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Old 05-09-2012, 05:39 PM   #1
Victoria on Vacation
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,321

LMM Plays Tour Guide - Spring Break at the World

Visiting Walt Disney World with a college guy who once thought that Disney was just for kids. This is the first time I've visited WDW as a "part" of another family (my family has gone with other families and extended family before, but I've never been without them). As the Disney "pro," I was given tour guide position, and it was my responsibility to make sure that my boyfriend and his mother were left with great memories of WDW (this is a tough spot - I won't lie, I was nervous!).

At the same time, I had to deal with challenges/scenarios I've never encountered before:

- Vegetarian dining
- Too tall/wide for rides
- Slower pace touring, as little backtracking as possible
- Fear of flying
- Allergic reactions (okay, I have encountered that, but I was just a child)
- Picky eater (kids food only for the big guy)

The backstory on how I managed to swing an 8-day Split Stay at WDW -

For a long time, my family was undecided on how to spend spring break. I was looking at cruises and wasn't even considering Disney because the last spring break we spent there was disastrously crowded. However, though my little sister, Rachel, got a break from her tech classes this week (she's an over-achiever who has been taking college classes from our local technical school for two years - and I will take the moment to brag that she is graduating Valedictorian), she still had high school. So we were having to pull her out of school, and though my sister didn't mind, my parents didn't want her missing too many days. It's also been very busy at work for Dad, so he only wanted to take two days off (he works four days a week). For the days Dad could vacation (Wed-Sun), cruises didn't line up. So, he wanted to do either Disney or Vegas. And from those options, Disney was the clear winner with both Rachel and me. So we booked Wednesday to Sunday at the Polynesian.

Well, my boyfriend, Max, also wanted to go to Orlando. His parents had been talking about taking the two of us last spring break, but after his mother's sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, that vacation was postponed. My family booked for the second half of the week gave us an idea - I could go with his family the first half of the week, then stay at Disney with my family the second half.

Max's mother, Marcia, was on board. She gets Hilton HHonor points through her work, so she wanted to book a Hilton hotel. Unfortunately, the Hilton in Downtown Disney and Hilton Bonnet Creek (her first two choices) were already booked solid. The second tier included the Doubletree in Downtown Disney and an off-property Hilton hotel. Marcia thought the off-property hotel looked a bit newer and nicer in photos, but Max chose the Downtown Disney hotel because he wanted to be on Disney property, and I believe envisioned us going to Downtown Disney every night to shop and hang out (I don't think he understood how late the parks stay open).

So, after that lengthy introduction, the Cast includes...

Me, Victoria - pixie sized, Disney-obsessed

DSC_1243 by vshingl, on Flickr

BF, Max - thrill ride-loving BAMF (who is a total kid at heart)

DSC_1151 by vshingl, on Flickr

BF's Mom, Marcia - loves Tinkerbell, hates attention

Would kill me if I introduced her with a photo.

BF's Dad, Jim - became a child at Disney

DSC_0292 by vshingl, on Flickr

Dad, Boyd - total goof, also a pirate, Disney commando, hurdles baby strollers for FPs, best dad EVER!

DSC_2018 by vshingl, on Flickr

Mom, Sharon - goes with the flow, brings up the rear << Her words, not mine!

DSC_2155 by vshingl, on Flickr

Sister, Rachel - crazy funny, has never met a stranger

DSC_2559 by vshingl, on Flickr

I'm also going to mention that I just bought a new camera before the trip - a Nikon1. I'm very, very pleased with it. I had been planning to buy it since after Christmas, but I kept putting it off... I figured going to Disney was the perfect reason to finally make the purchase.

So, all of the pictures in my TR will either be from my Nikon1 or someone's iPhone 4s.

I suppose I'll add a table of contents, since these seem to be popular:

Downtown Disney Doubletree - Post 1, Post 2, Post 3
T-Rex Cafe - Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4, Post 5
Coral Reef Restaurant - Post 1
50's Prime Time Cafe - Post 1
The Wave
Rainforest Cafe Animal Kingdom
Chef Mickey's
Crystal Palace
La Hacienda de San Angel
Big River Grille
1900 Park Fare

P.S. If you like what you read, please check out my travel blog, www.victoriaonvacation.blogspot.com!

Last edited by LittleMissMagic; 06-24-2012 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:40 PM   #2
Victoria on Vacation
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,321

Day One
Max's Dad was at his older brother's house in Jacksonville. He was working on a house there. The original plan was for us to meet up with his brother and his wife (who is expecting twins!) and eat lunch before heading to Disney... but then his brother ditched us for his friend who invited him to biker weekend in Daytona. So, we met up with Jim and ate at Cracker Barrel before heading to Disney.

We had the worst service ever at Cracker Barrel. Our waitor always had to justify himself. We'd ask for something and he'd say, "Oh, I didn't bring you that because..." Really? It doesn't matter why you didn't bring it... we want it, so bring it to us now.

After killing over an hour at Cracker Barrel, we were back on our way to Disney!

I had never really noticed before that there is a significant difference between what is behind and outside of these gates..

Downtown Disney Doubletree by Hilton


IMG_1370 by vshingl, on Flickr

We were on the sixth floor.

The Doubletree is "all suite." Suite as in bedroom/living area... not suite as in fancy room. We had a one-bedroom suite with two double beds in the bedroom and a pull-out sofa in the living room. There was also a small table for four in the living area, and a 32" flatscreen in each room.

Doubletree Room by vshingl, on Flickr
It's funny... Max's habits are the same as my sister's... plop down on the bed as soon as he enters the room.

He attempted to smooth the bed back for the picture...

Room2 by vshingl, on Flickr

Room3 by vshingl, on Flickr

Our view... my apologies for the terrible reflection.

View by vshingl, on Flickr

I was glad that we had a view of Downtown Disney, rather than off-property.
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:41 PM   #3
Victoria on Vacation
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,321

The pool was a good size, but otherwise not very exciting...

Doubletree pool by vshingl, on Flickr

I thought it was cool that they had a children's playground.

Playground by vshingl, on Flickr

And tennis courts
Tennis courts by vshingl, on Flickr

Doubletree by vshingl, on Flickr

IMG_1379 by vshingl, on Flickr

There was a bar by the pool.

IMG_1380 by vshingl, on Flickr

The hot tub looks small because it's in such a large area, but it's actually quite big.

IMG_1381 by vshingl, on Flickr

There was an arcade inside (that was really hot), and the pool table and sitting area outside.

IMG_1382 by vshingl, on Flickr

I thought the hopscotch was cute.

IMG_1383 by vshingl, on Flickr
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:43 PM   #5
Victoria on Vacation
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,321

It was dinner time, and we were all hungry. I had made us reservations for T-Rex Cafe. I wasn't sure how they'd like reservations, so I went ahead and made a reservation for every day, but only for restaurants that weren't in high demand to make cancellations easier.

We took the Downtown Disney resort bus, and this was our first encounter with the awful system. They kept cramming people on, even when we already full. But, the drop-off location happened to be very convenient - right by T-Rex Cafe!

I made ressies for T-Rex by calling direct, rather than booking through Disney. However, I didn't know that I could go straight to the check-in desk since we had reservations, so we waited in line for about 20 minutes. However, after checking in, we were seated almost immediately. The reservation proved to be very effective.

DSC_0235 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0237 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0238 by vshingl, on Flickr

Marcia didn't understand why I took this picture...

DSC_0239 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0240 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0241 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0242 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0244 by vshingl, on Flickr

Max LOVED T-Rex Cafe! As soon as we walked in, he started telling me how awesome it was. He really liked the atmosphere and the different themed rooms. They had eaten at a Rainforest Cafe before, but never a T-Rex Cafe. It was a hit!
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:43 PM   #6
Victoria on Vacation
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,321

We were seated in the Sequoia room, in a circular booth which had an ice room wall. The Ice Age room was Max's favorite.

DSC_0247 by vshingl, on Flickr

Our Sequoia room friend...

DSC_0245 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0250 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0253 by vshingl, on Flickr
Max is a total Momma's Boy

DSC_0252 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0254 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0259 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0263 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0258 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0257 by vshingl, on Flickr
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:46 PM   #9
Victoria on Vacation
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,321

The menu at T-Rex Cafe has a very wide selection, which was great for us. I got the Tribal Tacos, and they were great. Max had the T-Rexadillas, which he loved. The food was good and the atmosphere was fun with great, over-the-top theming. If you don't mind lots of children and the loud noise, this restaurant is a good bet.

DSC_0278 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0282 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0281 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0279 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0280 by vshingl, on Flickr
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:47 PM   #10
Victoria on Vacation
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,321

After dinner, we did a little bit of shopping around Downtown Disney together. First, we hit the Lego store because Marcia loves legos (she used to be PR for Toys R Us). She was looking for Disney lego sets, but we didn't find them.... it was really crowded and crazy, though, so maybe we just overlooked them.

DSC_0283 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0284 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0285 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0286 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0288 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0289 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0290 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0296 by vshingl, on Flickr
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:51 PM   #13
Victoria on Vacation
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,321

When we reached Disney Quest, we were surprised to find that tickets were 1/2 off today only. I'm not sure if "today only" meant all day today, or if that just meant you couldn't go ahead and buy tickets for tomorrow. So, I can't verify whether it was a late evening discount or just a St. Patrick's day special. We got there with 2.5 hours until closing.

I had never been to Disney Quest before, so this was another.... Disney first!!!

DSC_0300 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0302 by vshingl, on Flickr

Our first stop was Cyper Space Mountain because this is what made Max want to go to Disney Quest. We had 2 minutes to design our coaster, and our goal was to make it as thrilling as possible. However, we only scored a 4/5 on the thrill scale. It was really fun making the coaster, though. The simulator couldn't really simulate speed that well, but the upside down parts were really fun.

We decided to go ahead and try other things before doing Cyber Space Mountain again, since that took up a lot of time.

DSC_0301 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0303 by vshingl, on Flickr

Our next stop was...

DSC_0307 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0304 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0306 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0310 by vshingl, on Flickr

The Jungle Cruise! It was actually quite a workout. Our arms were burning afterwards.

Next, we did the Pirates of the Caribbean.

DSC_0308 by vshingl, on Flickr

It's really fun - kind of like TSM with the pull-to-shoot cannons, except you're in a 360 room and are shooting pirate ships. We had our ship put on "ghost pilot" so that we could both shoot. It worked out really well since there were only two of us.
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:52 PM   #14
Victoria on Vacation
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,321

DSC_0311 by vshingl, on Flickr

Then we did Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters. It was pretty fun.

DSC_0315 by vshingl, on Flickr

Then the Mighty Ducks Pinball Spin... I won!!! I have no idea how, but I was proud because I don't normally win video games.

Then we did Ride the Comics. I wasn't a big fan.

It was nearing closing time, and we decided we had time for one more thing... and chose to do the Pirates of the Caribbean game again. Even though we were better prepared, we didn't do much better than the time before. I think it would be easier with more people... but I could see how too many people would be a crowd.

I definitely don't see Disney Quest as an all-day activity. I've seen the suggested time as 5 hours, but we didn't need that much because we bypassed the kiddie-looking things. It also wasn't very crowded when we were there - hardly a wait for anything, except Pirates of the Caribbean and Cyber Space Mountain.
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:53 PM   #15
Victoria on Vacation
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,321

DSC_0320 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0316 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0318 by vshingl, on Flickr

DSC_0321 by vshingl, on Flickr

We decided to avoid the DtD bus and just walk back to the hotel. On the way, we stopped at Haagen Daz for ice cream.

The walk wasn't bad... just about 15 minutes. I heard that you can wait forever at the light, so we must've timed it just right because it turned to 'walk' as soon as we got there.
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