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Old 02-23-2009, 02:13 AM   #1
blestmom
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-38 degrees again?? Goodbye Alaska…Hello Disney! January 2009 (Updated 4/17)

I love Alaska. I really do. It’s gorgeous here. It’s relatively quiet (except for a short time this fall, when reporters descended upon our little haven like a Brazilian tour group at Rock n’ Roller Coaster…but I digress.) I don’t even mind the cold…really I don’t. I don’t mind plugging my car in at night to ensure it starts in the morning. I don’t mind wearing Ugg boots and gloves in the house. I don’t even mind enduring a measly 5 hours of daylight most days in December and waiting half a day to get studded tires put on my minivan. But day after day after day of -30 degrees gets real old. Real old.

Here is a little bit of what I’m talking about:

Frozen doors at church:



Bundled up to watch the fireworks:





Square-dancing in boots and parka inside because it is so cold:



Thanks to our frequent flyer miles, I booked a trip way back in April for January. This trip marks the first time not all of the kids are going. My oldest son started college, and can’t miss classes. My second oldest son was smack-dab in the middle of basketball season. DH, being a teacher, doesn’t usually go on our Disney trips. He just funds them. What a great guy. He isn’t the Disney enthusiast that I am. I’m also leaving behind my little Jack, a sweet puppy DH got for me for as a surprise.



I’m going to miss him very much. So for this trip, we are the typical “family of four,” except that instead of mom and dad and two kids, it is mom and three kids.

Here’s the cast:

Me: 44 (turning 45 during the trip) a true Disney nut.



DD: 15 a.k.a. “Princess.” Amazingly did very well being away from friends, iPods and Facebook for a whole two weeks.

DD: 12 a.k.a. “Sweetness.” She is, most of the time, a very accommodating and sweet girl.



DS: 10 a.k.a. “Mr. Energy.” You know how toddlers just go, go, go 100 mph, and then just drop? That’s my son…except he’s 10.



Our trip is for 17 days total. I start looking at 10 days for a trip, and keep searching until I find available flights we can get using miles. This time, that means 17 days. Thanks to a great travel agent, I’m able to get an AP rate for the entire stay at POP Century. This is our first time at the hotel, and we are really excited.

We have to leave in the middle of the night, since the airport is 1-1/2 hours away. I say goodbye to the boys (sniff, sniff…that was sad and hard) and then stay up. I didn’t want to risk falling asleep and missing the flight. We get to the airport 2 hours early. Flights down were great. 3-1/2 hours for the first flight, and 5-1/2 hours for the second.





Flying over Alaska:



Remember the good old days, when they actually fed you on the plane? For these long flights especially, food was not only necessary, but a welcome diversion from boredom. Just arranging the food, and the napkin, and opening the little packet with plastic silverware, gave you something to do for about half an hour. I even loved the little paper sack bags with cold sandwiches they had a few years ago. Now, you don’t get anything. Zippo, nada, zilch. Since we were flying all day, literally from before breakfast until long after dinner, I did get the kids snack packs. They were pretty good.



We also rented digE players, again to help with boredom. I watched a good movie, “Alvin and the Chipmunks” and a really bad movie.



We got into Orlando early, and had no trouble finding Magical Express. The airport was pretty empty. We retrieved our own luggage, since we were getting in so late (10:30 p.m.) and wanted to have our stuff for the night. We loved Magical Express! (I was going to post a picture of my girls on the bus, but my older daughter made a ‘peace’ sign for the camera, and my younger daughter did too. Except part of her hand in hidden behind the seat in front of her, and you only see half of the sign. The wrong half. So, I’ll have to work with Photoshop on that one.)

Checking into Pop Century was easy too. Again, there was hardly anyone else there. I was disappointed to find out that the building I had requested wasn’t available. They did tell me, however, that if I was willing to switch rooms in the morning, I could have a room in the building I wanted for the rest of our stay. Yippee!

We dropped our stuff off at our room, and then went to explore the hotel. It was almost midnight, but we were so excited! Pop Century is a great resort. We absolutely loved it there.









We didn’t unpack everything, since we’d be switching rooms in the morning. Finally, we did go to bed. It had been a wonderful first day.

Next Installment: How Much Chocolate Can We Consume In One Day?

Last edited by blestmom; 04-18-2009 at 03:46 AM.
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Old 02-23-2009, 02:58 AM   #2
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Wow

This is a really good trip report, can't wait to read about How Much Chocolate you Can Consume In One Day!
My favorite part was the joke about the "Brazilian tour group at Rock n’ Roller Coaster"

Good work Blessed keep it up.

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Old 02-23-2009, 08:12 AM   #3
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Love the start of your trip report and can't wait to read the rest!
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Old 02-23-2009, 09:13 AM   #4
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I'm on board!!
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Old 02-23-2009, 09:47 AM   #5
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I'm in. Can't wait to read more.

The shot from the plane of Alaska is so pretty!
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Old 02-23-2009, 09:49 AM   #6
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subbing here, too! pics are super...
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Old 02-23-2009, 10:32 AM   #7
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Great start!!! Wonderful pics!!!! I love TRs that include pics. Loved your RNR joke and so true too! Am anxiously waiting to hear more.
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Old 02-23-2009, 10:03 PM   #8
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Day 2: How Much Chocolate Can We Consume in One Day?

When originally planning this trip, I had decided to get 10-day park hoppers, and just relax the other five days. Thank goodness some helpful DISers talked me out of that plan. We went with Annual Passes (AP’s) instead. Besides having that much more time in the parks, I think it would have been hard to find enough to do to keep us entertained without renting a car for five days. Not impossible, but the AP’s were much better. Plus, now we can hopefully get one more trip out of them next winter. Nice idea, anyway.

So our first day was going to be a sleep in and relax day, and just because we had the AP’s, I still thought that would be best. We did, however, have to be ready to be out of the room by 11 a.m. No problem. We were up and ready to go by 9! We were so excited about the vacation, we didn’t sleep in long at all. We walked around the resort a bit more.







Pop Century is great. We went to the food court and picked up our Refillable Mugs. Being there so long, we’re sure going to get our money’s worth out of them.

We then headed on over to Downtown Disney. I love the Disney buses. For me, a large part of the vacation is not having to drive. I am the designated chauffeur mini-van driving mom back home. Basketball, football, baseball, dance, choir…sit and wait, pick up, drop off, run errands…ahhhh, not having to drive is a big plus. I also always order our tickets and pick them up at Will Call. This is for two reasons. One, I don’t have to remember to bring the tickets. Two, it gives me an excuse to stop by Ghirardelli and get something chocolate. This has now become a tradition for us. I like this tradition…a lot.

So we got our tickets, and headed over to Earl of Sandwich for brunch. I had a chicken thai salad,



and the kids got sandwiches.

Then it was time for Ghirardelli…ooh, I love this place. "Princess" and I split an Intense Dark Chocolate Espresso Sundae,



"Mr. Energy" got a kid’s hot fudge sundae,



and "Sweetness" got a chocolate croissant.




We headed back to Pop Century to get into our new room. It's great…50’s building, close to the food court, and lake view. Everything I had asked for! We spent about an hour unpacking and getting settled in.

Now remember, this is supposed to be our day off. But, we do have the AP’s, so it wouldn’t be wasting a day to go over to Epcot for a little while. No one is tired, and we’re all excited, so off we go.

Our first ride is Spaceship Earth. “Mr. Energy” loves this ride.



I also am happy that we are going to be able to use this for ‘history’ for his homeschool work sample. (Shh...don't tell them it's educational)





This was our first time on the ride since they changed the ending. We liked it!



We then went on Test Track. My kids love the sit in the cars at the end of the ride. (Don't they all? Driving seems like so much fun, until you become the designated driver to all of your kids activities...)



"Princess" was thrilled to see her very favorite car of all time...a Hummer.



We next went on Soarin’ and Living With the Land. I was already missing my decaf mochas from our local Mocha Moose espresso stand, so I thought I could at least take a picture of a cocoa plant and coffee plant.





I was pleased with how uncrowded Epcot was. It was so relaxing after all that travel.







We took a quick trip around the World Showcase, stopping for the Mexican boat ride, Maelstrom in Norway, Canada,





and of course, more chocolate from the bakery in France.



By this time, we were starting to get a bit tired, and we decided not to wait for Illuminations. We knew we would catch it on another day. So we headed back to the hotel. We got some dinner in the food court (the Penne Chicken is really, really good) and then the kids went swimming. We watched some Disney Channel on t.v. and before you know it, we were all sound asleep.

Next installment: Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures
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Old 02-23-2009, 10:21 PM   #9
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woo-hoo! I'm jealous of the 17 days! Alaska looks beautiful. I may visit sometime but there is no way that I'd move to some place that cold.

Can't wait to read more of your report.

and the chocolate is making me hungry!
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Old 02-23-2009, 11:06 PM   #10
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And I was there, too! I rode TT, Maelstrom, Gran Fiesta, ate an almond something-or-other at the bakery in France....we were stalking each other!

Great report and gorgeous pictures. I loved the weather.
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Old 02-24-2009, 03:48 AM   #11
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Keep em coming

Wow you guys look like your having a blast.
Those are some very good pictures you took (are you like a professional photographer).
Any ways I can't wait to read the next part of your trip report.

Might I suggest telling "pricess" to stop gorging on chocolate so much(it shows)
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:44 AM   #12
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I love all the chocolate...gotta love vacation!
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:51 AM   #13
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All that chocolate looks so yummy!
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disney+steak=awsome View Post
Wow you guys look like your having a blast.
Those are some very good pictures you took (are you like a professional photographer).
Any ways I can't wait to read the next part of your trip report.

Might I suggest telling "pricess" to stop gorging on chocolate so much(it shows)


Golly, I wish chocolate would show as well on me as it does 'priNcess' - she's as skinny as a ballet dancer...oh, in fact, she IS a ballet dancer....

Keep the chocolate going - and your pictures are beautiful!!!!
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