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Old 03-17-2009, 09:07 AM   #1
2Monkeys
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Magical & Not So Magical Moments...The Top 10 Things We Learned

Prologue – I started this trip report before we went on this trip, but got home, got busy with life, and never finished it. I really wanted to finish it, especially now that we are leaving for our next trip in 2 months. So, now I am finishing it and hopefully it is worth the effort. I hope you enjoy it, even though it is 2 years old now!

On with the show….

The Cast:

Me: The Boss – I am in charge of the family, no matter what anyone says! My idea of roughing it is a hotel with no pool or room service!

DH: Goofy – there is just no better description! The biggest kid of them all and the official adrenaline junkie of the family!

DD8: The Princess – she is like me about roughing it, likes to be the center of attention, and can’t pass a mirror, window, or other reflective object without looking at her reflection!

DS5: Lightning McQueen – he is so fast, his motto is ‘I am speed!’. Not afraid of anything, but won’t be tall enough for the major thrill rides!

The Reason:

We irresponsibly decided to use our tax refund to go on this trip instead of putting it toward bills for a few reasons: 1) Princess is VERY into Disney – she ‘rules over’ just about everyone who dares to play against her in Disney Scene It! 2) Lightning is very into thrill seeking – just like Goofy. 3) We currently live 9 hours away from Disney and may be moving 8 hours north, so we wanted to get in one last trip while we could still drive 4) Do we need a reason?????

The Pre Plan:

We made our reservations at the end of January for May 19 – 26. 7 nights at Pop Century (we have stayed at All Star Movies in the past), with 7-day tickets, free hoppers and water parks, and the dining plan.

** NOTE**Something you need to know about us (or maybe not)– we have been to Disney twice before as a married couple, and I have become more obsessive about planning each time. I spend hours on the Dis, and Goofy just shakes his head when I come up with something new to tell him. He is going along with whatever I say b/c he knows how I like to plan these trips. Funny, in real life, he is the obsessive one – checks the door umpteen times to be sure its locked, even though he locked it himself; arrives 30 minutes early because he doesn't want to be late – stuff like that.

Back to our show…After 2 months of planning, I decided I really wanted to stay one more day, because 7 nights is not long enough; but I don't think we could ever stay long enough. Goofy, knowing he will give in eventually, says ‘go ahead’. So, in March, I booked an extra night, but could not add it onto the package, so no dining plan for the last day. We are leaving May 18th after school, and taking DD8 out for the last four days of school. Now, I know that during those last 4 days, the children will be doing VERY important things like wearing their pjs to school, playing games, and watching movies, but my daughter is a very good student so I think they will still let her go on to 3rd grade. We will stay overnight in Tallahassee, then on to Pop on May 19th. Throw the bags at the luggage guy, get the keys, and head to Magic Kingdom!!!!

The Shopping

I am a great procrastinator about a lot of things, but this trip is NOT one of them! I have been shopping for months, so that I can make sure that all of the necessities I buy are enough and if not, have time to buy more items that I cannot live without! However, there was one shopping detail that I was putting off – my swimsuit.

If you are female with a less than perfect body, you know the dread that goes along with this shopping trip. I put it off until 2 weeks before the trip, and decided it could be put off no longer. I dragged myself to the mall, the sense of dread growing with each passing mile. I arrived at my store of choice, and immediately had stomach pains. I persevered. I took 12 swimsuits in 3 different sizes into the dressing room, despite the warning that I should only take 6 items. Yes, I am a rebel! But I thought, if I have to take off my clothes, try on the awful things, look at myself under fluorescent lights in a 3 way mirror, and then decide to actually buy one of them, I am taking in more than 6. Anyway, much to my surprise, I need the smallest size of the 3 that I took in – woohoo!!!

As I was planning my shopping strategy, I had told myself that I was going to look for a color other than my usual black. Upon arriving at the store, and finding the style suit that I needed, I noticed the colors were practically neon. Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but when I am wearing a swimsuit, I don’t want to stand out. I prefer to blend. But since I wanted a color, I dutifully tried on the turquoise, orange, and green suits – and quickly put them back on the hangers. These suits screamed “LOOK AT ME!” and since we’ve already discussed my preferred blending, these were not chosen. However, they had navy and black, so I decided on navy – it’s a color, right? But, I liked the style of the black top better than the style of the navy top, so in spite of my careful planning of bringing so many suits into the room, I had to re-dress and go out in search of the right color, style, size. And, yes, I had to try them on again, just to be sure. Have you ever bought a pair of khaki pants, then gone back to get a black pair of the same style and size, only to get them home and find that they are too small? Armed with this knowledge from past experience, I knew that I MUST try on the one I was going to purchase. You should also know that I did not look at any price tags when I selected the suits I was going to try on. This is HUGE for me, because I always, always, always look at the price tag first. But I decided that I needed to get the best looking one regardless of price, so I did not look until after making my decision. OH…MY…GOSH! Do you know how expensive swimsuits are???? Now that I have decided on the least hideous option, my navy 2 piece tankini (no bikinis or one-pieces, I respect myself and the rest of the world too much for that!), I head to the checkout. I am hyperventilating at this point, because I know that this suit is going to be way more than I would spend if I had actually looked at the price tag. The grand total is $109! I hand over my Disney Visa, and immediately have buyer’s remorse. When did a piece of lycra/spandex/elastic get so expensive???? I bought 2 pairs of shorts, 2 pairs of capris, and a pair of Teva flip-flops for less than that! Anyway, I take my purchase and leave, convinced I will be returning it very soon. However, I decided to keep it, because it did look better than the cheap one I bought last summer, and it will hopefully last awhile. So look out Blizzard Beach and Hippy Dippy pool, I’m ready – well, sort of!
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Check out my trip report: Magical & Not So Magical Moments - The Top Ten Things We Learned

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Old 03-17-2009, 09:21 AM   #2
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The Car Trip

The week before we leave is a flurry of activity – finishing up things at work, a baby shower, a party (I sell Tastefully Simple part-time, so I had a party the Tuesday of the week we were leaving – brilliant!), haircuts, teacher gifts, laundry and packing! The day finally arrives and both Princess & I awake very early, look at each other, and quietly scream 'We’re going to Disney World!!’ But, we still had work and school, so began our day.

Time flew, and by 3:00, we had checked the car to be sure everything was packed (our Mazda Tribute now packed so full that we’re not sure both kids can go!), picked Princess up from school, and were on our way! I had managed to keep secret a bag of activities for Princess & Lightning, so they now were discovering all of the goodies I had for them and were very excited. In my months of shopping, I had purchased colored pencils (no crayons for the car!), Disney coloring books, plus printouts of journal pages, crosswords, and word searches all Disney-themed of course! I also came up with a ‘map’ of sorts, with major cities marked along the way, so they could answer their own question of

We manage to drive for 2 ½ hours with no stopping – woohoo! We finally stop for potty and food, and one hour later are back on the road. At 9:10, we arrive in Tallahassee, ready for sleep. Well, actually it is now 10:10, because we crossed into the Eastern time zone, so we lost an hour in less than 10 seconds. We give the kids showers (both had gone to school, and Princess had field day, so they HAD to shower), give them a snack and put them to bed. I never sleep well for one-night hotel stays, and tonight was no different. Plus, Princess fell out of bed twice, once doing a half-handstand with hands on the floor and feet on the bed! Yikes – is it morning yet?

I finally started sleeping around 3 (that’s the last time I looked at the clock) and woke at 6:30 so that we could be Disney bound by 8:00. After eating the free hotel breakfast and filling up with gas that cost 3.19/gallon (ouch!) we were on our way. What time was it, you ask? It was 8:10! I was very excited to be that close to our target!

Normally, we would travel via I-10 to I-75, but given the smoke issues in the Lake City area, we decided to take US-27 out of Tallahassee to try to bypass that area. We were practically the only ones on the road, so it was awesome! We did have to pass through a few small towns – one where Roscoe P. Coaltrain was sitting just past the city limit and 35 mph speed limit sign trying to catch someone, but thankfully we saw him in time and slammed on the brakes (not that we were speeding or anything). In spite of our detour, we still encountered some fairly heavy smoke, but drove out of it very quickly. I felt so bad for the people that live in that area, because Princess was coughing at the first sign of smoke in the air and coughed all week even from that limited exposure!

We took the new Western Way entrance, and it was fabulous! We again felt like we had the road to ourselves, and arrived at Pop Century at 12:15!
The weather was GORGEOUS – low to mid 80s, with a wonderful breeze! The line for check-in was not long at all, and it was our turn in less than 5 minutes. Oh Joy! Our room is ready! We got a room in the Lady building as requested, and overlooking the Bowling Pin pool! We unloaded the car at warp speed, grabbed some lunch at the Pop food court and were on the Magic Kingdom bus by 2:20!
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Check out my trip report: Magical & Not So Magical Moments - The Top Ten Things We Learned

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Old 03-17-2009, 09:22 AM   #3
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I love reading people's trip and pre-trip reports! It's so funny to read the things that go on BEFORE the big trip!!!

I am in the same boat on the swim suits!!! I haven't bought a new one since I was pregnant(with TWINS) and they just turned 2!!!
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Old 03-17-2009, 09:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CASSandKIDS View Post
I am in the same boat on the swim suits!!! I haven't bought a new one since I was pregnant(with TWINS) and they just turned 2!!!
Thanks for reading - I was worried no one would!! The swimsuit is just the worst thing to have to buy - but we were going to Blizzard Beach, so it had to be done! I got a Land's End one, which turned out to be great - it holds a lot of 'stuff' in!!
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Check out my trip report: Magical & Not So Magical Moments - The Top Ten Things We Learned
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:23 PM   #5
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Day 1 – Magic Kingdom


We arrived just as the parade was beginning, so I say ‘Let’s get on the train and head to Frontierland to go around the parade’. Obviously, I had not done enough homework in my months of planning to know that the train does not run during a parade – shame on me!! Well, the train sits in the station til 3:15, so we probably would have been better off just watching the darn thing. HOW did I NOT know this????

FLASHBACK – before we left, the kids agreed that they would try new rides and we agreed that we would not make them go on any of them twice if they didn’t like them.

Back to our show…We decide to FastPass Splash, then wait for BigThunder Mountain. The wait was not bad, and the breeze made it very comfortable. It is finally our turn to ride, and both kids are nervous. I rode with Princess and Goofy rode with Lightning. Now, remember earlier, I told you that Lightning is a daredevil? Well, apparently that only applies to climbing, jumping, riding his scooter down giant hills and running at the speed of light – he HATED BTMRR! He was absolutely terrified! But, Princess, who normally is the scaredy-cat, LOVED it! Just when you think you’ve figured your kids out, they go and change the rules! We go ride Haunted Mansion, and now Princess who LOVED the roller coaster, HATES Haunted Mansion and yep, you guessed it, Lightning LOVES it! Go figure.

Our FP time for Splash has now arrived, so we go back to do it. Confession time – after his experience on Big Thunder, Lightning does not want to ride Splash. Well, since he can’t read, we trick him into it. I know, I know, we are terrible parents – please do not flame me or turn me in to DHR! We really thought he would like it once we got him on it. Wrong again. Actually, they both hate it! How did we raise such chickens??? Lightning was very upset with us for tricking him, but I promised he would not have to ride again and let him pick the next ride. He chose Magic Carpets of Aladdin…and promptly got sprayed by a spitting camel….which he was fine with.


Next up was the Country Bears. This attraction needs a major overhaul, but my kiddos still loved the corniness (is that even a word?) of it. Next we went to Snow White, which I kind of expected them to scream about. But, it was walk-on, so they didn’t have a chance to chicken out! They were fine, but had not desire to jump back in the non-existent line.

Next up was Mickey’s Philharmagic. We absolutely LOVED this! It became our new family favorite. The 3-D effects, the smells, the movie clips, Donald’s butt hanging out of the wall – what’s not to love!! We would do this again at least 3 more times before our week was up!!

Then we went on to the Jungle Cruise, then Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. We enjoyed both, but not much to tell there. Well, except that our Cruise captain was very boring. It makes it a lot more fun when they are really into it. All she kept saying was ‘Good times, good times’ – I really thought I might push her in the water if she said it again…but she did, and I didn’t.

We ate dinner at Cosmic Ray’s, which we like because of the variety. DH and I decided to split the much talked about chicken & rib combo. I have to say, on this particular day, it was not that great. The meat was pretty dry, but we loaded up on honey Dijon and bbq sauce to help out. It was ok, but not as good as I anticipated. The kids had chicken nuggets (I am convinced that Lightning will someday turn into a chicken nugget) and a hamburger, and they were both happy. Now we were fed, and ready for SpectroMagic!!
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Check out my trip report: Magical & Not So Magical Moments - The Top Ten Things We Learned
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:59 PM   #6
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Great start, better late than never. Hey, don't feel bad about the delay, I still haven't done our TR from our 1st visit or our 2nd or our 3rd, I guess I'll have to roll them all up into one great procrastinator's trip report. Can't wait to read more.
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Old 03-17-2009, 03:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tink1957 View Post
Great start, better late than never. Hey, don't feel bad about the delay, I still haven't done our TR from our 1st visit or our 2nd or our 3rd, I guess I'll have to roll them all up into one great procrastinator's trip report. Can't wait to read more.
Thanks for joining the fun! I like the title of your 3 in 1 - let me know when you get it started!!
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Check out my trip report: Magical & Not So Magical Moments - The Top Ten Things We Learned
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:13 AM   #8
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Magic Kingdom - continued

I really LOVE this parade, and so do my kiddos. It is really the only parade we make sure that we see. During other parades, we take advantage of short ride lines!! We went to WDW when the kids were 5 & 2, and by the end of the day they were very tired and cranky. When Spectro started, they became happy, smiling little angels! Any parade that can save a meltdown is worth staking out a spot for!! We chose a spot in Frontierland, right at the rope, and only had about 30 minutes before it would start.

Now, like a good, well-informed Disney traveler should, I had bought several secret ‘goodies’ that I was waiting for the right time to reveal to the kids. For Princess, I got an Ariel spinner, and for Lightning, a Mr. Incredible spinner. I had bought these at the Disney store at home, on clearance, with a coupon, and only paid about $8 for both. Now, here’s a great tip for you that I learned the hard way - take the batteries out of the spinner until you are ready to use it. I left the batteries in, Mr. Incredible’s button got pushed for who knows how long, his gears are stripped, and now he won’t spin! I almost broke down and bought one from a street vendor, but by now we had broken out the glow bracelets and the parade was about to start, so my little guy was happy. I promised we would find him a new one at DD. We also shared some Disney magic with some kids nearby by supplying them with glow bracelets from our stash! It makes me so happy to spread a little !!

We had a fabulous time with the parade! Princess got a wave from Cinderella, so she was in heaven! Now the parade was over, it was very late, and everyone was very tired. We were in no hurry to fight the crowds, so we hung out for a few minutes until things cleared out. Then we slowly made our way to the Pop bus and back to our room. This night, I passed out from sheer exhaustion, and so did everyone else.
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Check out my trip report: Magical & Not So Magical Moments - The Top Ten Things We Learned

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Old 03-18-2009, 03:57 PM   #9
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Day 2 - MGM



I realize this park is now called Disney Hollywood Studios, but when we were there, it was still MGM, so that’s what I’m calling it!

On our last trip in 2004, we visited MGM in the middle of Hurricane Ivan. So we were looking forward to a sunshiny day! We headed to the Great Movie Ride first, which I really love, and Princess has hated in the past. The first time she went on it, she was almost 4, and was terrified of the ‘hijacking’. We were there for her 4th bday, and she was wearing her bday button. The CMs at GMR gave her a bday card as we were leaving with her crying – so sweet of them. When we went back when she was 5, she remembered the ride, and Goofy had to take her screaming out of the ride before we even got on. Soooo, I was not holding out much hope that we would get to do it this time. But, now she was 8, and apparently did not remember too much of her screaming fits the last 2 visits. We all rode and enjoyed the Great Movie Ride – great way to start the day!!

Next up was The Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and our joy over the GMR success was short-lived! Lightning did not want to do this attraction. No fit throwing, just did not want to go in. We finally decide that he and Goofy will go get seats for Lights Motor Action, while Princess & I go to Mermaid. (We totally learned our lesson about trickery on Splash – aren’t you proud of us?)

We girls loved Ariel and her show! We then went to find the boys at LMA – yeah right! That theater is HUGE, so I figured Princess & I were just going to sit alone. I guess after so many years together, Goofy and I think alike because we ended up just a few rows behind them. Goofy finally caught our attention and we were reunited before the show started. Lightning (I am speed…I am speed…) LOVED this show!! Now he was happy – hooray!! We all especially liked seeing Herbie!

Next up, we decide to go meet Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable. Just as we walk up, it is time for their break, but we are second in line for their return in 15 minutes. We had eaten breakfast at Pop that morning, but now were hungry for a snack. We had a 5:00 ADR at Hollywood & Vine, so didn’t want to load up. No one was hungry for a meal anyway. So, while we waited we got soft pretzels and those carbonated slushies – Yummo!! Apparently, we had never gotten one of these pretzels before though, because we got 4 of them – and they were as big as my head!! We so should have shared, but oh well! When we were done with the pretzels, Kim & Ron returned for our meet.

Now it was time to line up for meeting the Power Rangers. They were due out at 1:00, and it was now about 12:30, so we went to stake out our spot. We asked a CM where the best place to be was, and were told we were there. However, when the PRs came out in the car, they scattered and we were not first in line for any of them – so frustrating!! Anyway, we decided to divide and conquer – Goofy & Lightning went to the Red Ranger,
and Princess & I went to the Yellow Ranger. Princess was the last one to see the YR – whew!!

Next up was the High School Musical Block Party! My kids are major HSM fans, and I have learned most of the songs through osmosis. Goofy has learned some of them too, much to his chagrin! So we find the taped off area and ask a CM where we should stand while we wait. We are directed to our spot, and stake it out as the crowds gather. While we are waiting, a lady decides that wall to wall people is the best time to spray her children with sunscreen. I am definitely a fan of sunscreen, but had applied our family’s before we left our room. It was not that hot, so not much sweating, and it was not time to re-apply. However, for this family it was time to apply their spray-on sunscreen. In a crowd of people. Brilliant. I had to shield my children so they did not get sprayed in the face. Yes, mom took one for the team and got a face-full of sunscreen herself!

After my coughing fit from breathing in sunscreen, we could see the float coming down the street. Now, what the CM failed to tell us was that the crowd would have to move a little once the float was brought in, so we really had to fight to maintain our front row status. We ended up with a couple of people in front of us, but all in all, had a great view. Princess, who knows all the words to all the songs and all the dance moves to go along with it, refused to volunteer to dance in this show. But, we had fun anyway and they did dance in their spots!

From here we went on to the Indiana Jones Stunt Show. We enjoyed the acrobatics, but it was a little loud for my people. Next was Muppet 3D Vision which we all LOVE! So much fun!

Next up is the Backlot Tour & Catastrophe Canyon. We get to the pre-show holding area and the CM asks for volunteers. Goofy raises his hand and is picked!! The kids and I get to go in for a front row seat (stand) to watch Goofy’s theatrical debut!
It was great fun to watch him get pelted with water!! Then it was on to Catastrophe Canyon. This scared the kids a bit, but we just kept reminding them that it was pretend, and they were eventually able to enjoy themselves…especially when Daddy got pelted with water. Again.

Next up was our ADR at Hollywood and Vine. We arrived a little early and waited about 20 minutes to be seated. Honestly, this was not the best meal. There was not much variety and what was there was just ‘eh’. The best thing I ate was the Bean Cassoulet, which was pretty good, especially in comparison to everything else. We got our Fantasmic ‘ticket’ and took off to see Beauty & the Beast.

Our last adventure of the day was Fantasmic! We had purchased the Fantasmic Dinner Package so we had a ‘ticket’ for our seat. We were told to still arrive 45 minutes prior to the show, so that we did. By now we were pretty tired after a very long day, but pumped to see Fantasmic for the first time! We took these while we were waiting for it to start – You can tell they are getting tired!!

Fantasmic is a fabulous show! We were a little worried about how Princess & Lightning would react, and planned to make a quick exit if necessary…but they loved it!!
It was an exciting end to a great day! Off to bed to get ready for our next day….at Epcot!
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Check out my trip report: Magical & Not So Magical Moments - The Top Ten Things We Learned
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:56 PM   #10
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Day 3 - Epcot

We had high hopes for this day, because we had not spent much time here on past trips, and hoped to do a few more things now that the kids were a little older. That morning I commanded “Get up, get up! We have to get fast passes for Soarin!” So off we went for our day at Epcot!

Upon arrival at Epcot (about 20 minutes after rope drop), Goofy takes off to secure Soarin’ FPs, and we wait outside for his return. Fastpasses in hand, Goofy returns and says the standby line for Soarin’ is already an hour wait, so we head to The Seas w/Nemo & Friends. We had been warned that this line can be deceiving, but with no part of the line visible from outside, we hopped in. Wow – it really is deceiving! It winds and winds and winds inside, but our wait was only about 15 minutes. This was a cute little ride, but I would not stand in a long line for it!

Upon exiting Nemo, we promptly went to queue up for Turtle Talk with Crush. We were so excited to participate in this unique attraction. The kids had big fun and laughs listening to Crush interact with all the ‘humans in the human tank’! We all laughed our fannies off when Crush showed us his bikini top and one of the kids told him it was a bra!!!

Next we headed to Mission Space, which my Princess was determined to ride. A friend of hers had told her how ‘awesome’ it was and that she just HAD to do it. Goofy & I decided that the green side was the only way we were letting her do this, and she agreed. Lightning and I stayed behind to commune with nature while Goofy and Princess skipped off for their adventure into space.

Lightning happily jumped and climbed and played outside Mission Space, and I happily sat on a bench enjoying the warm, sunshiny day. As if intentionally to ruin my good mood, a bird flew overhead and promptly bombed my shoulder! Thankfully, as any well-prepared Disney traveler would, I had wipes and Tide-to-go in my bag. Since the ‘bombed’ area was on the back of my shoulder, just out of my reach, I had to ask for help from my little man. Lightning, being the sweet, thoughtful boy he is (deep, deep down), cleaned the poop off my shoulder with a wipe, then used the Tide stick to clean the stain. He did a great job!!

A few minutes later, from the far reaches of space returns Goofy and Princess. I watch their faces intently as they approach, and notice that Princess is looking a little rough! She gets to me, and says that she never wanted to ride that again! Goofy, who had ridden the orange side before, said that the green was a little more intense than he expected (for Princess). I had Goofy check Lightning’s handiwork, and Goofy gave it an A++ - no bird poop detectable!! Anyway, back on earth, we decided distraction was the best way to get Princess over her ordeal, so we headed to Test Track.

The kids seemed like they really wanted to ride Test Track, and Goofy and I were excited to ride it as well. The line was only a 20 minute wait, so we hopped in. The kids are happy, talking about the day, everything is great…then it is our turn to board. We get into the ride vehicle and both kids start freaking out! We try to explain to them that it is the same speed that we ride on the freeway, it will be fun, blah, blah, blah….no dice. They are having a cow, and the ride vehicle hasn’t moved because of a problem up ahead. Sooooo, we exit the ride vehicle and leave the ride having lost more than 20 minutes for no reason. Oh well…

We decide that lunch is a good idea, so we hit the Electric Umbrella for burgers and more chicken nuggets for Lightning. It was a decent meal, and we were more hungry than we realized. After we were fed, and somewhat in a better mood, we went to The Land building to try the Jr. Chef program.


If you have not done this with your kids, we HIGHLY recommend it!
It is behind the food court in the Land and runs every hour on the half hour. We got there at 1:27 and the kids were still able to participate in the 1:30 program. I was a little concerned about all of these children having a ‘hand’ in baking cookies that they would eat, but decided the baking would remove the germs. They did have them use a handi-wipe before starting, so I’m SURE that killed most, if not all, of the germs anyway. Each child had a specific ingredient to add, or job to do, and each got to do 2 things. The CMs that were working this were great with the kids, and they had a fabulous time! Princess got to measure and add the brown sugar, then do some stirring, and Lightning got to add the egg (pre-cracked and in a cup) and hold the bowl while Princess stirred. One little girl got to add the Nestle Chocolate Morsels (not chocolate chips – the Jr Chef program is sponsored by Nestle, so the kids were corrected several times). Another girl, says ‘can I have the bag we didn’t use?’ One of the CMs says, ‘Sure for $20. Those are Disney prices.’ All the parents cracked up laughing at that comment, then the CM says, ‘Did I really just say that? I’ll probably get fired now!’ Too funny! Ok, back to the program - both kids got to plop dough on the cookie sheet as well. With dough plopped, Lightning decides he has to potty NOW, so dad runs with him. All the kids had now plopped their dough, and there was still a good bit left in the bowl. The CM calls Princess over, scrapes up the remaining dough onto the spoon, then tells Princess to open wide – what a great picture! Princess does the final plop onto the mess on the cookie sheet and I’m thinking that we are going to have to wait for them to bake. But, of course, they have a magic oven, and produce a tray of perfectly shaped cookies and give 2 in a bakery bag to each child. Whew – they were not actually eating the ones they made! This is a great program that the kids thoroughly enjoyed – give it a try!

Next we headed to Innoventions, where the kids had a ball. We made Robots (which I understand are no longer there). The tried a bunch of different games, so many I can’t even remember! They also liked the fire safety area, and the area where you could test hardhats. It was a fun time!

We had an ADR for Princess Storybook Dinner in Norway, so decide it is time to head that direction. We stop at the Butterfly Garden for a few pictures first. From there, we head toward Norway. We check in, get our picture with Belle , then are seated. I didn’t pay too much attention as to whether or not the whole restaurant was like this, but in our section, all the tables were really close together. We were along a wall, and the bench was just one really long bench that lots of tables shared. We ordered our food, and went to the salad area. I have to be honest, this meal was not the best, but the experience was good. The food was just ok, our server was very rude and hard to find, but the character interaction was fabulous! So, since the kids’ main focus was Princesses (yes, even Lightning!), I guess it was a success. If we had paid out of pocket ($98) though, I don’t think I would have been very happy!! One thing I was confused about – since when is Alice in Wonderland a princess???

Though we would have loved to stay for Illuminations, our time had expired. The kids were really cranky, and thus, so were the grown-ups. We headed to the buses and got in line for Pop. Well, as I mentioned earlier, it was a little breezy this day. The kids had gotten paper chef’s hats from the Jr Chef thing and were now wearing them.

I’m sure you know what happened next…Lightning’s hat flies off his head and into the bus lane – and he goes after it!! I am screaming because I see that he is about to do it, but could not stop him, so like any good mother would, I ran after him, then look up to see a bus that has stopped for him. I snatched him back, grab the hat, and not so calmly tell him to NEVER do that again!! After my heart went back into my chest, back to Pop we went for a little swim and an early bedtime!

Next up – Blizzard Beach and a Magical Moment!
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:55 PM   #11
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Day 4 - Blizzard Beach

Now because of my obsessive planning, I knew that there was a morning EMH for BB this day. We ate breakfast at Pop, then headed to BB on the 8a.m. bus. We were the 1st to arrive at 8:20a.m. Now, Goofy is a bit of a skeptic and a Negative Nelson, so he says ‘Are you sure its open?’ I say ‘Of course it is. Why would they have a bus this early if it wasn’t?’ So we stand around chatting with a CM, who tells us she moved to Florida just so she could work at Disney – I would totally do that!! We decide since no one else is there, that we will wander over to Winter Summerland and see what we can see. As we are walking away, another CM comes running after us. He says, ‘Would you like to open the park for us today?’ We say !!! So we are told that we are the Ski Captain Family, and we get a ‘gold’ medal, towels, refillable mugs, a locker, and the Ski Captain cabana. We enter the turnstiles first
and are then shown to our cabana. Once we put our stuff down, they ask who is going to ‘test’ Summit Plummet. We all point at Goofy! This is perfect for him because he loves thrill rides, and now he gets to ride with no line!! The 3 of us watched from below as Goofy headed up on the ski lift and as he shoots down SP a few minutes later.
So once he is done, the CM who has been with us the whole time, says we are free to do whatever we want – and it is only 8:45!!

We decide to head to the Toboggan Racers, which is what the kids said they wanted to do first. We get up there, and Lightning decides to use up our 15 minute head start on the rest of the guests to sit at the top of this slide. The CM at the top decides to help us out and gives him a push since he is already posed to go. Once he did it, he loved it and we did it 3 more times before moving on. Princess & Goofy went to do Runoff Rapids, and Lightning and I stayed behind. A few minutes later, he decides he wants to do it, too. 49 flights of stairs later, he throws a fit and decides he’s too scared – who is this child? If you were there and saw me trying to make him go, don’t think too badly of me. I thought it would be a repeat of the Toboggan Racers, so I was a little frustrated. Plus, I have a bad knee and had just climbed 49 flights and now had to climb back down – I was less than thrilled. But, I did not make him go on it, and down the stairs we went. So, from that point on, one of us sat with him while the other went with Princess, who now had become the mild, but wild thrill seeker!

We rode Teamboat Springs, rode around the lazy river, and played in the Jr Ski Patrol area. We played in the Wave Pool and rode Tobbagan Racers and Teamboat Springs again. At some point we ate lunch at LottaWatta Lodge. I don’t remember what we got, but I know we did order dessert and asked to pick it up later, which was great.

As the Ski Captain Family, we had gotten tons of Photopass pics first thing that morning. By the end of the day, we also had about 8 Photopass cards and were able to combine them before we left. However, I do NOT post pics of me in a swimsuit, so you will not see any of those!! But, I will show you my cute kiddos.

At about 4:00, we decided it was time to call it quits.

After our great day at BB, we head back to Pop for some dinner and American Idol. We eat, get our ice cream, and head back to the room. DDP NOTE – If you are staying at Pop, you can get dessert from the ‘sweets’ bay on the DDP. Just decide what you want before you go through the line, and let them know that you’ll pick it up after you eat. Then take the receipt to the counter and get dessert when you are ready. We got hot fudge sundaes, and they were yummo! So, after we had gorged ourselves, Lightning says his stomach hurts. Well, mine does too, because we ate too much. So I tell him that he ate too much and that he’ll feel better in the morning. I finally get him to sleep, but have a very bad feeling, because Lightning doesn’t complain unless he is sick. Is this a preview of coming attractions? Stay tuned….
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Old 04-06-2009, 07:05 PM   #12
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Day 5 – Animal Kingdom

The next day dawns and I hold my breath hoping that Lightning is better. He wakes up in a great mood, and is back to his playful, hyper self. So we eat a quick snack in our room and head to Animal Kingdom!

We arrive just prior to rope drop, thanks to our early night yesterday. We head straight to the safari. We wait maybe 5 minutes and we are on our way. We saw so many animals – first thing in the morning is the best time to ride this!!

After our safari, we grab Fast Passes for Kali River Rapids, then decide to get the kids’ faces painted – thank you Disney Reward Dollars!
Next up - our ADR at Donald’s Breakfastsaurous. On our way, we saw Devine. This was just the coolest thing ever! We stood and watched her for a while, and lots of people passed by not realizing there was something to see!

Once at Restaurantasaurus, we waited maybe 5 minutes to be led to the picture area, much like at Chef Mickey’s. Then we were taken to our table. This was a great meal! I really love breakfast food, and we had some really good stuff here! The character interaction was really great as well.
So now fed and ready for more adventures, Goofy heads to ride Expedition Everest, while the kids spin with the Triceratops a few times. After one ride, I let them do this by themselves, because too much spinning is not so good for mama!

We agreed to meet Goofy at the Nemo show, so we head over. He eventually finds us – this theater is huge as well!! Oh my goodness, was this show amazing! I absolutely loved it – and I think the rest of my family did too! After I dried my tears, we headed to the Boneyard for some playtime. This was a chance for us to relax, and the kids to explore and have some freedom. This was a nice break in the day.

Next up is our FP time for Kali. Lightning is starting to chicken out, but since this ride loads quickly, we pretty much just put him on and buckled him up….and by the way, he loved it!! I had decided to put on a poncho for this ride, because I had gotten drenched on Splash and did not want a repeat performance. Lightning and I were the first to go down the big hill, and a big wall of water dumped over our heads. I still got a little bit wet in spite of my preparation, and Lightning got SOAKED! But he was laughing and happy, so we soldiered on.

We then venture over to see The Lion King show. We had seen this before, but love it every time. The kids had a great time singing along, and watching all the antics of their favorite characters. This was a great way to end the day! We had to leave now for our 5pm ADR at Boma, but the parade was going on! How would we get to the gate???

Goofy is excellent at problem solving, so I let him lead the way. We weaved through stores, and along the side of the parade route where possible, and finally made it to the gate. Now one would think that getting from Animal Kingdom to Animal Kingdom Lodge would be quick, right? Wrong! We waited more than 30 minutes for a bus!!! We arrived at Boma a couple of minutes after 5, and had to wait about 15 minutes for our table…why were we rushing again??? We really loved !
The food was great with lots of variety and many new things to try! One of the highlights of our trip!

We took some time to explore AKL after dinner, and decided we would really like to stay here one day. It is so beautiful, and the savannah is awesome! After an hour or so of exploring, we reluctantly left AKL and made our way back to Pop for a good night’s sleep. The next day is Magic Kingdom and evening EMH!!
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Old 04-19-2009, 08:44 PM   #13
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Day 6 - Magic Kingdom (part 2)

We went to bed fairly early last night, thanks to our early ADR at Boma, so we were up and ready to go for rope drop. We arrived a few minutes into the opening show, so really didn’t see too much of it, but we were excited to be there right at opening.

First order of business was Fantasyland. We hit Dumbo 2 or 3 times, Peter Pan’s Flight, then on to the Mad Tea Party. I absolutely cannot ride the Mad Tea Party, so Goofy does this one with the kiddos. It looked like they would be in line for a bit, so I head to Buzz Lightyear to get FPs. By the time I get back, they are loaded on the MTP and ready to spin. I swear I could puke just watching this thing, but they LOVE it!!

After the MTP, we head over to the Indy Speedway. I guess the kids love this ride because they can ‘drive’. But it is so slow, that most of the time it is not worth the wait. But, the kids want to do it really bad, so we hop in line. The whole family is laughing (and probably some people we don’t know) because I realize that I am just barely tall enough to be able to ride alone (haha).
We zoom our way around the speedway, then are asked by a CM if the kids want to do a ‘race’. They are super excited! They are given little toy cars to push and race, then are given a ‘driver’s license’ souvenier.
These little moments are so special to us!!

It is time for our FP on Buzz, so we head over. The FP wait is more than 30 minutes!! The CM tells us we can use the FP later if we want to, so we decide to head to Goofy’s Barnstormer. But we change our plans when right outside of Buzz Lightyear, we see Stitch, and decide to take a photo op.

We have an ADR for Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, and realize it is about time for lunch. We head to this cute little place and check in.
We really liked it here. It had a very nice atmosphere, and we thought the food was really good. I had read lots of mixed reviews on the Dis, but we really enjoyed it. The chocolate bomb was awesome!!!

After lunch, we head back to Goofy’s Barnstormer to continue our previous plan. Lightning again chickens out, so Goofy takes him to Mickey’s house while Princess and I ride. This thing is so jerky, it gives me a headache! But, Princess loves it, so I love it too.

Next we all go to Mickey & Minnie’s respective houses, and investigate all the little things in here. The kiddos just love that oven!! We decide to skip the Judge’s Tent, because the line is long and they saw Mickey at Donald’s Breakfast, and we were going to Chef Mickey’s that night. So having completely checked out the mouse houses, we head back to Buzz.

The FP line has calmed down, so we hop in and shoot our way through space. We have a great time with this – and mama comes out the champion!! Vowing to have a rematch, the kids decide it is time for a break. We head back to Pop for a nap and swimming, so that we will be well-rested for our return this evening.

Next up – evening EMH!
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:44 PM   #14
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The last bit of fun...

Day 7 – Sleeping late, Mini-golf, and a fabulous Dinner

We planned for our last full day to be lazy, and it was wonderful! We woke up about 10am, got up slowly, and made our way to the Pop food court to grab some breakfast of eggs, bacon, and Mickey waffles then it was time for mini-golf! We chose Winter-Summerland, because of our preview on Blizzard Beach day and thought it looked oh-so-fun! We decided to drive instead of taking the bus, just in case we decided to do anything else while we were out. We got a parking space up front and made our way to the cashier. Handing over our certificate for a free round, we got our clubs, made our color choices for golf balls and made our way to the Winter course.

The theming at Winter-Summerland is just awesome! On the winter course, you have things like snowy mountains, Christmas trees, and Santa on skis – it is so cute! We had a great time, and Lightning even got a hole in one!!! After our pro-golf tour, we decided on snacks from the snack bar – ice cream on a stick! With our receipt in hand, we discovered that we had lots of snack credits left!! We would have to remedy that later.

Deciding that it is getting hot and time to swim, we head back to Pop. As we are walking to our room, Lightning sees a duck and decides to chase it. The duck does not like this much and decides to retaliate. He turns around, flies up in the air….and pees on Lightning’s head! Even Lightning had to laugh at that one! That will teach him to chase ducks!!!

Safely back in the room, duck pee cleaned off, we put on our swimsuits and I gather the laundry. Even though I swore I would never do laundry on vacation, I decide to go home with clean clothes instead of dirty ones. And, with the laundry room right by the pool, the set-up is perfect. We haul ourselves, our towels, and all our dirty clothes down to Hippy Dippy and the fun begins!! Goofy and the gang jump right in, and I go to the laundry. I am able to separate everything into 4 loads and yea! There are 4 washers open! I stuff it all in, add my money & detergent, then join the gang at the pool. After about an hour of splashing around, I go check the clothes. They are ready to dry, and there are enough dryers open too! This is the way to do laundry!!! If only I had a pool and 4 washers and dryers at home….

We swim a while longer, finish up the laundry, then decide to get ready to go to dinner. On Wednesday, when Lightning was sick, Goofy went to Guest Services to see about another ADR. He was able to snag the ONLY available ADR in all the World at Alfredo’s in Italy at Epcot. Woohoo!

Now showered, dressed, and refreshed we boarded the bus for Epcot at about 5:00. Our ADR was for 7:00, so Princess was hoping to see a few Epcot sights before eating, which we told her was probably wishful thinking. Upon arrival, we scanned the board – a 120 minute wait for Soarin’, a 60 minute wait for Test Track, a 60 minute wait for Nemo – we decided to head to World Showcase.

We wandered through Norway and Mexico – I stopped and got a Fiesta Margarita. If I close my eyes now, I can almost taste it…mmmm. Anyway, we walked slowly and looked around and finally make it to Italy. We check in a little early, but still had to wait about 30 minutes. No problem…the kids were happy to run around outside, while I finished my margarita. Yes, it took a while, because to me it was pretty strong. But I don’t really drink that much, so I’m a lightweight!

Finally it is time for us to be seated. I think we got salads for our appetizers, then I got fettucini alfredo and Goofy got lasagna for our entrees. This was our best meal of the week! It was so delicious, hot, and fresh – it is so sad that this restaurant closed.

Full tummies make for happy tourists, so we were all very happy!!! Upon exiting Alfredos, we discover it is almost time for Illuminations! We grab a spot and in just a few minutes the fun begins. This was the first time we had watched this because the kids are usually too worn out to stay, but this was fantastic! We all really enjoyed the cool breeze, the fabulous fireworks, and just being together. It was one of those sweet moments; one that brings a tear to your eye and ended up the highlight of our week. A great way to end our whirlwind tour of the world!

We sadly boarded the buses and headed back to Pop, knowing that tomorrow meant going home and ending our escape from reality. It meant seeing other families coming in while we were checking out. It meant back to cleaning our own rooms, making our own beds, and cooking our own meals. It meant a 9-10 hour drive and no more snack credits….oh my gosh! We have tons of snack credits left!!!

Arriving at Pop around 10:30, we headed straight to the food court to use up our snack credits. Since our last night was added later, and not part of our dining package, we had to use our credits before midnight. We got chips, bottled drinks, pretzels, and variety of snacks to use up our remaining 8 credits – these would be our road trip stash!

After the snack credit frenzy, we headed to the room. Now we were back to being sad about leaving. So we took our sad little selves to bed and went to sleep, dreaming of the next visit and more snack credits.

The next morning was hustle bustle, get ready to go, pack the car, eat some food and be on our way. It was a shock to have to pay for food this day!! But, on our long drive home, I took some time to come up with the:

Top 10 Things I Learned on our Trip to WDW

10. Take the batteries out of the spinning toys until ready to use. If you leave the batteries in, the button will get pushed and strip the gears and then the toy won’t work when you pull it out right before Spectromagic. But it might only happen to one of them, so then your daughter’s toy will work and your son’s won’t and then you’ll spend the whole parade listening to your son say ‘Sissy, can I please see your toy?’ and your daughter saying ‘No, it’s mine and I just got it and I don’t want you to play with it.’ Then you must buy him a new one to replace the one that is now broken.

9. People are not who you think they are. Our son, who we thought was a complete dare-devil, is only a dare-devil when it comes to riding his scooter down humongous hills or jumping off of brick retaining walls. That part of his personality does not apply to Big Thunder Mountain or Splash Mountain, which were the 1st 2 rides we rode. On every ride after that, he asked ‘Does it have big hills, or sharp curves, or go really fast? ‘Cause if it does, I’m not doin’ it!’

8. Most people do not own a full-length mirror. This is the only logical explanation I can come up with for the amount of skin I saw on this trip. Most of the skin being cheeks – and I don’t mean faces!

7. It pays to be a little over-zealous! At least at Disney... We arrived at Blizzard Beach 40 minutes before extra magic hour opening, and were the first ones there. We got to open the park! We were the Ski Captains for the day and got free towels, a free locker, 2 free refillable mugs, and our own cabana. And, the best part, DH got to go down Summit Plummet first with NO LINE! We pretty much had the park to ourselves for about an hour – it was fantastic!

6. The Dining Plan offers a TON of food! I had read this before I left, but you cannot imagine it until you are not hungry for your 8:20 dinner reservation because of how much you ate at your 12:00 lunch reservation! But thanks to all the walking, I did not gain ANY weight – woohoo!

5. No need to arrive early to see the Power Rangers. This was our most frustrating character encounter. We arrived early, but when the Rangers come out, they are in a car and they scatter, so it didn’t really matter that we were the first ones there. We did our best to find out how the line-up would work before they came out, but the CMs would not give us enough info. We divided and conquered, so that our son could meet the Red Ranger, and our daughter could meet the Yellow Ranger. DH barely made it over to snap the picture, but we did it!

4. The quality of some restaurants ain’t what it used to be. The most noticeable for us was Chef Mickey’s. We had gone there in 2003 and LOVED it! This time, our service was not that great, the food was not that great, and we had to wait a good bit for the characters.

3. The value of the Dining Plan depends on how you eat. We absolutely got our money’s worth for what we ate. However, we’re not sure we would have eaten near as much without it. Whether or not we’ll do it next time is still up for debate. Decide where you want to go and what you want to eat (without considering cost) and add it up – then decide if the DP is a good value for YOU.

2. Sunscreen:good, spray sunscreen in a crowd:bad. Spraying sunscreen in a crowd of people is likely to get in someone's eyes, or up someone’s nose, and more than likely will spur a coughing fit. Please use caution and spray sunscreen away from crowds.

1. The number one thing we learned from Disney? The best moments are often unplanned. I planned this trip for months, and don’t get me wrong, it was well worth the time and effort. But, our best memory of this well-thought out, overplanned trip was our completely last minute, unplanned, night in Epcot. It was a beautiful way to end our trip – very relaxed, enjoying time together, and not on a schedule. Please take the time to ‘smell the roses’ and enjoy these moments of simple pleasure.


Since I am doing this report pretty much for myself, and my few lurky friends who have told me in person they are reading, I decided not to put any pictures in the last post. If you have been reading, I hope you enjoyed it - I really enjoyed writing it. Until next time…
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Check out my trip report: Magical & Not So Magical Moments - The Top Ten Things We Learned
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:09 PM   #15
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I enjoyed your TR!
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