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Old 01-11-2013, 11:25 PM   #1
SoNotAPrincess
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Shenanigans, Tomfoolery & Mayhem, Oh My! A Christmas/New Year's TR (New 6/12!)

I never know how to start a trip report, so Ill borrow from Mr. Dickens...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

It fits this trip that had more ups and downs than Rock n Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest, and the Triple Mountain Whammy combined; but it's a little high falutin' for a TR that's also about shenanigans, tomfoolery, and general mayhem; so here's take two...

My niece's FIRST VISIT!

Christmas and New Year's at Walt Disney World!

The trip of a lifetime!

Never again, my friends. Never again.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Return with me now to the days of yesteryear, when Christmas sparkled on the horizon like twinkle lights on steroids and the new year floated just beyond it, glowing with promises of adventure and surprise...a whole new world, shining, shimmering, splendid!

First, the particulars:

What: A ten-day trip to WDW
When: December 24, 2012 January 2, 2013
Where: Port Orleans Riverside Royal Rooms
Who: Me (Laura)



Gabriel (my BF)

So here's the thing. Gabriel forbids me to put his picture in this trip report. He's so adamant about it that I'm worried he's on the run from the law...or in witness protection...or a CIA assassin a'la Jason Bourne...or maybe just a plain old International Man of Mystery! Clearly, he has some deep, dark secret he hasn't seen fit to share with me in the ten years we've been together.

And since we want what we can't have, you're all DYING to know what he looks like, right?

Of course you are!

Hes Latin...tall(ish), chocolate brown eyes, black hair that's going a bit salt and pepper (swoon), and a killer smile...an older, broader Benjamin Bratt.

Hey, I never said Im not completely biased.

Or maybe he looks like this:


]

If you looked like this, you wouldn't want your picture splashed all over the Internet either, now would you?

Trudy (my mom)




With baby Asa (He wasn't on this trip, but how cute is he?)

Earl (my brother) and Lenny (my SIL)


Brianna (my 9-year-old niece)



AND NOW ON WITH THE SHOW!

Day One: Monday, December 24, 2012
The Wait is Over...Almost

I love Christmas movies, so I'm going to use quotes from my favorite holiday flicks (and TV shows) to open each chapter. To get us going, here are a couple about the season:

"Ho, ho, but no matter. Christmas was on its way. Lovely, glorious, beautiful Christmas, upon which the entire kid year revolved." (A Christmas Story)

"Christmas is just about my favorite time. Ever since I was a little kid, I always felt like it was my own personal holiday." (Ernest Saves Christmas)


I opened my eyes and immediately realized that after almost a year of planning, it was here: D-Day! No more sleeps til Disney!

Needless to say, I was a happy girl.

I was mostly packed and only had to add a couple of things to the top of my suitcase before I could start gently (ahem) reminding my mom and Gabriel that they needed to get 'er done. Much to my dismay, neither of them was inclined to shift into high gear.

Since the plan was for us to leave on the big one-hour drive to Orlando around noon, they didn't see what the big rush was, so I had to turn it up a notch. I made coffee and turned on my favorite Christmas music. I threatened Gabriel that if he didn't get a move on, I would BLAST Christmas, Don't be Late by Alvin and the Chipmunks and follow it with I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.

Gabriel is not a fan of novelty Christmas songs.

In fact, the only thing he likes less than novelty Christmas songs is Air Supply.

Are you singing All Out of Love?

You're welcome.

My brother and his family were driving in from Indiana and expected to arrive in Orlando around 4 p.m. I wanted to get there a few hours before them so I could put a few surprises in place.

However, as John Steinbeck said, "The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry."

My phone rang a few minutes after 11, and I heard Brianna's excited voice, Were HERE! At DISNEY WORLD! In a PRINCESS room!

Which was a surprise engineered by yours truly, and I had missed seeing her reaction.

Ding dang double drat darnit!

My brother got on the phone and happily informed me that they were checked in, their room was ready, and they were going to check out the pool. It was about 50 degrees, which is cool for Florida, but warm compared to the 12 degrees they'd left behind in Indiana. And Disney's pools are 80 degrees all year round.

I was happy for them...extra hours at Disney can only be good...but I was disappointed, too. Having no other choice, I sucked it up and told him we'd be there as soon as we could, then reminded him that they could use their dining credits if they were hungry.

Because I'm nice like that.

I clicked off the call and started cracking the whip over Mom and Gabriel with purpose.

They lollygagged.

Dragged their feet.

Refused to be rushed.

When I could stand no more, I grabbed my keys and announced that I was leaving without them.

Which I did.

To go to Walgreens to pick up Mom's prescription.

And Starbucks for an iced vanilla Chai latte.

Like I needed more caffeine.

I may have said, And you'd BETTER be ready when I get back!


Up next: Disney-bound at long last!
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:48 PM   #2
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I'm here! Perfect timing too! Hahaha Can't wait to hear about it.
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Old 01-12-2013, 06:26 AM   #3
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I'm here!!! Hopefully Gabriel and your mom were ready to go soon!!! I would have been blasting the novelty Christmas songs by that point, for sure!!!
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:57 PM   #4
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I'm here! Perfect timing too! Hahaha Can't wait to hear about it.
Yay!

Buckle up...it might get a bit bumpy!
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:59 PM   #5
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I'm here!!! Hopefully Gabriel and your mom were ready to go soon!!! I would have been blasting the novelty Christmas songs by that point, for sure!!!
I'm so glad you're here!

We're not in the car yet...there's still plenty of time for me torment him with novelty Christmas songs! (bwahahahaha)
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:13 PM   #6
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Preamble to Chapter Two

If the constitution can have a preamble, I want one, too! This TR is destined for historical importance…I can feel it!

Being inspired by TR writers who use Friends, song snippets, and other such things for their TR chapters, I want to do something similar. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all! Since this is a Christmas TR, and because I love Christmas and movies, I decided to use quotes from Christmas movies to start each chapter!

Soooooo, if this isn’t your first visit to this carnival of Christmas chaos (and assuming you’re interested), pop back to the first chapter and check out the quotes I added to get the ball rolling!


Day One, Chapter Two—Disneybound!

“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring - nothing, no action, dullsville!” (The Apartment)

I needed action…or, rather, I needed to whip Mom and Gabriel into a frenzy of activity. When I returned from my Walgreens/Starbucks run, I was happy to see that much progress had been made. Maybe I wouldn’t have to beat them after all.

Merry Christmas Eve to me!

At the last minute, with luggage and Mom in the car, Gabriel decided to plop down in his favorite chair and check email on his phone. I perched on the arm of the chair and started singing softly, “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas; only a hippopotamus will do.…”




He scowled at me.

I smiled sweetly and sang a little louder, “Grandma got run over by a reindeer, walking home from our house Christmas Eve….”




He grumbled, but he got up.

“Oh,” I said, all innocence and Christmas spirit. “Are you ready to go?”

I think he called me insufferable…I have no idea why.

No matter…we are DISNEYbound, baby!

And we only stopped three times on the one-hour drive. Seriously. Three times. I kid you not.


First, Gabriel wanted Bugles and a Super Big Gulp, so we hit up a 7-11. I’m fairly certain he was getting me back for singing that hippopotamus song.

Well played, baby. Well played.

Of course, I snagged a few Bugles…for my fingers!




I will never be too old for Bugles fingers!

About 15 minutes later, Mom remembered she hadn’t taken her medicine or grabbed a bottle of water for the ride, so we stopped at a Circle K.

Just kill me now.

If it were anyone else, I’d say she was contributing to Gabriel’s diabolical plan to make me pay for rushing them, but Mom doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.

About ten minutes outside of Disney property, Gabriel stopped again. “Sorry, honey, that drink went right through me.”

Yeah, right. Suuuuuuure it did.

Finally, at long last, just when I thought it would never happen, around 1 p.m. on the Eve of Christmas 2012, this glorious sight came into view:




As you can see, the day was overcast, but it was the gateway to the Happiest Place on Earth and I was smiling brightly enough to light the whole universe, so what did it matter?

We followed the signs to Port Orleans Riverside (my very favorite moderate), flashed ID at the guard shack, and hit the lobby parking lot in no time. Gabriel hung back to give Mom his strong arm to lean on (she has very arthritic knees) while I scurried inside. OK, so maybe “scurried” is wishful thinking on my part. Those of you who followed my PTR (bless you one and all) know The Never-ending Ongoing Saga of Laura’s Knee, which feels like it will go on in perpetuity. In reality, I walked as fast I could, which wasn’t nearly fast enough to suit me.

I have zero photos of the lobby…I just wanted to get checked in y’all!

There was no line, which was almost like a Christmas miracle. The CM was friendly, helpful, and best of all FAST. When we made our reservations, I requested ground floor rooms. Mom and I would both be scooterin’ around the World, and I figured it would just be easier than dealing with the elevator. We didn’t ask for adjoining rooms but did request rooms adjacent to one another. We got our room number (9612 in Parterre Place), and my brother’s family was just a couple doors down.

Gabriel joined me just as I was finishing up and told me that Mom was waiting on a bench in the breezeway across from bell services, which worked out well since that was where we were picking up the scooters. The pick up process was super fast and easy. I rented from Apple, one of Disney’s preferred vendors (meaning, they can drop off at resorts without guests having to meet them), and they did everything they said would. I highly recommend them! I signed for the scooters, and the CM led me to where they waited. She gave me a quick tutorial that I didn’t really need but appreciated anyway. In about ten minutes, Gabriel was driving the car around to park; and Mom and I were rollin’ towards Parterre Place.


And my princess room!

Umm…of course I mean OUR room.


Up next: Fit for Royalty!
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:16 PM   #7
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In for this....
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:27 PM   #8
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Hahah oh boy... three stops in one hour would drive me crazy too! I'm glad everything with checkin went so smoothly after that! Can't wait to see the room!
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:33 PM   #9
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In for this....
It's great to have you here!
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:36 PM   #10
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Hahah oh boy... three stops in one hour would drive me crazy too! I'm glad everything with checkin went so smoothly after that! Can't wait to see the room!
He was making me lose my mind...ON PURPOSE!

Room photos will be up tomorrow, I hope!
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:14 AM   #11
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I am so in for this!! I love Christmas stories at the happiest place on Earth!!
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:16 AM   #12
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I am so in for this!! I love Christmas stories at the happiest place on Earth!!
Thanks for coming along for the ride! Christmas and Disney are my two favorite things in life, so you can imagine how happy I was to be (finally) be there!
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:31 AM   #13
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I'm heading into a very busy work week, so I figured I'd go ahead and get this update posted...since it was ready, and it will be the weekend before I get a chance to prepare the next chapter.

Day One, Chapter Three—A Room Fit for a Diva


“Hey guys, you seen the place? Pretty good, they must have brought in a professional.” (Elf)


I wanted to stay in one of Princess Tiana’s Royal Guest Rooms from the moment I heard about them. It almost happened last fall, but my ding-danged-frickin-frackin-good-for-nothin knee had other plans and that trip got canceled.

Gloom, despair, and agony on me.

I turned the scooter up to full rabbit mode and zoomed towards Parterre Place. Lucky for me, the speed demon gene comes from my mom, and she had no trouble keeping up.

We found the room easy as one, two, three; and I was initially disappointed with the parking lot view. I mean, I hadn’t reserved a garden or water view; but I was totally open to Pixie dust. As it turned out, though, the room location was great…just steps to the car, which we needed a couple of times (oooh, foreshadowing!). While we waited for Gabriel, I made my way out to the parking lot.


Disclaimer: Photo sizes are all over the place in this post. My attempts to master Photobucket continue!



Doesn’t it look like Miss Scarlett should be comin’ down the steps, hoop skirts swayin’, sippin’ a Mint Julep, sayin’ “Fiddle-dee-dee” and droppin’ her g’s while she flirts with all the bucks in the county?

Sigh.

I was born too late.

I called my brother again (I neglected to say that I called when we got on property, but no one answered) and learned that they had gone on a Wal-Mart run; and FINALLY, after an excruciatingly long five minutes, Gabriel pulled up; and it was time to see the room!

Everyone knows the story behind the rooms, right? Princess Tiana’s princess pals have given her gifts to help decorate the royal guest rooms. There are also several Hidden Mickeys in the rooms.

I flashed my RFID KTTK in front of the sensor (very cool, I might add) and turned to Gabriel and Mom. “Don’t do ANYthing until I take pictures, OK?”

They agreed because I’m very, VERY scary.

Welcome, dear readers, to a room fit for a diva (practically everyone I know calls me The Diva; it’s a compliment, right?)…





(Not our room…I forgot to snap this view, and I love the headboard’s reflection in the mirror!)


I loved having this little bench/shelf thingy over the A/C…it was perfect for dumping my park bag and purchases at the end of the day. Trust me, it NEVER looked like this again.



Princess Tiana’s personal letter of welcome

The Artwork



(Also not our room…I never got a close up view of the pictures). I covet the big picture of all the royal couples. Because I’m five years old, and I need it!





I was, according to Gabriel, “Way too happy” that it says Prince Eugene and not Prince Flynn Ryder. Let that be the end of that!



This one has a 3D effect…very cool! The frame is a gift from Snow White, made by the dwarfs (note the “SW” carved at the bottom).

---Continued in Next Post---
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:43 AM   #14
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Continued from Previous Post…

The Details




Fireworks in the headboard! (Not my photo…I never could get a picture without tons of glare.)



Sultan ottoman…a gift from Belle (Check out the paws!)



Coach hooks…a gift from Cinderella



Flying Carpet…a gift from Jasmine


Another gift from Jasmine

Who wouldn’t want Genie’s Lamp faucets in their bathroom?!? I loved the royal blue granite(?), too…it had shimmering “stars” in it and reminded me of the sky in “Aladdin” when they’re flying on the carpet, “…soaring, tumbling, freewheeling through an endless diamond sky.”

Oh, Disney, how I love you and your perfect little details!!




Shower curtain (with dinglehoppers!)…a gift from Ariel



The bedspread/comforter with all the princesses crowns! I apologize for spelling Ariel’s name wrong AND for being too lazy to go back and fix it.



The wallpaper border…so fantabulous it hurts! (And another spelling error...Floria, really? D'oh! Note to self: Don't try to spell at 3 a.m.!)





The wallpaper border in the bathroom…who is the little chipmunk/squirrel guy?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?


Spoiler alert!

I heard there were nine or ten Hidden Mickeys in the room, and I was determined to find them ALL.

Yeah, that didn’t exactly happen. I had to resort to Google for a couple, and there may be more that I don’t know about.

Hidden Mickeys will be revealed below!








Keep scrolling if you don’t want to know!








Don’t stop here!










HM 1—On the light fixture over the table


HM 2—On the drapes


HM 3—In the 3D picture


HM 4—In the picture of all the royal couples


HM 5—In the headboard (I had to Google this one; photo courtesy of Hidden Mickey Guy.)


HM 6—Nightstand


HM 7—On the shower curtain


HM 8—On the shower tile


HM 9—Tabletop (This one is really tough…we almost didn’t find it even after we saw the picture online!)




















OK, scrollers, it’s safe to stop!!

Just because they’re all posted on day one, do not be fooled. It took me (and Brianna…and Mom…and, yes, even Gabriel) the whole ten days to find the ones we found! If you know of others, let me know so I can look for them on my next visit!


Up Next: In the Pink
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:20 PM   #15
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AHHHHHHHHHHHH THE ROYAL ROOMS!!!!!!! They're incredible! Oh my goodness. I've never stayed at a moderate resort but I can say with full confidence that the FIRST one I ever stay at will be POR-Royal Room. OH YES. Everything about this is just gorgeous!!! (Clearly I'm in love.) YAY!
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