|10-10-2007, 05:30 PM||#1|
Join Date: Feb 2001
Mom And Two Teens At The World
Me (Mom) trip #10
DD13 trip #8
DS16 trip #8
Dates of trip Tuesday 10/2 – Sunday 10/7
We have a timeshare in Orlando so we usually stay off-site and only do day-trips to WDW.
Onsite stays have been at Beach Club (twice). Poly (one night) and POFQ.
Pretrip This is a Mom and Kids only trip, Dad is just not big on Disney and was fine with us going on our own. I enjoy the planning and organizing almost more than a trip itself. My goal was to have fun with my kids before my oldest is busy with senior year and then off to college, secondary goal was to keep this trip economical. I have obsessively and compulsively inhaled and digested WDW information until I couldn't absorb any more. I designed and laminated my own daily guide (customized to fit inside my purse/backpack), I have copied, shrunk, cut and pasted and laminated every touring plan I could find. I have a packing list with details beyond the comprehension of ordinary people. My husband had reached the Disney Saturation Point and had forbidden me to speak of any more WDW trivia, facts, tips, tricks or news. The kids and I met in secret and did our planning by whispers, or by e-mail
Day 1 - TUESDAY….GOING, GOING, GONE!
I picked up the kids from school mid morning and headed for the airport. As I was listening to DD fret because she forgot to pack her hair straightening iron and would have bad hair days I blew right past my interstate exit and had to turn around and go back. I told her with the humidity it wouldn’t matter, we would all have bad hair days every day, but that didn’t help. So I promised her that IF we found an inexpensive hair iron somewhere I would be happy to buy it for her. That made her happy. (The only places we were going to be were airports and Disneyworld and there would be no cheap anything at those locations so I knew I wouldn’t have to buy her one. Problem solved.)
We were flying out of a very small airport with free parking (Bloomington, IL). Zipped through security and was questioned only about having a radio in my carry-on. I stopped to think about whether or not I packed one so could answer honestly. Finally realized we don’t even own a travel radio so I honestly answered NO. Not sure what they were seeing that looked like a radio. I know for sure it wasn’t a hair straightener.
Our plane left 10 minutes early, the lady behind us had some serious non-stop coughing issues the entire flight and I hoped we weren’t breathing any kind of toxic germs. Due to thunderstorms we were re-routed down to the Tampa area and circled back to approach Orlando from that direction. We still landed on time at MCO. DD’s ears gave her fits until they finally popped after we had been on the ground a while. We landed on dry pavement and by the time we taxied to the terminal it was pouring rain.
This visit we were trying Disney’s Magical Express bus which would take us directly from the airport to our Disney resort. We checked our bags back in Bloomington (with their yellow ME tags and also cute little purple and lime green polka dot ribbons, just for easy identification). I hoped that our suitcases weren’t going on a Magical Journey of their own to someplace else. Bypassing the luggage claim area was wonderful and we got to the ground floor and encountered the line of folks holding up names for people they were to meet or chauffer. We said too bad we didn’t have anyone holding up a sign for us, then bingo – there was a cast member holding up a big Disney’s Magical Express sign, just for us We reported to the desk, were waved on and told to have a magical day, then followed the person wearing the big old Mickey Mouse glove, went straight outside and got on our bus to the Pop Century. We just had to listen to the Disney t.v.’s on the bus ride telling us about Dreams-Come-True-Live-Happily-Ever-After-Stay-on-Property-Buy-Tickets-Spend-More-Money commercials all the way there.
Check in was smooth. I had a AAA discount for a standard room but I politely asked the Cast Member to please check and see if a 1st floor room close to the main hall was available and on the third try, by golly one was! So persistence paid off, and we ended up with a room in the first building (this would be the 60’s Playdoh building) with a beautiful view of a lake and landscaping. I think our room was 4157. DS and I were digging the music… all retro like the Beatles, Monkees, Creedence, etc. It was flashback time for me. We bought 3 refillable mugs (and with food court drinks costing $3.49 each, we more than got our money’s worth out of them), the kids hit the arcade and I went to pick up a refrigerator and coffee pot from bell services. Both of these items I was able to enjoy as part of a “swap” on the Disney boards. They could not find my refrigerator so they took me back to the storage area and there stacked on a top shelf was the refrigerator that I recognized from a picture on the swap boards. It had alien green Mickey heads all over it. The label was on top. If you were 11 feet tall you could see the label. Therein lies the problem.
We plugged in the refrigerator and didn’t really have anything to unpack, considering our luggage was still on it’s own Magical Journey, so we grabbed a bus and headed to Downtown Disney. I got a 2007 red guest of honor pin engraved with my name on it and DS bought some Ghirardelli chocolates. The guest of honor pin was a great idea, I had people greeting me by name all week, and two cast members stopped me and asked me where I got it (Christmas Store, DTD, $6, free engraving). We hopped on our bus and went back to the Pop Century. Our luggage had found us! We filled our refillable mugs and the kids hit the arcade while I unpacked. I packed 12 water bottles and 10 packages of mini muffins in my checked luggage, wrapped in air-puffed plastic packing material. The kids thought I was nuts but my method worked perfectly. They watched a DVD for a while then we crashed at 12:30. The room did not seem too small for us, I kept everything organized and did my moving around while they were at the arcade or situated watching the DVD. I decided the ironing board would make a really nice extended counter for all of our sink type stuff. That was the best idea ever. Kept our sink clear and all our stuff was handy. On the Disboards I also had come across the method of bypassing the temperature control in the room. I never had to use it, but I knew how just in case!
Day 2 - WEDNESDAY AND THE KINGDOMS
For whatever bizarre reason, even with the time change, I managed to wake up at 4:00 AM. Finally got my two teens up and moving and at the Magic Kingdom by 8. Well By George what a surprise, even the uber-planner that I was, I mis-read the park opening time and we were an hour early. I had two really irate teenagers for a minute there. Then we suddenly found ourselves in the park and enjoying Fantasyland which somehow, magically, was open before the rest of the park. Everything was a walk-on; Peter Pan, It’s a Small World (and that was DS’s idea, honest), Mickey’s Philharmagic (had to drag them in there, but they liked it), Pooh, Snow White and then a 5 minute wait at Space Mountain. Next was Buzz Lightyear, 3 times in a row. On the second trip through DS MAXED OUT the points, meaning he got over a million!! I had come across the secret method of getting a high score. I found it posted on the Disney boards. There are 100,000 point targets on the palm of the orange robot’s left hand in the Robot Attack scene, and another on the bottom Z of the spaceship in Zurg’s Secret Weapon. The other trick is to hold the trigger down the entire time. Worked swell for DS; DD and I just have bad aim I guess.
Off to Toontown. Rode the Barnstormer and had some pictures taken with Mickey. I think it was Mickey, it was all such a blur… Then we hopped on the train for a ride over to Splash Mountain. Now this was DD’s goal, to ride Splash Mountain and prove it with a picture. I have done this attraction once, did not like it because I hate drops, but agreed to do it again. We got in and barely had started when I was absolutely drenched with a water cannon or something that must have been targeted on just me. No one got blasted like I did. I was soaked to the skin, literally. My hair was dripping and my eye makeup had washed down to my cheeks. We got the picture though. I was a vision of loveliness, believe me.
DS had just hit a growth spurt or something before we left because he suddenly had to inhale large meals every few hours and by now it was time for his feeding. We stopped at Pecos Bills where the kids got food and I waited in line for a good 20 minutes trying to get a receipt because the self-ordering machine broke. I couldn’t just leave it and go on; I was picturing getting our American Express bill in a month or so and trying to explain to my husband why there were thousands of dollars of Pecos Bill meals on our credit card on that day. I just needed to make sure that my transaction was finalized and I wouldn’t be picking up the tab for all the people ordering after me the rest of the day. The manager finally had to generate it manually.
I got my Dole pineapple whip (my reward for waiting all that time for the Pecos Bill’s receipt). Saw the Haunted Mansion, then used FASTPASSES for the Jungle Cruise and our guide looked and talked just like my husband’s boss, that was kind of weird. The Kids did Pirates of the Caribbean while I sat through the Enchanted Tiki Birds (not so enchanting these days…needs a rehab). As I was exiting I got in line behind this man wearing a skirt. A very nice skirt. Knee-length, pleated, some kind of linen material. Was it a skirt? I got closer and yes, it was. Was it a man? I got closer (but not too close) and yes, it was. He looked…comfortable, yet rugged. Then I saw the Hall of Presidents, which I found very moving and patriotic and I teared up a bit.
The Kids were at Pirates of the Caribbean or Space Mountain or something and I went to some Main Street shops and found the Dapper Dans barbershop quartet singing. I love barbershop quartets. They make me tear up.
We headed out of the Magic Kingdom and over to Animal Kingdom by monorail and bus around 2:30. As we were coming in, a family exiting handed us 2 FASTPASSES for Expedition Everest to use later. We LOVED the Finding Nemo Musical, even though I had to drag DS in there. The show is very well done. Immediately afterwards the kids took off to use the FASTPASSES for Expedition Everest. We met up at the Rainforest Café where we had a 4:45 ressie. Had very slow service but a great meal and then a Volcano dessert afterwards (big fudge brownies, ice cream and caramel sauce, with lit sparklers on top and they bring it out to you yelling VOLCANO!!!). Very fun. DD went to use the restroom. DS went to use the restroom. DS comes back, I go to use the restroom. DD returns and asks where is her dessert? Bill has been paid. The table has been cleared. She wasn’t done yet. Oops.
This was an extra magic hours park so we had more time there. We all did Everest. The theming in the waiting area is very cool. All the way to the front of the line both kids kept saying the drop was no big deal. Well they just flat out lied. It was a big deal. I couldn’t have cared less about the dumb Yeti, I was still stunned from that stupid drop. They know I hate drops. I have to be prepared for those things. We tried to go on the Safari but were turned away because the animals were going to bed, or coming in for the night or something like that. We did Primevil Whirl – the one that whips you all over the place while going down drops at the same time. Not my cup of tea. Then Dinosaur. While the kids did Everest again (actually FOUR more times) I went to It’s Tough to be a Bug. In the dark, with no lines whatsoever, I am winding through what seems like miles of rope not at all sure if I was even in the right place. I am wandering all over the base of the Tree of Life in the dark and seeing NO ONE; cast member, park guest, nobody. It was very scary. Eventually I found it and there were just a handful of us at the show. For the first time ever I did not have to share a seat and I could experience ALL the special effects. Time to head back to the resort by bus. Back at the resort we filled our refillable mugs and DD did some swimming to fulfill her requirement for missing PE. DS hit the arcade again. Got to bed around 11:30
Day 3 - TYPHOON LAGOON THURSDAY
We didn’t have to get up quite so early today, I let the kids sleep in until 8:15 or so Took the bus to Typhoon Lagoon, waited for the rope drop and then I claimed a lovely spot overlooking the wave pool with lots of shade. It felt just like Gilligan’s Island, only with a lot more people. Back at the resort I had bought a little plastic water resistant container to wear around my neck for room key, credit card and some cash. That’s all that fit. Since my swim suit has kind of a high neck I just stuck it down my front when I went on the slides. Worked great. I spent a perfectly restful couple of hours reading and even had a little nap before joining the kids in the lazy river and most of the other slides and wave pool. I hate wave pools. DS did the snorkeling thing where you swim across a chilly (68 degrees) pool of fish and sharks. DD and I watched him (let him go first and check out shark attacks and how cold the water really is etc.) then later we mustered up our courage and tried it. When you hit that cold water it really does take your breath away! But we both mastered the snorkeling thing and I was especially pleased with myself that I got the hang of it. It was a neat experience. Had a small, but expensive, lunch. Then more slides. It rained but it didn’t matter because we were already wet. We moved our stuff to a shelter and just kept on going. At the bottom of each slide the photographer would throw us a mini photopass card on a wristband. On the way out I had all of them merged on to my regular photopass card. Then they gave me an empty wristband one to use at the parks and told me to have the pictures moved to my regular photopass card at the end of each day. That worked out great. On our way out someone from our home town spotted DS’s college team shirt and we struck up a conversation. Had dinner at the Pop food court, the kids hit the arcade and I did laundry. I used these cool little laundry pellets called Dropps. I found them at our Bed, Bath and Beyond. Another lady doing laundry at the same time was just so impressed that I had them. Got to bed around 11:00.
Day-4 FRIDAY - UMBRELLA OR PONCHOS??
We mobilized and got to Epcot in the rain then stopped before we went in to call Dad and get an up-to-date weather report. He said it would clear, then we would have more thundershowers later off and on. We decided to go for it. I had an umbrella and ponchos. The rain stopped soon after we got inside the gate. (Thanks Dad!!) We did Soarin’ first, then Mission Space, then we dragged DS to see Figment in the Imagination Pavillion. Walked up to Test Track, first ones in the FASTPASS line, just as the Cast Members were on their walkie-talkies getting instructions to shut down due to incoming weather. Darn. So we did Soarin’ again, then sampled the international Coca Cola products at Club Cool (except the one called Beverly, because we knew better), and spent some time at Innoventions. DS decided to pass on the chance to ride a Segway. Ate at the Electric Umbrella, along with a WHOLE bunch of other people who were coming in out of the rain.
Time for Mom to go to the World Showcase ALONE. I had been looking forward to this part; going through at my own pace without anyone hurrying me along. Went to Mexico and saw the re-vamped Three Cabelleros. It’s bad. The kids caught up with me and we rode the Maelstrom in Norway. I love the little travelogue afterwards and always want to visit Norway after I see it. The kids left for more excitement. Then on the recommendation of something I read in the Disney boards, I wanted to try something called School Bread at the Norweigan Bakery. It appeared to be a small round loaf of bread covered with coconut and what looked like a pat of butter on top. Couldn’t understand what was so special about it but I gave it a try. Oh my goodness!! The pat of butter on top was actually custard. The whole thing was filled with a wonderful light custard and I ate every bit of it!! Definitely a winner.
Saw the young acrobats performing in China, and also watched the movie, “Reflections of China”. Made me want to go to China. Went to Germany, then Italy, then I tried a cabbage role stuffed with sausage at the Poland kiosk. At the American Adventure I was lucky enough to be able to hear the singers, then see the show and the new National Treasures exhibit. The show made me cry; patriotic and moving as always.
Then the kids found me… I mean I met up with the kids then. We were at Japan by then, and they ate at their beloved Yakitori House. DS ordered TWO meals. This kid was killing my food budget. I went through the Japanese department store then on to Morocco and had some baklava. We went to France and watched the movie which we all enjoyed and now I want to go to France. DS picked up on some background music he liked but we weren’t sure which French composer it was. I could only come up with Debussy. Dodged rain through the United Kingdom, then went on to Canada and saw the new “O’Canada” film redone with Martin Short. It was great and now we want to go to Canada. I bought a new Off Kilter cd; they didn’t seem to be performing that day for some reason.
Decided we were tired of dodging the rain, just tired in general, and wouldn’t stay for Illuminations. Got a bus back to the resort and had some chips and drinks. I did a little packing and got my Mickey Mouse ice cream bar. Love those refillable mugs!!
Day 5 - HOW MANY PARKS IN ONE DAY?
It was early entry morning at MGM on Saturday so we did our best to get there by opening. Just really hard to get two teenagers up and moving… we were there shortly after 8. The Kids went directly to Rock N Roller Coaster. I just wasn’t up to being jettisoned forward at rocket speed quite that early in the morning so I waited for them. While they went on it again I did the Great Movie Ride and then saw One Man’s Dream, all about Walt Disney. The whole thing made me cry. The kids met up with me and I gave DD my phone so she could watch the High School Musical thing while DS and I did the Narnia movie set walking tour. Then we all did the Backlot Tour. Had lunch at the Backlot Express and then did Star Tours, Indiana Jones and Lights, Motor, Actions which we all really enjoyed.
Then we went back to Animal Kingdom. I still wanted to do Kilamanjaro Safari and we had a bit of a wait but not too bad. We all enjoyed it. Then we walked back on the exploration trail and got to see the gorillas getting a snack. Very cool.
We hopped over to Magic Kingdom which became uncomfortably crowded as the day progressed. We rode Tomorrowland Transit Authority, one of our favorites, but did not do Carousel of Progress because it didn’t seem right going on it without Dad. This is a family favorite, sort of a tradition. The kids did Buzz Lightyear, then Space Mountain. DD and I went through the Swiss Family Treehouse and decided to skip Pirates of the Caribbean because the lines were too long. We ate supper at Cosmic Rays on the other side of the park. I staked out seats for the fireworks very early, at Noodle Terrace as usual. DD noticed that there is a section behind us that is always roped off for the fireworks. She is convinced that if you were to sneak over there and watch, you might get to see Tinkerbell coming in for a landing close-up. I’ll let someone else check out that theory! After the fireworks we attempted to go use our Space Mountain FASTPASSES early but that didn’t work so we gave ours to a family waiting in line. Everywhere we turned it was a sea of people so we decided to head back to the resort. I was hoping for an early bedtime, but that sure didn’t happen. I think we all settled in around 12:30.
Day 6 - THE PARTY’S OVER – HOMEWARD BOUND
After a ridiculously brief sleep my alarm went off at 3:55AM. I showered and finished packing up all our bags and made sure the refrigerator and coffee maker were properly labeled. I woke the kids shortly before 5 to start getting up and getting ready while I took the luggage cart to bell services and the airline check-in. I dropped off the refrigerator and coffee maker, and then checked the bags and got our Magical Express tickets and boarding passes. Ran back to the room praying that the kids hadn’t crawled back into their beds and were deep in slumberland but I found them both up and eating cinnamon rolls and chocolate croissants that we had picked up at the Main Street Bakery the night before. The only glitch here was either DS in his sleepy stupor, or me in my sleepy stupor, put a full water bottle in his back pack. (Airport security would find it later.) Our Magical Express bus left for the airport at exactly 6:15 and we pulled up in front of the AirTran terminal at exactly 6:45. Pretty magical!!
Then the not-so-magical part happened. We got through security o.k. (except for the water bottle incident in DS’s backpack which I apologized for profusely). We got our stuff gathered up and were just about to the tram when all of a sudden behind us we could hear a warning being shouted by first one then several than ALL of the security people. It was just one word, couldn’t make it out but it was something like CODE!! shouted over and over up and down the line. We wondered what was up but continued on, got on the tram and the doors were closed. Actually we were sealed. We couldn’t hear what was going on, but we could see that everything had come to a stop. Security people were running up and down both sides of our tram looking for something. All the hundreds of people in line at security were standing still. All eyes were on us, the group sealed in the tram. DS had already struck up a conversation with an older gentleman and they were chatting away about football or basketball or something. There was a man who had sprawled out across the bench at the end of the tram as soon as he got in there. I thought that was odd so I immediately labeled him as the Potential Terrorist. But when the security group finally approached our tram it was the twin baby boys in a stroller that had their full attention. The doors were opened and the head security lady’s eyes never left that stroller. She pointed to the stroller and said I need you to come with me NOW. She still didn’t make eye contact anywhere but that stroller. We said, “All of us?” and she said “YES, NOW!” So they brought us out single file, between rows of security guards. They had cleared one line of people and instructed us to go through that line all over again, which we did. Now there are hundreds of people staring at us in dead silence. They escorted the young couple with the stroller through first and at once the ALL CLEAR code got shouted up and down the line and everything started moving again. As we went through the line I asked what had happened and a security guy rolled his eyes in disgust and glanced over at the stroller people and explained that they were not familiar with the procedures. So they must have had something with them that was a big no-no. I thought it was odd that the alarm that was set off was verbal, not automated. And I can’t help but wonder why someone didn’t shout earlier, before we all got into the tram. Anyway, it was very interesting to see Homeland Security in action.
The flight home was normal. Our luggage arrived, that is always such a nice feeling. We left the airport and drove back into Bloomington searching for food (DS’s feeding time again). Then on the way home our low oil pressure light started flashing. DS is reading from the manual and as he reads it sounds more and more serious so we pull off and check the oil. Only I couldn’t FIND any oil on the dipstick after several tries and even letting the car sit for a while. So we added oil and limped on home. Felt very good to be back home except I was slightly disoriented from lack of sleep and we had folks over to watch the Packers/Bears game. The Packers lost and I fell asleep on the couch before the last two people left! Overall our trip was great and I saved bunches of time and money through Disboards tips!!
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