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Old 03-17-2006, 11:48 AM   #1
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The Grand Gatherers Take Over The World W/PHOTOS - THE END POSTED ON 8/30: Pg 6,#80!

OK, so I've been completely inspired by trip report geniuses like Vettechick, 100thhappyhaunt, zzub, LaLa and PrincessAurora, so I decided to give this a shot.

Somehow…I’m not sure how…this has become less of a trip report and more of a trip blog. And in case you didn’t know already, BLOG stands for Brave Laura Organizes Gatherers.

Yes, really.

Our story begins like this:

FEBRUARY 27, 2006
My birthday is in October, but I’ve already decided that I want to celebrate at WDW this year surrounded by my favorite people, and I want it to be a celebration to remember. In fact, since my niece’s birthday is 11 days after mine, let’s make it a double celebration. Two Disney birthdays for the price of one! That’s not asking much, is it? So I asked the burning question:

Me: “Hey, who wants to go to Disney for mine and Erica’s birthdays?
Everyone Else: “I do! I do!”

That was easy. Sometimes you DO get what you want!

I officially christen the group The Grand Gatherers (because my nephew thought it was super cool that there’s enough of us to qualify as a Grand Gathering) and go into in Planning Mode. I love Planning Mode. I’m a born planner. Just leave everything to me…resort reservations, ADRs, who buys which silly hat, what days we’ll go to what park, what character T-shirts to wear, etc. I have seven months…planning Heaven!

Whaddaya mean I’m a Planning Nazi? That’s so harsh!

Accurate, but harsh.

OK, this is me backing off. YOU choose the resort (and don’t forget you have to please 10, count ‘em 10, very different people). Do you want to have breakfast at the Castle? Don’t forget you have to be on the phone 180 days in advance to get the ADR. Whaddaya mean what’s an ADR? The Mad Hatter hat or the gold Mickey ears? Magic Kingdom on Monday? The Eeyore or Grumpy shirt on Epcot day? And you only have seven months to get it all together!

What’s that? You want ME to do the planning? Well, if you insist! (Insert Maleficent laughter here…my evil plan worked!!)


You don’t know who the Grand Gatherers are, do you?

Well, without further ado, allow me to introduce the (fanfare) Grand Gatherers!

Initially, I thought it’d be really nifty to give everybody a Disney name based on his or her character traits. Cute idea, maybe, but I’d prolly lose my mind trying to remember who’s who, so everyone will henceforth be called by his or her real name.

But just for giggles, here’s how it could’ve been. Don't worry...there won't be a test later.


THE ADULTS (Oh, who am I kidding) THE OVER 18s

Trudy (a.k.a Mom, Nanny) - Fairy Godmother (she makes dreams comes true!)
Laura (a.k.a Me) - SNAP (SoNotAPrincess…See my Avatar?)
Billy - Grumpy (he wanted to be Goofy, but…umm…no)
Troy - Goofy (he wanted to be Captain Jack Sparrow, but Gawrsh!)
Dani - Mickey (she personifies (mousifies?) all things Disney)
Lisa - The White Rabbit (She’s late, she’s late…she’s ALWAYS late!)


Izzi 13 -Cheshire Cat (yep, she’s a sneaky one)
Erica 13 (well, almost…this is her birthday trip) - Stitch (can you say mischievous?)
Jackson 11 - Dash Incredible (now you see him…hey, where is he??)
Lilli 8 - The Evil Queen (or so she says...I thinks she’s really Nemo)

Now, back to planning.



Ummm…let me ‘splain something here. I can plan everything to my little heart’s content, including what time we’re going to be on Splash and how long it will take to walk from there to the Trading Post, where we’ll spend exactly 21 minutes looking at pins.

The reality is that there is NO WAY my family would tolerate it. There would be a mass revolt and a successful Coup to overthrow the Diva, which is what they call me. Funny, but when they say it, it doesn't necessarily sound like a compliment. They’d put my (gasp) BABY SISTER in charge and throw me in the (very clean and tastefully decorated) dungeon in Cinderella Castle, where I’d be tortured by a never ending loop of Minnie Mouse giggling (I’m sorry, but is that not the most annoying sound in the world?) and the lure of a Dole Whip sitting just out of reach of my tingling taste buds. Truthfully, we’re the Mosey Your Way Around the World type.

But the planning is FUN!!

The Internet. I love the Internet. The Internet led me to my very own Fairy Godmother, a travel agent named Debbie. I adore Debbie. Debbie is patient. Debbie is kind. Debbie knows lotsnlots of things about spending a week at WDW. I would vote for Debbie for President. Or Queen of Everything. Or Goddess. Debbie ROCKS! She is officially dubbed Her Supreme Majesty President Goddess (HSPMPG) Debbie.

A day trip to WDW. OK, so there will be more than one day trip to WDW. I have an AP, and it’s RESEARCH, people! Geez, even with the help of HSMPG Debbie you can’t expect me to just pull a fantabulous week at WDW out of my (Princess with Mouse Ears) hat, can you? I’m telling everyone that the day trips are to scope out resorts and choose the perfect one, but just between you and me, I really just want to ride the pink monorail, hang wif my homeys (Goofy and Donald), and pay $6 for a Coke.

I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at the Contemporary, the Grand Floridian (SO chi-chi-poo-poo…definitely not the best choice for this gang of hooligans), and the Dolphin/Swan (not enough Mouse in that house for me!), but it’s going to be a moderate for us, so I read, looked at pictures, and asked questions on the DIS. Lemme tell you, people are serious about which resort they think is best.

And I mean REALLY serious.

Anyhoo, I checked out all the moderates and got the scuttlebutt that CBR is the poor man’s Poly, and POR is the poor man’s GF. Only at WDW would $175 per night be a poor man’s anything. Ya gotta love it. So, I narrowed it down to these two resorts.

Here’s a secret: Deep in my heart, I’m Scarlet O’Hara. Only nicer. I’m a hoop wearin’, mint julep drinkin’, let’s go to Twelve Oaks for a barbecue, eyelash flutterin’ suthan belle. And I want to stay in a beautiful mansion on the Sassagoula River, call everybody honey and ya’ll, take carriage rides at twilight and work my feminine wiles on all the bucks in the county.

In spite of my antebellum fantasy, or maybe because of it, I sat off for the Happiest Place on Earth in search of the ever-elusive Perfect Resort.

Next: Flamingos, the Safari Sprint and muddy elephant butt...with pics...Oh my!

Last edited by SoNotAPrincess; 08-30-2006 at 08:15 PM. Reason: Pssst...down here!
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Old 03-17-2006, 01:05 PM   #2
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i can tell already this is going to be great. and how brave you are. thanks
for sharing!
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Old 03-17-2006, 09:35 PM   #3
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Part 2 - Flamingos, The Safari Sprint and Muddy Elephant Butt

I’m playing hooky from work. Sort of. They know I’m going to WDW, but it feels like I’m playing hooky. I work for a company with offices throughout the country, most of which are in places where cold white stuff falls from the sky, piles up and causes fender benders and outbursts of colorful language. I have a conference call with these folks every morning, and invariably someone will ask what the weather is in Florida. They obviously WANT to be tortured, so I oblige by telling them its 75 degrees, sunny with a breeze coming in off the ocean.

I tell them this even when it’s raining buckets.

Cruella ain’t got nuthin on me.

When I tell them I’m off to WDW, they say, “Again?” but I know they’re secretly jealous of my close personal relationship with The Mouse. Or at least of my close geographic proximity.

Now back to our story.

My partner in crime…oops, I mean planning…is my cousin Dani. We’re both Disney nuts and compulsive planners, so I’m hoping to lure her and her (home schooled) girls (Lilli and Izzi) into spending a day at WDW with me.

No such luck. They’re going to see the Tut exhibit in West Palm. Poop. Oh well, guess I’m flyin’ solo. I can think of worse things than hangin’ out with The Mouse and decide to make Animal Kingdom my destination for the day.

I admit that I tend to bypass AK in favor of MK and Epcot. I’m feeling a little guilty about treating AK like Disney’s redheaded stepchild, so I intend to show it some love. I live only about an hour away, and I’m there a little past 9 a.m.…just missed Rafiki opening the park.


I’m putting “See opening of AK” on my things-to-do list.

I ignore the crowd elbowing each other to get through the turnstiles and enter through Rainforest Café. There’s no one there but a lonely CM, so I’m feelin’ pretty clever. Pleasantries are exchanged:

Me: “Hi, how are you today?”
CM: “Great, thanks; how ‘bout you?”
Me: “Really good!”
CM: “Have a wild day!”

In two shakes of a Pluto’s tail, I’m in. So don’t go telling anyone else about this “secret entrance,” OK? It’s just between you ‘n me.

It’s a beautiful morning in the Kingdom, and I have explicit instructions to have a wild day so I’d better get a move on. There’s a cool breeze blowing, lots of shady green areas and plenty of neat things to look at.

Ahhh…nature, Disney style.

I watched the Flamingos for a while. I like pink. I like birds. Voila! Or as we like to say in my family, “Viola!”

Yep, we’re original.

Back to the Flamingos. There was a whole bunch of ‘em standing around on one leg, but only one with his head up. I amused myself by making up a story about him being King Flapinkgo and how the rest of them were bowing in abject servitude before his royal pinkness and then moved on to the Tree of Life.

King Flapinkgo and his minions

I’ve gotta admit the Tree of Life is impressive. Grand. But it lacks the magic of the castle, the whimsy of the Sorcerer’s hat, and the POW of the shiny silver golf ball.

Plus, in photographs it looks a little puny.

I took about six pictures of it anyway.

OK, so maybe it doesn't look so puny after all.

Pay no attention to the date stamp on the pictures. The camera was new.

‘Nuf said.

Everybody (and I do mean EVERYBODY) knows that in order to see the most animals on the Safari, you have to ride it early in the day.

A CM is standing at the park entrance with a bullhorn announcing, “Thank you for participating in Disney’s Safari Sprint, held daily at 9 a.m. at AK.”

Safari Mickey steps out and squeaks, “Runners, take your mark…get ready…set…GO!” He fires off a confetti gun and does his signature Mickey laugh, which for some reason is less annoying than Minnie’s giggle. Probably because HE is The Main Mouse.

And they’re off!

This is a winner take all, no prisoners, mad race over the Harambe Bridge. Small children are being dragged by the arm with parents shouting, “Do you want to see the white rhinoceros or not?” Stroller wheels are burning rubber, people on ECVs are mowing walkers down.

It’s not pretty.

I, on the other hand, am meandering. I’m watching the sprinters and taking pictures.

Not of the sprinters, silly…of the birds!

And the sign.

I chit chat with a few other meanderers and stop for a cinnamon bun at Tusker House. Sadly, the bun left a lot to be desired. I asked if the cinnamon buns were warm, and the CM smiled brightly and assured me that yes, they are; but obviously there was a communication breakdown cuz it was cold. And a little stale.

I dunno…maybe the CM thought I said, “Is the weather warm?”

It was also smothered in enough icing to cover a dozen cupcakes. Don’t get me wrong, I love icing…but no amount of icing was gonna make that bun taste warm and soft.

Anyway, by the time I get to the safari, the standby line is already 40 minutes long. Good thing there’s fastpass! While I’m waiting for 10:20 to arrive, I look at pins (I need Jafar to go with Jasmine in my Princess and Villain collection).

By the way, have you ever seen a Lady Tremaine pin? I think I’m gonna be forced to use Lucifer as Cinderella’s nemesis, but that ain’t right! I mean he’s bad and all that, but he’s not evil-stepmother-take-away-your-pony-steal-your-slipper-and-lock-you-in-the-attic bad!

I had a very interesting conversation with a CM named Calvin (which made me think of 1000thhappyhaunt). Calvin’s job is at the pin kiosk right located next to a fan. Sweet! You go, Calvin. Calvin suggested I try the pin shop at Downtown Disney to find Lady Tremaine.

At precisely 10:20, I used my fastpass and walked right past the huddled masses waiting in the regular line.

Party of one?


And I stepped right on to a waiting truck and was ready to see me some animals. I really wanted to see the King of Beasts. I have a thing for cats, and for beasts, too…the wilder the better.

As advertised, the animals were out and about. There was a giraffe standing in the middle of the road, so we stopped until he decided to cross. He was thisclose to us. It was cool.

We passed the hippo pool, but all I saw were the tops of their hippo heads and some hippo bubbles. A little kid asked, “Are they farting?” And the whole truck erupted in laughter. The driver completely lost track of his spiel.

Good times.

A little further along there were five elephants having a spa day in the mud. There is nothing like mud to give you that soft, smooth, supple elephant skin.

There were three elephant babies fighting it out for the mud wrestling championship, so the driver stopped, and we all ooohed and aaahhed and took pictures. Those baby elephants were pretty darn adorable. Definitely the cutest 350-pound toddlers I’ve ever seen.

Muddy elephant butt. The blob in the lower right corner is the baby elephants. Really. I promise. Trust me.

The King of Beasts was snoring on his rock, so I only got to see the top of his mane. Maybe next time, beast! We saved Little Red (it was close though, lemme tell ya!), and all was right in the world.

Next, I walked over to look longingly at Everest. I rode it five times when we went for the AP Sneak Peak, and it’s a great ride. Just thrilling enough, without going over the edge.

Get it? Runaway train…over the edge? I crack me up.

It was going to be running at 2 p.m., but I was planning to be gone by then, so I took a couple of pictures and headed over to the Maharajah Jungle Trek to see if I could see the tigers.

Tigers are so pretty. I just want to bury my face in their fur and listen to them purr. Of course, since their purr is really more like a growl, and I’d probably wind up minus my face, I don’t think I’ll actually do it.

I love the Maharajah Jungle Trek. It reminds me of this dog my sister had when we were kids.

Stay with me, there is a point.

My sister named the poor thing Maharani (she said it means princess, but I dunno), and the dog just never got it. We’d call her (the dog, not my sister), and she’d be looking at us like,“Maha-huh?” Eventually someone told us that dogs can only remember two syllable names, so she changed it.

To Bran-dy.

Not Prin-cess.

I smile every time I think about it.

Which is usually only when I’m on the Maharajah Jungle Trek.

The tigers were out doing their tiger thing (Score!), plus I saw a peacock with his plume up and open, no doubt trying to get a little peahen action. He definitely had the whole I’m too sexy for my plume vibe goin’ on. It’s a good day to be at Animal Kingdom!

I just missed getting a picture of the peacock with his plume up, but he still looks pretty good. If I were a peahen, I think I’d be all over him.

I really enjoyed meandering and looking at the animals.

And then I stepped out of the shade and into the sun. And the melting process began.

Next: Camp H-E-Double Hockey Sticks
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Old 03-17-2006, 10:14 PM   #4
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Bravo!! More! More!

"Initially, I thought it’d be really nifty to give everybody a Disney name based on his or her character traits. Cute idea, maybe, but I’d prolly lose my mind trying to remember who’s who, so everyone will henceforth be called by his or her real name."

Dealing with the same thing here as we get ready for next week's trip.

Your reports are excellent! Thank you
Jamal, DH, DS14, DS8: Honeymoon '88, 5/99 ASM, 5/01CB, 3/03 POLY Conc,12/03 WL Conc,5/05 CR Conc, 9/06POP
03/06 POLY Conc (ten perfect days),:trip report:
The Fixer and The CookMaster...backstage pixie dust!!
Now playing:
The Fixer, The CookMaster, The Teacher, and The President: a 2007 sequel of sorts!!

3/07 BC CL,9/07 BC CL , Jan. 2008 AKL, June 2008 Windsor Hills(!), Sept. '08 Poly, Thanksgiving '08 CR CL!
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Old 03-18-2006, 05:57 PM   #5
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Part 3 - Camp H-E-Double Hockey Sticks

OK...we left off with me leaving the Maharajah Jungle Trek and stepping out into the melting Florida sun.

I live in Florida. I am, in fact, a Florida native, so the sun and heat should not be a surprise to me. Nevertheless, I squinted and said out loud, “Man, it’s hot.” Just in case no one else had noticed.

I meandered some more, seeking out shady spots. FYI: The eating area for Flame Tree Barbecue is awesome. Very shady and cool and pretty. The birds are EXTREMELY pesky though. I’m pretty sure that somebody has been disobeying the “Don’t Feed The Birds” sign. I think they were pretty peeved with me cuz I didn’t have anything for them.

I bypassed Dinoland because Dinosaur is the most fun with someone else, and Primeval Whirl is too herky jerky for me. I will ride it only when a child I dearly love is looking at me pleadingly and saying, “But it’s no fun without you.” Yes, this has happened to me. I had the bruises to prove it, but for the most part they’re all healed. I’m sure I’ll have new ones come October.

I did Its Tough To Be A Bug and took in Flights of Wonder (I told you I like birds).

AK really is eye candy in a way that none of the other parks are. I took a lot of pictures; several of them look like postcards.

This one is my favorite.

The only other attraction thing I wanted to do was Festival of the Lion King. I’ve never seen it, and everyone I know raves about how fantabulously superrific it is, so I’m in. Unbeknownst to me, the FOTLK theater is in Camp Minnie Mickey.

It’s a long walk back to Camp Minnie Mickey.

A long, hot walk.

With no shade.

The melting process intensifies. I spy with my little eye an ice cream cart. Hmmm...hot day, cold ice cream…these Disney people are GENIUSES!! I get a Mickey Bar. Now Mickey and I are both melting. I finally get to the theater and can tell by the three thousand empty strollers that a show is currently going on. (Ya gotta learn to read the clues, people!)

According to the show times board, it just started, and the next one isn’t for an hour and forty minutes. I guess even animatronic Simba gets a lunch break.

I’m bummed. I know I’m not hanging around Camp No Shade for an hour and forty minutes. I also know that unless AK gets a little global cooling, I’m not making the trek back again today either. This is what I get for not picking up a map and show times guide.

Kali River Rapids is sounding pretty cool and refreshing right about now, but walking around in squishy shoes is a good deterrent, so I decide to pass.

I did get some neat pictures on the long, hot walk to Camp Hotter Than H-E-Double Hockey Sticks.

The Donald

I still don't understand about Pluto and Goofy BOTH being dogs!!


Oh, well…might as well call it a day and scoot over to the resort area. That IS why I came over here (wink wink). I stopped by Rainforest Café to see if I could get a table, but there was a 30-minute wait, so I made my way to the car, where the interior had reached approximately the same temperature as the fires of hell.

Wow, it’s hot!

Buh-bye, Animal Kingdom...see ya real soon!

Next: The search is over, a safari of a different sort, and where in The World is Lady Tremaine?
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Old 03-18-2006, 09:38 PM   #6
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I'm in! IN... I say!!!!

I love: "Pay no attention to the date stamp on the pictures. The camera is new." ~ Ha, ha, ha!~ And...The Donald, plus I don't get the two dogs thing EITHER. Bravo(!) for the peacock/peahen thingie. Your pictures are beautiful. Bright and CLEAR. Just great. Keep it comin'. Thanks, Mel.

P.S. You're SoNotaPrincess but... I think you're SoFineaTripReportWriter!
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Old 03-19-2006, 01:28 AM   #7

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Enjoyed reading your reports ~ Thanx for posting.
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Old 03-19-2006, 06:50 PM   #8
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Pt. 4 -The Search is Over, Where in The World is Lady Tremaine and a Different Safari

First...to Jamal...thanks for giving me a bravo...you made my day. Hope your trip to WDW is superrific!!

And OMG, Mel Happyhaunt is reading MY trip report. **thud** Seriously, I'm a huge fan of your work...thanks for reading mine!

Now, where were we? Oh yes, I was leaving AK and making my way towards the resort area....

Driving up to Port Orleans Riverside is like entering a whole new world. It’s shady. Cool. Serene. I love it already. I felt like Scarlet returning to Tara (after she and Rhett rebuilt it of course). I could feel my suthan drawl kickin’ in, and I was droppin’ my g’s before I was even out of the car. I couldn’t wait to smile sweetly and practice my “Hi, ya’ll.”

Let me just say that POR lived up to my expectations. Every CM I talked to was friendly and helpful. The guests were smiling and laughter filled the air.


This, I thought to myself, is a little slice of Heaven right here on Disney property. Poor man’s GF nuthin’! I walked around the resort and fell in love.

I want to LIVE at POR. Preferably in Parterre Place, in a room on the top floor with a king-sized bed, a view of the rivah and unlimited free dining.

I’m confident that I can please all the remaining Grand Gatherers with POR, so I’m a happy SNAP.

Oh yeah…I checked out Caribbean Beach, too. It was pretty. Lots of varying shades of pink. Very beachy. The hammocks were cool.

But we are SO staying at POR for the weeklong birthday celebration to beat all birthday celebrations. This is gonna be the granddaddy of birthday celebrations. It will set the standard that all future birthday celebrations will strive to meet.

It’s good to be The Planner!

I wish I had photos of the resorts but unfortunately I filled up my (much too small) memory card at AK. When we go back, I will take lotsnlots of pics!!

I was back in the car with the AC blowing when I realized that I’m hungry. And I mean eat the steering wheel hungry. I did try to eat at Boatwright’s, but they only serve breakfast and dinner. No worries, I decide to hit Downtown Disney and grab a bite…I’m looking for Lady Tremaine anyway.

I like Downtown Disney, but it always seems like a lot of walking for a place without a roller coaster.

I parked at the Marketplace entrance by the Lego store and made my way over to the pin place. This place has a LOT of pins. I could drop some serious dough in here. And, oh joy! The CM said there IS a Lady Tremaine pin.

At DisneyLAND.

You know what that means.



I wish.


I was tempted to get Lucifer but decided to persevere a bit longer in my search for the quintessential evil stepmother. I like the word quintessential, but it’s hard to work into everyday conversation.

Since I hadn’t been able to get into Rainforest Café at AK, I decided to try again at DTD. No waiting, and before I can say, “Faith, trust and pixie dust,” I’m sitting at a table with a Mai Tai in a blinking light-up cup. Rainforest Café is a cool place…the food can be hit and miss, but the atmosphere is consistently great. Plus they have an AP discount.

Since it was so late in the day, I decided to go ahead and get dinner and ordered the shrimp scampi and shrimp endochette (I know that’s spelled wrong, but oh my goodness was it delish) combo. The Mai Tai was yummilicious (hey, Mel Happyhaunt, if you’re out there, Mai Tai recommend the Rainforest Café in DTD?).

I struck up a conversation with the couple at the table next to me. They were there with their two little kids, both of who seemed to think that Rainforest Café is an amusement park. They particularly liked the animatronic gorilla and the simulated thunderstorm/volcano eruption/thingamajig. Lucky Mom and Dad…now they don’t have to take them to AK during hurricane season!

I enjoyed my lunch/dinner a lot…the waiter was as good as the food, and we practiced our flirting skills on each other. The Mai Tai didn’t hurt in that regard. I also made a couple of very amusing cell phone calls.

I wandered around DTD a bit…my credit card company will be dismayed to learn that I only bought two Tinker Bell pins (what can I say, Tink Rocks!) but I had a grand time window shopping.

I especially like all the fancy schmancy princess duds. I wish I had a little girl to dress up like a Disney princess.

I myself am a girly-girl to the extreme and plan to wear a tiara to my birthday dinner at the castle, but all the girls in my life are either too big to dress up or have tastes that run more along the lines of Kim Possible and Lizzie McGuire than Princess Fillintheblank. My niece (Erica…you’ll meet her later) did the whole Mulan thing one year. We got the whole kit and caboodle at the Disney store, and she was SO cute.

Hey! You know what'll be fun? Let’s play the “What Disney princess are you?” game.

I am Belle. Definitely. She’s got serious moxie, plus she gets the Beast.

Yep…I like bad boys.

BTW, there is an online quiz you can take that will tell you what Disney princess you are. (Yes, I sometimes have time on my hands at work.) Just Google “What Disney princess are you”. Bear in mind that it said I’m Pocahontas when its glaringly obvious that I’m Belle, so take it for what its worth.

Now where was I?

Oh yeah…in keeping with the Animal Kingdom theme, I was spending the night at the Sheraton Safari right off Disney property, so I decided to go ahead and check in and have a nap. Lots of walking in the heat coupled with a strong Mai Tai can make a girl drowsy!

The Sheraton Safari is OK. If my room had been as nice as the lobby and the pool area, I’d give it a 10. The room, however, was on the shabby chic side, so I’m giving it an 8.5. Had I paid rack rate, I’d give it a 7.5, but I got it on Priceline for $50. Go me!

It is at this point in our story that I notice a strange stinging sensation on my shoulders. They are warm to the touch; and looking in the mirror, I see that they are also quite red.

Ruh roh, Rorge.

Yep, you guessed it. The Florida Native has gotten herself a sunburn. Geez, my Yankee friends (yes, I have Yankee friends) are gonna get a LOT of mileage out of this. It’s not a bad sunburn, but it IS a sunburn. My face, thank goodness, is OK because the light foundation I put on in the morning has sunscreen in it (can I just say, “I love you, Estee Lauder” and leave it at that?”).

I’m tired, I’m sunburned, and my Mai Tai buzz wore off a long time ago.


Boy, am I tired. Maybe I should ‘splain…I’ve been sick for over a year, and I mean hard-to-get-outta-bed-take-a-lottta-meds-scare-your-mama sick. I’m OK now (Yay!), but my endurance sucks. In fact, the last three times I was at WDW, I had to tool around on an ECV. This was quite a blow to my pride, but if I wanted to be there (and oh boy did I want to be there), then it was gonna have to be on wheels.

I was pretty excited at the thought of walking around AK under my own power, but this one-day jaunt to the House of Mouse has shown me that I’m going to have to do something before October or I’ll either be slowing everybody down or spending afternoons resting at the resort. Or back on an ECV.


That isn’t how I envision my birthday trip, so (Rocky music here) I’m officially in training. Sing it with me, “…gonna flyyyy nowwwwww….”

Right after my nap.

Thanks to my sunburn and aching calves, I woke up feeling cranky and out of sorts. It’s a good thing I was alone because at this point I wasn’t fit company for man or beast (and you know how I love a good beast!).

I uploaded the pictures I’d taken at AK and that made me feel better. It’s hard to be grouchy in the face of Baloo and Louie’s happy, silly grins.

What can I say except I ADORE Baloo!

"I wanna be like you-ooo-ooo!"

I wanted to take more pictures of the characters, especially after I walked and walked and walked and walked to Camp In The Middle Of Nowhere; but I felt strange taking photos of other people’s kids. I suppose I could’ve waited in the line by myself and then had them pose for me.

Darn. I wish I’d thought of that before now. I prolly could’ve gotten some good shots.


I showered then turned on the TV while I puttered around trying to decide whether or not I was going to hit MK for Wishes. You know you’re in Orlando when four of the 12 channels are all Disney all the time. Thankfully, I now know what the top seven not-to-be-missed attractions are at WDW.


Next: The End Before The Beginning

Last edited by SoNotAPrincess; 03-19-2006 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 03-20-2006, 12:48 PM   #9
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Part 5 - The End Before The Beginning

Still with me?

OK…the number one not-to-be-missed attraction in all of WDW is…Expedition Everest!!!

Yeah…I kinda saw that one comin’, too.

Sad to say, but I didn’t make it to MK for Wishes. I was just too pooped to party, which is sad because I love fireworks.

Like Vettechick says, if I could, I’d marry ‘em. I’d be SNAP Fireworks, or more specifically, SNAP Wishes.

Instead, I went out by the pool, sat on a lounger under an umbrella, and watched little kids frolic in the sunset. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t Wishes. It just made me more determined to get in Disney shape by October.

However, since I’m not working out yet, I had a milkshake, double cheeseburger and sour cream and cheddar Ruffles for dinner.

Psych! Not really.

I just had the milkshake and Ruffles.

I watched a little more Disney TV just to make sure the top seven hadn’t changed and then hit the sheets. I don’t usually sleep well in hotels at night. Naps are OK, but at night I kinda sleep with one ear awake. Not this night though. I don’t think I even rolled over until 7 a.m.

My original plan was to go to Epcot on Saturday, and I briefly considered it until my body shouted at me, “What the blue blazes (insert your favorite expletive here) do you think you are doing?!?!?!?”

I hung around the hotel ‘til 11…gotta get my full $50 worth…then headed home.

I would just like to take this opportunity to say that I hate Highway 192. It is taking the State of Florida longer to finish construction on this road than it took to rebuild the entire State of Georgia after the War of Northern Aggression. It is almost a straight shot from my house to WDW down 192. It’s approximately 60 miles, and the way I drive it should take about 45 minutes for me to get there.

I admit it…I’m a speed demon.

The thing is it took FOR HELL AND EVER to get out of Kissimmee on 192. Seriously…for hell and ever. I timed it.

Remember when you were in school and learned that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line? Obviously, they’d never been on 192. It took me almost TWO HOURS to get home. Geez Louise!

For the love of Mickey Mouse, finish building that bleepin' road already!!

OK, rant over.

I have yet to experience a bad day at Disney. I love people watching, and I’m not shy about striking up a conversation with strangers; but I really missed having someone to share the magic with. There were moments when I wanted to be able to squeeze somebody and smile my completely moronic I’m at Disney smile or exchange a look with someone who gets me and share a “Do you see what I see?” moment. Yes, I’d go by myself again (and probably will), but it’s always better with someone special.

I’m VERY excited because the next time I go to WDW will be with Erica, who is the other half of the birthday duo. She lives in Virginia but is coming to Florida for a week. Yes! Now, I wish I could say she was coming just to see good ol’ Aunt Lauri, but she’s not. She’s staying with me, but she’s really coming to see her cousin Izzi (another of the Grand Gatherers). Because I have to work, I’ll only get to be with her for a few hours each evening, but I’m planning to take a day off from work to take her to WDW. Poor deprived child, she’s only been ONCE in her whole life. She’s never even ridden RnR or ToT!!! We’ll be accompanied by Izzi, Lilli, and Dani, so it’s a guaranteed zippity-doo-dah day.

One of the Grand Gatherers is insisting that we stay at a deluxe resort during the Birthday Bash in October. And not just any deluxe resort. THE deluxe resort. Hey, I’m all for it…show me the money, sistah! Being a good BLOG, I sent an email to HSMPG Debbie to get a quote. Now picture me ROTFLMAO. I called Miss Deluxe and assured her that we WILL stay at the GF. As soon as I’m married to Prince Albert of Monaco, we will reside at the GF for a month. Cross my heart and hope to be stuck at Universal in August. It will be suites and Premium APs for everyone! But for now, it is POR for the Grand Gatherers.

And stop messing with my plans or I will be forced to beat you with a wet noodle.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

What a weekend! I drove to South Carolina, which is the halfway point between here and Virginia, to meet my sister and get Erica. There are some Ca-raaaazzzeeee people driving on I-95! Izzi went with me, and I guess it’s been a while since I spent a concentrated amount of time trapped in a car…I mean riding in a car...with a 13 year old.

All I can say is, “Dude!”

That’s all I can say because it’s pretty much all Izzi can say. “Dude” covers any situation and can be used as any part of speech.

For example, I told her I’d **heard** that geographically the entire Magic Kingdom will fit inside the World Showcase Lagoon at Epcot and she responded, “Dude!” (This is completely unverified information. I don’t know if it is a fact or not…I was merely making conversation.)

Nothing else, just “Dude”.

I asked her if she wanted to stop for lunch, and she said, “Sure, Dude.”

I assure you that I am not now, nor have I ever been, a dude.

We almost got run off the road by a semi and she yelled, “DUDE!!!”

To paraphrase Frankie Valli:

“Dude is the word
(Dude is the word, is the word that you heard)
It's got groove.
It's got meaning.
Dude is the time, is the place, is the motion.
Dude is the way we are feeling.”

When we got to the hotel and she and Erica were finished squealing and hugging and jumping around like they’d each been trapped…I mean riding…in a car for six hours, she called Jackson (age 11) a dude, and he said, “I am NOT a hair on an elephant’s butt.”

That’s a real conversation starter.

We finally Googled (doncha just love Google?) the word dude and found out that it is NOT the zoological term for hair that grows on an elephant’s butt.

But wouldn’t it be great if it were??


The next day we returned to Florida, and if you think being in a car for six hours with one 13 year old is fun, you should try doing it with TWO.

Erica: Oh my god! I love this song!
Izzi: Oh my god! Me, too!
Unison: Dude! (with much excitement and accompanied by a squeal of delight)

Izzi: I love Gwen Stephani’s red lipstick.
Erica: She is sooooo cool.
Unison: Dude! (spoken reverently)

Erica: My mom and dad won’t let me dress only in black…like I’m gonna go Goth or something. (shrug)
Izzi: Yeah…I hear that all the time, too. (eye roll)
Unison: Dude. (said in a very sad tone of voice)

Me: Take me to my happy place. Take me to my happy place. Take me to my happy place.

We are going to WDW on Friday, March 24. I am very glad that there will be another adult along for the adventure. I'll be back to fill you in as the saga continues....

Until then...

Peace out, dude.
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Old 03-20-2006, 03:57 PM   #10
Lil' Grumpy
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here' go nuthing....i am going to tell you what i think even though it will
make others mad...i'm new around these parts but already been labeled an
outlaw. [warning]. however, since i already commented before i like to
say your report was even better than anticiapted! so !!!
but before i add more than anyone cares....i like to go on record that t.r.
including family history are my favorites. i also like looking at the pictures.
[ i wish i could add mine]. together they really helped the story lines to
developed on what the writer is feeling. hoping that commenting dosen't ruin your report/ but i really enjoyed it...your eye [brown or blues/ ha] for
little details made my laughed..hard!. is that ok to say? anyway you'll make
a great tour guide. f.y.i, my "hspmpg" is my wife. if my family had to rely on
me, we would never make it under the mickey's arch...or be sleeping on
the dtd sidewalks. [ hmmp that's sound like a pretty good senior dare].ok..i
confess that's wishful thinking..i hate being in the "youth is wasted on the
wrong people" group but iam. goodness me, my wife even "selling" mary kay
junk. my only saving grace is remembering ...when i thought 30 was ancient.
may i ask are you wearing the 29 forever button... my wife does. speaking
of,,, i told her all the trouble i 've gotten into on this disney board. she asked
if i told everyone what i "think"...i said of course...and she replied..."you
think?" yep, that's my wife, the comendian. anyways, what happened to your
family @ ak..you ditched them and was roaming [get it?...i "crack" myself up too.] by youself? wasn't you scare? to us, ak is awful close being our #1 park...it has the best "eats". and believe me, my boys measure food quality
by quantity. we were in por for a family reunion 99. i really like taking early
morning walks near the water way. let's see if i pick this up correctly..your
not so like a princess...but a big tremaine ladt fan? also you modeled yourself after ms. crudella babe? [i don't give a hoot what others may say, the
"ladies" i saw "playing" crudella got my attention..in the most delightful ways.]
then you ask your readers to trust you?..well ok then, iam game. here's
a secret ...[travel channel fame].. i am sorta a "wild" and "crazy" guy...oops
forgot to mentioned before i am [shucks]married. sorry, so sorry, just so you know,my wife is a "little peahen~beautiful feathers & all...the functioning ways. howver, the good news is...on the cruises they're doing a new show
called twice charmed and maybe someone can pick up a tramine lady pin?
[we're going in sept]...of course you probably don't any association to a
disney banadit.... the show was really grreat...her's a secret from our trip:
my baby is an accomplished irish dancer & got to meet some of the actresses
...and let metell you lady T IMPRSEED me the most. her's another secret..she
was kind in person. [please don't tell no one, idon't want have to move].
and here a secret..from our family vault..[last oct. trip]. we also met some
of the trazan's gang...and they're really put on a private show!!! we are so
going to miss them! snif..teardrops..to me disney is about people..and we
always treasured the times we get to meet people like yourself. [that's
for real!!]. and i am glad there are villians' fans...cause isn't there a little
villian in all of us? remeber '89 ghostbuster movie? well i 've always wonder
what the evil queen has under her robe. . [ cracking myself up again ].
her's a secret... [driving u nuts yet?]...my baby, is ariel. howver, she
loves tinkerbell////i sure wish i could show you a pic...once she was on
our steps waiting to go to bed. i was waiting too ...on purpose to take her
pic...and i knew if ikept waiting would make her mad and she would give
me lil miss attitude...let's say she didn't disappoint. darn it anyway! the
problem with tinkerbell, she is determine to collect every one of her pin. so
we got to stay away from those darn pinstores..which are popping up everywhere. so if you ever see a frustrated dad with ariel than you know
it's us. ok ,2 more items & i 'll leave you alone..promise. first, does cind's
castle has a dungeon? if so i hope my wife never discover this..for personal
reasons. [ i'm not for..sure but i think others already label me a troll..well
i admitt it, i can be a lil' grumpy. any way if no one looking please say
hello....i won't bite...promise on my favorite Wlt d. pin. finally, i got to
comment on your game of "what princess are you?"..there's a really neat
version of it over @ mgm [where they did the chicken little greetings].
and if you asked what "charcter" was i ...well talk to the hand.

* ok. maybe i am a bandit/outlaw type but here's one final secret...while i
make pretty good money, know a few famous people, traveled around the
world, overcame one or two major obstacles, and had every dream came
true..yada,yada....know this-whenever i talked to you about my family
is the higest form of flattery i can bestow...after all, they are#1 in my
life. contary to anything else! all i did was to compare your trip with ours.
maybe we'll see you there?! again, thanks for sharing your story.
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Old 03-20-2006, 04:11 PM   #11
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To Lil' Grumpy...

Thanks so much for making it all the way through my report! And if you are a bandit, that's OK with me...I like bad boys!

The day I went to AK by myself, I was supposed to go with my friend and her girls, but they had something else to do, so I just decided to go by myself. It was fun walking around at my own speed and people watching, but for me the biggest part of the Disney magic is sharing it with people you love, so I did get a little lonesome.

Tell your Ariel that I collect Tink pins, too. My cousin's daughters got me into collecting, and I'm such a Tink fan that it just came naturally. I have a lanyard that is ONLY for Tink and NEVER gets traded from.

I do like the Disney villains...after all, there'd be no story without them. I think I can get my Lady Tremaine pin off Ebay...now I'm looking for Gaston from Beauty and the Beast. (After all, I AM Belle!)

Thanks again...and you may be a Lil' Grumpy, but I think you're a Lil' Charming, too!
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:49 PM   #12
Lil' Grumpy
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so sorry about reading my report...iam still trying to get the mechanics
down and been bouncing all over the place. [cruise boards and the others].
i've junked some of trip reporting because the pretext received some
harsh reactions... so that telling me to leave it out. sometimes,it seem
like a control measure. i don't get the disney connection when they're
making fun of people. it's hard not to be defensive and then you lose your
insights. heck,i'm getting old so it doesn't take much for me to forget.
anyway,i glad you enjoyed my observations but your content deserved
all the credit. most of all, it was full of happiness. and it is self evident
that your daughter is very lucky to have such a caring mother.
p.s...i know i shouldn't lecture people but its hard not to when they
seem confused.
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Old 03-21-2006, 03:00 PM   #13
In the Name of Epcot
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I loved your little trip report! your writing style is great, very funny. i also love that you include pictures!!! have fun planning your trip, i can't wait for the full report when you get back in october!!
Nov '09: SS Aug '08: WL/BC May '06: POFQ March '05: CSR July '04: POR/Wonder cruise Fall 2002: College Program at Vista Way! (EPCOT) Nov '93, July '00, Nov '06: DL offsite July '88, July '90, April '97, July '06, March '09: WDW offsite

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Old 03-21-2006, 07:20 PM   #14
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Having googled the princess thing (have you any idea how many sites have that quiz in one form or another?), I found I'm Ariel, Belle and Cinderella. That's just weird. Anyways, loving your story and looking forward to the GG report.
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Old 03-21-2006, 08:23 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by zachnlucy
Having googled the princess thing (have you any idea how many sites have that quiz in one form or another?), I found I'm Ariel, Belle and Cinderella. That's just weird. Anyways, loving your story and looking forward to the GG report.
I am SO tempted to do the Princess Quiz thing. I'm scared though.

The last time I did something like that it was a Bio-rhythm quiz which claimed to be able to tell you your perfect "celebrity mate". I ended up being the "perfect" match for both Alex Baldwin... and Mr. T.

I'm also really enjoying your report and your pictures...like I told you previously. The GG Report should be a hoot! I think. Mel.
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