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Old 09-10-2012, 08:08 PM   #61
shalom
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Orlando Sunshine I

We were staying at the Orlando Sunshine Resort, which has two buildings -- the pre-Bluegreen one (Sunshine I), which we stayed in, which is perpendicular from the street and faces Fun Spot, and the Bluegreen one (Sunshine II), which faces the street. The buildings look pretty similar; here's Sunshine II, from BG's flickr:



Here's the Sunshine I floorplan, from Bluegreen's website:



(The Sunshine II floorplan is similar but a tad smaller, without that triangle to the porch or the extra table in the kitchen).

We'd called to let them know we'd be late and gotten the "after hours" instructions (there's a night guard but the desk closes down), however we got there right before the desk shut down so that was even easier than expected. This is the door to our room; the window to the right is the girl's bedroom and to the left the kitchen.



I was not enthused about all those air conditioners being right outside our unit, but as it turned out, we never heard a peep from them. Geek dad never noticed them until the next day when I made him take that picture of them.

It was dark and we were tired, but it's such a part of our routine we took pictures anyhow. This first one is facing back toward the entry door:



That table in the kitchen became Mr. Cool's computer desk, and no one else was allowed to sit there.



The main area:



There were only four chairs at the dining room table...



Because the other two were framing this guy:





On the living room table is what we call "The Bluegreen Book" -- it has tons of information; check out time, where the trash cans are, TV channels, phone numbers for local doctors and restaurants and delivery guys and churches, all kinds of stuff, generally including completely unhelpful instructions for various kitchen gadgets. The instructions for the TV and DVD player remotes are usually spot on, though.

The second bedroom:



The sink in the main bathroom -- we loved the sink!



The master bath had two of the same kind:



And a jetted tub:



Although the john is in that closet behind the tub. A king-sized bed, of course.



And the door here is to the porch off the living room:



Sadly, we did not get any pictures of it, but the porch has three padded wicker or rattan chairs, one of them with a padded ottoman. I like sitting out on our condo porches but usually can't last on the chairs; those porch chairs were as comfy as our couch at home. You can kind of see them in the back of this pic from BG's flickr:


Last edited by shalom; 09-10-2012 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:09 PM   #62
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More Orlando Sunshine

And here's a BG flickr pic of the pool area:



The pool isn't very large, but here's the thing. Disney deluxe resorts, you have between 303 units per pool (Boardwalk) and 647 units per pool (AK). Disney Moderate, 302 (CBR) to 492 (Coronado Springs). Disney All Stars, 928 units per pool. Orlando Sunshine has 72 units -- double that, since each unit sleeps eight, and it's 144 units. And in reality, hardly any of those units have anything like eight people in them, so while it's not a big pool, we usually had it all to ourselves for our evening swim.

Also, the hot tub has this:


(from BG's flickr)

Which I loved all kinda lots. Geek dad and the kids generally sit in the hot tub and talk, but I hardly ever sit with them, because I get bored -- with that waterfall to play with, I not only joined them, I lasted a while.

The pool is by Sunshine I, then there's kind of a multi-level patio area on the Sunshine II side and a kiosk in the back, then there's a tennis court with a basketball hoop at one end of it. From the kisok you can get jump ropes and hula hoops and bubble guns and basketballs and stuff, and there's stuff like the big chess board you can see in the back of this pic:



That picture taken during one of the daily activity sessions, which is probably the first resort activity we've ever gotten to that didn't involve food. (Usually if we get to any at all, it's Ballet Girl hitting the ice cream social.)

The first floor of Orlando Sunshine I, the porches have screen doors, so you can walk straight out to the pool.



But of course you don't want to do that if someone isn't staying inside to guard the place, because it would be practically inviting the robbers in.

Our screen door had a unique feature, though: it would aaaaalllllmost close, then sit there, about an inch open, for a long time... then suddenly SLAM shut. So of course I instructed the kids they had to pull it shut as they went in and out. Which they did fairly reliably, or at least I don't remember being annoyed by it too much.

I wish we had some pictures of the landscaping there -- it's a tiny resort, but nicely maintained. There's not much they can do about the big honkin' power lines around it, which I would guess building II faces straight on, but you didn't really notice them from our room, and, although I go swimming with my glasses on, they're not real obvious from the pool at night, either. What you do notice at night, when going in and out from the parking lot, is the ferris wheel at the Fun Spot, which has bunches of constantly changing patterns and colors going:







Hubby's zoomed in on that; in reality it's far enough away it isn't annoying, and yet close enough to be pretty.

Last edited by shalom; 09-10-2012 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:10 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eeyoresnr View Post
wow, did you sleep at all last night?
Apparently I slept unusually well -- hubby was up half the night dealing with probable food poisoning, and I never noticed. Well, I knew he was up a few times more than usual, but didn't realize he was gone from bed for hours. He's the only one who got sick, though, so it was likely something he had at the community picnic yesterday. He had a salad no one else in the family tried, I expect it was that.

After all that, he finally got to sleep for real around four, then slept in an extra hour or so, got up, and went to work. I'm fervently hoping it was food poisoning and not a bug, because if I'm up half the night, I do not recover quite so rapidly. And if one of the kids gets stomach sick... Therefore, it was totally food poisoning.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:37 AM   #64
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Nice Pre-Trip Report / Trip Report Combo!

Love your SeaWorld pics and tips!!! (passed some down to my tips file for the upcoming trip!)

Now I'm starting to grasp how's it like for anti-commandos!
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Old 09-11-2012, 01:37 PM   #65
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Nice Pre-Trip Report / Trip Report Combo!
Thanks! And glad to have you here!

Hope those SeaWorld tips are helpful. Best I can tell a lot of the performers have been there a good while (at least the routine, if not the individuals), and seem to have hung around the same places mostly. I wish someone would do for SeaWorld the kind of regularly updated Live Performance Schedule that Steve Soares does for WDW, but I suspect it takes a pretty rare personality to keep that sort of thing going for any length of time.

And I honestly don't know how many SeaWorld fans care -- some of my info is from a snowbird couple the Hermit and I talked to, who live out there, and I get the impression SeaWorld gets a larger percentage of regulars than WDW, which may be why it's harder to find that kind of SeaWorld info on the Internet. People can just ask a fellow local or get an AP and figure it out themselves.

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Originally Posted by redoschi View Post
Now I'm starting to grasp how's it like for anti-commandos!
I dunno, our first trip was more rushed than usual, because we squeezed that Disney Day in and thus didn't have a day off between park days. The one I'm writing up now is probably more typical from the anti-commando perspective. Although spending nearly two days while the van's in the shop is not exactly typical. And there are a few other things coming up I hope we won't be repeating this next time.
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:58 AM   #66
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Finally Made Our Reservations!

Geek dad and I both quit waffling and have reservations in hand!

However, I went to make my reservations at VV@P -- and the weeks we need were gone. Not a huge shock, but for one week there’d been two choices available the day before, so I was pretty sure I'd get at least that week, then suddenly there was nothin'. Cue much scrambling.

I checked some of the resorts further down the same bus route and they're all far enough that the time advantage driving to the parks is not nearly so exciting. Eventually decided that, since all my other options were within minutes of each other and really didn’t have any distinguishing features, I’d just go for whatever’s cheapest. Which turned out to be Orlando Sunshine II; $42/night. Not the best price I’ve ever gotten, but I was pretty happy with it.

Right up until the website reminded me that the II units are a lot smaller (I’d remembered they were smaller but didn’t remember it was by that much). Eh, whatever. The units aren't really outrageously tiny -- they're bigger than all the DVC 2BRs except OKW (and better laid out for us) -- it's just that we’ve been spoiled lately and really like the Sunshine I units. We’ll survive.

We won’t have the bus route I wanted, but Mr. Cool was so happy when I suggested the Sunshine (he loves taking the bus from there down to see a show at SeaWorld, and there's another bus that goes straight downtown), that he agreed to doing six days in the Disney parks even though he’d be stuck there without a bus. When he was saying he would only do a few days at WDW I was thinking we’d skip Hollywood Studios, but since he’s agreed to more days I guess we’ll do all four parks. I think he’ll really like some of the shows at HS. I hope! He’s tough to predict – I thought he’d be more of a rides guy than he is, for instance, and didn’t realize how much he’d love the SeaWorld shows.

But if we’re doing all four parks, and I want to see as much of the other three as originally planned, I need to start walking Many More Miles A Day. Particularly since I’m not even walking One Mile A Day.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:30 AM   #67
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Not sure how I missed all of your updates. I'm sorry. I promise I will be better.

I love that room! So big and roomy. I love the pool area. My dad built pools for a living and that fountain looks like one that he built at our house.

And that tub?? I could spend some serious time in there. LOL!!

We love Fun Spot. DS loves the ferris wheel. There's so much to do there.

That's too funny on the dining room table. LOL!! It sounds like something my husband would do.
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:35 PM   #68
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Outline Schedule

I've been stalling on posting any more of our last trip because I thought Mr. Cool had a big cache of trip photos I hadn't seen -- turns out I had his camera photos all the time; the one I was looking for that made me think I was missing a bunch was just a quick shot he took with his phone, and one of only three phone pics from the Orlando trip. So that was a lot of dawdling for no purpose.

I'm visiting my parents -- without the kids -- next week, not sure I'll get a photo post done between now and then, because what I should be doing is getting the house clean for my dad (who is currently visiting his sister in Vermont, so he's going to pick me up here and drive me out to South Dakota), or finding some shoes (still don't have any shoes I can stand ) or finding the top of my desk (I did lower the stack in the corner by a good foot), or getting a menu set up for while I'm gone, or otherwise doing something constructive on the homefront. OTOH, I have this habit of getting tons done on the totally wrong front when I'm about to go on vacation, so who knows.

I'm thinking the Hermit and I might run up to the Sauk Trail Trading Post tomorrow and get some shoes and maybe a purse for me -- Sauk Trail Trading Post is the biggest Minnetonka Moccasin store in the Country/East of the Mississippi" (depending on who you ask). Haven't gotten any new Minnetonka in years, because I still have a pair for inside and I think their rubber soles for the outside shoes look goofy, but I've always found them pretty comfy and I'm thinking I might give the current soles a shot. I almost got a pair in South Carolina, but I didn't like the way they were lined; that place didn't have much selection but Sauk Train ought to.

http://moccshop.com/catalog/index.ph...cPath=48_26_35

The Hermit hates shoes -- she'll wear sandals in the dead of winter if no one calls her on it -- so I think she should give Minnetonka a try as well. They mold to your feet and are crazy comfy in that sense; not sure if I'll be happy with their grave lack of support now I'm older and creaky boned, but back when I was younger and went barefoot all the time like the Hermit does, they were perfect. And if I don't end up using them for walking they'd be fine for everyday, so definitely worth giving them a shot.

CURRENT SCHEDULE OUTLINE

MONDAY JANUARY 7
Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm

TUESDAY JANUARY 8
Resort Day
Hit the Disney Discount Stores and Downtown Disney

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 9
Magic Kingdom: 9am – 8pm

THURSDAY JANUARY 10
Epcot: 9am – 9pm

FRIDAY JANUARY 11
Marathon Traffic?
Resort Day
Wander Coronado Springs

SATURDAY JANUARY 12
Marathon Traffic
Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm

SUNDAY JANUARY 13
Marathon Traffic
Resort day
Ballet Girl Pic at All Stars Movies
Pop Century Tie-dyed cheesecake

MONDAY JANUARY 14
Epcot: 9am – 9pm

TUESDAY JANUARY 15
Resort day
Caribbean Beach Resort, maybe Boardwalk and/or Beach Club

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 16
Magic Kingdom: 9am – 8pm

THURSDAY JANUARY 17
Resort Day
Orange County Regional History Center or
Orlando Museum of Art while kids do Science Center


The parks are all either "Most Recommended" or "Highly Recommended" on easy WDW -- but of course when I checked with touringplans, some of them are not recommended there. *sigh* I'll probably stick with them unless Josh changes them, because his reasoning makes more sense to me -- first, because he's more about the crowds while touringplans over emphasizes the lines, but second, because touring plans puts too much emphasis on past history, IMHO. Last year's crowds on that day were not necessarily influenced by the same deals and other factors, so I'm not convinced they are so pertinent they need to be factored in very highly.

Which is to say, much as I love the Unofficial Guide, I'm going with Josh, and I knew I would even before I saw the touringplans recs, so basically I signed up with touringplans again just so I could get more frazzled, I guess.

But unless there's some major change, or I decided to do AK instead of MK a second time, I think I'll be sticking with those park days. My "resort days", OTOH, I've changed a number of times already and will probably change again. Although I keep telling myself I am doing the PARKS this time, so not to even worry about the resorts, I have so few I haven't at least walked through that part of me wants to finish the set. All I have left are Music and Sports All Stars, as well as Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach, and I'm done.

But, although we spent plenty of time at Wilderness Lodge the first time, I'd love to go back and do some of the same things again, as well as some other stuff, and we "have" to re-do All Star Movies for Ballet Girl so she can get her picture taken with the ballerina from Fantasia 2000. We took some last time but it was getting dark, and Ballet Girl wants to redo them -- even though she complains every time she sees All Star pics -- including the ones with her in them! -- about the ballerina's poor positioning.

And we gotta do Pop because the Hermit wants some tie-dyed cheesecake again, while I wanted to get pictures of everyone by their birth-year sign, which we didn't get done last time. And I was really hoping to get to the Belleview Lounge at the Beach Club, and the Territory Lounge in Wilderness Lodge, and Victoria Falls at the AK, and there there are all the restaurants I'd like to try, and of course we have to hit the Contemporary (although I might do that on an MK afternoon), etc. etc. thereisnotenoughtime!!

I won't go so far as to say I'd rather do the resorts than the parks, but the resorts are a big part of the draw for me. If I'm getting blisters or otherwise having problems with the walking I'll probably do fewer resorts but spend more time at whatever resorts I go to; if my feet are holding up pretty well I'll probably add some to that list, I guess.
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:57 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CatNipRules View Post
Not sure how I missed all of your updates.
I would miss updates all the time if I didn't subscribe. I do the "daily updates", which means that, even if I missed someone else's post and posted to the thread (which has happened!), it'll come up on the first "new since you were last updated" post when I log in the next morning. Of course, there's still the problem of not responding right away and then spacing it entirely... But subscribing definitely improves the odds.


Quote:
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We love Fun Spot. DS loves the ferris wheel. There's so much to do there.
We never even got to Fun Spot, even though it's right there. I priced it out and all, but Mr. Cool took the bus to SeaWorld nearly every day and "didn't have time," the Hermit doesn't like that sort of thing, and the rest of them were fine with what they could do on the resort or with watching TV. We don't do broadcast TV at home, so some of my kids get obsessed with TV when we vacation. Well, my older two, not at all, but it can be a major challenge to peel my younger three away from the TV on vacation. Meaning none of them did Fun Spot.

But I enjoyed watching the patterns on the Ferris wheel, and it's a great landmark, especially when coming home at night. Their daily pass thingies are a good deal, IMHO, but maybe next time I should just try to get the boys and Ballet Girl over to try out the Go Karts and they might decide it was worth spending some time there after all. I don't think they realize what they're missing! Not sure you can apply the price of just some rides to a daily pass, though.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:05 AM   #70
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Just found out that Disney does not provide carb counts, except at the Be Our Guest restaurants. Disney's supposed to be so good with allergies and things, it never even occurred to me that'd be an issue. You can get nutritional info just about everywhere but little family restaurants and the like around here, so I figured we'd have to guess at the Wave or the California Grill, but apparently even the fast food places at Disney don't usually offer it.

Second son was diagnosed with high blood pressure this summer, and moderate dietary changes and exercise have brought his weight down a bit (he was pretty sedentary but not much overweight), and should have impacted his blood pressure if they're going to, but his blood pressure hasn't improved much, so now we have to try a radically low-sodium diet and see what that does, meaning he's another one who should be checking the nutritional info. *sigh* Although I suppose I don't need a nutritional info sheet to know most WDW food is high sodium.

Also discovered at the dentist's this week that my own blood pressure is right on the border of hypertension. Argh! The dentist said I should double check it, since I was kinda stressed with being late and all, but to be honest I have suspected it's been high lately -- I've been feeling the way I did when I had a molar pregnancy, when my BP was also high. I know hypertension is supposed to be the "invisible killer" because people don't notice it, but I definitely felt different and then went back to normal when they put me on meds. Went right back to usual after the hydatidiform mole was dealt with, and historically my BP has been ideal, but I've been pretty sedentary lately, and of course I'm getting older. I'm hoping the fact that I'm kicking into gear with my walking will bring that down enough they don't put me on meds.

In other news, my Tinkerbell mug cracked. I suppose pouring boiling water into it practically every day didn't extend its life any. Happily, I got a couple of mugs at the local Disney store a few months before, so that made it a little easier to take. I got the Snow White and Fantasia mugs:

http://www.disneystore.com/movie-mom...07277/1000350/

http://www.disneystore.com/movie-mom...07347/1000350/

I'd considered some of the villain mugs when I was just looking at them on the Internet, but those things are HUGE! The ones I bought hold more than sixteen ounces; I think those villain mugs would hold three full cups, easy. I like my mugs to be at least 12 ounces, and have been buying "big" mugs for my dad for decades, and I've never seen mugs that big before. Villains are big drinkers, I guess?

Sat down twice in the past two months determined to do another post on my 2011 trip, and got nowhere, obviously; Ballet girl has about given up on me. Hoping the third time will be the charm.
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:40 AM   #71
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Tuesday: We Wandered a Lot

So I went to look at the notes I set up last time, and I have no idea what the first one even means! I wrote "Es: sty". Used to be, when I didn't understand my own notes, I figured it was my dreadful handwriting; but this is typed so I don't have that excuse.

At any rate, we slept in a bit Tuesday and then headed off to Character Warehouse, which is just up the road from the Sunshine and is the biggest official Disney discount store in town. Needed to stock up Ballet Girl for pin trading, since she'd ended up with too many "favorites I won't trade" from last time to make a go of it. And of course I found a few I wanted. Got myself a four-pack of Sword in the Stone pins, as well as Willy the Singing Whale, Peter of Peter and the Wolf (with a snow spinny!), and a Bambi pin. They had lanyards for a buck apiece, so we asked the other kids if they wanted to take up pin trading, and of course no one did. This will be pertinent later. *sigh*

Went back to the resort for lunch, then Geek Dad, the Hermit and I headed out to the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum, dropping off Mr. Cool at the downtown bus station on the way. Mr. Cool wanted a bus pass, which at his age cost about the same as the pass for the tourist trolley but would get him more places (he's going to experience sticker shock next time, though; price goes up considerable once you hit 18).

Then we continued on to Winter Park, which is a pretty little city north of downtown Orlando. Tons of beautiful architecture, not to mention the Museum, which was the one thing I really wanted to do first time out and didn't get to, but do we have pictures of any of that? Nope. All we've got are pictures of this guy:



Who was across the street from the Museum parking lot. Although there is a shot that includes a few typical architectural details of the parking entrance of the building across the way:



There's a nice little veranda and garden coming into the Morse museum, but that, we do not have. Nothing from the interior, either, although this flickr poster took pictures of the two things I most remember, namely the Tiffany chapel (which was better lit than I expected but still dim enough I'm not surprised the photographer didn't get the detail he or she was trying for):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/vagabon...n/photostream/

And the daffodil detail on the pillars of a reconstructed porch area:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/vagabon...n/photostream/

Those were high enough they were hard to see, but happily they had the lopped-off top of one off to one side so you could get a look at it. All in all I was very happy with the Morse museum -- it's a smallish museum, just one floor, but there's tons of Tiffany stuff, well-displayed. The Hermit got a shirt there she dearly loved, which our cat Timothy the Timid ripped the week we got back. I just got post cards (I use them as bookmarks).

After dinner, hubby went grocery shopping, while the kids went out to the pool. Remember how I said the pool was right outside, but it wouldn't be smart to go wandering off over there and leave the unit open? Yeah, even though I've read thread after thread in the Disney resort board about those kind of thieves, I still didn't take my own good advice. I thought, "What're the odds someone's just sitting there, waiting for me to step out side a minute so he can duck in here and clear us out? Besides, if I hear the screen door slam, I'll just go in and chase him off."

So I'm out by the pool, talking to the kids, and, guess what I hear? So, I head back in, calling out Mr. Cool's name in hopes that he got back from his walk, and A Very Large Man comes walking out from the hall by the girl's bedroom, gives me some cockamaimie story about being "from security, looking into the air conditioning," and hustles out the door to the parking lot. So I lock the door behind him and hustle out the door by the pool, once again leaving the place unlocked, and hurry to the lobby, and quickly inform the lady at the desk and the guard (who was just coming off dinner break) what happened.

The guard goes racing off and they call the police, but I am a woefully unhelpful witness - the guy kept his back to the only light in the place, and I tend to recognize people by how they stand and move anyhow, so I really couldn't point him out in the offered mugshots. The cop was pretty sure he knew who it was, "Sounds like he's back again," and said I wasn't in any danger from the thief (to be honest, I wasn't real worried about that -- for whatever reason, once I actually saw him I was more annoyed than scared, and it had seemed clear to me he just wanted out of there), but that their real problem in dealing with these guys is that tourists don't want to stick around to press charges or to come back for the trial.

Which, yep, was pretty much my attitude. I was glad to know he hadn't gotten away with anything (I'd wondered as he was leaving if he'd tucked an i-pod in his pocket but hadn't been willing to fight him for it to find out!), but I could totally understand wanting to blow it off and get back to your vacation. Geek dad would have come back for a trial, if he'd seen the guy -- but he probably would have tackled the guy so he wouldn't have had to rely on his memory for faces, too!

The thief probably thought he'd hit the jackpot for a while, there. Just about everyone but me travels with their laptop; and all the boys and I think the two older girls had their cameras along; hubby's I-pad showed up in a pile of computers by the front door that the cop pointed out as he walked in ("Do you normally leave computers on the floor like that?"); and Mr. Cool's insulin bag and SeaWorld Son's watch were missing only until I found our duffle bag, which had been pulled out from the rest of the luggage and filled with cameras and other little stuff, while Ballet Girl's I-pod was tucked down in the bedding where she'd left it. In the end I don't think he got away with a single thing.

So, just a reminder -- don't step out "just for a minute" and leave the door unlocked. Although if you leave your stuff out even while you're in the unit, you can get robbed if you're out of the room for a moment, as in this thread regarding a Boardwalk DVC unit:

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3008019

Geek dad decided even a locked unit wasn't good enough, and of course we had way more junk than would fit in the safe, so we started hauling all our electronic junk around in the van. It's not like people have never had their cars cleared out onsite or anything (from that same thread, but I'd seen that sort of thing mentioned before):

http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...6&postcount=29

But the van had those footwell compartments, so everything was stored out of sight and I wasn't really worried. But frankly I believe that our stuff was safer in a locked unit at the resort than it was in a locked vehicle; most theft stories I've read, onsite or off, were more about the opportunity (i.e., people leaving stuff out and/or units unlocked) than anything. I am amazed at how many people leave cameras and other valuables in parked strollers, sometimes in clear view! We've lost backpacks for a bit here and there, but the kids aren't supposed to keep anything valuable in something they're that likely to misplace, and to my knowledge, they don't. Still, the very first time I read about a theft on the Dis boards, it was someone leaving their sliding glass door unlocked at the Poly! Seems to me they were out at the parks, but they sure could have been ducking out to the pool by the "short way." Slacking off that way on vacation is definitely a temptation, even when you know better.

Last edited by shalom; 04-23-2013 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:04 PM   #72
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Wednesday: SeaWorld!

A month or so before the trip, I was down with a bug for a couple of weeks, and what with the spring ballet and a play the kids were in, I just never got back to my walking routine, so I had a nice, peaceful touring plan, basically circling the whole park and hitting only one show (Blue Horizons). I'd planned to meet hubby and the kids here and there for meal times, picking the closest restaurant to where I'd planned to be. But you know about the best laid plans of mice and men...

We got there in plenty of time, and I'd convinced hubby it was his turn to take youngest off to feed the dolphins, but he said I had to make sure everyone go their All Day Dining Deal wristbands before I let them loose. So we get to the only restaurant open at that hour, and there are busloads of kids ahead of us who'd come in through another entrance. The line actually moved along pretty briskly, and I'm kind of dozing off when I suddenly see someone trying to push past me and snap at them, "Hey, no cutting."

And of course as the words escape my mouth I realize it's a couple who've been there in front of us the entire time. So I instantly apologize ("sorry, sorry, I'm spacing out"), but most of my kids are staring at me in bewilderment while Ballet Girl is about ready to sink through the floor. The entire rest of the day, Ballet Girl will periodically cringe and wail, "Mom, I can't believe you did that." So that was fun. Anyhow, we get our arm bands and I think we had a snack before the boys and Ballet Girl went their way and the Hermit and I dawdle out to the base of the Sky Tower. It's closed at that hour, but we're there to see the fountain show anyhow.

Somewhere I'd picked up that there'd be a fountain show at ten, but when we got there, there just a few fountains kind of merbling along, like this:



However there's an older couple there who tell us the show will start shortly, and, sure enough, in a few moments the music swells and we get to see the whole show. Afterwards, we talk to the couple a bit about how cool SeaWorld is and they tell us that the fountain show is every hour, and with that knowledge we manage to see it another couple of times during the day. So that was cool.

Meanwhile, Warrior Girl went to feed the dolphins with her dad. Here she is all excited as they're entering:





And, as you may or may not be able to tell from this picture, she was actually smiling while interacting with the dolphins:



But, once the dolphin feeding was over, she decided what her dad planned on doing was "boring," so she tracked down the Hermit and I as we headed into Shark Encounter. There's a shark tank out front:



And then one of those tube jobbies with a moving floor inside. The sharks aren't hard to find:



Although some of them are not overly eager to pose for you:



Then we checked out Pacific Point, where the seals are, which was way too open and hot, and Penguin Encounter, which I liked much better. They've got a fair selection of penguins and puffins.

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Old 12-03-2012, 01:13 PM   #73
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Eventually Warrior Girl decided we really meant it when we said we were going to be just looking at things, and abandoned us. But first she brought to my attention the fact that the Hermit hadn't seen Pets Ahoy! yet, and further that the Hermit didn't plan on coming back on future trips (she enjoyed it, but says she's done), so I added that to my agenda, even though it didn't fit comfortably.

Pets Ahoy! has a rat:



Lots of Cats:





And dogs...







And ducks, and birds, and a skunk, and a pig, and I dunno what all. The Hermit loves cats so I thought she definitely should see it, and I'm glad, because she quite enjoyed it. After the show you have the opportunity of petting some of the critters; usually it's just dogs, who generally seem to think this is peachy keen fine, but this time there was a cat, who kept looking at his handler like, "Really? I have to put up with this?", but in a "fine, if I have to" way rather than indignantly.



I'm trying to decide if our pics are blurrier this time around, or if I'm getting pickier... It's kind of dark in the theatre with the pets show, but I'm not thrilled with outside pics from most of this trip, either. I dunno... That one does show the cat's expression well enough I suppose.

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Old 01-03-2013, 07:50 AM   #74
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General Schedule Re-Do

ARGH!

Whose bright idea was it to visit WDW a week after getting together with my side of the family and preparing a big dinner and doing a big Christmas and all?

Oh, wait. That was me. Not one of my better plans. Well, everyone had a great time, actually, so that part was good. But I came home and promptly decided to change all my plans -- start hitting the parks on Tuesday instead of Monday was the big switch, but we also saw Wreck-It Ralph on New Year's Day, so Ballet Girl wanted to add meeting Vanellope to her list, and Mr. Cool decided the Orlando trip was close enough he'd actually tell me what kind of things he wanted to see, and... stuff.

The real problem is that my exercise routine completely died the week we were out of town. Although we had thirty stairs up to our unit in Wisconsin Dells, so I did get a little exercise in.... But my perpetually-on-a-diet mother kept producing more and more decadence, which didn't help things any. We don't diet, but we also don't go nuts around the holidays with decadence, however I am prone to the "because it's there" philosophy, meaning I do eat stuff she sets in front of me rather than good food. Since we got back I've been profoundly disinterested in food and skipping meals or just having some fruit, not my normal approach to life.

Maybe by the time we get there I'll be back to my usual appetite (meaning healthy food sounds good but I'm often up for a decadence now and then, too), but right now everything Disney looks dreadfully heavy and I'm craving salads. Which I kind of predicted, so I really hadn't planned on doing a cupcake challenge or anything, but I thought a few cupcakes would sound good, and right now, not so much. Plus I'm stressing out way too much about trying to create "the perfect Disney vacation", even though I know better.

I'm hoping that, once we hit the road, I mellow out and start eating again - I usually plan and scramble frantically trying to get things organized and think of every detail and perfect the schedule right before we go, and stress kills my appetite so it's common (if stupid) to be not eating right before a trip, then once we get going I sort of get this, "Well, can't fix it now" attitude and relax and start eating again. Works out pretty well, actually -- I'm so hungry the first few days, I'm up for the fast food hubby prefers on the road! If we hit the parks the day we left, I'd probably be a drill sergeant, demanding the kids follow the plan; since there's a day or two of driving in there, I cope with them abandoning the plans much butter. Yet another reason we do better driving than flying (I feel more pressure to stick to the schedule when flying and don't let go of things as easily).

Anyhow...

CURRENT OVER-ALL SCHEDULE

MONDAY JANUARY 7
Crowd Level 3 (Josh) or 5 (TP)
Resort Day
Ballet Girl Pic at All Star Movies
Maybe Art of Animation
Pop Century Tie-dyed cheesecake

Hit the Disney Discount Stores

TUESDAY JANUARY 8
Crowd Level 2 (Josh) or 3 (TP)
Magic Kingdom: 9am 9pm (Highly Recommended
TP Neutral Park, crowd level 3.0

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 9
Crowd Level 2 (Josh) or 3 (TP)
Resort Day
Wander Coronado Springs


THURSDAY JANUARY 10
Crowd Level 2 (Josh) or 3 (TP)
Hollywood Studios: 9am 7pm (Most Recommended)
TP Best Park due to 7-Day Rule 3.0

FRIDAY JANUARY 11
Crowd level 5 (Josh) or 3 (TP)
FUN RUN AT EPCOT
Resort day
Maybe Caribbean Beach resort

SATURDAY JANUARY 12
Crowd Level 5 (Josh) or 6 (TP)
Half Marathon Traffic Come in on Exit 65 Osceola Parkway to avoid it
Animal Kingdom: 9am 7pm (Most Recommended)
TP Best Park Crowd level 5.9

SUNDAY JANUARY 13
Crowd Level 5 (Josh) or 6 (TP)
Marathon Traffic & activity in Asia

Resort day
Ballet Girl DESSERT BUFFET at Fresh
Caribbean Beach Resort


MONDAY JANUARY 14
Crowd Level 4 (Josh) or 6 (TP)
Epcot: 9am 9pm (Most Recommended)
TP Best Park Crowd Level 4.5

TUESDAY JANUARY 15
Crowd Level 3 (Josh) or 4 (TP)
AK (most recommended) or MK (highly recommended) or HS (recommended)
Probably a resort day

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 16
Crowd Level 2 (Josh) or 4 (TP)
MK (most recommended( or Epcot (recommended)
Probably do Epcot unless we do MK today and Epcot Tomorrow

THURSDAY JANUARY 17
Crowd Level 2 (Josh) or 5 (TP)
Epcot (most recommended) or HS (highly recommended) or AK (recommended)
Might do a half day at a park

Might Do:
Orange County Regional History Center
Orlando Museum of Art
Orlando Science Center



As is obvious, Josh at EasyWDW and the Unofficial Guide Guys (Touring Plans) don't always agree. And when they do agree, sometimes TP notes that the park is only recommended because of the seven-day rule. Aggravating. But in general things look pretty good, barring the weekend. And the AK hours have been extended a bit, so that's nice.

Last edited by shalom; 01-03-2013 at 07:59 AM.
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