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Old 12-06-2008, 04:30 PM   #16
MeMom
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Hello from some fellow Tennesseans. We were there with you - just a little later.

Are you from around Nashville with kids in Metro? If so, your kids got the whole week off of Thanksgiving.
Their teachers (I'm included in that bunch) got the privilege of having an in-service on Monday, so we had to cut our trips a little shorter.

Oh, but we're much, much better teachers now for having done that.

Our original plan was to leave the 22nd, but that sort of got changed. Short-changed, that is!

Wasn't the difference in TN and FL awesome? Down there, people were in the pool every day, the sky was blue, the palm trees swayed. Up here, we left and we came back to bare trees and cold, gray days.

This MeMom did Everest once, and that's enough for me. If my friend and I go in March and she wants to do it, I'll suck it up and go again so she can experience it, but unless I'm going for the sake of a first-timer, I've 'been there, done that' and lived to tell about it, and I don't feel the need to do it again. it was a little more intense than I had predicted.

Your boys are handsome, and your whole family looks like a fun bunch. At first, I thought your youngest looked like the oldest boy on the Carnival Kia commercial, if you happen to know that one. Your oldest didn't need to be embarrassed of the dancing dad. Look at the pictures - no one is even paying attention to him!

Concierge and private planes. Thanks for helping to represent Tennesseans as people who actually do put on shoes and wear something besides overalls!

Watching Wishes from your balcony has to be just awesome!

I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing more.
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We've stayed at Pop Century, All Star Sports, All Star Movies, All Star Music, French Quarter, Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Art of Animation, Beach Club, Vero Beach, Kidani Village and Saratoga Springs - many trips, and many wonderful, magical memories made.
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:00 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Frickles View Post
WOW! Jami how SWEET is your family! I can just see Shrek dancing in the streets and I am DED over A walking away from him! Love it!

Your trip is off to a fabulous start my friend! How awesome that MeeMaw is game to tackle the Yeti! Sounds like you had a great first day and I'm now craving that wonderful mac n cheese from Jiko. Ahhhh, good memories! I'm not craving Doritos though.

Keep it coming! This one is going to be dreamy!!!!!
Thanks my FTM friend! Mmmmm... mac and cheese. Good memories and laughing to tears.

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Originally Posted by MEK View Post
This sounds like the start of one amazing trip! Can't wait to read more!
I'm glad you're along, MEK!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessV View Post
Yay, you're back with another TR!

AND... I was there the same week, so this is gonna be fun. It's entirely possible that I passed by you many, many times and, despite reading your TRs, missed that it was you completely. I'm somewhat oblivious when it comes to DISer spotting.


Good thinking on those unpredictable temps!


Aren't they gorgeous? I stayed at CR just after they finished renovations. It's been HARD to stay anywhere else since.


WTG Mee Maw!


No way, Princess V! You'll have to tell me if we were in the same place, same time. Thanks for re-living it with me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaycns View Post
It's good to see you back! I love trips that pamper! We took one of those ourselves this past Sept./Oct.

I am really looking forward to hearing all about your most recent trip! I love it that Shrek danced!

That's a very cute picture of you and Shrek...it's frameworthy!

Anyway, good to see you writing again!
You are so kind, jaycns. It's good to be back. I'm glad you had such a fine trip yourself!

Quote:
Originally Posted by OhMari View Post
Is MeeMaw a southern term for grandma.
Brett Favre calls his grandma Mee Maw.
You know I think it is. Her mother was a MeeMaw too and while it wasn't my fave, it fits and she loves it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IluvXU View Post
Your boys are getting so big. Can't wait to see what this trip entails!
Yes they are. A just passed me. Thanks for reading!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MeMom View Post
Hello from some fellow Tennesseans. We were there with you - just a little later.

Are you from around Nashville with kids in Metro? If so, your kids got the whole week off of Thanksgiving.
Their teachers (I'm included in that bunch) got the privilege of having an in-service on Monday, so we had to cut our trips a little shorter.

Oh, but we're much, much better teachers now for having done that.

Our original plan was to leave the 22nd, but that sort of got changed. Short-changed, that is!

Wasn't the difference in TN and FL awesome? Down there, people were in the pool every day, the sky was blue, the palm trees swayed. Up here, we left and we came back to bare trees and cold, gray days.

This MeMom did Everest once, and that's enough for me. If my friend and I go in March and she wants to do it, I'll suck it up and go again so she can experience it, but unless I'm going for the sake of a first-timer, I've 'been there, done that' and lived to tell about it, and I don't feel the need to do it again. it was a little more intense than I had predicted.

Your boys are handsome, and your whole family looks like a fun bunch. At first, I thought your youngest looked like the oldest boy on the Carnival Kia commercial, if you happen to know that one. Your oldest didn't need to be embarrassed of the dancing dad. Look at the pictures - no one is even paying attention to him!

Concierge and private planes. Thanks for helping to represent Tennesseans as people who actually do put on shoes and wear something besides overalls!

Watching Wishes from your balcony has to be just awesome!

I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing more.
No WAY! well I just saw this and it tickled me so much. Oh, last week was brutal after FL, wasn't it?
Shhh... about Tennesseans; we have a reputation to uphold. I have had people ask me if we had a still in our backyard!
I am so SO glad you are here and look forward to your comments, MeMom! Does that answer you, OhMari?

Thanks to you all for joining me here.

Day Two in a sec!
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The Fixer and The CookMaster...backstage pixie dust!!
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:22 PM   #18
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Sunday November 23

Sunday, November 23
Not bad. Not bad at all. Mickey and Stitch called at 7:00 sharp. This is such a Fixer habit. We get our wake-up call for 7:00 AM almost every Disney day. I tiptoe around getting showered and dressed, carefully timing my most-dreaded moment of the morning: waking Shrek. He certainly responds better at Disney than at home, but morning is not his thing. It’s one of the reasons he loves Club level. If he knows he can stumble down the hall with a USA Today to find cartoons, coffee and Fruit Loops-in-a-tube waiting, waking becomes worthwhile.
After I’m dressed for the day, I break into song to help the family rise and shine. “Be our guest, be our guest, put our magic to the test,” I sing as I throw open the curtains to reveal a sunny morning dawning over Seven Seas Lagoon. Whoosh! My blood is suddenly racing and I cannot wait to get OUT there.



The first sound from A, last to rise: Dad snores and E kicks.

True on both counts and welcome to my world, buddy. From this night forward A wisely slept next door in MeeMaw’s room in his own queen bed. Smart kid. I checked the weather on the handy computer and snapped this just for Yak and her northern kin:




Only in Florida…

After a delicious breakfast in the lounge with 15 or so of our closest neighbors, we were ready for what Shrek affectionately calls his Coffee Walk. It’s one of the reasons he wanted to stay at the CR. He discovered on our 2005 stay there that the wonderful path from the CR to MK was exactly one cup of coffee. He marveled at Disney’s trash can placement, certain that planners had placed the receptacles exactly where they needed to be to catch an empty coffee cup on a morning walk to MK.


He was right. Armed with a plan and plenty of energy, we approached the MK. E and I definitely skipped. We caught the end of the opening and split up. I chicken-ran (thanks A!) to Space Mountain for Fastpasses while everyone else strolled to the Speedway. My boys, especially E, still love that track and it’s a tradition to do it first one MK day. On my happy happy walk down Main Street, I saw something I’d never seen before. This family had their two children, who I guessed to be about ages 5 and 7, not on leashes but in bright orange safety harnesses. I’m sorry if that was you, but these poor kids looked completely humiliated and ridiculous. I tried to shake it off and instead note tight dresses and bad shoes, but the image of those boys stuck with me all day.

As is his custom (see previous TRs), my dear Shrek tried to mess up the plan he insisted I make by allowing the boys to ride the ‘no crowd’ Raceway twice. I almost shoved him out of our boat and into the Croc’s mouth on Peter Pan. He spent much of the morning groveling. After some teacups (no thank you), we hopped on the train in Toontown and rode around to Frontierland for some BTMRR and Splash action. MeeMaw loved Pirates and happily rode BTMRR but opted out of Splash. I stayed with her. It was too early and cool for me to muss my do.




We headed back to Tomorrowland to use our Space FPs and stopped in at Buzz Lightyear. We never did see Buzz, but jumped on his Spin.
All five of us rode Space Mountain. Mee Maw remembered it from five years before and declared once enough this trip. I was so proud of her. She again spent the morning soaking in the atmosphere, the experiences, and her family. She’s a party on the go!


We knew it would be a short morning at the MK for one reason: Tennessee Titans football. See, we’re big fans and it was a big deal to know someone else was sitting in our seats back home. Who would have guessed, when we made plans in May, that our team would be undefeated the week before Thanksgiving? Not this family. We even had the audacity to be in Disney for a week, enough for the Titans to play twice. Well, we were not surprised to find that our room TV stations would not carry Sunday’s Titans-Jets game. That meant we were in for our first-ever ESPNZone excursion. We weren’t missing that game.


Shrek and A were itching to get to the Boardwalk by noon. Shrek just knew we wouldn’t find seats if we didn’t get there early, so I encouraged him to go ahead with the boys. Mee Maw and I walked back to the CR for quick wardrobe changes (jackets, shoes) and agreed to meet them at ESPN.

MeeMaw walks more than anyone I know. She’s not a sitter, a rider, a driver. If she can walk there, she will. The CR to MK route was no exception. She did it at least 20 times this trip. I know it would be no big deal for us to walk back to the resort, take care of business, walk back to the MK, and catch our Boardwalk bus. We did, and found our boys happily seated on row one of the enormous TV screen, just next to several big-chain-wearing, beer-guzzling, lewd-languaged native Jets fans. It was awesome.

Until the game started.

The Titans didn’t play like the only undefeated team in the NFL. They didn’t play like they were on the BIG screen at ESPN with 4 faithful fans cheering them on. They played like a team facing its first loss, so with the 10-3 losing score frowning at us at the half, Shrek suggested we move along. We had had our burgers and needed some exercise.


Mini-golf. We’d never played at Disney World! It’s been on our short list for about three trips and this seemed like the perfect afternoon. We walked the gorgeous Boardwalk (did I mention 72 and sunny??) until E climbed aboard and begged for a surrey bike.




I said exercise, not work. Shrek places surrey bikes in the category with paddleboats at the beach. They are waaaayyyy too much work for vacation. So we dragged the pouting little guy off and pressed on toward the Swan-Dolphin.
MeeMaw was not a fan of the look of the S-D. She agreed with us on that one.

Fantasia Gardens was just across the street and looked promising. The five of us had so much fun there! The course is so cute and just-right challenging. E overshot every putt, A was impatient (no shock) and Shrek beat me by one stroke and his Mama by two. We laughed pretty much the whole course but I missed the best laugh of all.


MeeMaw and Shrek were doubled over as they told of the woman who bent over, putted, and watched her wig slide right off the top of her head onto the green. Shrek said the family of five fell straight OUT onto the course as if they had been shot. They were laughing THAT hard. It slowed up the whole operation for a while and brought new meaning to DED. I can’t believe I missed it.


The whole Fantasia Gardens experience was terrific. I truly recommend it for your family. We were there about two hours and easily accessed the Boardwalk and transportation. Do it!








The return from the S-D took a bit longer. I think I know why I don’t want to rely on those busses. I know we waited at least 30 minutes for an MK bus.

E had asked about a swim earlier so I told him we could have a quick one when we returned. I talked A into swimming as well and knew it would be a short one. It was just right for Shrek’s quick nap. E had been too small for the big slide on our last trip to the CR, but loved it this day! I do think the CR pool is in need of a rehab/upgrade and look forward to seeing how it looks by next summer. I wrapped up in a towel with my cup of tea and rested my eyes for about 30 minutes before summoning the boys to get dressed. Brrr…


Dinner? Glad you asked. I have wanted to go to Citrico’s for years and knew this was the trip! As I said, I wanted MeeMaw to see all the resorts and we all remembered the GF Gingerbread House from five years before when we ate at Narcoosee’s. I had peeked into Citrico’s on my September trip and knew it would be a good experience! I have to say something to those of you who lament your children growing up (as I do EVERY day). I loved watching my boys in the many signature restaurants we enjoyed this trip. We always expect manners and respect, but they had to hold themselves to pretty high standards for some long meals over a week. They did great. It also gave them the opportunity to try some new foods.

Most of all, it gave A the chance to order some expensive foods, which he loved. He had a cheese plate every night and declared Citrico’s one of the best. When we checked in, I tried to press my nose against the glass at the neighboring Victoria and Albert’s. I told Shrek and Mee Maw about it. Shrek asked why we weren’t eating there this trip. I told him it wasn’t on our Dining Plan and that we didn’t need to go there to eat well. Besides, we already had a date night planned. Mee Maw offered to treat us to V and A’s. I insisted we wouldn’t be able to get a reservation, and that I was happy with our plans. It was a very, very nice offer. I told Shrek he could bring me back there another time, and he said, “It’s a date.”


My notes from that night say, “One of the best meals ever.” It was. We felt the chef and entire staff paid excellent attention to detail, proper temperature, presentation, and service. The CMs took their roles very seriously and wanted every guest to enjoy the experience. All this combined with a wonderful round table in a corner made for a delicious evening. I had the romaine salad, the filet (fantastic!!) with four-cheese potatoes (bring some right now…) and a beauty of a chocolate banana dessert. Yes, Ash, I said banana.





E's cheese plate from the kids' menu:



After every one of these delicious meals we were very full, but not stuffed. I mean, stuffed is how I felt after the Hoop-De-Doo in January. THAT was stuffed. This was manageable. We walked around the GF and marveled at the Gingerbread House. I showed them the setting, buildings, and pools.



I told Shrek how much I had surprised myself by enjoying the resort during my one night stay there in September. We’ll see if a stay there is in our future. For now, I still have a three-way tie going between the Poly, CR, and Beach Club. Any day, any time, any room, I’m there.

We rode the monorail our quick two stops and fell into bed with the sounds of the EWP in the background. Two days? We’ve got six more coming!

Up Next: Epcot, frustration, and a wonderful surprise!
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Old 12-09-2008, 11:47 AM   #19
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Subscribing-good to see you again!
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Old 12-09-2008, 12:42 PM   #20
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Hey Jamal!

Great chapter - sorry about the Titans.

Quote:
I checked the weather on the handy computer and snapped this just for Yak and her northern kin:


You know we Canadians LOVE to talk about the weather. It looked fairly nice - but I know you were freezing!

Loved the cheese plates and especially the kids one.

Mee-Maw on space too! Wonderful!
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Old 12-09-2008, 03:58 PM   #21
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Another great update. I am glad to hear a great review of Citrico's. We have done Narcoosee's and loved that but we have in our sights for our next trip. My 9 year old would love that kid's cheese plate!

KEEP IT COMING!
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Old 12-09-2008, 05:54 PM   #22
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Jami,

Great update again!
I love the Grand. I actually opened it as part of the opening team back in 1988. Which, let me tell you, is a special experience of a combination of all of major stress, major work and major excitement!
All the other resorts were jealous, as we were being billed as the "Crown Jewel". They called us "The Mistake on the Lake" and "The Red Roof Inn".
Anyway good times!
The Front desk used to answer the phone like this:
"It's a Glorious Day at the Grand Floridian. How may I help you?"

So anyway, I opened it and worked there for 8 years. I was just invited back for the 20 year anniversary luncheon for the original leadership team and a panel discussion of opening team members, back in July. Whenever I go there, some old time CM's still recognize me.

Sorry for the Hijack, the Grand just gets me sentimental. I'll shut up now.

Sounds like you had a great vacation so far!

If you ever decide to stay there, go for Concierge in the Main Building, nothing like it! Great snacks and drinks in the lounge, while overlooking the lobby and listening to the orchestra and piano player.
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Old 12-10-2008, 06:35 AM   #23
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Hello Eternal Disney Fan (great screen name if I've not mentioned that)! Nice to see you here.

Yak--yes, it killed me that the 42 was 'COLD!' That's a heat wave for you, eh?

Jay--you will love Citrico's! Is Narcoosee's still good? We haven't been there in 5 years and I'd love to know how the two compare.

Marita--that's not a hijack at all. I love your GF story and completely get why it's so special to you. That is so cool. Someday we'll do the Main concierge...maybe 25th anniversary? Do any of the rooms have a Castle view? It's just hard for me to believe it could beat the Poly CL or CR Tower for view and convenience, but I know it has a huge fan club. Red Roof Inn--bahaha!!
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:03 AM   #24
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Jamal,
I am so happy you are back with another trip report! Your writing is so enjoyable to read...just simply enjoyable.
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Old 12-10-2008, 08:51 AM   #25
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I'm joining in and looks like a great time! Mee Maw is full of energy - I hope to have that spirit at her age!
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:01 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamal View Post
I checked the weather on the handy computer and snapped this just for Yak and her northern kin:




Only in Florida…
Brrrrrr!!! We freeze under 60 down here!

Quote:
That meant we were in for our first-ever ESPNZone excursion. We weren’t missing that game.
Love ESPN for gamedays!

Quote:
Mini-golf. We’d never played at Disney World! It’s been on our short list for about three trips and this seemed like the perfect afternoon.
Funny - I'd had the same plan and for the same reason, only the day after you! We never made it, though; the pool was voted "funner" than mini-golf.
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Old 12-10-2008, 08:28 PM   #27
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I totally forgot we spent a morning at Fantasia putt putting.
What is the "Hippo" Place across the street?
I can't believe I am mentioning Brett Favre again-sorry he beat your Titans.
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Old 12-11-2008, 07:49 AM   #28
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Sweetness! I am DED at the Windy and COLD weather forecast!! You don't see that lingo up here unless it's in the 20's......

I love Citricos and I'm soooo glad you guys did too. Wish my boys were as adventurous as yours. If we go, it's going to be an ADR for two. I'm waiting on my decision, though, to hear your Yachtsmen's review.

Tell Shrek his "form" is off a bite on the putting. I think he needs to do less hunting, more golfing.

Is E just looking at the water in that pic or did he lose a ball?

BTW, I dreamt last night that you guys were still down there (and getting sick of it! Imagine that!!) and we were coming in to spend the day with you. And, of course, I accidentally left our park tix at home!!
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Old 12-11-2008, 03:02 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by jamal View Post
Marita--that's not a hijack at all. I love your GF story and completely get why it's so special to you. That is so cool. Someday we'll do the Main concierge...maybe 25th anniversary? Do any of the rooms have a Castle view? It's just hard for me to believe it could beat the Poly CL or CR Tower for view and convenience, but I know it has a huge fan club. Red Roof Inn--bahaha!!
Yes, they absolutely do!
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Old 12-12-2008, 02:12 AM   #30
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OK, I spend too much time reading the DisBoards but this TR has got me wanting to read more. I love your Mom as she reminds me a lot (in her spirit and attitude to life, keeping fit, etc.) of my 80 year old Mom.
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