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Old 01-10-2014, 09:13 PM   #1
MickeyMomTo2
Lauren S. @baseballsbows
 
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Our Royal Adventure: Nine Nifty Nights in November (Updated 6/4)

Hello! My name is Lauren, and I am excited to write about our most recent trip! Here is the cast of characters:


wdw201332823512435_6891917630 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

Me: 39yo SAHM--I am the obsessive compulsive Disney planner in the family
DH: 39yo--wonderful husband and father who goes along with Disney trips to make his family happy
DS: 11yo who loves to navigate the parks and grab Fastpasses (alas, this was our last trip to grab paper Fastpasses)
DD: 9yo who thinks she is too grown up for princesses EXCEPT at the parks

Several things were notable about this trip, and I plan to discuss them in greater detail as I write. First, the beginning of the trip included only my daughter and me. We had SO much fun with all the girly aspects of WDW before the boys arrived! Second, this was our first trip with Magic Bands and our first stay at a moderate--a Royal Room at POR. Finally, this was our last experience with traditional Fastpass and Photopass+. I am sad to see both of them go!

I can't wait to share all the details, including lots of pics. I hope you will come along for the ride!
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:16 PM   #2
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:54 PM   #3
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Looking forward to reading.
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Old 01-11-2014, 07:24 PM   #4
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Thanks for following!
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Old 01-11-2014, 07:45 PM   #5
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Before starting the actual trip report, I thought I would share a little background information.

I visited WDW several times as a child and adult, but really got the Disney bug after taking my DS in 2004 when he was 2 (I was also 20 weeks pregnant with DD at the time). We skipped in 2005 when my DD was an infant, and visited Disneyland in 2006 while my parents were living in California, but have been to WDW at least annually since 2007. At the end of 2010, my rockin' husband gave the kids and me annual passes, so we visited six times from fall of '10 through fall of '11. (We live in Tennessee, and drove down a couple of times, but flew down for free on the other trips by using my husband's Southwest points).

Our annual pass year was so much fun, and we loved every minute, but decided we should probably take our kids to see something else in 2012 (you mean there are other vacation spots besides Disney???). During the summer, we visited the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and Phoenix; in December we took a Bahamian cruise on the Disney Dream. We managed to squeeze in Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party the night before our Dream cruise, but otherwise didn't visit the parks in 2012.

As 2013 began, I was starting to have serious park withdrawal. Due to schedules and an amazing Alaskan cruise on the Wonder during July of '13, we couldn't make it to Orlando until November. This led to months and months of planning and anticipation! Of course, I made dining reservations at 180 days and kept a close eye on the deals. Happily for me, Disney released free dining for our dates! Our initial plan was to book a Royal Room at Port Orleans. We have always stayed at value resorts (we are tightwads), but now that my DS is a Disney adult, upgrading to the table service plan at a value resort cost almost the same as staying at a moderate and getting the table service plan free. Unfortunately, Disney released very few rooms at POR for free dining, and I had to book Coronado Springs. I am sure CSR is a very lovely resort, but we were disappointed about missing out on POR, particularly the Royal Room. After obsessively checking the Disney site for weeks, I finally snagged a pool view Royal Room. This was more than I planned to pay, but it turned out to be the PERFECT location, so I am really glad we didn't have a more affordable choice!

We booked our trip for November 19-28. My daughter and I flew down on Tuesday to enjoy the first two nights as a Mommy/Daughter getaway. DH and DS joined us on Thursday evening. We did this for two reasons: DS is now in middle school, and we weren't sure we wanted him to miss multiple days of school. So, he came down Thursday night and only had to miss Friday (we were out for the entire week of Thanksgiving). Also, DH and DS had a father/son trip to Miami to see a football and baseball game in September, so it was time for my DD and I to enjoy some fun! My DS was actually fine to miss the first few days. As you will see, we did as many girly activities as we could on Wednesday and Thursday. That meant he didn't have to participate!

Now that I've shared the boring details, I'll be back soon to start the actual trip. I am excited to write about it because I'll get to relive all the fun!
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:04 PM   #6
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Sounds nice. I look forward to reading all about it!!
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:08 PM   #7
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I'm here! I loved your Alaskan cruise TR and ca't wait to see how you do WDW.

I am going to a nurse practitioner conference at the Swan in April with a friend. I wanted to stay on property in order to have magic bands, fastpass plus at 60 days and Magical Express. We chose a Royal Room at PoR, which probably sounds funny for 2 adult women. I am hoping to have a mother/daughter trip in Sept for DD's 13 birthday and i want to check out the Royal Rooms.

So i can notwait to how you and your DD enjoyed your alone time and how you like PoR.
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:23 PM   #8
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Glad to see we are not the only family that thought we should probably take our kids somewhere other than Disney.
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sue_88 View Post
Sounds nice. I look forward to reading all about it!!
Thanks for reading!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProudMommyof2 View Post
I'm here! I loved your Alaskan cruise TR and ca't wait to see how you do WDW.

I am going to a nurse practitioner conference at the Swan in April with a friend. I wanted to stay on property in order to have magic bands, fastpass plus at 60 days and Magical Express. We chose a Royal Room at PoR, which probably sounds funny for 2 adult women. I am hoping to have a mother/daughter trip in Sept for DD's 13 birthday and i want to check out the Royal Rooms.

So i can notwait to how you and your DD enjoyed your alone time and how you like PoR.
You will love the Royal Rooms. They are very well done. Even my DS was impressed! It would be perfect for your mother/daughter trip. What a fun way to celebrate turning 13! Thanks for reading another report. You get double points.

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Glad to see we are not the only family that thought we should probably take our kids somewhere other than Disney.
WDW will always have a special place in our hearts, and I wouldn't trade any of our WDW trips. I know we will still enjoy them in the future, but probably not with the same frequency we have in the last six years. As my kids get older, it is getting easier to take them other places (Hooray! They carry their own bags in the airport and can walk all day without whining about it--mostly. ), and I want to see other places, too!
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:12 PM   #10
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Following from the other report. Sounds like this will be a great trip!

Jill in CO
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:18 AM   #11
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I am joining along! Loved your Alaskan TR and followed you here. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-12-2014, 11:46 AM   #12
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Following along!
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Old 01-12-2014, 01:33 PM   #13
MickeyMomTo2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jedijill View Post
Following from the other report. Sounds like this will be a great trip!

Jill in CO
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I am joining along! Loved your Alaskan TR and followed you here. Thanks for sharing.
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Following along!
Thanks to all of you! Again, special praise goes to those who read my Alaska report as well! You are willing to read about 21 or so days of my life from 2013. That deserves extra credit.
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:06 PM   #14
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Day One: Off to Neverland!

For my DD and me, the trip began on Tuesday, November 19th. I picked her up from school around 2:15, and we headed to the Nashville airport for our 4:30 flight. We were both thrilled about the trip, but my DD could barely contain herself. She is a HUGE momma's girl, and the thought of the two of us having 48 hours at WDW together made her just a wee bit excited. Of course, for children, EVERYTHING is exciting, even going through security at the airport. While the grownups are grumbling and trying to keep all their stuff organized, the kids are in awe of everything. My DD even took her shoes off just because that seemed fun (kids under 12 are no longer required to remove shoes).

We made it to our gate in plenty of time for a selfie.


004 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

Our flight was quick and easy thanks to the excitement of pretzels, coke, and a movie on DD's iPod, and we arrived at MCO around 7:00 EST. We decided to get our luggage and take it on the Magical Express ourselves because I knew she would be sleeping by the time it arrived to our room. Getting our luggage was quick and easy, and we headed to the bus. We were the first onto the bus for Port Orleans, so we had to wait a little while, but after a few minutes and a Disney's Magical Express video, we found ourselves at Port Orleans Riverside!

I LOVED Port Orleans. As I mentioned before, we usually stay value. My son thinks the All-Star Sports Resort is the best resort on the planet (and even though he liked POR, he still votes for ASSp). But, I loved the beauty and peaceful feeling of POR. We had done online check-in, so our check-in process was very smooth. Our only disappointment was that a case of water we had ordered from Turner Drugs in Lake Buena Vista hadn't arrived (Turner Drugs fixed this by sending two cases to make up for our trouble).

Before going to our room, DD and I decided to go to Riverside Mill for dinner. We were very hungry! I am supposed to be on a restricted diet for health reasons, but I'll confess that I didn't stick to that AT ALL on this trip. I went straight for the create-your-own pasta. This lead to an enormous serving of alfredo pasta with mushrooms (YUM!). I could have fed our entire family from my plate alone! DD got some pizza, and we picked up the refillable mugs that came with our dining plan. It was about 8:30 at this point and the food court was relatively slow. I have heard that it can be overly crowded, but we had very good luck when eating there, even after the Thanksgiving crowds arrived.

No longer hungry, we headed to our room. We were in a pool view Royal Room in Oak Manor, and I thought this location was perfect. We were very near the bridge, and we were also halfway between the east and south bus depots. Because of the bus routes, we always used east when we were headed to the MK and used south for all other parks. This worked very well.

As we walked up to our room, I realized that we had a corner room near the staircase. I really liked having two windows! As we walked in, my DD squealed with delight. The room was lovely! I have to say that I was impressed, and I don't think pictures do the room justice. Even so, here are a few pics of our room.


001 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr


002 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

Added note: We arrived shortly after they removed all the comforters from POR. On our last day, they added the runners, and I think that greatly enhanced the look. I realize that hotel comforters get nasty, but they also add to the Disney theme. The white was a little too stark for the Royal Room, but the runner helped complete the look (in my opinion).


004 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr


005 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr


006 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr


007 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr


008 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

After the runner was added...


557 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr


558 by baseballsandbows, on Flickr

My DD (and DS) greatly enjoyed the fireworks over the bed. Their only complaint was that they didn't last very long. The satellite service on our television was also not working, but that was fine because it was fixed before DH and DS arrived. They have to keep up with ESPN, even at Disney! The wireless was working well, so DD used her iPod to watch a show while I unpacked.

Before long, we went to bed, excited to head to Magic Kingdom the next morning!
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Old 01-13-2014, 04:24 PM   #15
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