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Old 02-25-2013, 10:42 AM   #1
appleorchard
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3/29There's No Crying at the Guest Relations Counter..TheyTook Me Into the Back Room!

I never wrote one of these before. It could be a really big mistake. I'll start with a classic line someone else already wrote.

It was a dark and stormy .... No, that's not it.
It was the best of times, it was ....

Not that either. It was freezing cold at the Philly airport, and my daughter wanted to do curbside check-in. Where she was, which was way way down the US Airway terminal from where I was. Inside. And warm. With my suitcase and my very heavy laptop. Waiting for her because we were on the same reservation and I didn't want to check in without her, for our second within-a-year all girls trip to our favorite place in the world, Disney World.

Well, naturally. Why else post a trip report here? But more specifically, to Bay Lake Tower, home of the walking path to the Magic Kingdom
.



I don't know why people say these rooms are small--they look humungous here!

She--her name is Queen M, although not in real life -- wanted to do curbside check-in because thats where her DH had pushed her and my DGD, Princess J, age 5, out of the car, along with her incredibly large and probably overweight luggage. One of us had to give. It was probably going to be me.

I hauled my suitcase and my computer bag, which weighs a ton, in my light spring coat cuz were going to Florida, you know a mile or so down the sidewalk. I didn't greet her with a hug or even a smile.

"Didn't you get my text about where to meet me?"

"This is where HE left me," she said.

HE being the DH were not bringing on this trip, because we took him last year, and once was enough. For all of us. Actually, we're not bringing my DH either. It's a DH-free trip.

So we checked in. I hated standing in the cold when we could have done this inside and I hated paying the curbside guys --not that I begrudge them the money, but I really do. A dollar less for Mickey. Well, two dollars less, for me. More for Queen M, because she travels in style. With lots of clothing, although not clothing we'll actually need in Florida, as we'll find out later.

So this is us: me, AKA Appleorchard, my DD Queen M and her one and only DD, my granddaughter. We live within an hour of each other and I watch Princess J twice a week. So we know each other well. No one is on their best behavior in our group, unlike relatives who only see each other once a year.

We made our first pilgrimage to the Mouse together last year, in March, to Port Orleans, French Quarter, as J calls it. She always uses the entire title, as in,

"Are we going back to Port Orleans French Quarter? There's the bus for Port Orleans French Quarter! I miss my room at Port Orleans French Quarter."




Port Orleans French Quarter will never just be the hotel to J.

We stayed there, even though DH and I are DVC members, because we burn through all our points all by ourselves each year. You know those people who always take an entourage to Disney with them? Yeah, so not us.

We took M's DH last year. He's not a fan of Disney. Or fun. But for reasons unclear to me, he insisted on going to Disney for J's first trip. He was, I think, miserable the whole time. That would certainly be my guess, although we've never talked about it. Our Disney trip is an unspoken topic. Occasionally I re-read the emails I sent to my DH and sister during that trip to see if it was really as bad as I thought it was. It really was.

So M, J and I went back in August. I transferred in some points and borrowed whatever I had left from 2012 at BLT. That's one of our homes. It's our second home, because BWV is our real, spiritual home.




BWV--you'll always be home to me!

We love it there. But M wanted to stay at BLT, so I obliged. The minute we got home, we booked another trip. Well, right after I transferred more points in. Because now DH and I are also taking a trip with my son's family in May. It never ends.

So this is a report on our trip, February 3-9, 2013 at BLT. It was perfect. In retrospect, at least. At the time, it wasn't of course. Things happen. Monorails break and we get displaced. Children get misplaced. I cry at the Animal Kingdom Guest Relations counter, which is where the title comes from. But we loved it. Most of it.

But now, we're still in the airport. We go through security with no fuss at all, except for the angst J feels whenever we have to pry her best friend Lamby from her hands and put him through the X-ray machine. She wrings her hands and tries to stick her head in the tube and watch him. It's traumatic for everyone. But we all make it, get something to eat, wait for the plane to board and then line up to board.

The line moves very slowly. This is a phenomenon that I, a die-hard Southwest airlines fan, don't understand. Why is SWA able to board their planes so much more quickly than all the other airlines? SW fliers have to choose a seat, which is an experience sometimes filled with much confusion. I love watching the people who board SW thinking their boarding number is their seat. Fun times.

I'm sorry, you're in my seat.
No, this is Southwest, there are no assigned seats.
But it says A 25, right here, see?

So were standing there waiting and mooing like the rest of the cattle and someone says,

"Oh my gosh, Appleorchard!"

The someone is standing right next to me. Our shoulders are actually touching. I look at her, blankly. Looks vaguely familiar. Who the heck is this person? I run through my roster of people I know from the neighborhood, church, various workplaces. Then it comes to me.

Appleorchard!

Yes, we actually have the same name. In real life, where neither of us is actually named Appleorchard. We've known each other for 25 years, worked together as RNs in labor and delivery on the night shift together for 11. Know each other's childrens names and quirks. Know too much about each other's husbands; on a quiet night shift, you have to talk about something, after all. We've traveled out of town together, been to drunken parties and the beach together and had dinner not long ago right before she moved to Colorado. She's really one of my better friends. And yet, when standing right next to her, I didn't recognize her. Context really is everything.



My friend Appleorchard II, who I didn't recognize when she was standing right next to me, is one of the people in this picture of some of my best friends at my M's wedding. I'm one of them, too.

We catch up as we walk down the jetway. She admires J, who is a very cute child. She's also hard to ignore, since shes climbing up my leg. J likes to be part of everything. Queen M is struggling with the stroller and tells me to go ahead, she'll catch up with us while I catch up with Appleorchard II's life.

We're seated close to AII and her DH (if he only know what I know about him, heh heh) but not close enough to carry on a conversation without screaming across the aisles. We'll catch up a little more outside the bathroom door when we get off the plane, waiting for various members of our party to avail themselves of the facilities. They're in Florida for the winter, certainly a better choice than Colorado.

And then they're gone to baggage claim, while we make our way to Magical Express after our faux-monorail ride. Queen M and I reminisce about how her DH wanted to skip the monorail and just walk to the main building last year. There was a sidewalk there, said he, why can't we just walk? Yes, thats the kind of week it was. But that was then. And this is now. Its just the three of us. And we can do whatever we want. Well, mostly what J wants, which is how we roll most of the time, anyway.

I'm not sure yet whether I'll post pictures of not. I have to ask Queen M, but I'm pretty sure her DH won't want J's picture on a message board. We'll see. I hope to figure out how to post links to the next post, too. First I have to figure out exactly what I'm going to write about, though. I'm doing this because I realize what a great memory-jogger trip reports are, for when I forget the small details. Since my memory is disappearing at an exponential rate from year to year, it seems prudent to start preserving my past.

Last edited by appleorchard; 03-29-2013 at 09:58 PM. Reason: Appleorchard makes a lot of mistakes!
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:47 PM   #2
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Who Are These People, Really?

Maybe I should introduce us a little better.

I'm the mother of M(and her 4 brothers), grandmother of J(and her two cousins.) Ive been an RN for a long, long time ,25 years plus and we live in NJ. I work part-time in pediatric home health care but have worked in infertility, labor and delivery, neonatal and intensive care and for a retinal clinic as an RN and clinical coordinator.

That last one is a little out of place, I know. It wasn't that I was sick of babies and pregnant people; it was just that I needed a change. And the retinal job, initially, was doing IVs. I love starting IVs. It's one of my favorite things to do. Yeah, nurses are weird sometimes. We really do stare at peoples veins, looking for a good one.

And I do some writing on the side. I write books for the Dummies series. And I do some online medical writing. I love to write, but for some reason, I've never wanted to do a trip report. Until this one.

DH and I have been DVC members for 12 years. We love Disney and go twice a year. We've taken my sons family once, my mom numerous times and my sister and her grandkids a few times. Last year was the first year M's DH let her take J to Disney. My DH is a retired military pilot; he's seen the world, and the only place he wants to go now is Disney. And to visit our scattered kids.

M works in insurance as some sort of claims person. Her college degree was in psychology. It cracks me up a bit. DH and I both had what I consider reasonably interesting careers. And most of my children work in insurance. I don't know. She's the youngest of my kids and the only adopted one; she came from Korea when she was almost 3. She's bubbly, outgoing, friendly, generous to a fault and beautiful. In every way the opposite of me.

J draws attention wherever we go. This kid just lights up a room. She just exudes life. She sparkles. She sings. She's friendly. She loves everything, has more enthusiasm than anyone Ive ever met, and that's saying a lot, since I also know her mother. She's beyond adorable. Being half Asian, people mistake her for just about anything and everything.

M and I( and everyone else on both sides of the family) dote on her ridiculously. But she's not spoiled, because she's so grateful for even the smallest things.

"Grandma, you got me this box of crayons? Oh, thank you! That was so nice of you. I love you!"

That's J. Not that she doesn't have another side. It came out during our first Disney trip. I think sensory overload turned her into a sobbing wreck. We'd seen 15,000 Princesses, mice, ducks and fairies and ridden a few rides in a single morning and she just fell apart. We had to leave the park, with her crying all the way. To anyone who saw us, I apologize. She was very loud.

M and I learned on our last trip not to overload her, to take more breaks, let her spend more time looking at the ducks or whatever. The kid loves ducks. She lives on a lake and sees ducks every day. They come up to her twice a day to be fed. We also have ducks on OUR lake. You'd think she'd be ducked out, but no. Show her a Disney duck and she'll drop the Princesses like a hot potato.



J and her beloved ducks

So that's us. I hope writing all this down will give me a better way to internalize and remember our trip. Traveling with a five year old is just plain fun most of the time. And when it isn't,well, that's what funny family stories are for, to remember the awful times in a humorous way. I hope you'll come along with us!

Next chapter

PS I'm trying to get photobucket to work so I can post some pictures--or even upload them to photobucket. Why is this so difficult? I got one picture to upload and can't do anything else. Does Snapfish work?
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Last edited by appleorchard; 03-27-2013 at 11:09 PM. Reason: Trying to upload the doggone picture!
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:41 PM   #3
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Your post(s) are a fun read - don't stop . Snapfish - I tried to post a photo from there and had no luck but I am still a novice at all of this. Thought I read somewhere that the DIS has a hosting site for photos - but I have not checked into this
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:00 PM   #4
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Sounds like ya'll had a great girls only trip. Can't wait to hear all about it.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:14 PM   #5
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Oh, boy-- readers! So glad to "see" you both. I'm struggling to master the photo thing, Photobucket really doesn't seem to be working very well. We had a great trip--with some caveats, like losing J temporarily-- and I can't wait to write it all down.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:58 PM   #6
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I am reading along, you are a great writer.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:17 PM   #7
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I'm here! We were there from the 4th -12th at All Star Movies.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:20 PM   #8
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Joining In!!!
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:44 PM   #10
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I'm in

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Old 02-25-2013, 08:25 PM   #11
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I'm joining in too! This looks like fun
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:25 PM   #12
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Hello to a fellow South Jersey girl! Can't wait to read more!
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:37 PM   #13
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Welcome to Bay Lake Tower-- Eventually

(A brief commercial: Hello, everyone! Thanks for being here! If I master Photobucket tonight, I'll put some pictures in tomorrow. Hopefully)

Now, back to the trip Report


But first, we have to get there. And that didn't prove so easy.

I have to do a small commercial here for the Orlando airport. I love this place. It's bright. It's clean. There's toilet paper in the stalls. The toilets flush. It is, in short, everything the Philadelphia airport is not. I fly out of Philly only because I live there. Or nearby, at least. I hate it, though. Ive been in airports in Romania that I liked better. No kidding. The Budapest airport (yes, I know that's not in Romania, it's in Hungary) puts it to a million shames.

But we're in MCO now; we've ridden the little monorail thing, and now we're skipping off to find our Magical Express. At least J is; if I tried to skip, I'd fall down and break a leg. And I spent 3 months last spring in non weight-bearing status from a torn tendon. Klutz really is my middle name. I don't want to join the rank of ECV users again this year, although Queen M really enjoyed being able to get on the bus first. There are perks to everything.

Queen M and I follow behind the dancing, skipping Princess J. Our conversation goes something like this:

"J, do you have Lamby? J, don't leave Lamby on that bench. J, stop sliding across the floor on Lamby. Where did she put Lamby?"

Losing Lamby is our overwhelming concern whenever he goes out in public. He's barely recognizable as a lamb, he's lost all his pink and he smells, despite frequent washing. M has sewn him up a bazillion times because, for a best friend, J treats him like dirt, throwing him ahead of her, walking on him and leaving him on every park bench in the county. But he's a one of a kind in more ways than one.

M's DH works with a guy whose wife works for Russ, which makes all kinds of stuffed animals. Stuffed animals multiplied in J's bedroom when she was little, because this guy, like the Sorcerers Apprentice, just kept bringing more. M kept rotating them, trying to avoid the fate of my grandson. (also named M, but just for this report. He, like all of us, has a real name) Little M, who actually has the same real name as my son AND my daughter's husband, yes, it's very confusing sometimes -- became inordinately attached to Ducky, who finally went to live in the closet when little M was 7.

So anyway, Lamby was a prototype or sample Russ product. They never made another one. And believe me, we looked. Since he was irreplaceable, naturally he became J's favorite. When I get J of the kindergarten bus, one of the first thing she says is, "Where's Lamb?" Which is why we worry more about losing Lamby than losing J, which turned out to be a big mistake later in the trip. (Foreshadowing!)



Lamby back when he was still pink

We did get to Magical Express with both J and Lamby, though. I even had our ME passes handy. We were quite light-hearted as we joined the line for the bus to the Contemporary, but that didn't last long. Our line wasn't one line it was three lines long and it took up the whole ME area.

It's hard to spend 30+ years as a military wife and not see the axiom, "Rank hath its privileges" in action at every Officer's Wives Club meeting. But not here at the ME. That sounds elitist, I know. Why should people at the monorail resorts wait a shorter time to get to their hotel than people who stay at the Values?

Well, they shouldn't. I'm in favor of equal opportunity lines. But there was only one line here ---ours. Every other ME bus line had one, maybe two or even three people waiting and even in those lines, big white-handed Mickey helpers were waving them cheerfully towards their buses non-stop.

I wondered briefly if some disaster had befallen the monorail resorts all at one time. M didn't grasp the enormity of the situation.

"Look, its moving fast," she said cheerfully, gesturing at our line. The minute we get off the plane at Disney, M goes into a state of near manic cheer and stays that way until we leave.

"Yes, THIS one is. But then it goes THERE and THERE and last of all, THERE."

Three lines for the price of one. Well, like many other things in life, we had no choice but to wait, so we did. And talked about our last ME driver, and how much we were hoping to never see her again.

This woman, whose name or face we've forgotten, was a lunatic driver. She talked into her phone and nearly drove off the road. She went very slow and then very fast. She swerved a lot. I thought I must be imagining how bad it was. No one else on the bus looked frozen with fear. M looked like she was sleeping.

Later, I learned she'd been praying we'd get there alive. I almost called 911, but J and I were in the front seat and I was afraid to take both hands off her for fear she'd fly right over the rail and out the door. The woman stopped dead in the middle of the road so we could all take a picture of the Magic Kingdom sign. My hands were shaking too bad to focus the camera. She was nice, but nuts.

"Why didn't you DO something?"M hissed at me the minute we got off the bus, as if my vast Disney experience had taught me how to control the ME drivers.

We were lucky this time, though. Not that we'd have cared by the time we finally got on the darn bus. Our driver was a woman, but as soon as we started moving in a straight line rather than toward the ditch, we knew it wasn't her. We had an uneventful trip to the hotel. No one even noticed my sniffling during the "We're going to Disney World!" part of the video. I really have no emotional governor at all anymore.

And finally, we were there. Bay Lake Tower. Well, we were at the Contemporary, because that's where the bus stops. But we could see Bay Lake Tower. The Hotel J had drawn a million pictures of in the last month, all exactly the same, consisting of a very tall rectangle with thousands of little tiny rectangle windows. M hung them up all over the walls and the appliances. She's very over the top with J's artwork. Welcome home!

Next chapter

(Maybe I'll figure out how to do links tomorrow lol.)

Last edited by appleorchard; 03-27-2013 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:50 PM   #14
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You had me with the title of your TR, sounds like a fun ride.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:15 PM   #15
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Subscribing! You are very witty and I look forward to reading all about your trip!
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