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Old 06-14-2012, 06:33 PM   #1
RalphinSC
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15 days in Disney! It only rained 17 of them! A trip report (updated 6/20!)...

This is where I'll be working on my trip report for this wonderful and memorable trip.

First, a link to my Pre-trip report: School's Out. Summer's in! A PTR.

And then two more wonderful trip related links:
Caleb's Disney Surprise
Our Family of the Day Experience 6/8/12

Table of Contents (Day by Day)

Rise and Shine 5/30/12
Breakfast, Resorts, an Unexpected Surprise, and Goodbye SWSA
Switching Resorts and the Soggy Bottom Boys Hit the MK Part 1



To be continued............
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June 2012 Pop Century
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My Family of the Day Experience With Pictures 6/8/2012:http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2939320
My Little Guy's Disney Surprise http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2933866

Last edited by RalphinSC; 06-20-2012 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 06-14-2012, 07:07 PM   #2
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Rise and Shine!

Our travel day.

Actually our day really began the night before. We just couldn't wait a moment longer and had to go ahead and break the important news we had been keeping from our son for the past six months. We were headed to Disney! Here's the video link for his reaction: Caleb's Disney Surprise

Needless to say, our little guy was absolutely thrilled but he did manage to get settled down and in bed by a decent hour.

The alarm went off promptly at 5:30 and we were up and on our way. Since we had surprised the Caleb-monster the night before, we had the convenience of being almost fully packed when we woke. It took only a few minutes to round up the last few bags and then we were on our way.

According to our GPS, it is a 405 mile drive from our home to the Comfort Inn Maingate on W. Irlo Bronson, just past the main gates to the World. The trip timer listed it at right under eight hours to make it there. I've never made it in as slow a time as the trip timer suggests. From Aiken, South Carolina to Orlando, Florida is a one stop trip for us. And that one stop is in Daytona for gas, bathrooms, and to reload on road trip muchies. Needless to say, we left that house at 6:31am and were pulling into the parking lot at our first night hotel at exactly 1:02pm. We had made the drive in 6 and a half hours and were ready for a good lunch and some fun.

I was kind of worried about trying to check in at 1pm but the hotel had us a room ready. It took just a few minutes to unload our luggage and then we were off to Downtown Disney!

Our first stop at DTD was to activate our tickets and use our first "fun" option at Disneyquest!



Thanks to reading the DIS, I knew we could do this two days before our official package began at Pop Century and that really helped in maximizing our allotments for our initial six day WPFAM tickets.

Disneyquest was a great deal of fun for both myself and the Caleb-Monster. We headed downstairs first and rode the virtual Pirates game. We ended up hitting every major attraction at least once and spent about three solid hours in Disneyquest enjoying all the videogames. Afterwards, we took one of the water shuttles across to Earl of Sandwich and enjoyed a good dinner. From there it was to satisfy Caleb's demand for Lego's and set up our trip-long bribe.



Caleb quickly found him a pricy Star Wars Lego set that he wanted. Of course, we knew that if we got him this right away he would spend the whole trip begging to open it and put it together. Instead we struck on a compromise that the Lego would be his as long as he overcame his fear of scary rides and ride Haunted Mansion, Tower of Terror, and Dinosaur during the trip. Now, I'm not a child psychologist and I know that some would frown upon this form of bribing. But I know my son and I know he would love these rides if he gave them an honest shot and realized that they weren't as frightening as his eight year old mind has built them up to be. Did the bribe work? I guess that would be a good reason to stay tuned to this trip report and found out how Caleb did in facing his fears.

We did settle on a fill your opwn container and a large base piece and storage box on our first Lego store trip. This ensured Caleb had some in-room Legos to play with and keep in occupied during down times. IT was the first and far from the last toys we bought him during the trip. With our DTD fix in and nightfall approaching, we retired back to our room to be ready for a busy day the next morning!

A beautiful sunset on our first Disney day!

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My Family of the Day Experience With Pictures 6/8/2012:http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2939320
My Little Guy's Disney Surprise http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2933866
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:11 PM   #3
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So cute! Disney- Star Wars weekend- ...2 weeks-
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:07 PM   #4
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Great start fellow South Carolinian! I hope Caleb can face his fears...those are some of my fave rides!

ETA - I noticed you made it in 6.5 hours! Lucky! It takes us 9!
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:35 PM   #5
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Thanks guys! Let us continue...........
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My Family of the Day Experience With Pictures 6/8/2012:http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2939320
My Little Guy's Disney Surprise http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2933866
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Old 06-15-2012, 10:44 PM   #6
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Breakfast, Resorts, an Unexpected Detour and Good Bye SWSA

If you had read my PTR, you would kind of get an idea for how I had planned out my trip in advance and what our plan of attack would be for each day. This day was initiallly planned like our first day of our past trip; beggining with breakfast at a monorail resort and touring the resorts around the MK and hitting the lake for some boat rental time.

The plan was first changed a few months pre-trip when the news was released that May 31st would be the final day of operation for Snow White's Scary Adventures . We immediately decided to stick an extra MK day in our touring and upgrade our tickets from six day to seven day entries. There was no way that we were going to miss a last chance ride on a Disney classic

We were up bright and early from the hotel and on our way to the Polynesian resort by 7:15am. We hit the right side toll entrance to the MK parking lot and were on our way as soon as the words "Polynesian" were out of our mouth. We arrived at the lot by 7:30 with both and ADR and a word that we were going to valet park at the Poly for the day. Well the security guard was really interested in neither from us, he just wanted to see my liscense for some reason and we were on our way. We valet parked at the resort and were enjoying our walk around the Poly in short order.



After walking the resort and getting into that Pacific Island feel, we headed to our breakfast ADR's at the Kona Cafe. We had done the Ohana character breakfast last year and I wanted a nice sit down breakfast without breakign the bank since this was out of pocket. I also wanted a chance to taste that wonderful Tonga Toast that I had heard so much about! There was basically no wait and no crowd for the Kona at 8am with Ohana next door having it's customary 10-15 minute wait and crowds sitting all over the second floor of the lobby. I'm pretty sure that in about all but the busiest of days you can basically walk right on up and be seated here with no problem for a relaxing sit down breakfast.

My wife had the two eggs scrambled and my son enjoyed the Mickey cakes. I'll let the picture do the talking as to what my breakfast choice was on this morning....



It was everything I thought it could be! MY wife couldn't finish her plate (perhaps a forewarning of what was to come) but we finished up and were soon on the monorail and headed to our next stop.

Along the way we passed the construction going on at the Grand Floridian's new DVC wing....



And then we were at our next stop, the.........













We interrupt the currently smoothly going trip report to bring to you our first mini-vacation disaster. I'm an avid planner and I love it when plans go so smoothly and things work according to clockwork. Unfortunately, my poor wife doesn't have a body that agrees with that aspect at all times. And this was a bad time. We were in the lobby of the Grand Floridian walking around and enjoying the ambiance when it hit her. She suddenly turned quite green and begged me to find her the nearest restroom. I was panicking because I didn't know where the nearest restroom was! Needless to say, I did find the one on the first floor right by 1900 Park Faire but unfortunately, not in time enough to keep my poor wife from staining her shirt by not making it to the toilet in time to be sick.

So this began a text message exchange as she tried to clean herself up in the bathroom and I went up to the resort gift shop to buy an unexpected outfit for my sweet sick wife to change into. Coupled with this, we were almost a full monorail loop away from our parked car and we obviously were needing to get back to the hotel. Day 2 plans were effectively thrown away at that point and we abandoned the resort tours, boat rentals, and MK jaunt just to make sure we got my DW back to the hotel without her getting ill any more. Fortunately, it appeared that she had worked through her initial nausea and we were able to ride the monorail around to the Poly and get back in our car for a return trip back off-site to the hotel.

MY poor DW just gets her stomach upset sometimes when nerves are up for her and she eats a heavy meal. This was certainly the case with all the trip excitement and the big breakfast. Unfortunately, it wasn' the first time we had experienced this and most unfortunately it wouldn't be our last for the trip. Upon returning to the hotel, I let her shower and relax for an hour while we pondered what to do with the rest of our day. Paige was feeling bad about the canceled plans and she knew that it was the last day for SWSA as well. At about 1:30 she told us that she wanted to give the MK a try and that we could return to the Poly and still see the electrical pageant and Wishes from the beach. I decided to go along with at least trying to get back to the MK but silently decided that we wouldn't push the EWP and Wishes. Just a few hours in the MK and an early night as we had a big day in store for the next day.

So with scrapped plans and a fairly open slate we returned to the Poly and re-valet parked our car. As a note to this, you only have to pay once to valet park on any particular day at any Disney resort and it is good at ALL resorts for that day, much like theme park parking. We did tip accordingly on each car retrieval. The one thing I found interesting is that the valet parking was actually two dollars cheaper than the theme park parking. ($12 to $14, but that was not including the tip)

By 2:30, we had taken the monorail over from the Polynesian and were walking into the Magic Kingdom for the first time on our trip. We immediately headed to the fire station to try the new Sorcerors of the Magic Kingdom game. We each drew our first five cards and went off looking for our first portal. The began the confusion of the fact that each key card had a different starting portal and some goofy dad had gotten them all mixed up. That, coupled with a group playing in front of us meant it took a good ten minutes of loitering in one hot spot on Main street just waiting for a chance to hold a card up to a portal.



Well no sooner than we finally had it figured out when the Move it, Shake it, Celebrate it Street Prty started and my ADHD eight year old son forgot all about standing in front of some silly animated portal for 10 minutes to hold a card up and decided he needed to abandon the game for the parade.



And THAT folks was our entire experience with the Sorcerors of the Magic Kingdom game. Dad quietly put the cards in a secure holder, stuffed them in his pack, and the game was never mentioned again during the trip. IMO, we just couldn't get over the time sink aspect of it and the relatively little reward we felt from it. It was just not for us, even though I had high hopes for it to begin with.

From there, we worked aorund to riding a few attractions and finding the 40 minute madhouse line for SWSA.......



There was a nice touch while we waited, a horn band came and serenaded the line with popular Disney tunes.



We got one final ride in on this Disney classic that is no more and said our goodbyes..........



From there we headed out to enjoy the rest of the park and found some of the other changes since our last visit in March 2011...

First was a spin on the new Dumbo...........



And then we checked out the just re-opened Big Thunder Mountain Railroad...



We ended our day at the MK by saying hello to a couple of special friends that we hadn't seen in over a year..........



With that, we were off from our whirlwind tour of the MK. It was still daylight and I was still concerned about my wife's health. We had really eaten nothing since that morning and I decided we would go ahead and leave the World for the day. We had a big day in store for the morrow with a resort change and both opening and closing the Magic Kingdom on an EMH day.

I did stop by a get my sweet wife some requested McDonalds nuggets on the way back to the hotel. It was time for bed and to get ready for a big day in the morning.
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My Family of the Day Experience With Pictures 6/8/2012:http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2939320
My Little Guy's Disney Surprise http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2933866

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Old 06-16-2012, 08:15 PM   #7
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:26 AM   #8
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My Family of the Day Experience With Pictures 6/8/2012:http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2939320
My Little Guy's Disney Surprise http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2933866
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:43 AM   #9
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:16 PM   #10
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Switching Resorts and The Soggy Bottom Boys Hit the MKPT.1

The clock brought us to life at 5:15 am on June 1st. Today was our big Magic Kingdom day and time to switch resorts prior to beginning. Since we had barely unpacked, repacking the bags was a breeze. Checkout was painless and with a short drive we found ourselves in the lobby of Pop Century at 6:30 am. The lobby was empty and there was no wait.

Suprisingly, this time there actually was a room available as long as we settled for just one of the three room requests I had made. The location was actually better than what I wanted, as it was in building 10 of the 70's section on the first floor. The location was very close to parking, buses, and the dining hall. Rooms 20 feet closer were considered preferred so we really hit the standard room lottery on that one. I was concerned that Pop would have a problem tying back in our park tickets with our room key and dining credits, but it worked out just fine. The check-in would of been absolutely perfect except for the minor detail of them forgetting to activate the keys for charging. This was corrected at a later date with no real inconvenience. With a rush to unload our luggage quickly, we were hopping on a bus bound for the Magic Kingdom by 7:30.

Now being a Diser, I know all about the benefits of arriving to the Magic Kingdom early, even more than an hour early like we were doing. I was consciously trying on this morning to get there in time to try for the Family of the Day and start our trip off on a super-magical high note. MY hopes were still high when we pulled into the MK bus drop-off at 7:45 am. There were only a dozen people at most standing around without dining ADRS, we had worn our matching outfits including ears, and the "money" turnstiles were open. But alas, as we walked up we saw the lucky family for that morning having their pictures taken in front of the train station and going to sit on the magical bench that I've longed to take the Caleb monster to. Well, you know what they say about "best laid plans", lol!

So instead, we bided our time with some pictures of ourselves in our MK finery.......

Paige looking her mousey best


Me and the Caleb-monster getting our ear time in


We get in and get right up to the rope on the right, ready to make our slightly paced up stroll to Space Mountain. People are talkign about rain. In our rush to switch hotels and get to the MK this morning, ponchos and rain gear are the one thing I've forgotten . But I tell myself it will not be bad and thatwe will have a fun time dodging a light drizzle and still have fun.

About ten minutes before rope drop it begins to rain.

We do have a small umrella which Paige uses and we are fortunate enough to squeeze under the overhang of the tunnel on the train station to stay mostly dry. The rain stops and the sun tries to poke back out. Of course, my eternal optimist tells me that this is the worst of it.

The band strikes up. The opening show which we cannot see goes off nicely. The rope drops. We start walking to Space. And it starts raining again.

We make it through Tommorowland alright, dodging rain showers and making good ride times. Everything in Tomorowland is covered except for Astro Orbiter and the Speedway and we have no intention of riding either. We FINALLY got Caleb to let us ride a ride without being in the same car as him:



We make good time through Fantasyland, stopping only to grab Fastpasses at Pan and ride Winnie the Pooh. WE did stop long enough to take a picture of the now boarded up Snow White.


The touring is going great. The weather is looking worse. We stuff in a ride on one of my all-time favorties, Mickey's Philharmagic so we can avoid backtracking and make our Peter Pan fastpass window. After Pan, we head headlong into the Haunted Mansion.

As you know from an earlier post, the Caleb monster is afraid of the Haunted Mansion. This kid will ride any twenty story roller coaster in the world that will take him and you can dangle him upside down by his ankles and he'll beg for more. But anythign spooky just unhinges him. On our previous trip, our experience with the Haunted Mansion ended with me carrying a screaming and crying six year old out of the very first room, before we even got to the stretching room. This time, I'm determined to help my little man overcome his fear and realize just how great of a ride this is. (or how great I've HEARD it is, since I've never gotten to ride it). There's a Lego X-wing fighter riding on this and Caleb knowsit. He does act very bashful in the extended queue and doesn't want to touch anything. I'm not too confident this is going to work. But he plants himself into my hip pocket and stays attached as we get into the first room and the stretching room. There's one protest of "Daddy I'm scared." but I calmly and softly talk him through it and try to point out funny things. We make it through the stretching room and quickly get onto the omnimover. He's on it. I do a good job of describing things like the popping heads in the graveyard before we get there. I try to point out the cool special effects. He sits very tight to me and back in his seat. But he doesn't freak out and he doesn't seem too scared of it after the ride. We have accomplished 1 out of 3 for his big boy Lego bribe! I'm proud of my little bear and the sun even peeks through for a second to affirm this. We head off to the other mountains.

Remember that thing about "best laid plans"? Well it's doubly bad if the plans aren't laid the best. Our mistake was in not bringing our good rain gear on a day with a forecast of 80% rain. Caleb has a small poncho. Paige has a tiny umbrella. I have a smile. We get to Big Thunder right as the sky opens up and it officially transforms into a water ride. We are safe and dry in the queue but you have to ride that sucker OUTSIDE. IT is now POURING. I get out Caleb's second poncho and somehow fit it on Paige. Both are throw aways and the one on Paige is already ripped. We wait and hope that the rain will slack before it's our turn to ride. That prayer does NOT go answered and we get on to Big Thunder Mountain in a downpour. By the time we are through I am soaked to the bone and we are headed to Splash because it's wet and I'm wet and we have fastpasses.

Splash Mountain is not any better. It's actually raining much harder now. When I get off, there is officially no longer any dry spots on us. I go to buy a poncho but the line is ridiculous. I go to cash in our Big thunder fastpasses but the ride is broken down. We go to Country Bears to get out of the rain. It is broken down too. So drenched, miserable, and tired; we decide it's the PERFECT time to hit our midday MK break and head back to the hotel room.
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My Family of the Day Experience With Pictures 6/8/2012:http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2939320
My Little Guy's Disney Surprise http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2933866
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:33 AM   #11
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Joining in! Rain is Disney is the worst, that stinks
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