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Old 10-03-2010, 01:41 AM   #1
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Herbie! Corral Your Lovebugs! Sept. 2010 Trip Report

Yes, friends, the love bugs are out in full force. And boy do those things like one another, you'd think they could at least get a room.

Welcome one and all to my very first ever trip report! We are just back after 6 glorious and fun filled days at the World for my daughter's first trip ever. My only other experience with Disney World was 15 years ago when I was a teenage punk, so in essesence this trip was very new to me as well.

Allow myself to introduce myself, your guide through this journey filled with laughter, tears, and enough heartwarming moments to make a Grinch's heart grow three sizes in one day. I'm Casey, Mom and x-ray tech extraordinare from the Seattle, WA area. Look, here I am. Don't look to close though or you may get lost in my crows feet.

Ha ha! Made it black and white so that you couldn't see them! The little cutie to the left of the big orange bouncy creature is my daughter Kassidy who will be preforming many a costume change throughout this trip. She's 7, in the second grade and exactly 48 inches tall, which makes her tall enough to ride everything at Disney, but I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams that she would want to ride everything she did. This trip was absolutely full of surprises and I learned things about my child that I never knew before. Along the way I will discover several interesting things, including...

#1. My normally timid child is really an adrenaline junkie in disguise.
#2. No matter how many times you ask you child if they have to go to the bathroom, they will refuse...that is, until you get in the longest line of the day. And then they have to go RIGHT NOW.
#3. Whatever character you think your child will be most excited to meet, they won't be.
#4. Space Mountain will inevitably break down every time you are in line for it.
#5. If you go to Epcot without a touring plan, you are doomed. DOOMED!

I had some mostly fantastic and amazing moments, a few breathtaking ones, and a couple of never agains that I will rant about, but until then, feel free to grab a drink, sit back, and see the World through a fresh pair of eyes as I tell my tale. Away we go.........
WDW: Apr 95', Sept 10', May 11', Sept 11', Aug 12', Mar 14' Oct 14'
DL: Feb 13'
US/IoA: Sept 10', Aug 12' Oct 14'

Last edited by crostorfer; 10-03-2010 at 01:42 AM. Reason: Color change
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:38 PM   #2
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D Day! Arrival in the World!

It was a loooooooooong night. On Saturday September 25th we left Seatac airport at 10:45pm for Orlando. The flight was mostly uneventful. Nothing of importance to note. Kassidy was able to sleep for the majority of the 5 and a half hours, I think I maybe slept for two, which made for a bleary eyed arrival at MCO. I perked up immediately as soon as we landed. The sun was just beginning to rise as we taxi'd toward the gate and I could see that it was going to be partly cloudy. When we exited the plane, I could feel the heat, it was also going to be a scorcher compared to what we are used to in Seattle.

We followed the directions toward Side B, 1st level to meet the Magical Express. I have to admit, I was a little confused trying to find my way around, and my confusion doubled when I actually found where we were going. There was a small crowd of people gathering near a Disney desk, so I approached them. I told the smiling cast member at the end of the line I was checking into the magical express and he pointed me to the line to the left. Once again, I was confused. There was no one in that line. That can't be right, can it? I slowly walked to the end of the empty line to the castmember waiting at the end. Was I in the right place? It was completely deserted. The very friendly Magical Express castmember laughed as asked if this was right and welcomed us to our trip. Within three minutes of arriving on the first floor of the "B" side, we were being escorted to our bus. There was zero wait and zero hassle. There were two busses there at the stop, ours, which was completely empty except for Kassidy and I, and one that said Animal Kingdom Lodge that was completely packed.

I figured that Kass and I would have to wait a while on the bus for more guests heading towards the Magic Kingdom busses to arrive. Wrong again! Less than 5 minutes after boarding the bus, we were off and had the entire bus to ourselves heading toward the Polynesian.

We both looked around in awe as we drove toward the Magic Kingdom area and entered the gateway. We were both exhausted, but high on adrenaline.
When we arrived at the Poly, I wasn't sure if we were pulling up to a hotel or a botanical garden. The place was GORGEOUS! There was folliage and waterfalls everywhere.

I went straight to the online check in area at the front desk. After waiting two minutes for the attendant at the desk to grab my folder, we had our keys to the world and were ready to go! After touching down in Orlando at 7am, we were at the hotel, checked in, and had our bags stowed all by 8:05am. I was shocked at how easy Disney makes things, I have never had an easier start to a vacation in my entire life.

I had booked a lagoon view room at the Poly, 1st or 3rd floor, but requested no specific longhouse. Knowing that the majority of lagoon views are in Tahiti, that is where I was expecting to be put, but was secretly hoping for Tuvalu. When the desk clerk gave us our room number he circled Aotoera on the resort map. I was quite surprised, I didn't realize that there were lagoon view rooms in that longhouse, so Kass and I went to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. You can, in fact, see the lagoon from the far side of the longhouse, along with a bonus view of the monorail, so close you could throw a stone and hit it. We were in 3217, the last room on the third floor, overlooking the lagoon and Luau Cove. That side of the resort has it's own semi-private beach which is quite secluded and peaceful. Aotoera is a great longhouse choice for anyone on their honeymoon or seeking a more quiet option from the hustle and bustle of the main beach by the pool. Here are a few shots of it.

Our room was on the 3rd floor, on the end, kinda covered by the palm tree on the far right. From there, we had a clear view of space mountain and the castle behind the trees.

Rather than give a separate review of the Polynesian in another thread, I will just give one now. I absolutely loved it. I really, really did. Every cast member that we encountered the entire time at the resort greeted us with a wide smile and an "Aloha". Our room was spacious and always clean when we returned from the parks, we had absolutely no issues with maintenance or noise from other rooms. The pool was fairly crowded by mid-day, but was never so crowded that you couldn't find a chair or have space to move around. The gift shops were lovely, the counter service eatery was good, and the grounds were always meticulously maintained. I couldn't have been happier with our choice to stay there. I loved our room, on the nights when they held the Luau, we were able to listen to the music from our balcony.

After checking out our room we went down to the pool for some fun and relaxation before the parks. The pool was amazing. My daughter convinced me to go down the volcano slide. I cringed at first, but had so much fun that I went down 5 times in a row. It was so hot outside, the pool water felt fantastic.

Around 2ish, we left the pool area and cleaned up a bit to head out to the Studios for our first taste of the parks.

Coming up...Joy and Pain While Wishing For Rain, including my one NEVER AGAIN moment at Disney World.
WDW: Apr 95', Sept 10', May 11', Sept 11', Aug 12', Mar 14' Oct 14'
DL: Feb 13'
US/IoA: Sept 10', Aug 12' Oct 14'

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Old 10-03-2010, 09:53 PM   #3
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Great start!
Dixie Landing's 1997
All Star Sports 2000
Paradise Pier (Disneyland)2002
All Star Sports 2003
Pop Century 2005
Wilderness Lodge 2008
French Quarter 2008
All Star Movies 2008
Riverside 2009
French Quarter 2010/2011/2012/2014
Howard Johnson (Disneyland) 2013
Coronado 2013
AKL- Kidani Village 2014
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:30 AM   #4
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If You Can't Stand the Heat, Get Out of Fantasmic

Day One: September 26th.

When we left off, Kassidy and I had spent a lovely couple of hours relaxing by the Volcano Pool. Knowing that we had Military Salute tickets that needed to be activated by the end of the day, we hopped out of the pool and on to the resort bus to Hollywood Studios to experience the first of the World.

It takes about 20 minutes to get to DHS from the Polynesian, including a resort bus stop at the Grand Floridian resort, as all of the Magic Kingdom area resorts share a bus to DHS and Animal Kingdom.

We stepped off the bus and hurried to activate our tickets and get through the gate in order to make our 3pm lunch ressies at the Sci Fi.

(My review of the Sci Fi is included in my Dining Review entitled How Many Character Meals is Too Many?)

I made several mistakes on the first two days, and my first mistake was not checking the Times Guide when we entered the park. One of the three major things I had wanted to do was see Muppet Vision 3D. Its RIGHT ACROSS from the Sci Fi, but Kassidy wanted to actually "ride" something, and after checking my Undercover Tourist App on my iPhone (which I found invaluable btw), I discovered that there was a 10 minute wait on the Tower of Terror. We beelined it across the park around 4:15pm, and arrived at the Tower. Super happy bonus surprise, we walked right on! No wait at all.

My 7 year old is normally timid and shy, and has never been to a theme park or ridden anything more wild than a carosel in her life. at 48 and 1/2 inches tall, she is just tall enough to ride every ride at Disney. I decided that this ride would be a good test. If she hated it, no biggie, at least she could say she tried it.

The ride ruined her for the rest of the trip. But not for the reason you might think. SHE LOVED IT. She loved it so much that she drug me back on three times in a row, each time we walked right on. We would have gone a forth, but the line started to pick up a little at that point, so we moved on.

Walking across the street, Kassidy noticed the words "Roller Coaster" and started to drag me towards the Rock and Roller Coaster. Still, I was hesitant that her newfound daredevil attitude was some strange fluke.

"But honey", I warned her, "This one flips you upside down. Are you ready for that?"

Her eyes light up. She smiles. I see the glint in her baby blues. At that moment, I knew I had created a little adrenaline monster.

She drug me on it four times. Yes. Four times. We never waited longer than just the pre-show before you board.

From this moment on, before we rode anything else for the next 5 days, she would ask me before went on any ride if it was a roller coaster. When my reply was "No", as it was often seeing as Disney has a depressing lack of thrill rides, her response was not a positive one. Her unexpected love of all things dangerous and thrilling would come back to bite me on Thursday, but I will get to that in due time.

By the time we were finished being dropped, whipped, and thrown upside down, it was close to 6pm. I was ready to sit down with some of my beloved Muppets and relax. Before heading over to the other side of the park, for some odd reason I chose to take my first look at my Times Guide to discover that Muppet Vision 3D....closed at 5:30. I was seriously disappointed, but was even more thristy and sweating like woman of ill repute in church. Luckily, a showing of Voyage of the Little Mermaid was about to begin, so we ducked into the theatre to catch the show. I was SO glad we did!

Voyage of the Little Mermaid was one of the highlights of the day. The show was really well done, and a lot of fun with the bubbles and the misting, and the gigantic Ursala. We really got into it, I cannot say enough about it. Watching my daughter bounce around trying to pop bubbles and cheer for Ariel really melted my heart. I wish the show was longer. 17 minutes was not enough.

At 6:30, we took a look at the line for Toy Story Mania, just for kicks. HA! I won't even go there. The line completely packed that entire area of the park. It wasn't worth getting any closer than the Barrel of Monkeys for a closer look. The crowd began right after the Prince Caspian attraction and people clogged the rest of the street down. Instead, we shopped around Villians In Vogue for a bit and grabbed another bottle of water before we decided to head down to grab a seat for Fantasmic, a show that I was very highly anticipating.

We entered the theatre right at the stroke of 7, and I was glad we did. The seats were half taken at that point, with certain sections roped off, and castmembers shuffling the masses to the left in an effort to fill all of the seats. I was nervous while standing at the top and peeking towards where we would be seated, still nervous as we moved down our assigned row, and then shocked as we moved down our aisle. We were five rows back, front and center. Best seats in the house, it was great. We parked ourselves on our slab and waited. And waited......and sweated....and waited.....and sweated....and complained.....and checked the time......and waited.....until finally the house lights dropped and a voice from above announced that the show was about to begin. YAY!

The show itself was everything that I had expected it would be. It was amazing, and thrilling, and slightly frightening, and exhillarating, and visually stunning. The best part though, honestly, better than the safari animals, better than Maleficent as a dragon, better than the finale, better than it all, was watching my daughter.

Kassidy is 7 going on 17. The days where she used to watch cartoons are over, now its all iCarly and Wizards of Waverly Place. She wants a cell phone and her ears pierced. (I say no to both.) So imagine my joy when my wanna-be tween is staring at the stage in awe and screams her little heart out, "Run Mickey! Run!" When he encounters the dragon. And "Fight Mickey! Fight!" When he pulls the sword from the stone. I looked at my little girl in that moment and realized that at heart, she really is still a little girl. It brought tears to my eyes, I was really, really taken aback. It was wonderful. Moments like that prove to me that Disney really is a magical place to be.

It was Robert Frost who penned the line "Nothing Gold Can Stay". And boy, was he right, because all of my elation of the entire 25 minutes of Fantasmic came to a massive, deflating halt as soon as the show ended. Leaving Fantasmic was the WORST experience of our entire week at Disney, hands down. I saw ugliness, I heard rudeness, and was a part of the mass of confusion and disorganization. The whole thing was a MESS. An absolute mess. I will never, never, never go to Fantasmic again. The only way that I would ever consider stepping foot into that show would be if they offered a separate Fantasmic Dinner Package that allowed you a separate special exit, not a special seating section. I cannot even describe the massive mess this was. This was also the only time that I can say I encountered blatantly rude and "un-Disneylike" castmembers, and BOY were they rude.

I don't even know where to begin with specifics. After the show is over, all 5000 or so people step up at the same time and attempt to leave out of one exit. The exit is essentially the same area you entered through, EXCEPT, they have roped off half of entrance, making the exit half of the size. Castmembers line the rope, attempting to direct people towards the left. The major problem with this is that people with strollers now have to pick up their stroller on the opposite side of the street from where they dropped it off. Mass confustion ensues. People are trying to head the direction they dropped theirs off at, but they are unable to get that way. The castmembers were way beyond rude to anyone approaching their rope. They were joking and making bets about how they would "take people out" for going the wrong way. There was a mass of people, all crushing against one another all trying to exit through a tiny area. A woman in a wheelchair, holding a child on her lap, rammed me repeatedly in the ankles with her chair trying to make me move either out of her way, or faster. (I was physically unable to do either due to the number of people.) It was RIDICULOUS. It took close to 45 minutes to leave the park, and then another 15 for the resort bus to come so that we could all jam on like sardines for the 20 minute ride back to the hotel. Never again will I do Fantasmic. I'm glad I saw it, it was a great show, but I will never subject myself or my child to that exit experience ever again. Its just not worth it.

We arrived back at the Polynesian exhausted and ready to collapse in our soft, fluffy beds in preparation for hitting the ground running at Epcot in the morning! Sleep was a very, very good thing.

Next up...Sweating Around the World Showcase
WDW: Apr 95', Sept 10', May 11', Sept 11', Aug 12', Mar 14' Oct 14'
DL: Feb 13'
US/IoA: Sept 10', Aug 12' Oct 14'

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Old 10-18-2010, 08:49 AM   #5
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I followed you over from your dining report. I didn't realize you even had a trip report. I must have just skimmed your intro and gone right to the food , sorry.

I love your TOT picture. Usually people only get the top, but your pic has almost the whole thing.

It is awesome that Cassidy is 48". My dd is only 45
She was pretty upset she couldn't ride the roller coasters. I don't think she is going to grow 3" by our next trip either.

DH and I just decided to change our Feb. to May and we will be there the same time as you. (May 14-22nd) I'm not 100% on where we will stay though. I really want to try Pop for some reason. Then, we'll follow that with either BC, BW, or AKL.

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