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Old 01-13-2013, 09:26 PM   #1
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"Everyone! Come see how handsome I am!" **FINISHED** 2/17

Hello fellow Disney obsessed, trip planning, report reading friends!

My name is Shelly and from December 6 through the 13 I had a magical time at that fabulous place we love some much, Disney World. I went with my ex husband and our (kind of) grown daughter on a trip that came about when the DX announced his company was having their annual Christmas Party at the Coronado Springs Resort this year! We added on a few nights there and then, as a surprise to the DD, two nights in the brand new Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation and started our planning and dreaming. We werent able to add the dining plan, but still managed to make a number of ADRs.

If youd like more background info, I made a pre trip report called Theyre Opening New Fantasy Land Just for Us, where you can learn more than you ever wanted to know about the thoughts and plans that went into this trip!

Danny, Hannah, Shelly on Main Street USA

In the several hundred days I was planning our December 2012 Disney Trip, I spent countless hours reading all your Trip Reports and could not wait to start my own as soon as we got back. I dreamed of having so many stories to tell and pictures to show, it would be like living the trip all over again.

Now here it is, exactly one month since we got home from our fabulous 8 days at the happiest place on earth, and Im just starting our report. I didnt even write a just back report, although Id been looking forward to that, too. Its just a little intimidating. I want to write the best trip report Ever. I want to capture all the fun (and not less than fun) moments of magic we enjoyed.

Im going to try my best.

A couple other things helped with the hold up.
For one, I didnt take nearly as good of trip notes as I had hoped. I did a lot of bagless days, so I didnt always have my notebook with me to jot things down. At first I thought, no problem, Ill just just my phone! Turned out my phone ran out of battery so quickly every day I had to save the juice for things like letting each other know where we were and where to meet up.
On my last trip in 2010, almost every night my daughter and I would be back in our room with plenty of time to do things like talk about our day, make trip notes and even upload photos to share on the internet. Every night of this trip it seemed I could barely drag myself back to our room with enough energy to take my drugs, change into my Disney themed pjs and order our wake up call before I crashed for the night. After the first few days I didnt even get to ask about our daily highs and lows. I think this was because we shoved extra fun into every day this trip (definitely not because I am getting older), but it means I had to work a little harder to reconstruct our days.

The other part was all about the photos. So many photos! I pre ordered our Photo Pass Plus a few months ago (when the price dropped) and so I was determined to get enough photos to make it worth it. I think we succeeded. It certainly took awhile to sort through and edit all the photos (Disneys wonky web site didnt help), and by the time the CDs finally came in the mail, it took 3 of them to hold them all. Good job! Then there were my photos. After I took out all the miserable ones and the ones that were practically doubles out, I still had a little more than 2,000. Sorting through those and sending them through LightRoom took some time as well.

But now here I am. The photos are all uploaded to PhotoBucket, the days are mostly outlined, Ive got the Disney playlist going so here I go!

Next up: Introductions

Last edited by dawnmichele; 02-17-2014 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:32 PM   #2
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents.

Introductions - 1/14
The Day Before - 1/15

Day 1

Getting there is not half the fun. - 1/16
The Coronado Springs Resort - 1/18
Mistake #1 = Cafe Rix - 1/21
Off to Animal Kingdom! - 1/22
Our first ride. - 1/23
Dinosaur, Dug and a Mickey Bar. - 1/26
After dark at Epcot. - 1/26

Day 2

The start of a fantastic day. - 1/31
Walking towards the castle. - 2/1
New FantasyLand! - 2/11
Something's starting right now. - 2/11
Be still my heart... - 2/13
Undersea Journey of the Little Mermaid - 2/13
Rides and a parade. - 4/5
Lunch and the circus! - 4/22
The company party. - 4/22
Extra magic hours at Epcot. - 4/23

Day 3

Extra magic Hollywood style. - 4/26
Breakfast noms. - 4/26
We ride rides and join the Clean Plate Club. - 5/15
Countdown to a fun surprise. - 5/21
The Magic Kingdom after dark. - 5/25
Trapped! Emergency rescue from the happiest cruise that ever sailed. - 5/25
Best Ride Ever saves the day. - 7/8

Day 4

A beautiful new day and an incredible lunch. - 7/13
Surprise meet and greets are the best. - 7/28
Push videos from Hannah. - 7/29
Wrapping things up at Epcot. - 9/6
Thanks for dropping by. - 9/6
Yummy noms in the dark. - 9/9
Those lights are magic. - 9/11

Day 5

Early morning at the Animal Kingdom. - 9/13
Too many safari pictures. - 9/16
The rest of the safari pictures. - 9/23
We watched a planet. - 9/24
Unsupervised at Disney World. - 9/25
Meeting Make Believe Friends. - 10/4
The low point. Every trip has one - 10/11
I'm in my living room! - 10/13
But it's lunch time to me! - 10/14
The Missing Pictures - 10/14
I Dance with a Spaceman. - 10/20
A PS to the day. - 10/24

Day 6

Checking in at the Art of Animation Resort. - 10/25
A Can't Get Enough Disney Kind of Girl. - 10/26
The Lion King Section - 10/28
Lunch at Le Cellier. - 10/31
Soarin' and Borin'. - 11/2
Cranky at Epcot. - 11/8
Food Court dinner and our LM Room. - 11/8

Day 7

Under the sea in the daylight. - 11/8
More Art of Animation. - 11/8
Good Morning, Animal Kingdom! - 11/20
Photos, Pins and Disney Friends - 11/20
On our way to brunch. - 11/21
After brunch, we take a safari. - 11/21
The rest of the safari. - 11/21
An adventure through the jungle. - 11/26
Birds! - 11/26
Professional Birds - 11/26
Last Sleep at Disney - 11/28

Day 8

The last morning begins... - 2/14
Destination: Frontierland - 2/14
Food and photos. - 2/17
Goodbye doesn't mean forever. - 2/17

Last edited by dawnmichele; 02-17-2014 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:37 PM   #3
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Great start!!! I can't wait to see all the photos and hear about the trip.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:46 PM   #4
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Great start....cant wait to hear more.
For the love of Disney...
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:34 PM   #5
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Before I go any further, I should probably let you get to know us a tiny bit more.

First, there’s Danny.

He’s a 50 year old computer programer. A computer genius, really. He’s been doing it since he was in college in the 80s. He visited Disneyland and Disney World several times as a child and twice in the 90s with Hannah and me. He hasn’t been in years because he has Ankylosing spondylitis. It’s a form of arthritis where the vertebrae of his back fuse together. Because of this he can’t stand or walk for more than a few minutes. He assumed he could never handle all the walking and standing involved in a Disney vacation, but many people had been trying to convince him that with a scooter, he would get around fine and still have an amazing time. When his company announced they’d be sending him there he finally agreed to rent the scooter and give it a try. I can’t even tell you how glad he is that he did.

This is Hannah.

She’s a 19 year old college student. She started studying Graphic Design but this semester she’s switched to Animation. She loves video games and Doctor Who and metal smithing. And even though she gets tired of my obsessing, she loves Disney. We took her when she was 3 and 4 (which she only partly remembers), and then two years ago in 2010 my brother took us along with him for a week at Bay Lake Tower. She loves Ariel and Simba and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. She doesn’t want me to post any pictures of her, but I promised none of her friends would read this and told her she’d just have to deal. She has Type 1 Diabetes (she uses an insulin pump) and Epilepsy which can sometimes complicate vacation time, but didn’t effect this one at all.

Then there’s me, Shelly.

I’m 46, but kind of act more like I’m 12 when it comes to Disney. I have always been a Disney fan, but wasn’t able to visit the World until I was 30! Tragic. I went twice in the 90s and on the 2010 trip with Hannah and my brother (there’s a trip report over here). I’ve always been a big fan of Disney movies and even more so, Disney music. And there’s just so much I love about Disney World - the rides, the themeing, the food, the magic. You guys know what I’m talking about. So I will stop trying to explain and get on with it.

Last but not least, there are the two sweet pups we left in Kansas while we enjoyed the Florida sun. They’re Lhasa Apsos though, so they don’t mind the cold.

Daisy is 5. She’s a super awesome girl and we love her very much.

Spike is 4, but has only lived with us for a few months. He has some issues, but he’s getting better. We love him lots as well.

Next up: The day before the trip!

Last edited by dawnmichele; 01-16-2013 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:38 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by murmkc View Post
Great start!!! I can't wait to see all the photos and hear about the trip.
Originally Posted by wiigirl View Post
Great start....cant wait to hear more.

Thank you both! I hope you'll enjoy it. I can't wait to relive the magic!
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:57 PM   #7
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AWESOME! I am totally using this TR to help get my Disney fix until our December trip!
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:22 PM   #8
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The day before

The day before you leave for Disney is almost as exciting as the day you actually leave, I think. Danny took off from work, and Hannah didnt have school so we were all home. My boyfriend, who would be taking us to the airport and staying at our house to take care of our two dogs was here as well. We were all busy talking and planning and packing.

Speaking of packing - of course I had been packing for a while. I had even made packing lists for Danny and Hannah (at their request, Im not quite that controling.)There was my suitcase I had to work on, and then we had a community suitcase. Usually when we travel, I am a huge proponent of one carry on per person. In fact, last year when my daughter and I went to Europe for 4 weeks, we only took one carry on each. Its party because of the extra bag fee for checked bags, but also because its just so much easier to only have one bag that you have to around and keep track of. But on this trip, neither of those issues applied! Since we were flying SouthWest, we could each check two bags for free (nice!). And because of the awesome Magical Express service, we wouldnt have to worry about picking up our bags or even carting them back to the airport when we were headed home. So we each checked a bag. And as a bonus, we took a small shared bag for all the extras wed all be using. Things like our chargers and the toiletries bag and room decorations and lights for Dannys scooter and etc.

Heres what it looked like before I packed the stuff all in. Turns out we didn't use the bowls, spoons, 5 hour energies or turquoise tinsel stuff. The lights, however, were a big hit. They helped us find the scooter when it was dark and prompted many "Where did you get those?" questions.

Hannah is in college, and since she was going to miss a few days for our trip, she had been working super hard to get all her projects turned in on time. This meant she wasnt nearly as ready on the day before as Danny and I were. When she opened her suitcase to start packing, she discovered it was full of some serious stink. It must have gotten a mildewed in the garage. There was no time to do anything about it, which meant a last minute, panicked shopping trip for a new suitcase the day before we left.

I have to admit I was cranky about it. She cant drive (she has Epilepsy and has not been seizure free long enough to have permission to drive), which meant I'd be leading the suitcase search and I had much better things to do with my time that day. It also meant a bite out of the Disney budget that I hadn't planned on. We went to four stores before finally returning to the first store where we found a kind of giant hard shell rolling suitcase that she loved and was close to my price range.

We picked up some lunch on the way home (Arbys, and I didnt take a picture.) While we were eating, Hannah realized she had left the tape measure we had taken with us shopping (to make sure we didnt buy something too big) at one of the stores. Really, Hannah? I was even more cranky then and very grateful when my boyfriend offered to drive her back to retrieve it.

Luckily that was the last of the drama. After that we all packed up and relaxed. No one was really hungry for dinner, and since we were waking up way in the middle of the night, we all sent ourselves to bed very early. I was in bed around 8, and with a little help from modern chemistry, had no trouble falling asleep. I set alarms on my phone for 3:30, 3:40 and 3:45, but was surprised how easily I jumped out of bed at the first one.

Ok, not surprised at all. I was finally going to Disney World! It was Disney day and I was ready!!

Next up: Getting there is not half the fun.

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Old 01-15-2013, 09:01 PM   #9
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Cheers! I can't wait to start packing but we have 10.5 months left still.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:44 PM   #10
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:31 PM   #11
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Getting there is not half the fun.

So I was UP and ready.
I didn’t even have to pack any last minute stuff, so I had carried my bags up to the front door the night before. I went upstairs and made sure everyone was awake and busy. I wish I would have taken a picture of the big luggage pile by the door before we loaded up, but I didn’t so you’ll just have to imagine. 4 suitcases. 5 carry on items.

Alan and Hannah loaded his SUV and started it warming up. I hadn’t even thought about how much room all of us and all our luggage would take up, but they managed to fit it all in.

We said goodbye to our sweet little doggies. They knew something was up. They’ve learned what bags by the front door mean. I felt better about leaving them knowing they’d be at home and with someone they know and love while we were gone, but I still felt kinda badly for leaving them.

It was cold and dark, but we were all out the door by 4:45 which was exactly on schedule! That meant we had time to drive through the drive through at McDonalds for some McBreakfast since I wasn’t sure when the next time we’d get to eat was. The hour drive to the Kansas City airport went quickly and before I knew it we were being dropped off at the curb and saying goodbye again.

I love the Kansas City airport. It has a super unique set up that I think is fantastic. There are three separate circular terminals, so although the airport is large, it seems really small. You don’t go through security until you are ready to go sit at your gate so it’s easy for your friends and family to come in and wait with you, or be there right when you get off the plane. It also means the line for security is seldom long. I know they’re making lots of noise about totally changing the set up, which I understand will be easier for the airlines, but for the passengers not so much.

Also, John Goodman does the airport’s announcements. Strange, but true.

The SouthWest check in desk was pretty dark and empty when we got there around 6am. There may have been someone in front of us, but we didn’t wait long. We walked right up to an agent. Even though we had done early check in at home and printed our own boarding passes, she printed us new ones. After she weigned our bags we had to roll them over to the bag security check area and after that we headed for our gate.

Now, Danny and Hannah both get a little freaky about planning security strategy. Danny can't move very quickly and worries about being rushed. He's also kinda paranoid and worries a lot about our stuff sitting there unattended while we are distracted with the whole ordeal. Hannah has an insulin pump, and while most times the TSA agents instantly recognize it and know just how to handle it, sometimes they don't and we've had times when it's been a little ... tricky. There are certain things they can do to check it and certain things they can not. Especially when she was younger, she'd be going through and get someone giving her a little trouble, but since Danny and I are going through ourselves, it's hard for her to get our help with explanations. So the whole time we're waiting for our flight, they're making plans for who is going to go first with which bags and addressing wacky what ifs. Eventually Danny was convinced to just take his time and not worry about rushing for anybody, I promised to keep an eye on all the technology and Hannah felt pretty confident they'd just have her do the thing where she touches her pump and then they test her hands for powder.

I am happy to report that's exactly what happened. We went slowly. Hannah got her hands swabbed. And before you can say Bob's your Uncle we were sitting down putting our shoes back on with our all belongings in tact.

Here's our gate check in.

And here's our lovely plane, waiting for us to come aboard.

Everyone visited the restrooms (going on an airplane is enver fun). Danny and Hannah bought sodas. Some of Danny’s co workers showed up not long after us and we all chatted for a while about work and Disney. Time passed pretty quickly and it was soon time to start boarding!

Danny and Hannah, messing with their stuff.

Me and Hannah, excitedly waiting.

Danny had picked up a little blue card from the gate agent since he definitely needs extra time boarding. Hannah and I don’t but we go along with him because I guess that’s the way things are done. SouthWest has open seating, so we chose a seat near the front. I stored my camera bag in the overhead compartment and shoved my purse under the seat in front of me.

Hannah took the window seat, Danny wanted the asile so I sat in the middle. The crew kept announcing the flight was full so to hurry and settle in so we could take off on time. I guess people complied because before we knew it we were taking off!

Did I mention the girl is not a fan of having her photo taken?

We flew over some clouds so lovely it looked like we were sailing on an ocean. From time to time the clouds parted and we could see civilization miniaturized beneath us.

They passed out sodas, peanuts and pretzels. I knew it would be a long time til I headed for bed so I put on the Disney music and tried to sleep. I got a little restless about two hours in and then read a little until we were there.

Hannah’s head had some issues with the descent. It made her head really hurt. She showed me how her soda bottle had gotten compressed and said that’s how her head felt. It was a rough landing for her, but luckily she would be distracted quite soon.

We found a wheelchair waiting for Danny just outside the plane door which was great. He climbed in and we loaded on our bags bags as we headed out.

As always, our first ride was a trip on the mini monorail.

When we made it to the main part of the airport, I was anxious to get on the bus and get to the magic. Danny needed a restroom break though, so I stayed with his chair while Hannah checked out the Harry Potter store. When she came back with news of all the stuff you could buy, I was a little sad we wouldn’t be venturing to Universal this trip. We are huge HP fans but have never made it over to check out his Wizarding World. Maybe next time.

I was back to happy once Danny returned and we found the elevators down to the Magical Express level. It was a long walk and we were all anxious, so I was glad there was no crowd at the check in desk. I handed the man our papers and he pointed us to the correct line. I didn’t take any pictures.

The area as a whole didn’t seem very crowded, but there were several people in our line ahead of us. Right away we noticed the guy in front of us telling the people in front of him all about how his company was flying in their workers from all over the country for a day of meetings and an evening Christmas party. He was with Danny’s company and it was fun to just listen for a while, but eventually Danny introduced himself. They hadn’t really crossed paths (I think the guy was in sales or support or something), but they still found some work stuff to talk about. It helped passed the time until it was our turn to board.

I has excited to see it was a real Magical Express bus. Our friendly driver loaded our bags in the underneath and directed Danny to sit right behind him. We sat right behind Danny and had a pretty good view of things. The best part of sitting up front is not having to pay attention to all the other impatient Disney visitors on the bus, but close seconds are great views of the movie and the signs along the way.

As part of the DecemberDis group, I tried to be a good live texter while I was there. It didn’t work out as well as I hoped due to battery life and connectivity issues, but I did my best. I’ll share my texts with you here, in a lovely different font so you’ll know what’s what. I sent my first one while we were on the bus.

Woohoo! We've made it to Orlando and are on the Magical Express with a great driver! His name is Kenneth Johnson.

Kenneth entertained us and made us quite welcome, and then he started the magical movie. It gets the Disney blood pumping and let’s you know the magic is starting.

He gave us plenty of warning to get our cameras ready for the magic shot when you enter the gates. Since Danny was in the very front, I texted him to get a shot with his phone.

We made it!

Next up: Checking in at the Coronado Springs Resort

Last edited by dawnmichele; 01-18-2013 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:40 PM   #12
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Hi! Subbing - cant wait to read more!
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:30 PM   #13
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Im in!
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:58 PM   #14
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Woo -hoo! Can't wait to hear more!
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:55 PM   #15
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The Coronado Springs Resort

Coronado Springs was the first stop. Hooray!

We followed Danny off the bus. He headed inside to do check in while Hannah and I hung around to grab our bags and tip our fantastic driver. By the time I made it inside Danny was practically done and I was glad we had used online check in.

It was so beautiful inside, and I am sad to say I took a total of zero photos of it. I thought I'd have a chance to go back at some point and take some more, but I didn't. Lesson Learned: Always take the photo when you think of it.

We had purchased our park hopper tickets through Undercover Tourist and I wanted to have them put on our KTTW cards so we only had to worry about carrying one card with us every day. We were directed to another desk where they could take care of that. Danny decided to head over to bell services and pick up his scooter (we rented from Apple) while I took care of adding the tickets.

Now at this point, Hannah had no idea that we would be spending our last two nights at Art of Animation. It was a secret we had tried hard to keep (and almost blown more than once). She just knew Dannys company was covering 5 of our nights, and we were adding on the extra two. But as i was standing there talking to the CM who was trying to add our tickets to our cards, I wasnt thinking of the secret at all. I was thinking of making sure they got the right tickets on the right cards (since Danny had to work one day, his pass was shorter than ours), and how it would work when we checked out there and would the park hoppers be able to be transferred to our new AoA keys. So I straight up told her Were doing a split stay... Yikes. When I realized I just hoped Hannah was either not paying attention (turned out) or didnt understand what a split stay meant.

The CM did a lot of pushing buttons, printing papers to shuffle around, writing on our paper tickets and eventually she promised we were all good to go.

We headed for the lovely fountain we had chosen as a meet up spot, but it was so crowded with the Hair Bow crowd we decided to step outside and see if we could spot him.

Sure enough, there he was, zooming over to us with a great big smile. We headed back through the lobby and out the back doors, to the left and towards our new home. But man! That place was crowded. It was Pop Warner week and lucky us, CSR was one of the resorts they were staying at. Big groups of teen girls with giant hair bows were everywhere. We made it through the crowds and headed off to look for Building 2. We saw Building 1, and Building 3... It took a little searching but we eventually found it back behind the other two buildings. We were just about to head up to the second floor when I got a call from the Wegoshop lady.

She seemed really cranky that I hadnt called her the second we arrived. Sorry lady, but that is a crazy time. Youre finally there after all the (months of) waiting. Youre thinking about checking in and wondering about your room and its location. It is crowded and it is crazy. We were trying to do that ticket thing and Danny was concerned about his scooter and how it would be. We were all carrying a couple bags and in the back of our minds there were loud voices screaming at us to Hurry Up and Get To A Park!! Its stressful and full of feels, so sorry I didnt drop everything and call you about some groceries!

She gave me a little lecture about how if we had called she could have had a guy come and drive all our stuff to our room and I was all Ok, but the time has passed so lets just live in the now. I felt like i had to apologize a million times. Sheesh.

I took a deep breath and send Danny and Hannah (from here on known as D and H) off to see the room while i headed back out front to get our grub. As soon as I saw the big pile next to the lady I knew we had ordered way too much stuff -- and when I paid her 80 bucks I knew for sure. The sodas and water were a good idea, but we could have gone for a little less soda. The apples were good as well as my box of Cliff bars, but Hs Cliff bars, Ds pop tarts, milk for the cereal, yogurt covered pretzels - not so much. Most of it was left in our room when we checked out. The bell services guy said the housekeeping people could take it if they wanted, and I hoped they did.

Wegoshop lady found a CM with a cart who loaded it all and drove me towards our room. His route was a little crazy from trying to avoid the swarms of teen girls, none of whom thought it would be a good idea to get out of his way. We chatted a bit on the drive about where i was from and the crowds. I asked if he knew what area they were staying in and he said they were everywhere.

At one point when we were stopped waiting for a crowd to move, a few girls in matching outfits asked if he could drive them to the pool. I cant, Im working. he said - which should have been obvious from the cart being filled with me and the grocery bags. It doesnt look like it! one of them shouted as we started to drive off. Dang girl, youre a young fit cheerleader, just walk on over.
Eventually we got to the room where D & H had already started to settle in. Our plans of them waiting for me to take pictures and wipe down the surfaces was kind of blown, but after we unloaded the food and tipped our friendly driver, we moved our bags around so I could capture some photos.

The beds

This is the one Hannah and I shared.

The TV, dresser and fridge. The desk (with lots of plug ins) and a nice space for Danny to park his scooter.

The sink and vanity. Somehow i forgot to take a picture of it with those awesome sliding doors closed. They were great though and provided lots of needed privacy.

The bathroom.

The shower.

Bathroom goodies.

We didn't have any towel animals the whole time we were there, even though we left a tip every night. The rooms were always tidy and clean though, and we had plenty of everything we needed so I have no complaints.

We stocked the fridge, packed a park bag and headed out, trying to decide where to go and what to do.

Next up: Mistake #1

Last edited by dawnmichele; 01-21-2013 at 11:43 AM.
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