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Old 09-20-2012, 11:15 AM   #1
bennynick18
Disney College Program Alumni
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Woodridge, IL
Posts: 57

A Brit, A Yankee and A Toddler tackle the World

The BEST Trip of my Disney Life!!

HI EVERYONE

Welcome to my FIRST TRIP REPORT!!!

For years, I have been the DISer who has loved to read the various threads, trip reports and dive into the great info the DIS provides. I have always talked about doing a Trip Report, even started typing a time or two. Something has alwasys distracted me or stopped me from finishing.

I SAY NO MORE! I will finish this one and even if I don't get a single reader, I will feel accomplished.

INDEX

Chapter 1: Introduction/Getting Ready to Go
Chapter 2: Day 1 Travel Day/All Star Sports
Chapter 3: Day 2 Downtown Disney/Contemporary
Chapter 4: Day 3 MAGIC KINGDOM
Chapter 5: Day 4 Pool/Downtown Disney
Chapter 6: Day 5 Travel Day/Final Thoughts


So now that I've finished my disclaimer, Let's Begin with some introductions.

ME: Ben, Benny, Bennynick (as if you could not gather that from my DIS name) (The Yankee)
Own Consulting Business, 31yy (years young), Former Disney College Program Alumni (2001-'02), Been to WDW more times than I can count since I was 4, Favoite Character: Pluto

DW: Charlotte, 27, SAHM, Originally from Englang (The Brit), has only been to WDW twice, once when she was 10 and again for our Honeymoon ('07), Favorite Character: Ariel

DS: P (Preston, The Toddler), 2, Wild, Climb over everything, Best Kid in the World (In my humble, but accurately biased opinion). First Trip to Disney, Favorite Character: Mickey

DS: M (Mason), Ok, so techniqually, he did travel with us down, however, he is not set to be born until October, so I'm pretty sure he won't remember any of the trip

Here are a couple photos of DW and I on our Honeymoon and two of P hanging with his favorite Pal.











Now onto the fun stuff. Here is how our trip came about. The planning for this trip actually started back while DW and I were on our DIS Honeymoon. We were blessed to enjoy 5 Nights at the Grand Floridia Concierge (Completely spoiled us going forward) followed by 4 nights on the Disney Wonder for a Cruise.

While we were there, we kept talking about how we wanted to bring out Kids here when the time was right (and we had kids since we were childless at the time). As we enjoyed the park, we kept thinking of cool things to do as a family at Disney.

So our trip ended and low and behold, we were blessed with the birth of our first son on Aug 12th, 2010. Once the Joy, Excitement (and of course lack of sleep ) calmed down after P's birth, we started planning on when to take him to WDW. We wanted to make sure we took a vacation to WDW before we had our second child as we wanted to make a special trip for P. Although I am not against taking infants or for that matter care what age kids are at Disney (any age can enjoy different parts of Disney), we decided to wait until P was 3 to go. Believe me, we would have been there when he was an infant had we lived in Florida.

Well this was a great plan, until we found out last December that we were expecting our 2nd Child! Due Oct 2012. Excitement, Joy, Cheering,

WAIT!?!?! Now we need to push up our Disney Trip. We did not want to wait until he was 3 and then leave our new baby boy home with Grandparents while we went and enjoyed Disney, So we frantically started looking at everything to see if we could do a quick trip in the Spring.

After looking over my work schedule, we decided on the first week of June. This would not be too late in DW's pregnancy that she would be uncomfortable, and it would be when P was almost 22 months and he would be able to enjoy more at the parks.
We settled on May 31st thru June 4th. We were able to snag some great deals on flights and rooms.

Here is our intinerary for the trip.
May 31st: Fly out at 4:30pm from Chicago to Orlando
-We thought this would work perfectly as P typically naps from 11-1:30 and he would be rested for the trip
-The first night we would stay at All Star Sports as we would be getting in late and just needed a place to stay for the night
June 1-4: Contemporary Resort, Garden View Room
-Had a Garden View room scheduled (Foreshadow: Would we stay in our Scheduled room, or get an upgrade?!?!?!?)

We were not going to purchase park ticket ahead of time. Since this was a short trip, we had agreed to allow P to dictate where and when we would go places. At most we would go to two parks and since the price for 1 day or two days is almost identical (save $5.00 at the time), we figured we would buy them as we went and if P didn't like the park the first day, we would not get another one.

We were truly going to let P lead us on this trip. If he wanted to try a ride, we would do it, if he wanted to spend and hour looking at the Ducks in the water, we would do that too. The only thing we made sure to schedule was a trip to Chef Mickey's. P absolutely loves the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show and adores the characters. But we weren't to sure how he would react to them when they were 3 times his size. So we figured a Character Meal would be the best introduction, that way we could take our time for him to warm up to them. (stay tuned to see how he reacted)

So that takes care of all the final details. But all trips do have that one moment when it may seem like the whole trip will have to be scrapped, or something that could ruin a trip. So before we Enjoy the rest of the TR, I have to share our Dark Cloud....

The week leading up to our trip, I had been having a pretty bad toothache. At first, it was just a dull pain, nothing that seemed like worring about. But on Wednesday, the day before we were to fly out, the pain was unbearable. I was unable to talk, eat, drink or anything. There was no way I could travel with this pain as it was causing terrible headaches. In the morning, I called my local dentist. He had an opening right before they closed for the day and said I could come in at 3:30pm. At the appointment, he informed me that I needed to have a root canal!!

I explained to him my situation. "Look, we are leaving for Disney in 24 hours, what can we do???" God Bless my dentist. Even though I was the last patient for the day, he offered to stick around and preform the root canal right away.

While he was performing the surgery, come to fin out, he had just returned 6 weeks ago from a trip to Disney with hsi family. He said he offered to do this as he knew how much fun I would be missing out on if I waited to get it done until I got back.

He said I may have some dull pain the first day or two, but that I would be much happier, be able to eat, talk and drink with no problems! So an hour and a half later, I was finished, but with a swollen mouth. Lucky for me, the swelling went down, the pain went away and by 4:30pm the next day, I was back to my old self and ready to fly.

So, would we encounter any trouble on our Travel Day.........
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:20 PM   #2
bennynick18
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Woodridge, IL
Posts: 57

CHAPTER 2: Travel Day/All Star Sports

As promised, I am back to continue on with my TR. Let's get on with Day 1, Travel Day.

If you recall, I had the unfortunate opportunity to experience a Root Canal 24 hrs prior to us leaving for Disney. However, I can safely say that when I woke up on Thursday, there was no pain at all! I'm sure DW was happy about that too.

So the night before we left, we went through the normal routine, making sure we had all of our documents, passports (typically use them in place of Drivers Licsense) and packed up. We utilized Garden Grocer to have some items delivered to our hotel room at the Contemporary, so we could avoid packing some of the items (snacks for P, diapers, drinks). They were phenomenal, delivered on time, great price. Would highly recommend them.

P woke me up bright and early Thursday morning. We popped out of bed at 6:30am and promptly went down to play. We let DW sleep in. All morning I kept asking P if he knew where we were going and although he wasn't talking much at the time, he kept saying Key, Key, Key! His name for Mickey.

Our flights were set for 4:30, so we put P down for a nap at 11:00 (earlier than normal) hoping that he would rest and wake up somewhere around 1-1:15. I packed the car and finsihed the last of our details, and then sat down with DW to wait for P to wake up. Well he must have been dreaming about Disney because we had to finally go in and wake him up at 2:00pm or we would be late. He wasn't too happy to be woken up, but we quickly hopped into the car and off we went.

We live about 45 minutes from the airport with out traffic, so of course I was a little nervous that we were running behind. And then we hit the always on time, Chicago Traffic! This added another 30-45 minutes onto our trip. By this point, I was freaking out on the inside (calm as can be on the outside to assure DW we were doing fine). By the time we pulled up to the airport, it was 3:30pm. I dropped DW and P off to go check in (we were only checking 1 bag). I had to drive out and park the car yet. Hopefully it would go quickly. It took about 20 minutes for me to get the car parked and take the tram back to the Terminal. It was at this point that I saw DW and P waiting by the door for me.....STILL WITH THE BAG?!?!?!!?

In my rush to drop them off, I hadn't noticed that I had the Tickets in my carryone

So we quickly moved through the check in line and dropped off our bag., grabbed out boarding passes and were on our way to Security. Luckily for us, P will drink just about anything from his sippy cup, so we did not have any liquids with us. Security went fairly quickly. I ran ahead with P, the Stroller and our Carry on bags while DW quickly grabbed a couple waters and a juice for P, and then a couple items for dinner as we would be on the plane when P typically ate dinner.

We arrived at the gate with about 15 minutes to spare. We were blessed as well in that our flight was not full at all. We had not gotten a seat for P ahead of time, hoping for an empty flight, but knowing he might have to be on our laps. The empty flight was a sigh of releif for us. No sooner had we boarded, grabbed three seats near the back of the plane and we were taxiing away to take off.

Now, P is a seasoned traveler. He has already been to England 3 times to visit DW's family (I've only been twice! HOW fair is that?!?!?)
P is great on take offs and landings as far as his ears go. The only thing he doesn't like is not being able to move. So when we have to hold him during those times, he squirms like a fish out of water. This flight was fairly uneventful. P did try to walk up and down the plane to say hi to everyone a couple times, but the drink cart slowed his progress.

We arrived on time in Orlando and made our way to the mini Monorail. P absolutely loves trains, so this was a highlight for him! To be able to ride on a 'train' as he calls it, watching everything go by, he was entranced. Since we arrived late to the airport, there were not too many people checking in and heading down to Disney's Magical Express. We arrived and found the bus to the All Star Resorts. At the time we were the only ones there and hopped on the bus. He is our first picture from the trip, DW and P aboard the Magical Express as we got ready to leave.



Again, P did not like having to sit still on the bus, but as soon as the Welcome to Disney video started playing, he settled down and we all enjoyed the show.

Since there were only a couple of us on the bus and we were all going to AS Sports, the bus ride went pretty quickly. We had checked in online, however there was no wait in either line when we got there. We had a great castmember at the FD help us out. He gave P a Mickey Baloon for his first visit, along with the First Visit Pin (which P refused to wear all trip). We had a room right near the main pool on the first floor. After going and setting out stuff down, we went out to explore. After walking around the property, playing on the some of the gyms, running wild on the football field, we were all a little hungry. We headed over to the END ZONE Food Court.

Sorry, as we were so focused on P and tired from a long trip, I do not have any Food Pictures from this trip. DW enjoyed a specialty Pizza, I had a simple Burger and Fries, and we got some fruit for P. No complaints on the food, its your typical food court style food, not 5 star, but it's the same you would get from a local chain restaurant. With the exception of DW's pizza. That was very good. I would imagine since they are made to order, its a little fresher.

After some food, we decided to take P back and get him to bed so we could keep some sort of a schedule for him. DW was also pretty tired, so she offered to put P down and stay in the room with him. I wanted to take some time to explore. I headed out and grabbed the bus to the other All Star Resorts as I had not had the opportunity to visit them yet. Overall, I was pretty impressed. I know a lot of people perceive these properties as 'Budget Motels', but they are very well maintained. Besides that, everywhere you go, is DISNEY!! Out of all the resorts, I would say these Value resorts are the best Disney Themed of all of them. Great for young kids. The only negative I have on them is that if you are taking the buses, it sometimes is quite a hike to get to and from them and the buses are usually very packed (at least on our trip). But I would stay at these again in a hearbeat if it meant i was able to come to Disney.

After visiting the other resorts, I made my way back to AS Sports and checked out Goofy's Gifts and Sundries near the lobby. I picked up some of the famous Saltwater Taffy for DW and myself, a couple snacks for P, and a couple of bottled waters for the next day as our Garden Grocer order was not supposed to be delivered until around 3pm the next day.

When I got back to the room, P was crashed out in one of the beds and DW was snoozing in the other. I cleaned up a little for the next day and then hit the bed myself.

Stay tuned for tomorrow. Plenty more pictures, a move to another resort and do we get an Upgrade???????????
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:45 AM   #3
bennynick18
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Woodridge, IL
Posts: 57

Chapter 3: Day 2, Downtown Disney and Contemporary Resort

Hi Again! Back with our Day 2 Update!

When we left off, DW and P were passed out asleep on the cozy beds at the AS Sports resort. We had grabbed a quick night there before we moved over to our 'Home' for the next couple days.

P and I woke up early (6:30am). You would think after a long travel day, he would want to sleep in a little!?! Not our boy, he new we were at Disney and wanted to take advantage of every minute. We decided to let DW sleep in a bit and go explore the Resort through a 2 year old's eyes.

Well, we didn't make it too far. Almost directly outside of our room, was a Slide/Gym play area. This was like Heaven to P. We played on the swings, rode the slides, and chased each other around the resort for close to an hour.

By this time, it was getting close to 8am. We headed back to see if we could wake DW up and to our surprise, she was already up and had us all packed up to leave!!! Come to find out, she wanted to get over to Contemporary as soon as possible to see about getting an upgrade. Once the sunscreen was applied, off we went.

We made the short trek to the Bus Stop, and were the only ones there?!? We had decided to catch a bus to MK and then walk over to the Contemporary. We figured this would be the quickest way on the buses to get there. To our delight, the MK bus showed up right away and there were only a couple other people on the bus.

Now, this is the only, I don't want ot say complaint, but more like Reason why we as a family do not choose to stay at the All Star Resorts. The time the trip takes to get to places via the Disney Buses. Now, they are not slow, but when traveling with a toddler who does not like to be sitting still, we found this to be a bit stressful. After the first couple minutes on the bus, all he wanted to do was run around. It was a struggle to keep him seated. But....we Finally made it and then made the short trek over to Contemporary Resort from MK. DW was very pleased to see how close we were.

We new we could not check in yet, but wanted to drop our luggage off at the Bell Services and see about a possible upgrade. The lady who helped us out, a very nice lady, Delores from New Jersery, was very knowledable and helpful. While DW and P watched the Disney Cartoons on the couches, I spoke with Delores. I informed here that his was P's first trip to Disney and my DW's birthday would be whil we were there. We had reserved a Garden Room (only available at the time), but were hoping for a Tower Room. This was for a couple reasons. First, I knew P and DW would really love the view, and second, we knew that we were going to try and keep P on some sort of a schedule. This meant that we unfortunately, would miss most of the fireworks, Electric Water Parade etc. We were hopeing for a tower room to be able to see these from our balcony while P slept.

Well Delores did her best. She made call after call after call and said she would let us know when our room was ready and if we could get an upgrade. She definitely did all she could. In the mean time, we decided that we would go and grab some breakfast at the Contemp Cafe. DW and I got some Fruit and Mickey Waffles to share, while P got a Mickey Waffle plate all to himself! Here is is enjoying his first 'taste' of Disney!



He was very impressed. After Breakfast, we strolled around the shops for a bit and enjoyed the views. P found just about every toy possible in the Gift Shops and wanted everything. Mean parents that we were, we told him he had to wait (like he understands that yet).

Around this time, I got the text from the Front Desk that our room was ready. We headed back down to find out if we were lucky in our room location!!!!

Delores did have some good news for us. She said she could get us into the Tower (MK view) for two of the three nights we were there. We thought long and hard about it, but we decided that changing rooms would be too much of a hassle (picking up after P and us) that we thanked her and took her up on the other room (Garden View right outside of Pool). This room ended up being the perfect location. Since went ot the pool a lot and back and forth to the main concourse area, we loved the choice.

Once I retrieved our bags and we stored everything in the room, it was off to Downtown Disney! We hopped on the bus again (P did not like this and it would be a recurring theme with each bus ride).

Now mind you, this day was rainy! And I'm not just talking your typical Florida rain once a day things, it was overcast all day and continual switching back and forth from light to heavy rain. But we figured DTD would be a great place to check out some shops, and immerse ourselves in Disney.

The first shop we went in was the Disney Days of Christmas store. It happens to be one of the first you come across when getting off the buses. DW wanted to get a pair of Mickey Ears with Preston's name on them and we knew we could do the personalization here. While DW was handling that, P and I explored. P was very good in this store (as long as I was there to keep him from grabbing all the fragile ornaments). HOwever, when we got to the back of the store, he noticed the Disney Train Set! Now if you remember, P is a HUGE fan of trains. He grabbed this box (almost bigger than him) and kept pulling it around. I kept returning it to the shelf saying we'd come back later. Well P was having none of this, he wouldn't leave the area with out the train set. DW finally came over and after some discussion, we caved and got P the Train Set. We had it sent back to our resort (which did not make P happy as he wanted to open it and play with it right then and there). Eventually, he calmed down and we moved on. Here he is with his train set at home.



After growing tired of the Christmas items, we decided to grab a snack. Goofy's Candy Company won. We headed there and DW got some chocolate covered Pretzels for her and P, I got a Mickey Rice Krispy bar and we got P his Mickey Ice Crean Sandwich! Again, he loved it!



Once we were reenergized by the Ice Cream and Rice Krispy, we decided to tackle WOLRD OF DISNEY!!! By this time, it was in Downpour stage of raining. Not a bid deal, except where does everyone go when it rains??? Into the shops and WOD being the biggest, it was packed! I mean, shoulder to shoulder, people not moving and just waiting out the rain packed. It made it pretty difficult to shop and look around (especially chasing a 2 year old). DW had wanted to get P some Disney Crocs, so she want to do that while I tried to keep up with P. Once DW was done, it was getting closer to Lunch Time. We decided to make a dash through the rain to Earl of Sandwich and grab some food. This was my first time eating here and it was great! DW, P and I all finished our meals and thought it was delicious.

Since we had gotten up around 6:30am (530 for us Chicagoins), P was not getting tired. We made our way back to the bus stop to head back and take a nap. Again, P did not like the bus, but this could have been because he was tired as well. When we finally made it back to the Contemporary Resort, we treked to our Garden View Room and laid down with P. He found the Bible and wanted to do some reading before nap time. Unfortunately, he didn't make it too far before falling asleep.



P ended up sleeping for a good three hours. During that time, DW and I just did some reading and chatting out on our patio. Trying our best to plan out the remaining days and what we thought P would like to do. When he woke up, we decided to travel on the Monorail and visit some of the adjacent resorts. That was most of our night. We came back and had dinner at the Contempo Cafe again. By this time, P was getting tired, so we headed back to our room for bath and bed time.

Since DW had stayed with P the previous night, I offered to stay behind while she went out and explored. We had stayed at the Grand Floridian for our honeymoon and she wanted to go check some things out there. She was gone for around an hour and a half. When she came back, she brought dessert for us to enjoy on the patio. When finished, we curled up in bed and tried to sleep in preparations for the next morning.

Next Up, Chef Mickey's and The Magic Kingdom!!!!!
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Old 09-25-2012, 01:59 PM   #4
MINNIEmeetsTINK
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Just found your thread and I am reading along

I'm excited to hear about Preston's first time meeting Mickey and the Gang!
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Awaiting the next time I can visit....

"One Disney Day...with No Parks"- July 2012 TR http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2954234
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Old 09-26-2012, 02:59 PM   #5
bennynick18
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Location: Woodridge, IL
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Welcome MINNIEmeetsTINK!!!
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:01 PM   #6
pikaboo27
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I am loving your TR so far! I can't imagine so long without going to a park though! Can't wait to read more.
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:26 PM   #7
bennynick18
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Woodridge, IL
Posts: 57

Pikaboo27

I know, I'm the type that is usually at the park as soon as my plane lands. But since this was P's trip, it was nice to relax a bit.

I'll try to have the next day up this weekend!
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