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Old 04-30-2010, 07:30 AM   #1
JLR
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Minot, ND
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The best laid plans…….were worth it! A great first trip for dd and me! (4/20-28)

If you want to know the back story you can check out my pre-trip report here.

The short story is that I took my 9 yo dd to Disney instead of buying things for Christmas and Birthday this year. We left Dad and the 2 year old twins at home. (I still think that was a good decision but it was harder than I thought.)

Here is a picture of my husband and me a few days before the trip.


Here is a picture of everybody except me that same night.


This was a first trip for both of us. I read the Unofficial Guide cover to cover and several other books as well, became addicted to DIS, joined Tour Guide Mike, and gained a lot of weight sitting on my rear end preparing. Oh well!

All that preparation was worth it! I could easily have been totally overwhelmed and frustrated, but all of you taught me so much that things went pretty smoothly. So I am going to try to pay back all of you who helped my planning and perhaps pay it forward to another newbie.

We had an 8 day park hopper pass and a ticket for Discovery cove which gave us admission to Seaworld as well. We stayed at the Beach club resort, next to Epcot (in a studio villa). I had purchased a new point and shoot Fuji Film Fine pix Z33/WP and I am still trying to figure it out. Some of the photos are beautiful and some not so much, but I’ll share them anyway since I loved others’ photos and videos. Just be gentle – I don’t know what I’m doing!

As I complete the pages, I will try to create links here.

Day1: Travelling, Beach Club, Magic Kingdom
Part 1: The reveal
Part 2: Getting Settled in the Beach club
Part 3: Getting to the Magic Kingdom, change in plans and Mommy's first big oops
Part 4:First Day finis!

Day 2: Epcot
Day 2: Part 1 Getting started
Day 2: Part 2 Finishing Future World, although we didn't realize it at the time.
Day 2: Part 3 Dining at the castle and saving the world
Day 2: Part 4 Back to the Magic Kingdom

Day 3: Animal Kingdom
Day 3: Part 1 Introduction to Animal Kingdom.
Day 3: Part 2 A magical moment and two great shows
Day 3: Part 3 A little snag in the plans and a lesson learned
Day 3: Part 4 Oktoberfest, another spy mission, and a special surprise.

Day 4: Magic Kingdom and hitting the wall
Part 1 The Fab Five, Fantasyland and Fairies
Part 2 the great space disaster, the kindness of strangers, and other events
Part 3 The Iron Chef and the wall

Day 5: Disney Hollywood Studios and meeting an old friend
Day 5: Part 1 DHS dd's way
Day 5: Part 2 TSM, under the sea, and outer space
Day 5: Part 3 Balloon, braiding, and belly dancer

Day 6: Discovery Cove
Day 6: Part 1 Another big surprise
Day 6: Part 2 Dolphins!
Day 6: Part 3 lunch and more animal interaction
Day 6: Part 4 Another dolphin encounter and done
More Discovery Cove Photos 1
More Discovery Cove Photos 2

Day 7: Seaworld
Day 7: Part 1 Welcome to Sea World
Day 7: Part 2 Stingrays, brunch, C&S
Day 7: Part 3 Sea Lions, Orcas and more Manta
Day 7: Part 4 Pets ahoy, another error in judgment, and wrap-up
Day 7:Part 5 Animal encounters of another kind

Day 8: Madeline’s best of
Day 8: Part 1 Having a wild time!
Day 8: Part 2 Wow! There sure are a lot of characters!
Day 8: Part 3 Rafiki’s Planet Watch
Day 8: Part 4 Two two-week safaris
Day 8: Part 5 A series of unfortunate events followed by a rip roarin’ good time
Day 8: Part 6 Wrapping up our trip

Day 9: Travelling Home
Day 9: Going home


Other:
Photopass Pictures
Lessons Learned

OK - I guess that is enough for the first post.

Last edited by JLR; 06-04-2010 at 09:30 AM. Reason: Adding Links
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:09 AM   #2
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Day1: Part 1 - The reveal

Wow! What a day. We had been planning so long, it was hard to believe it was actually here! I woke up about 10 minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off a 3:40 am. I got ready, got Madeline up and ready and off to the airport. Then: the big surprise. We decided to tell Madeline at the airport so she wouldn’t wake her sisters. Did she scream the rafters down? Remember, she thought she was going to accompany me to Minneapolis on a business trip. (Like I’d leave her alone in a hotel room while I went to a conference! But she didn’t know that.)
Well, see her response for yourself. I finally figured out how to make my camera take video!



Hey, she was tired and the next response, not caught on camera was disappointment that we were not going to the Mall of America. Of course I had been anticipating something big but I also know better than to plan anything on a kid’s reaction. Don’t worry – she warmed up to the idea as her brain finished waking up.

Is pixie dust supposed to start this early?
We checked our bag and got through security with a minor hiccup to check our rolls of quarters (for pressed pennies). The flight attendant really took a shine to Madeline and although we were in coach, we had first class service. That made the beginning flight very special!
In Minneapolis we had a very short layover. Just long enough to visit the facilities and get some water. The new gate was fortunately in the same area. Our seat companion was a very nice gentleman who chatted just enough but not too much. I was a mean Mommy and made Madeline do her first writing assignment for school.



We arrived in Orlando, found the tram and made our way to the Magic Express. It was a little confusing at the end. The magic express is WAY down at the other end. We got checked in and had a brief wait. Here we are.

Ooh – I must be a first timer – I was super excited to sit in the front seat of the Magic Express!

Our driver, Cecil was very pleasant and told me when I could take a picture of “the sign.”

Finally, we saw this sign: Welcome home!

Could we be any more excited!
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:34 AM   #3
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Yay!!!

I am so glad you are back, all though I am sure you would rather still be at Disney World. I can't wait to hear about everything, starting from what your DD did when she found out you were going to Disney!! I have already been waiting in suspense since you left!!! Can't wait to hear all about it and see all your pics!
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:35 AM   #4
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Ok, I posted that last post before I even saw your update with the surprise. I will read your update and then repost again!
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:35 AM   #5
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Can't wait to hear...

First to join up! Can't wait to hear about your trip. Never did see you in line for TSM on that Saturday. (Didn't meet a single DISer this trip!) Not sure if you were there enough, but after the mad TSM dash we got there and...sorry TSM is down. (ARGH!)

Anyways, my TR should be starting soon too.
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December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:52 AM   #6
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Day 1: Part 2 Getting Settled in the Beach club

This was my first experience with Disney service – Wow! We were escorted to the counter and a very nice CM, Georgette, I think, took care of us.

It was about 12:30 and there were not any studio rooms cleaned yet at the villas, but Georgette told us one would be done soon and promised we would like the room. We checked our bags with bell services and went to change into our suits at the Ship shape fitness club. They have nice lockers which you enter your own combination. It was a good place to leave our money and credit cards so we could enjoy the pool. Once we were changed, the first order of business was to spend our first counter service credits.

I ordered the veggie wrap (yummy!) and Madeline had a cheeseburger. Way too much food! We snagged a table and enjoyed. Warning: the birds are very aggressive! They snatched French fries right out of Madeline’s hand and cup. Madeline then jumped in the pool. I finished (most of) my wrap and held the table for a family with small children. Hey, we’d had a lot of pixie dust already – so I wanted to help someone else.
Then we swam. What a great pool! The sand bottom, whirlpool, waterfalls, lazy river, kiddie area and big waterslide. Awesome! Others have taken better pictures, but here are a few.
This is the view from the top of the waterslide.

Madeline coming down the slide.

Then we checked out the underwater function on my camera – cool!

After 60 – 90 minutes we checked my cell phone and the room was ready! We headed on up (room 566 in the villas) and found this waiting.


It was a basket by Memories by Betsy. It was very nice. I had arranged for it so we wouldn’t have to take time to find the autograph books and lanyards at the parks. In reality – I could have bought everything we needed at the gift shop at the resort, it carries a lot of stuff.
The room was very nice with an amazing view! I had not paid for a water view.


This room was indeed worth the wait!
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:55 AM   #7
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Ok, I read the update now. I thought she had a great reaction. I was grinning from ear to ear as I watched her open the book. I hate to admit, but I almost even cried a little. I think that is hilarious that she was disappointed about the Mall of America. I also think it is funny that she immediately thought of some kid in her class that was going to be jealous. That is exactly how my oldest would have reacted. Too Cute! Can't wait to hear more. for getting to sit in front on the ME and getting a picture of the sign!!
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:56 AM   #8
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Alright, everytime I post you have added another update. Too funny!
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:01 AM   #9
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Love all the pixie dust already. So nice of you to save your table for a family with small kids!! So wish we had the money to stay at the Beach Club. It looks so beautiful. I love the basket. So FUN!
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smithpack View Post
Yay!!!

I am so glad you are back, all though I am sure you would rather still be at Disney World. I can't wait to hear about everything, starting from what your DD did when she found out you were going to Disney!! I have already been waiting in suspense since you left!!! Can't wait to hear all about it and see all your pics!
I video taped the reveal at your encouragement. Thank you! I was hoping you were still subscribed. I am excited to share my adventure with you! I hope you (and baby) are feeling well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skier_pete View Post
First to join up! Can't wait to hear about your trip. Never did see you in line for TSM on that Saturday. (Didn't meet a single DISer this trip!) Not sure if you were there enough, but after the mad TSM dash we got there and...sorry TSM is down. (ARGH!)


Anyways, my TR should be starting soon too.
Missed you too. We had missed the friendship by minutes and had to wait for another and then had an enormous wait at will call for our GAD fast passes. There was only one family at each window ahead of us, but we waited about 20 minutes. By then the wait for FP at TSM was really long (someone said 20 minutes - for fastpasses! during the EMH!) So we headed down and did RnRC and ToT, returning in time to pick up our FPs before the park opened up to the general public at 9 am.

I'm looking forward to your report. i enjoyed the last one!
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smithpack View Post
Love all the pixie dust already. So nice of you to save your table for a family with small kids!! So wish we had the money to stay at the Beach Club. It looks so beautiful. I love the basket. So FUN!
I loved it. I wish we could stay there again, but probably won't be able to afford the larger space - only 4 allowed in the BC studios. Next time we will probably rent points for AKL or stay in a Fort Wilderness cabin. But someday when your kids are older and you just go with your husband, I think you would love the BC. It was so convenient to walk to Epcot.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:56 AM   #12
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Day 1: Part 3


I am one of “those people” who settle into a hotel room. I had our garden grocer order delivered, unpacked our suitcases and put them away, and got our pool noodles from the business center. (I didn’t realize you could buy them at the pool shop and bought some from Amazon.)

Reflections on our room.

We had a lot of extra space at the entry way which was handy, because of the way the room was configured. It was super quiet. The elevator in the middle of the building does not “ding” so even though we were right next to the elevator we did not hear a thing! Our neighbors were quiet too. Several times when walking through the first floor we passed people being very noisy in the halls (once a whole family playing football including the dad!). I felt badly for anyone trying to sleep.

The BCVs are beautiful. It was great having a mini kitchen. However, I’m slow on the uptake. I felt the wet spot on the carpet in front of the fridge, but didn’t think to check that they had defrosted the fridge and turned it off. So – I put our groceries away and did not realize until the next morning that the fridge was off. Arghhh. Fortunately, nothing spoiled. We hadn’t opened up the milk, cheese, or cottage cheese yet. Thank goodness for pasteurization! BTW the organic milk sold by Garden Grocer is delicious!!!!!! Yum, yum. I miss it already! We bought way too much food. I thought I was conservative, but we only finished the fruit, milk, and kashi cereal. I thought we’d have more breakfast in our room, but we were always running! Also – the basic dining plan is a lot of food!

It would have been worth it for me to figure out the lay of the land. Our room was kind of a hike from the main pool, the lobby, the laundry (studios don’t have their own laundry). Please don’t think I am complaining. We loved our room, but I had not taken into account how much walking we would do just around the hotel. I learned later, that it could be a lot shorter to go outside to get where we wanted to go. More pleasant too, since the hallways are extremely well air conditioned (brr). So my advice would be for others to take the time to figure those things out. We were close to the temporary bus stop. They were refurbishing the normal one. That was pleasant at the end of the day!

So I thought it would take about an hour to settle into our room and shower. Hah! Everything takes longer at Disney. Instead of getting on a bus for MK between 3:30 – 4:00, it was past 5 pm. We had a little adventure to find the bus stop which turned out to be very near our room. We got on our bus to go to MK.




Madeline rubbed her eyes, with sunscreen on her hands. Oh no! It took some time, but lots of yawning made her eyes water enough to clear out that stinging goop.

How exciting to enter the MK for the first time! It was sunny and hot, and no photopass photographers to be found (we found them all on our last day!). Now my initial plan was to enter MK by 4 pm and do the following:
Ride BTMRR (get FP if wait too long, but ride max and lines predicted about 40” wait so that was budgeted), then go do Mickey’s Philharmagic, Cinderella’s carrousel, and IASW if at all possible before having supper at the Crystal Palace (at 6:40), followed by Jungle Cruise, POTC, and Aladdins’ Carpets if at all possible. Ride max said we could do it and still catch Spectromagic. We hopped on the Railroad to get over to Big Thunder.



Well, we were starting a lot later and the wait time for BTMRR was about an hour (strangely Splash Mt was only 20 minutes! But we didn’t want to get wet before supper) and the FP return time was at (5:35) 7:55 – 8:55 pm! Time to be flexible. We grabbed that FP and headed over to Fantasy land. Madeline and I had had a talk about lines, timing, and character meets, so we were on the same page. When we passed Haunted Mansion, it had a 10 minute wait time posted, so we hopped on.


Madeline was thrilled to see Madame Leota blink! Our first real attraction at the MK! We survived the stretching room and hopped in our doom buggies. I couldn’t get any decent photos without the flash and I didn’t want to ruin the ride for others. Madeline did OK for quite a while, but then started to get freaked out even with my arm around her. Just then we spotted the table hidden mickey! The ride was saved. She was so excited (she’d read about them in her book on the plane ride.)! We enjoyed the hitchhiking ghost and disembarked in good spirits (ha ha). Madeline even posed with the ghost horse.


We headed into Fantasyland and I heard those dreaded words, “I want to ride it’s a small world.”




Well the trip is for her and the posted wait was 15 minutes, so we hopped on. The wait was less and you know what? I liked it! Madeline did too.



I don’t know how it happened, but we started chatting with a nice family in the seat in front of us. They had two little girls. I think maybe I offered to take their picture. At any rate, our next mission was to ride Cinderella’s Carrousel. That family was right in front of us, first family in line. We were talking about how Cindy’s horse had the golden ribbon on its tail. And it happened, my daughter did such a wonderful thing. Even though this family had not ever heard of this, she helped the little girl find the horse and ride it even though I knew she really wanted to herself. I am getting a little weepy just thinking about it! She very happily rode the horse right next door.



What did my camera just do?







The low battery light started to flash. What do I do? I forgot to pack the spare battery in the fanny pack! Oh nooooooooo! Our next event was our character supper at the Crystal Palace. We didn’t even have time to stop by a shop and pick up a disposable camera. All I could do was hope for the best. I didn’t take any photos of the front of the Crystal Palace. We checked in and a lot of people were waiting, but we only waited a few minutes. I think having a party of 2 made it very easy for them to seat us. We never had to wait very long for a table on this trip.
We were seated and had a very nice waiter, who had way too many tables. We didn’t need much service, so it didn’t really matter except that we had to wait a long time for our check at the end. We picked up our food. I don’t remember exactly what we ate. Madeline did not like Disney’s mac-n-cheese, but we both found plenty to enjoy. Our first character was Tigger. Madeline has slept with a small stuffed Tigger since she was a baby, so this was magical for us.

oops almost forgot the photo!

He was pretty bouncy. My camera took one photo and then died. Arghhhhhhhh. Bad Mommy, bad mommy! What to do?

Well, time to dust off my bravery and ask a stranger for a favor. A nice couple at the next table agreed to take some photos and e-mail them to us. The woman did a nice job and I can’t wait to see them. They are probably getting home soon. I hope they don’t forget. I had written the e-mail address and they took a picture of it, and I gave them a paper copy of it as well. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Last edited by JLR; 05-03-2010 at 10:35 AM. Reason: Added photo
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:35 PM   #13
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Aww that's too bad about your camera, but luckily you found a couple willing to help out like that. It sounds like you guys had a great vacation so far and I can't wait to hear about the rest of it.
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:38 PM   #14
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I am enjoying hearing about your mother/daughter trip! I am hoping to take a trip in October with my oldest DD, so I am excited to hear more about your adventures!
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:01 PM   #15
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Day 1: Part 4 finis!


Remember – no more photos for today, I had no juice in the camera.

While we were enjoying our character meetings at Crystal Palace the skies opened up. I was grateful that Although I forgot the extra battery, I had remembered the ponchos! Madeline was excited to get a birthday card and cupcake from the characters. Even though her Birthday was a month prior – we never had a real party (just dinner with family) so I allowed her this once. We didn’t do that for the rest of the trip. She was thrilled!

When we finally left the crystal palace it was just misting. We had Big thunder FPs calling our names and we walked over that way, I thought we wouldn’t be able to do Jungle Cruise since we didn’t have a FP for it, but you know what? The rain cleared the park. It was very nearly a walk-on!
Madeline got to sit up front right by the skipper and loved the Corny jokes. I think maybe it was smithpack who told me (forgive me if I’m wrong) that the JC was better at night. I could see that! We had fun even huddled in our ponchos. Then POTC was also a walk on so we did that as well and headed over for Madeline’s must-do ride: Big Thunder Mountain railroad!

So in my pre-trip report, I had speculated about whether or not she would enjoy the thrill rides. Well I needn’t have worried. She loved it! We then had to ride it every trip into the MK!

Afterwards, we headed out to watch SpectroMagic. We had planned to watch it near the Main Street train station, so we could then exit, but it was too late for that. We found a nice place in Frontierland to watch, but then went in search of a snack since there seemed to be time. What did we see? Aladdin’s carpets was a walk-on! So we rode it. Then I thought maybe I could find a place closer to Main street. (Big Mistake – I should have just gone back to our spot in Frontierland. I learned that it is not a good idea to go against TGM or UG recommendations!) We ended up near the hub, we couldn’t go any farther and the parade began. I lifted Madeline up for each float since we were several rows back. It must be a bit of Disney magic that I did not hurt myself! When the parade was over, we headed out of the park and just caught the bus back to the Beach club. We were pretty tired at this point and I wasn’t thinking straight. When they stopped at the Yacht Club, we got off. Oops! I was pretty confused in the lobby, then realized my mistake and undertook the long, long, walk back to the BC villas. Finally we were back and poured ourselves into bed. What a day!!!! Although things didn’t go perfectly, and I made some big errors (battery, spectro, bus stop), it was still incredible! I can’t believe how much we saw that first night.

Remember the plan was get there at 4 (secretly I was hoping to be there by 3) and do:

BTMRR
Philharmagic
Cinderella’s carrousel
Maybe 1-2 other low wait attractions
Supper at Crystal Palace
Jungle Cruise
Pirates of the Carribean
Maybe Aladdin’s carpets if there was little wait time
Spectromagic

We got there 90 minutes later and still did:

Haunted Mansion
it’s a small world
Cinderella’s Carrousel
Supper at crystal palace
Jungle cruise
POTC
BTMRR
Aladdin’s carpets
Spectro

I was so grateful to have learned so much. Even though it was so new and magical, I felt like I knew what I was going to do, and I flowed with the unanticipated changes fairly well. Thank you all!

I know these are coming fast and furious, but I am hoping to get the bulk done before I go back to work on Monday. My husband has the twins playing at the YMCA at the moment.
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