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Old 10-17-2010, 09:14 AM   #1
VailaTigger
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Trip Report at last! Back where we belong... *UPDATED* 1-Feb-11 FINALLY FINISHED!

Cast:
Me – 39 year old WDW addict
DF – 42 year old, first time in WDW
DS12 – DF’s eldest, a big scaredy cat as it turned out
DS8 – DF’s youngest, complete daredevil!

Link to pre-trippy here, for background if wanted.
http://www.disboards.com/showthread....ght=back+where

Day 1 – Friday 2nd April 2010 – Travel day at last!

Funnily enough, we were all awake relatively early this morning! Showered, breakfasted, and final packing done with at least half an hour to spare before the taxi arrived. Our taxi was driven by a lovely lady, called… yup… Minnie! The four of us, four cases, and all the hand luggage was safely stowed in the taxi, and we left on time at 10am, although we had to go back after 5 minutes of the journey because DS12 had left his phone on the coffee table! Off we set again. The journey to the airport was uneventful, and we found which check in desks we could use, and joined what seemed like the longest queue EVER. It was Virgin’s first flight of the year from Glasgow, and the poor staff were having to learn a system new to them, with a full flight… but eventually we made it through, with the seats we’d requested online. Stopped in Starbucks for coffee, juice and biscuits, and the two DS’s bought magazines, then off to the upper level to find our gate. First port of call was the security check, which DS8 wasn’t taking seriously until we told him these people could stop him going on the plane. All of us passed through without a hitch, although DF did have to have a further scan. Stopped on the way to the gate to look at the plane (WOW! SO HUGE! And it was Hot Lips we found out later), then on to the gate, and another security queue. Through this one quickly, then it was nearly boarding time! WHEE!



We got settled in our seats, eventually convincing DS8 that he couldn’t empty his carry on bag there and then, he had to wait until we’d taken off, and had lunch. The flight was good, we all were kept entertained by the films, plenty of food and drink coming round (which I had no complaints about, the food was fine), and the boys had lots of things with them to keep them amused when they stopped arguing with each other. DS8 found it a long flight, and the time difference a bit confusing, so was a little grumpy by the time we disembarked, but was doing really well. In fact we were all very tired.

We picked the SLOWEST immigration queue, although we were by no means last off the plane, we were last to get through immigration. However, or border guard was friendly and helpful, and I was glad I had all the right paperwork “just in case” as he did actually ask to see it! Needless to say it was easy to get our cases next as they were virtually the only ones left on the carousel… Off to navigate MCO next, although at least I’d been before, and knew to take our cases on the shuttle train with us, and roughly where Disney’s Magical Express desk was. We sailed through the HUGE queue for rental cars (got our own back!) and were on the DME coach within about 15 minutes of getting off the shuttle train. Result!

So… my fellow 3 travellers were about to see their first glimpse of Florida, although it was getting dark. DS8 sat next to me on the coach and completely ignored the Disney video playing, spent the whole time pointing out things to me that he saw out of the window. Fab! They all really seemed to be so happy to be there, which was a huge relief considering how tired they were.



It wasn’t long before we arrived at Pop Century, and we trundled into the huge reception area with our cases. Our lady at check in was again so friendly and helpful, and we also got virtually the room we requested too. Once we’d found that, it was a case of a quick unpack of the essentials (toothbrush, jammies) and crash out in bed! The long day and time difference had exhausted us all, even though it was barely 9pm Orlando time, it was goodnight for all of us. Roll on tomorrow!
__________________
2001 - September, All Star Movies, 2 weeks
2003 - September, off site, 10 days
2005 - September, All Star Music, 10 days
2010 - April, Pop Century, 2 weeks
2012 - September, Animal Kingdom Lodge, 2 weeks honeymoon

Last edited by VailaTigger; 02-01-2011 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:16 AM   #2
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Day 2 – Saturday 3rd April 2010 – Buses, cars, and WOW...

We set the alarm to wake us up this morning, although I think we were all pretty much awake when it went off. Had booked to pick up the hire car from the Dolphin hotel this morning at 10am, so it was showers and dressed all round, then the delights of the Pop food court for breakfast. I can’t remember what everyone had, but I know DS8 and DS12 were delighted with the theming of the place, and the choice of food! We all got refillable mugs too, and the boys loved using the drinks islands. After breakfast and watching cartoons on the big screen, it was off to do another “first” for the three boys - Disney buses!





I’ve used these buses every time I’ve been here, and love them, it’s all part of the WDW experience for me, but this was a first for them. By the end of the holiday we could all pretty much say the “welcome” speech off by heart, and I think DF was happy not to have to drive or navigate, and let the friendly bus drivers take the strain and entertain! First stop was DTD to pick up our park tickets at Guest Services, no problems there. We had a very quick look at some of the stores, then went to get a Dolphin bus at about 9.30am, thinking half an hour would be plenty time to get from DTD to the Dolphin. A Dolphin bus didn’t come till 10.30!! There were Caribbean Beach buses about every 5 minutes, but nothing for the Dolphin. The American family sitting beside us were getting rather tetchy I must admit, and had words to say to every bus driver who asked us where we were wanting to go... But our bus came eventually, and we made it to the Dolphin for 11am to pick up the car, and again, no problems here either. Now came the scary bit... DF for driving, and me for navigating! But again, despite us both being a bit stressed, we managed fine, and took the car back to Pop.

Now we didn’t really know what to do... I’d worked out a plan for each day, but I’d also got a detailed itinerary from Simon and Susan Veness. The second week of our holiday, the two plans were virtually identical, but the first week was different, and we didn’t know which one to follow. We had a snack and a drink, and discussed what to do next. The Veness plan had us at Epcot all day (hadn’t realised we had arranged to pick up the hire car I guess), and my plan had us using various Disney transport options to explore the size of WDW and some of the resorts etc, as a kind of introduction for the 3 boys. We decided we’d had quite enough waiting around for buses that morning, so too much more Disney transport wasn’t an option. The Veness plan it was then, and we headed off to Epcot. Thankfully the Epcot bus was waiting for us at Pop and it wasn’t long before we were walking under the shadow of Spaceship Earth! This is when the WOW comes in, as the 3 boys faces were a picture, they just hadn’t imagined it being quite so BIG.



Since this was the first attraction they had encountered, and the queue was minimal, we decided to give this one a go. It was a very gentle but fun introduction to rides at WDW. After 5 minutes of a queue, which was 5 minutes of continuous questioning from DS12 about what the ride did, we were on. Everyone enjoyed this one, and I liked the changes from the last time I rode it, I liked our choice of house! DF especially liked that it was Dame Judy Dench doing the voice-over.

We spent the rest of our time here just wandering and taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of Epcot. We ventured on the wee boat ride in the Mexico pavilion, but that was it as far as attractions went, as the queues were too busy for us. We were coming back at least twice later in the trip anyway, and it was lovely just to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

I had made a reservation at the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney for this evening, so we headed back out for the Disney buses and made our way there. We were a little early, but checked in at the big elephant desk anyway, and wandered around the shop until our “safari” was called. The two youngest boys were amazed at the interior of the place (my plan) although jumped a bit when the thunderstorm happened! We had a reasonable meal in there, not the best of the holiday, but not the worst. I don’t think it helped that our table was right beside some steps down to the lower level, so there was a continuous stream of staff and customers going back and forth. Doesn’t help you relax!

We were starting to flag a bit by now, so got the bus back to the hotel, and the boys had some splash time in the pool, which is the only thing DS8 had wanted to do all day! After that it was night night time as we had a busy and full day at the Animal Kingdom to look forward to tomorrow.
__________________
2001 - September, All Star Movies, 2 weeks
2003 - September, off site, 10 days
2005 - September, All Star Music, 10 days
2010 - April, Pop Century, 2 weeks
2012 - September, Animal Kingdom Lodge, 2 weeks honeymoon
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:19 AM   #3
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Day 3 – Sunday 4th April 2010 – Are those REAL??

Up fairly early again this morning, although I will say that we all seemed to sleep pretty well most of the time, despite all 4 of us sharing a room, and the two DS sharing a bed. Which they weren’t happy about.

Today was our first full on day in a Disney park, and we were going to the Animal Kingdom. A park I didn’t really “get” the last time I’d been there, I preferred the others, but was happy to be showing the three boys around today. It was another hot one, not by Florida standards, but by Scottish standards it was. We lathered on the sun cream and got the bus over.

First stop had to be Expedition Everest, before the queues got too long. A first for all of us! The first rollercoaster ride the boys were exposed to, and I’d never ridden this one, as it hadn’t been built when I was here last. I just loved the theming of the queue area, and we had great fun reaching up to hit the bells, though judging by the looks on some other folks faces in the line, this wasn’t appreciated. When we got to the “inside” bit, DS12 started to look a bit shifty. By the time we were approaching the loading bay, he was in tears, didn’t want to go on the ride. So when it came time to load, he bailed out of the “chicken run” as I call it, and DF had to go with him. So, DS8 and I climbed into our train, but not before I made sure he was still OK to get on, to which he replied something like “of course, DS12 is just a big woose” which is a good Scottish word meaning big girl’s blouse! The two of us loved this ride, and I think got DS8 hooked on all things rollercoaster! We came off, and found DF and DS12 outside, still sniffling. After a bit of encouragement, and seeing that we were still alive, he agreed to give it a go, and also so that DF could get a shot, so we queued up again. All 4 of us made it on this time, and to give DS12 his due, he was very brave considering how scared he was. Asked about the experience when we disembarked, he said “it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, and I’m glad I’ve conquered my fear”. I don’t think he completely conquered it, but was more willing to try things after that!



Time now to chill out and relax, repair our shattered nerves (well some of us!). Off to Kilimanjaro Safaris. One of my favourite rides in the Animal Kingdom, and I was hoping it was still early enough in the day to see lots of animals. We weren’t disappointed! All 4 of us loved this, we saw loads of animals, and some up really close, which the boys were delighted about. I don’t think DS8 understood that you had to look way into the distance to see some things, he missed these, but certainly got all the up-close ones. However, he couldn’t get it into his head that the animals here were real, not animatronic, as he kept saying “but they’re fake ones, aren’t they”. Confused him that it was Disney, it was a ride, it wasn’t a true story, but the animals weren’t fake. I don’t know how many times he asked us through the day “Are those REAL?” at everything we saw! This ride was given a big thumbs up, and we all decided we’d do that one again before the end of the holiday.

We were getting a bit hot n sticky now, so needed a bit of air conditioning. Off under the Tree of Life to see It’s Tough to be a Bug. This was one of the times I didn’t tell the boys everything about what happens (I had to tell DS12 about every ride before he’d go near them), I wanted them to get the surprises! And they most certainly did! They got stinked, they got stung, and when the bugs were leaving the theatre at the end, DS12 shot off his seat and spun round, saying “what was THAT!” So funny! The boys spent some time on the little interaction trails around the tree afterwards, while I took some photos of it, and of the landscaping round about. This time, I was really enjoying this park, the attractions had been great, the scenery was lovely, and I was revelling in being in amongst all the greenery. I think I finally “got” this park.



We kept this slow pace for a while, sitting having a nice cool drink and watching the world go by, and going to see who was at the character greeting trails. The boys had got really into the spirit of things, and the two DS had autograph books, and lanyards with pins, which went down even better than I had thought they would. This area has changed since I was last here, either that or I have a bad memory. There used to be a shelter where Pooh, Tigger, Eyore etc would appear, before “going on safari”. This wasn’t here, there was a small theatre area instead, where lots of younger kids were having a great time playing games with Chip n Dale and some other characters. Apart from getting my photo taken with a purple clothed rabbit (anyone know who this is?), we skipped past this and met Mickey Mouse instead.





I’d made a reservation at Tusker House for lunch, the “Nemo” package which gave us priority seating for the musical show that afternoon. I’d never eaten in here, and was very impressed. Our server was great, the food choice was huge (even for a vegetarian like me), it wasn’t busy at the time we were there, and we all came out absolutely stuffed! Good value too we thought, although I’m not sure I’d pay over the odds for priority seating in future unless the queues were enormous.

Now for another first for all of us, the Nemo musical. We all know the story, we’ve watched the film lots, and weren’t sure if we were really going to enjoy a musical, as it’s not our thing. But in for a penny, in for a pound, we were going to experience the full range of attractions on offer during this holiday! And we were all very surprised, we loved it. The costumes, the music, the story, the funny bits, shouting “NEMO!” every time he appeared in a bubble before the show - all great!

After checking the park map and ride wait times, we were all feeling brave enough to give another “big” ride a go. Dinosaur it was then. It took a bit of persuading to get DS12 to try this one, but I promised him I’d tell him when the scary bits were coming. I did, but he couldn’t hear me! He gripped my hand the whole way through, and I think he had his eyes closed for most of it. I don’t mind this ride, although I find it a bit jerky, but DF, DS12 and even DS8 weren’t keen at all. One ticked off on the list, but not one to be repeated. To clear the kinda bad feeling they’d been left with, we had two or three goes on Triceratop Spin, pairing up differently each time. This was lots of fun!

As we were all getting a bit tired again, the decision was taken to get the bus back to the hotel, and have some more pool time and a snack, before a bit of telly and off to bed again, all tired but very happy! Another busy day on the plan for tomorrow.
__________________
2001 - September, All Star Movies, 2 weeks
2003 - September, off site, 10 days
2005 - September, All Star Music, 10 days
2010 - April, Pop Century, 2 weeks
2012 - September, Animal Kingdom Lodge, 2 weeks honeymoon
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:22 AM   #4
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Day 4 – Monday 5th April 2010 – Tired legs, full bellies, and tears.

This is starting to be a habit... up early, breakfast in the food court, and off to get the bus to Epcot! We knew we needed to get the big rides here under our belt early, as the queues got astronomically bad later in the day. We all agreed to give Mission Space a wide berth, I’ve never been on it (heard too many stories of folks feeling VERY unwell afterwards) and it just didn’t appeal to any of the boys. Checked the wait times, and did a bit of cris-crossing of Future World to get a fastpass for Soarin’ then riding Test Track. These are both two of my favourite rides, and I was hoping the boys would like these too. Sucess!! They loved Test Track, and we would definitely be riding that one again. Off now to Soarin’ where DF wasn’t too sure, as he has a fear of heights. However, again, they all loved it! DF had a bit of a funny moment as we dropped over the edge of the mountain, and DS12 nearly swore as he ducked at the golf ball, but we all loved the flying feeling, and the smells, and the scenery. Another one on the “lets do it again” list!

Time now for some seated, air conditioned, more peaceful attractions (wink!). Honey I Shrunk The Audience, where DF announced that he doesn’t like Rick Moranis, DS8 thought there were real mice under the seat, and DS12 got a bit freaked. Oh well, at least they are getting the full set of experiences! Staying on this side of the park, we thought we’d do something NOT SCARY AT ALL and so went to The Seas With Nemo and Friends. Spent ages outside watching and listening to the seagulls, they are so funny! Got them on video too. I liked the little changes to The Seas ride, with the Nemo characters appearing, but it’s still really short. We queued up for Turtle Talk with Crush, this was totally awesome dude! So clever, so funny, and I think DF and myself actually liked this more than the two DS!

Slow pace time again, and lots of wandering, character autographs, strange coke-based drink testing, and chilling out now as our legs were getting really tired. You forget just how BIG the Epcot park is, and we’d only been in the Future World half so far.







Today’s dinner was booked at Kouzzina on the Boardwalk, so we sauntered round from the back gate of Epcot. I’d never been in that area before, and thought it looked beautiful. Figured it could get a bit noisy at night though, so wouldn’t want a room looking over it. Kouzzina turned out to be one of our favourite places which we ate at over the whole two weeks. Again, the choice for vegetarians was ok, but still a better choice for carnivores. DS12 picked a meal which the server said not many people finish eating, this was like a red rag to a bull, and he demolished the whole lot with no help, AND had dessert afterwards! The server very kindly boxed up what I couldn’t eat of my dessert so that I could take it with me, it was delicious, I was just stuffed. Lovely place, would definitely eat there again. We waddled (SUCH full bellies) back to Epcot, and had a stroll “around the World” while dinner settled, the sun set, and the twinkly lights came on, the park really does look fantastic in the evening like that. We picked a good spot for viewing, and waited a while for Illuminations, the boys first experience of how Disney do fireworks. I don’t think they were expecting such a spectacle, or the music, or the fire, waterfalls, and the globe. I don’t think they were expecting my reaction either. I love the fireworks, and the whole thing put together (being in my happy place, being with people I love, the music, the show...) is pretty much guaranteed to bring me to tears. Tonight was no exception! Mind you, all they could talk about on the bus on the way home was how funny it was when I jumped 6 feet in the air as a big firework launched from just in front of us with a heck of a bang! Epcot had lived up to it’s name “Every Person Comes Out Tired” as DS8 fell asleep on the bus on the way home, it had been a long day, but an amazing one. We were all happy but exhausted, and looking forward to a much lazier day tomorrow.



__________________
2001 - September, All Star Movies, 2 weeks
2003 - September, off site, 10 days
2005 - September, All Star Music, 10 days
2010 - April, Pop Century, 2 weeks
2012 - September, Animal Kingdom Lodge, 2 weeks honeymoon
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:23 AM   #5
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Day 5 – Tuesday 6th April 2010 – Lazy Tuesday afternoons...

Wooo! A long lie! Something we had all been needing after the hectic first few days. We had planned on being at Typhoon Lagoon for opening time, but we missed this by about an hour, after being lazy and having a leisurely breakfast in the Pop food court.

Soon enough we were on the bus, on our way though. First time any of us had been here, so took a bit of working out where to go, and where to put our stuff. It was really busy (seemed the whole of Florida had had the same idea as us, but they got up earlier...) and so there were no lockers left. That meant finding a wee spot just for us, which we did, and at least one of us staying there with our bags while the others took it in turns to try the rides. To be honest, although it was busy (and apparently the other park, Blizzard Beach, had already closed due to full capacity before we got to Typhoon Lagoon), it didn’t feel as crowded or cramped as I thought it would. I settled myself on a chair with my book in the shade, and the boys went off to conquer some of the water rides. I don’t swim, hate getting water on my face, and was more than happy for them to head off! A wee while later they came back, predictably DS12 having chickened out of the rides, DS8 was too small for them, so DF went on himself and had a good go at swallowing half the pool. He then chilled with me for a while, and the two DS headed off to explore for a while. When they finally appeared back it was time for them to sit in the chairs (cue grumpy faces) as DF and I headed for the lazy river with the inner tubes. I liked this! It was fun, apart from the bits where people standing along the bank can soak you with freezing cold water guns!

Tummies were rumbling so we thought we’d get a snack from one of the counter service huts not far from where we were sitting. Bad move... the whole park had the same idea! It took us SUCH a long time to get any food (very little of which was veggie I might add) that we pretty much had to eat, pack up, and leave to have time to get the bus back to Pop, get changed, then bus to Downtown Disney for dinner. However the two DS had had a whale of a time, they love the water, and if they’re happy, we’re happy!

I’d picked one of my favourite places from my very first trip to WDW for dinner that night, the House of Blues. Early for our reservation, we had a really good look round the shop first. I was disappointed to see that they don’t have the cuddly toy cats with the crazy faces any more, as I was going to get another one. I used to have two, but only have one now, and had been looking forward to getting him a friend. So... off to fill our bellies again, and we had yet another nice meal. The veggie choice in here wasn’t as good as it has been in the past, but my meal was still tasty. Dessert was fantastic, I shared a Key Lime Pie with DF.



After a stroll through Downtown Disney, and a wee look in some of the shops, we caught the bus back to the hotel and crashed into bed.
__________________
2001 - September, All Star Movies, 2 weeks
2003 - September, off site, 10 days
2005 - September, All Star Music, 10 days
2010 - April, Pop Century, 2 weeks
2012 - September, Animal Kingdom Lodge, 2 weeks honeymoon
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:25 AM   #6
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Day 6 – Wednesday 7th April 2010 – A pirate’s life for me.

Up early again! Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom this morning, and although we didn’t see the opening ceremony, we were still here early. We waited for the rope drop at the entrance to Adventureland, and then we were off... I think we worked out that we had 4 rides under our belt in about 20 minutes! The boys were up for a full-on assault on this park after our restful day yesterday, so I went into planning mode, and it all seemed to work out. We did lots we wanted to do, we still had time to rest when it was too hot and busy, and left in plenty of time for our dinner reservation.



First up was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, another of my all time favourites. It’s just a shame it’s so short, I’d happily go round two or three times! Turned out everyone loved this ride, and we vowed to do it again. Hopped next onto Splash Mountain, after letting the boys see the folks coming down the huge drop on the outside, so that they knew what was in store. They still wanted to do it, so we talked them into sitting at the front of the log together! Oh we’re bad parents... Being Scottish, the stories of Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear and Brer Fox are a bit of a mystery to us, but we liked the music and the funny scenes on our way round the inside of the mountain. The drop was as breathtaking as I had remembered! And the boys got rather drenched sitting at the front, but they both loved it, which surprised me, as I thought DS12 would get too much of a fright. Even DF with his fear of heights liked this one.



Next was another of my favourites, and I was looking forward to seeing the new changes since I’d last been there. Yo ho, yo ho, a Pirate’s life for me... No queue, so we kinda missed a lot of the theming in that area, but the ride is still as good, and the adaptations since the movies came out are good, we played “spot Jack” all the way round. I think the other 3 were expecting more from this ride, but it didn’t stop us going on it again later in the holiday.

Jungle Cruise next - and the theming and stories are just as funny as they always were, everyone enjoyed this one, although DS12 was full of ideas how to make it more scary... think his fear of anything unknown wasn’t being tested so much today! So I figured I’d put them to the test in the Haunted Mansion (bad Vaila...). That worked! Slightly freaked out DS12 appeared again, especially in the dark when the room starts stretching... he was clinging onto his Dad for dear life. However, he liked the ride, once he got over the fact that nothing was going to get in the car with him. Both boys loved the “extra passenger” at the end.

Time for some chilling out in the sun, so round the lake on the Liberty Belle we went. This didn’t seem as good as when I’d been on it before, the story wasn’t as clear, and some of the scenes in the woods on the way round weren’t working as they used to. Another form of transport next, the Railroad. DF loves his trains, and had been itching to get on this one since he heard the whistle not long after we got in the park. So instead of walking, we got the Railroad round to the Toontown Fair stop, where we walked through as quickly as we could (it was SO busy), and found virtually no queue for Mickey’s Philharmagic. I had no recollection of what this was like at all, although I got a faint memory once we were inside. It’s fabulous! DF and I loved watching DS8 trying to catch all the musical instruments and food. It made us hungry so we had a small snack in Tomorrowland and a drink to refresh us after a busy morning.

I thought we’d do something next, that I’d not done since my very first visit, and that was Disney’s Carousel of Progress. I enjoyed it, I’m amazed at how old it all is, and can’t help thinking what a marvel it must have been when it was brand new. Not sure the 3 boys got it though! Dragged them on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority next, and they surprised me by liking this.

Right, enough gentle stuff, lets get some competitive spirit flowing, Buzz Lightyear needs our help to fight off the evil Emperor Zurg! Funnily enough the boys adored this ride, and wanted to go on again and again, but I talked them into Stitch’s Great Escape instead. I remember this when it was the ExtraTerrorEstrial Encounter, and although it scared the filling out of me, I think I preferred it then! But we all enjoyed this one too, although I heard a couple of “gross” when Stitch belched chilli dog at us.

Last but not least for today was a new one for me too, the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor. What a great show! We still recount funny bits from this, we roared with laughter all the way through, and also did this more than once during our holiday.

So much still to see and do in this park, but time to call it a day, and get the bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge for a look around, and to eat at Boma, as I’d heard such good things about it. What an AMAZING resort! The main entrance hall is just jaw dropping. We were early, so spent some time watching the animals out on the savanna, and listening to the wonderfully knowledgeable cast members out there, it was fascinating. DF and I made a pact that night, that if we came back on honeymoon, that we’d love to stay there. Might mean waiting quite a while for a honeymoon while we save up, but we’re determined to do it! Boma - what can I say - one of the best meals of the holiday. Something for everyone here, and it’s all so tasty, we completely pigged out. The veggie choice was fantastic, the carnivore choice outstanding, and even fussy DS8 found lots he liked. Mostly strawberries and corn bread, but we let him off just this once!



No pool time this evening, we were just too full, and just a little too late back to the hotel, but we’d had yet another amazing day. So much fun...
__________________
2001 - September, All Star Movies, 2 weeks
2003 - September, off site, 10 days
2005 - September, All Star Music, 10 days
2010 - April, Pop Century, 2 weeks
2012 - September, Animal Kingdom Lodge, 2 weeks honeymoon
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:26 AM   #7
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Day 7 – Thursday 8th April 2010 – Venturing outside the bubble...

After a long day yesterday, we had a lovely long lie this morning. Today was a big adventure, we were taking the hire car and venturing outside the Disney bubble.

For I think the only morning, we didn’t have breakfast in the Pop foodcourt. We all piled into the hire car, or “Sponge” as it became known, and I navigated us to Kissimmee and an IHOP, to experience a “real” American breakfast! It was OK, but I don’t think I’ll be repeating the adventure. We waited around 30 minutes to be seated, and once in our booth, our server gave us the menus and asked if we’d like orange juice or coffee. Both the boys got the kiddies menu (cue sulk from DS12), and we all ordered orange juice, me thinking that I could have a coffee afterwards. We felt very rushed as we didn’t get long to pick something from the menu really, and DS12 was on the verge of refusing to pick something from the kiddies menu. However, we all ordered eventually, and the food came pretty quickly after that. I didn’t realise my omelette came with pancakes too (does EVERYTHING on the menu come with pancakes?), so DS12 got a happy face again when he got to eat my pancakes as well as his kiddies breakfast. We never got the chance to order any more drinks, and almost as soon as we’d picked up our knives and forks to eat our food, the bill was put on the table. I know they make their money by a quick turn-around of tables, but that was ridiculous.

Anyway, on to part 2 of the adventure, navigating to Boggy Creek Airboats so we could see a little of the real Florida. This was relatively easy as I had about 4 maps with me, and had also printed off the location from the Boggy Creek website. This was in a different place from when I’d been last, but we had no trouble finding them, even with roadworks. There was a bit of a queue to get into the ticket office, but we weren’t in a rush, so waited patiently while the boys had a look round the shop. There was a man behind me who insisted on bumping me every time the queue moved forward (like I don’t know that I’m supposed to move forward too?) so I made DF stand behind me. The guy then walked around me to the front desk when it was my turn to “ask if he can use his credit card” and then proceeded to buy his tickets!! Cheek!! I caught the eye of the sales girl and she winked at me, so I just waited patiently. When it was our turn, she made sure we got the cheapest possible ticket which would suit us, let me use all my discount vouchers, then put us on a different boat trip to the cheeky man, as ours would have a much better driver! We had a wee while to wait, but were happy enough watching all the other airboats (the boys hadn’t seen one, and hadn’t been able to picture them from my description). We also got a family mocked up photo taken with an airboat and lots of ‘gators. The photo guys must make a fortune as they have their sales technique well worked out, and a captive audience, but it was only $20 and a nice memento for the boys from their holiday.



Soon, it was our turn, and we climbed into the front row of the boat. We made sure the boys listened to the safety talk from the driver, and we all popped on our headphones. It wasn’t long before we had spotted some ‘gators, including one about 10 feet long! DS8 just didn’t get the hang of looking for the wildlife, or taking his headphones off when the boat stopped to hear the driver telling us where and what we were to be looking at, so he went into a bit of a huff. However, the rest of us loved the boat ride, saw loads of wildlife, and climbed back off the boat again happy. It was getting hot again, so drinks were bought, and we headed back to the car drinking them. We stood at the car to drink, then when the boys were ready we got in the car. DS8 for some reason hadn’t wanted any of his coke, but well, it’s up to him. They were told not to drink in the car for fear of spills, and for some unknown reason the first thing DS8 does when he climbs into the back seat is open his bottle of coke, which fizzed right over, and covered the back seat and the floor, and the back of the passenger seat in coke... I guess the huff involved not listening to anyone, not just the boat driver... We managed to get it all cleaned up thankfully.

Off for part 3 of the adventure now, with DS8 in a brown-tinged white T-shirt... We navigated our way back to International Drive, and all the way to the top of that, to find the Titanic Exhibition, as DF and DS12 are both fascinated by the beautiful old ship. I’d been round this tour on one of my previous trips, when it was located in the Mercado shopping centre, so was interested to see if it was still the same. It was just as good! We had a great guide, he told the stories well, and the room sets and artefacts are still as interesting. The stories of the poor people who suffered still upset me, but we all enjoyed the tour. One change from the last time was that you’re not allowed back round to see bits you missed, or read more about the artefacts, and you don’t get enough time to do this during the tour. Something to do with insurance I believe, but disappointing, as we’d planned to spend more time there.



The decision was taken then to head back to Pop Century, get something to eat in the foodcourt, and have some pool time, which we all enjoyed. It was good just to chill out, and the boys had fun making up and playing games in the pool while DF and I lay in the evening sun.
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2001 - September, All Star Movies, 2 weeks
2003 - September, off site, 10 days
2005 - September, All Star Music, 10 days
2010 - April, Pop Century, 2 weeks
2012 - September, Animal Kingdom Lodge, 2 weeks honeymoon
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:27 AM   #8
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Day 8 – Friday 9th April 2010 – Shopping! Think the boys loved it more than me...

We were brave, and ventured out with the hire car again today, but only as far as Premium Outlets! We had a good look round there, and were very tempted by some of the stores, although being rather tight on budget, we only came away with a pair of Levis for DF.

Short drive back to Downtown Disney, and we spent the rest of the day here, fully exploring all the shops, getting gifts for people back home, and a few things to bring back for ourselves! I was surprised, but DF agreed to go into the Christmas shop, and we brought two baubles back home!



We had lunch at the Earl of Sandwich, which was busy, but we managed to get seats at a booth after getting our sandwiches, and I think DS8 had soup. Lovely food, but it did seem VERY busy. I guess that’s the sign of a good place to eat!

After some more browsing, shopping, and general people watching, we headed back to Pop Century for dinner again, we’d enjoyed our food the night before, and DF and I did a little bit of laundry for the boys.
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2001 - September, All Star Movies, 2 weeks
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2005 - September, All Star Music, 10 days
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:28 AM   #9
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Hope you've enjoyed it so far...

Week 2 will come soon!
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:01 AM   #10
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have thoroughly enjoyed,reading your report
i really like the style,of having the days,one after the other.
tracy
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:05 AM   #11
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Thank you! Hope you enjoy the next installment, I've just finished Day 9, so will be posting it in a minute.

The rest might not follow for a few days though!
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:07 AM   #12
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Day 9 – Saturday 10th April 2010 – May the Force be with you!

Back into the early starts this morning! DF was as excited as the two DS this morning, as we were off to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and he’s a BIG Star Wars fan. We breakfasted in the Pop foodcourt, and caught the bus to the Studios.

We were early, and ended up in front of the big Sorcerer’s Hat, waiting for the rope to drop. Second time for rope drop this holiday, and I’d never seen it in any of my previous trips! We only had to wait about 10 minutes, and then we were off... to Toy Story Mania as I’d heard this gets stupendously busy if you don’t get there first thing. The wait time was showing as 20 minutes, so we chose to queue rather than fastpass. It didn’t feel like it took as long as 20 minutes before we were collecting our glasses and off to play the game. I was with DS8 and we had so much fun, even though I don’t see in 3D so everyone beat my score!

Following a similar plan to that which had worked at the Magic Kingdom the other day, we hit another crowd puller next. The Rock N Rollercoaster, which I think is my all time favourite ride out of all the parks. DF is into rock music too, and really appreciated all the theming. The pre-show is as cheesy and funny as always, and before we knew it we were through to the ride loading area. I’d told DS12 all about this one, and also how good it was, but he was starting to look shifty again. He was chewing his lip right up until we were due to climb into the car, then he bailed again out of the “chicken run”! This time DF wasn’t pleased, and wouldn’t go with him, and left DS12 with all the bags and hats while the 3 of us rode through the Hollywood signs trying to sing along upside-down. That doesn’t work by the way, you can’t hold a tune upside-down! We raved about how good it was so much when we got off and met DS12 again, and were so obviously still buzzing, that he then agreed to give it a go! So, off round to the entrance again, and thankfully still only a short queue, and off we went again. DS12 got on this time, sat next to his Dad, and LOVED it. Needless to say DS8 the little daredevil also loved it, as did DF. A family favourite.



DF just couldn’t wait any longer, and next on the list just HAD to be Star Tours. He was like a kid pointing out all the scenes and characters both outside and in, and since there was no queue we were onto our Endor Express pretty quickly. Again, everyone loved this ride, thank goodness no more bail-outs from DS12. DF then insisted we go round to ride it again, as I’d rushed him and he didn’t have time to see all the pre-ride area, so we did it all again. DF was stopping to look at everything in detail and take photos, so we kept asking the family behind us to go past, but they wouldn’t. Seemed happy enough to wait while we took lots of photos, which was really lovely of them. DF was much happier this time that he’d had time to look, and we spent quite a bit of time in Tatooine Traders this time after the ride. DF could have bought the whole shop, but contented himself with a Tshirt, and also one for his brother, another Star Wars nut. The obligatory photo on the Speeder outside then followed.





Time for more family fun, and the Muppets, although I think DF and I got more out of this as we remember the Muppet Show from when we were little, but the boys were starting to love the 3D shows, and DS12 had worked out that they generally involved getting sprayed with something!

As we’d been walking about, the boys kept asking what the big bangs were that they could hear, so next on the list was the big bangs themselves, the Indiana Jones Stunt Show. The boys were a bit fidgety through this, and DS8 was on one of his “but it’s not REAL” turns again, so we stopped for a snack and a drink afterwards. I couldn’t resist a turn on Catastrophe Canyon next, so off to the Backlot Tour we went. Unfortunately they were having technical difficulties with the “bombing the boat” part, so we didn’t get the full “making a movie”, but we did get treated to all the special effects and flames for a few minutes. DS8 was told that the props out the back on this one were REAL so he was more impressed, and I think understood that Catastrophe Canyon is a set. DS12 was fascinated by how it was all built.

I decided to take them on a bit of an institution next, The Great Movie Ride as it was a walk on. I’ve ridden this lots of times, but this was the first time I’d had a different interaction story. The two boys even recognised some of the movies, so it raised a smile.

We were a bit worn out, and still had plenty of time before our dinner reservation, so we nipped back to Pop on the bus (it’s not far), had a drink, chilled out for a little while, and got changed before heading back to the Studios.



Time for dinner! I’d made reservations at Mama Melroses as I remembered it being good when I’d been before, and had also reserved the Fantasmic package which got us priority seating. We had a lovely meal in there, although our server seemed a little grumpy, she was maybe having a bad day. I’d never seen Fantasmic before, and after we’d finally found our way round to the priority seating, we were still about 45 minutes before the show started, and I was amazed to see the rest of the stadium so full. The boys got a bit fidgety, I think DS8 was just getting tired. I’m not sure I could say I liked the show, I found it rather difficult to follow any kind of story, and there just weren’t enough fireworks to keep the boys entertained. But another experience chalked off, you never know till you try.

When we got back to Pop, we were greeted with something I’ve never been lucky enough to have before, we had 3 towel animals, one on each bed, and one on the table by the window! This was such a lovely touch, and I was so pleased to have finally experienced them, and for the 3 boys to have had this little extra on their first trip.

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Old 10-24-2010, 05:24 AM   #13
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Great trip report, just spent about 40 mins reading it. It is really interesting to see how peoples WDW experiences are different from mine. Last time I went in March it was with my brother and it was sort of a 'lads do WDW' experience, so reading this trip report really opens my eyes to how other people do it, cant wait for the next installment!
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Old 10-24-2010, 03:07 PM   #14
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great trip report
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:23 AM   #15
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Keep those posts coming! I am enjoying reading this. April felt empty this year with no Disney trip so it's nice to see what was going on there in my absence!
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