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Old 04-29-2008, 01:14 PM   #1
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Fred, Wilma and Family do Disney - Day 1

Fred, Wilma and Family Day 1 – There’s Magic in that there Kingdom

Friday 11th April

There are two things that are guaranteed on every visit to Disney World. One is that I am likely to be the first one up. Two is that I am likely to be up very, very early. This first morning was no different. Despite the fact that we didn’t get to bed until 1 am, I was awake at 4:30 and just could not get back to sleep. Seeing as everyone else was still sleeping, I grabbed my book and a pillow and took up residence in the bathroom until a more decent hour.

This is probably as good a time as any to tell you my first impressions of the Wilderness Lodge and the villas. We had visited the Lodge for lunch at Whispering Canyon Café back in August. Even then, I was in awe at its sheer size and magnificence. I must have stood in the lobby area for at least 10 minutes, eyes raised to the ceiling and mouth agape, just trying to take in the detail. I knew right there and then that I wanted to stay here. When I switched our Saratoga Springs reservations at 7 months and was able to secure 8 nights at Villas at Wilderness Lodge, I was beside myself with excitement and couldn’t wait to go back. Suffice to say, when we entered the lobby the previous night (well, early hours of the morning), that same feeling returned and yet again I adopted the head back, mouth open pose that would become the norm for the next few days. I think it’s safe to say, judging by the expressions on their faces, that Chuck and Reeny were also suitably impressed. I felt completely elated to be here and didn’t think that feeling could possibly be surpassed. It was, however, but I’ll save that for later in the trippy. We had been allocated room 2535, which was on the 2nd floor, just off the main lobby of the villas, close to the lifts and almost with a pool view (if you leaned right out over the balcony to the left and craned your neck). Having only stayed in a studio before, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the 2-bedroom. It was much bigger and nicer than I’d imagined, though, and I was very pleased. I was extremely happy with the location too and would recommend that particular room to anyone. More to come on my thoughts of the Lodge and villas over the next few days – and a couple more pictures here for you to appreciate its beauty.

Anyway, back in our room, it was 6:30 and I had sneakily booked a wake-up call due to the fact that it was Rea’s Birthday and we had a date with a honey-loving bear and some close friends of his. Yes, this morning we were off to the Magic Kingdom to have breakfast at Crystal Palace. Around me the others were surfacing, albeit without the Disney spirit I was expecting. I tried to crack a couple of jokes and lighten the mood but it didn’t work so I settled for just informing everyone that they were to be ready no later than 7:30 and left them to their grumbling. That seemed to do the trick and, within minutes, there was much flushing of toilets, brushing of teeth and running of showers. We made the 7:30 deadline with seconds to spare and, after the last minute checks for suncream, glasses, tickets, money etc. we were out of the room and down to the lobby. As we exited the villas building, I spotted a bus pulling up at the stop and noticed it was going to Magic Kingdom so we all ran (well, jogged) over to get on it. After a short bus ride, we arrived at the Magic Kingdom. Our family doesn’t have a first-day tradition as such and the decision to visit Magic Kingdom on our first day had been made by Rea as that was where she wanted to spend her Birthday. I have to say that I was excited that this was to be our first park on this trip and pleased that Magic Kingdom would be the first park that Chuck, Reeny and Daniel would experience. As we passed through bag check and the turnstiles, my feeling of excitement grew and I could see that Daniel was looking a bit overwhelmed. As we walked into the Magic Kingdom and to the top of Main Street, I turned to him, wanting to see his face when he got his first glimpse of the Castle in real life. It was just as I’d imagined – his whole face lit up and he looked completely beside himself with excitement. We pretty much skipped down Main Street and went to check in for our breakfast reservation. It was at this point that I started to get a little bit concerned. Prior to this trip, Daniel’s only experience with ‘characters’ was when Pudsey Bear visited his nursery (he screamed and cried) and with Brewster Bear at a local Brewster’s restaurant (he ran away). So it wasn’t looking positive for the interaction with Pooh and friends. I was fully prepared for him to be disinterested (at best) and downright scared (at worst) but Gary and I had agreed that we wouldn’t make a big fuss about it and would just leave him to decide how he would handle it.

After a few pictures outside, our name was called and we went in to Crystal Palace. We were seated on the right-hand side of the restaurant and the table was decorated with streamers and Mickey confetti – it was lovely.

Our server explained how the buffet and the character interaction worked. I managed to stay patient for the benefit of Chuck and Reeny, who obviously hadn’t been before, but inside I was screaming ‘Shut up already and let me at that french toast’.

Pooh was on his way around the tables and our server pointed out that we probably had enough time to pay a visit to the buffet before he reached us. So off we went. I won’t bother listing what we all had but I think we got our money’s worth, with the exception of Daniel who didn’t seem to have much of an appetite. Apart from nibbling at a biscuit and stealing a couple of grapes off my plate, he didn’t eat much else. He was far too busy staring at Pooh, who was slowly making his way to where we were sitting. I tried to judge how he was going to react but his face was giving nothing away. Soon enough, Pooh had arrived and the moment of truth was here…

I think it’s fair to say that Daniel quite liked him.

And Piglet…

And Eeyore…

And, of course, Tigger.

And even Chuck wanted in on the action.

This really made me laugh. Was this really the same guy who had been joking for weeks before about how he wasn’t going to be getting excited about an overgrown rodent and some fluffy cartoon characters?

Several times during breakfast, the characters and all the children take part in a parade around the restaurant and everyone waves their napkins. Daniel dragged Sian and Rea up to parade with him and, while they were away from the table, our server brought over a Birthday cupcake and card for Rea. The card was signed by all the characters. This was a lovely and very unexpected surprise and Rea was chuffed to bits.

We paid the check ($155 including tip) and left Crystal Palace, heading to Adventureland. As soon as Daniel spotted Aladdin’s Flying Carpets, he wanted to go on. There was hardly any line so on we went – me, Gary, Sian, Rea and Daniel. Chuck and Reeny decided to sit it out.

From there, we went on Jungle Cruise, where we had a really good guide. She was very funny. Daniel didn’t like this much – not quite sure why.

Over in Frontierland, we reached Splash Mountain. Daniel had done nothing but talk about how he couldn’t wait to ride it yet, when we got there and he saw it for real, he wasn’t quite so brave. Having decided not to try and persuade him, we headed for Big Thunder Mountain where we got fast passes for 5 of us. Again, Chuck and Reeny weren’t keen. As we were walking over towards Liberty Square, we noticed that there was a raft just about to leave for Tom Sawyer’s Island. As we’ve never seen it, we decided to go over and investigate. On the way over, the CM explained that the decorators had left 5 paintbrushes behind and asked the kids to see if they could find them. We got off the raft and went off to explore – I hadn’t realized quite how big it was, there were loads of little pathways that led off in different directions and it would be very easy to get lost. There was a lovely little area with a checkers board and some rocking chairs so we sat down for a little rest – well, the in-laws did anyway.

After that, we found a paintbrush and Daniel spent the next few minutes trying to ‘paint’ everything (and everyone) in sight.

At one point, Rea, Chuck and I went into a little cave to explore and came out in a completely different part of the island. There was no sign of the others so we spent the next few minutes trying to find them. Eventually, we all met up again and got the raft back over to the other side where Daniel was given a Magical Moment certificate which gave our party priority entrance at either Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain.

Back at Thunder Mountain, we used our fast passes while Chuck and Reeny went to get a drink and we agreed to meet up and ride Haunted Mansion. I’m not sure what changes they made during the refurb but I did notice things I’ve never seen before so I don’t know if they were always there or whether they’re new. After Haunted Mansion, it was off to something far more scary – It’s a Small World. Daniel announced this was now his favourite ride – oh dear God!!! Next it was Philharmagic, which was fantastic as always. We wandered on through Fantasyland and Daniel and Rea had a go at trying to pull the sword from the stone with absolutely no success – wimps!

Daniel wanted to go on the teacups so Reeny and Sian went on with him while Gary and Chuck got a drink and Rea and I went in to Tomorrowland to get fast passes for Buzz.

Somewhere along the line (can’t really remember when) we we spotted Lady Tremaine and the Ugly Sisters round the back of the castle so we had to go and say ‘Hi’. Daniel told them he didn’t think they were that ugly at all, which made their day I think.

In Tomorrowland we rode the TTA while waiting for our fast pass time to open up. I really love the TTA, it’s so relaxing and the Mr Tom Morrow thing cracks me up every time. On to Buzz, where I picked up some great tips from a CM and got my highest ever score – 485, 000 (Gary reckons it was a fluke!) There was just time for a quick visit to the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor before it was time to head back to chill out for a while before our ADR at Planet Hollywood.

I have to say now that I put Planet Hollywood in the same category as Hard Rock Café – some people love it, we didn’t especially. It took ages for us to be seated – although we had booked for 7 people and confirmed there were 7 when we checked in, it seemed to take them completely by surprise when we finally got up to the 3rd floor and we had to wait for them to rearrange a couple of tables. We ended up squashed around a table that was probably only meant for 6, with another rather large party almost on top of us, making it hard for anyone to get into or out of their seats. The food was pretty good, however. Reeny ordered a chicken Caesar salad with no cheese, Chuck had the cheeseburger, I opted for steak, Rea chose ribs and Gary had chicken. Sian got the club sandwich and Daniel went for pizza. Unfortunately, Reeny’s salad came out with cheese on it so they had to take it back, then it came out without chicken so back it went again.

Eventually, we all had our orders and, like I said, the food was pretty good. My steak was delicious and cooked perfectly. Rea said the ribs were overcooked – all the bones were splintering and breaking, which meant she kept getting little pieces of bone with each bite – not ideal.

Rea, Sian, Daniel and I were the only ones who wanted dessert so we shared the brownie sundae which was yummy but very sickly (sorry, no picture).

After we’d finished eating, Daniel seemed to get his second wind (he’d been hanging up until now) and decided to give everyone in the restaurant an impromptu dance recital. Aerosmith was playing and he started doing the weirdest dance I’ve ever seen right in the middle of the restaurant – it was hilarious. He got a round of applause when he finally sat down again! After we’d paid the check ($170 inc tip), we left and headed straight back to the room to chill out a little bit before bed. Reeny made sure we stopped in to Roaring Fork for milk so she could make a cup of tea in the morning! I informed the troops that they could have a lie in the next day as Gary and I were scheduled to do the Back Trail Wilderness Adventure Segway Tour in the morning.

Last edited by wilma-bride; 04-30-2008 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 04-29-2008, 01:31 PM   #2
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Oh goody - a trip report....sounds like a great first day. We loved Crystal Palace and i am thinking of booking it again for next year.

I am so glad that my kids didn't enjoy "Small World"!!!!
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:09 PM   #3
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Sounds like a fab 1st day, I love going to Magic Kindom on the 1st day, I just feel that it's soooo magical and special, and the food at CP is lovely Sounds like Daniel was enjoying his day

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Old 04-29-2008, 02:13 PM   #4
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What a lovely and special first day Joh. It sounds like Rea had a great birthday too. Great photos and I look forward to reading some more
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:39 PM   #5
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Brilliant first day! Your WL photos are getting us all excited for our first visit!!

Your photo of the lodge with the pool is just so beautiful
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:44 PM   #6
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Thanks for doing the trip report, Joh. I'm really enjoying it. We had heard about the paint brushes & looked last year but we got waylaid in the cave, I thought there would be art ones not decorating ones. Have to have another look this year as Stephen really enjoyed it.

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Old 04-29-2008, 02:52 PM   #7
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Great day
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:13 PM   #8
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This is brilliant reading - thanks so much. We're staying at WL in August and I can hardly wait! I'm planning to book the Wilderness Segway tour next week (90 days) so I'm looking forward to hearing what you thought of that! Brilliant photos too!!

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Old 04-29-2008, 03:21 PM   #9
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What a great 'first' WDW day for Daniel
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:32 PM   #10

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lovely day
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:52 PM   #11
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Great first day. We seemed to lose each other in those paths at Tom Sawyer island. So love reading your trip reports. Feels strange not being in the world the same time as you!

Really looking forward to reading more. I just love your trip report style of writing. I was looking forward to reading this all day at work. Was not disappointed.

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Old 04-29-2008, 03:53 PM   #12
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Ahhh,Daniel looks like he's having a ball! Bless him.

What a fantastic 1st day!
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Old 04-29-2008, 04:02 PM   #13
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Excellent Joh .I bet Daniel's face was a picture seeing the Castle for the first time.I remember when our daughter saw the Castle for the first time when she was 3.Her face came alive+i was in tears.Dd also had never seen characters+she took to them so well just like Daniel-the photo's are great by the way.The pictures of the WL look fantastic.Can't wait for more.x.

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Old 04-29-2008, 04:11 PM   #14
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What an excellent day! It sounds like Rea had a great birthday. Great pictures and I can't wait to read more.

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Old 04-29-2008, 04:30 PM   #15
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Great first day Joh .......... thanks for sharing xx

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