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Old 02-12-2012, 09:58 PM   #1
PryncessChrysty
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The Yuletide Hypothesis // Stuffed & Joyful! **NEW 10/16**

Hiya, folks!

This is the story of our wonderful holiday adventure to Walt Disney World this past December. For DH & I, it was our first trip to the World during this time of year. Aside from being plagued with a major cold throughout the duration of the trip, we had the opportunity to attend some pretty neat events, and we had an absolutely amazing time. I hope you’ll join me as I re-live our most memorable moments.



Trip Details:
  • Dates: December 6 – 18, 2011
  • Where we stayed: Old Key West, Wilderness Lodge & Boardwalk Villas
  • Special events: D23’s Magic & Merriment, MVMCP, DAP @ WWoHP, an Illuminations Dessert Party, and the Wishes Dessert Party


Who’s Who:
  • Me - Chrysty, 33: A genetically predisposed Disney nerd (on my mom’s side)
  • DH – Daniel, 36: Happily allows me to drag him all around the World
  • DM – Kelley, 52: She is a true Disney princess at heart and loves to be immersed in the magic
  • DSF – David, 45: Happily allows DM to drag him all around the World
  • DB – Jason, 24: This was his first time at WDW, he was only able to tag along for a few days


About Us:
DH & I are Disneyland locals and hit the parks as often as we can. We took a trip to Walt Disney World in 2008 (his 1st, my 2nd) and we’ve been hooked on the WDW Kool-Aid ever since. I’m a lover of (mostly) all things Disney, and I’m completely addicted to planning trips to WDW. When we first met, DH was indifferent to Disney in general, but has found a love & appreciation through all of the amazing experiences we’ve had over the years. I’m so lucky to have a hubby that “gets” it, or at least understands why I get it. We love anything that has to do with the history of the parks, and anything behind-the-scenes. You might have noticed by the title of our TR that we're also huge fans of "The Big Bang Theory".

DM, DSF & DB all grew up in southern California and moved to Colorado a little over 15 years ago. My mom has loved all things Disney her entire life, and my step-father has found a love for it through her. They took their first trip to WDW for their honeymoon in 1995, and have been addicted to the World ever since. They took us along for our first family trip in 2008, and now pretty much the only way we see each other is when we meet at the World.

My brother has never been a big fan of Disney; at least that’s what he’ll tell you. However, if you ever find yourself playing Disney Trivial Pursuit with him, he just might kick your butt. I’m certain he had way more fun on this trip than he’ll ever admit.



From L to R: DH, Me, DSF, DM, DB





* * *Chapter Links* * *


Day 1 - 12/6
Chapter 1: Away We Go!
Chapter 2: Battered & Fried Pt. 1
Chapter 2: Battered & Fried Pt. 2
Chapter 2: Battered & Fried Pt. 3


Day 2 - 12/7
Chapter 3: The Best Laid Plans...
Chapter 4: Rockin' the Studios Pt. 1
Chapter 4: Rockin' the Studios Pt. 2
Chapter 5: Family, Food and……Freezing?


**TR Detour**
TR Detour: Our "Staycation" - Pt. 1
TR Detour: Our "Staycation" - Pt. 2
TR Detour: Our "Staycation" - Pt. 3


Day 3 - 12/8
Heading into the Wilderness
Let the Pixie Dust Fall Where It May
Ft. Wilderness’ Amazing Spectacle of Boogying Lights


Day 4 - 12/9
An Ode to Pooh - Pt. 1
An Ode to Pooh - Pt. 2
An Ode to Pooh - Pt. 3
Mission: GINGERBREAD - Pt. 1
Mission: GINGERBREAD - Pt. 2
Night of 1,000 Desserts - Pt. 1
Night of 1,000 Desserts - Pt. 2


Day 5 - 12/10
Stuffed & Joyful **UPDATED 10/16**

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Old 02-13-2012, 12:20 AM   #2
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So far so good - and maybe NEXT trip you can tell me when my glasses are crooked? huh?
Ready for more
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:33 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Disneysnel View Post
So far so good - and maybe NEXT trip you can tell me when my glasses are crooked? huh?
Ready for more
I totally don't see it - not even now. I think it's just cuz your head is tilted in the pic.
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Old 02-14-2012, 02:36 AM   #4
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Chapter 1: Away We Go!

It never fails; in the weeks leading up to a trip, I start to have dreams where we’re on the plane headed for WDW, wearing our PJ's, with NO luggage, and NO itinerary. Oh, the horror.

In reality, it seems that no matter how much I prep & plan before our trips, I’m always rushing at the last minute to get it all done & ready. This trip was no exception, meaning there wasn’t much sleep happening the night before we left. We had to leave the house at 3:30 in the morning and my sweet dad drove us to Ontario (California, not Canada) airport at dark-thirty for our 6am flight. Just in case you were wondering, yes we were wearing regular clothes, had our luggage all packed & our itinerary ready to go!

We had an easy check-in with Southwest, then stopped by Starbucks & paid $247 for a bottle of water & some muffins to snack on during the flight (OK maybe I'm exaggerating, but airport prices are seriously insane). From there we just sat & people-watched until it was time to board, where I'm convinced we saw the "Octomom" (sans brood) also waiting for a flight.

By the time we boarded, I had been awake for 24+ hours and was really starting to feel it. As soon as the plane left the ground I knocked out, so I don't remember much other than the take-off & landing. We had a short layover in Phoenix where we changed planes. We tried to get some sleep on the 2nd leg to MCO, but DH has a hard time sleeping in planes and I was just too excited. We passed the time doing word searches together & playing multi-player Boggle on our iPad. How exciting are we? At 4:25pm, we arrived at MCO right on time.




My sleepy hubby in Phoenix, waiting for our connecting flight. Apparently the thinking man was also on his way to Disney


Aside from the dreams/nightmares leading up to our trips, I also have a tendency to become ever-so-slightly paranoid about getting sick. A month before we leave, we increase our vitamin C intake and add Echinacea to our daily routine. Inevitably, a few days before we're set to leave, I’m certain that I’m getting a sore throat. DH just rolls his eyes because, luckily, I’ve been wrong every time. (Gees, I really sound nutty don’t I? ) This time was different, though. This time I felt it coming and didn’t say anything, hoping it would just pass and that I was wrong like I had been EVERY other time. When we got off the plane in Orlando, my ears were completely full of fluid and I couldn’t even hear myself talk. But I'm sure they just needed to pop, right?

We took the infamous MCO monorail ride and followed the herd toward baggage claim. Is it just me, or does it seem like it always take the bags an hour to get to the carousel? I'm sure it’s just because we’re so excited to get on the road to Disney, but it seriously feels like forever.

After all of our pieces were located safe & sound, we headed toward the Alamo car rental counter. We got a great deal with our Costco discount at $185 total for a full size car for the entire trip (13 days)! Oh, how I love a bargain. After breezing through check-in (IOW, dodging all of their extra services - insurance, GPS, pre-paid gas, etc), we headed out to the garage to pick out our car, something I love about Alamo. There were about 15 cars in our aisle, but there were only 3 different models to choose from: a Nissan Altima, a Chevy Impala, and a Crown Victoria. The Altima seemed too small for all of our luggage (and my curvy bottom). We skipped the Crown Vic because we didn’t want to have the theme song to “Cops” stuck in our heads the entire trip (you're welcome if it's now stuck in your head ), so we plopped our stuff in a snazzy dark grey Impala and headed for the exit. I’ll show you a picture of our car later in the report, but look how cute this Muppets movie advertisement was hanging from the mirror! Our trip was already off to a good start. Well, aside from the whole plugged up ear thing.



We were on the road by about 5:30pm and our first stop was Super Target off 192. This is our routine every trip. We usually buy most of our toiletries when we get to Target, and we also get lots of Cherry Coke Zero, water & snacks for the room. Why specifically Cherry Coke Zero, you ask? While it is something we can get at home in CA, we first stumbled upon it at this Target on our very first trip back in '08, so it's become a tradition for us & we save it for WDW. Kinda weird, I s’pose, but it’s just something we do. Since my ears hadn't popped yet, we picked up some DayQuil, you know, just in case, and off we went.


Next stop: Old Key West, with lots of photos!
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:24 PM   #5
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Happy Valentine's Day, DISers!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic love filled day!
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:49 PM   #6
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OMG it sounds so good I wish I was there!
What I think is the funniest, is the dreams of PJ's, no luggage or itinerary - probably most people's equivalent of showing up to work naked!


You have never shared one DROP of that cherry coke with me either BTW - it must be good

Keep 'em coming please
I hope you didn't get sick!
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Old 02-15-2012, 01:54 PM   #7
PryncessChrysty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disneysnel View Post
OMG it sounds so good I wish I was there!
What I think is the funniest, is the dreams of PJ's, no luggage or itinerary - probably most people's equivalent of showing up to work naked!

You have never shared one DROP of that cherry coke with me either BTW - it must be good

Keep 'em coming please
I hope you didn't get sick!
LOL - It totally is! They're super vivid, too, so if really feels real. It's awful.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:26 AM   #8
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Chapter 2: Battered & Fried

As we made our way into the World, I was driving & forgot to ask Daniel to snap a picture of the welcome sign. So just imagine that it’s dark outside, Mickey & Minnie are all lit up and waving hello to you as the Disney bubble happily seals around you once you pass under the sign. *POP*

About a month before our trip, we decided to add on a couple of nights, moving our arrival date from the 8th to the 6th. A good friend of ours had some DVC points available for us to rent, but since we were booking at the last minute our resort choices were pretty limited. We decided on a studio at Old Key West because 1) the price was right, 2) we had never stayed there before, and 3) they recently renovated their rooms. We were really looking forward to trying it out.

We pulled into Old Key West around 7:00ish and we were happy to find that the lobby wasn’t very busy. I did online check-in before we arrived, so overall the process was quick. That is until I inquired about where our room was located. It was a bottom floor over-looking a roadway, so I asked if they had anything available on a higher floor with a water view. If not, it wasn't a big deal, but since it's what we wanted, I wanted to at least make an effort to get it. After about 10 minutes, they were able to get us a room on the 2nd floor, overlooking a waterway in the Turtle Pond area. Yay!

We drove over to our building and lugged our mass of luggage up to the room. This is one bummer about OKW - no elevators. I get why they don’t have them, and I know that to avoid it we could’ve just stayed on the bottom floor, but I’d rather stay on the higher floor and complain about hauling our junk up & down the stairs.




Once we got everything into the room, I made Daniel wait to do ANYTHING so that I could take a bazillion photos of the room in its pristine condition.

While I never saw the old rooms in person, I’m sure that I’m grateful for the new color scheme. It was really calming.









I really liked the French doors that open out to the balcony


In writing this TR, we just noticed the lizard up there!



It's kind of hard to make out in the dark, but here's a shot of our water view



Looking into the room from the balcony, featuring one patient hubby






Closet closed



Closet opened (oooooh….ahhhhh)



Potty shots





Kitchenette
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:28 AM   #9
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Chapter 2: Battered & Fried Continued...

After I sufficiently filled up my memory card with photos of the room, I unpacked just what we would need for our short stay here and got the room organized. Then we freshened up & drove back down to the lobby area to take the boat to Downtown Disney and grab some dinner.

On our way down, we decked out our rental car full of holiday cheer. Sadly, it was too dark to get a photo of it all dressed up, but here’s a taste of what’s to come…



Once we drove over to the lobby, we meandered through the Conch Flats General store and snapped some photos of the area.














The view of DTD from our boat





Normally on our first night we trek over to Earl of Sandwich, but since the boat from OKW takes you to the dock by Pleasure Island, we decided to try Cookes of Dublin. I looked at the menu before we left and I really wanted to try the battered burger. We were starving by the time we got there since all we had to eat up to this point were the snacks we picked up at Starbucks early that morning, and the crackers & nuts given to us during our flights. This is something to keep in mind as I show you the pics of ALL that we ordered. Just as a disclaimer, we shared everything between the two of us and didn't completely finish anything.

Daniel waiting for our food at Fried-Fest 2011


Mini Battered Sausages $8.95



Battered Burger and Chips - hand-battered beef burger topped with garlic mayonnaise, tomato chutney and mixed greens $10.95
(We added cheese)



Chicken and Field Mushroom – flaky pastry crust, filled with chicken breast, mushroom and leeks in a rich wine cream sauce $10.95


Side of Garlic Mayo $3.00


"Doh-Bars" Fried Candy Bar - $3.50



We’ve never been to Raglan Road, but the battered sausages have been something I’ve wanted to try for a long time so I was excited to find them on the menu here. These were overly peppered, and aside from that, surprisingly bland. This was a common theme with everything we tried here, even the garlic mayo - it was all bland. The burger was heavy & tasteless and the chicken pie was dry and, yep, tasteless. The D’oh bar was a fried Payday, which isn’t something that I particularly enjoy, and we weren’t given a choice of what kind of candy bar we could have. There wasn’t anything that we really loved here, or even finished. We walked away feeling heavy and blah.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:29 AM   #10
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Chapter 2: Battered & Fried Continued...

After dinner, we walked around the West Side a bit to try to walk off our heavy meal. We usually spend most of our DTD time over on the Marketplace side, so it was kind of fun to spend some time over here.

Decorations around Pleasure Island



Westside holiday goodness – they had singers performing here at various times. This, obviously, was not one of those times.



I prefer Goofy’s Candy Co. to the Candy Cauldron, this store is so tiny and their selection is really limited



We spent most of our time in D Street – I just love this shop. While I don’t collect all of the vinylmations, I do collect more than I should…





I loved how they made holiday lights out of the old clear series



If they offered apples for free, I would be scared to partake. Eek!



Cool old cash register on display



I wonder how they come up with the ideas for their decor



Looks like those clear vinyls weren’t very popular



We were pretty tired, so we decided to head back to the room. On our boat ride back, we had a nice view of the MK fireworks. We were enjoying the show, so I only thought to snap one photo:



We spotted this room at OKW from our boat - so cute!



The CM driving our boat asked the passengers on board a bunch of WDW trivia questions. I was in nerd heaven.


The view of our hotel as the boat pulled into the dock





We peeked into the pool area:






We drove back to our room and sacked out! The plan was to get up at 7:30am to meet my family at DHS in the morning for rope drop. We’ll find out how that panned out in the next installment.
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:27 PM   #11
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I came over here after seeing the title of your trip report in you signature. We are huge BBT fans in our house (check out my signature), and I had a hunch the title was related to it.
Nice report so far, great pictures!! That battered burger looks scary! We tried a deep-fried Snickers there, but it was also disappointing. I prefer the plain kind!
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Old 03-03-2012, 12:20 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by CarolynK View Post
I came over here after seeing the title of your trip report in you signature. We are huge BBT fans in our house (check out my signature), and I had a hunch the title was related to it.
Nice report so far, great pictures!! That battered burger looks scary! We tried a deep-fried Snickers there, but it was also disappointing. I prefer the plain kind!
Hi Carolyn! Thanks so much for jumping in! Things have been kinda quiet over here. lol

I love it that you named your pets after BBT! (we're even watching re-runs as I type this....) Howard & Sheldon are definitely our two favorite characters.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:27 AM   #13
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I hope you enjoyed OKW as much as we do. It is so laid back and relaxing. It truly is a resort and not a hotel. Were you able to try Olivia's restaurant? It is one of the best kept restaurant secrets in WDW. Looking forward to the rest of your TR.

Quote:
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This is one bummer about OKW - no elevators.
BTW, there are elevators in buildings 62, 63 & 64 but only those three.
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DVC - May2010 - OKW | Nov-Dec2010 - AKV/BWV | May2012 - BLT/VWL | Sep2012 - Aulani (30th anniversary) | Dec2012 - Aulani (DD honeymoon) | Oct2013 - BCV F&W | Jun2014 - BWV | Oct2014 - DCL/BCV

MNSSHP, F&W, Wild Africa Trek - BCV-Oct13 (TR In Progress)
Sharks, horses, a submarine scooter, luau & Mickey - Aulani-Sep12
Don't tell Mickey! It's NOT a bug's life! That's a dolphin's WHAT? Where's the ER? Is that a body? | BLT/VWL; May2012-Seaworld, Discovery Cove, IoA, Space Center
AKV/BWV; Nov/Dec2010; No Kids; Backstage Magic Tour; V&A; Lots of pics and video
OKW; May2010; DDP cost analysis; Wishes Dessert Party; Fantasmic
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Old 03-03-2012, 12:25 PM   #14
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Thought I'd let you know that I'm really enjoying your TR so far. We are also BBT fans in our house. I have to admit I thought all that fried goodness looked tasty. I'm sad to hear that it wasn't very tasty after all.
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Old 03-03-2012, 03:24 PM   #15
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Joining!

I've been to WDW a few times... but never during the holidays. (It's on my Bucket List! And maybe, just maybe... I'll get to go this year!) So I'm really excited to hear all about your trip and hoping to see lots of pics!
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