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Old 03-15-2011, 02:48 PM   #1
Punchy
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Mardi Gras in POFQ/Travel with a Toddler/Magical Moments UPDATED Mar 26

Welcome to my first trip report! I have been a regular on the DIS Boards and have been to the World four times. I am not a particularly skilled writer or photographer, but I will try to be fun and informative as I share our recent trip experience, where we were met with the challenges and delights of traveling with a toddler, we slowed down and took in WDW in a whole new way and partied with the Louisianans on Mardi Gras!

We are the B. family, from Toronto, Canada.

I am Punchy - 31 years-old


This is my husband, J - 33 years-old


And the star of the show - Henry, 17 months-old.



We stayed at the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort for nine nights, Feb. 28 - March 10.

I first stayed at POFQ in 1993, when I was 13 and thought I was super cool. It was my first visit to WDW; Oh what a trip. My sisters and I made a pact to return to Pleasure Island New Year's Eve 1999 - that didn't happen. Of course, I also planned to grow my hair down to my knees, live in a studio apartment in the city and have eight cats, so sometimes it's for the best that we let the past go.

In 2008 I brought J to the World for his first visit. We were DINKS, living in a world of no responsibilities, so we stayed at the Grand Floridian. I think I need a new countdown ticker - 20 years until I stay at the Grand Floridian again...

Then, in 2009 we visited when I was 5 months pregnant. I had to sit out on many rides, but I made up for it by eating my way through every park. My child is now genetically programmed to love WDW popcorn, rice krispie treats and Mickey heads!


This was our first big trip as parents. I must admit, I was terrified! Originally it was supposed to be a large family gathering, but let's just say much drama and disappointment occurred and in the end just the three of us went. In hindsight, it was for the better, but I'll talk about that later.

So as you can see, Disney has accompanied me through many phases of my life; I hope to one day visit with my grandchildren and great-grandchildren (because by then we'll live to 150 and zoom around on hover crafts, right?).

Anyway this isn't my diary, it's a trip report, so on with the reporting!
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:57 PM   #2
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Our flight left Toronto at 10:00 am, so we had to be up early to get everything together. I think Henry had more luggage than J and I put together. We were exhausted after a long night of tossing and turning, but we were excited!

We did the airport thing, blah blah blah. I am a very nervous flyer, and was extra nervous about how Henry would do. This was his seventh time flying, but on our last trip to Halifax last month, he was a nightmare on the plane. He is a very easy-going, happy kid for the most part, but he is 17 months-old after all.

He slept! He was out before take-off and woke up in a good modd as we began our descent into Orlando.


Toronto weather was grey and drizzly with slush and ice, -5C (23F). Orlando was sunny and 24c (75F). As we exited the plane, the heat and humidity engulfed us. For those from a northern climate, I think we can all agree that this is the best part about visiting the south!

We quickly went to the restrooms to change Henry and strip off our sweaters and heavy pants.

Ahhh, vacation at last!

Henry was well rested from his nap and ready to party. And very hungry. Normally, as soon as we land we rush to the shuttle and down to the Magical Express, but things don't operate that way anymore with a little one. So we hit the food court and ate something greasy and American (we love trying all of the American chains we don't have in Canada). I think it was Chick-fil-a. I love that name. I pronounce it "chick-fee-ah", is that correct? What does it mean?

Then down to the Magical Express, where the bus to Port Orleans was waiting for us!

This was Henry's first time on a vehicle without being in a car seat. He thought he was pretty cool, sitting up on his dad's lap.


We arrived at 2:20 and were put in a king room, not refurbished, in building 3. This was quite alright with us, as we only needed one bed and figured larger families would appreciate the double queens more than us. The King has more room for Henry to run around as well.

I have heard many complaints about mousekeeping at POFQ but our room was fresh and very clean.

He immediately got to business setting his toys up on the a/c ledge. That darn a/c would prove to be a problem with us later (the slats are just the right size to stuff popcorn, coins and small toys into).


Our Garden Grocer order wasn't set to arrive until 6pm, and I was silently cursing J for arranging that time because we had no snacks or milk for Henry and were getting low on diapers. 20 minutes after getting into our room, Bell Services called to tell us our groceries were there! Luggage arrived about 30 minutes later, along with a pack n' play for Henry.

We put it in the 'closet' area, behind the curtain. This worked out very well in the evenings, when we could watch tv with the close captioning on.


J and I were tired and he was getting cranky, so I suggested we hit the pool to tire Henry out enough for us all to nap.




We woke up refreshed at 5:00 and headed over to EPCOT. We always do EPCOT our first evening - I love Illuminations: Reflections of Earth as it makes me teary and gets me into the Disney spirit.

When we rounded the corner and the big golf ball came into view, Henry's eyes nearly popped out! We headed to Nemo first, Henry's very first ride. I had forgotten the scary part, with a creepy angler fish in the dark, but he took it in unimpressed. He was overwhelmed and nervous. We then attempted Turtle Talk with Crush, which was really cute and I was really enjoying, but Henry lost interest quickly and we had to duck out. I heard crush say "I think I just saw a little minnow escape, dude!" as we were sneaking away.

We ate at Mexico and had the tacos con carne. The meat was very good though salty. We sat on a bench and devoured them while Henry ate some snacks from Garden Grocer.

Then fireworks! I was apprehensive about the loud noise scaring the kid, and even purchased noise reducing headphones for him. Well that was a waste of $50 as he loved them! He jumped the first few times, and grabbed J's hand when the flares shot out from directly in front of us (oops, I forgot they came from Mexican pavilion), but he clapped at the end then promptly passed out, asleep. Another mistake - the wind was blowing toward us so of course all of the ash was blown into our faces, ugh.

Poor Henry had little specks of it all over him:

Next on to Animal Kingdom, where we had a terrible scare.
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Old 03-15-2011, 03:40 PM   #3
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Animal Kingdom!

We always do Magic Kingdom the first day, but Tour Guide Mike suggested Animal Kingdom. We woke up at 7:00 am and it was cold and raining. Ugh!

Animal Kingdom is the worst park to tour in the rain, in my opinion, so we decided to relax and wait it out and if it kept going we'd just head down to Downtown Disney.

We had a lazy morning and ate the Bountiful Breakfast in Sassagoula Floatworks. I had to have my Mickey waffles! After that we had a long nap. When I woke up it was after 12:00 and the sun was blazing!

By the time we arrived at AK it was shaping up to be a beautiful day. Not too hot, lots of sun. We always joke about this park because every single time we have gone it's either unbearably hot or raining.

Henry really enjoyed the sticks, leaves and tracks imprinted in the "mud" ground. We stood around for half an hour while he stubbed his toes on the various twigs and shapes. I think he was reveling in being outside, feeling the fresh air and the sun after months trapped indoors or in a bulky snowsuit.


We made our way over to Camp Minnie Mickey, and this is where the difficulty began.

We bought one of those little monkey leashes for him last summer, before he'd started walking. He wore it once to the mall over Christmas, but now that he is a confident walker and runs VERY fast, we knew he would have to wear it.

He immediately sat down and wouldn't budge.




Oh, no. How are we going to make it through nine days in the parks with a kid who wants out of the stroller but won't hold our hands?


You're thinking this going to be the big scare, right? Not what you'd expect...


Luckily, Pizzafari was right next to us and I had always wanted to see inside of it, so we went inside for lunch.


It really is gorgeous in there, they did an amazing job! The food was not good though - Johnny's anti-pasto salad was like something from a grocery store lunch counter, my pizza was greasy and tasteless, and Henry refused to touch his mac n' cheese.

I purchased Henry a milk and as per usual, opened it and popped a straw in for him to sip. He loves drinking out of a straw and does it all the time at restaurants.

Except I forgot that at Animal Kingdom, they have paper straws.

Henry was happily sipping his milk so we relaxed and ate our lunch. All of a sudden he made a strange noise and his face was bright red. Tears were streaming down his face. He was choking! I have first aid training, so my first instinct was to jump up and get him out of the chair to turn him upside down. As I was pulling him away from the table he leaned forward and vomited all over the table.

He had bitten off a piece of the paper straw then happily chewed it into a large lump, which is what got stuck in his throat. My heart was hammering terribly and the table was a mess. He was wearing a scoop bib so luckily none got on his shirt but it took a lot of napkins and wet wipes to clean the place up. Henry then threw a tantrum when we took his milk away.

Outside we continued on to Camp Minnie Mickey, but I feared Henry's mood was ruined and that a character meet would spell disaster...
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:07 PM   #4
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The paper straws are relatively new at AK (within the last couple of years). I had often wished they had them when my daughter (now six) was little. It never occured to me that they could become a choking hazzard-but it makes total sense!! How scary!!! I am so glad you were quick thinking and he was all right!

I am really enjoying your report! Your son is super cute!
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:17 PM   #5
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Great start to your TR, but what a scare!
Your little man is just adorable, very much looking forward to seeing how you get on with him wanting to walk by himself.
My DD 19mths has just got to that stage of not wanting to go in the buggy, and we're looking to invest in the backpack type of reins for her especially with out trip coming up. Never seen the monkey ones before, very cute!

Looking forward to hearing more
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:36 PM   #6
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Hey Punchy thanks for letting me know about the TR! Really enjoying it.

Very scary about the straw.

Need to hear more!!

And traveling with a toddler can be quite the experience. I remember taking Josh to DL at 18 months.

We're planning on staying at either POFQ or PORS this trip so I want to see more resort pictures if you have them!
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:38 PM   #7
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He immediately got to business setting his toys up on the a/c ledge. That darn a/c would prove to be a problem with us later (the slats are just the right size to stuff popcorn, coins and small toys into
I can just see my son doing this. Everything must be lined up. And he already has a facination with stuffing things in the copier when he visits me at work.

And again you made me think of my ds when you said he just plopped down and refused to move with the leash on. Only James would be laughing while he did it. I have no idea where he got his stubborness from

I can see i'm going to be in for a treat taking him soon. Looking forward to more!
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:48 PM   #8
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Thanks for reading!

We had a very militant WDW strategy before - everything was done with maximum efficiency. That's all out the window now, and to be honest I think I prefer that.

We saw and experienced so much that I missed before.

Staying for longer was definitely good too, as everything takes three times longer!

Should I email Disney about the paper straw? Maybe they can look into using soluble corn straws for babies or something like that.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:09 PM   #9
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How scary about the straw! I would email them, just because they should know about it.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:05 AM   #10
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I sent an email to Disney to let them know about the straw incident.

I send it as an advisory rather than as a complaint, and suggested they look into another biodegradable format.

Here's hoping they pay attention. I wonder if anyone else has experienced this? It's a good thing I'm not a litigious person.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:36 AM   #11
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chick-fil-a

The way you pronounce it is Chick fill a it's a fillet of chicken that is specially made just for the restaurant really really yummy!!!
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Old 03-16-2011, 11:01 PM   #12
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So we left off in Animal Kingdom after a scary experience. It was our first full day at the parks and we were feeling pretty good so we decided not to dwell and just shake it off.

I love the first park day - your feet aren't sore, you aren't overtired, everything is so fresh and exciting. I stopped at every popcorn and ice cream cart on the way, but held off as I was still full from lunch.

However I did purchase my first American Diet Coke. YUM! The U.S. has the best tasting Coke products, especially when it's fountain. A few times a year we go to Buffalo and I always grab a Coke.

I'm getting myself all worked up now, I think I'll have to plan another Buffalo trip soon, mmmm.

As we left Pizzafari I could tell Henry was on the edge of a total meltdown, so I suggested we try letting him walk on his own.

This bit of independence seemed to bolster him and he did surprisingly well, staying close to us. Camp Minnie-Mickey is a quieter area of the park and was a good location for this.

I was really excited to see the characters. When I went to the World at 13, I bought an autograph book. My sisters mocked me so much that I hid it and didn't approach any more characters. As an adult I have managed to convince my husband to take photos with the odd characters but I have never met Mickey in person.

We lined up to see Donald first, as he had the shortest line. My husband and I both love Donald - he's the smartest and sassiest of the crew.

As we neared the front, Henry watched the other kids approach Donald. Then it was our turn and I rushed to the front to capture him on video. He was enthralled!


He went immediately to Donald and just stared and stared up into that big beak. I told Donald this was his first ever character meet and he clutched his heart and acted flattered.


After that we saw Goofy, Pluto and Mickey. Henry did NOT like Goofy and wouldn't get close to him.

Mickey came after Goofy so he was still a bit suspicious, but as soon as I sang the Mouseka Dance Song, a lightbulb went off and he ran to him. Aww.

With all of us in good spirits, we headed over to Dinoland USA.


I think Primeval Whirl should be called Primevil Whirl. Aside from the two cast members who were injured by this ride, every time I'm there it's closed. Also, every time we go near it J and I get into a fight. Last time it ended with us fuming and sitting on different benches.

This time, Primeval Whirl was closed again but no fight (though we will visit this park again...).

Until next time, Primevil Whirl!

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Old 03-16-2011, 11:05 PM   #13
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Triceratop Spin was walk-on, so the three of us decided to try it out. I have not been on a ride in more than three years, since before I was pregnant. Laugh all you want, but I was nervous when those little dinosaurs started going higher and higher! We ended up going twice in a row as we had a blast.


It was getting close to 5:00 now, so we rushed over to Rafiki's Planet Watch to catch the train. We were too late, it was closed.

Disappointed, we decided to stop for a snack and decide what to do next. Finally, Mickey heads! Such creamy, chocolately goodness.

We bought two and decided we would share with Henry. Unfortunately, J didn't get to eat any of his:





We considered taking Henry over to the Boneyard to run around, but he was fading fast, so we left the park to head back to the resort for an early evening.

Now, riding the Disney buses is a whole new experience when you have a baby and a stroller. On the way in, our bus was nearly empty, so no problem.

As you know, the buses are the worst at the end of the day when the park closes. Henry was falling asleep in his stroller and more and more people were lining up behind us. However, we had anticipated this, and brought our Ergo baby carrier for J to wear. He put Henry in the carrier on his chest and I collapsed and folded up the stroller. We brought a backpack with us to throw everything into so the stroller could collapse flat. Voila!

We live in the city and both take transit every day - we don't own a car - so busy buses are no problem for us. The problem though, is all of those people who don't know public transit etiquette. I will admit, I get quite annoyed at times.

I assessed the crowd ahead and behind us and decided it would be best to let two buses go by. One pulled up immediately and everyone piled on. Another came right behind it.

I was pretty accurate in my count though, as the buses were full. Our feet began to tire when 10 minutes later another bus pulled up. By then there was another large crowd behind us and two ECVs in the mobility device queue.

The driver opened the door and stared at us for a moment. When we didn't get on, he said

"French Quarter?"

J pointed out that there were two ECVs. The driver stared at us blankly.

"I think you have to load them first."

Ding, ding, he finally got it and got up to load the ECVs. I have had my own experiences with being in an ECV as I have multiple sclerosis, and I know how demoralizing it can feel.

We used this strategy throughout our trip - always wait for the next one - and it worked quite well: the stroller was no bother and I only had to stand once!

We ate at Floatworks again. It was getting cold so the pot roast with dirty rice, potatoes and corn bread looked perfect. It was delicious! I wish I took a picture, sorry.

I forgot to mention that we bought the new refillable mugs on our first day. It's a good thing too, because for days after they only had last year's mugs available on the resort. A shortage maybe?

This is the only picture I have of them:


We went to bed happy and full, excited for breakfast at Kona Café!

Next up - MAGIC KINGDOM, to experience our two most Magical Moments.
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Old 03-16-2011, 11:13 PM   #14
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Can you guess what happened at the Magic Kingdom, that was so magical?

Here's a sneak peek:



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Old 03-17-2011, 09:55 AM   #15
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I agree that diet coke seems to taste best when it is from a fountain!

I think that Camp Minnie-Mickey is the most relaxing part of AK. Soothing music, benches, lots of space to run around. Just watch out for the Lion King crowd!
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