Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Disney Trip Planning Forums > Disney Trip Reports > Completed Trip Reports
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS UpdatesDIS email updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 12-29-2012, 11:26 AM   #31
holleypie's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 359

A Birthday Surprise!


Back at the room, Brian took a nap. Luke didn't sleep much longer, then after he'd had some time to crawl around the room and play, we took a walk around the resort and down to The Mara so I could buy my refillable mug.

Here's a better view of the Christmas tree at Jambo House, taken from the little bridge thingy on the fifth floor.

There was usually some kind of craft happening down there in the lobby, but it looked too old for Luke so we never stopped to check it out.

An ostrich lamp I'd never noticed before!


I loved the giraffe elevator doors.

I walked in the wrong direction, so we had a lovely walk around the pool before we got to The Mara.

Back in the room, Brian woke up and I tried to discuss what we were going to do next. I think I was pushing to go back to Magic Kingdom and get Luke's haircut. Our plan for the evening was to tour the monorail resorts, so it would have been convenient. But Brian told me we couldn't go to Magic Kingdom...because I had a birthday surprise at 5pm.

Whaaaaaat? He hadn't mentioned any birthday surprises! Apparently he had scheduled a massage for me. I was so excited. I've only ever had massages on vacation and it's such a nice treat.

I asked Brian what we were going to do AFTER my massage...and he said I was going to watch the baby while he got his massage. Haha. Okay then.

Brian went down to the spa to see if we could bump our massages up by an hour and get an earlier start on our evening plans. That wasn't a problem. Brian asked if I wanted to go first or keep the 5pm appointment. Of course I went first. It was already almost 4 so I had to leave right away. Good thing I'd shaved my legs that morning!

The massage was great. Totally relaxing. The masseuse knew she was doing Brian's massage next so she asked if he was going to pay for both of them and I said yes. After I was finished, I saw Brian waiting just outside, so I started to leave. The guy at the front desk practically chased me down, thinking I wasn't going to pay. Ha.

While Brian got his massage, Luke and I played on the playground, then I took him to the arcade which was empty so I let him crawl around.

He was having a ball, and he didn't tell me he had already spent quite a bit of time in the arcade with Daddy. Then a bunch of kids showed up, so we left and played on a deck chair while we waited for Brian to be finished.
holleypie is offline  
Old 12-29-2012, 11:43 AM   #32
holleypie's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 359

What's it called? Monorail!


After resting and getting massaged, we were ready for an intense evening of resort hopping (#27 on my birthday list!) We parked at Magic Kingdom and jumped on the monorail. First stop?

Looks like the Polynesian Resort!

We've been here before to eat at Kona Cafe, so we were a little familiar with the resort.

We'd had an early lunch and we were ready for a bite to eat. #24 on my birthday list was "Have a Lapu Lapu at the Polynesian" so we headed upstairs to the Tambu Lounge, which unfortunately is also the Ohana waiting area so it was pretty crowded.

Luke was restless, so I fed him while we waited.

Then our beautiful Lapu Lapus arrived!

(I really wanted a picture of myself WITH the Lapu Lapu, because I love pineapples...but it seemed a little mean to put the baby down so I could pose with my alcohol.)

We also got an order of crisp breads and dips.

I loved the breads except for the one all the way on the left, which I didn't even bother finishing. I liked the dips in this order: Roasted red pepper hummus (center), baba ghanoush (left), and sun-dried tomato pesto (right). I think this was actually the first time I ever had baba ghanoush. I was pretty thrilled with the food and rated it a 3. Brian was not quite as impressed and gave it a 2.

After we'd each drank the contents of an entire pineapple and after I'd killed that bread and dip appetizer, we hopped back on the monorail.

Next stop:

Oh my goodness--this place is SWANKY. This was the first time I'd ever been there. Brian was there last year to pick my parents up after they had dinner at Victoria and Albert's. I'm not a swanky person, but I really loved it.

I mean, just look:

And, there was a band playing!

It kind of reminded me of the first time my parents ever took us to shop at Nordstrom when I was 13 (we were lower middle class so mostly shopped thrift stores and bargain bins) and I was so blown away that they had a REAL LIVE PIANO PLAYER. The fact that I just compared the Grand Floridian Resort to a mall department store should tell you how often I go to fancy places.

There is a Basin store inside the Grand Floridian, so I went there to buy some bath bombs, as I like to do on vacation. I'm pretty sure Brian went in a regular gift shop. I picked out the mickey head bath bomb, water lily, and I asked one of the girls working there to pick out a third one for me. She suggested her favorite, which was vanilla grapefruit.

My camera died, so Brian had to take the rest of the pictures for the evening. He does a better job; I don't know why he doesn't take ALL our pictures.

The Grand Floridian has a huge gingerbread house in the lobby. It's pretty spectacular.

In the elevator going back up, a woman started asking us about the Christmas party. I have no idea why she thought we looked like we knew anything about the party, but since we did, we told her all about it and suggested she could probably buy tickets at the resort.

We hopped back on the monorail and headed to the last stop: The Contemporary Resort.

I am continuously underwhelmed by the Contemporary. Most of the Christmas decorations seemed to be OUTSIDE so there wasn't even anything to look at.

They did have this gingerbread display inside, but we didn't get a great picture.

We thought about getting food at the Contempo Cafe, but I was pretty full from the breads and dips, and Brian didn't see anything he really wanted. So the Contemporary was basically a glorified bathroom break.

In the elevator back up to the monorail stop, we ran into that same woman from the Grand Floridian! She said she'd taken our advice and bought tickets to the Christmas party on the 6th.

Touring the monorail resorts to look at the Christmas decorations is a pretty commonly recommended activity on the Disboards, which is why I wanted to do it. I don't want to say it was a let down. But really...the decorations at the Polynesian and Contemporary weren't anything extraordinary. The Grand Floridian is the only resort I would recommend visiting (unless, of course, you've never been to the others and just want to check them out).

We took the monorail back to TTC and drove back to AKL. Brian went down to The Mara and got some food (chicken, probably) and brought me some pineapple but I was more tired than hungry so I went to bed and saved it for breakfast.

Day 3 Summary: We did a lot today! Animal Kingdom wasn't busy at all, so we did a lot in a short time. I was super excited about my surprise birthday massage. Touring the monorail resorts was fun, but I think that the only resort I would go out of my way for in the future would be The Grand Floridian. I also enjoyed our snacks (well, I guess it ended up being my dinner) at the Polynesian. I checked 3/30 items off my birthday list today.

holleypie is offline  
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 12-29-2012, 12:12 PM   #33
clynngibson's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: High Point, NC
Posts: 382

The Grand Floridian is the resort I'm most upset that we skipped!!! It looks so beautiful!
"This is the BEST DAY EVER!!!!" A Dec 2012 Trip Report-A Princess's 5th Birthday and 3000 Pictures!!

Me DH DD 6yo DS 2yo

December 2012-First Trip to Disney! (offsite)
Currently trying to figure out how to convince DH to let me plan another WDW vacation soon!!
clynngibson is offline  
Old 12-30-2012, 09:33 AM   #34
holleypie's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 359

Originally Posted by clynngibson View Post
The Grand Floridian is the resort I'm most upset that we skipped!!! It looks so beautiful!
It really is! Even though I felt like a street urchin who didn't belong there, I'm getting really excited for the DVC expansion so we can afford to stay there someday.
holleypie is offline  
Old 01-02-2013, 10:21 AM   #35
holleypie's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 359

A Brief Foray into the Future


Because I like to be a little wild and crazy on vacation, I woke up at 7am on Wednesday and did a load of laundry. Brian had run out of clean shorts and I was up anyway. There were two washing machines and four dryers. The machines are free for DVC members, but detergent and dryer sheets were each $1. I'd brought two sample-size things of detergent that I had saved just for the trip, but I'd completely forgotten about dryer sheets. I figured that since dryer sheets cost about a nickel each in the real world, at Disney I would get five dryer sheets for a dollar. It was worse than I expected. I got two dryer sheets. TWO. The washing machine I used was some kind of high capacity behemoth, so all of our laundry fit into one load. And because I didn't want to waste both my dryer sheets at once, I crammed all of it into one dryer after it was finished washing.

I ate my pineapple and a Luna bar for breakfast, then fed Luke. When I went back to check on the laundry, of course the clothes were still wet and I had to turn it back on. I got myself and Luke dressed, then Brian retrieved the laundry and folded it.

Finally, we were ready to head to a park. Luke was so excited to find out where we were going today, he fell asleep in the car.

It's Epcot! My favorite!

The official opening day for Test Track wasn't until tomorrow, but we walked over to see if they were doing dress rehearsals.

Brian rode in the single rider line while I hung out with the baby, then we switched. As a person who was never a big fan of Test Track to begin with, I couldn't have been less impressed with the changes, although I can understand why someone who enjoys Test Track, or cars, or technology might find it interesting. The ride itself was basically the same, with the biggest difference being that you could "design your own car" and see how it performs against your companions' cars, which I didn't have the patience for or interest in doing. Maybe if I had done the ride with Brian my competitive nature would have kicked in and I would have cared about out-performing him. I did not care at all about out-performing the elderly couple I shared a car with.

When I came back, Luke was awake now so we ditched the stroller and headed over to The Land.

We were finally going to do our first ride as a family on this trip!

Normally I wouldn't have waited 15-20 minutes for this, but I wanted Luke to be able to do something. Unfortunately, he was more interested in eating so he spent most of the ride nursing. Okay then.

Since we were there, we decided to grab some food at Sunshine Seasons. We've eaten there before, so we knew it would be a solid choice.

I got the vegetable soup because I actually wasn't very hungry yet.

And Brian had....hmmm, maybe a pork chop and mashed potatoes?

The soup itself was just your ordinary vegetable soup, but because of the wide variety of foods I can actually eat here, I give Sunshine Seasons a 4. Brian enjoyed his food too and gave it a 3.5.

Next we did Journey into Imagination, which was more interesting than I remember. Luke seemed vaguely impressed, too.

Next we decided to get on...

The monorail. Yeah, it feels like we just got here, but we're already heading over to Magic Kingdom!

Actually, we took some Photopass pictures first. I had pre-ordered the CD and we were doing a woeful job of stopping for pictures. I wanted to make sure we at least got a nice family portrait at the front of each park, and I think these turned out pretty nice.

So. We took the monorail to Magic Kingdom.

Brian went here:

then to Guest Relations to pick up my sister's boyfriend's MVMCP ticket. He signed on for the trip just a few weeks before we left, so he'd bought his tickets after the rest of us had already gotten ours.

Meanwhile, I actually bothered to take some pictures of the tree today.

If you've been following along, you probably know what's happening next.

holleypie is offline  
Old 01-02-2013, 10:46 AM   #36
holleypie's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 359

It's Haircut Time!


The last time I was in the Harmony Barber Shop, I went with my teen sister and we waited for quite awhile. There was no sign-in sheet, so we had to stay vigilant and remember who had been waiting before us and after us to make sure we didn't get skipped. Honestly, it was entirely too stressful and I have no idea why there's no flipping sign-in sheet. The waiting area is also super small, so I was worried about how we were going to keep Luke entertained while we waited.

But when we walked in, I realized that would not be a problem. There were no customers in the barber shop at all, so Norma took Luke right away and plastered him with Mickey stickers.

You might be wondering why we're getting the kid's haircut when he barely has any hair to begin with. Well, it was long and shaggy around his ears, and was starting to look pretty ridiculous, so it needed to be trimmed. There obviously will not be any dramatic before and after photos.

Brian videotaped it while I took seven million pictures. I wasn't expecting to get sentimental about this, because I'm not sentimental about my own hair. I grow it out until it's pretty long, and then I cut it all off and start over, and it's just one of those cycle-of-life kind of things.

But watching MY BABY sit in the barber chair all by himself was completely different. I really thought one of us would have to hold him, but he just sat there like a big boy and got his hair cut.

Yes, I cried just a little.

After I was sure he wasn't going to freak out, I pulled the pacifier out of his mouth so I could actually get some pictures of his adorable face.

He wasn't crazy about the razor. Haha.

With the baby's first haircut package, you get these "First Haircut" mouse ears, and a lock of hair. And more Mickey stickers. A baby can NEVER have enough Mickey stickers.

Luke's legs look so weird in this picture.

Next, Luke and I took another trip to the baby care center. Meanwhile, Brian bought himself some Oswald ears:

Then we went over to Haunted Mansion. I was noticing now that Luke was MUCH more interested in the rides than he had been in October. He didn't get scared, though. Just looked around at everything.

After the ride, we got a pretzel and I asked Brian if he wanted to do some more at MK, or hop back to Epcot. Brian told me we weren't going to do either...because I had another birthday surprise.

Another surprise! A girl could get used to this. I told him I was going to be expecting a surprise every day of the trip now. He assured me this was the last one (Spoiler Alert: It really was).

I tried to get him to tell me what it was, but he wouldn't.

Was it something we were all going to do together?


Was I dressed appropriately?


Did we need to go back to Epcot and get the car?


He admitted that he had forgotten about this surprise until we were already in Magic Kingdom. Haha. I'm glad he remembered!

On our way out of the park, we saw this poster:

I'm kind of in love with Tori Spelling, and I loved Sister, Sister, and there's nothing I love more than a cheesy TV movie, so I really wanted to see this. But it was coming on Sunday, the night that I had picked as my "night out."

Brian led the way to the resort launches.

And toward Fort Wilderness.

Soon, the boat came and we were on our way.

I still wasn't sure what we were doing. We'd been to Fort Wilderness last year for the Hoop De Doo Revue, but that wasn't something I thought Brian would surprise me with.

Do YOU know?

holleypie is offline  
Old 01-04-2013, 10:06 AM   #37
holleypie's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 359

Another Birthday Surprise!


After a nice little boat ride, we arrived.

Brian said the surprise wasn't happening until 5:30, and we arrived at 4:30, so we had an entire hour to kill. Brian didn't know exactly where we were supposed to go, so we walked around while he figured it out.

Festive golf cart. You can rent golf carts to get around the campground. When my family stayed there (without me!) they said the golf carts were imperative, and a lot of fun.

Brian went in here allegedly to ask for directions, but I'm sure he was checking out pins.

I checked out some nearby camper's decorations while I waited.

After Brian figured out where we needed to go, we sat on a bench outside of Pioneer Hall...and waited.

I went to the bathroom and changed Luke. When I came back, Brian was talking to a CM named Leslie from the DVC booth about pin trading (she actually snuck into the picture above). They talked for a LONG time. He told her the saga of the Saratoga Springs Resort pin (he collects pins from every resort we've stayed at, but he hadn't been able to find a SSR pin anywhere). She took down Brian's name and room number and said she would check her personal stash and let us know if she had one (we never heard from her, so I guess she didn't. Brian found one later on Ebay, though). I fed Luke and finally, at 5:15, Brian said we should get a move on.

When we stopped near this sign, I figured out what the surprise was. I'm practically Sherlock Holmes.

Sleigh ride! I'd heard about them before but for some reason I'd thought they'd stopped doing them.

We chatted with a guy who was hanging out waiting for some friends of his to finish dinner. He offered to take our picture.

Then a few minutes later...THE HORSES ARRIVED.

I got so excited because I hadn't realized there were going to be horses. I'm not sure what I thought the sleigh ride was going to be.

We found the woman in charge to check in. She found our name on her clipboard...and said our reservation wasn't until 6:30. Oh my goodness. Brian said he was pretty sure it was 5:30, but since he'd almost forgotten about the sleigh ride entirely, I was more inclined to believe the complete stranger with the clipboard. Fortunately they had an empty spot at 5:30 anyway, so they were able to bump us up. Woo hoo.

This was our horse Tom, with his magical glow-in-the-dark hooves.

I'm glad there was a blanket in the sleigh because I hadn't realized we were going to be gone all day, so Luke and I were both in shorts and didn't have jackets. (So when I asked Brian earlier if I was dressed appropriately...the correct answer was "no.")

Our driver was named Laurie and I liked her. I liked Tom, too. He was...stubborn. He walked off the path and started eating the grass. He would stop randomly and just hang out. It was pretty hilarious. Laurie played Christmas music for us. If we hadn't had a one-year-old in tow, some hot cocoa would have been very nice.

(Continued in next post)

holleypie is offline  
Old 01-04-2013, 10:12 AM   #38
holleypie's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 359

Birthday Surprise Continued...And the Family Arrives!


The sleigh ride goes around the campground, and the main attraction is the Christmas decorations that the campers themselves put up. It was hard to take pictures while we were moving, but here are a few.

This huge inflatable Mickey might have been the highlight of the whole ride. The guy was trying to inflate him, and he kept toppling over. Meanwhile, Laurie stopped the sleigh so we're just sitting there watching him. It was one of those things that really wasn't funny...but it was hilarious.

I think this might have been a train garden.

I really enjoyed the trip around the campground. Laurie chatted with a few people along the way, and told us about some campers that are there year after year, and it just seems like a fun, tight-knit place. I would love to camp there, someday.

When the sleigh ride was over, I was ready to head back to the room and rest a bit before we met up with my family. They were arriving tonight and we had plans to meet them at their resort for dinner.

"We have a really long way back to the car," Brian said. "We have to take the boat to Magic Kingdom, then the monorail to the TTC, then switch to the Epcot monorail, and then walk back to the car."

Oh...that's right. The car was still at Epcot.

"We don't have to do all that. We can just take a bus to Epcot. Actually, they have all those internal buses here so I guess we'll have to take two buses."

"I'll ask someone," Brian said. So he went and asked someone. They suggested it might be quicker to just go back the way we came. So we did.

We watched the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the dock while we waited for the boat back to Magic Kingdom, which was lovely. But...our timing couldn't have been worse. It was a party night so MK was closing promptly at 7pm. It was packed. After the boat ride, we waited forever for the monorail.

It took us two hours to get from Fort Wilderness back to AKL. In retrospect, I'm thinking the buses might have been a little quicker.

We had a snack back at the room, I changed Luke into his PJs, and then we waited for a call from my parents. They were going to call when they were getting on Magical Express. My sister and her boyfriend were staying in our room, but they were going to Art of Animation with the rest of the family. Hopefully. I wasn't sure how strict they were about that kind of thing.

My dad called and said they were on their way, so we headed out to Giordano's to pick up some pizzas. We waited about 30-40 minutes. Luke was asleep so I stayed in the car with him.

Giordano's is Chicago-style stuffed pizza. It's so huge, I can only eat one slice. I told Brian it would be a waste to eat there by ourselves, so that's why we ended up getting pizza with my family on their arrival night.

I didn't take any pictures that night, but here are our Giordano's pizzas from our 2011 trip:

After we had the pizzas, we headed to the Art of Animation.

Unfortunately, since it was night time I didn't get a chance to wander around and check everything out. But we did see the lobby.

I LOVED this tree. It was probably my second favorite of the whole trip, right behind Animal Kingdom's.

We met up with my family in the food court, bought some sodas, and ate our pizza. Luke was still asleep, so I just transferred his car seat to the stroller and pulled the shade down. To my mother's chagrin, he slept the whole time.

Tabby told us she'd forgotten to pack a toothbrush, so before we headed back to AKL I used this as an excuse to suggest a Target run. I had forgotten...

Are you ready for this?

...my bra.

Yeah. Well, I had a sports bra and a sleep bra, but not a REAL bra. I didn't even realize it until we got to AKL and I unpacked my whole suitcase.

We used TomTom to navigate to the closest Target, and fortunately he didn't lie to us this time. Tabby found a toothbrush and I found a bra on the clearance rack for $5. Score!

We drove back to AKL, and just as we pulled into the parking lot, the clock struck midnight.

My birthday was here!
holleypie is offline  
Old 01-09-2013, 08:12 PM   #39
holleypie's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 359

Cranky Birthday Morning


When the clock struck midnight and my birthday began, we were down in the parking lot just arriving back to AKL. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep that night. I woke up at 5am to pump a bottle for Luke so he would have sustenance when my parents babysat him the next night. Then Luke woke up around 7 and ate. After that, everyone woke up and got dressed, and we went down to The Mara to refill our mugs. Then it was time for my birthday breakfast at Boma! (#3 on my birthday list).

We only waited a few minutes. The person who showed us to our seat saw my birthday button, then made us wait while she reprinted our ticket. It was definitely worth the effort because the waitress...didn't acknowledge it at all.

I've heard good things about this buffet and it didn't disappoint. I didn't take any food pictures (partly because it was Tommy's first meal with us and I didn't want him to think I was completely insane, and partly because buffet plates always look kind of sad). I remember that I had grilled tomato, asparagus, pap, quinoa, scrambled eggs, french toast, bread pudding, bagel, banana nut muffin, fruit salad, and jungle juice. Brian and I both rated Boma a 3.

I almost forgot about this part because I was so pleased with the food: The service was actually pretty abysmal. Probably the worst we had on this trip. The waitress disappeared and we were just sitting there forever waiting on the check. Luke was getting restless because it was nap time, so eventually I had Brian take him out, and Tabby and Tommy went to explore, and I sat there alone, seething and debating whether I should leave a terrible tip, or steal her pen.

After I finally paid and got out of there (without a new pen), I laid Luke down for a nap and then sat on the balcony drinking some hot cocoa. Brian and Tabby and Tommy continued to wander about the resort.

Brian took this lovely picture of the lobby:

After I finished my cocoa, I took a bath with one of my bath bombs. Then Luke woke up and we drove over to Downtown Disney to meet up with the family.

Until this day, I had done a GREAT job with my attitude on this trip. I hadn't been irritated (or irritating) AT ALL. Of course when the whole family got there...things changed.

On our way there, I called my mom to figure out what the plan was. Since it was my birthday, she wanted to buy me a dessert and sing happy birthday. I hadn't come up with a solid plan other than "let's meet up at Downtown Disney" pre-trip because I had erroneously assumed that either the woman who gave birth to me or the man I married would take charge and get me a cake. Obviously that didn't happen, so we were left with the nebulous "let's meet up at Downtown Disney" plan. My family was on the dining plan and had already had dessert with their lunch, and I didn't even WANT any dessert, so once I realized there really wasn't a plan, I told her she could just buy a cupcake for me later at Magic Kingdom.

So. We arrived:

And looked in some stores:

Then my mom called again, and she wanted us to get Luke's picture with Santa AT THAT VERY MOMENT so she could take a picture with her camera too. We agreed to meet in front of the World of Disney store.

Tabby and Tommy went off and did something else, and Brian, Luke, and I waited for the rest of the family. Brian decided he needed to go in the store while we were waiting, and then we had some minor drama about my refillable mug. If he was going to leave me alone with the baby, I wanted him to hold it for me (we had the umbrella stroller with us, not the swanky Jeep with the baskets and cup holder) in case I had to move the stroller or take Luke out of it. He thought he would be clever and show me how you could finagle the mug's handle onto the handle of the stroller. I didn't want any clever solutions, I just wanted him to hold the flipping mug for me. So I ended up keeping it and telling him to go away.

Of course, Luke got irritated while we were waiting and I had to take him out of the stroller. As we were pacing back and forth... I happened to turn and see my dad and sister standing around the corner. Seriously? I had told them EXACTLY where to meet me, and they were standing right around the corner. I had been waiting on them for 20 minutes at this point.

I grabbed the stroller (and my flipping mug) and walked over. My dad told me they had called me and left a message telling me to meet them there. I was so aggravated. Even more aggravated than I'd been about the mug. I'd been right around the corner for 20 minutes and they were going to stand there and wait for me to notice I had a message instead of just coming over and GETTING ME?

My dad said, "Mommy's waiting in line for you. She wants you to get your picture with Santa too because it's your birthday."

Okay. First, I wasn't going to jump in front of a bunch of people who had been waiting in line. Second, I had no idea where Brian was and I didn't want to take Luke to meet Santa for the first time without him. I called Brian and of course he didn't answer so I left a message. My mom was almost to the front of the line, so I was going to just hand her Luke and let her get his picture taken, and hopefully that would be the end of it. But then she GOT OUT OF LINE. UGH.

Brian still wasn't back but I went and got back at the end of the line with Luke and my mom. I didn't care anymore if he missed it, I just wanted to get it over with. Whenever a big group is involved, anything that should take 10 minutes ends up taking an hour, and I HATE that.

"Don't be annoyed with me," my mom said. "I just want to get your and Luke's picture with Santa Claus."

"I want his picture taken too," I told her. "I'm annoyed because you all left me standing there for 20 minutes, and now Brian's wandered off. It's just frustrating. Getting everyone together is like herding cats."

She gave me a stern look. "I would NEVER hurt cats."

Oh my God.

Santa took a break, so Brian made it back in time. And he had gift cards he had bought me for my birthday and Christmas, so I couldn't even yell at him. Well played, Brian.

Finally, Santa returned and we got our pictures. My sister had my camera, Brian had his camera, my mom had hers, and the PhotoPass photographer had theirs, so Luke's first visit with Santa Claus was well-documented.

I feel like I have to explain Luke's outfit, because he's wearing flowery shorts and a Green Lantern onesie, and that's fairly ridiculous. I had a pair of safari animal overalls I was going to put on him for breakfast that morning but they ended up being too small. So I was going to change him into a different outfit entirely but Brian had already put those shorts on over top of the Green Lantern onesie, and I was just too lazy to care. If I'd known we were meeting Santa, I would have cared.

Anyway. Getting Luke's picture with Santa was #25 off my birthday list, so I was on a roll today!

I couldn't handle much more excitement, so we split up again. Brian, Luke, and I headed to Earl of Sandwich to get my free birthday sandwich.

Of course, there were a few diversions along the way.

I was really fond of this tree!

I'm sure we made a stop in the pin trading store.

I had thought I would be too full from breakfast to have lunch and planned to take the sandwich to MK with me for later. But, for once I hadn't overdone it at a buffet and I was definitely hungry. Brian and I got sandwiches and ate outside.

I'm not even sure why, but we were all fairly cranky at this point. I think Brian's face is indicative of everyone's overall mood.

Now that I think about it, I guess we were just tired. Good thing we would be partying until midnight!

That's Brian's sandwich. I think it's roast beef?

I got my usual All-American minus meat and cranberries. Picture recycled from our October trip.

After lunch it was nearly time to head to Magic Kingdom for the Christmas party, so we called Tabby and Tommy and arranged to meet back up with them.

holleypie is offline  
Old 01-09-2013, 08:54 PM   #40
DIS Veteran
SAT887's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: NH
Posts: 2,570

Loving your updates and TR. It's funny to see the things parents do on vacation- like how you learn to just unplug phones to avoid that future mess! We left a pile of phones it seemed everywhere we went!

We stayed at AKL the first night of our trip and really enjoyed it- next time we go we are going to do a Savannah view. Have you stayed at Kidani too? I am not sure (if its even avail when we book) if we want to do Jambo vs Kidani yet.

Oh and traveling in groups! We had 8 of us and when we split up the same thing happened! Waiting, unanswered cell phones I finally got to the point where if we split up I just stayed put. So much easier.
SAT887 is offline  
Old 01-09-2013, 09:57 PM   #41
holleypie's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 359

Holly's Very Merry Birthday Party (Part 1)


After we met back up with Tabby and Tommy, we drove straight to Magic Kingdom for our very first Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party!

We've been to three Halloween parties at Disney, and have heard that the Christmas party isn't as good, so our expectations weren't high.

First, we headed to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for Tabby and Tommy's first ride of the trip.

We got a baby swap pass, and the three of them got in the standby line while I walked around with Luke.

The wait time was 20 minutes, so I had some time to kill.

First, we listened to some music. Then we attempted to find Tiana and get some PhotoPass pictures taken. I've never met her before so I had no idea where she was. When we finally found the spot, she was on break. Brian called and said they were done riding, so we went back to BTMR and I rode with Tabby and Tommy. There was some miscommunication between us and the CM and she ended up seating us all in the same car. Fortunately, Tabby and Tommy are pretty skinny.

Tommy was hungry so we gave him the map and told him to pick what he wanted to eat. He said he wanted to check out Pecos Bill. Since I wasn't the least bit hungry, I said I wanted to go back and try Tiana.

She wasn't back yet, but I figured they would take awhile to eat so I waited. It turns out that Tommy didn't see anything he wanted, and decided to just get a small snack instead. He got...a turkey leg. Hahaha. So they came and found me and hung out outside of the queue.

This PhotoPass photographer took a TON of pictures. I'm glad, because this was Luke's first princess, and he was pretty smitten!

I remember thinking, "Naveen's face looks like it's made of plastic." Then I figured it was just all the makeup he was wearing. But later, Brian said, "Look at Gaston's profile. There is no way that's his real chin." So I guess some of the characters wear prostheses.

We walked over to Tomorrowland and happened to spot the family inside Cosmic Ray's. Luke had fallen asleep, so Brian asked my parents if they would watch him while we all rode Space Mountain together. It sounds quick when I type it up in two sentences like that, but this whole exchange probably took thirty minutes.

When we got to Space Mountain the wait was 40 minutes. Nope, not happening. We did Buzz Lightyear instead, which had a 10 minute wait. Then we saw the line for Space Mountain was only 20 minutes, so we decided to do that too. After we had been waiting in line for nearly 20 minutes, I got agitated and started to feel terrible about leaving the baby with my parents for so long.

When we went back to Cosmic Ray's to pick Luke up, I felt even worse. It was after 7pm, the party had officially started, and I had left my precious sleeping baby in the middle of a DANCE PARTY.

You can see Santa Goofy here. I told you he kept popping up everywhere.

There's Pluto.

And my poor baby!

Now that he was awake and the party had started, I took him to the baby care center to feed him and change him into long sleeves. Meanwhile, Brian, Tabby, and Tommy went to the fire house to get more sorcerer cards. There was a special one for the Christmas party. I think Brian's nefarious plan was to keep their cards for himself, but Tommy ended up actually wanting to learn how to play.

After that business was taken care of...it was time to hurt some more cats.

holleypie is offline  
Old 01-09-2013, 10:18 PM   #42
holleypie's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 359

Holly's Very Merry Birthday Party (Part 2)


I like to get at least one nice group picture on each trip. In 2011, we had an early morning ADR at Crystal Palace so we were easily able to get a nice picture in front of the castle. At the Christmas party...not so easy. Main Street was absolutely mobbed.

There was a PhotoPass photographer taking pictures near the baby care center, so I figured it would be easier to do it there instead of fighting my way back to Main Street and figuring out a place for everyone to meet up. So I had everyone meet me there.

We had to wait until the Celebrate the Season show was over. Then we had to wait for the guy in the ECV to decide to stop sitting in the PhotoPass spot staring at the castle. Then we had to wait for the PhotoPass guy to take pictures of the three people that were also standing there waiting. Finally, we got our picture.

Since there were 11 of us, I'd thought it would be cute if we were Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the nine reindeer so I bought Santa hats and reindeer antlers. Then Tommy came along and I got him an elf hat. So, that explains the mystery of why I brought a hamper full of hats on vacation with us. My intention was that everyone would KEEP THEIR HATS and it would be a fun festive thing to wear for the party. But my mom didn't want me to give the kids their hats until right before the picture, and then everyone gave me the hats back right afterwards, so now I'm stuck with nine reindeer antlers and an elf hat. Anyway. I suppose I would have regretted NOT getting a nice group picture, but whenever I look at it I just think about how much time and energy and money I wasted on those stupid hats that no one besides me even cared about. BUT. It is a cute picture. So I suppose it was worth it.

If you haven't noticed, I'm not posting pictures of my siblings here for privacy reasons. I don't feel like blurring out all their faces, so just trust me when I say it was a nice picture.

The castle looked nice, too:

Next, we went en masse to Sunshine Tree Terrace to get some complimentary holiday treats.

Since I didn't really want a cupcake, I stuck a candle in my cookies, let everyone sing happy birthday, and told my mom her obligation had been fulfilled.

I think Brian suggested we all ride Pirates of the Caribbean together. This is one of the major differences between Brian and me. He enjoys a big group and he wanted to spend more time together with my parents and the kids. I love my family, each one of them individually, but I find it stressful and draining to tour the parks together. One ride was nice, though.

After Pirates, my mother wanted to go stake out a fireworks/parade viewing spot. Brian thought the area in front of the baby care center where we had already spent so much time would be a good spot for the fireworks. So, we all moved over there and parked our butts on some railings. The Crystal Palace treat spot was open now, so some of us got more cookies and juice. As a group, we were divided on the cookies. I thought the chocolate chip cookies were PERFECT and the snickerdoodles were crumbly and inedible. Most everyone else had the opposite opinion.

The Celebrate the Magic show happened before the fireworks, and I thought it was AMAZING. I hadn't read anything about it beforehand so I had no idea what to expect. I loved it.

Afterwards my mother said, "Stone Mountain's show is better."

After the fireworks, the family went off to find a spot for the parade, and Brian, Luke, and I raced to Fantasyland to cross an important item off my birthday to-do list:

(Luke had fallen asleep in the stroller, so we just shoved him to the side. Like good parents.)

Our good friend Tom had this to say about McDuck: "Scrooge is going to be there?? You have no idea how much this amps up my regret of having to sit this one out. No idea."

So of course we needed to meet him. As we were waiting in line I realized he WAS signing autographs (for some reason I had thought none of the characters signed at parties) and I had nothing to get signed. Argh.

On our way back toward Main Street, the parade was already starting and we got stuck beside Sleepy Hollow Refreshments. It wasn't the greatest spot to watch the parade, but we managed. And even with our limited visibility, I LOVED it.

Brian was ready for a snack, so we made our way to Gaston's.

What a sexy beast!

It was nearing the end of the party, so we got in touch with Tabby and Tommy and told them we were going to start moving toward the exit. I had one more party-specific item on my birthday to-do list: Meet Mickey and Minnie in their Christmas outfits.

The snow on Main Street was delightful.

When we got to the Main Street Theater, I had second thoughts. I could stand in one line and meet Mickey and Minnie who I have met so many times before...or I could stand in line and meet three princesses AND THEIR PRINCES.

As much as I wanted to check everything off the birthday to-do list, the math spoke for itself. I had to go for the princesses.

Luke was still asleep, so Brian stayed outside with him and I went alone. The wait felt so long and dull. It was the end of the night, I was tired, and I had nothing to entertain myself with. But the worst part? The way the line was situated, I could SEE the princesses and princes interacting with everyone in line ahead of me, so I pretty much got my fill of them before it was even my turn. I seriously thought about just leaving, but I stuck it out.

Finally, it was my turn. And when I saw Flynn Rider up close and he wished me a happy birthday...well, I knew I had made all the right decisions that night.

I fell asleep at the very beginning of Tangled, so I really had no idea what he was talking about. Something about lanterns.

That's fascinating, Flynn. Tell me more.

My goodness, they're so adorable.

Next up: Snow White and...Prince Charming? Is that his actual name? Anyway. He was charming, but I could tell I wasn't his type. Ifyouknowwhatimean.

No idea what we're all looking at.

Now we're looking at my shirt. Charming was telling me that Snow had holly in her hair, then he said I had some on my shirt too. Then we realized it was actually mistletoe.

Finally: Aurora and Prince Philip!

This interaction was as awkward as the expression on my face. I said something about his tights because Flynn told me to, but I didn't even get the joke. Then he asked me if I'd seen him in the parade and I told him no, that I'm short and we had a terrible view. He told me he was up on a float. Haha. Sorry, Phil.

Then he wished me a happy birthday and I realized...actually, it's after midnight. The party was over and so was my birthday.

Day 5 Summary: Despite the fluctuating levels of crankiness, it was a wonderful, memorable birthday. I wish I'd gotten more sleep the night before, but I was glad we were able to stay for the whole party--and more importantly I'm glad Luke was able to sleep in the stroller. Because so many of the items on my birthday to-do list were party-specific, I completed EIGHT of them today (I think we're up to 13/30 total). Unfortunately, I decided to skip over Mickey and Minnie which guaranteed that I won't complete the entire list. Oh well. Flynn was worth it!

holleypie is offline  
Old 01-10-2013, 10:57 AM   #43
holleypie's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 359

Originally Posted by SAT887 View Post
We stayed at AKL the first night of our trip and really enjoyed it- next time we go we are going to do a Savannah view. Have you stayed at Kidani too? I am not sure (if its even avail when we book) if we want to do Jambo vs Kidani yet.
We stayed at Kidani on our first trip. As far as the rooms and savannas go, they're equally nice. I prefer the resort decor and overall feel at Kidani, but Jambo was nice too. At Kidani, parking was underground, which was good when it rained, and also made the walk back to the room a bit shorter. On the other hand, the walk from our room to the lobby was ABSURD. At Jambo, I liked that the pool, fitness center, and the restaurants were all centrally located and easy to find. At Kidani, I thought the pool was in an awkward location. The restaurants aren't a big deal because the walk between Kidani and Jambo is only a few minutes. But, at Jambo it was nice having The Mara's bigger beverage selection. Kidani didn't have filtered water and that was a big deal to me. So...yeah, I don't know where I would want to stay again either.
holleypie is offline  
Old 01-17-2013, 05:52 PM   #44
holleypie's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 359

Blue Lantern, Iron Man's Girlfriend, and Sheldon Cooper Walk Into Hollywood Studios


After the long night we'd had at the Christmas party, we slept in on Friday. Brian is usually an expert navigator, but for some reason on this trip he kept spacing out, missing our turn, and driving us on a scenic tour of the Walt Disney World Resort. We ended up going in the back entrance of Hollywood Studios. As we drove across the parking lot, Tabby asked, "There aren't any PORTALS at this park, are there?" Apparently Tommy had gotten really into the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game and had dragged her around while he played the day before. Haha.

It turned out that Tabby and Tommy hadn't even bought their tickets yet, so we had to wait for them to do that. By the time we got inside, it was noon already.

We took a few family pictures. Today's t-shirt theme is "superheroes."

At one point the PhotoPass guy was like, "Bazinga!" And I'm like...okay. Then he asked us if we were Big Bang Theory fans. Which we are, but I don't know how he knew. I guess we just looked like nerds.

Then I looked at Luke, and realized what the guy was thinking. He thought Luke's shirt was a reference to this guy:

Instead of this guy:

Tabby wanted to do Toy Story Midway Mania, but the wait (as expected) was outrageous. The FastPass return time wasn't until 6pm, which was the time Brian and I had to leave for our dinner at Epcot. After some discussion, Tabby and Tommy got FP for TSM with their tickets, and Brian took our two tickets and got FastPasses for himself and Tabby to ride Rock N Roller Coaster. Tommy had a bad experience on it when he was younger and refused to ride again, and I could take it or leave it so I didn't mind sitting it out.

I had to feed Luke, so we decided on Star Tours for our first ride of the day. Brian, Tabby, and Tommy rode while Luke and I went in Writer's Stop.

I ate this adorable brownie while I fed him. Shockingly enough, it actually tasted as good as it looked.

When they were done riding, we got some pictures of Brian and Luke on the speeder bike. I wanted to take Luke's picture in the same spot on every trip, and it looks like the speeder bike is going to be it.

I don't remember if I even rode Star Tours. I might have skipped it.

Next, Brian and Tabby went off to RNRC to use their FastPasses. Tommy and I ran into my teen sisters, and they went with us to the Animation Courtyard place to see if we could find any characters.

Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope were there. I haven't seen the movie so I didn't really care about meeting them, but from past experience I have learned that by the time I HAVE seen the movie and DO want to meet the characters...they're going to be gone. Luke had pulled off his socks in the stroller and I hadn't noticed, so the CMs wouldn't let me put him down to cruise around. That made the wait in line SO MUCH FUN.

The PhotoPass photographer was either not there, or had something wrong with his camera, so I think one of my sisters took this picture.

I wish I'd gotten a picture of the whole meet-and-greet area. It was super cute.

Next we all met Frozone and Mr. Incredible. we couldn't get PhotoPass for them either. Urgh.

Yes, my little sisters are both taller than me.

My sisters ditched us at this point, and Tommy and I met back up with Tabby and Brian. It was time for my FAVORITE RIDE EVER, but Brian wanted us all to do it together, so he wanted to ask my parents to watch Luke.

Okay, I forgot to tell you this part. Before the trip, I had been really excited about taking my youngest siblings on the Tower of Terror (my teen sisters both had surgery earlier in the year, so they couldn't ride). They were both so excited about it too! But my mom was doing the whole, "ehhh, I don't know" overprotective mommy routine. I didn't seriously think she wouldn't let me take them, but when I called her that morning and asked when we could meet up, she told me they weren't allowed to ride anything. This was one of the things I'd most been looking forward to on the trip, so it really made me sad and angry.

Anyway, we found the family at the ABC Commissary and Brian asked them to watch Luke. My mom presented me with a gingerbread cupcake she'd gotten with their snack credits, because she felt like she owed me a baked good for my birthday.

I haven't liked any of the cupcakes I've had at Disney, and this was no exception. Super cute, though!

So, we rode Tower of Terror, and Tommy HATED it. We went back to the ABC Commissary, collected Luke, and split up for lunch. Tabby and Tommy wanted to go to Pizza Planet, and I had scoped out a place online that I wanted to try...

Backlot Studio Express!

Thrilling, I know.

I got the vegetable sandwich.

It was edible.

I think Brian got a cheeseburger?

We both rated our lunch a 2. So, the search for decent counter service at DHS continues.

Brian somehow realized that you could see the parade from the side entrance of the restaurant, so he took Luke out and they watched it while I finished eating. After the parade ended, we met back up with Tabby and Tommy and did The Great Movie Ride.

Then we headed to Streets of America where we were meeting my family so they could watch Luke while Brian and I jetted off to Epcot.

Just walking around and seeing all the lights was amazing. It's a TON of lights.

I fed and changed Luke then changed myself because I wasn't going to wear a shirt that said, "My Boyfriend is a Superhero" to a real restaurant. I had wanted to see some of the Osborne Lights before we left, but I wasn't sure exactly when they came on and I didn't want to be late to dinner. They turned them on just as we had walked out of view. Oh well--we would catch them later.


Last edited by holleypie; 01-17-2013 at 09:40 PM.
holleypie is offline  
Old 01-17-2013, 06:14 PM   #45
holleypie's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 359

Nous mangeons mal cuisine française et répondre à un ROBOT!


We drove to Epcot and got some PhotoPass pictures on the way in. The guy near France talked like a robot. Like, using robot noises. It was...interesting.

Worst heart ever.

We checked in at Chefs de France and as we were standing there listening to other people's names being called, we wondered, "Are we even going to recognize when they call Brian's name in a French accent??" Haha. We walked around France a little while we waited. I wanted to check out the bakery, but it was so packed we didn't even try to go inside. I think we might have been super early for our reservation, because we waited a really long time.

Finally, we were seated. Our waiter was named Jordan and he was the hottest waiter there, for sure. My only regret from this trip is that I didn't get a photo of him.

I was so excited when I remembered we would get a baguette. But then it didn't even come until AFTER our entrees.

I had the gratin de macaroni. Now, I love macaroni, but usually of the Kraft variety. Before I'd even taken a bite, I got it into my head that it was going to taste like alfredo sauce, because that's what it looked like. I don't like alfredo sauce. I really didn't enjoy it too much and I felt so bad that I could have bought twenty boxes of Kraft for the same price.

If I'm not mistaken, Brian had the filet de boeuf grille, sauce au poivre noir Gratin Dauphinois et haricots verts. At least that's what it looks like to me.

Here's our tardy bread. It was pretty good.

And the menu, just because I liked it.

Brian had the creme brulee for dessert, and I had a bite to confirm that I do not like creme brulee.

I gave this meal a 2, Brian gave it a 3.5. This was the biggest gap in our ratings so far. I think I would have been happier if I had ordered a cheaper side dish instead of an entree, like I had done at Le Cellier.

Our post-dinner plans had been to hang out at Epcot for extra magic hours until midnight. I realized very shortly into dinner that this would probably NOT be happening. I was exhausted. But my parents were babysitting and it seemed like a waste to leave already.

As we walked through America, we saw that the American Adventure show was just starting. Tom and I saw it last year when Brian had gone back to the room to rest, but Brian has never seen it, so I suggested we go in. I fell asleep about thirty seconds in. I think Brian enjoyed it.

When we left the theater, Illuminations was getting ready to start, so we found a spot and watched most of it. We'd decided we weren't going to stay and do anything else, and wanted to beat the rush back to the parking lot, so we started to head out before it was over.

We drove to Art of Animation to pick up Luke. They weren't going to be expecting us so early, so I hoped we would be able to find them. They said their cell phone service wasn't great inside. Brian said, "They're probably in the food court." You might have noticed that during this trip we often came across my family sitting inside a restaurant or food court.

We walked around the gift shop for awhile, then went to the food court. And sure enough, there they were.

Brian and I decided to get some food while we were there. I'm not sure how I was even hungry, because I'd eaten every dollar of that fancy macaroni. Brian picked out some mini-cheesecakes and I went to get some cheesy pesto bread. They gave me a ticket and I stood there waiting for a really long time. Other people were coming up and getting pizzas and I was still just standing there. I was getting frustrated and I didn't know if I was supposed to be waiting or if I should have done something with the ticket, and I motioned for Brian to come over and help me.

And he shook his head no.

Well. That was it. I crumpled up the ticket and huffed away. I told Brian to pay for his cheesecakes and let's go, but he got huffy with me and insisted on putting them back and getting nothing.

We collected Luke from my parents, and headed back to AKL. Brian told me his legs had been hurting ALL NIGHT and that it was painful to walk. This didn't make me any more sympathetic, because (1) he had done PLENTY of excess walking around the gift shop and food court, and only seemed to hurt when I needed him to walk over to me, and (2) if he had been in so much pain, he should have SAID SOMETHING. I had tried to stay at Epcot as long as possible even though I was exhausted because I thought he had wanted to stay and do stuff. If he'd said, "I'm hurting," I would have said, "Poor baby. Let's go to bed."

After we got in bed, Brian got a call from my mother. Apparently, while Brian and I were busy not getting food, she had found my cell phone sitting on the table and TOOK IT because she thought it was my sister's and she wanted to teach her a lesson. Arghghthgfhgt. It was annoying at the time, but in retrospect it's funny to think about her being all smug and waiting for my sister to notice she had lost her phone.

Day 6 Summary: Definitely not my favorite day of the trip. It was disappointing food-wise, I was tired and cranky, and we really didn't get much done. Somehow I only managed to get on Tower of Terror ONCE.

holleypie is offline  

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:26 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

You Rated this Thread: