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Old 01-12-2014, 02:30 PM   #1
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Escape from Tornado Alley to Food, Tropical Storms and Mickey - Completed 3/22

Escape from Tornado Alley to Food, Tropical Storms, Mickey and More Food

Welcome to my 2nd DisBoards trip report and thanks for reading. I started this report on another site I am a member of, but that site has gone defunct so I am posting it here in hopes I get some more readers. DW and I went to Disney World for our first official on site visit in June of 2011 and stayed at Disney's Caribbean Beach resort. We loved everything about our trip. The resort, the parks, the transportation, EVERYTHING! We both wanted to return and the sooner the better.

How is it then that we did not getting back until two years later in June of 2013? Well, first off we started the adoption process in September of 2011 and were picked by a birth mother in November. Unfortunately that situation did not work out, but we now see God's plan in action as in about two more months we were picked again and now we know that Braxton was meant to be ours.

Through all of those months we could just never plan a trip because we did not know what was coming, what finances would be needed for the adoption, and other factors relating to that. With that in mind we had to put the trip off until June of 2013. On top of the adoption process and expenses our DS was born with a cleft lip which required surgery in the summer of 2012. That just adds more to the confusion of the summer months as well as is going to leave us with some other financial bills to take care of. So that is how we can to June of 2013. That is also how we have ended up with a two week trip…yes, 14 days in Disney World. Our thought is that we haven’t had a real vacation in two years so we have earned a long one.

So let’s make the introductions:

I am Jon (DisDad #699).

I am the primary planner on this vacation and am the one who spends countless hours setting itineraries, ADR's, and touring plans. I love everything about it and am quite OCD with the entire planning process. I work in the high school and teach AP Environmental Science, Pre-AP Physics, and Physics. In addition to teaching I am the Head Track and Field Coach and the Assistant Head Football Coach and defensive coordinator. I love teaching and coaching and honestly believe I have the best job in the world. I get to be a part of the lives of numerous young people and impact them in a positive way everyday. I have been teaching for five years after playing four years of college football. I have also recently graduated with my master's degree (M.Ed.) in education.
Favorite Character: Goofy
Favorite Ride: Expedition Everest
Favorite Show: Festival of the Lion King
Favorite Movie: The Lion King
Favorite Restaurant: Kona Café (This may be changing by the end of the report!)

DW, April.

She loves being at Disney World, but she loves that I love to plan. She is perfectly happy letting me plan the trip and her just enjoy all of the great things about Disney World. She is an unbelievable mother and wife…I completely out-kicked my coverage when I got her. She is also in education and is a school psychologist and actually just got hired in the district I work in right before this trip. This is great for her as she was driving about 30 miles a day to her job, now we will be in the same district although much of her work is done at the elementary level. She loves working with young people everyday and is awesome at her job. More than anything though she is a great mother to our son and I just love to see her interact with him.
Favorite Character: Ariel
Favorite Ride: Rock 'n Roller Coaster
Favorite Show: Festival of the Lion King
Favorite Movie: Little Mermaid
Favorite Restaurant: Le Cellier

DS, Braxton…15 months.

DS is all boy, he loves playing, hitting things, throwing balls, and being outside. He also loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, it is about the only television show he will sit a watch. He has to with two parents like us who love Disney.We are excited about being able to provide some insight to families traveling with a young toddler to Disney World.

Our trip took place from June 1 to 15. Since DW and I are both educators we are limited to school breaks to attend Disney World. We cannot attend on Fall Break or Thanksgiving Break because I coach football. Also, we cannot usually attend at Spring Break because I have track practice…and I don't think we would want to battle spring break crowds anyways. We went in early June last summer and that seemed to be a pretty good time. It was somewhat crowded, but very manageable.

I guess that is about it for an introduction. The photopass CD is already in the mail so I will be able start getting updates out in the next couple of days.

Hope you all enjoy. Please comment on the report. You all know it is much more fun when people are commenting.

Next Up: Travel Day and Escaping Tornado Alley

Last edited by cstorm65; 03-22-2014 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 01-12-2014, 02:31 PM   #2
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Friday, May 31 - Travel Day
Saturday, June 1, Part 1 - The Flight
Saturday, June 1, Part 2 - Magical Express and Arrival at Pop Century
Saturday, June 1, Part 3 - Dinner at Downtown Disney
Sunday, June 2, Part 1 - Donalds Safari Breakfast
Sunday, June 2, Part 2 - Animal Kingdom
Sunday, June 2, Part 3 - Afternoon Break and Meeting the Main Mouse
Sunday, June 2, Part 4 - Dinner with the Master of the Castle
Sunday, June 2, Part 5 - Late Night at the Magic Kingdom
Monday, June 3, Part 1 - Checking In at the Dark Side (a.k.a. Universal Orlando)
Monday, June 3, Part 2 - Islands of Adventure
Monday, June 3, Part 3 - Lombards Landing Dinner and Universal Studios Touring
Monday, June 3, Part 4 - Universals Cinematic Spectacular Dessert Party
Tuesday, June 4, Part 1 - The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Tuesday, June 4, Part 2 - Universal Studios Touring and Lunch with Forrest
Tuesday, June 4, Part 3 - Can we get into the Transformers ride?
Tuesday, June 4, Part 4 - Review of Universal Orlando and the Royal Pacific Resort
Wednesday, June 5, Part 1 - Can we make it to Rope Drop at the Magic Kingdom?
Wednesday, June 5, Part 2 - MK Touring and a meet with the Great Goofini and the Amazing Donaldo
Wednesday, June 5, Part 3 - These are some long hallways!
Wednesday, June 5, Part 4 - Anniversary Dinner
Thursday, June 6, Part 1 - Shall we weather the tropical storm?
Thursday, June 6, Part 2 - Lets Enjoy some Resort Time
Thursday, June 6, Part 3 - Cape May Clambake Dinner Buffet
Thursday, June 6, Part 4 - Grammys Final Night at the World
Friday, June 7, Part 1 - Another Magic Kingdom Rope Drop
Friday, June 7, Part 2 - What should we do for lunch?
Friday, June 7, Part 3 - The Biggest Mistake of my Disney Life
Saturday, June 8, Part 1 - Test Day and a Surprise Character Meet
Saturday, June 8, Part 2 - This Laundry is Going to be the Death of Me
Saturday, June 8, Part 3 - Can We Change our ADR???
Sunday, June 9, Part 1 - Epcot Rope Drop and a History Lesson from the Security Guard
Sunday, June 9, Part 2 - The Search for the Perfect Hoodie
Sunday, June 9, Part 3 - Who Will End Up in a Meat Coma?
Sunday, June 9, Part 4 - A Crowded Night at the Magic Kingdom
Monday, June 10, Part 1 - Gigis First Look at the Madness that is the Toy Story Dash!
Monday, June 10, Part 2 - Searching for the Best Snack in Hollywood Studios
Monday, June 10, Part 3 - Will You Just Take a Nap Please?
Monday, June 10, Part 4 - Shopping in Epcot
Monday, June 10, Part 5 - Dessert Around the World Showcase
Tuesday, June 11, Part 1 - Breakfast with Pooh and Friends
Tuesday, June 11, Part 2 - I Need Something Cold to Drink!
Tuesday, June 11, Part 3 - Are You Ready for 13 Hours of Fun?
Tuesday, June 11, Part 4 - What Have They Done to the Country Bears?
Tuesday, June 11, Part 5 - We Finally Walk the Secret Trail
Tuesday, June 11, Part 6 - They Have Ice Cream!!!
Tuesday, June 11, Part 7 - Is A Bus Ever Going to Come?
Wednesday, June 12, Part 1 - Who wants to go to Mousegears???
Wednesday, June 12, Part 2 - 30 Minutes! I Think Not!
Wednesday, June 12, Part 3 - Mama Melrose Dinner
Wednesday, June 12, Part 4 - Lost in a Sea of People...Our Fantasmic Story
Thursday, June 13, Part 1 – That Mickey Pillow Pet will Become His Best Friend
Thursday, June 13, Part 2 – What do you mean the Beverly is out?
Thursday, June 13, Part 3 – Does this Store Ever End?
Thursday, June 13, Part 4 – Sausages, Schnitzel, and Strudel…Oh My!
Friday, June 14, Part 1 - Disney Transportation...A Love/Hate Relationship
Friday, June 14, Part 2 - Kona Cafe ADR
Friday, June 14, Part 3 - How High Can I Make it Go?
Friday, June 14, Part 4 - Braxton's Good Bye to the Magic Kingdom
Friday, June 14, Part 5 - Until Next Time
Saturday, June 15, Part 1 - Packing, Check Out, Shopping, and the Tragical Express
Saturday, June 15, Part 2 - We Have a Tired Little Boy
Trip Wrap Up and Highlights

Past Trip Reports
June 2013 Pre-Trip Report - "Thrill Ride Junkies Return with a Toddler in Tow!"
June 2011 Trip Report - "Can Two Thrill Ride Junkies Love Disneyworld?"

Past Trips
July 2008 - Offsite
June 2011 - Caribbean Beach Resort - Trip Report
June 2013 - Pop Century/UO Royal Pacific/Boardwalk Villas

Upcoming Trips
June/July 2014 - Disney Dream Cruise/Wilderness Lodge
December 2014 - TBA

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Old 01-12-2014, 02:40 PM   #3
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Friday, May 31 – Travel Day

Friday, May 31 – Travel Day

**Note of Apology – I apologize that I have no photos for today, but we were a little preoccupied by a situation…you will see what I mean when you read. I do have over 750 photos loaded onto photobucket for the rest of the trip though. So I promise there will not be a shortage.

We got up this morning around 8:00 and made some final preparations and then headed to the airport to pick up our rental car at about 9:00. We flew completely free on Southwest Airlines RR points, but it was a much better deal to fly out of Dallas, which is about a 3 hour drive south. So we rented a car for one day to get from Oklahoma City to Dallas, as we were flying back into Oklahoma City two weeks later as the points were the same to both destinations on that day.

We got home with the car at 10:00 and loaded up and made all final preparations around the house. We barely got everything in the car once you had the car seat in place, our three bags, and the stroller. We were taking out jogging stroller. We love it as the tires are high quality and it steers very easily, but it does take up quite a bit of space. Luckily the wheels come off pretty easy so we were able to get everything in.

We got on the road at about 11:00 and I don’t have any travel pictures of today, but you will read that we were a little preoccupied today. We headed south and went to April’s mom’s house to pick her up as she was joining us for the first six days of our trip. We picked her up at about 1:00, but actually stopped for a couple of hours to let Braxton get out of the car and play a little. We then headed on the Dallas at about 3:00 and arrived at the outlet mall in Grapevine around 5:00. Braxton needed some new tennis shoes, so we were going to run into the Nike outlet and find him some, which we did.

It was about this time though that severe thunderstorms started popping up around Weatherford, OK, which is about 50 miles west of where our house is in west Oklahoma City. Not long after these storms would produce the largest tornado ever recorded in the United States around El Reno, OK. We were sitting in the food court at the outlet mall at this point watching live coverage on our phone and praying that this thing would not hit our house. We were both a nervous wreck and people in this mall probably thought we were nuts, but this thing was headed right at our house. El Reno is about 10 miles west of our house and this tornado was headed directly for us, until it picked up at about 6:45. Unfortunately the entire tornado was wrapped in rain and so the TV stations actually could not tell whether or not it was still on the ground and then there were 2-3 other tornados in other areas of this same storm at the same time. So we still could not get final word on whether the tornado continued on into the OKC area and toward our house. We went on to our hotel near Dallas Love Airport and tried to get word from someone whether our neighborhood had sustained any damage.

Finally, at around 9:30 we received word from a friend from church that lives close to us that the tornado did in fact pick up prior to hitting the major metropolitan area so we felt a little better. I slept terribly this night. I wanted so bad to be excited that we were going to Disney World in the morning, but I felt so horrible for all of the families that have been impacted by this terrible tornado season. First on May 20 the 1.3 mile wide tornado hit Moore, OK, which is about 15 miles south of us and had quite few fatalities, including several elementary school students. Then here, not even two weeks later, a tornado twice as wide (2.6 miles) almost hit the major OKC metro area again. We are certainly saddened by the people who lost there lives in the El Reno tornado, but it was only miles from hitting a major metropolitan area and would have been much worse than what happened in Moore just 11 days earlier. It is times like this though that communities and people bond together and show the power that comes from working together and supporting others. I know all state and communities have the ability to do this, but I am certainly proud to be an Okla-HOME-an.

So, our travel day was not at all what we expected, but we were going to Disney World in the morning. My photobucket pictures are ready and we will get rolling in the next update as we arrive at Disney World!

Up Next: The Flight
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Old 01-12-2014, 02:42 PM   #4
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Saturday, June 1 – Part 1 – The Flight

Saturday, June 1 – Part 1 – The Flight

After a long Friday evening we finally got to sleep around 10:00, about two hours later than we wanted due to the tornado scare back at home. April, her mom, and Braxton slept well, but I didn’t sleep very well at all. I usually don’t sleep well the night before a vacation because I am excited so that was part of it. Also, all of the tornados and storms were just on my mind and had me all worked up from watching the coverage all night. I maybe slept a total of two hours before our alarm went off at 4:30. I got dressed quickly and took all of the bags to the car while April and her mom got Braxton ready and got themselves ready for the day. As I put the bags into the trunk I stuck the Magical Express luggage tags onto our bags so we wouldn’t have to worry about that at the airport and did a quick check of the rental car to make sure we had everything in a bag and weren’t going to leave anything in the car.

We had checked in online 24 hours early and all had A boarding numbers so we could use those instead of family boarding. We made the five-minute drive to the airport from the Park Inn by Radisson. This airport worked well for a pre flight hotel stay. We found the rental car return easily and got on a shuttle to the terminal within five minutes. We got through check in and security very easily, although when traveling with a lap child you cannot use the screens to check in. The worker had to manually check me in along with Braxton and check his birth certificate since he was a lap child.

April and her mom stopped at Starbucks while Braxton and I hung out in the terminal food area. We saw that our 7:30 flight was delayed until 8:05, so we had some extra time to kill. I then went over the Whataburger and got a quick bite of breakfast.

Here we are looking out the windows at some planes.

Sitting with his Grammy before his first plane ride ever.

I have never traveled with a gate-checked stroller before and I didn’t know how that worked. I must have missed the announcement to come to the counter to get a tag, so I was frantically trying to get this done as they were lining up to board. The lady then wanted to print a tag for the stroller to just go to Orlando and us not get it off in New Orleans. I told her we had a layover and would probably want the stroller if that was ok and she glared at me and acted like I had ask her to get me onboard a space shuttle or something. She reprinted the ticket and I barely made the boarding of the plane with our group.

We boarded about 7:40 and left right around 8:00. Braxton did so well and his ears never bothered him as long as he has something to snack on. He fell asleep shortly after we got into the air and slept all of the way to New Orleans. We had about a hour and 45 minute layover here, but new it would be a little closer since we had been delayed 35 minutes in Dallas, but our flight to Orlando would then be delayed 20 minutes, so we were okay.

Braxton was still asleep once I got the stroller put together and April laid him down in it and he slept for about 10 more minutes before waking up.

We grabbed a seat at our gate and then April and I took Braxton down to an empty gate to play. We found this gate that had no chairs or anything and was a nice play area so he got to run around a little.

I also grabbed us a sandwich right before takeoff so we could eat a little lunch on the plane. We took off around 11:20. Braxton stayed awake during this flight and watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse…his favorite show…on the iPad for most of the flight.

He was AWESOME on the plane rides down to Orlando. We touched down about 2:00 and grabbed our gate-checked stroller, rode the fake monorail, and made our way to the Magical Express Area.

Up Next: Magical Express and Arrival at Pop Century
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Old 01-12-2014, 08:27 PM   #5
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Hey. Your title brought me in and I am following along. I am a fellow Okie... actually, our house was hit by the Moore tornado. I can imagine how torn you would be... wanting to be excited about Disney but so unsure of how everything is back home. After a while of clean up and salvaging what we could, I was praying that we could just pack up and go to Disney to our happy place. Still waiting for that to happen. Your little guy is so cute. Can't wait to read along.
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Old 01-12-2014, 09:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by sommergirl25 View Post
Hey. Your title brought me in and I am following along. I am a fellow Okie... actually, our house was hit by the Moore tornado. I can imagine how torn you would be... wanting to be excited about Disney but so unsure of how everything is back home. After a while of clean up and salvaging what we could, I was praying that we could just pack up and go to Disney to our happy place. Still waiting for that to happen. Your little guy is so cute. Can't wait to read along.
Thanks for reading along. I can't even imagine what that time was like for you. We were having a nervous breakdown just because we didn't know what was going on back at our house. Wishing you all the best in your re-building efforts, whatever stage you are in, as well as sending prayers your way. You all will get back to Disney World some day and I can't wait to read a trip report about it!
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:30 PM   #7
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Saturday, June 1 – Part 2 – Magical Express and Arrival at Pop Century

We got to the Magical Express area around 2:30 and walked right into a line for the Pop Century Resort and there was no one else in our line. As soon as we got to the rope a cast member came and opened our rope and led us to a bus. I got the stroller on and April, her mom, and Braxton went on and got us seats. The bus was about half full as we were getting on, but it ended up full as most of them do. We were not on a “Magical Express” bus, but had an awesome driver. I am terrible about writing names though. He got on and asked us if we were excited and some people, including us acted excited, but most just sat there. So he asked us about three times before people really acted excited. He had a great attitude, was funny, and made it a great drive to the resort.

Pop Century was the 2nd stop, after Caribbean Beach, and we were one of only two families to get off. I got the stroller and we loaded up and went to the online check in desk. The check in process was great and went very quickly. We were in room…

Our room was not preferred, but was a great location. I had requested 70’s section and close to transportation and we got both requests. We were about 5 minute from Everthing Pop and about 3 minutes from the bus stops. Once in the room I called and our garden grocer order and pack ‘n play were delivered within 30 minutes and we put Braxton down for a nap. April’s mom took a nap as well, and April and I were off to Everything Pop for a snack and to get our park tickets. We had about $1,400 in Disney gift cards saved up for our park tickets that we got at Target for 10% off by stacking our red card discount with a pharmacy rewards discount. So $1,400 in gift cards for $1,260 or so, not a bad deal. We got a snack first in the food court of the homemade chips and tie dye cheesecake.

The homemade chips were good as always and were similar to the ones on our last trip at Caribbean Beach that we loved so much. The tie dye cheesecake was something that I wanted to try, but in my mind I was thinking it is just cheesecake with food coloring…how good can it really be? I couldn’t have been more surprised. It was fantastic! I loved the texture and it wasn’t just overly rich like some cheesecakes so it was really enjoyable. April loved it as well.

After this we headed to the concierge desk to get our park tickets. The cast members name was Kashia, from the Netherlands, and she was awesome! Before I told her anything I told her that I was sorry because I was going to pay with about 20 $50 Disney Gift cards, which she would have to run separately through the computer. It took about 20-30 minutes, but she made it really easy and was very nice about it. I told her I was a little worried because we were moving to the Boardwalk in a few days and wanted to make sure we could move these tickets from our Pop KTTW card to our Boardwalk KTTW card. She said it shouldn’t be a problem, but just for our peace of mind she printed me the sheet of paper that had the ticket confirmation number on it so they could always look it up if there were any problems.

April and I then took a short walk out towards the bridge across the lake and on the walk had a big discussion about cast members like Kashia and how they are what make Disney World such a special place. I took a few pictures as we walked.

And looking across towards Art of Animation

We got back to the room and rested for a little while longer. I think April studied a little bit for her upcoming test, more on that later in the report. We unpacked our stuff as our bags arrived and eventually Braxton woke up, around 4:45. I took a few pictures of the room as I had forgotten earlier.

Up Next: Dinner at Downtown Disney
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:33 PM   #8
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Saturday, June 1 - Part 3 - Dinner at Downtown Disney

After getting the bags semi-unpacked, but not completely as we were checking out in two days, we headed to Downtown Disney for dinner. I made a mistake in the last update, as Braxton actually had not woken up yet. We successfully moved him to the stroller for the walk to the bus stop.

We turned the corner to the bus stop and a Downtown Disney bus was sitting there and we got the guys attention and he waited while we walked that way. My policy is to not worry about busses that may or may not be in the station, but I make an exception for Downtown Disney busses as they seem to be much less frequent than theme park busses. I got the stroller folded up for the first of many times over the next two weeks and we rode a relatively empty bus to Downtown Disney. Braxton was still sleeping, now on April.

He was even still sleeping after getting back into the stroller at Downtown Disney. It had been a long day after getting up at 4:30 am to head to the airport.

We headed to diner at our favorite Downtown Disney place…Earl of Sandwich and it was awesome as usual. I got the Full Monague, which is always unbelievable.

April and her mom both got the BLT. April loves BLT sandwiches and she says this one is the best she has ever had. They both got a sandwich and they should have just shared one as each of them only ate half of it. I did take half of April's back to the hotel and had it for a bed time snack though…and I have to say it was really good!

After dinner we were not planning on doing much shopping as we wanted to get in bed fairly early as we had a pre-rope drop ADR in the morning at Animal Kingdom so we would need to be up early. We did head over to World of Disney though and picked up an autograph book for Braxton. We also stopped in the Christmas store to try and narrow down the choices for the ornaments we want to buy this year as that is a tradition we are starting.

At 7:00 we headed back to the bus stop and waited only five minutes for a bus to Pop Century. Once we got back we took some pictures around Surfer Goofy.

We were in the room by 7:45 and finished unpacking what we would need for the next two nights and got our park bag packed up and ready for in the morning. We then got in our swim suits with Braxton about 8:15 and headed to take a quick dip in the pool, but as soon as we got next to the main building it started sprinkling. We went inside and filled up our mugs thinking it would quit quickly, but it turned out the storm was kind of forming right on top of us and it only rained harder. We ended up back in the room and ready for bed by 8:45 or so. April, her mom, and Braxton were ready for bed and almost asleep by 9:00. I think I went back to Everything Pop one more time for a refill as it stopped raining about 9:30. It was really nice only being a 3-4 minute walk there. That is it for our arrival day. We will kick off tomorrow with Braxton's first character breakfast.

Up Next: Donald's Safari Breakfast
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:43 PM   #9
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Sunday, June 2 - Part 1 - Donald's Safari Breakfast

We were up bright and early on Sunday as we were headed to Animal Kingdom for Donald's Safari Breakfast at Tusker House. We got up around 6:30 and were at the bus stop by 7:00 and the bus came by 7:10 and we were on our way. We arrived at Animal Kingdom at 7:25 and were the first people at the turnstile for a character breakfast.

I mean this place was deserted and we were probably only there 25 minutes before they opened the gate. A really nice cast member that was working our turnstile was waiting for time to open and was really talking and playing with Braxton. She even gave him a character card!

And then the character card went straight into his mouth and April had to fish it out.

A cast member from Tusker House came and checked us in and they opened the turnstiles at about 7:50 and we made our way back to Africa. We took a picture in front of the Tree of Life, but I can't find that at the moment. I must have it in the wrong folder somewhere.

We got to Tusker House at around 8:00 and we were the 2nd family to check in and we had an 8:10 reservation. But they just sent us right around to the back of the building and we were one of the first two or three families to see Donald. I do not like how they charge you $35 for the picture with Donald. We just did the regular photopass package as we did not think the plus would be a good value for us this time as this was the only meal that was available with PP+. I think $35 is just ridiculous for a picture so we don't have that, but Braxton was ok with his first character meet. He wasn't really into it yet as he wasn't sure what was going on, but no tears…that was a plus!

We were seated and offered the special juice that they serve and it was great. I think I had about four or five of them. The breakfast buffets are really a nice deal with a child under three as you don't pay for them, but there was quite a bit of things Braxton likes including eggs, oatmeal, fruit, and several other things. He even tried some small pieces of waffle and liked it. The food was good, but I wouldn't say there was anything special enough for us to have to return to this meal on every trip. The characters all start in the same spot in this restaurant and we were the 1st table. They started coming around at about 8:15 and here are our pictures. Braxton wasn't too sure what was going on yet, as you can tell from the pictures, but I promise the character meets got much better as the trip went on.

We had seen all of the characters by 8:30 and finished eating and paid our check by 8:45. I enjoyed the section of the buffet that was some African inspired things like the Beef Bobtie. It was interesting and very tasty. Also, the Mickey Waffles were excellent as they are at almost any location. Overall, this was a good experience, but it does have a price tag of $33 per adult, so it is pretty pricey. We headed out into the covered area outside the restaurant and got sunscreen on as we still had about 15 minutes before the park actually opened.

One interesting thing was that at about 8:55 I noticed the rope was gone from the area entering Africa and a couple of other people who had been dining were headed towards the Safari. Our plan was to get a fastpass for the Safari at 9:00 and head towards Everest, but I saw people at the FP machines now even though the general public wasn't in the park yet. So I headed that way and some guys in suits told me we could go ahead and get fastpasses, so I had that out of the way and met April, her mom, and Braxton at the rope that led towards Everest.

Up Next: Touring Animal Kingdom
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:35 PM   #10
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Sunday, June 2 – Part 2 – Animal Kingdom

We had just picked up fastpasses to Kilimanjaro Safari and were waiting at the rope on the path to Everest when they opened it at 9:00. We walked leisurely to Expedition Everest and once we got over to the main path we were just behind the rope drop crowd that was headed there as well. April and I headed on the ride where there was a 10 minute posted wait, but it only took 5 or so. This is still maybe my favorite ride in all of Walt Disney World, even with the Yeti not working. The big drop is awesome since you have the speed already going when you get to it.

After riding Everest we headed over towards Dinoland. The plan was for April and I to ride Dinosaur and then come out and ride Triceratop Spin with Braxton. So we rode Dinosaur walk on at 9:25 and came out to see this

Braxton had fallen asleep and so we were definitely not going to wake him. We actually kind of excited he fell asleep as he is a kid who at home only really falls asleep in his bed. He sleeps great in his bed, but doesn’t ever fall asleep elsewhere. We knew we were going to need him to nap in the stroller some mornings though and were kind of glad that he fell asleep while touring the park.

April and I decided to go ahead and do Primeval Whirl. My thoughts on this ride…….it is BAD. I mean the only ride in a Disney park that I think is worse is Stitch. April agreed that Primeval Whirl doesn’t even seem like a “Disney” ride, meaning the theming was just like a traveling carnival. I know that is kind of what they were going for in the Chester and Hester’s area, but I just don’t think the area seems very “Disney” like. They are capable of so much better. Ok, I will move on!

After Primeval Whirl we headed back towards Everest to grab some fastpasses for later. We stopped for a photopass photographer on the way to get some pictures of the adults while Braxton was sleeping.

We grabbed a FP for Everest, but I forgot to write down the time or what the return time was. It was around 9:50 and the return time was around 11:00 as I recall. We then visited the Maharajah Jungle Trek as we have never done this before. I would say only about 50% of the animals were out and about. We did enjoy sitting and looking out across a savannah type area for about 10 minutes while Braxton slept. He was still out like a light!

Here is one of the animals that we stood there and watched for a while.

We then headed over to use our Kilimanjaro Safari FP at 10:30. This was a much better safari than last time since they had removed the side story. Braxton was still asleep once we dropped the stroller off and stayed asleep until about the time we boarded our safari vehicle. Here he is with his Mom as we were in line.

Braxton really enjoyed the safari and watching the animals, although he wanted to move between either side of the vehicle as some animals were on the right and some on the left. We also had a back up of trucks out on the savannah so we got to sit still a lot of the time and just watch.

Here are some pictures of the Safari.

It was about 11:00 when the Safari was over and we headed back along trail towards Everest to use our FP. We stopped for some Photopass pictures from behind the Tree of Life on the way since Braxton was now up. Here are our Tree of Life pictures.

April was starting to get a headache at this point and didn’t really want to ride Everest. So you know what that means? I rode with both of our fastpasses!! They got some water and waited for me by Yak and Yeti counter service. Once I was done I got some Pork Egg Rolls from Yak and Yeti and they were awesome as usual. This is one of my favorite snacks in any park. April didn’t want any. I believe her exact words were “egg rolls are gross”, but once I got her to try a bite she wanted to whole thing. We made our way over to our final attraction of the morning and got in line at Festival of the Lion King at 12:10 and waited about 10 minutes for the theatre to open. This show was unbelievable as usual. April’s mom loved it and so did Braxton; he was especially mesmerized by the acrobat monkeys and wouldn’t take his eyes off of them. This is still by far and away the best show at Walt Disney World. I didn’t take any pictures this year as on our last trip I had about a hundred of them. I just wanted to enjoy the show this year and it was great!

We got to the bus stop at about 1:25 and waited about 10 minutes. Then we got on a bus with the slowest driver ever. The bus pulled out of Animal Kingdom at 1:35 and we got back to Pop Century (which should be about 20 minutes away) at 2:20. A 45-minute trip! I mean this guy would not go any faster than about 3 mph in the parking area at Animal Kingdom and of course we had to stop at Blizzard Beach and get to go 3 mph for another little while. It was miserable and of course Braxton was getting restless and ready for an afternoon nap and there is only so much you can do to entertain him on a bus. We were in our room by 2:25 and Braxton was asleep by 2:30. Time for an afternoon break!

Up Next: Afternoon Break and Meeting the Main Mouse
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:37 PM   #11
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Sunday, June 2 – Part 3 – Afternoon Break and Meeting the Main Mouse

We got back and Braxton was napping by 2:30. This was not going to be as long of an afternoon break as we typically like because I had snagged a dinner reservation at Be Our Guest for 6:30 and we didn’t want to take any chance of missing so we were planning on leaving around 5:00.

After we put Braxton down April and I ran to the Pop Food court for a bite to eat. We were still running on the Tusker House breakfast. April just had a snack of the chips she loves I think and I tried the Stromboli from the pizza station. There was a little confusion as to when the Stromboli would be out of the oven. The first lady told me 10 minutes and then she asked the guy making the pizzas and he said something in another language. They then proceeded to fight a little bit about it and he was not being very nice to her. Then a different lady came in and pulled a Stromboli out of the end of the oven and gave it to me in about 2 minutes. I am not sure what the two of them were arguing about, but I got my Stromboli so I was out of there! I think we also split another piece of cheesecake…yes that is my 2nd piece in less than 24 hours. April and I headed back to the room and rested for a while and took her mom a snack as well.

We got Braxton up at about 4:45 and at 5:00 we got to the bus stop for Magic Kingdom. We were on the bus and hearing the MICKEY MOUSE music by 5:30. No matter how crowded the bus ever is April and I always smile at each other when we hear the music as you turn in front of the Contemporary. It is just one of those great Disney moments.

We were inside the turnstiles by 5:40 and now had at least 30 minutes before we needed to check in at Be Our Guest. Our plan was to check the wait on the Town Square Mickey Meet and it was only 5 minutes so we headed in. We basically walked right to the room where Mickey was. Braxton saw Mickey the moment we entered the room and was smiling. When it was our turn I put him on the floor so he could walk over and I will let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

It was a great experience and I don’t think Braxton wanted to leave. He just kept standing there staring. This PP photographer didn’t capture any of the big smiles unfortunately, but I can tell you they were there, especially while he was giving Mickey five. We were only on day number one of our trip and the entire thing was already worth it with this one character experience. The magic had begun!

Up Next: Dinner with the Master of the Castle
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:38 PM   #12
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Sunday, June 2 – Part 4 – Dinner with the Master of the Castle

With the magical Mickey meet over we headed back towards our dinner ADR, but had a little time to kill so we explored the New Fantasyland some. The theming is pretty cool back there, especially at Gaston’s and Belle’s village. I also picked up a FP for Under the Sea and it was going to open at about the time we were getting out of dinner so the timing worked out perfectly.

I checked us in at Be Our Guest at 6:15 and we had a 6:30 ADR. We were seated at about 6:25…early! We were seated in the main dining room and the décor and level of detail is very over the top, just as all the reviews have been saying.

I got the French Onion Soup as an appetizer and it was not my favorite. Now let me say I have never had French Onion Soup so it was probably just that I don’t like the taste and it probably wasn’t necessarily a poor dish. For our meal I got the Grilled Strip Steak with garlic-herb butter and pommes frites.

The steak was good, although not what I would call a great steak. The pommes frites…or French fries as most of us call them…were really good and the mayonnaise based dipping sauce was great with them. April and her mom actually shared the Thyme Scented Pork Rack Chop with Au gratin macaroni and seasonal vegetables. This meal was more than enough for the two of them to share, as the pork chop was huge. They both ate as much as they wanted and there was still about half left. So what most any man would do I helped myself to a few bites and it was great. The pork was very moist and tasty. We ordered Braxton the kids Whole Grain Macaroni with marinara sauce and he loved it. This kid loves pasta and marinara sauce! Here is kind of a picture of it, but mostly of his smile.

You can also see how full April was with this face…

It was about this time that Braxton came over to my lap, as he wanted out of the high chair. We still had to get him dessert though as his kids meal came with it. April and I usually don’t do dessert at sit down meals though as we would rather go out into the park and find something like a dole whip or some specialty of the park we are in. Anyways Braxton came to my lap and we took some pictures.

It was about this time that the announcement came over the castle that the Master was going to say hello and then head to the Library to meet guests after their dinner. So the Beast stepped out and Braxton saw him and his jaw dropped. I mean his mouth was as wide as it could get…he was in awe. What made it so special is that Braxton doesn’t even know who the Beast is. April tried to get around behind us and get a picture but she didn’t quite get their in time and missed the mouth open, but still got a pretty good pic.

We ordered Braxton a Strawberry cupcake and he really enjoyed it. He doesn’t eat sweets much, but we figured what better place? April and I took a couple of bites to and it was a pretty good cupcake.

I paid the bill and we headed into the library to meet Beast. We were really looking forward to it after Braxton’s reaction to him in the dining room. We waited about 10 minutes to get through the line and this meet was magical just like Mickey was earlier.

The smile in there is once again what makes the entire trip worth it. Overall the meal at Be Our Guest was an awesome experience. I would say the highlight was probably the pork chop…I would definitely get that if I go again. I am not sure it is an every trip type of restaurant, but it is certainly a must do at least once and we will do it every few trips I’m sure.

So, after another successful character meet in the books and we headed out for a late night at the Magic Kingdom.

Up Next: Late Night at the Magic Kingdom
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:44 PM   #13
always looking forward to our next trip to DA WORLD!
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Braxton.is.a.CUTIE PIE

Enjoying your TR and can't wait to read more
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Old 01-17-2014, 04:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jrj View Post

Braxton.is.a.CUTIE PIE

Enjoying your TR and can't wait to read more
Thanks. He is pretty awesome! This summer will be fun with him as he is right in the middle of the "Terrible Two's"!!
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Old 01-17-2014, 04:56 PM   #15
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Sunday, June 2 – Part 5 – Late Night at the Magic Kingdom

**For some reason I don’t have hardly any pictures of this evening after dinner so I will try to make this a fairly short update so as not to bore everyone.

After dinner at Be Our Guest we headed off to use our Under the Sea FP’s and enjoyed the new ride. The music is excellent throughout and it is very well done visually. After this we took Braxton for his first ever Carousel ride and he loved it. I think we ended up going twice, once with me and then with April.

At this point we walked Braxton and Grandma to the front gate as they were going to head back to the hotel as both were ready for bed. We got them on their way and headed back for some late night MK touring. April and I love just enjoying the Magic Kingdom at night so we were really excited. Let’s just say right off that this night did not live up to what we were expecting.

We did the TTA on our way back in and it was relaxing as always. We then did Buzz Lightyear, I won again, and April said she was never doing that ride again. She is way to competitive when it comes to these rides! After Buzz we headed over to Philharmagic, which is one of our favorite attractions. All of the movies in this attraction are from April’s and I’s childhood so we really enjoy how they are all thrown in there. It was at this point the night started taking a turn for the worse. The skies opened up and started raining and all outdoor rides shut down due to the lightning. I had picked up Big Thunder FP’s right after dinner as I let April and her mom take Braxton on the Carousel again, but we never got to use them on this night because of the weather.

For some reason this night seemed really crowded; much more so than our last trip which was early June. It only rained for about 15 minutes, but the lightning stayed in the area for a while. Rides like Pirates had waits of 30 minutes…which we were not waiting for. We walked around and did some shopping and finally made our way to Adventureland for Dole Whip #1 of the trip at about 9:45 PM. It was about then that we decided to head back to the hotel as we were not going to get much else done because of the lightning. We were disappointed, but knew we had a long trip left so nothing to be too bummed about. We walked out of the turnstiles as Wishes was starting and were back to Pop Century by 10:30 and in bed by 11:00.

Up Next: Checking In at the Dark Side (a.k.a. Universal Orlando)
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