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Old 01-21-2014, 07:19 PM   #16
Feckless
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Day One - SURPRISE/TRAVEL DAY

Day One – SURPRISE/TRAVEL DAY


Unfortunately, when you work in my business, you pay for your vacations three ways: once from your bank account, once before you leave work, and again when you return. Because of the timing of the two locations and the travel days, and then the long weekend and the kids’ start to school, I would be away from work for almost three weeks, which I don’t think I did since DH and I were married 16 years ago. So, I worked well into the night the night before, which meant that I couldn't do any packing. I had been putting all things together into a beach bag in the back of the closet to hide from prying eyes, but I hadn't actually packed anything, or even gotten out the suitcases. IMAGINE!

As anyone who has older kids knows, the packing issue is one of the hardest things to deal with when planning a surprise trip. In fact, the other family told their kids that they were going to Disney a couple of days before they left in large part because their kids had to pack themselves. We had an advantage, as DD had packed for her week with my sister and was bringing those clothes with her. The night before, we let DD know she wasn't coming all the way home, and we would meet her in the airport in Toronto. However, she didn’t know anything about the Orlando trip – we just told her that we would start our vacation in Toronto instead of her coming all the way back home. My sister had washed all her stuff and put all clean clothes in DD’s luggage, and brought home all her purchases at the West Edmonton Mall in a carry on herself (she was visiting home while we were away) so that she didn’t bring back to school clothes and sweaters and jeans to Disney in August! LOL.

Since we were arriving at 11 p.m. Orlando time, and the cost of YC CL was so high, when I booked the trip, I decided that we would crash one night at Pop before transferring to the YC in the morning. I had some last minute second thoughts about my plan and checked a few nights before to see if we could go straight to YC, and a YC SV CL room was about $600!! I paid $89 plus tax for Pop, so that was a no-brainer. I did not want to have to dip into our main luggage until we got to the YC, so we had to pack carry-ons for sleeping, change of clothes for the next day, and swimwear. The challenge of packing was increased by having to pack for overnight and swimming for DD in my carry on, since she wouldn’t know to do this.

The night before our trip, I had to spend the evening at my office to get ready, since I was going to be off for three weeks. I finished up my last minute work prep, and then turned my attention to FP+. I was having trouble with entering in the tickets at MDE that I had purchased through UCT the day after the prices were increased at Disney (they sold remaining stock at previous prices, and I had made a RO reservation so I didn’t have a package). At the last minute, I got a tip from the lovely Nannette from the YC/BC thread to enter the tickets as OLD tickets - I hadn’t thought that the tickets were older since I since just bought them. LOL. After I entered them, I double checked the dates of our plans made months earlier when we made the ADRs and picked out all our FP+s. Unfortunately, our friends were not able to log on to MDE because it would not accept any iteration of our city’s name. I had the same problem when I booked the year before, and had spent an hour on the phone with Disney tech support, but whatever they did worked then, and all my information stayed the same and carried forward, so I didn’t have the same problem. I just booked for us, and hoped that CL staff would be able to help match our reservations for the other family, including our BOG lunch FP reservations that I got with the help of the folks here on the DIS.

While I was at the office, I double checked with Westjet to confirm our flight times, since I was nervous about DD flying into Toronto airport alone, and also finding her way around the Edmonton airport by herself. The first rep I contacted completely freaked me out by telling me that first, there was no guarantee that my sister would be allowed past security to stay with DD until her flight, and then telling me that my sister would need a valid passport since the flight was ending up in the US. Texted my sister, and her passport had just expired! Also was told that DD was to go to International departures. I questioned this, as the first leg of her trip was domestic and I don’t ever recall being asked for my passport on the first leg, just on the leg that ends up at an international destination. Anyway, my sister and I were freaking out, so I thought I would call again. This time, I got a different rep who told me that my sister would NOT need a passport, just valid government issued photo ID, and that she was to go to Domestic departures. Luckily the second rep was the one who was correct! My sister had no problem going in with DD through security, and watched her board the plane and texted me as soon as she was on safely. Phew!

DDs flight left at 10 am Edmonton time, and ours left 12:45 p.m. At our end, we woke up at 6 a.m. and told DS that we were heading to Toronto right now and to help us pack. Not a lie... That’s where we were GOING. Not where we were STAYING. LOL! This was his face...



If he was this excited for Toronto, what would he be like when he found out we were going to have a week in Disney with his BFF???

When we got to the airport after a crazy morning of packing and getting the house ready for the housesitter and getting our puppy to the dog sitter, we were exhausted. I managed to get our boarding passes from the automated kiosk using our passports without DS figuring out why I needed them, and managed to hide the MCO ones. When we went to the agent, I whispered to her that the Orlando portion of the trip was a surprise while DH was distracting DS. She was wonderful about it, and spoke to me in code in a way that didn’t tip him off. DS is extremely sharp and nosey so I was so glad she took such care. LOL. We had time to stop for a quick brunch at the airport before our plane took off…



Next thing you know, we were on our way to Toronto!



The trip was uneventful, except that I had problems with seat back TVs which was a complete pain. Also, there was very little legroom on the flight. It was non-stop at least, and we were all happy to land in Toronto. My main concern was getting all of our luggage, since it would have to be collected before we had to go through customs. The area is outside the gate area, so where we were waiting for DD, we couldn’t get our luggage until well after an hour after arrival. I spoke to an agent, who sent the word out to not impound our stuff! LOL. This agent also spoke in code and DS didn’t suspect a thing.

My sister started texting me, and said that she had passed a note to the ticket agent at her airport, and DD didn’t suspect a thing. Her flight was on time, and we had no problem finding her arrival gate. As soon as they touched down, she started texting from the plane. We could see her plane coming, and I told her, and she said, “I can see you too!!” We all started jumping up and down and waving like crazy at the window like a bunch of fools when she texted back “j/k, TROLLED.” OMG we laughed our heads off. As soon as she got off the plane, I couldn’t wait. I told the two kids that I had good news, and bad news. The bad news was that their travel day wasn’t over yet. The good news was that we were going to Florida! They immediately put it together that we were going with our friends so they immediately became part of the conspiracy. LOL

As we were waiting for our luggage at before heading through customs, DS decide to accessorize a plant. I'm sure the fellow travelers appreciated it!



We decided to go through customs right away so that we could get rid of our luggage. In retrospect we should have dragged it around and waited a while, because the Westjet international area in Terminal 3 is terrible! Oh well, it would just be five more hours, and I had a laptop with a bunch of Simpsons DVDs so it won’t be bad, right? RIGHT?



The multiple uses of the neck pillow.





First of all, no decent food, either food that the kids liked or otherwise. Second, no comfortable chairs. Third, no plugs and the laptop was quickly losing charge. Well, there were plugs, but people who had them, hogged them, even when they knew that we needed them. No Disney magic yet! Then I heard the announcement - FLIGHT DELAYED. The Westjet employees were really nice about it, and one guy even came on with updates imitating Mickey (he was awesome!). However, we were all exhausted, and nothing much was lightening the mood.



I took the opportunity to see if I could tweak our FP reservations with my last little bit of battery power on my laptop. I decided to make TT, Soarin’ and Mission Space FPs for the next day, just in case we wanted to use them while we were waiting for the other family to arrive (their flight landed at 1:30, so we didn’t expect them before 3 or 3:30 pm.) I also had an idea to get some FP+ reservations for our last night, which up until then I had not done. We had decided to eat at Whispering Canyon Cafe the last night, so I took a look at what was available at MK on that night. I was able to make Splash and BTMRR reservations for perfect times, and then I saw it - WISHES FP+. Score!!! It also gave me a bonus FP+ for Under the Sea, which I knew wasn’t going to be a big deal (since we already had them for our first MK day). All of a sudden I saw an option to change the attraction for this FP+, and I was able to change it to a FP for the Main Street Electrical Parade! So, I had FP+ reservations for the perfect times after supper to swing over to MK, ride the two Frontierland Mountains and then hit the parade and Wishes with no waiting…. What a last night! I was truly excited. Kids and DH didn’t really understand my elation however. LOL.

We finally boarded, and I again had trouble with my seat back TV. DS slept for about 5 minutes, but otherwise, we were just miserable, with no legroom and very uncomfortable for the whole flight after such a looong day. There was nothing of interest for the kids to watch on TV at that time of night, so all in all, it was not a happy flight.

By the time we arrived, it was 2 a.m. instead of 11 p.m., as we had originally planned. Those three hours on top of the expected 5-6 hour wait made for some cranky kiddos, but they were hanging in there (barely)! Because of the lateness of the hour we had to get our luggage first, and then go to ME. That was a real pain, I must say, and I think I will try our best to time our future flights to use ME for luggage in the future if possible. Hated not being able to use this perk… We collected our bags, and then we moved along dragging everything through the airport towards the ME check-in. We couldn’t believe how far we had to go with our stuff! Once we arrived, it wasn’t a long wait, and we were finally on the bus. I was shocked, because given the lateness of the hour I expected to be waiting for a while. Spirits were rising! When the movie started, Mickey came on the screen and DH yelled, “That’s the biggest squirrel I’ve ever seen!” Our kids cracked up, and I’m sure that our fellow travelers thought we were all insane…

Finally the sight we were waiting for (through the rain)!



Luckily, Pop was the second stop. Once we arrived, I thought that we wouldn’t have a hard time checking in, but the wait was horrendous. We had done online check-in, but they were putting everyone through the same line, so there was no advantage whatsoever to have done it online. I could not believe that there were so many people checking in at that hour of the night… DH found bell services and we left our luggage with them to be delivered to the YC in the morning while I lined up. It took us at least 45 minutes to get checked in, mostly because of the confusion around the Magic Bands that the front desk CMs were giving out. We got a set of bands (grey… booo… LOL), and were told that they would work for both parts of our stay. No idea how that would work, but even though we weren’t checked in at the YC, once we got there and were assigned our room, they worked as a room key for there as well! Weird. I didn’t try to see if we could open any other rooms with them. LOL Anyway, it was 3 a.m. (4:30 a.m. our time) by the time we got our room assignment. So, we were all almost 24 hours awake by this time. Having to then go back outside into the steamy heat to find our room was really hard, but again, spirits were not exactly running high at this point! None of us were feeling the magic particularly. LOL. Luckily our room was close to the lobby, as I had requested.

We got to the room, and it was clean, and just what we expected. The beds were fairly comfortable, but sharing the double beds was rough after such a long day combined with the very squatty flight down. There was a lot more room in the bathroom area than I expected. We managed to crash, and everyone’s eyes closed the minute our heads hit the pillows. Tomorrow was the start to the pleasant part of our Disney adventure!
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SMILES, SAND AND SUNSTROKE: A May 2012 Beach Club Trip of a Lifetime! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2927334

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Old 01-21-2014, 08:07 PM   #17
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Nice start to your trip report! Keep it coming!!

~NM
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:06 PM   #18
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What a start - you totally needed a vacation to recover from the start of your vacation!

I hated the TVs on my last WestJet experience when I flew Toronto to Fort Myers. On both the flight down and flight back the TVs were useless. I think WestJet was one of the first airlines to adopt that technology and now their fleet is old and in real need of a tech upgrade.

I'm so impressed that you kept this a secret from your kids for so long. I don't think I could have restrained myself.
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Old 01-22-2014, 07:13 AM   #19
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Yay, what a start. I hate travel day with a vengence. Cant wait for more.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:27 AM   #20
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Im tired just reading about you travels but so glad you finally got to pop and got some sleep. Well done on keeping the secret(don't think I'd be able to manage not giving it away-blabbermouth that I am ) Looking forward to happier days ahead
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:27 PM   #21
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and I thought my travel from the UK was bad enough lol

Can't wait for your next update
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Old 01-22-2014, 03:17 PM   #22
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Oh my what a long day. Looking forward to reading about your first day in WDW.
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Old 01-22-2014, 06:25 PM   #23
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Can't wait to read more!
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Old 01-22-2014, 07:11 PM   #24
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Joining in! Your family sounds hilarious, even through a rough travel day! Can't wait to read what comes next.
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:04 PM   #25
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Thanks all! That was the long and boring entry. LOL. Injury one coming up! Still cringing at the thought of posting the picture of my bumpy head. Makes me feel SO STUPID...
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SMILES, SAND AND SUNSTROKE: A May 2012 Beach Club Trip of a Lifetime! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2927334

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Old 01-23-2014, 12:33 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feckless View Post
Thanks all! That was the long and boring entry. LOL. Injury one coming up! Still cringing at the thought of posting the picture of my bumpy head. Makes me feel SO STUPID...
Aw don't feel bad-think how many people you entertained on the BC/YC thread with tales of your "trip"

Besides it could have happened to any of us you were just honest enough to fess up
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Old 01-23-2014, 06:15 PM   #27
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Great start! Well, not great for you, sounds like it was a big ole pain in the rear, but you did a great job with the surprise, and the fast passes and surviving the travel day.

Bring on the Yacht Club!
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:22 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feckless View Post
Thanks all! That was the long and boring entry. LOL. Injury one coming up! Still cringing at the thought of posting the picture of my bumpy head. Makes me feel SO STUPID...
Don't worry, we won't judge. (just snicker or )
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Trip Report - Dining with Disers 2014
Trip Report - March Break 2012 at the YC http://www.disboards.com/showthread....5#post44422655
Trip Report - March Break 2010 at CR – with stops at Poly, GF, WL, BW, BC, YC, MK, Epcot, HS, DD, and TL http://www.disboards.com/showthread....4#post35923604
Trip Report - Solo trip - A brief stay at CSR with a stop at AKL (with pics!) http://www.disboards.com/showthread....2#post36750372

FW - 1972 (I think, I was little then!); WL - 2004; WL CL - 2007; CR CL - 2010; CSR - 2010; YC CL - 2012; BC - 2014
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:29 PM   #29
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Day two: Another surprise day!

DAY TWO: ANOTHER SURPRISE DAY!

The next morning, after a night of unconsciousness rather than sleep, we got up at about 9 a.m., got changed, and headed to the Pop food court. It was so hot and steamy… We had been to Florida in August in 2009 but you forget HOW HOT IT IS. Leaving the room and being right outside was also a change from our last stay, and it was definitely a shocker with the heat being how it was. Don’t ask me why it is different to leave your room and hit the heat or leave the lobby and hit the heat, because it makes no sense, but it does! LOL.

A family member has a car like this, so we had to take a look, but not a long one:



I loved the selection of the food court, and the prices were great. However, it was about 9:30 a.m. by the time we all got it together and got over there, and it was incredibly crowded. The lines were long for every station, so I found the one with the Mickey waffle kids meal (thinking of Mickey waffles since last year, and we had no breakfast ADRs so I knew that this was the only time I’d get one this trip!) and got in the line. I assumed that the lines would be dealt with in true Disney fashion, efficient and pleasant. Unfortunately, that was not the case! There was ONE worker at the counter for the full time that I was in the line. She had nobody there even helping her to refill her station, let alone assisting her with the customers, with the exception of the guy bringing in the Mickey waffles. She also had to leave the main part of the station to do all the made-to-order yogurt parfaits. She ran out of yogurt twice while I was in the line and had to go and get more. Finally, a manager came over and she expressed her frustration, but there didn’t seem to be any relief coming for her! She did her absolute best with what she was given, but she was definitely showing her exhaustion and frustration when I finally got to her. She was dealing with it way better than I would have in the same situation. Bottom line was what should have been a half hour, 45 minute (tops) stop at a food court took at least an hour and a half.

After I had breakfast, I ran back to the room and packed up everything while the rest finished up, and I then went to check out. The check out experience was great - I got in the lineup, and then was approached by a CM who checked me out on an iPad. It was so nice to experience the exceptional Disney customer service we were used to for the first time in our trip.

The kids wanted to check out the Pop arcade, and I wanted to take a look around the gift shop. “Everything Pop” was actually an awesome gift shop, and DH got a shirt he wanted, and I got a Disney 2013 plane for the boy in the other family (he is obsessed with planes and he was celebrating his birthday on this trip). The kids took their time in the arcade (SO LOUD in there!), but finally we were in the cab, heading for the YC. The cab driver told the guard at the gate who we were, so we were greeted by name as soon as we arrived, and were immediately brought up to the CL floor for check-in. We didn’t have that happen the year before when we stayed CL at the BC, so this was a new experience, and it was lovely. We were given another set of Magic Bands, and the staff set everything up for us. Our room wasn’t ready, but we were told that it should be by 3. So, what do we do? I suggested heading to Epcot to use our FPs, but the kids did NOT want to miss their friends’ arrival. What a shocker! They didn’t even want to go to SAB without them! So, we went to the lounge.



Sorry about the crappy pictures! I suck as a photographer.

After the madness of the morning, and the rough day before, the pampering and quiet of the CL floor was unbelievable. The staff was helpful, friendly and efficient. There were a bunch of people complaining about the service at the YC CL on here before we left, but I absolutely disagree. We had nothing but amazing service our whole trip.

By this time, I was in texting the other mom, so I knew that they had arrived. Our kids started texting their kids, telling them that they were in Toronto. DS even found a stock photo of an elephant and put it as his profile pic with the status “At the Toronto Zoo!” for the other kids to see. The other kids had NO IDEA that we were waiting for them, and the other boy was messaging DS from ME and asking questions about the zoo. We were enjoying this enormously! We had snacks and coffee and relaxed in the lounge waiting for them.

Finally, we heard someone in the lobby and we got ready. Their parents brought them in to the lounge, and we yelled SURPRISE! I’ve never seen anything like their faces… It was quite a moment. Here's a snippet of it. Ignore our insane screaming.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2gbk...ature=youtu.be

As I stated in my previous post, the other family had a terrible time trying to sign up for MDE prior to leaving and could not get any FP+ reservations because of the technical glitch. Anyway, once we arrived, the CL staff took over to match up our FP+ reservations to theirs. It took them a long time (we were fine, they also brought us beer!) but finally they fixed it up by giving the other family what they said were three anytime, anywhere Fastpasses for each of the parks that we had already planned on attending. Score! I had already made all the ADRs for 8 so there was no need to arrange them. They also had some trouble with our MBs opening our room door, and the other family’s room was also available before ours, which was a tiny bit annoying since we had been waiting for our room for hours before they had even arrived. All issues faded away when we got into our room (#5152), and when the kids saw that our rooms were adjoining, they were ecstatic.







What a view!





As you can see, this is NOT a SV room. PIXIE DUST!!! What a thrill for us all.

I loved the sliding door to the balcony, since it gave the room more useable space. However, that door unfortunately was my downfall later that day… (that’s what my old high school English teacher called “foreshadowing”.) Anyway, the rooms were comparable to the BC CL rooms, but these rooms were more roomy than our BC rooms from last year. I understand that our gorgeous water (lagoon) view room last year had dormer windows which made it a bit smaller. The other family got a day bed, but as it turned out we didn’t use it or need it. We had a nice chair with an ottoman (also didn’t use that!!) The kids decided that they would alternate rooms, with boys staying together with one set of parents one night, and girls with the other, switching nightly. Totally easy to do with the adjoining rooms! So, it was like a week-long sleepover at Disney for our kids. Imagine! I think I want to adopt myself.

We had our first ADR at Via Napoli at 7:30 p.m., so the kids had time to hit the pool. Unfortunately, when we were there we had to use our KTTW cards to get into SAB, as they were having trouble with the WiFi required for the MBs to work. It was certainly harder for to keep track of cards rather than bands, but we found that we did need the cards in several other instances during our stay. My kids took the other kids to the pool and show them around the resort, and the adults had a rest. Well needed and fantastic! After a while, we got our own bathing suits on and headed down to the pool for a drink. By this time, our luggage had arrived in our room. We had no trouble finding a lounge chair. I settled in next to the other mom, and next thing I knew, DH had arrived with a sunken treasure. What a guy!



He said that the bartender laughed and loved it when he ordered the Sunken Treasure. I guess only true fans of the resorts order them.

Delicious! I only had one… Important to know for what is to come…

For now, we relaxed and chatted and had a great time while the kids had an absolute ball in the pool. This was my view:



Next up: CALAMITY! The “Trip” Part of this “Trip Report”
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Latest TR in progress: FROM SUNSTROKE TO A CONCUSSION: a Yacht Club Disney "Trip" to Remember http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post50508748


SMILES, SAND AND SUNSTROKE: A May 2012 Beach Club Trip of a Lifetime! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2927334

First Pre-Trip Report: From the North Atlantic to the World http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post43102751
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:36 AM   #30
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No!!!!!!! You cant leave me is suspense!
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