectly happy.

The luggage soon started and they started pulling off all the bags. Someone flagged a porter down and he had this huge cart and he just kept piling and piling the bags on.

I am not sure what everyone is looking at in this shot.



We took a few turns going to the bathroom and then made sure we had our bags loaded. Count your bags! Make sure you didn’t leave any ……dum dum dum …….make sure you read the name tags as well …..dum dum dum…….

Abby and Gail waiting for everyone to be ready.



Off to the Dollar Rental counters. The porter led the way. This guy was excellent. Very friendly and we kind of felt bad monopolizing his time, but then again, we are probably not the only people who use a porter and need to stop off at the rental counter.

We left my cart, and a few people, and kids, and porter off to the side and we got in line for the cars. Our car was in Moms name, but she wanted me to drive, so I was going to have to put it in my name and on my credit card. She said she would pay me later, which was fine (and she did).

Now let me tell you about our experience with Dollar. I will tell you, I would rent again, because they often have great deals …BUT you have to read EVERYTHING you sign or check agree too. And the counter staff was AWFUL!
We all lined up at the counter, each with a different dollar representative. We could hear what was going on with the others at the counter as well. They REALLY pushed insurance. I let them no in no terms did we want any. He kept insisting that I needed it and I kept insisting that I didn’t. I told him my SIL works for a car rental company and she has told me how it works, and I know my own insurance covers the car. He tried to tell me that I was wrong and my SIL probably didn’t know what she was talking about. I let him know she was higher up in the company and knew EXACTLY what she was talking about. I could hear this pressure going on for each family member down the line and I heard each and every one of them tell the clerk no. I will refer to my guy as Mr. Sauvo, because that is the best way to describe him …with his slicked back hair and Latin looks. Also this was pretty much how each and every guy looked right down the counter line. Listen buddy, you can smooth talk me and smile your charming smile, but I am NOT getting insurance.
So it came time to hit the agree screen. They have a long list of pages and he told me to hit agree to everything. I repeated it back to him and he said, well you should probably read it so you don’t agree do anything you don’t want. So I did, as he continued to talk to me. Yeah, that makes it hard to read when you have someone still talking. BUT I caught it! There was something about adding so much a day for some kind of security. I hit I do NOT agree.
When the print out came out, it had higher charges on it. I questioned this with 2 different people. I pointed out the amount I was to pay and asked what the others was. I was assured I was paying the right amount. I do know often rental companies have these strange charges on the list, but don’t charge you unless you agree to them, and normally I wouldn’t worry, but with Mr. Sauvo, anything could happen.

I will now skip ahead several days later. When Aunt Mary got home she found that they were indeed charged insurance. And it appeared my sister Gail had been too, but hers was a lesser charge for some odd reason. Everyone else has checked their CC statements and we all were charged the right amount. My guess is that some of us caught that part in the “I agree” list and checked no, while some just hit I agree to everything like the guys said to do. I need to check with Aunt Mary, but she was disputing it. She wrote a ton of letters and even found out that Dollar has a class action suit against them in a few states for adding this hidden insurance fee.

Back to our story……

We left Mr. Sauvo and all his Sauvo co-workers and out to the parking garage.
We were directed to the vans. Of course most of us had shoved the paperwork in a bag and had to retrieve it once again to show the attendants out there.
Our Porter pretty much knew the area and led the way again.

We picked out a few vans (we had 4 total). The vans had 3 rows and we folded down the 3rd row in each van and started loading. It was a bit chaotic, I will admit. The porter just started throwing bags in our van and helped with mine, which were still on my trusty cart as well. But then the family wanted their own bags in their own car and the porter said it really didn’t matter since we were all going to the same destination. But it did matter for most, so we tried to sort some of them out. In the end, Katie came over to our van and asked if we had any extras, and sure enough we had 2 of her bags.

I needed to return our cart, but the Porter said he would take it. Great. I was happy not to have to walk back. he was tipped a decent sum too. I think the family gave him somewhere around $50 -$60. Not bad for an hours work.

I had made folders for everyone with lots of info. Most everyone was a newbie to DCL and a few were WDW newbies as well.
I had directions to our hotel, but Rob led the way and asked at the counter and they gave him a slightly better way to get to the highway.

Off we went! It took about an hour to get to Cape Canaveral. The plan was to check in and go eat at Fish Lips. As we drove, it was dark and we pretty much kept losing sight of each other. At one point we were cursing Rob out for going so darn fast. I could barely keep up. OOOPS! It wasn’t Rob. And the next toll both Gail had called us and they mentioned being not too far behind us in the next row. LOL. Poor Rob was getting blamed for nothing.
Gail did inform us that Abby needed food soon. We wondered what was happening in their car. Abby can be a fireball when not happy.
We also had our issues in our car. I don’t remember the details, I probably blocked them out, but my Dad can be cranky at times. He has to be right about things, even if he has no clue what he is talking about and is super stubborn. (it’s so scary how much Skip is like him…..EEEK!) I just remember having a headache and being glad to be at the hotel and able to get out. I think some of the problem was food. He wanted to eat at Fish Lips and Mom said we were going to just probably hit Burger King. I think his shoes were hurting his feet as well and he was grumbling quite a bit about that. Mom assured him he had new tennis shoes in one of the suitcases and he could wear those tomorrow …….dum dum dum…….

Finally we arrived and I was happy to get away for a few minutes.

We started checking in and we took this shot of the kids.



By the time it was our turn to check in, part of our plan was not right. I had called this hotel, the Residence Inn, twice in the past 2 years to ask about the port shuttle. I was told their cost, or you could reserve a room with the park and cruise option and it included 2 tickets to the shuttle. It was an additional $6 per person. I was also told that you could not schedule the shuttle till you arrived. I had asked about getting the first one of the morning and again, was told that when we check in we could schedule what was available. OK then. I gave this info to the whole family. The plan was that the men would drive us and our bags to the port in the morning and then come back with the cars, park them and then take the shuttle over.

We were informed at check in that there is ONLY 1 shuttle per cruise line. It left at 11 (I believe), so that wouldn’t work out for us at all as that was the same time the port opened. At first this really irked me. I hated being wrong for one and telling everyone this wrong bit of info. I questioned it and the girl and guy there seemed to have been with that hotel since it had opened and said that was always their policy and not sure who had given me the info. My guess is that I probably had some housekeeper or something answer the phone and just made it up. LOL. Anyways, they apologized, we got our shuttle tickets and purchased the ones we needed and I let go of it. It was a long day and we were tired and stressed, and there was no reason for me to be so irked. I kind of felt bad for the desk people as we are sometimes a bit chaotic and we probably had them flustered.

At this point in time we didn’t even unload our bags. Abby was hungry and so were many of us. We drove over to Burger King which is right next door. Actually only Claire and I, Mom and Dad, and Gail’s family went there. This was a HUGE mistake. They had 3 people working (on a Sat. night) and they were SLOW! I swear they were cooking each thing as it was ordered. And every so often the cook and the counter girl would scream back and forth at each other. Mostly about working on a night off, or something like that.
The poor drive thru girl was running around too, and couldn’t take time to help the other 2. She looked like she had it together, but was so busy, she just kept shoving food out the window.
We made our orders and waited and waited and waited. Oh and it was filthy in there. Gail took out some baby wipes and went to town wiping off tables.
The food came out one by one and it wasn’t even that good. I think they ran out of happy meal toys and it just was a big mess. By the end of the night, we were loudly making comments about how poor the service and food was, as we just didn’t care anymore and it was like living a big joke.
In the meantime, Geoff called and said Katie needed her bags. I think he drove over to get them. If I remember right we had an issue with getting the back door open, but eventually we got it.

Alexis had been asking me about going swimming since pretty much the first moment we saw her at the airport and Claire had bragged about all the swimming she had done.
I told her several times that I wasn’t sure if the pool would still be open and whether or not I had the energy to take them. She never let up on it either. Not did Claire for that matter.

We headed back to the hotel and met up with family once again and most of them were now heading out to Fish Lips.



We got settled in our room (Claire and I were sharing with Mom and Dad), and I went to move the van to the parking lot.
When I got back, Mom was off taking the girls swimming. Those buggers had talked her into it.
But they had a great time.

Every kid has to master the handstand.



I sat with them a bit and took a few pictures.











When it was pool closing time, mom took the girls back. She gave Claire a shower, which she desperately needed and I went off and walked around a bit to have some quiet time.



At one point I ran into Rob who was just sitting down at the pool bar. I decided a beer sounded really good and ordered one. I believe it was $5.75 for a bud light. HOLY COW!!!!!
We chatted a bit and talked to the bar tender, asking about Hurricane Sandy that had gone through only a week or so prior and about busy seasons, etc. Rob asked me some cruise questions. He has cruised before, but not on Disney and he wanted to know some of the differences, etc.
We both headed back to our rooms and got ready for bed. Claire was on a super high from all the excitement. We finally got her settled down. I think my Dad stayed out in the living room and fell asleep on the couch for several hours and then came to bed.

I laid my head down on the 3rd pillow of the trip. Oh the places we go!
I met a few more great Disers today. Oh the People we meet!

Sadly, this was not a restful night. If you have read my other reports, you know that I don’t always sleep well on vacation. I have anxieties that I am missing something or just too excited, or whatever the reason, and tonight ended up being one of those kind of nights.

Last edited by jenseib; 03-04-2013 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:44 AM   #532
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I've done laundry a couple of times at OKW, Tim, and it was always free.

Yep, you are wrong again.
annnnnnnnd there it is! What took you so long?


I'm sure none of you ladies have ever been wrong before.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:52 AM   #533
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annnnnnnnd there it is! What took you so long?


I'm sure none of you ladies have ever been wrong before.
Well that depends on who you ask...but I would say no I never am ...only giving wrong info from someone else.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:52 AM   #534
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Wow Jen. You've got me tired reading through this update!

It is fun vacationing with family and friends but can be stressful at times with so many moving parts. Glad Alexis & Claire were able to get some pool time, and some alone time for yourself.

Can't wait to hear about the cruise.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:05 AM   #535
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Mercy! What a chaotic time! They kept trying to get Lacey & Jesse insurance on their rental car. She finally had to get rough with them. Hopefully, your aunt gets her money back. It sounds like she should.

I'm happy that you all finally got settled in for the evening and that the kids got to go swim for a while. I'd be willing to bet that you're up before the crack of dawn the next morning.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:10 AM   #536
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annnnnnnnd there it is! What took you so long?


I'm sure none of you ladies have ever been wrong before.
Nope...never. Just ask my father-in-law...he told me the first day I met him that I was perfect!
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:11 AM   #537
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Great update, Jen, although very exhausting and chaotic. I remember from a past TR that your father can be difficult.

Glad you are settled and can't wait to hear about the drive to the ship.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:39 AM   #538
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Finally caught up! Work has been so busy it is hard to catch up....I guess that is what happens when you go away right before/during month end close.....Love the updates! The photos at AKL are so nice. So much fun to just walk around and see all the animals! Your friends hotel room I am fairly positive is bigger than my house!

Sounds like your families arrival date was a little chaotic! I am impressed how smoothly it went given you had four vans worth of people there! Burger King is slow at night here too. I try and avoid it at all costs.
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:27 PM   #539
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Oh man, all those dum-dum-dum have me worried for what's coming later.
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:05 PM   #540
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Goodness, you must have been utterly exhausted. I am glad the girls got their swim, but what a shame about the Shuttle mess up.

Corinna
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