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Old 06-20-2010, 06:18 PM   #1
latexscooter
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Everything is Satisfactual 5/25-6/2 -Magical Memories Were Made

Welcome to my trip report. My pre-trip report failed miserably so I’m hoping my full blown report will pan out a little better. In my defense, I was going through a difficult time right before we left so my PTR was destined to failure. I should have named it Debbie Downer Goes on Vacation and managed expectations right from the get-go. No one would expect Debbie Downer to finish her depressing PTR nor would they care if she didn’t. So if you glanced at my PTR – don’t hold it against me. As it turned out our trip was awesome so this report may get a little long as I try to tell and show you every last detail. In telling the story, I get to relive it. Hopefully you’ll come along for the ride.

Our little family began our trip on Tuesday, May 25 and returned home on Wednesday, June 2. We were able to experience the blessings of the Give a Day Fast Pass on three separate days, Star Wars Weekends, the crowds that come with Memorial Day, the fun of Winter Summerland, a Family Magic Tour, jet boats on Bay Lake, and even a Pirate Adventure. We had ten table services meals – unfortunately not all good – and countless snacks and quick services meals too. I’m going to talk about it all in this report. At times it may even seem like it’s a photo essay since some of my notes were lost but the pictures survived.

Here’s what you need to know about us. We are a party of three – DH, Mike; DD7, Avery; and me. We are annual visitors, but not annual pass holders. We have gone each year since Avery was born with her first visit being at five months. We go for eight nights, nine days and stay at whatever the budget allows. We’ve rented points, applied discounts, gone low rent and stayed high style. This year was a moderate vacation and we stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter. It’s one of our favorite resorts and what we define as a safe bet because we know what to expect and it delivers every time.

For those of you that want to have lookie-loo, this is our little family with some other people you may know.



That photo was taken on our last day after our Family Magic Tour. Think of it as a look into our TR future.

To help you get to know us a little better here’s some info about us, our experience in the World and what you can expect.

Let’s start with me. I’m a long time Disney veteran that has been so many times I can’t count my visits. That’s partly because I lived in Florida while growing up and by the time I realized it would be neat to count my visits, I already couldn’t recall how many times I’d been.

I am the planner of the family and I never try to “do it all” every trip. I like to have something to look forward to the next time and I also like to try something new.

Here are some other things of note that just seem to happen to me every trip. I’m sure some of these experiences are not unique to me but I can count on them happening each and every year – like a Christmas gone wrong.

If there is a toddler pushing a stroller like a drunken sailor down a walkway, they will hit me every time.

When I go to get a FP for Soarin or TSM immediately after rope drop, I will choose the line where there is a demagnetized card, the person doesn’t know how to use FP or the first person in line has a card for themselves and 35 of their closest friends and family.

If I’ve been waiting in line for 15 minutes for the coveted Dole Whip, the person in front of me will suddenly be joined by the extended family which usually numbers in no less than eight.

I will hold a conversation with someone who knows the college roommate, of the next door neighbor, who was the engineer who designed whatever park we happen to be sitting in. And they will almost certainly share with me the key to touring the parks. (I am going to be kind enough to share this little nugget with all of you.) The key is to go directly to the back of the park and then you are supposed to visit all the attractions in a counter clockwise fashion until complete. I understand it beats the crowds every time. God bless ‘em for keeping that one alive because it makes touring easier for me.

If there are unsupervised children running around like yahoos, one will almost certainly fall in front of me (no fault of their own because they are unsupervised, remember?) and then be cruelly punished by their parent.

I could regale you with my tales of the biometric scan but that is just too relatable – we all have those stories.

I know there are more but I don’t want to reveal too much. You’ll hear it all soon enough in the posts that follow. The good the bad and on rare occassions, the ugly.

Now on to my darling husband, Mike. He loves Disney although he protests occasionally that once a year is too much. However, every trip he says is great and quickly follows that statement with something about the next visit. He knows the parks well enough that in most cases he can get around without a map and takes turns with me running for FP. Where I’m high strung, he is low key. He is the ying to my yang.

Last, there is Avery. She is the center of our universe but remains unspoiled regardless of our best efforts. She was very excited for this trip and her number one goal was to go on Primeval Whirl (thanks a lot Unofficial Guide). She’d always been too short so this was something that she really wanted to check off her list.

So that’s it for now. Our next installment will take off on day one and the wonderful adventures that begin there. I’ll add a Table of Contents to this first post as I add on installments just to make it easier to read.

Until next time, have a magical day!

Table of Contents

Day 1 Part 1: Flights, pandemonium renting a car and getting to Disney

Day 1 Part ll: Road Trip, POFQ, AK Arrival

Last edited by latexscooter; 06-22-2010 at 08:15 PM. Reason: Updating TOC
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Old 06-20-2010, 06:26 PM   #2
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Great start to your trip report. Very funny. Do you always get in the longest line in Costco, Walmart and the grocery store no matter how hard you try not to? If so, we will get along just fine because the same thing happens to me.

I hope you will be able to post your pictures a little larger. I have a feeling you have some good ones!

Looking forward to reading more!
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Old 06-20-2010, 06:42 PM   #3
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Thanks for following along.

I think I have the picture situation sorted out but unfortunately that means I have to reload all of my other pictures too. Apparently I had the setting on "tiny" which is not what you want when sharing an adventure.

Next installment is coming as soon as the pictures are uploaded.
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Old 06-20-2010, 07:04 PM   #4
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Great start!

I am coming in blind, having not read your PTR. Can't wait to hear all about your trip!
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Old 06-20-2010, 08:47 PM   #5
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Day 1, Part 1– Flights, the pandemonium of renting a car and getting to Disney

Day one started out early, real early. Our flight left San Antonio at 5:35 a.m. Normally we don’t fly out this early but our travel was free due to some points I received through my work. When you travel like that you go with what is available. Free is free and you heard no complaints from us.

Because we left so early we showered, laid out our clothes and were 100 percent packed the night before. The alarm went off 2:50 but I didn’t have the slightest urge to hit the snooze. We left home at 3:30 and were at the airport by 4 which was right on schedule. We parked in long term, breezed through bag check and security before we even realized that we had over an hour before boarding. Sure we had extra time but at least we weren’t late.

Here’s Avery bright eyed and bushy tailed at the airport.



Needing to burn some time we decided to eat breakfast. We didn’t know when we’d get our next chance to eat if we decided not to so we took advantage of the extra time. Fortunately there was a Dunkin Donuts open and we headed that way. We love Dunkin Donuts but there are only two locations in San Antonio so it’s a rare treat. We took this as a good omen and a good start to our vacation. Here are some less than flattering pictures of us stuffing our faces at the airport.







No, not the most flattering pictures but it was delicious. Please note, you’re going to see a lot of food pictures in this TR. I was doing live posts on Facebook throughout the entire trip and that included every meal. One of my friends noted that it looked like I went on a food vacation rather than to Disney.

After eating we walked to the gate and watched as our plane pulled up. It was a quick and easy trip to ATL where we changed planes. Fortunately our connection was a few gates down so we didn’t have to travel too much. We were all getting a little tired at this point and Avery was hungry again. So I stopped at a food kiosk where I bought some fresh cut apples for the low price of $4.99 and that light snack did the trick. Check out the bags under her eyes as she eats the apples. By afternoon those bags were gone so there must be something to the old saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away.



Before long we boarded our flight to Orlando and we passed the time by looking for Care Bears out the window (we didn’t see any). It was a quick trip and we touched down 10 minutes early at 11:25.

When we arrived we were at a crossroads. I had registered with Magical Express and I had made a car rental reservation. But I had made our car reservation through a third party booking service called carrentalsavers.com that I was unfamiliar with but had come recommended on the Transportation boards. By booking through them I had taken a reservation through Alamo from $206 including all taxes and fees to a $168 including all taxes and fees. I couldn’t quite figure out the why or how so I was a bit skeptical. So I went ahead and booked through ME thinking that if the rate didn’t pan out we’d go without a car, if it did, GREAT!

So we headed to Alamo and even though they had four people waiting to help me I elected to use the kiosk. I figured it would be easier to bail if the rate didn’t pan out and I hate the high pressure sales they give you at the counter. So I entered my reservation information and my reservation popped up. It wasn’t for the $168 that was promised online but for $174 - we decided to go with it anyways. Five dollars is a marginal difference and there’s probably something about that in the fine print I didn’t read. We printed our paperwork and headed out to the Alamo pick-up area thrilled with our good fortune.

When we reached Alamo they directed us to the Compact aisle and said to take any car in that row. They all looked so small we decided to make our choice based off color. We found a nice colored Hyundai and dropped all our stuff in the trunk and piled inside. No sooner was I in the car than I realized it had crank windows. Really, hand cranked windows! We both decided there was no way in the world that we were going to have hand cranked windows for over a week in the Florida heat. So we piled out of the car and looked for the nearest car that had power windows. We found a Chevy a couple spaces down, moved the luggage and piled back into car number two. This car had power windows but that was about as fancy as it got. Not to be a snob but this car felt really low end and like it had been run through the wringer, but we were resigned to our decision. You know what they say; you get what you pay for. Considering we were getting this rental so cheap I was going to suck it up and go with it. So I backed out of the spot and headed to the exit.

But wait! As we approached the end of compact row we spot a Ford Focus. It was the only one in the entire compact row so Mike hops out and checks it out. Not only does it have power windows but it has leather and a moon roof. BINGO! Quick as lightening I back car number two down the aisle to its original space. I leave Mike behind to “hold” the Focus in case anyone else came along to steal away our good fortune. Avery and I removed the luggage from car number two and dragged it to car number three - our final car. With our decision finally made we found our way to the exit and left the airport reveling in our good fortune.

As excited as we were with this car we never took a picture. We have some interior shots but nothing so you’ll just have to picture a red metal flake, 2010 Ford Focus, four door sedan. Can you see it in your head? That’s our rental car.

We took the 417 to Disney and found our way to POFQ easily. I hadn’t stayed there since 2007 and I didn’t have a car then so I had forgotten how centrally located this hotel is. It took us minutes to get anywhere. When it took us longer it was due to driver error and nothing more.

I’m going to have to take a break now because I haven’t uploaded our POFQ pictures yet. My next installment will include the check-in, AK, EP, Garden Grill and the pool. We had a very busy first day!

Last edited by latexscooter; 06-20-2010 at 09:21 PM. Reason: Picture Editing
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Old 06-20-2010, 09:09 PM   #6
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I'm sorry, I'm having some huge photobucket problems right now. I'm going to take a break from it and try and fix the problem tomorrow. Hopefully you'll hang in there.
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:08 PM   #8
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I think I remember your PTR!!

It sounds like you've had some good things happen for you already -- the free flight, the good deal on a car that had some class -- hope things continue to go your way!!
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Old 06-22-2010, 04:34 PM   #9
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I'm in! I couldn't help but laugh at your "Musical Rental Car" adventure! Sounds like something I would do.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:08 PM   #10
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Everything is Satisfactual: Day 1 Part ll: Road trip, POFQ and AK arrival

Thanks for tuning in. My good luck does continue and here's the next installment.

Day 1 Part ll: Road trip, POFQ and AK arrival

In my last post I think I hurried things along because I wanted to get us to Disney but I want to back track a little bit.

When we left the airport we were pleasantly surprised that it appeared to be on the verge of raining. For some reason, every trip to Disney with my family (that doesn’t include girl or solo trips) we have never have any rain. For the past three years the lack of rain has been a major disappointment because we have come to appreciate rain. Let me explain. When we moved to San Antonio from the Northeast in 2007 we came at the start of what would be a very severe, two year drought. My daughter actually would say, “It never rains in San Antonio.” So every time we made a trip to Disney we’d hope for a little rain to quench our thirst. There really is something to be said about the cleansing that comes with standing in warm rain and the enjoyment of splashing in a puddle or two. It really is fun. And even though the drought has broken, rain is nothing like it back home and we miss it terribly.

So, when we get onto the 417 and the skies open up and we see great sheets of rain it brings nothing but a smile to our faces and joy to our hearts. We were hoping for a few showers throughout the week to (hopefully) decrease the crowds – especially as we got closer to Memorial Day.
The rain would continue on and off between misting and downpour pretty much from the time we left the airport until we pulled in at POFQ. And after that point it just stopped.

Here are some other pictures that always bring a song to your heart on Day 1.


And then as you get closer



Once on property we started to yammer and talk and of course became completely oblivious to any of the signage. Which meant we overshot our exits, got lost and somehow or another drove off property resulting in us seeing this again.



We took it all in stride, laughed it off and Mike was formally hired as the Navigator and given the duty of reading the signs which he took on with a smile. I guess you could say this is a good reason to take Magical Express – you don’t have to ready the signs and can enjoy the moment.

But Mike did a fine job reading the purple signs of majesty and got us on where we needed to go.



Before we finally arrived at our home for the next nine days.



We were so excited when we got of the car we splashed each other in the puddles, marveled at the scenery that we sang the Carousel of Progress theme song all the way into the resort. And of course we completely spaced on taking any pictures.

We were bowed into the resort by a very kind man and I waltzed into the lobby like I owned the place. We were so happy!

I had used online check in 10 days ahead of time so I wasn’t sure of the set-up but was please to see that there was an easily marked area for online check in. There were two people working online check in, two people working traditional check in and two people at concierge. All people working were assisting other guest but there was no one else waiting in any of the lines.

After about 2-3 minutes I was called to the desk by a lovely lady whose name now escapes me. My room check in package was ready along with my room keys, parking pass and other materials. The other bonus was that our room was ready!

Our room was located in building three, on the ground floor (yeah!) – room 3116. Building three is one over from the main building. Think of it this way, if you are standing in front of the main building, it is to the right. Because of the way the buildings are shaped, we were around the corner between the main building and the parking lot. This was great news since we had the rental car too. Our room also looked out on to a fountain which was lovely.
Here are some shots of the exterior area near our room and the room itself.

Here’s building three



It’s on the corner of Jazz Alley and Pontchatrain Way. I love how the walkways between the resort buildings are all named and resemble little streets. It’s very charming. It’s also very good because people leave their rooms and immediately gravitate to the little streets to get from their rooms to wherever they are going. I think this makes it quieter since there’s less traffic going by room doors.



We had a fountain directly across the “street” from our room and it was very pretty.



Closer shot of the fountain.



Our room is the gold door on the bottom floor.



When we went inside we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by this



And here is an interior shot of the room. This is my last POFQ for now. I wrote a brief review of POFQ on the resort thread so I’ll just let you read that if you’re interested in more info about the resort.



At this point we decided not to unpack or hang out in the room. We felt well enough to visit a park and we had decided that if we were up to it we’d visit Animal Kingdom so we could get a couple things out of the way there. But since lunch time had come and went we decided to make a pit stop at the food court before heading over to Animal Kingdom lodge. It was only about 1:30 at this point so we headed back over to the main building where our car was still parked and stopped by the food court.

Mike grabbed a steak and cheese sub, I got a meatball sub and Avery got what every 7 year old eats… chicken nuggets. Here’s some food porn if you’re interested.







The food wasn’t outstanding, just standard mall quality food court food, but it satisfied us. And with our bellies filled we made our way to the car and the Animal Kingdom. It took us less than 10 minutes and before we saw this



We were so happy! We followed the winding highway and before long we parked in the Unicorn section – or maybe it was some other mythical creature – and headed to the tram.

It was at this point that we started the first of many long, long, long, long treks to the tram. For some reason, we seemed to have the knack of arriving just at the time they were beginning to fill a new row. As the days continued we would make a joke of it and count what number car we were in the row. We usually were car 50 or higher. Needless to say, it’s a LONG walk to the tram.

Once we were dropped off we cruised through security and I happen to look over and see not one, but two characters just standing there with no one around. So I pointed them out to Avery and she headed on over.





When she finished with Baloo we turned around and a line had begun to form that was 20 families deep. The Cast Members commented about our good luck and wished us a good day. It was really nice that our good fortune continued.

I’m going to have to take another break because dinner is ready and my Mike is giving me the stink eye. I’ll hopefully be able to pick this up after dinner.
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Last edited by latexscooter; 06-22-2010 at 08:12 PM. Reason: Update Links.
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Old 07-01-2010, 02:35 PM   #11
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Wonderful update! With your room ready, bellies full, and the wonderful character meets before you even got into your first park, I'm excited to hear about what is to come next!
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:23 PM   #12
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Love the TR! I did not read your PTR, so I am coming in blind. I also did live updates on FB while we were at Disney!

I can't wait to read more!!!!
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:53 PM   #13
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I hope we can get an update soon! I can't wait to see how this trip turns out for you.
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:23 AM   #14
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I'm sorry, I should have posted what was going on. I've been waiting for my Photopass CD to arrive so I can include those pics in the next section. We have a nice family shot from that and I think it would be so cute to post but it's taking FOREVER to get here. I did hear that its coming this week so I'll be posting almost immediately following.

Thanks for following!
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latexscooter View Post
I'm sorry, I should have posted what was going on. I've been waiting for my Photopass CD to arrive so I can include those pics in the next section. We have a nice family shot from that and I think it would be so cute to post but it's taking FOREVER to get here. I did hear that its coming this week so I'll be posting almost immediately following.

Thanks for following!
Yay! Will be here waiting!
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