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Old 06-19-2014, 11:12 AM   #1
jenninaustin
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"Ok, we'll humor Mom and meet the princesses..."



Yup. The title sort of sums it up. My family likes WDW too...and we all had a great time...but I'm the Disney Fanatic around here and I was the only one carrying an autograph book.

Let's get started! Oh - for those of you who like to read TRs on a website, I'm also posting here http://jennstwosteps.blogspot.com/

We returned from our trip to WDW on Friday, June 13th (I have a habit of traveling on Friday the 13th, according to my daughter). I loved and adored the trip. I was truly in heaven. My family tells me they enjoyed it also and I assume they are telling me the truth (I saw plenty of smiles) although it’s entirely possible that they are sort of humoring me. I’m quite sure (they’ve all indicated that this is true) that I am the biggest Disney fan in the family and am the one who gets the most out of our trips. But they had fun too...I’m reasonably sure about that.

Big lessons learned:
- Next time there will be more time at Animal Kingdom! I really like that park, there’s so many details to see, but we went on our arrival day and after getting up at 4:30, the rest of my family was desperate to get back to the hotel after three things (EE, KS, and Maharajah Jungle Trek). I was going on pure adrenaline but knew it was smart to go back (it was) because the next day was a full EPCOT day. But next time….we will enjoy AK!
- The Dining Plan was worth it for us this time only because we had so many meals with a fixed price. Next time we probably won’t do two character meals (we might not do any of them...I like them more than anyone else) so it might not be worth it for us next time. BOMA was the best meal though - I'll be back there every time!
- I'm sure there are other lessons but I'm ready to move on to the meat of the trip report so enough lessons already!

General Info:
Our cast was: me, my husband, my daughter (15), and my son (11). We hadn’t been to WDW since Spring Break 2009 (waaaaay too long in my opinion) and this was somewhat spur of the minute from an uber-planner’s perspective since I could make my ADRs as soon as I paid for our trip (i.e. - we were within the 180 day window).

My daughter decorated my Magic Band for me.


I used a travel agent only because they had a deal where we could get one free water park ticket per person. We’d never done that and it was fun. It still frustrated me to have some things with the TA but all in all I was able to do everything I wanted in terms of planning.

We stayed at Coronado Springs Resort and really liked it. Was it a lot of walking? Yes, but that’s the case with any moderate other than POFQ. As with so many other Disney details, the difference is the attitude you bring to the experience. I ordered groceries (too many as it turned out, but there you go) so we didn’t have to go to the main building for breakfast. A couple of mornings I went to get hot chocolate for my kids (because I love them and needed to bribe them to get them moving) and frankly, I looked at the walk as a warm up for my day and truly enjoyed the experience. The resort has lovely landscaping.

The bus service was GREAT. There were two times we waited a little long for a bus but I believe each of those times was within the expected limit. The buses are exclusive to that resort and that makes quite a difference. Mousekeeping missed us one day (we were in the room when they came by and they forgot to come back later) - after that we got great towel animals so I ended up leaving a compliment card for our Mousekeeper. We saw bunnies and ducks every day, multiple times a day. The pool is very impressive and the slide is fun although we only went one night. We ate at Pepper Market on arrival night (we were too tired to stay at Animal Kingdom) and I was honestly shocked at how delicious the food was. Honestly, it was so good and I was hoping for adequate. I recommend CSR for sure. Some day I'll stay in Deluxe <sung to the tune of "Some Day My Prince Will Come"> but CSR was very relaxing.

(In case you're curious, we stayed at POR last time and also enjoyed it a lot. We especially liked the boats to DTD at POR. Both of these resorts have a relaxing feel to them - lots of walking, but it's so pretty to look at the gorgeous landscaping, the bunnies and the ducks.)
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Really wish I had another countdown!

But our June 2014 visit was
Trip Report:June 2014 - "Ok, Mom...we'll let you meet a princess..."

Jenn
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Last edited by jenninaustin; 06-19-2014 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 06-19-2014, 12:20 PM   #2
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Day 1 - Arrival and AK

Day 1 - Saturday, June 7th

Up at 4:30 a.m. to catch our nonstop to Orlando and I gave my kids the first of their Tinkerbell gifts. The highlight of the first day gifts were probably the Mickey Mouse Pez dispensers and the Star Wars Mad Libs. At the Austin airport I learned that my kids have this game where they will read the word “poop” into every Mad Lib blank.

Even I had to admit that it was pretty hilarious.

Once in Orlando, the only delay in terms of Magic Express was my own fault because I got confused finding the correct check in location at MCO. Once we got there and had our first experiences with the Magic Bands (and the first of MANY Cast Members over the next few days complimented me on my MB) it was smooth sailing. The Magic Band worked like….well….. “magic” to get us on the bus, and we went straight to Coronado Springs Resort. I’d done online check-in and there was no wait for a front desk CM. Our room was ready (I was NOT expecting that, as it was before noon), the CM gave us our Happy Anniversary buttons and also gave us a letter for two free glasses of champagne at the Laguna Bar. Niiiiiiiice.

I’ll take this opportunity to insert a few of our Coronado Springs Resort wildlife photos. The video of the bunny is even cuter and in the evening the ducks were all curled up on the grass about 8 inches away from the walkway. Rather domesticated, really.




Originally I figured we’d need to leave our carry-on bags with the bell station but since our room was ready, we went up to the room and called for our groceries (which came in 10 minutes). We were in Ranchos, which don't get a lot of love I suppose but we really enjoyed them. Here's the view from our room:



After dropping stuff off and slathering on the sunscreen, we went to Animal Kingdom. As indicated above, I really wish we’d had more time at AK. But this was our “free” ticket (buy 4 days, get 1 free) and it was great while we were there. Hot….but great. Added bonus - I ended up with one of my favorite pictures of me and my husband together…


By the way, I was DisneyBounding as Pocahontas on arrival day. Because, you know….Animal Kingdom.

First ride was Expedition Everest (with a pre-planned FP+). I’d decided to get FP+s for all 4 of us, even for “scary” rides, although my son had no intention of doing roller coasters. To our surprise, on the bus ride over he decided to do EE (none of us was pressuring him to do that). Check out the picture - my son looks the most calm, right? You’ll see this theme continuing with other ride pictures. He’s like Mr. Spock in them - no emotion.


In this particular ride, however, he wasn’t happy - he did NOT like EE. None of us had been on it and I have to admit - it was pretty intense. I told him he’d started with the monster ride and if he decided to do other coasters that week - they’d seem like nothing. I was worried it might scare him off of other rides but thankfully, as you’ll see...it wasn’t a problem.

We all enjoyed the safari and the walk through Maharajah trail but it was HOT and my family was TIRED. We went back to the hotel and enjoyed the pool for a bit as a family. I gave my son the “free 100 points of arcade” card that came with our package (and was not worth much, of course) and my husband and daughter played the free foozball for a while. Good family time all around. I wish I’d gone down the pool slide more than once - it was fun.

After that, I sent my kids to bed somewhat early and begged my husband to walk over and enjoy our free glass of champagne on our first night. To be fair, he didn’t fuss about it and was happy to join me - he knew I had some other busy nights planned and I was eager to celebrate. We love having kids who get along and are old enough to be left alone while we go out for a drink. It was gorgeous and a great way to celebrate our first night in the world!
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Really wish I had another countdown!

But our June 2014 visit was
Trip Report:June 2014 - "Ok, Mom...we'll let you meet a princess..."

Jenn
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Old 06-19-2014, 01:43 PM   #3
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Great start, Jenn! Did you have to connect out of Austin or did you have a non-stop flight?

I love the cute resort wildlife! And great picture of you and your husband.
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:24 PM   #4
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Great start, Jenn! Did you have to connect out of Austin or did you have a non-stop flight?

I love the cute resort wildlife! And great picture of you and your husband.
Thanks so much! <not so subtly doing the "happy dance" because I have a reader>

Our flight to Orlando was direct - so that was great even though we left the ground at 7 a.m. (I think I got maybe 2 hours of sleep the night before? Possibly...) On the way back, we had a layover in Houston.

I'm actually glad you mentioned the wildlife. I'm in the middle of writing about our DHS day on Google docs and I almost forgot about the cute little family of baby ducks we found there. I need to go add a note about that...

The animals at the parks and the resorts were a a lot of fun! Funny story, I saw one lady fascinated with a squirrel at the resort (living in Austin, squirrels are hardly exotic to me so I started chatting with her) and she said that because she lived in Las Vegas, it was really cool for her to watch the squirrels. She never sees them out there.
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Really wish I had another countdown!

But our June 2014 visit was
Trip Report:June 2014 - "Ok, Mom...we'll let you meet a princess..."

Jenn
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Last edited by jenninaustin; 06-19-2014 at 09:04 PM. Reason: fixing spelling!
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:28 PM   #5
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Day 2 - June 8th - First day of EPCOT!

EPCOT was our only 2-day park. We went our first full day and our last full day. It worked out that way based on most-recommended days to visit parks but there is a certain rhythm to having EPCOT bookend our trip. On Sunday, I DisneyBounded as Coronation Elsa. My mission (which I achieved, thank you very much) was to get my picture taken in front of the Stave Church in Norway.




The photopass photographer in front of the park before opening made my day with this picture. The “kissing in front of the kids” picture theme continued with other photographers at other parks. It was fun for us, less fun for the kids maybe...but who cares?!


My dear readers….I was so happy on this day (not that I was ever sad on this trip, but you know what I mean). Our family loves EPCOT. My kids had been talking about going back to Soarin’ for months (remember we were last at WDW in 2009) and, because I’m all about Maintaining the Magic, I assiduously avoided mentioning the posts I’d read about how crummy the film was now with the black spots popping up. (Sure enough...Soarin’ was still great for our family, even with the black spots and the inevitable “Hey, look Mom, it’s a bug!” from the younger kids in the audience.)

I made the family get on the bus to the big ol’ golf ball well before rope drop but it wasn’t as early as I would have preferred. My idea of early rope drop and my family’s idea of early rope drop are not in sync. I (eventually) learned to roll with it. I appreciated that we were there before the gates opened, and I only put my foot down about arriving on my schedule for our Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom days. (Totally paid off by the way, just saying….) On Sunday, we were at EPCOT well before the gates opened but we were still pretty far back. And of course at EPCOT people are either going to Soarin’ or Test Track so, with two choices and so many people….being at the front matters. We went straight to Test Track to ride standby, which was supposedly 20 minutes but was actually a little longer. (If we’d been at the front of the turnstiles the wait wouldn’t have been as long...but who’s complaining about that? Not me…not now anyway...maybe I did a little that morning….) Truthfully, it was not a huge issue because the TT queue is quite cool and I knew we could ride single rider later. We LOVED IT. My son loved it most of all. We rode single rider at least one more time that day and a few times our second day at EPCOT...Here we are building our vehicles:



Unfortunately...by the time we were out of TT we were behind “schedule” (and at this point I was still annoying my loved ones by focusing on the schedule) - so when we got to Sum of All Thrills it was more of a wait than I would have preferred but still worth it. The sign said 15 minutes...maybe it was but I don’t think so. It seemed longer to me - but who knows? At any rate, it was tons of fun to watch the legs of the folks in front of us flying around and wondering what their coasters were like. Cool beans. Finally we got to create the roller coasters. I went with Dennis and my husband stuck with Kathryn. My husband (somewhat surprisingly) had to get them to open the machine immediately after they closed it because he felt claustrophobic. Kathryn ended up riding by herself. My son and I rode his together. It was intense and fun! (He included loops in his!)

As a mom who still wasn’t sure how her son would react to roller coasters, I especially liked the fact that I could see an image of his face with his reactions in the corner of my screen. Technology...Helping Moms Relax and Enjoy the Ride.

Dennis’s experience on SoAT (combined with his love of Test Track and the fact that he survived EE the day before) inspired him to say: “I’ve learned that I like roller coasters after all! Just not Expedition Everest.”

Fair enough, dude….fair enough. And actually rather understandable to be perfectly honest.

If I had taken better notes of our day, I could tell you exact wait times and stuff but that didn’t happen. I can tell you that I think our three longest waits all week were at Test Track, Sum of All Thrills and (ironically) the Ariel ride at MK (more on that later) but really - none of them exceeded 20 minutes by very much. Having a plan and hitting rope drop matters. You’ll still be winging it some and enjoying the little things, but you’re much less likely to spend hours in line.

Before our Behind the Seeds tour at noon, we used our Soarin’ FP, rode Living with the Land, and ate at Sunshine Seasons. I highly recommend the Behind the Seeds tour. (Side Note: I also highly recommend Sunshine Seasons. Wow - the food there….yummmmmm. I’m hungry just thinking about it.) Our family likes science and it really was great to hear about all the cool greenhouse technology and see the lettuce that would end up in the restaurants later. Granted...our family is sort of sciency (ok, nerdy) but that’s probably not a prerequisite to enjoying the tour. Here are my kids watching some sort of wasp (the wasp’s name escapes me at the moment but they are super tiny, they don’t even look like wasps - totally not scary or intimidating to kids in case you’re worried). These cool wasps get rid of leaf miner bugs that eat leaves from the inside out.



It was cool to be walking in the greenhouses as the boat went by and I’m glad I’d taken the advice of a random forum advisor and made sure we rode Living with the Land before we took the tour that morning. Here’s a collage of some hidden (and not so hidden) Mickeys from the tour.


On the way out, I asked the tour guide (Lizzie) about her experience with the Disney College Program and was very happy when my daughter jumped in and followed up with all sorts of questions about college and the Disney program. My daughter is very interested in being a nurse (this becomes relevant in a few days, by the way) and the CM said Kathryn should look into the college program for sure. It was a great discussion. Here’s Lizzie with my two kiddos:



After the tour (or maybe some of it was before...who knows??) we used our FPs for Space Mountain and Mission Space, went to Character Spot because there was no wait (man...did my son complain about waiting for characters, even for just 10 minutes...but I held my ground and used Momma Guilt to my advantage). We also hit Club Cool (where my son completely redeemed himself and was a GREAT sport when he drank Beverly twice so we could get his expression on video - yea, Dennis!). We were able to hit Imagination before our 5:00 Akershus ADR. I have such fond memories of Figment. I went on and on and on about Figment. My family was respectfully silent and smiled kindly as I purchased a miniature Figment souvenir.

Akershus has very good food, in case you’re wondering - especially the salmon. The 5:00 ADR was perfect, because we walked right in almost before anyone else sat down and it poured down rain while we were eating. I was so happy to meet the princesses and get their autographs. (My kids didn’t collect autographs….I did...I think I’ll use them in frames or scrapbooks. That’s the theory anyway.)

And...check it out guys - Ariel is totally Kathryn’s princess look-alike! (Kathryn’s true doppelganger princess is Anna - her personality is exactly like Anna, she has the same freckles... when I saw Frozen I felt like I was watching my eldest on the screen….but until Anna existed, I always thought of Ariel as my girl’s look alike!)



I haven’t quite decided what my son was thinking in this picture with Aurora…and I’m not sure I’m going to ask. It might be “I can’t believe mom is making me take pictures with Princesses when I’m going to be in middle school next year” or it could be something else….?


The downpour ended by the time we left Akershus, and it was almost a walk-on for Maelstrom - which was good because there was a LONG line before our dinner ADR but there wasn’t a FP kiosk anywhere near us in Norway. (Of course, it didn’t occur to me to take care of a 4th FP+ as we left Future World because I was dying to get to the countries. My tendency to over-focus is sometimes a liability.)

Here we are at Maelstrom!!!!

After Maelstrom, I think we probably did the Mexico ride, which wasn’t on my list of must-do’s but why not do it, especially if it’s a total walk on?

Clearly this isn’t the most organized trip report. In looking at my pictures, I just realized that my son bought his Chinese hat BEFORE we went to Akershus….hmmmm. Who knew? Apparently we walked to Norway via China. My husband warned him he’d probably have to wear it on the plane but Dennis didn’t care. That hat was calling out to him! (And it ended up fitting in the suitcase after all….it will come in handy for Texas summers!


On the way out of the park, we did the Nemo ride and looked at the aquarium. My daughter really didn’t want to do Crush, but I wanted to do it (pulling the ol’ Momma Guilt card again) and we walked by right as they were letting people in (so there was literally NO WAIT AT ALL). We did it and it was fun - of course. (You should always listen to your mom…)


We didn’t stay for Illuminations, but at this point I was still thinking we were going to see Fantasmic on Tuesday (that was foreshadowing...did you catch it?) so I wasn’t heartbroken about leaving early except I wanted my son to see the cool lights in the sidewalk as we left Future World (he didn’t remember those from our 2009 trip). Luckily it was getting dark, which made me happy, because - yea!! the funky sidewalk lights came on!! We did a repeat ride on Spaceship Earth before leaving the park. My kids LOVE that ride. I’m glad we went again because the videos in our car (or whatever that vehicle is called - a buggy??) didn’t work the first time we rode it with a FastPass. It was fun to see them work with our actual faces inserted into the video. Our faces are MUCH more entertaining than the generic cartoon faces.

Stay tuned for the next installment...our "non-park" day. My family thought it would be more restful.

Silly family!
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Really wish I had another countdown!

But our June 2014 visit was
Trip Report:June 2014 - "Ok, Mom...we'll let you meet a princess..."

Jenn
JennspirationTs

Last edited by jenninaustin; 07-09-2014 at 01:52 PM. Reason: Argh! I was missing a picture!!!!!
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:04 PM   #6
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Really enjoying your trip report so far! Your family pics are great!
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:46 PM   #7
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Really enjoying your trip report so far! Your family pics are great!
Ah...thanks! My husband gets the creds for most of the photos.
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Really wish I had another countdown!

But our June 2014 visit was
Trip Report:June 2014 - "Ok, Mom...we'll let you meet a princess..."

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Old 06-20-2014, 02:00 AM   #8
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Subscribing!
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Old 06-21-2014, 01:26 AM   #9
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Enthusiastically following along! We live right outside Austin and visited DW in May. I am really enjoying your family pics and your writing style
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:39 AM   #10
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Subscribing!
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Enthusiastically following along! We live right outside Austin and visited DW in May. I am really enjoying your family pics and your writing style
Thanks so much! Always great to hear from another Central Texan.
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Really wish I had another countdown!

But our June 2014 visit was
Trip Report:June 2014 - "Ok, Mom...we'll let you meet a princess..."

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Old 06-21-2014, 11:42 AM   #11
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Talking Spreading Pixie Dust



Here's a quick break from the daily WDW trip reports to let you know about one of the cheapest and most rewarding aspects of our Disney vacation.

One of the best things about a Disney vacation is seeing all the kids. Kids in costume, kids talking about Mickey, kids seeing the castle for the first time...it's all pretty fun. Usually the kids are so happy but sometimes they are in need of a little extra pixie dust. Those WDW days aren't always completely magical.

As part of my trip preparation, I hit the Dollar Tree and picked up a few packages of Disney stickers and quite a few glow sticks. Whenever we saw kiddos (especially if they were starting to melt down a bit), I'd hand out stickers or if it was evening, I handed out glow sticks and told them it was a magic wand.

My own big kids loved watching me do this. I encouraged them to do it as well but they seemed to prefer finding gift recipients to being the actual gift-giver.

I got more joy from the $10 I spent on this activity than almost anything else during my entire trip. The smiles on their faces were wonderful! I handed stickers out at the airport before we left (it was a direct flight from Austin to Orlando so there were plenty of kids going to Disney with us) and at night, on the bus back to the hotel I handed out magic wands. As a matter of fact, now that I think about it - there's no reason for me to limit my pixie dust activities to the World, is there? I think I'll prepare sticker packages to carry around Austin with me this summer. Maybe I'll also buy miniature bubbles.

Here's a fact you might not know: Spreading pixie dust creates even more magic for the person acting as the fairy godmother than it does for the recipients of the gifts. Try it!
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Really wish I had another countdown!

But our June 2014 visit was
Trip Report:June 2014 - "Ok, Mom...we'll let you meet a princess..."

Jenn
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:53 AM   #12
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Joining!! I am taking notes to make my FP selections for our trip in October!
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Old 06-21-2014, 01:38 PM   #13
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Joining!! I am taking notes to make my FP selections for our trip in October!
Our first trip (when our kids were much younger) was in October - perfect month to go!
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Really wish I had another countdown!

But our June 2014 visit was
Trip Report:June 2014 - "Ok, Mom...we'll let you meet a princess..."

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Old 06-21-2014, 02:24 PM   #14
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Day 3 - June 9th: Typhoon Lagoon and HDDR

More experienced posters probably spread their TR reports out a bit more, but I don't work on the weekends so I'm writing as much as I can! (I don't claim to be an experienced poster....just someone who loves to write.)

This was our non-park day, but true to form, I’d still made….you know…. “plans.”

We got to sleep a little longer that morning because rope drop at a water park isn’t the same as rope drop at MK or EPCOT. Sadly...the wait for the Typhoon Lagoon bus was way, way too LONG. I admit it...I began to stress out. A lot. I started babbling about how we should have taken a cab...and how we wouldn’t be there at rope drop. I don’t think anyone in my family specifically told me to shut up but I suspect they were thinking it. To my credit...I realized I was going a little psycho and admitted (out loud to my loved ones) that I knew I was being a bit crazy. But...I really wanted to be there when Typhoon Lagoon opened. I’d read how crowded the water parks could be and we were all excited to swim at the shark reef.

Of course, it was all fine. I’d sprung for the $50 reserved umbrella and chairs (you also get 4 towels and a locker, which is nice but less necessary than you might at first expect - we didn’t even use the locker and sort of dried our faces at the end of the morning with our towels *shrug*).

Before I get into more details - if you’ve never been to Typhoon Lagoon during a Disney trip, I highly recommend that you make time during your next visit. It was never a big thing I wanted to do (after all, I tend to be focused on rides and enjoying the resort) and I grew up going to Schlitterbahn in Texas. I figured I knew water parks. The only reason we went this time was because we had free tickets from our travel agent.

Thank goodness for that freebie because I learned that a Disney water park is nothing like a typical water park. The theming at these parks is like all of Disney’s theming - incredible. Even walking in, we felt like we were suddenly on an island in the middle of the ocean. You know how at regular water parks you can see the structures supporting the slides? It’s not like that at all at Typhoon Lagoon. We had so much fun noticing the details waiting in lines here - just like we did at the parks. (Although thankfully the lines weren’t much of an issue.) I didn't get many great pictures but to get a feel for some of the cool details like a tractor that the “typhoon” deposited on a roof and a surfboard through a tree, you should really look at some of the pictures on this site: http://davidgalletly.com/blog/2011/1...s-theming.html There’s a great written description of the Typhoon Lagoon details on the Allears site: http://allears.net/ae/issue643.htm .

A few words of wisdom about Typhoon Lagoon:

- Most important tip: We went to the Shark Reef first and didn’t have a wait (apparently later in the day you might have to wait for quite a while to swim across the reef), but you might notice on the discussion boards that there is quite a bit of talk about how the stuff they use to clean the masks stings the skin on some people. I was moderately concerned about that. My son and I have very sensitive skin and I’d warned him and my husband that might be a small issue. I debated about whether I should take snorkeling equipment, at least for him, but ultimately chose not to do that. That was the wrong choice. The stinging was a big issue, not a small one. We were both in a lot of discomfort as soon as we put the masks on. I’m 43 and decided to tough it out. I enjoyed seeing the sharks way below me and a group of Dory fish swam right under me where I felt as if I could touch them. Dennis, on the other hand, said - no way, Jose - and chose to forgo the swim so he could remove the mask. We both continued to feel the stinging for a number of hours after the swim (and he only had his mask on for a few minutes). It certainly wasn’t bad enough to ruin our fun and we never got red marks but whatever they use on those things was very painful for us. If you think your kiddo might react in a similar way, toss in a mask and snorkel for them. It’s worth it.
- I picked Monday as our Typhoon Lagoon day because Josh (EasyWDW) had only one park as green that day. Since the “regular” WDW parks were predicted to be more busy on Monday, I figured this would be as good a day as any to use our free water park tickets. It was great. I’ve heard the water parks are sometimes quickly overrun with people and it certainly became more busy later in the morning, but I always saw plenty of empty chairs. Maybe the reserved umbrella wasn’t as critical as I first assumed, but it was still nice to have that spot and we felt very safe just leaving our stuff there all morning.
- I sort of wish I hadn’t planned Hoop de Doo Review on the same day as the water park because I think we all would have enjoyed staying at Typhoon Lagoon all day long.
- I was pleasantly surprised to run into PhotoPass photographers at the water park! There was a photopass photographer as we entered the park and we got a magic Sebastian shot.

- There were also photographers at the bottom of the Crush’n Gusher.

- A lifeguard had to jump in to help a kid in the wave pool at one point and it took FOREVER for the waves to start again. Seriously...it seems like it must have been 45 minutes. Maybe that was a coincidence but I don’t think it was - so if someone gets rescued (the kid was fine, just needed some help) and the wave machine is turned off, you might as well go do something else if the waves are fun for you because it will be a while for the waves to start again.
- Although plenty of people posted that Gangplank Falls (the ride where you can get your whole family in a big raft) was no big deal, I’m very glad we did it. It was FUN to ride in a raft together. I handed my husband our waterproof camera and he snapped a few fun pictures during the ride.



My daughter and husband rode more slides than Dennis and I did, primarily because Dennis really loved the wave pool and the lazy river. I mean...he REALLY loved those two things. He did a few slides with us but wanted to spend most of his time with the waves or in an inner tube.

As you can tell, I’m posting a few of the crummy pictures I got with the waterproof camera because these are, by far, the most expensive pictures of the entire trip when you consider the per-print cost of buying the camera and having old-style film developed. (Not to mention the number of wasted pictures because I’m so spoiled now with seeing pictures on a screen before I get the shot. That’s not exactly an option with a water camera.)

Here’s David with the two kids in the wave pool.


All four of us ended up on the lazy river (girls at one time and boys at another) and I’m actually surprised how relaxed I was after that loop. The final stress I was carrying around about schedules and late buses, and getting things done finally melted away. It was honestly better than a muscle relaxer….ahhhhh…...and a lot of that peace stayed with me for the rest of the trip! You can see my fancy magic band (created by Kathryn) as I hold onto Kathryn's inner tube so we didn't get separated during the lazy river float.


We would have enjoyed more time at Typhoon Lagoon but we needed to get some rest and get ready for dinner at Hoop De Doo Review. We went home and all Recks without the first name Jennifer went to sleep while I did laundry. (So although “we all" needed rest, I opted for the Energizer-Bunny-Mom approach while the other 3 napped.) Our photopass pictures were already up and I had fun looking at the pictures, drinking Diet Coke, reading Freakonomics and doing laundry all by myself. (It’s funny how your idea of fun shifts in your 40s…)

I was in charge of getting my family out of bed and heading to the bus. I also made sure my husband put on his Anniversary Button - we wore these babies every day, all the time, unless we were in our swim suits. It’s a fun thing to be told “happy anniversary” all day long and we even got a couple of phone calls from Mickey and Minnie, singing happy anniversary to us during the week.

My husband made sure my son put on a nicer shirt for dinner and my daughter, as a 15 year old young woman, definitely looked nice for dinner!


Back to waking up the family. My insistence upon limiting their naps to just an hour or so annoyed some (possibly all) of my family members because it was hours before our dinner reservation. Certain individuals (understandably) wanted more sleep. But I wanted to take the bus to MK so we could ride the boat to Fort Wilderness and I also wanted to have time to enjoy the area. I’m glad we did it that way. The boat ride to FW is lovely and it puts you right next to Pioneer Hall. It was so pretty, quite breezy, and even a little cooler over there...very, very calming. We saw the ponies and went into the horse stables to admire the huge horses.


Then I gave my son $20 for the arcade and he played some games (my daughter joined him after about 15 minutes) while my husband and I had a drink at Crockett’s Tavern. After finishing our drinks, we went to get the kids and David re-lived his youth as he played Galaga.


I don’t think I’ve ever seen a negative comment about HDDR. I’m sure they’re out there somewhere but considering how many negative comments you can find about EVERYTHING ELSE at Disney on the forums - I had pretty high expectations for HDDR and I was NOT disappointed. It was such a funny and fun show. Our waiter told the corniest jokes on the planet and we had beer and fried chicken before bed. Gotta love it!

They take your picture before the meal and I respected the fact that, although they brought the printouts into dinner and gave you the option to buy them, they also said "We see you have Memory Maker so you will have access to these online and don't need to buy them if you just want to have access that way." That's what we did!

Oh - I DisneyBounded as Merida for dinner (because, you know, there are horses at Fort Wilderness) by wearing a dark green t-shirt and a bow and arrow necklace.

You’re probably wondering if I bounded as Ariel that morning by wearing a purple bikini to Typhoon Lagoon, aren’t you? No. No I did not.

After dinner, they had buses waiting for all the resorts and I handed out glow sticks to all the kids in the bus, telling them they were magic wands.

Once we were back in our room, I told everybody to go straight to bed because tomorrow was going to be a “real” rope drop and it was important to be at the front of the crowd. We’d be staying at Disney Hollywood Studios all day long to watch the first Fantasmic so we needed our rest!

I think the last thing I told my kids as they went to sleep that night was that if they got up without complaint the next day, I’d walk over to the main building to refill their mugs with hot chocolate for breakfast.

“Really, Mom?” (They knew it was a seriously long walk.) I reiterated my promise and had high hopes for the morning. Stay tuned to hear about our Star Wars day!
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Trip Report:June 2014 - "Ok, Mom...we'll let you meet a princess..."

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Old 06-21-2014, 07:19 PM   #15
Li Li
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What time was your HoopDeeDoo reservation? We currently have our water park day as the same day as our HDDR reservation at 8:30, and now you are making me nervous!
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