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Old 06-11-2013, 05:26 PM   #1
Moira222
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Tales of the Tye Dye Gang: an April May TR -Magic Kingdom, Epcot & home 10/27

Alternate title: What I learned on Spring Vacation

I'm late in even getting this show on the road, and thought I'd sneak in a few minutes to post.

The Members of the Gang:

Hubby Joe ...now I have to start out by telling you that my hubby does NOT like his photo on the internet. I have begged him repeatedly to let me post his handsome face here on the DIS but so far he has refused me. boo. so I have to blur out his face on the photos. so this is how you will see him...

Hubby is a true Disney-holic. The man's favorite past time has become watching Disney related youtube videos. My favorite story about hubby (sorry if you're tired of hearing this one!) is that I wanted to go to Disney in 1994 when I graduated from college. He said yes, but never would commit to dates or taking vacation time, and the trip never happened. Fast forward twelve years. I told him that we were going...at least Katie and I were, he could stay home if he wanted. () I found the Disboards and learned all that I could, and planned an amazing trip - trip binders, LGMH, the works. It was the year of a million dreams and it was awesome. On the flight home, he apologized for not going when I first wanted to, and was sorry that we had missed twelve years of Disney magic together. is it any wonder I love this guy?

Katie - my nine year old Minnie-Me. seriously. minus some drama -- the drama so did not come from mom's side of the family! But the attitude, the bossiness, the independent streak a mile and a half wide? All me. in spades. I often get the urge to call my mother and apologize, but she just laughs at me when I do.

Me - Mary Ellen, aka Mom aka Moira222
I am the eternal planner, schemer, dreamer, oh, and spender. Yup. Can't take it with you, right? so you might as well enjoy it now I could plan trips elsewhere, but we are still enjoying every unique Disney moment, so why stop? This past year I have gone through major changes. I had a sleeve gastrectomy in December '12 (basically I had my stomach stapled to reduce it to about 1/4-1/3 its original size). So you'll see some differences in how I post and what I focus on. Here's me from our 2009 trip when I was, as a friend puts it, at maximum density:

but enough about me.

We bought DVC membership through resale over the fall & winter, and had 230 points that we had to use or lose by May 31, so we invited friends to travel with us. I've changed their names, but you'll get to know them

O'Malley, Duchess & Marie :

O'Malley is our gang comedian -- always cracking jokes, being silly, and generally keeping us in stitches;

Duchess is the Aristocrat's family organizer, planner, schemer, budgeter, and absolute Grand Master of the circus ring

An engineer by profession, she is master of lists and organization. Imagine my surprise and laughter when she thought perhaps I had a bit of a "problem" with my Disney spreadsheets, planners and lists. I think its fair to say that Duchess was happy to turn the planning hat over to someone else for the most part this trip

and FInally, Marie, who turned 10 during our trip.
Katie & Marie were together in daycare since Katie was three months old. As the girls took gymnastics together, we four adults really hit it off and became fast friends, camping together in the summer, and just hanging out when we're not hanging by the fire. The girls go to different schools but have a great time together despite being two very different personalities. Oh they both have the bossy, independent gene going but where as Katie is the artsy, creative, let it flow sort of girl, Marie is much more focused, detailed, and competitive. It makes some interesting and fun dynamics!

Hope you have fun traveling along with our gang!

Last edited by Moira222; 10-27-2013 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:27 PM   #2
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Chapter links

Day 1: On the Road

Day 1 Checking in & checking out Kidani Day 2 - full day at Hollywood StudiosDay 3 - Magic KingdomDay 4 - Resort swap, Epcot & moreDay 5 Animal KingdomDay 6: Magic KingdomDay 7 Last Park day - Epcot
slight off track:

Katie's Birthday

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Old 06-12-2013, 11:56 AM   #3
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Day 1: On the Road

Finally I am getting around to sharing our first trip “Home” with you! Life has just been busy busy and seriously getting in the way of my Disney and DIS time lately, if you hadn’t noticed. I’ve become quite a lurker on the boards, reading on my phone or nook as time allows but often not getting to comment. Boo. It’s hard for me to keep my comments to myself too.

On Friday, 4/26, everyone got up for our usual routines - work and school beckoned for everyone but Joe. I worked till 1 p.m. & then headed home for final packing, cleaning, and picking up. I picked Katie up from school & she got in a little bit of violin practice before we hit the road. We loaded up the car & first stopped for dinner at Red Robin before meeting up with our friends, Duchess, O’Malley and Marie, at Wawa. Gassed up & fresh cups of coffee in hand for the road, we were finally off –pretty close to “on time” – about 6:30 pm.

Marie rode with us for a little while as she & Katie were trying to watch a movie. Lesson learned: watching a movie in the back of a car while driving into the setting sun is not an easy thing to do.

We drove straight through the night, stopping only for regular restroom breaks & gas & coffee fill ups.



Long night! Lesson learned: I really really need to keep ear plugs & an eye mask handy for future all-night drive sessions. Joe has no problem snoozing in the passenger seat, but I am apparently unable to tune out the music & scenery as we go and think that I might have caught about 15 minutes snooze in the car all night. Thank goodness for caffeine!

We stopped at a Cracker Barrel in South Carolina for breakfast about 7 a.m...






I think we look pretty good for driving all night!

I confess, this is I think the only meal during which I took photos the whole trip. I would occasionally remember to snap a picture but for the most part, this is a food free TR. When we did eat, we were usually starving and all busy chatting and goofing around and I frequently thought about it as we were done our meal. Lesson Learned: with all the changes I have made in my life lately, food really is just what gets me the energy to get through the day, and I have noticed now how much I am not into the whole process of savoring and anticipating certain foods as I used to be. It’s not that I don’t enjoy what I eat, I do – but I’m only eating small amounts and then kicking back and enjoying the conversation and the scenery so much more than the food.

After breakfast we piled back into our cars to finish the drive. So how was the drive you asked? Really it was not bad at all. We are from northeast PA -- typically folks from our area would drive down through Philly, Baltimore & DC taking route 95. We bypassed the craziness that is involved there and headed up 78 to 81 and then came down driving through Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia and picked up 95 in Virginia. SO much easier! What we learned (after driving up and back twice now)-- when driving at night during slow traffic times, it’s okay to stay on 95 the whole way. There is a section around Roanoke VA and another around Jacksonville FL where you can take 295 to bypass the major city. During the day, take it. At night? skip it & go straight through. You’ll save a little bit of time that way.

Katie snapped a few photos from the back seat as we drove along. So just in case you wondered what the ride was like...


click here for her video from the back seat



We arrived in Orlando around 1 and hit total traffic going through. Why, we wondered, why was this the only major city without a bypass? Oh well! The traffic didn’t last too long and before you knew it, we were driving through the Disney World entrance. Yes, I am a true dork. TOTALLY teary eyed as I drove! As I went through my photos I see that Katie is the only one who managed to get a shot of our favorite view.


She took a video too…. I’m not sure I should post it, after I listened to it, I though “we are mean parents”. She was SO EXCITED to be hitting Disney World that she started to sing it. Again. And again. And again. And again. We finally told her to shut up! (I know, mean mean parents. Did I mention not being able to sleep all night?)


We followed the well posted signs and before we knew it, we were entering here –





- The gates into the Animal Kingdom Resort. Yup, teary eyed here too--and a bit choked up!! I was just so darned excited to be finally coming home!!!



When we walked into Kidani, we were met pretty much at the door by a charming cast member who checked us in immediately -- we never even went to the desk.




Once again my little Disney maniac (she has learned from mom!) snapped some pictures in the lobby as I spoke with the cast member checking us in.








Amazingly enough, our room was ready. We were so excited!

Before heading out to our room, Katie and I made a quick stop in the gift shop. In February, I had seen a swimsuit that I wanted at Old Key West. I was hoping that they had the same suit here so that I wouldn’t have to make an extra trip…and SCORE they did. Unfortunately I was getting the serious rush by the gang so I noted that they had the suit, and in sizes for both Katie and I & off we went to check in. Slightly annoying to have to make a separate trip but oh well, that’s life!

(I realized I didn't take a picture, but found it on a google search: )



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Old 06-12-2013, 03:09 PM   #4
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Thanks for the heads up! I'm here! And, you're home....well your Disney home!
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Old 06-12-2013, 05:59 PM   #6
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Following along. My TR has very few food pictures also. I thought I was the only one who looks at food at Disney as an after thought. Gald there are others. It is just the least important thing to us when we are there and I would skip it if I could.

Awesome that your daughter know to capture the pictures when you are not. After 10+ trips I still have not trained my DH. Perhaps I should work on my DS8 instead???

Can't wait to hear about AKV. It is a resort we might consider in the future.
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Old 06-13-2013, 12:36 AM   #7
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I'm here!! Thanks for the PM! And I love that I'm finally filling in the details about your DVC purchase. FB details are always so sketchy! By the way...any of your FB photos have not done justice to your transformation! You look fantastic and I hope, perhaps even more importantly, you feel fantastic!

So I take it you all don't mind driving down, huh? I don't mind cars and I'm not a huge fan of flying. While I do live further north (CT), it isn't that much further and I've always wanted to drive. Do you save money? I've always wondered if it makes much difference with only one kid.

Looking forward to hearing more!
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Old 06-13-2013, 09:52 AM   #8
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I'm in!
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Old 06-14-2013, 02:38 PM   #9
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Subbing in, but will read later. Looking forward to your TR!
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Old 06-14-2013, 02:58 PM   #10
Moira222
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeystoontown View Post
Thanks for the heads up! I'm here! And, you're home....well your Disney home!
Thanks for coming over Lida! I just completely tear up when I hear "Welcome Home". such a dork
Quote:
Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post
I am here!

And I promise you after driving all night if my child or children were singing something repetitive over and over and over again...Disney or not...those very words may well have come out of my mouth too!

Cute suits!
When I listened to the video I felt SO GUILTY. she was soooo excited (me too) but well, you know, it was a looong night.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lsenquiz View Post
Following along. My TR has very few food pictures also. I thought I was the only one who looks at food at Disney as an after thought. Gald there are others. It is just the least important thing to us when we are there and I would skip it if I could.

Awesome that your daughter know to capture the pictures when you are not. After 10+ trips I still have not trained my DH. Perhaps I should work on my DS8 instead???

Can't wait to hear about AKV. It is a resort we might consider in the future.
Food as an afterthought is definitely something new to me--it actually surprised me how little I thought about it.

AAh my girl seems to have caught on to the photo bug. Between her, DH and I we took about 1,000 photos. Definitely work on DS -- esp with the cheap digital cameras, its so much easier to be a photo bug than with (gasp, dare I admit it) the film cameras I started with, and still have stuck in my drawer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tinacaplan View Post
I'm here!! Thanks for the PM! And I love that I'm finally filling in the details about your DVC purchase. FB details are always so sketchy! By the way...any of your FB photos have not done justice to your transformation! You look fantastic and I hope, perhaps even more importantly, you feel fantastic!

So I take it you all don't mind driving down, huh? I don't mind cars and I'm not a huge fan of flying. While I do live further north (CT), it isn't that much further and I've always wanted to drive. Do you save money? I've always wondered if it makes much difference with only one kid.

Looking forward to hearing more!
Thanks so much for your kind words. I do feel fantastic! I just had a 6 mo follow up appointment this morning and the dr told me I look 10 years younger. I feel 10 years younger -- maybe better than I did 10 years ago.

I did not mind driving, though of course if the airfare were right, I LOVE LOVE LOVE being at Disneyworld just a few hours after leaving home.

We spent about $630 in gas going up, back & driving around once down in Orlando. For us, that is better than airfare, unless we fly AirTran & then we'd have to get a car or car service to get from Sanford to WDW. In October we are planning to take the autotrain from Loray VA to Sanford FL. We paid to take our car as well. For four of us plus the car it came to just under $1,000 -- again, that's $250 per person. We could probably get airfare for that but not likely to MCO.

I did not mind the drive at all, though I really wanted to stop for some shut eye on the way home & I got out voted
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I'm in!
Welcome back!!!!
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:11 PM   #11
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Day 1 Checking in & checking out Kidani


We piled back in our cars & drove through the parking area – we were all the at the back of Pumba, so it was pretty far back. We parked & unloaded what we could (a second trip was definitely in order) and headed up the elevator. Katie and I were the stragglers, so it took us a minute to find the rest of the gang. Our door:



And then the room. OH MY GOSH it was amazing. What a way to start our very first trip as DVC owners. We were staying in a two bedroom villa. It was supposed to be standard view, but as you will see, we had a great view (though it did include a service road, so perhaps that’s why it was categorized as standard). I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Entry, kitchen and living room (Katie slept here)





Duchess, O’Malley & Marie shared the second bedroom. I tried to convince Marie to share the living room with Katie to give her parents a break, but she wasn’t buying it. Oh well.








Joe and I had the master bedroom. OOH so nice. Big comfy bed, plenty of room, and the bathroom was, well amazing. It’s a shame we didn’t have more time to enjoy the luxury of it!





Katie had to point out and name every character from the Lion King in the tiles behind the tub. It helped that she watched Lion King & Lion King 1 1/2 in the car on the way down!



If you can't read the little card, it says "A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its place."


and the view from our balcony…













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Old 06-14-2013, 03:41 PM   #12
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Day 1 Lets have some fun!

We spent a bit of time getting unpacked and organized in the room.

The girls really really wanted some pool time, and we were all a bit hyped up. I poured myself a glass of rum punch, and Joe sampled more than a bit of his apple pie liquor, O’Malley & Duchess indulged in the new Bud Light Margaritas.


AAAAHHHH
I cancelled our 6 p.m. dinner reservations at Rose & Crown so that we could be a bit more relaxed & flexible, and we got ready for the pool. Now, Katie and I had to head back down to the lobby to buy those swimsuits, as neither of us had a decent one at home. By the time we got back, the rest of the gang was ready for pool time (and more than a little relaxed from a few adult libations)! I helped Katie get changed & she headed off with Duchess, O’Malley & Marie for the pool. I had a bit more unpacking to do, and Joe waited with me. It took only a few more minutes & we were joining them. Have to say, it was quite a walk from our room back to the lobby & then out to the pool. We definitely made up for those 18 hours in the car!
The pool area at Kidani is very nice. Neither of us remembered to bring a phone, so sadly I have no evidence. However, the pool is a very nice size, with lots of seating all around. There were a lot of people out and we still managed to find lounge chairs for all of us. The hot tub is up above the pool, just past the steps up to the slide, and there was a fun water play area for the kids (though our girls did not use it on Saturday).

Waiting for the slide gave me the real difference between staying at a DVC resort and a moderate or luxury resort. The people were just SO RELAXED and friendly. Seriously. We saw folks with little soft coolers with their own beverages and snacks, and I waited with a group of ladies vacationing together having a great time. We chatted like we were neighbors, joking and having a good time. While we’ve always struck up conversations with people at other resorts, especially around the pool, this was just a different sort of attitude. And I liked it!!
We hung out in the pool and then the hot tub for a little while, but eventually had to head back to get dressed. Those of us old enough to remember the 70's & 80's were looking forward to the Flower Power Concert that night at Epcot.
Before long we were outside waiting for the bus to Epcot. The wait was not long at all – maybe 5 minutes if that.





Of course once we arrived at Epcot we had to stop for photos! I just ordered my photo pass pictures today, so I may have a few more to add, but will share the ones we took with our own cameras for now.






It was definitely later than I’d anticipated arriving, and we immediately made our way back to America for the Flower Power concert. Because we’d cancelled our dinner plans, I told everyone to read the menus on the kiosks as we passed them. The plan was to wing it, stop for whatever is appealing to you. Now, this idea was great for me. I love doing spontaneous things. (oh and I don't really eat that much even when I am starving, which I was ) However, it may not have been the best choice for the whole group, some of whom were extremely hungry after swimming and indulging in a few adult beverages. And come to think of it, lunch was pretty much snacking on miscellaneous junk for most of the group. Let’s just say it was a bit tense till food was had! We stopped at the Lotus House kiosk. Joe and I each ordered the Spring Pancake with Grilled Chicken and Green Apple. (thank goodness for the brochure which lists all of the F&G kiosks & menus!)


I shared mine with Katie, who also ate Beijing Style Candied Strawberries.

OMG they were fabulous! Duchess had a Spring Pancake also – but I could not tell you what if anything Marie & O’Malley ate. They were craving something else.

We walked on a bit more & they stopped in Germany. They were seriously craving bratwurst. The line was long. Ugh. They were determined to wait, but Joe, Katie and I were not so interested in this, so we decided to move on & meet up with them at the Flower Power Concert. On our way, Joe stopped at the Primavera Kitchen kiosk and had a Lasagna Primavera (which was long gone before I even saw him). Katie was craving a good old American burger, so we popped into the Liberty Inn. While I ordered her burger, I was surprised to see apple pie on the menu. If you’ve read previous TR’s you might remember that Joe LOVES pie, and is always disappointed that we have yet to find pie on any dessert menus in DisneyWorld. Of course I had to order it for him! Sadly I have to say that when it came out, it was not really pie, but an apple blossom – sort of like a baked apple. Close, but not pie. (but still quite yummy!)
I took Katie over to the seating at the concert area where Joe was waiting for us & then walked myself over to the Smokehouse Barbecue & Brews kiosk which is where O’Malley, Duchess & Marie ended up after Sommerfest ran out of bratwursts!
This was braised pork with jalapeno cornbread and I have no idea what kind of greens are there.

Finally everyone was able to sit down, just in time to see and hear The Orchestra – members of what was ELO (Electric Light Orchestra for you young’uns). AWESOME. Well, we adults thought so. Katie was not so thrilled at the volume (it’s a concert after all) and had a bit of a temper tantrum which did not end well for her. But, back to the concert – I did snap some photos and even took a bit of video which I will hopefully be able to upload. The Orchestra were great, even if a few of the high notes did present a challenge for them. Wish they had performed longer.






At the end of the concert, Joe took Katie back to the room for a time out, and O’Malley, Duchess, Marie & I headed out for a ride. Poor Marie was dying having been in a park for over an hour (a bit longer) and not having done a single ride. EGADS LOL. We headed over to Norway and rode Maelstrom. I don’t know why, but I just love that ride. I like the trolls and the little history of Norway. And it was fun that she had absolutely no idea what to expect.(and of course I was behind her, making things up as we went along )
The movie was no longer running for the night (it was getting close to 9 p.m.) so we browsed (quickly) through the dump shop and made our way next door. The group was looking for dessert, so I had to steer them over to Kringla OBakeri. Oh My. The yumminess there. I was very tempted to order a coffee with Bailey’s, but was holding out for a kiosk I had seen on our way in. Foolish Maire – by the time we got out of Norway, Illuminations had started, and with that, every kiosk, shop and outside bar closed up for the night. DRAT!
We caught a little bit of Illuminations, but Marie was really really hoping to get on another ride – and she had a destination in mind. We made our way over to Spaceship Earth, only to find that it too was done for the night. Oh well, at least we’d managed one ride & caught a little bit of fireworks. It was definitely a different sort of pace for me, and I missed being able to watch all of Iluminations, but it was definitely time to call it a day. Actually for me, to call it two days because aside from about 15 minutes in the car I had not slept since waking up Friday morning at 5:45 am.

By the time we got back to the resort, I was still sorry I'd missed out on that drink in Epcot. We touched base with Joe who told us that Katie was passed out in the living room, Joe was nearly done but the four late comers were needing something to settle us down. We stopped in the Sanaa lounge and picked up a nightcap. Wish I'd taken pictures, but well, I forgot. (see what I mean!) Drinks were taken upstairs with us, where we chatted, sorted our morning plans, caught up with Joe and finally called it a night.
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:30 PM   #13
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Thanks for the heads-up on facebook. I love your room pictures and you got a great standard view. I look forward to the rest of your report.
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Old 06-15-2013, 12:17 AM   #14
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Hi Mary Ellen! I love your TR so far! Looks like a really fun group - what a road trip! You are a determined bunch. Good for you to just relax and let everyone wind down at their own pace. Looking forward to more.
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Old 06-15-2013, 05:21 PM   #15
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Love it!

I saw your TR on FB ... enjoying your report! What a drive! I can't imagine going so long on 15 minutes of sleep! I can't wait for more of your report.
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