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Old 04-25-2011, 11:07 PM   #1
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I'm not a foodie, but I play one at WDW. A Trip Report from Christmas 2010

Here it is the end of April, and I’m starting my Christmas week trip report.
Well, I’m not saying it was worth the wait, but, it’s taken me this long to get photobucket to work. and I don't ALWAYS get along...

First: The Why.
Last Christmas (Dec. 09) My wife (DW) decided that we would finally repay my parents for a trip we took to WDW in 2000. We would tell them about the trip for Christmas ‘09 that we would take Dec 10. This would give Me-Maw and Maunypawpaw (aka Grandpa) a year to dream of this vacation, and we’d get 2 years worth of presents out of one. Christmas ’09 arrives, and we make them cry with this plan. They are super-excited, as are the 3 boys (6,5,2 at the time of the announcement). I bring this up now b/c on January 3rd, 2010, I returned from a camping trip to the news my DW was pregnant! This joyous news was met by Grandpa with the phrase, “So, we’re *not* going to Disney? *tear” I respond to this saying, “Well, I don’t know about you, but I’M still going…”
When: Dec 27 2010 – Jan 1, 2011 Port Orleans – Riverside (POR).
The cast: Me – Disney (and Walt Disney World) fan of the family. This would be my 5th trip to WDW, and while trip 4 was “off”, it wasn’t enough to keep me from heading back.

DW – THE reason we went on the trip. She’s… AMAZING. I married WAY out of my league. Fortunately, she knows this, and still says I’m worth keeping around.

Mauny Pawpaw & Me-Maw– my folks. They were nicknamed by my DS7 when he was learning to talk. They’ve kept the names since.
Note: Since the names were originally pronounced by an 18 month old, the spelling changes all the time. (DS6 (potato) sitting on Pawpaw's lap)

My Brother (left) – MeMaw wanted a full family trip. Since they were only 2, they had space in their hotel room for my brother and his son, so they joined the fun as well!

The Boys –Nephew (Little Man) 3, DS’s 7(Big Brother), 3(Bean), 6(Potato).

Baby Girl (see above) – Born Sept 1, 2010. 4 months old on the trip. Having a 4 month old affected the trip, but I wouldn’t have not gone, if that makes sense. We’d gotten a Moby Wrap to carry her. Had it been warmer, we could have used the stroller more. But record cold meant she was carried & wrapped in a coat more than snoozing in a stroller.

Day Negative 1: Christmas Day 2010. The plan is to start driving by 3 pm. The Van was packed up with the majority of our needs the night before, but as always, there are odds & ends. We wake up, have presents, breakfast, birthday cake, and family fun at home and w/ the DW’s family. After everything is said and done, we finish packing up the car and are driving by 3:30 (3:00 was the plan). When packing, it started to snow in St. Louis. I threw on my winter coat (which I’d planned to leave at home), and got in the car while wearing it. I figured it could stay in the car once we got to Florida, so I wasn’t too upset.

With babies and the kids as young as they are, we chose the path of the overnight drive. The weather was snowy and slick for about 12 of the 16 hours, though. By leaving STL at 3 in the afternoon, we get to Atlanta around midnight, but, it was snowing. I thought Atlanta drivers were bad in traffic ! In ¼ inch of snow, you’d have thought they were in Canada! 11 MPH on I-75 makes for SLOW-going. I may have preferred rush hour traffic! However, we arrived at Downtown Disney Hotel plaza just after 7 a.m. (local time). We had a breakfast at IHOP, and discovered that it was FREEZING in FLORIDA! I did NOT sign up for cold! Cool, maybe. Brisk? Sure. But cold? Absolutely NOT! But, we’re going to make the best of it regardless.

Day 0: Here we are on Boxing Day in Down Town Disney. Our park days start on the 27th, but we have a 1 night stay at… Shucks, I don’t remember the name, (Googling…Lake Buena Vista Hotel & Spa.) We walked around to the Lego store, and checked into our hotel early. DW and I tried to lay down while the boys played w/ Legos. MeMaw et.al. called to say they were en route, and had just entered Disney Property, and according to their GPS, they were at the hotel, but according to them, they were in the La Nuba parking lot. I guided them into the hotel, and they found their room. At around 5, we met up to walk to DTD for dinner & shopping. While deciding where to go, I said House of Blues was good, and we said we’d go there. Wonderful.
After jaywalking across E. Buena Vista drive, Grandpa said, “Remember eating at Rainforest Café last time? Let’s go there!” Um… remember the House of Blues plan? No? Okay. It’s vacation, I’m easy. Rainforest Café it is. We had a WONDERFUL meal, (VOLCANO!)

As I had done a TON of pre-planning, I reviewed the week with them. Park days, dinner reservations, show times, the whole bit. We adjourned to the Hotel, and after 1 in the bar with Grandpa and my Brother (and baby girl), I went to bed.
Evening Came and Morning followed, the Zero Day.
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Old 04-25-2011, 11:08 PM   #2
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Table of Contents

Reserved for the Table of Contents.

Day 1

Day 2, Chapter 1: Chef Mickey's

Day 2 DHS / Epcot

Day 3 Animal Kingdom

Night 3 - ADR's & DHS

Additional Christmas Decoration Photos

Thursday 12/30 – Breakfast, Epcot, Downtime

12/30 - Luau Show & Evening Fireworks

Day 5 New Year's Eve Morning

New Year's Eve Afternoon. Most Crowded Afternoon EVER

Last edited by unclescrooge_0707; 06-14-2011 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 04-25-2011, 11:25 PM   #3
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Nice job so far. I'm in.
Ack! Logo currently taking time off to enjoy a Dole Whip at the bequest of Disney's legal team.

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DIS DADs CLUB MEMBER #566 James 1:27 Look over here, it's a trip report Updated on 7/5/11 The last day
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Old 04-25-2011, 11:38 PM   #4
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Present and now accounted for. Great intro.

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Nov 01 ASMo, Sept 05 WL, Jan 07 POFQ, Nov 09 Poly May 13 Off-Site (Windsor Hills)
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Old 04-25-2011, 11:39 PM   #5
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Day 1

Day 1 Arrives! We woke up at 5:45, and were in the POR Lobby by 6:50 for our 7:00 a.m. check-in. By all accounts, this was going to be the busiest week of the year. I knew that, so I wanted to make sure we could get to the park as early as possible to get as much as possible out of the day. At 7:20, we were checked in, though only one of the two rooms was ready. (Soap box: I made reservations a YEAR in advance, and asked for adjoining, and preferred connecting, rooms. And, we had neither. A YEAR out, and b/c I didn’t call a week early or do on-line check in, I don’t get this small token? C’mon… )
We move our important things from the cars to the hotel room (important later) and head to the bus stop. Magic Kingdom bus arrives, and we climb on board. The reason we picked WDW at Christmastime, regardless of the crowds, were the decorations. I was about to find out if I was going to be disappointed.
Drumroll please….

I was NOT disappointed! How AMAZING! When it comes to doing something RIGHT, Disney has cornered that market, AND HOW!
We made our way to Main Street Bakery because “the kids” were hungry. (The grown-ups were hungry, but didn’t want to admit it) And we had our first experience with the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan. We learned that on the DxDDP, one room card is enough, we don’t need to redeem meals per person, just per room. We ALSO learned that at a counter service, the Cast Members help you pick out if you’re using meal or snack credits. We spent 3 meal and 2 snack credits on breakfast, and 5 of us ate till we were full. THAT’s when we realized JUST how much food DxDDP was going to be. Following breakfast, it was divide & conquer time. Grandpa & DS7 went to Space Mountain. My Brother & his son went on their own, and Memaw, DW, baby girl, Potato, and Bean went to ride the MK Railroad. In 5 trips, this would be my first trip riding the Railroad, so I was excited.
While riding, it was COLD! (see photo). When you accidentally bring a coat to WDW, and use it, it’s Cold. The sling I was using to hold baby girl made me feel like the character Quato from Total Recall.

We rode the train and I saw 8 people on Big Thunder Mtn Railroad! EIGHT! Maybe the reports about crowds were wrong? Maybe it was b/c it was 42 degrees? Maybe b/c it was 8:30 in the morning. Any may be a reason. But, we stayed on the RR around to Toon Town station (before Fantasyland expansion closed it.) I walked with MeMaw and Baby Girl while DW, Potato, and Bean rode Barnstormer. Potato sat by himself (which is HUGE for him) and Bean sat w/ DW. Apparently, he sat, put his hands in the air and started saying “WEE” right away, not stopping till he was done. Sorry I missed that… :evilgrin: We considered waiting to see Mickey Mouse, but the line was out the door, so, we walked on. We made our way towards Peter Pan. Grandpa texted to say they finished Space Mtn with no wait, and were going to ride it again. Great! We’ll meet you at Peter Pan. Unfortunately, the 2nd ride caused Space Mtn to break down. PawPaw & DS7 wound up walking through the superstructure of the Mtn, and missed Peter Pan.

We had 11:50 lunch reservations at Le Cellier, so we made our way onto the Monorail to head towards Epcot.

The monorail express wasn’t running, so we went to Ticket & Transportation Center (TTC), switched monorails, THEN rode to Epcot. We rushed to Le Cellier, and arrived just at our scheduled time (11:50). Now we were seated about 25 min AFTER our ADR, so, there was that. ALSO, the meal lasted 2 and ½ hrs. To ME, that seemed, well, FAR too long. The FOOD, however, was a different type of story altogether
(it’s a different type of story altogether).

For as long as I’ve been a DISdad, I’ve been reading about the amazing Le Cellier. The Cheddar Cheese Soup, the filet, the “mousse” they serve. All of it. Can it REALLY be that good?

Now, I’m not a foodie, so, I don’t have a TON of food pictures. HOWEVER, Le Cellier did NOT disappoint. The pretzel bread was NOT expected, so that was a Plus (+2, really).
Then the soup was EVERYTHING I was hoping for…. I’m drooling as I’m typing, remembering how good it was.
The filet was great (as was my Moleson, eh!), and dessert was as good as promised.
Lunch finished, we go outside where we meet Cast Member Hannah! Before we left, DW bought all 4 boys matching Fleece jackets. You see 4 jackets, you have all 4 kids. Great plan to keep an eye on all the Boys. The jackets, however, were the same style as the uniform of the Canadian Cast Members! How GREAT was that! Thank you to Hannah for posing for this picture.
MeMaw, Brother, and Little Man headed back to the Hotel room that WAS ready in order to nap.
DW & I, our 4, and PawPaw stayed at Epcot. We walked the world showcase, and decided that maybe we were too full for our 4:50 Biergarten Reservation (DxDDP is SO much food.)
Living seas was a HIT with Fisherman PawPaw, and we stayed there for over an hour walking around.
We caught a bus from Epcot to POR, to unload the vans and get ready for an evening at Magic Kingdom.
The dinner plans for Biergarten missed, we looked to quick service for dinner. I was excited to get a Casey’s Corner Hot Dog. However, by 7 p.m., the weather had warmed and the crowds had moved in. Hot dogs were backlogged, and I wasn’t ready to wait to eat. My fam went to Buzz Lightyear while Grandpa’s room stayed in line for dinner. We all met up to do Monsters Inc. Laugh floor. The Nephew got to participate in the festivities. When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he looked and said, “I want to be bigger.” We got trapped by the parade, and couldn’t get to Pirates of the Carribbean until it ended. However, once it WAS over, we walked straight onto the ride. I had read Kingdom Keepers just before this trip, so I was looking and feeling for evidence of Malificant. I didn’t notice any, but, I’m not ruling it out.

We got onto our POR bus as the Fireworks were starting, so there was no crowd for the bus. I got the kids into BED, and DW got Baby Girl a bottle & pajamas. I was hungry and wanted to write in my journal before forgetting anything. I went to the Cafeteria at POR (name…?) and got some pasta. The chef behind the pasta grill (Genevive) was extrodinary. There were boxes of ingredients and orders and friends talking and getting things everywhere. Flames are shooting up, and she’s slinging cookware and spices & oils and there is no stopping her. I’m generally a complimentary guy, but I made sure to seek out the manager on duty to say, “THAT is someone that needs an official Guest Compliment from me, because she is amazing over there.”
I finished my pasta (half, the other half for the DW in the room), and walked to my resort hotel room (in alligator bayou, so, heck & gone from the dining hall). And frankly, when you type it all out like this, it was a BUSY peanut-butter-ing day! (disdads MAN LAW reference).
Evening came and morning followed, the first day of my vacation.
Why is the rum always gone?

My completed first Trip Report:
I'm not a foodie, but I play one at WDW - completed through lack of updates 6/14/11!

Last edited by unclescrooge_0707; 04-25-2011 at 11:52 PM.
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:30 AM   #6
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Very good so far....

Polynesian April '03 (our belated official Honeymoon) POP Century January '06 (DD's first trip and DW's BDay) POP Century February '08 POP Century October 2010 (DD2's First trip and 10th Anniversary) POP Century August 2011 (Just Because)
POP Century August 2013 (see a trend happening?)

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Old 04-26-2011, 04:53 AM   #7
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there goes your trip report, im in! great start!! nice job.
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:20 AM   #8
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Great trip report so far. Love the title. Your family is quite handsome. 3 boys and a girl - nice. Love the boys lumber jack coats. Too cute.

and I can't believe you did that drive with 4 kids. I am totally impressed.

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Old 04-26-2011, 08:23 AM   #9
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Great start! Really enjoying your TR and I look forward to seeing more.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:45 AM   #10
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:48 AM   #11
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I'm in!
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Old 04-26-2011, 10:08 AM   #12
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Gotta wait until I get home to see the photos, but I'm in!
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:20 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by IamTrike View Post
Nice job so far. I'm in.
Originally Posted by middlepat View Post
Present and now accounted for. Great intro.
Originally Posted by dvczerfs View Post
there goes your trip report, im in! great start!! nice job.
Thanks, everyone! I'll try to make it worth-while!

Originally Posted by MEK View Post
Great trip report so far. Love the title. Your family is quite handsome. 3 boys and a girl - nice. Love the boys lumber jack coats. Too cute.

and I can't believe you did that drive with 4 kids. I am totally impressed.
The fleece jackets were a fortunate happenstance.
and the 4 kids were... Fine. Having one adult to every one child helped a lot.

Originally Posted by trennr View Post
This TR would not exist (with pictures) without your help. Thank you.

Originally Posted by BigTex71 View Post
I'm in!
There are gifted story tellers, and then there's me. But I plan to do a good job.
Why is the rum always gone?

My completed first Trip Report:
I'm not a foodie, but I play one at WDW - completed through lack of updates 6/14/11!
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:11 AM   #14
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Day 2: Chef Mickey's / DHS / Epcot?

Day 2:
What has 2 thumbs and a 7:30 a.m. Chef Mickey Reservation?

We get up bright & early to start our day, to make sure we hit this ressie. We get out to our van, (in the dark, still) just as Grandpa’s room gets to theirs. And what do we find? FROST! Frost on windows in Florida! I did NOT sign up for this! But, St.Louis GETS winter weather, so we have ice scrapers in the cars. We clean off the windows and press on. (Though we did toy with the idea of selling our window scrapers to those from NOT cold weather states…)
Arrivals at the Contemporary Resort bring a mixed bag. All I can picture are the guys on your shoulders “I wanna stay HERE” and my other shoulder saying “For what they charge, you could get a new car.” The guard at the gate stopped us. I told him we were looking for Chef Mickey’s. He pointed us along, and was rather surly for a Disney CM. The DW pointed out that he likely will answer that question another 700 times today, so be nice. Agreed.
We enter the A-Frame of the Contemporary, and check in at Chef Mickey’s. I see the monorails overhead, and again, “I Wanna Stay here!!!” I’m young. I’ll go back to WDW, what’s the rush, really? We check in, and are ushered to our Mickey Mouse Photo…. With a STATUE of Mickey Mouse.
[rant] A Statue? Wow… you guys went all out here. Oh, and now you’re going to CHARGE for the pic with the STATUE? We’ll get back to you on that. [/rant]

The Character Breakfasts were, for us, (with 4 boys under 8) the BEST way to see characters, here’s why:

We are seated, and per usual with buffets, DW gets the kids’ plates while I wait with them at the table, then we switch. While we start eating, here comes our first Character. And, he walks to OUR table. We’re not waiting in line, chasing them down, elbowing other parents for a better photo, we just sit & wait.
Goofy shows up, and Bean’s eyes get HUGE! The smile creeps across his face, and he jumps out of his chair, runs over and gives the character the biggest hug I’ve ever seen a kid give a character. At THAT moment, I thought, “Perfect Vacation.”

I bust out the Autograph book (um, you know…for the kids…) and Goofy signs, poses for pictures, and moves on. Although, as you can see, not all dads have read MAN LAW #6 regarding their electronic devices)

Now, the reason I was so excited for Chef Mickey’s was a Mickey Head Waffle! I wanted a Belgium Waffle the size of a plate, that I could cover in strawberries and devour. Disney, it seems, disagreed with my plan, serving the ¼ size waffles instead. However, like Rom told Flynn, “You don’t realize how good the power is until you find a pure source.” Followed by, “Put a cork in it!”

Potato was LOVING the characters as well. However, he kept messing with his hands. We asked him what was wrong, he said “When I petted Pluto, he ate my hands off!” That’s Potato….

The breakfast itself was great. Now, as stated, I’m not a “foodie.” I'm just as happy with a pop tart as I am with a sun-dried tomato & mozzarella omlet. I’ve been blessed with a DW that not only LOVES to cook and bake, but is good at both. When I DO have crap-tastic food, I admit it. This, however, was NOT one of those times. There was this bacon & cheddar & shoestring potato stuff on the buffet that I went back for about 4 times. The only thing that they advertised that was missing were the Cheese Blintz.
We saw 5 of the 6 Primary Characters (no Daisy Duck), and got photos with them all, and didn’t stand in line at all. GREAT use of the DxDDP on this one.

As we’re leaving, we take a trip to the restroom (with 4 boys under 8, and a baby, you go whenever you’re near one). The restroom is down a flight of stairs and kind of "away" from the restaurant. It's... oddly placed to me. Then, while waiting away from the “main” buffet line, What do I spy with my little eye? Yes! The Cheese Blintz that had been promised. But, I’d cleared my plate I AM on vacation... Should I be a St. Louis hoosier* and just eat it while standing there? It seems like I really shouldn’t eat food in line… :chomp:
MMMM… THAT was a good Cheese Blintz.

We adjourn from the Contemporary Resort (hopefully not for the last time in our lives), and drive to Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
Why is the rum always gone?

My completed first Trip Report:
I'm not a foodie, but I play one at WDW - completed through lack of updates 6/14/11!
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Old 04-27-2011, 04:09 AM   #15
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always a good time at chef mickeys! you know, for the kids.
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