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Old 05-02-2012, 01:03 PM   #1
HalloweenNut
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Pirates, Jedi & Characters, Oh My! (aka... an excess of planning pays off!)

Pirates, Jedi & Characters, Oh My! (aka... an excess of planning pays off!)

Here is my very first trip report. After reading through so many others wonderful and informative reports myself while planning (some would say obsessing over) this trip I felt I would try and write my own and perhaps contribute back in some small way to say thanks for all the great help I received. I hope you like it.

Introductions...

First off, by way of introduction here we are…



Me (Hector): This will be my third real trip to WDW. I first went at the age of 6 in 1973 when the park was only open a few years and we camped at the Fort Wilderness campground. My next trip was in college in 1986. I'm a graphic designer/art director by trade and yes, I am a HalloweenNut. My main hobby (which had been put aside while I was planning this trip) is building props and decorations for our elaborate halloween display we put up in the front yard every year. The Haunted Mansion must have been an early influence on me as I've loved Halloween ever since. If you're interested I have a website with photos from our Halloween display over the years.

My Wife (Sandy): Other than a quick one day visit to Epcot with me in 1995 this is her first visit as she never went with her family as a kid. Actually she almost didn't make it as her agency was in contract negotiations up until the last minute and it was looking like she'd have to follow us later in the week or not at all. Luckily, they reached a settlement and a strike was averted so she was able to travel with us as planned. Woo Hoo!

Our Daughter (Maggie): Maggie is 6, almost 7 and was over the moon with excitement for this trip! She LOVES rides and meeting characters. We involved her in the planning to a degree and leading up to the trip we would watch YouTube videos of Disney and the rides to give her an idea on what to expect and get a sense of what she would want to do. High on her list after watching the Disney planning DVD was both Pirate's League and Jedi Training Academy so those would be must-dos. She also loves Cars and so seeing Lightning McQueen in the Lights. Motors, Action stunt show was also a priority. She isn't really interested in any of the princesses with the exception of Mulan so we wouldn't have to worry about trying to get a seat at Cinderella's Castle or lining up to see Rapunzel.



My Mother (Joan): This trip was a present from my parents to Maggie (all of us actually) and Mum was so looking forward to it. I think she was more excited than Maggie! My mother accompanied us on our trip to China 6 years ago so this was a bit of deja-vu for all of us. She is very active and a good walker but tends to ignore how hot she can get so we would have to be constantly after her to drink more or stop and take rests. Like all of us she was so looking forward to the trip and seeing the wonder and excitement of Disney through Maggie's eyes.



My Father (Hector Sr.): Although Dad had initially planned on coming with us sadly he had to back out due to the fact he has cancer (in remission) and the pre-existing condition made him ineligible for any sort of travel health insurance so he just couldn't risk it. It actually worked out for the best since although in relatively good health he doesn't walk much and tires easily. He's also too proud and stubborn to rent a ECV scooter so he wouldn't have been able to handle the walking and would have had to spend the majority of his time alone at the resort which would have been no fun for anyone. We did keep in communication with him while we were away via email and he enjoyed the nightly updates & photos.

Planning...

As for the planning that was for the most part left up to me to organize. My Mum & Dad, having taken both myself and brother when we were kids now wanted to take their granddaughter so this trip was their present to her but really to all of us. We were thrilled to go and they were more than happy to have me plan it all. We had decided on the Polynesian Resort early on when we first thought my Dad would be coming with us as being on the Monorail line would help with his mobility issues and allow us to get back to the resort easily to rest. When it turned out he wouldn't be able to come we didn't have the heart to change our reservation at that point. The allure of the Poly had taken hold!

I quickly discovered that Disney World and grown and changed so much since the last time we had gone I went into heavy-duty planning mode to prepare. I scoured the internet reading anything I could and soon familiarized myself with everything from crowd calendar predictions, various touring plans, ride descriptions to hidden Mickeys and the ins-and-outs of the dining plan. Forums like this one were invaluable in terms of reading other trip reports, asking questions and finding out all about the complexity that is a Disney vacation. I first narrowed down which days we do which parks based on several website's (sometimes conflicting) predictions and then worked out where we would have our ADRs and what counter service restaurants we could possibly take in. With all that set it was a case of waiting until our 180 day mark to make the reservations. We had gone with a travel agency (Fairytale Dreams and Destinations) to book our trip and make our initial dining reservations however later when it came time to make some adjustments to our ADRs I knew more by that time and made the changes myself. I was very pleased with our travel agency though and would certainly recommend going that route for a first time planner as it can really be overwhelming at first the amount of information to take in.

With the date getting closer I started focussing more on in-park touring plans and researching all the various bonuses and little extras to keep an eye out for. I planned each day so that we would be up early, eat a quick breakfast in the room while getting dressed (we ordered a grocery deliver for the first day through wegoshop.com which worked out great!), get to the parks early for rope drop, see and do as much as we can in the mornings and then shortly after lunch head back to the resort for a rest/pool. For the most part that plan worked well although the challenge every day was to actually leave the parks as the was always so much to do and see. Maggie was great though and we didn't have one melt-down the whole week which was mostly due to the daily naps (or at least some down-time if she didn't actually nap) and also that I had made arrangements to rent a stroller for the week from Kingdom Strollers. At almost 7 years old she hasn't been in a stroller for at least 2 years but there is so much walking and she has a tendency to burn herself out we didn't want her to get so tired she was miserable or even worse be constantly begging for "UPPIES!!". She's a big kid and I knew we'd be dead ourselves if we had to carry her far so a stroller it was. Best decision we made. Some people would look at you funny rolling her around but in the end who cares? It worked for us.

The last couple weeks were really hard as most of the planning was done, we were starting to pack and all we could do was wait. Coupled to the fact that we were all stressed that my wife Sandy might not be able to travel with us or even miss out on the trip altogether was something we didn't really need. Thankfully it all worked out and she was able to come. I think after her stressful time in contract negotiations leading she needed the relative peace and quiet of a vacation more than any of us. Maggie had a countdown calendar I had printed off for her and every day in April she'd put another sticker counting down the days to our departure. She also watched some great family WDW trip videos on YouTube religiously and at bedtime for her story she'd ask me to describe all the things we were going to do. As for me I went through the last minute panic and second-guessing my plans. I successfully resisted the urge to tinker with our ADRs or change things around too much. With everything in place it was just a matter now or waiting until April 22 when we'd board a plane for the trip of our dreams!

Next up... Arrival & Hollywood Studios (with lots of photos)

Table of Contents:

• Introductions & Planning (you're here)
Sunday, April 22: Arrival & Hollywood Studios "Wake up! We're going to Disney World!"
Monday, April 23: Magic Kingdom "Rope drop, Dumbo & pixie dust!"
Tuesday, April 24: Magic Kingdom "Beware of pirates! (or will this makeup ever come off?)"
Tuesday, April 24 (Evening): Magic Kingdom "Wishes really do come true!"
Wednesday, April 25: Hollywood Studios "May the Force be with you and a solo Tower of Terror"
Thursday, April 26: Animal Kingdom "I don't think we're in Florida anymore Toto"
Friday, April 27: Animal Kingdom "From Africa to Asia and back again with all stops in between"
Saturday, April 28: Epcot "It's like 3-D without the glasses!"
Sunday, April 29 "We're leaving on a jet plane. "

[EDIT... additional planning info and files]

Here is some additional planning info I found helpful as well as some of the planning files I made up and used for our trip, especially for a first time visitor like myself. First of all I want to recommend as strongly as possible the use of any and all planning sites. Although the information or advice would sometimes contradict each other I found every site to have something to offer and learn from. Secondly, study maps and photos as much as you can. read trip reports and cross reference the reports to the maps so you get a firm understanding of the general layout of the parks beforehand.

Here is the main planning chart I used which outlined each day's parks, meals, activities, even crowd levels and other info. I saw the chart on another site and then modified it to include even more info, colour coding for park days, ADRs and special events, etc. I'm including it here for reference. There's no point in suppling the actual file as I did it up in Adobe Illustrator so unless you have that program you can't edit it however it would be easy enough to replicate in Excel or another program. I just used what I'm familiar with.


To see a larger size click here.

For interest here also is my main itinerary which I would reference as well throughout the day to keep track of ADRs and other important info.

Sunday, April 22: Arrival & Hollywood Studios
(Crowd Level: Green - 4.9)
- Depart Toronto 6:30am, Arrive Orlando 9:35am
- Magic Express to Poly, check in
- lunch at Captain Cooks CS (take out in room?)
- pick up stroller from Bell Services
- arrange delivery of groceries from wegoshop.com
- rest at Poly
- late afternoon at DHS (3:30pm arrival)
- Great Movie Ride, Star Tours, Muppets 3D, Lightning McQueen & Mater
- Fantasmic Dinner at Mama Melrose (5:15pm ADR #412981217956)
- Fantasmic! (8:30pm showtime)

Monday, April 23: Magic Kingdom (Crowd Level: Yellow - 6.5)
- breakfast in room
- MK for rope drop (8:20am for 9:00am opening)
- lunch at Crystal Palace (12:05pm ADR #413511417524)
- after lunch back to Poly for rest/swim
- rent a SeaRaycer for 1/2 hour tour?
- dinner at Kona Cafe (5:30pm ADR #420521571481)
- early to bed!

Tuesday, April 24: Magic Kingdom
(Crowd Level: Green - 3.8 - Best Park)
- breakfast in room
- MK for rope drop (8:20am for 9:00am opening)
- Pirate League (10:55am reservation #413481285636)
- Pirate Tutorial (12:25am or 2:15pm showtime)
- lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern (12:55pm ADR #413521455219)
- back to Poly for rest/swim
- return to MK for evening
- dinner at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Cafe CS
- MK evening for MSEP (9:00pm) and Wishes (10:00pm)

Wednesday, April 25: Hollywood Studios (Crowd Level: Green - 4.6)
- breakfast in room
- DHS for rope drop (8:20am for 9:00am opening)
- sign up for Jedi Training (ask for 9:20am or 10:10am show)
- Indian Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular (11:30am showtime)
- lunch at Starring Rolls CS
- Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show (1:20pm showtime)
- early afternoon back to Poly for rest/swim
- Spirit of Aloha dinner show (8:00pm ADR #412981222996)

Thursday, April 26: Animal Kingdom (Crowd Level: Green - 6.2)
- breakfast in room
- AK rope drop (8:20am for 9:00am opening)
- Kilimanjaro Safari
- Festival of the Lion King (10:30am showtime)
- lunch at Flame Tree BBQ CS
- Finding Nemo the Musical (1:00pm showtime)
- early afternoon back to Poly to rest/clean up
- early dinner from Captain Cooks CS in room while we get ready for DTD
- 6:00pm Cirque du Soleil in DTD
- shopping in DTD?
- take cab back to Poly

Friday, April 27: Animal Kingdom
(Crowd Level: Green - 5.7 - Best Park)
- breakfast at 'Ohana (7:30am ADR #413541530155)
- morning arrival AK (approx. 9:30-10:00am)
- lunch at Yak & Yeti CS
- mid-afternoon back to Poly for dinner
- Grandma and Maggie Chef Mickey for dinner (5:45pm ADR #412981229617)
- Hector and Sandy dinner out at Narcooses (7:00pm ADR #412981233616)

Saturday, April 28: Epcot (Crowd Level: Yellow - 3.5 - Best Park)
- breakfast in room
- Epcot for rope drop (8:20am for 9:00am opening)
- lunch at Cantina de San Angel CS
- after lunch back to Poly for rest/swim/pack
- Joan to stay to take in Flower & Garden Festival?
- dinner in Epcot at Les Chefs de France (4:50pm ADR #413531495501)
- Illuminations (9:00pm)
- finish packing

Sunday, April 29
- breakfast in room
- check out
- Magic Express to airport 6:30am
- depart Orlando 10:25am, Arrive Toronto 1:15pm
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Pirates, Jedi & Characters, Oh My! (aka... an excess of planning pays off!) An April 2012 Trip Report at the Polynesian

Last edited by HalloweenNut; 05-16-2012 at 08:17 AM. Reason: Added additional planning info and files
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:19 PM   #2
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great start - what wonderful grandparents treating to a trip to WDW. Looking forward to reading more :
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:49 PM   #3
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Sounds like this is going to be fun. This will help me pass the time as I wait for our trip in July.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:03 PM   #4
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Thanks for joining in chocolateMinnie and NJdadof2!
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Pirates, Jedi & Characters, Oh My! (aka... an excess of planning pays off!) An April 2012 Trip Report at the Polynesian
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:11 PM   #5
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Sunday, April 22: Arrival & Hollywood Studios
"Wake up! We're going to Disney World!"


So our flight was scheduled to leave Toronto at 6:30am which would get us into Orlando on good time that morning but the downside was we'd have to get up at 2am in order to get to the airport the required 3 hours in advance. Was that ever rough! Maggie was worried the night before that she wouldn't be able to fall asleep and I had warned her that if she didn't try to get a good night sleep we'd have to change our plans for the first night in Disney. She did manage to fall asleep on pretty good time and we woke her up about a half-hour before the taxi was due to arrive. She was pretty groggy at first but it didn't take long before she was bouncing up and down in the hall and put the last sticker on her count-down calendar. We were finally going to Walt Disney World!!



Even though we were a bit bleary-eyed we got to the airport and through security with no problems and were all set for our flight. Even though Maggie had flown several times as a baby (13 hours direct Beijing to China!) this was her first trip she would remember and was VERY excited at the prospect of flying. As you'll realize reading this trip report she's a major adrenaline junkie and so she loved the speed and sensations of the take-off.

Upon arrival in Orlando we took the Magical Express bus to the Polynesian Resort to check in and luckily we got our longhouse request (Tokelau) and even better our room was ready for us - NAP TIME!!!

After resting for a while we got up and made our way out to the bus stop for Hollywood Studios. We got to HS for just after 3:00pm in time to see the last float of the afternoon parade pass us by so we made great time. As we made our way up Hollywood Boulevard it was hard to believe that after all the planning, researching, reading trip reports, studying maps and anticipation we were finally here!



First stop was The Great Movie Ride. It really was great. My mum loved it as she was a fan of so many of the movies and my wife Sandy couldn't believe the level of detail. This was also a first trip for her as she never went as a kid so she thought it would just be like a larger version of Canada's Wonderland with more rides and things. She never expected the level of themeing and work put into every little detail. It was a real eye-opener for her and she loved it all. Maggie wasn't keen on the ride as she didn't know what to expect and although I had prepped her I think she was a little scared during the gun fights and Alien scene as she thought they were too real. It didn't ruin the experience for her but she wasn't keen to go again.

Next up was the Muppets 3-D which we all loved! We're all big fans of the Muppets and so it was really cool to be part of the audience in the Muppet theatre. I thought the inclusion of the animated 3-D character was redundant though and felt they should have stuck to just the Muppets.

When we exited the theatre there was no line up at all for Lightning McQueen and Mater so we made a bee-line for there and Maggie got to meet the first of her heroes. After that it was time for dinner at Mama Melrose as part of the Fantasmic package. Dinner was great. I'm on a special low carb, low fat, low sodium diet and have lost over 70lbs in the last year but was looking forward to cheating a bit this trip. Mama Melrose did not disappoint!

After dinner we had time for just a quick ride on Star Tours (10min. Stand-by posted but really a walk-on) which we all loved! We got the scenes with Darth Vader at the beginning, the pod race and then the underwater trip on Naboo. Maggie had her arms in the air like it was a roller coaster ride!! I tell you - no fear sometimes.

Finally it was time for Fantasmic! We got there about 35mins. early and found good seats in the reserved section. It was such a spectacular show - we were all mesmerized! I didn't really know what to expect but was blown away by all the effects - especially the water projections and the dragon. Maggie was clapping and cheering when all the characters came out - it was great to see the joy on her face - you just knew this was going to be a great trip!







After Fantasmic we slowly made our way out of the park with all the throngs of people and back to the resort for the night. We were all tired but thank goodness for the mid-day nap. Otherwise we wouldn't have been able to do it.



Next up… the Magic Kingdom!

(I should also add that if anyone is interested in seeing our photos larger you can check them out on Flickr.)
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Pirates, Jedi & Characters, Oh My! (aka... an excess of planning pays off!) An April 2012 Trip Report at the Polynesian

Last edited by HalloweenNut; 05-16-2012 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:11 PM   #6
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I'm in. Really looking forward to hearing all about it!
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:28 PM   #7
HalloweenNut
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WishnDreamer View Post
I'm in. Really looking forward to hearing all about it!
Welcome aboard WishnDreamer. Looks like you're getting set to take off on your own trip. Have a wonderful vacation!
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Pirates, Jedi & Characters, Oh My! (aka... an excess of planning pays off!) An April 2012 Trip Report at the Polynesian
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:56 PM   #8
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Joining in!

Love the picture of your DD watching Fantasmic. The look just says it all. I also chuckled because within just a matter of few hours of arriving in Disney, she managed to equip herself with a Lightning cap and Simba! Good for her!
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveinFallsChurch View Post
Joining in!

Love the picture of your DD watching Fantasmic. The look just says it all. I also chuckled because within just a matter of few hours of arriving in Disney, she managed to equip herself with a Lightning cap and Simba! Good for her!
Thanks for joining Dave. I'm making my way through your trip report as well.

It's funny we had a panic in the airport as in the rush to get out to the taxi (at 3am) we forgot her little snuggle blanket so yes as soon as we got to the Poly, while I was doing check-in her and Sandy went off to the shop to get a stuffed toy. It was too perfect that the baby Simba came with a small blanket. She was pretty good with her money and had been saving for a couple of years. She had enough for $20/day while we were there and was able to get what she wanted without driving us crazy with the "gimmes".

As for the Lightning McQueen cap there was some drama and pixie dust in store for us over that item. More about that tomorrow!
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Pirates, Jedi & Characters, Oh My! (aka... an excess of planning pays off!) An April 2012 Trip Report at the Polynesian
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:43 PM   #10
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Keep it coming

Great travel log ... looking forward to see how the story end

Quote:
Originally Posted by HalloweenNut View Post
Sunday, April 22: Arrival & Hollywood Studios
"Wake up! We're going to Disney World!"


So our flight was scheduled to leave Toronto at 6:30am which would get us into Orlando on good time that morning but the downside was we'd have to get up at 2am in order to get to the airport the required 3 hours in advance. Was that ever rough! Maggie was worried the night before that she wouldn't be able to fall asleep and I had warned her that if she didn't try to get a good night sleep we'd have to change our plans for the first night in Disney. She did manage to fall asleep on pretty good time and we woke her up about a half-hour before the taxi was due to arrive. She was pretty groggy at first but it didn't take long before she was bouncing up and down in the hall and put the last sticker on her count-down calendar. We were finally going to Walt Disney World!!

Even though we were a bit bleary-eyed we got to the airport and through security with no problems and were all set for our flight. Even though Maggie had flown several times as a baby (13 hours direct Beijing to China!) this was her first trip she would remember and was VERY excited at the prospect of flying. As you'll realize reading this trip report she's a major adrenaline junkie and so she loved the speed and sensations of the take-off.

Upon arrival in Orlando we took the Magical Express bus to the Polynesian Resort to check in and luckily we got our longhouse request (Tokelau) and even better our room was ready for us - NAP TIME!!!

After resting for a while we got up and made our way out to the bus stop for Hollywood Studios. We got to HS for just after 3:00pm in time to see the last float of the afternoon parade pass us by so we made great time. As we made our way up Hollywood Boulevard it was hard to believe that after all the planning, researching, reading trip reports, studying maps and anticipation we were finally here!

First stop was The Great Movie Ride. It really was great. My mum loved it as she was a fan of so many of the movies and my wife Sandy couldn't believe the level of detail. This was also a first trip for her as she never went as a kid so she thought it would just be like a larger version of Canada's Wonderland with more rides and things. She never expected the level of themeing and work put into every little detail. It was a real eye-opener for her and she loved it all. Maggie wasn't keen on the ride as she didn't know what to expect and although I had prepped her I think she was a little scared during the gun fights and Alien scene as she thought they were too real. It didn't ruin the experience for her but she wasn't keen to go again.

Next up was the Muppets 3-D which we all loved! We're all big fans of the Muppets and so it was really cool to be part of the audience in the Muppet theatre. I thought the inclusion of the animated 3-D character was redundant though and felt they should have stuck to just the Muppets.

When we exited the theatre there was no line up at all for Lightning McQueen and Mater so we made a bee-line for there and Maggie got to meet the first of her heroes. After that it was time for dinner at Mama Melrose as part of the Fantasmic package. Dinner was great. I'm on a special low carb, low fat, low sodium diet and have lost over 70lbs in the last year but was looking forward to cheating a bit this trip. Mama Melrose did not disappoint!

After dinner we had time for just a quick ride on Star Tours (10min. Stand-by posted but really a walk-on) which we all loved! We got the scenes with Darth Vader at the beginning, the pod race and then the underwater trip on Naboo. Maggie had her arms in the air like it was a roller coaster ride!! I tell you - no fear sometimes.

Finally it was time for Fantasmic! We got there about 35mins. early and found good seats in the reserved section. It was such a spectacular show - we were all mesmerized! I didn't really know what to expect but was blown away by all the effects - especially the water projections and the dragon. Maggie was clapping and cheering when all the characters came out - it was great to see the joy on her face - you just knew this was going to be a great trip!

After Fantasmic we slowly made our way out of the park with all the throngs of people and back to the resort for the night. We were all tired but thank goodness for the mid-day nap. Otherwise we wouldn't have been able to do it.
Next up… the Magic Kingdom!
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:08 PM   #11
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New reader

Hey there I am joining in! I loved the title so I just had to read. I am so glad she loved everything at HS so far. I love Star Tours I am a huge Star wars nut and there will be elements of it in my wedding coming up in about 2 months at disney!!! Also my nephew is a huge i mean HUGE cars fan so I love hearing about kids that love it as much as he does. No worries on her not caring for the princesses I don't really either and never did as a kid.

can't wait to read more

Teresa
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photojunkie View Post
Great travel log ... looking forward to see how the story end
Thanks photojunkie! Glad you like it. I've never written one of these before and although I've gone before this is really my first trip as an adult doing all the planning. I know I certainly learned a lot from other trip reports I had read.
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Pirates, Jedi & Characters, Oh My! (aka... an excess of planning pays off!) An April 2012 Trip Report at the Polynesian
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:45 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Icecoldpenguin View Post
Hey there I am joining in! I loved the title so I just had to read. I am so glad she loved everything at HS so far. I love Star Tours I am a huge Star wars nut and there will be elements of it in my wedding coming up in about 2 months at disney!!! Also my nephew is a huge i mean HUGE cars fan so I love hearing about kids that love it as much as he does. No worries on her not caring for the princesses I don't really either and never did as a kid.

can't wait to read more

Teresa
Hi Teresa. Thanks for joining in. Glad you liked the title - there's a lot of pressure here to come up with something catchy. That's cool that you're going to have a Star Wars wedding. My wife and I also love both Star Wars and Star Trek and actually incorporated part of the Star Trek opening into our speech at our wedding reception. Geeks I know.
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Pirates, Jedi & Characters, Oh My! (aka... an excess of planning pays off!) An April 2012 Trip Report at the Polynesian
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:25 PM   #14
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Monday, April 23: Magic Kingdom
"Rope drop, Dumbo & pixie dust!"


Monday dawned and we were up bright and early (ok, not feeling so bright but it certainly was early). Our plans for today was to go to the Magic Kingdom as our first full day park. Now of course this is what everyone else who arrived on the weekend was planning to do and I was well aware I was going against the recommendations of several planning sites but I just couldn't imagine starting our trip without going to the MK that first day. The crowd calendars had MK slated to be a 6.5 out of 10 so I knew we were going to be hitting some crowds. The answer to that of course was to get there for rope drop.





We hopped onto the monorail from the Poly and were there in no time. We made our way thought the gates and up to the front off to the left side below the station by about 8:30am. We were about 5-6 people back from the rope and could still see the welcome show - so far doing pretty good. Maggie was pretty excited to say the least and was bouncing around. Once the rope was dropped we were off up Main Street towards the castle. We stopped briefly to get our photo taken in front of Walt & Mickey figuring it would only be more crowded later and we got our Photopass card. Then it was off to Fantasyland.



I had initially planned for Sandy & Mum to quickly ride the Teacups with Maggie while I ran and got FASTPASSes for Peter Pan but Sandy hates to spin so I said I'd ride and she could get the FPs however since none of us had collected any yet and were unfamiliar with the process we all went over to Peter Pan and got them. (A quick note about FASTPASSes - I didn't make a note of the various times we pulled them and am writing this from memory so I won't be including that data but they really worked out well for us and with one exception never had a problem with the return times. They certainly saved us some long waits even with the overall lower crowds.)



Once we got the FPs to Peter Pan we headed straight to the new Dumbo where Sandy, Mum & Maggie rode stand-by while I took photos. I think they waited no more than 10 mins. From there it was over to the Barnstormer where we all rode (walk-on no lineup) however Maggie lost her hat! It was a Lightning McQueen baseball cap she got the night before at Hollywood Studios and her new favourite thing. We had thought her ponytail would be enough to hold it on but it flew right off somewhere on the ride. Maggie was upset but I said lets go again and maybe we can see where it landed. Sadly it was no where to be seen. She did love the Barnstormer but was so concerned now with where her hat might be it soured the experience for her and she started to cry when we came off. We tried to console her and said we could get another hat (didn't really have a choice - that Florida sun was hot!) but she was upset as we made our way back towards the Teacups. It was then we realized in the confusion she had left her sunglasses in the storage pouch on the ride! Oh no! What a way to start the vacation! From now on we would check and double check we had everything before getting off a ride. Anyhow, off I went to see if they were still there. I spoke to the cast member manning the queue and said I needed to look in car #7. He was great and took me right up and looked in the pouch of #7 for me - nothing. He waited for the next set of cars to come in and looked again - there they were!! Hooray! He also remembered Maggie's hat as he had seen her without it on the 2nd ride and had commented. He said I could come back later that night to ask if it had been found or look in the main Lost & Found the next day but I didn't hold out much hope. He asked me to wait a moment and then filled out a form. I thought it was some sort of report about a lost item but instead he handed me a slip of paper and said we could take it to any shop and pick out a replacement hat for free! Pixie Dust! I was so genuinely surprised and overwhelmed with gratitude I thanked him very much and told him how much we appreciated it. It really was unexpected. If anyone ready this happens to know a Michael who works on the Barnstormer let him know again how happy he made a little girl feel when I told her!

After Tea Cups (they did end up riding while I was dealing with the lost items fiasco and Sandy was feeling a little woozy) we did Winnie the Pooh, Small World, Peter Pan with our FPs and then Philharmagic before it was time for our 12:05pam ADR at Crystal Palace. Maggie was in heaven! She loves characters and will run up to give them hugs whenever she sees them - even some wearing very old moth-eaten ones in the local Santa Claus parade it doesn't matter to her. It was all she could do to eat her lunch while waiting for her turn with Piglet and the others to come by. The characters loved the custom autograph book I had done up as it was nice an big to give them lots of room to sign. One of Maggie's favourites is Tigger and she got to dance and bounce with him. Eeyore was also so sweet and gave my mum a big hug when he found out he was HER favourite!





After lunch it was time for MY favourite… the Haunted Mansion!! The lineup said 20 mins. which I didn't think was too bad so I told the family to head into the line & I'd go pull FPs at Splash Mountain and then meet them in line. Well, that didn't really work out. I got the FPs ok but when I got back to HM they were way up in front. I felt bad about trying to push through to meet up with them so I just went through the line and they waited off to the side until I caught up with them. Lesson learned. What can I say about the Haunted Mansion? It was just as great as I remembered it and loved all the new additions. We didn't see the new extended queue or take any photos as we planned to come back later at night to ride again. That decision would return to haunt me! Maggie loved the HM and said how it wasn't scary at all - I actually think our front year at Halloween is far scarier so it didn't bother her in the least. She really liked the part with the ghost at the end where he appeared in our doom buggy and stole my head!

With HM crossed off the list we took in a favourite of ours - Country Bear Jamboree. The show might be corny but never ceases to make us smile. My father especially loved this attraction and so we were thinking of him. Dad told Maggie to say hi to the big moose for him!



It was now time for our FPs at Splash Mountain but Maggie was feeling unsure about the big drop and splash so she didn't want to ride. We tried to convince her but weren't going to force the issue so we handed off our 4 FPs to a surprised young couple and caught the train at the Frontierland Station for a trip back to Main Street. I love trains (besides Halloween my other big hobby is model railroads) so I was really keen to see the steam locomotive and ride the train. The fact it saved us a walk back to the front of the park was a bonus. I was interested to see what progress was being made on the refurbishments to Big Thunder Mountain and from the train we got a quick peek. It looked to me like it was going pretty good with a lot of work already having been done. It's too bad they weren't further along and we could have taken in a soft opening but oh well, there's always a next time.



As luck would have it just as we were getting off the train the afternoon parade was just starting. We tried watching from the platform but were asked to move so we stood on the bottom steps of the station and watched over the heads of the people. It worked out to be a great spot and we saw everything. We were very lucky all week and managed, through sheer luck, to get great seats a number of times so we were very happy.







Once the parade was finished we exited the park and took the boat launch back to the Poly for a rest before dinner. Our ADR that night was for 5:30pm at Kona so we didn't have to worry about going anywhere. Maggie was dying to try out the volcano pool and slide so we hung out at the pool. I just had to try a Lapu Lapu but was disappointed it didn't come in the pineapple from the pool bar. Tasted good but not what I was expecting. I'd have to correct that error before we leave! Maggie & I both tried out the slide loved it. The pool wasn't too crowded and I think Maggie went down 10 times in a row.





After a wonderful meal at Kona (sorry, no food-porn pictures unless you count the make-your-own sundae! ) we headed back to the room for a good night sleep and another early morning rope drop at the Magic Kingdom.
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Pirates, Jedi & Characters, Oh My! (aka... an excess of planning pays off!) An April 2012 Trip Report at the Polynesian

Last edited by HalloweenNut; 05-04-2012 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:05 AM   #15
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Tuesday, April 24: Magic Kingdom
"Beware of pirates! (or will this makeup ever come off?)"


The next day we were back at rope drop at the Magic Kingdom. If the first day had been Fantasyland and Frontierland today would be Tomorrowland and Adventureland with an emphasis on pirates!



First off was to grab FASTPASSes at Space Mountain. Despite not wanting to go on Splash Mountain the day before Maggie had her heart set on riding Space. Go figure! We got the FPs and then went right to the Tomorrowland Speedway and rode twice with minimal waits. Maggie had a blast and I'm very, very, VERY glad it will be another 10 years before I have to worry about her driving for real!





We then did Buzz Lightyear which we all thought was great fun. I liked it far better than the similar Toy Story Mania we would do later in the week and don't really understand the hysteria that surrounds that ride but obviously that's just me. Then it was time for our Space Mountain FPs. My mum decided to sit this one out as she went on it back in 1986 with me and my younger brother and I think still hasn't forgiven us. She found a shady spot and stayed with the stroller and our stuff. Maggie again really liked the ride and wanted to go again. Sandy I think was worried and called up to her (she rode between us) in the middle of the ride to see if she was ok and we got a big "I LOVE IT!" So there you go.



After that it was time to start making our way over to Frontierland and our appointment with The Pirate's League. We first rode Pirates of the Caribbean as a walk-on and after a quick snack arrived at the check-in for The Pirate's League. Once Maggie was called and received her new pirate name (she actually got the name "Margaret Blackhawk" - is that usual or just luck that she actually got her own first name?) she picked out her pirate makeup - the skull-like Cursed Pirate of course! That's my girl! AAAARRRGG! All the cast members were really great and never broke character. She managed to sit still for the makeup application but kept taking looks at herself in the mirror every chance she got with the biggest grin on her face.







Once she had taken the Oath and had her photo taken we went next door to meet Pirate Goofy. We had to wait only a short time and as soon as he saw Maggie in her pirate getup he pulled out a sword and they had a furious sword fight right there and then! I got it all on video and it was so funny when he finally surrendered. He then posed for several shot with her and signed her autograph book. I scored BIG points with him as I had a special page reserved for not just Goofy but "Pirate Goofy"! He was MOST impressed!



Then it was time to head across the street to wait for Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial to start at 12:25pm. Maggie got a seat right up front and it didn't take long for Pirate Mac to notice her and invite her and 3 others up on stage. What a day this was shaping up to be for her! She was mesmerized by Capt. Jack and fought Mac with much vigour! The Photopass photographer got some great shots while I handled the video.







We then headed over to our 12:55pm lunch ADR the Liberty Tree Tavern. We had to wait all of maybe 10mins. before we were seated. I had to try the pot roast as it had come highly recommended by friends who had gone before. It didn't disappoint. Once lunch was finished we headed back to the Poly for a well-deserved nap as we had late night plans for later. (hint: Wishes!)
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Fort Wilderness 1973, Off-Site 1986, Off-Site 1995, Polynesian 2012!!


Pirates, Jedi & Characters, Oh My! (aka... an excess of planning pays off!) An April 2012 Trip Report at the Polynesian
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