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Old 11-07-2008, 01:32 PM   #1
themilesfamily
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Thumbs up Surprise October Trip (Oct. 25-31) - 300 photos! - TRIP REPORT COMPLETED

Haunted Carriage Ride Photos: Post #24 (WARNING: Spoilers!)

Here's the background info:

Dates: Sat. October 25-Fri. October 31

Resorts: Split-Stay
* 2 nights in a Studio at Boardwalk Villas Concierge
* 4 nights in a two-bedroom at the Villas at Wilderness Lodge.

My brother and his family stayed at the All-Star Music Resort in a family suite.


Itinerary:
Saturday: The Reveal, Flight & Arrival via Magical Express, check-in @ Boardwalk Villas
Sunday: Sunrise Safari, AK, 1900 Park Fare
Monday: Magic Kingdom, Ariel's Grotto, Check in @ Wilderness Lodge Villas, Cub's Den, Haunted Carriage Ride
Tuesday: Magic Kingdom, Cinderella's Royal Table
Wednesday: Pony Rides at Ft. Wilderness, MGM, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
Thursday: Epcot, Akershus Princess Lunch
Friday: Departure via Magical Express & Flight Home


Overview: The crowds were somewhat higher than we expected, but with early-morning touring and fast passes we walked onto everything. There were a lot of Brits there and they were lovely! Such a pleasure to tour with. Of all the Disney trips I've been on, I have never seen the cast members or the tourists in a better mood. Everyone was so kind, no rude behavior. It was great. There were two days when it got very cold -- one day set record lows in Orlando -- down into the low-40's. But the rest of trip was beautiful weather -- 60-75 degrees.

Who we traveled with:

Instead of giving you a summary of everyone's personalities, I'll tell you what everyone's favorite experiences were on the trip:

Our family:
LISA (me) 39:
1) Having other people cook my meals
2) Watching my daughter meet her favorite princess, (Ariel)
3) Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom
4) Getting to spend time with my brother & his family who we've never traveled with.

DOUGLAS - 35:
1) Sunrise Safari
2) Expedition Everest
3) Hoop-dee-Doo Musical Revue

HONEY - 4:
1) Haunted Carriage Ride
2) Haunted Mansion
3) Peter Pan's Flight
4) It's a Small World

My brother's family:
BRIAN - 35:
1) Expedition Everest
2) Tower of Terror
3) Rock n Roller Coaster

JENNY - 34:
1) Fantasmic
2) Didn't have to cook the meals
3) Rides that were more "shows" -- ex. Philharmagic was a favorite

NICHOLE - 17:
1) Tower of Terror
2) Expedition Everest
3) Rock n Roller Coaster

ASHLEY - 13:
1) Space Mountain
2) Tower of Terror
3) Peter Pan's Flight

BRYANNA - 10:
1) Expedition Everest
2) Tower of Terror
3) Peter Pan's Flight

LOGAN - 6:
1) Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
2) Space Mountain
3) Splash Mountain

Last edited by themilesfamily; 12-01-2009 at 01:24 AM.
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Old 11-07-2008, 01:50 PM   #2
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Saturday - Day 1 - The Reveal

We kept this trip a secret from our DD for a whole year. On the morning of our trip, we put up a huge princess tent with a treasure chest inside. Inside the treasure chest we put her packed luggage and a carry-on filled with activity books and crayons, Disney jewelry, and snacks. We sprinkled a little glitter on the treasure chest and attached a princess balloon to it. We also put out some of the fancy maps that Disney prints.

When she woke up, we told her that Tinkerbell had been there and we were going to Disney. Here are some pics:







And we're on our way:



We had an hour and a half drive to the airport where we were to meet my brother's family and board a non-stop flight to Orlando -- 3:54 p.m. - 7:22 p.m. And then Magical Express to the Boardwalk Villas.

Last edited by themilesfamily; 06-24-2010 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 11-07-2008, 04:59 PM   #3
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Can't wait to read more!
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Old 11-07-2008, 07:57 PM   #4
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Saturday - Day 1 - The flight & arrival

We had a lot of first-time fliers in our group -- my sister-in-law and all of their kids. Thank goodness we had perfect flying weather. As a matter of fact, we did not have ONE DROP of rain during our entire trip. It was amazing!

Our plane was considerably delayed and this caused some problems later. But everything was fine in the air.

Bryanna, age 10


My brother, Brian, and Logan, age 6


My DD, Honey, age 4


My DH, Douglas, and my sister-in-law, Jenny


We landed at 9:30 p.m. and hopped onto Magical Express.



It took us about an hour to get to our hotel. We were put in Room 4078 at the Boardwalk Villas. Here is our view, (taken the next day.) We loved it. It was magical. I believe it was called a Preferred view.:







We arrived after Concierge closed -- and after the front desk stopped selling park tickets. They stop selling at 10 p.m. This was a problem because we had Sunrise Safari reservations the next morning and we had planned on buying our park tickets from Concierge when we arrived. (You need a pass to get into the Animal Kingdom to do the Sunrise Safari.) Thank goodness the gentleman at the front desk got the manager and they somehow worked it out for us. We got our passes. I'll be sending Disney an e-mail re: their help, to be sure!

While we got settled into our room, DH went down to the Boardwalk and brought us all back some pizza. It was DELICIOUS! It was kind of a New York-style thin crust. Very good. DH couldn't remember where he got it from. I found a directory of Boardwalk dining and I think he got it from the Boardwalk Pizza Window.

The next hurdle was that our luggage didn't arrive until 1:30 a.m. After midnight, they don't deliver bags to your room, so my husband waited down in the lobby for the bags. Our wakeup call was at 5:30 a.m. for the Sunrise Safari and I highly doubted that we would make it.

But in the end, we did. And the first night was by far the most stressful. Travel days usually are. It was all uphill from there.

In summary:
* I LOVED the nonstop flight to Orlando
* Magical Express was a breeze. It saved us $$$ and the kids loved the little TV's. ME was not crowded and it was fun to stop at the other resorts before we were dropped off. I like checking out the other hotels!
* I would only take ME again if we had an early flight, so there would be no issue with getting our bags. If we did a late-night flight again, I would take a limo to the resort and consider it money well-spent. I need my sleep and I need my luggage!

Last edited by themilesfamily; 12-11-2008 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:34 AM   #5
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:29 AM   #6
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What fun family vacations are! Has your brother's family gone to WDW before?

You were correct that you had a Preferred view (pool view is considered preferred as well). You had an awesome view - I would love to stay concierge level some time

How much later did you arrive than expected? Getting to bed so late must have been tough esp with the Sunrise Safari planned - had you expected to get more sleep when you originally planned the Safari?

Can't wait to read more!
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Old 11-08-2008, 10:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heaven2dc View Post
What fun family vacations are! Has your brother's family gone to WDW before?

You were correct that you had a Preferred view (pool view is considered preferred as well). You had an awesome view - I would love to stay concierge level some time

How much later did you arrive than expected? Getting to bed so late must have been tough esp with the Sunrise Safari planned - had you expected to get more sleep when you originally planned the Safari?

Can't wait to read more!
Thanks for joining in! My brother went to Epcot once as a kid -- on a business-type trip with my dad. But his wife and kids had never been. So it was a first-time trip for them.

My DH and I have been to WDW several times -- and my DD went once as a toddler. The one memory she has of that trip was Snow White kissing her on the forehead. She talks about it to this day. Sometimes she'll ask me to put on lipstick and kiss her on the forehead, "Just like Snow White." She likes the big red lip-print!

Our view WAS great and we loved Concierge. I'll have some pics of the Innkeeper's Club, (for Concierge guests at the Boardwalk), later in the report.

As for arrival time -- we boarded the plane two hours late. So instead of getting in at 7:30 p.m., we got in at 9:30 p.m. And instead of getting to the hotel at 8:30, we got there at 10:30.

In all honesty, even if we had arrived on time, we still wouldn't have gotten adequate sleep for a 5:30 a.m. wakeup call -- so that was bad planning on my part. I hadn't anticipated how worked up the kids would be when we arrived -- and not ready to lie down and go to sleep, at all. I should have predicted that!! We were very tired when we got up the next day, but that "excited energy" really kicked in again and we had a great time at the Sunrise Safari. (Even my DH who waited up until 1:30 a.m. for the luggage!)

Last edited by themilesfamily; 11-08-2008 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:14 AM   #8
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Sunday - Day 2 - Sunrise Safari - At the Lodge

We were originally booked at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for our first two nights and had signed up to do the Sunrise Safari. A few months before our trip, we were notified that we were being moved because they were doing some work on the exterior of the AKL and there would be scaffolding up around our rooms. We ended up at the Boardwalk Concierge -- which was perfectly fine with us. AND they let us stay on the Sunrise Safari.

Sunday morning we got our wakeup call at 5:30 a.m. and everyone did a great job getting up and getting ready. We took a cab over to the All-Star Music Resort, dropped off Bryanna with her parents and picked up 6-year old Logan who was doing the Safari with us. We then cabbed it over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

I had never seen the AKL before and it ended up being my favorite hotel lobby, by far! We sponsor children in Africa, so I have a particular interest in that part of the world.

Here are a few pics of things I saw in the AKL lobby -- some of the displays and photos:

This is a peek inside the bag of a person on safari:




These are things you would see in the bag of a lady on safari, (according to the sign):


A photo I liked:


When we got to the AKL, we went to the Concierge Lounge had some juice, fruit and oatmeal, and waited in the main lounge for the Safari to begin.

A quick breakfast at the AKL Concierge Lounge:


And we settle in to wait. The Safari started a little after 7 a.m.

Last edited by themilesfamily; 11-09-2008 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:59 AM   #9
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Sunday - Day 2 - Sunrise Safari - At the park

They loaded us onto buses outside the Lodge and drove us over to the Animal Kingdom. We went in the cast member's entrance and saw many cast members on their way to work. The AK encourages good stewardship of the environment and they showed us a fleet of bicycles they offer to the cast members so they can bike to work, rather than drive. They also showed us the animal barns where the animals are kept during the night.

We then got off the buses and walked down a long, woodsy path where we loaded onto the Safari vehicles. FUN!!!!!

This way to the Kilimanjaro Safaris!:


Waiting to board our Safari vehicle:




And we're off!:


Lions - hearing them roar sent shivers down your spine:






Giraffe:


Crocodiles:


Rhinos & Vultures:


A pile of Hippos in the water:


I love this tree:


Elephants:




This is a mother & daughter elephant -- so sweet!:


Warthogs:


A Safari path:


An antelope with a lion looking on:


Flamingos:


I am not typically an "animal person." So I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the Safari. It was so cool! It was my DH's number one favorite thing he did on this trip.

After the Safari, we had a wonderful breakfast buffet at Pizzafari. They had everything -- biscuits & gravy, sausage, bacon, eggs, banana french toast, bagels, donuts, fruit, etc., etc. It was fabulous.

The chef going over the menu:


Notice Logan checking out the bug on his chair. Logan is a scientist-to-be. He wants to be an entomologist and he knows everything about bugs!:






After breakfast, we were off to start our day at the Animal Kingdom....

Last edited by themilesfamily; 11-09-2008 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by themilesfamily View Post
We kept this trip a secret from our DD for a whole year. On the morning of our trip, we put up a huge princess tent with a treasure chest inside. Inside the treasure chest we put her packed luggage and a carry-on filled with activity books and crayons, Disney jewelry, and snacks. We sprinkled a little glitter on the treasure chest and attached a princess balloon to it. We also put some of the fancy Disney maps that Disney prints up next to the treasure chest.

When she woke up, we told her that Tinkerbell had been there and we were going to Disney. Here are some pics:









And we're on our way:



We had an hour and a half drive to the airport, where we were to meet my brother's family and board a non-stop flight to Orlando -- 3:54 p.m. - 7:22 p.m. And then Magical Express to the Boardwalk Villas.

Loved this idea...I can only imagine the surprise it gave her.
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:56 PM   #11
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I'm glad you all had a nice day on the safari tour even with being sleep deprived.
This is something we'd like to try on one of our future trips so it was nice seeing your pictures and reading about it.
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Loved this idea...I can only imagine the surprise it gave her.
Thanks! We had a heck of a time finding a realistic looking treasure chest that wasn't too terribly expensive. And something that was big enough to put luggage in. We finally found one online at Grandin Road for about $60. I checked the Grandin Road website today, though, and it's not on the site anymore. I think it was part of their Halloween collection, (it came with a big bag of very realistic looking bones and a skull inside!), so perhaps they'll carry it again closer to Halloween.

She was very surprised and excited. We LOVE doing things like this.
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:42 PM   #13
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Sunday - Day 2 - AK

After the Sunrise Safari, DH, DD, Logan and I headed over to Dinoland where we had made arrangements to meet my brother's family.

The park was open before we left breakfast, but we walked on twice to Triceratop Spin -- no lines.





And then we headed over to The Boneyard -- the archeological dig site-themed playground. DD and Logan LOVED it. And it had some nice, comfy places for the adults to sit. We spent a good hour there.









We met up with my brother's family and I decided it was time for DD and I to get home and take a little afternoon nap. We also had to stop by Downtown Disney and pick out some princess outfits, as we had our first character meal coming up that night.

Everyone else stayed and did the rides. Expedition Everest was a HUGE favorite. It made many of their top-three lists.

On the way out of AK, I tried to snap some photos of the little details that make up the wonderful atmosphere of this park.



A ladybug lamp post:






Some fun family photos -- DD and DH:






Last edited by themilesfamily; 11-09-2008 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 11-08-2008, 02:11 PM   #14
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Sunday - Day 2 - The Innkeeper's Club

After we left the Animal Kingdom, DD and I hopped a bus to Downtown Disney. We stopped at Once Upon a Toy and picked out three princess outfits. My DD is very decisive in her choices and she doesn't dilly-dally. In about 10 minutes she had picked out a Cinderella costume, a Jasmine costume, and an Ariel (with mermaid tail) costume. All three were gorgeous. And you'll see them all in upcoming installments.

We then hopped a bus back to the Boardwalk and decided to have a little post-shopping snack, so we headed over to the Innkeeper's Club -- the Concierge lounge for the Boardwalk Inn & Villas.

Here are some pics:

Isn't it beautiful?!:


The snack buffet. We ate popcorn, cookies and lemonade.:


The drink table. They had lemonade, iced tea, Evian and soda.:




There was a television on and someone was watching football. And there was the NICEST lady there keeping an eye on things. I'm normally so good about looking at people's nametags and remembering names, but I didn't get this lady's name. She had a southern accent -- and she came over and had the nicest chat with my DD. Just made such a big deal over her. It was darling. Also, the night before we checked out, there was a message on our voicemail, letting us know the weather back in our hometown and wishing us a good trip. The voice sounded just like the gal's at the Innkeeper's Club and I wonder if it was her. Anyway, she was amazing and so was the Innkeeper's Club.

She told us that this was also a great place to watch Illuminations. There is a balcony right off the main room and Concierge guests are invited to watch the fireworks there.

After our snack, we headed back to our room and DD asked to go swimming. We changed into our suits and went down to the carnival-themed pool. DD was too timid to go on the clown slide -- the Keister Coaster? -- and she's not a swimmer yet -- so we just floated around together and she held onto the side of the pool and worked her way around.

They had activities at the pool -- they were just starting poolside Bingo.

It was a fun mother/daughter afternoon -- but we never did take that nap. Ooops. That would come back to bite us later. But we had such a fun day together.

Last edited by themilesfamily; 11-24-2008 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 11-08-2008, 03:16 PM   #15
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Sunday - Day 2 - 1900 Park Fare

My DH arrived back at the room and we got ready for our 7:00 p.m. reservations at 1900 Park Fare.

My DD got into her Cinderella costume:



And we took a cab over to the Grand Floridian:


A magnificent chandelier at the GF:


My DD fell fast asleep while we waited in the lobby and we had to wake her to go in and eat. The characters were wonderful, but DD was tired so we made it a quick meal and hightailed it home for a good night's sleep.

Prince Charming and Eeyore are the only two characters I've ever seen my DD want NOTHING to do with. She would not stand by Prince Charming. She was too shy to even look at him. I, personally, thought he was spectacular!!!! Isn't he suave and debonair? And that uniform!



The rest of the characters, no problem.

















In this pic, the stepsister is asking DD what kind of chores she can do around the house. DD had a whole list -- mopping the floors, sweeping, vacuuming. The stepsister suggested that she move into Cinderella's old room!



I love this pic. Back to the Boardwalk we go.


Last edited by themilesfamily; 11-09-2008 at 11:30 AM.
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