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Old 02-10-2005, 11:23 PM   #1
jennymouse

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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Lexington, Kentucky & Beach Club Villas
Posts: 5,345

My Trip with the Senior Gang 1/29 - 2/5 (Long)

Cast of Characters:

Jenifer (Me) 46yo: Trip planner and DVC Member. Many trips to WDW.

Fred (Dad) 80yo: Dad took my brother and I to WDW a couple times back when we were kids, pre Epcot/AK/MGM. Returned with me in February 2004 and got Disneyfied.

Gladys (my aunt) late 70’s: Retired government worker and farmer’s wife. She’s been to Epcot once for a half day back when it first opened.

Clyde (my uncle) late 70’s: Farmer who still owns & works the 200 acre farm in Bourbon County, Kentucky he was born on. This was his first Disney experience.

Day One, January 28th, 2005 – Outrunning the Ice Storm

We’d planned on leaving Saturday the 29th but due to an ice storm forecasted for Kentucky and stretching all the way down past Atlanta, we decided to head down a day early. The night before, I reserved two rooms at Disney’s Pop Century for us to stay before we moved to the Boardwalk Villas on Sunday. I woke at 5:30am and drank coffee at my computer for a half hour before hopping in the shower. Dad got up at 6:30 and started to get ready too. For those who don’t know me, I sold my house and moved in with my Dad when my mother passed away in May, 2002. It’s worked out pretty good for both of us.

We’d planned on traveling until I got tired and just stopping at a motel without a reservation, but the forecast was sounding worse by the minute and Dad thought it would be best if we reserved a couple rooms just in case motels got full of folks getting off the highway due to the storm. When Gladys and Clyde arrived at 8 am I was on the phone and internet finding and booking the rooms in Valdosta, Georgia and on the phone saying my goodbyes to my daughter and granddaughters.

Dad & Clyde loaded up the luggage while I finished up and we were soon on our way in my Ford Explorer with the Illuminations & Off Kilter CD’s playing to get us fired up for Disney. Dad sat up front with the trip map from AAA and acted as my navigator. On the way down, we’d all cheer when we’d travel the length of one of the trip tick pages.

No sooner than we got on the highway we were getting off to take a pee break. I can’t blame it all on my seniors this time as I’d drank so much coffee I had to stop too.

The first part of the trip I had a hard time getting the temperature in the car to suit everyone. The seniors were happy with the temperature hotter than new love, but it made me sleepy; too cool and Gladys was freezing. I finally figured out that I could get the car warm enough to keep them happy and vent my sunroof to give the air some circulation and not be so suffocating.

The only problem with that was that it created a little wind noise and made it hard for my seniors, who are all hard of hearing to hear each other talk. Gladys is a soft talker and sometimes all I could hear was her S’s, either that or her dentures were whistling. I heard “huh?” and “What did he/she say?” so many times on that trip you wouldn’t believe it. I think I repeated every word each one of them said back and forth the whole trip down. It kind of kept me busy and made the time pass quicker though.

The first mission of our trip was a stop in Knoxville, Tennessee so I could deliver a set of Early American Pattern Glass stemware that I sold on eBay to a dentist as a Valentines gift for his wife. His office was just off the interstate so it wasn’t a big deal at all. I called him from my cell phone as soon as I took the exit and he directed me to his office and meet me in the parking lot. The doctor was happy with the stems and personal delivery and I was happy with the extra $130 cash for the trip. Fifteen minutes later we were back on the highway again.

I’d purchased the cell phone and some minutes for this trip. Normally, I’m not a cell phone user but driving with three seniors in the winter time, you just never know what might happen. I didn’t know before we left, but, John, my second cousin and Gladys and Clyde’s grandson gave them his cell phone to take too. The first time it rang (didn’t recognize the tune.) Gladys didn’t know what it was and thought I was playing something else on the CD player. I asked her if that was her cell phone ringing and she got all flustered trying to find it in her purse. This would begin a long running issue on the trip, which was frustrating for her but hilarious to watch.

Thirty minutes after that we were stopping to lunch on the homemade chicken salad sandwiches Gladys made for the trip down. Yummy! Gladys makes the best chicken salad.

It wasn’t long, around 3:30 I think, before we hit Atlanta, where I bowed up like a toad frog until I got through the bumper to bumper traffic all going 150mph. I thought Dad was going to push the floorboard out trying to put on the breaks the whole time. Above the highway were big signs with the winter ice storm warning forecasted to begin at 9pm that night. The temperature was already dropping and it was starting to drizzle. The air in the Explorer was to tense you could cut it. Right in the middle of it all, Gladys leaned forward in her seat behind me and started this little joke ditty thing. It’s kind of dirty, I hope I don’t get slapped for telling it but it went something like this: There was one a boy named Perkin, who kept on jerkin his gerkin. His momma said, son, don’t jerk your gerkin, it’s fer firkin, not jerkin. I about wreaked I was laughing so hard going 150mph in bumper to bumper traffic in downtown Atlanta! Whew!

We kept going, with a couple pee breaks along the way until we hit Valdosta, Georgia around 8pm or so. We grabbed some dinner at a Cracker Barrel in Valdosta before checking into our rooms at a Ramada Inn. Our rooms were on the second floor and there wasn’t an elevator so I ended up having to pack the heavy pieces up the stairs so my seniors could get up the stairs safely. Gladys had wanted to take all of the luggage in so no one could steal them from the car, but when we saw those stairs I vetoed that idea real quick. We hit the sack early. I kept seeing the highway every time I shut my eyes and ended up driving all night in my sleep.


Saturday, January 29th – Our Bonus Disney Day

We got up fairly early, showered, packed up and ate the continental breakfast in the Ramada lobby at 8am and back on the road by 9am. Over breakfast we discussed a little business.

Dad & I paid for the Pop Century room we were about to stay in that night and Gladys & Clyde paid for our night at the Ramada. The Pop was more expensive but not by much and Dad & I wasn’t worried about the difference. Gladys insisted on getting it even. We also decided that one person should be the one to do the tipping, pay the taxis if any and such so there wouldn’t be the “Here, let me get it” or accidentally stiffing or over tipping of the bellman, valet, housekeeping, etc. It started by my suggestion that I take care of the tips and Clyde & Gladys take care of the taxis, but they said they’d rather I just do all that. So we each put in $50 for a total of $200 into what we called our slush fund. Turned out to be a good plan and we bought pecans on the $16 dollars we had left over as we left Florida on our way to Hilton Head Island.

Business taken care of, we were on the road again. We cheered crossing the Florida/Georgia boarder and stopped at the Welcome Center. We enjoyed seeing all the orange groves and planned to stop and get fruit and Dad wanted to buy an orange tree because we had one years ago that got to be about 4’ tall and produced these tiny oranges every so often. We cheered even louder when we crossed under the Walt Disney World sign.

That’s when things started going wrong though.

You see, even though I’ve been to WDW many times and I own .00000000001% of the Beach Club Villas, I’m not familiar with driving on WDW property. I normally fly in and use a town car service to get to the resort and use Disney transportation to get around. We were having a hard time finding the Pop Century Resort. My navigator (Dad) couldn’t figure it out either and he had a map of the property I found on the internet. The map had the names of the streets, but the streets had no signs saying which street they were. I’d follow signs that said Pop Century Straight Ahead and then there were no more signs to tell me where to turn or if they did, they left me stranded. Once, Dad told me to get in a lane and I did and almost hit a car that was in my blind spot.

We ended up at Epcot.

Instead of my giving the gate CM money to park, she had to give me directions to Pop. We finally made it. I pulled up to the front entrance and stopped the car and began unloading the luggage. I got a luggage assistance CM with a cart, and while we were loading up the luggage I noticed Dad was missing but I figured he’d just went to the bathroom. About the time we got all the luggage loaded on the cart, Dad turns up rolling a luggage cart. He got mad that he had to take his cart back, but I couldn’t help it at that point. In hindsight, I guess when folks arrive with their own cars, they check to see if their room is ready then get a cart? I was just thinking that we’d probably have to store our luggage because our rooms probably weren’t going to be ready. Anyway, with me getting lost and the cart ordeal, it wasn’t a smooth arrival, okay. We were all kind of flustered.

After the luggage fiasco, I sent the senior gang inside while I went to park the car. When I came back in, Dad was sort of pouting and I felt bad. I went to stand in line to get us checked in. I case you’re wondering what they thought of Pop Century, I don’t know yet as they had only gone as far as the bench seats right inside the door. While in line, I try waving at them to tell them to check out the shadow boxes along the wall while they waited but they either didn’t see me or was ignoring me at that point. Check in went smooth enough but our rooms weren’t ready. What to do, what to do?

On the way down I tried to talk to them about adding a day onto our passes and going to Epcot since we were going to arrive so early, but I could never get an answer from them. Then there was the scooter (ECV) issue. I rented them ECVs for the trip from Care Medical but we weren’t supposed to get them until the next morning when we got to the Boardwalk. They weren’t real keen on spending more money for another day renting them at the park. There was also a Kentucky basketball game that day Clyde and Dad wouldn’t mind seeing, but we didn’t know if they could get it on the TV here in Florida even if we got into the rooms. I reminded them that it would only cost $3 each for us to add a day onto the passes and that there was going to be the Colgate Country Music Showdown going on at Epcot that they might like.

They decided to go to Epcot but felt they could make it without renting ECVs for the day. We’d just take lots of breaks. I knew right away that at least Dad would need an ECV but it wouldn’t do any good to argue with him about it right then. We started walking to the bus stop, when I noticed Gladys was carrying her purse that weighed a ton with last minute stuff she’d thrown in for the trip. I’d handed her the purse for some reason earlier and knew how heavy it was. I suggested that I take it and have it locked up in a safe at the front desk. She was hesitant, but let me take it and have it locked up while they waited for me on one of the benches at the bus stop.

Soon we were on our way to Epcot. We still weren’t in vacation mode and the earlier stresses were hanging on. When we got to Epcot I went to the ticket window to have our passes upgraded to six days and the fellow hadn’t done it before so it took a while. I kept glancing back at my seniors and could tell they were getting tired of waiting with no place to sit. More stress…

Finally we had our upgraded passes and I just had to get them through bag check and the gates. I was the only one with a bag so the bag check was no problem; teaching three seniors about the finger scans or biometrics and inserting the cards where quite a different story. Luckily, there wasn’t anyone in line behind us as it was around 1:30 in the afternoon. Dad knew about it a little bit because I had an annual pass when we went last year, but Gladys and Clyde were knew to all this and I think they were feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything.

We sat down once inside to give them a rest. I suggested getting ECVs again, but Gladys and Clyde said they would be okay. Dad, I could tell wanted one, but didn’t want to get one if they didn’t. We were all getting hungry since we hadn’t eaten since the breakfast in Valdosta at 8 o’clock this morning. I suggested lunch at Teppanyaki since I’d switched one of our dinners PS from Teppanyaki to Le Cellier, that way we could eat at both. They agreed to that, we just had to get there, but first Dad wanted to ride Spaceship Earth.

Gladys and Clyde weren’t sure they wanted to get in that big ball or not, but we assured them it wasn’t a fast ride. Dad has bad knees and he hurt one of his knees sitting down in the cramped vehicle and the CM had to stop the “moving floor” as Gladys would call it because she and Clyde couldn’t get into the vehicle fast enough. Those moving floors would be an issue the rest of the trip.

Once on, I kept looking back at Gladys and Clyde and could tell they loved it. I don’t think Clyde had ever seen animatronics before. His mouth was agape looking at it all and I could hear Gladys giggling. I felt some of the stress of the day leaving my body then. When we got off, and off the moving floor, Clyde was talking about how real they looked. I knew he would love Disney!

We started slowly making our way to World Showcase. The Kristos were putting on a show so we stopped to rest and watch them. I could tell Dad was struggling and Gladys commented on it too. We got to where the friendship boats could take us across the lake and as we sat there waiting for a boat, I told Dad that after we ate lunch I was going to go rent a wheelchair for him. I told him it was only going to cost $10, not as much as a scooter. He argued a bit, but we all threatened to go back to Pop Century if he didn’t let me so he said okay. We had a plan.

When we got across the lake we went up the elevator to Teppanyaki but they couldn’t seat us. It seems that they weren’t seating anymore for lunch as it was already 4 o’clock. Where the time went, I don’t know. They were also booked solid for dinner. I left them watching the drummers in Japan while I ran to Chefs de France and they weren’t serving anymore until dinner either so I made a PS for 5 o’clock. I ran back to Japan to let them know and we walked back to France and I left them to watch the movie while I went to the International Gateway to get an ECV. Luckily, they had one more left. I knew Dad wouldn’t be happy in a wheelchair and would prefer the ECV so I paid for it out of my personal spending money so he couldn’t fuss about the cost. He loved riding around on the ECV last year. I must say that after all the frantic running around I’d been doing for the last few hours riding that ECV back to France was kind of nice.

You should’ve seen the smile on Dad’s face when he saw the ECV. Priceless.

We all went in Chefs de France and had a great dinner. We had an older French waiter from Italy that made Gladys swoon by kissing her hand. Dad, the man who fussed about spending money on an ECV for an extra day earlier, sprung for a bottle of wine with dinner that cost the same thing. Just a side note. None of them are short of money. It’s a senior thing I guess and I can understand it. They all grew up in the depression and when you get older and don’t have that steady income coming in, even though you might have a ton of money in the bank you still worry about it.

After dinner we went to the American Pavilion and watched some of the Colgate Country Music Showdown. In between acts there was a heavy guy named Bubba doing a comedy routine that was hilarious. Clyde loves humor and was cracking up. We didn’t watch all of it, because I could tell Gladys was getting tired and I began to worry about getting us back to Pop in the middle of a big crowd after Illuminations.

Instead of having Gladys and Clyde walk all the way out to the front gate and catch a bus, I took them out through the International Gateway where Dad had to turn in his ECV and we got the boat to the Boardwalk. We went in the lobby to rest a bit and show them where we’d be staying beginning the next day. They were all impressed with the Boardwalk. We caught a taxi from there to Pop Century where I collected Gladys’ purse and our room numbers, we went to our rooms in the 60’s section, bottom floor, side by side, just like I requested. Not a far walk at all. And our bags were waiting in the room when we got there. Thanks Pop Century!

Our thoughts on Pop Century: we all thought it was an adorable place for young families with kids. The rooms were clean and the beds were comfortable. There are a couple things I really like about the values over the deluxe resorts. For one, our luggage waiting in our room when we got there without having to call bell services for it was nice. I know why they don’t do it that way at the deluxe resorts and it’s so the bellman can get a tip. I’d gladly tip in advance to have this service; to me it’s more convenient. The other thing I like about the value resorts is the fact that the pool bars are open later. That one I can’t explain. I know at the All Stars there’s not a bar inside like Pop and the deluxe resorts, but that shouldn’t matter. In the summer time when the kids are swimming late it’s nice to be able to get a cocktail without having to go inside, especially if you’re in swimwear. Pool bars that close at 7pm are just not cool.

Sunday, January 30th - The Official Beginning of the Vacation

Up early again today and I went to the food court on a coffee run; didn’t bother with the mugs since we were moving to the Boardwalk Villas today. We met up in Gladys & Clyde’s room for sweet rolls with our coffee and discussion of our day ahead. I’m still in the deluxe state of mind and bring up calling to have our luggage picked up. Dad got to get his revenge by saying, “It’d be quicker if you just went right around that corner over there and got our own cart.” Sure enough, the luggage assistance cart getting place was just around the corner of the main building right by our room and I didn’t even have to go through the building to get to it. Score one for Dad!

I probably don’t even need to tell you that I got lost driving to the Boardwalk. I did. We went to Animal Kingdom instead. Got directions and then finally made it. Tons of Bell Services folks anxious to help here; I’m happy that I know the routine this time. We unloaded the luggage and said goodbye to the Explorer for the rest of our WDW stay. We’d be leaving the driving on WDW property to the experts for the rest of our stay. I’ve officially been banned from driving until we leave and that, my friends, suits me just fine.

After reading the thread by an anonymous former front desk manager CM on the DVC Community Board here on the DISboards titled “Why Cast Members Hate DVC Members” I didn’t know what I’d be walking into when I walked up to the front desk. Since becoming a DVC Member, I’ve been taking a little something to give to the front desk when I check in; baked cookies once, and took a box of Kentucky candy last June. I’d planned on making peanut brittle this time because I already had the ingredients since we didn’t make it Christmas Eve like we’d planned. But, with leaving a day early, I didn’t get to make it. After reading that thread, I really didn’t feel bad about it though; if they already hate me to begin with they’d more than likely just toss it in the trash and laugh at me behind my back for bringing it. Sorry, but my days of kissing up to the CMs are done. I’d never be nasty to them unless provoked but I chant be going out of my way to bring any magic either. Sorry, but that post still stings.

Right off the bat, I put Dad in charge of seeing to the three ECVs that were supposed to be delivered this morning while Gladys and I checked into our two studios. The gal at the front desk looked amazingly like another one of my aunts, Gladys sister, and was earning her ears and had a trainer with her. No hostility from the new girl, but I guess she hadn’t been trained in that department yet. The trainer wasn’t any too friendly but we were dealing directly with the newbie.

Check in was painless. I’d reserved the Boardwalk view and we had two side by side on the second floor. I’d made no requests except to be close together so I was happy. I asked to borrow a magic marker so that I could sign the back of our MYW passes so we could keep them straight since we had to do the biometric scan thing. They suggested having our passes put on our room keys that had our names already on them. They said I could have this done at the Guest Services desk. I had to go there to pick up our Hoop Dee Doo tickets anyway so I thanked them and we went over to the GS desk. Our rooms weren’t ready but that was alright because we had plans and ECVs this time.

Dad & Clyde already had the ECVs and Dad was giving Clyde instructions. Yes, they were tooling around the lobby of the Boardwalk Inn & Villas. No damage done. Actually, I think the staff got a kick out of us. Every morning we’d go through the lobby with me leading the way and the three seniors on ECVs following behind all in a row. We always got a smile and a wave. Being on the second floor (lobby level) was nice since we didn’t have to deal with an elevator to get to the room, just the elevator from the Boardwalk level to the lobby level.

We got our MYW passes put on the Key/Charge cards and that was really handy. It was already getting a little confusing for Gladys and Clyde about what card did what. After Gladys got her ECV lesson, we headed back to Epcot. Gladys had a basket on the ECV to carry her two ton purse she still hadn’t been able to unload yet.

Finally, after over two days of traveling and checking in/out of motels at last we were ready to begin our vacation. It was around 10ish so we headed to Future World. My seniors were getting used to their ECVs and having some fun with them too. They cut up into the covered gazebo area along the Boardwalk while I took pictures of them. We walked/rolled to Imagination because that’s what we came to first. Clyde got a big kick out the Honey I Shrunk the Audience, his first 3D film. Gladys squealed at the mice. Dad and I were having our fun just watching them experience it all.

It was disappointing that The Land was closed, although we knew it before we got there. I know Gladys and Clyde would’ve liked it since they’re farmers. They weren’t up for Mission Space or Test Track so we went to Energy next. Of course Dad & Clyde had to make some remarks about Ellen Degeneres but we all enjoyed this attraction too. All that was left for us was The Living Seas, and I was anxious to see the new Crush attraction for the first time.

There was a line in here to get into that first film section, but it wasn’t long. There was a lady CM that made my seniors look like spring chickens running the doors to the film. She had the senior’s line up at the gate thingy on their ECVs and made me stand at the turnstile. No problem. When the doors opened and it was time to go in, Dad & Clyde, who were first in line went on in.

Gladys just sat there. Her ECV was dead.

I tried to get it going and a gentleman that was in line came and tried to help too, but it wasn’t going anywhere. Dad & Clyde were already in the movie section with the doors closed and the CM had disappeared behind a Cast Members Only door. I thought perhaps it just needed more charging up so I plugged it into an outlet that was right there where we were. We didn’t know what to do or how to let the men know what was going on so we got in line again to get inside the building to find the men folk. Isn’t it stupid that you have to go through all that crap just to get in there?

The little ol’ CM came back out of “the room.” Her eyes landed on the dead ECV and she started squalking “Who left that there!” We stepped out of line and told her it was ours and that it quit on us. “Well, you can’t leave it there! You’re going to have to get it out of here!” I explained that I couldn’t get it to move. She picked up the Bat phone, err I mean telephone and called someone to “Push it out of here!”

Gladys and I got the hell out of there, we’d had enough embarrassment for one day, thank you. We went back outside and around to the exit and waited for someone to come out the exit and we went in and started looking for Clyde and Dad. We found them wandering around on their ECVs looking for us. I called Care Medical and told them what was going on and they were asking me technical questions, I didn’t have answers to. He said he’d send someone with a new one, but it would be 45 minutes to an hour. (This cell phone has come in handy on several occasions so far. I can see why you all like them so much.) What else do you do in this kind of circumstance? We went and saw Crush. Too cute for words. We wandered around a bit then decided to go outside and find the ECV and wait for Care Medical to come.

When we got outside we found the ECV plugged into an outlet that was buried in one of those combination planter/benches and a CM fellow was standing guard over it. He’d gotten it going! I’m not sure what he did, he told the men folk about it while I called Care Medical back to cancel the emergency call. Of course the man on the phone started with the technical questions again that I still didn’t have any answer to. After that fiasco, we were hungry and decided to eat at the Coral Reef.

I’d never eaten here before and was a bit reluctant after all the bad reviews here on the DISboards but it was quite good. We got a table by the tank and watched the fish and the divers and laughed about the men leaving us stranded with a dead ECV. (Full dining reports can be found on the Restaurant Board)

After lunch I called to see if our rooms were ready and they were. We were in the mood to do a little nesting so we walked/rolled back to the Boardwalk to unpack and get settled in. We got a Bellman with our luggage and followed him to our rooms. We decided to use that wide circular area with a wooden bench about halfway there to be our ECV parking lot. I’d okayed it with the front desk first who told us it was okay to park them in the hallways. At least here, they wouldn’t be so much in the way of people and luggage carts.

Dad & I unpacked in our room then I went to check on Gladys and Clyde. We’d borrowed my brother’s air mattress to put on the sleeper sofa so it would sleep better and I wanted to get that set up for them. We all ended up working up a sweat taking turns with the hand pump, but we got it blown up and Gladys said she slept well on it the whole trip.

The time flew by again and we ended up running late for our 6:30 Priority Seating at Le Cellier in Canada at Epcot World Showcase. I had the senior gang put their ECVs in rabbit speed to go ahead of me and check in. The ECVs come in two speeds, turtle and rabbit. We made it on time and had an excellent dinner. That filet with the mushroom risotto will make your tongue want to slap your brains out! The cheese soup was excellent too. After dinner we saw the movie in the Canadian pavilion, Oh Canada, and then staked out a spot to watch Illuminations. It was a little cool that night so we found a spot near one of the giant torches for warmth. Everyone loved the show. We let the crowd clear out a little before making our way out the International Gateway and back to the Boardwalk.

The Boardwalk was hopping with the games and we ran into a magician and a fellow doing hat tricks. We were going to stop in the Boardwalk Bakery for a treat but we were all too stuffed from dinner. We did stop in the Screen Door to pick up some soft drinks, milk and other supplies for the studios before calling it a night.

Two Tylenol PMs for my aching back & feet and I was out like a light on the pull out sofa bed. Being the good daughter I am, I let Dad have the real bed again this trip. Four DVC trips so far and I’ve only gotten to sleep on a real bed one time. I’m not doing something right here…

To Be Continued On This Same Thread....
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Old 02-11-2005, 12:07 AM   #2
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Great report! Keep 'em coming .

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Old 02-11-2005, 01:44 AM   #3
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Hi Jennymouse My sister and I have been anxiously awaiting your trip report with your seniors! Traveling with Mom (84) last summer I sure can relate! It's good they have you to take them.
Am looking forward to reading your next segment!
The CM's we encountered with Mom along with us treated her like a queen, she loved it! She told me the other day that is was her "trip" of a life time.
You're creating some great memories for yourself, your dad, uncle and aunt.

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Old 02-11-2005, 08:39 AM   #4
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Great trip report so far. Eagerly awaiting the rest. We took my 76 yo (now, her '21st' birthday was 2/8) Grandma for her first ever trip to the World in December. She is going back we us for our first trip home(not really, we own at SSR and are staying at OKW) in May/early June. I understand about the money thing. I pay for virtually everything except the cash meals which I pawn off on my Mom but Grandma was worried about having the money to go on the June trip. I'll probably get in trouble if she ever finds out I booked the airline tickets(including one in her name) before she actually agreed to come. Epcot convinced my Grandma that the walking was too much also but we used the wheelchair rather than ECV option.

MontanaMinnies: Where are you from? We lived in and around Missoula until my sophmore year of high school when my parents returned to western NY.
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Old 02-11-2005, 09:05 AM   #5
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Enjoying your report. It sounds like this will work out to be a nice relaxing trip! Our last trip, we rented points at BWV, and my mom stayed at Pop, so I figured out the best way to get between the two places. But it was confusing the first time!
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:36 AM   #6
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OMG- Your trip reports has me laughing at your images with your seniors ! I can just picture them trailing (rolling) behind you, like a mama duck and her little ducklings. Too Too funny !! And, the whole car trip and the temperature! That sounds so familiar ! I'll be traveling with 5 yr. olds twins in May, and I think we will have some similarities even with such a huge age difference. Can't wait for the rest of the report !!
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:39 AM   #7
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Love the first part of your report, can't wait to read the rest. We have taken my wife's parents on trips the last 3 years and they just love it. They are both in there 70's and just loved WDW when we took them there for the first time for Christmas 2001.
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Old 02-11-2005, 11:55 AM   #8
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What a wonderful report. I have been laughing my you know what off. Keep them coming.
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:07 PM   #9
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Monday, January 31st – MGM Day

One thing I like about these January/February trips is that I don’t feel it’s necessary to arrive at the parks right at opening. Well, except for Magic Kingdom; I think you always need to tackle that one early. Things just kind of go more smoothly when you start out at opening; come in later and I feel behind for some reason.

I need to address the fat doors at the Boardwalk Villas; plus it will give you all reading a little tip/trick thing you might want to try. I got the idea here, but there may be someone out there that hasn’t heard it. I’ve got one of those plastic shoe holder things that hang on a door with lots of pockets with flaps on them. I didn’t buy this one. It’s one that Mom had hanging on the door to hold all of her sewing/quilting paraphernalia. I don’t do much sewing so I took all the sewing stuff out about a year after she died and turned it into my Disney stuff holder. It’s full of all the over the counter meds, foot stuff, sunscreen stuff, first aid stuff, and just everything and anything I like to have on my trip. I roll it up carefully, even though there are flaps things can fall out if I’m not careful, and put it in this duffel bag I have. When I get to the resort I carefully unroll it and hang it on the bathroom door. That way, when I need something, I don’t have to go digging around in a bag hunting for it, its right there. At the end of a trip, I roll it up and put it back in the duffel bag and it stays there until right before I go on a trip. I get it out and hang it on a door at home so I can go through it and see what meds have an expired date and throw them away. I then make a note of the stuff I need to replenish and fill it back up a little at a time before I go. I have, in an emergency gotten into it for stuff throughout the year too, I just have to want it real back to go through the trouble to unroll it. The doors in the Boardwalk Villas are too fat for the hooks to hang it on the door. It’ll hang on the door but the hook won’t go all the way around the top of the door to secure it well.

I hung it on the door anyway. It just meant that we couldn’t close the bathroom door all the way or it would make it fall. Dad fussed about it, but I wouldn’t give. I promised not to peek at him if he promised not to peek at me. Dad’s in bed still when I’m getting ready and while he’s getting ready, I’m putting up the fold out sofa and making his bed so there’s no opportunities to peek even if we wanted to, and I damn sure don’t want to. I just like to have the stuff handy so I don’t have to dig in a bag for it. I used to fill zip lock bags then put the zip locks in a big “Mary Poppins” bag, but this is so much better. Try it sometime, you’ll love it.

How long do you think the shoe holder hung on the door without falling? You’ll just have to wait and see.
Now, back to the report.

I got up and made coffee and took my shower. Dad got up when I was finished with the bathroom. Around 9, I called Gladys & Clyde to see if they were ready for the day. They were about ready so we went to their room and had cereal and donuts with them for breakfast. After breakfast, we made our way down to the boat dock to catch the boat to MGM.

If you’ve never used the boat dock at the Boardwalk you’ll need to know that they have it set up with metal fences/handrails into sections kind of like they use for the queues at the ride attractions. One section is for the boat to Epcot, one for MGM and the middle section is for folks disembarking the boat. I told you earlier that Clyde is a cattle farmer, and he couldn’t help but notice that he had a bunch of these back on the farm for herding cattle and what not. The sections are narrow too, so when we got there and got the ECVs in the cattle shoots, there was no turning around and there was no way anyone could pass because it was a tight fit.

There was a woman with a couple kids already there in the front of the cattle shoot and we came in behind them. I could see her kind of looking at us all worried like but couldn’t imagine what her problem might be. The little girl asked where her daddy was and she made a big deal out of the fact that he had to make an important phone call to his company and went on to talk about how he owns the company and it’s so hard for him to vacation and keep up with work.

It wasn’t a minute or so and here comes the husband who got into the MGM line behind us. Well, that just wasn’t going to suit the wife. It didn’t matter that we were all going to be getting on the boat at the same time anyway, she wanted her husband right there beside them. She asked us if we minded to back up and get out of line so that her husband could join them at the front of the line. Clyde was the last one in line and being the nice guy that he is, he started trying to back up on the wet steep metal ramp but his wheels just kept spinning.

I was standing right beside the woman and said, “It isn’t going to work. We’re all getting on the same boat at the same time anyway.” About that time their little girl starts crying, “I want my Daddy.” The husband just kind of shrugged his shoulders and rolled his eyes at us. I thought the wife was going to start crying too, so I kind of ducked and stepped through the cattle shoot bars into the disembarking section, walked up the ramp and reentered the MGM line, got the husband by the hand and walked him back down the disembarking section, walked him around to the front of the MGM section and stood him beside his little girl. I then went back and got in the MGM line behind Clyde. Clyde looked like he’d been studying the situation real hard and said, “You know, there’s not a whole lot of difference between some folks and cattle.”

We caught the boat to MGM around 10 and there would be no mad dash to Tower of Terror or Rock & Rollercoaster for us! We mossyed on over to The Great Movie Ride and enjoyed that attraction then hit the Muppet 3D movie. I’m getting tired of that one and didn’t think I’d ever would. Afterwards, we did Indiana Jones and then it was lunchtime.

We ate at the Prime Time Café with no PS and no wait. The seniors really loved this place. They talked about the tables, the stuff on the walls, and even the waitress uniforms. Our waitress was good, but not over the top. I saw several things in there I’d like to have to sell on eBay but they were all glued down, darn it.

MGM just doesn’t hold a lot of attractions for the senior set. Most of them are either geared to the thrill seekers or little ones. But come to think of it, they don’t have very many things for each set, because I know that folks with little ones think there’s not much there for them and the thrill seekers say there’s only ToT & R&R. So, I guess MGM has just a little bit to fit each set, but not enough to satisfy all. Last year Dad kind of liked MGM, but this year everything seemed ho hum. We went to Little Mermaid after lunch, then One Man’s Dream.

It was getting to be around 3pm and I realized we weren’t going to make it back to the Boardwalk before our PS for Brown Derby and Fantasmic. Gladys just had on a sweater and I started to worry that she’d freeze to death at Fantasmic, so I walked them all to the Beauty and The Beast show then told them I was going to run back to the rooms to gather up our coats. I told them I’d meet them at the end of the street on the corner where the parade would go through. Dad insisted on me taking his ECV so I could get there and back quicker. I told him I didn’t need it but he kept insisting so I took the ECV.

There wasn’t a boat in site when I exited the park so I took the walking path back to Boardwalk on the ECV and it was kind of fun. Rabbit speed all the way, baby! Back at the rooms I gathered up Gladys & Clyde’s coats, and since Dad already had his jacket, I got him a sweatshirt to put on under it. I put my Cuddle Duds on under my khakis and high tailed it back to MGM in time to find the men on their ECVs on the corner. Gladys wasn’t with them when I got back, but they said she’d gone into one of the shops to find a hat. I went looking for her.

I don’t know the name of the shop I found her in but when I saw her standing there looking at the hats, the way she was holding her head and the look on her face looked so much like my mother that I almost cried. This trip was the first time I really saw my mother in Gladys. It’s not that they look so much alike, but it’s just that they have some of the same expressions and movements. But I’d just never saw them before. After that moment I kept seeing it throughout the trip. Maybe it was because I kept wishing Mom was here with us, or maybe it was because she was here with us in spirit and I felt her presence.

Gladys picked out a cute little hat that was khaki colored with black hidden Mickeys all over it and a little brim. She looked cute in it. She found a ball cap for Clyde too because he’d been wearing an old red one with Morrison’s written on the front and she thought he needed a Disney one to wear.

We went back and joined the men and watched the parade. They got a kick out of me waving and calling to the characters just like the kids did. We were all amazed at how much the Bert character with Mary Poppins looked and acted just like the real Bert, Dick Van ****, in the movie.

After the parade we went and did Millionaire. They took us into the theatre a different way than the rest due to the ECVs. This way brought us out onto the glass floor with the metal spiky things that the Zurgs little girl was leery of when she had to walk on it to get to the hot seat. It kind of caused me to pause too, as it looks like you’re getting ready to fall into a place that would hurt. A cute little girl got in the hot seat and it was fun to watch. None of us made the board. I don’t think we did anything else before it was time for our PS at the Brown Derby.

Our waitress at the Brown Derby was the Zurg family’s friend from Morocco. She was sweet and lots of fun and the dinner was delicious. I ordered an Apple Martini and Dad ordered a glass of milk to drink. When she brought the drinks she sat the martini in front of Dad instead of the milk. Dad asked her if he looked like an alcoholic and she smiled and giggled and said, “Yes.” We all cracked up. It was the best meal and service of the trip. The only thing bad that happened was that Gladys accidentally knocked a full glass of ice water in my lap and I was literally soaked. She felt awful about it, but I kept telling her it was okay. I just had another one of those Apple Martinis to warm me up and luckily the khakis dried pretty quickly. What can I say, I’m a hot woman.LOL Well, they at least dried well enough that it didn’t look like I’d peed my pants when we left.

After dinner it was almost time for Fantasmic so we went to find our seats about a half hour early. They always seat the ECVs at the top row and it was colder than a well digger’s butt on top of that hill. Clyde said that was the only time he’d ever gone to an outdoor show when it was below zero. I think it was around 45 degrees but it did feel cold up there. And the mist from the water screens still reached us so we were getting cold and damp. We stayed for the whole show and had to wait forever before the senior gang could even back their ECVs out due to the crowd leaving. We finally got out and since we weren’t quite cold enough we decided to take the boat to Beaches & Cream to get ice cream.

On the way to the Beach Club in the boat, Clyde and I got stuck in the outside back part because there was no more room inside. There was another man out there that I started talking to and got his life story in no time. When we were getting off the boat, I was expecting Dad & Gladys to come out the back way since that’s the way they went in, so after I made sure that Clyde got off alright, I went to see where they were. I looked in the back door of the boat just in time to see Dad and the boat Captain pulling Dad’s ECV out of that big drop off well like area where the captain stands. Opps! That drop off is about a foot deep too! I asked Dad why they didn’t come out the back and he said the captain told everyone to go out the front. Oh well, no harm done.

Since the boat dock is closer to the Yacht Club than the Beach Club we went in the Yacht Club to use the restrooms then took the hallways down by the Yachtmans Steakhouse then out onto the walkway. At Beaches & Cream I ordered us a Kitchen Sink and the seniors about fell out of the booth when they brought it to the table! So funny. We tried our best but we couldn’t finish it. Afterwards, we went through the Beach Club lobby and out the back doors that go to the villas so we could show them my home resort. From there we took the short cut back behind the Beach Club and then out onto the bridge to the Boardwalk.

It was a pretty good day, but Gladys & Clyde liked MGM the least of the four parks. I was dead tired when we got back to the studios. It’s hard to keep up with three seniors on ECVs! When I took my shoes off, I saw that I had blisters. Not on the bottoms of my feet, but on top. I always put moleskin on the bottoms and so they were fine, but I’ve never had blisters on the tops before. They were right by where the big toe bends on both feet. I had to put those skin like bandages on them before I went to bed.

Finally, it was time to hit the fold out! Two Tylenol PMs please!
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:14 PM   #10
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I love reading your report. My father (77) has lived with me and my husband for the last year. I can soooo relate to your report!!
God bless you for taking all three of them to WDW. To be honest I have a hard enough time with my dad sometimes... I don't know if i could do my aunt and uncle also. You are a saint!!!
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsJ Henry
To be honest I have a hard enough time with my dad sometimes...
As you know, as long as I do everything his way, we get along just fine! That's why I stay on the computer all the time, I never get to watch what I want to watch on TV. Right now, In The Heat of the Night, is on.
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:36 PM   #12
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YUP!!!!!!! I can REALLY relate Jennymouse!!! My husband is sitting here laughing after reading your report and your statement about being on the computer all the time!!!!! This is our life sometimes!!!!
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:39 PM   #13
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I hope when I'm a Senior, I have someone like you to take me to Disney ! Can't wait for the rest of your stories, Can't wait to see the Seniors take on the Magic Kingdom !!
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Our 10yr. old twins take on the World for Spring Break-2010
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2424485
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Old 02-12-2005, 11:29 AM   #14
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Loving your reports, had some laughs over getting lost driving around (my husband, an experiened NYC and boston driver, gets lost in DW) and "your seniors" and their ECVs.
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Old 02-12-2005, 12:47 PM   #15
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Tuesday, February 1st – Hoop Dee Doo Day

Today was the first day that I needed my drug cocktail when I got up. My drug cocktail is four ibuprophen and four Tylenol; not PM just regular. But I’d have to wait until I had something on my stomach first. When my feet hit the floor that morning pain shot up in my ankles and hit my chins and it felt like both my chins were broke. I’m serious. My ankles and chins hurt so bad I couldn’t even feel the blisters on the tops of my feet.

I made it to the kitchenette, got the coffee started and prayed that the hot water in the shower would help. It didn’t. Dad was snoozing through my moaning and groaning; either that or he was playing possum. As I stood there brushing my teeth I kept thinking that if I could just take the cocktail I’d be able to make it through another day. Tonight was Hoop Dee Doo night, so there’d only be a half day of park walking; all I had to do was make it around World Showcase.

Since we were doing World Showcase today and it didn’t open until 11am, we’d decided to have breakfast at Spoodles there on the Boardwalk. It was a good thing we weren’t trying to get an early start because I was moving very slowly. I squeezed the little buttons that releases the blow dryer out of its little resting place on the wall and somehow I let it slip and it fell to the vanity top and hit the glass that held Dad’s false teeth. The glass tipped over and sent the teeth and foamy green water across the vanity and the teeth went into the sink.

That got Dad up. Denture wearers get panicky when they think something has happened to their teeth. For good reason I guess. Dad forgot the no peeking rule and came to see what happened and caught be in my undies. Our eyes meet in the mirror and he turned around and shuffled back to bed. I told him what I did and that his teeth were okay, then picked them up, put them back in the glass and ran some water over them.

It’s strange what will trigger memories, but handling Dad’s false teeth brought back when Mom was sick and I brushed hers for her every morning. When the cancer in her brain got to affecting her bad, she would clinch her teeth and wouldn’t let me have them. She even bit me once. After a couple days, they looked like she’d been eating cottage cheese so I caught her asleep and dug them out of her mouth and brushed them. The hospice nurse that checked on us every day told me not put them back in, but when Dad took his shift he gave them to her again. Denture wearers stick together too.

Dad and I both still struggle with images of “Sick Mom” and long for more images of “Well Mom.” We had the choice of either taking care of Mom at home during her last days versus taking her to the Hospice floor at St Joseph Hospital. Before she got bad, she’d said that she wanted to die at home so we went with her wishes of course. It wasn’t easy doing the things we had to do to take care of her most basic needs. There are things the body does during its final days that I’ll spare you the details of. I’m not sure, but I think if she’d known she would’ve opted to go to the Hospice center. We could’ve still been with her all day & night but the nurses would’ve taken care of these things that sometimes still come into our heads when we think of Mom. It’s getting better all the time though.

Sorry I had to “go there” but felt it might help someone with that decision if, God forbid, you ever have to make that decision. I’m not saying don’t do as we did and take care of them at home, just that you need to know that although it’s nice to be able to let me be comfortable at home, there are consequences. Enough of that, okay.

While Dad was getting ready, I made his bed but decided against putting the sleeper bed away, although I did make it up like a bed. We hadn’t been spending any time in the room to sit around on the sofa anyway.

I called Gladys & Clyde to see if they were up and ready yet. Gladys was just now getting into the shower so we told them we’d meet them in the lobby in a half hour or so. Dad & I went out on the Boardwalk and looked around a bit and I popped in Spoodles to make sure they could take us for breakfast. No problem, the place was practically empty. We went around to the pool area and checked it out, then went back to the lobby to wait for Gladys and Clyde. Dad went into the gift shop and found a Boardwalk polo shirt he liked. It was a DVC member shirt and he wasn’t technically a member but that was alright, I’m glad he feels like one.

About then, Gladys and Clyde came rolling in and we went to Spoodles and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast. I ate and took my drug cocktail as the pain hadn’t eased up at all. Usually, by the time I take the cocktail and walk around a bit the soreness goes away. We walked/rolled down the Boardwalk to the International Gateway. The thought of walking around the World Showcase filled me with dread. I broke down and rented myself an ECV too. Gladys actually talked me into it knowing I was hurting when she saw me take the cocktail.

I felt like a wus, but I soon got over it. To those of you who think only people with a doctor’s note ought to be allowed ECVs…bite me. We had a wonderful day tooling around the World Showcase catching all the shows and steetmosphere. The weather was great too. Gladys & Clyde got a kick out of the Living Statue especially and I think I got a picture of them with her. Dad got to see “Those Boys” again (Off Kilter) and Gladys enjoyed watching the little kids up front dancing. We caught the character bus and Gladys had to have her picture with Mickey. Dad and Clyde kept about 40’ away from them.

We explored every country and Gladys said she thoroughly enjoyed Epcot. They thought the ride in Norway was a thrill ride and that I tricked them to get them on it. Which it partly true because I was gradually working them into something I wanted them to try later. Insert evil laugh here.

It wasn’t long before it was time to go get ready for the Hoop Dee Doo Revue. I hated to turn in my ECV, but I did and took the boat to the Boardwalk and the seniors took the pathway. They beat me there of course, but that’s okay.

All we had to do was change clothes and freshen up a bit. We left the ECVs at the resort and took a taxi to Fort Wilderness. Well, that’s where we were headed anyway; I got a bright idea and told the taxi driver to drop us off at the Wilderness Lodge instead so Gladys and Clyde could see the Lodge and we could take the boat over to Fort Wilderness. My Uncle Steve was an engineer who worked for the company that built Wilderness Lodge, as well as Epcot, MGM, and the Caribbean Beach Resort. They were quite impressed with the Wilderness Lodge. We checked out the tiles along the front of the check in desk and stuff and remembered Steve having to go to Italy to pick them out.

The boat ride to Fort Wilderness was a chilly one though, but everyone agreed it was worth it for them to be able to see Wilderness Lodge. We were still early so we went into the Tavern and Dad & Gladys got coffee, Clyde got a beer and I got a coffee drink. Clyde knew the names of all the old farm equipment hanging from the walls and ceiling in the Tavern and even how each piece was used. While we enjoyed our beverages, I kept my eye on the line that had formed outside to check in for the Hoop Dee Doo. I decided to avoid the herd and just waited until I saw it get down to the last couple families before I went out and got in it to check in. We didn’t want to have our pictures taken anyway.

After the dinner bell was rang, we were led to our table which was right up front but to the left in front of the piano and banjo players. That was probably the only time in my life that I wished I had a whoopee cushion. The piano player’s chair was right next to me and it had a little cushion on it and I thought it’d be funny to slip a whoopee cushion under it for when he sat down. Let the big rip get picked up on the microphone. hehe

I don’t really find the HDD all that funny, some of the audience in it is funny though. But we had a good time. I didn’t know it until when they were asking for folks who were celebrating their anniversaries that Gladys & Clyde’s anniversary was on the 9th. I told them to raise their hands and they did. If I had known they were celebrating their anniversary, there are so many things I could’ve had set up for them. Oh well, I guess if they’d wanted a big deal made of it they would’ve told me.

They got to get up and waltz with the others who were celebrating honeymoons or anniversaries. Since they’d been married the longest of them all, 54 years, they asked Clyde the secret to staying married so long and he said, “Agree with your wife most of the time.” He got applause. The food was good too. Clyde and I had beer, Gladys had sangria and Dad drank his milk. I don’t know what the milk deal was all about; Dad never just drinks a glass of milk at home. Disney must’ve really been bringing out the kid in him and he got to craving it.

We were going to take a taxi back to the Boardwalk but there was a bus waiting for the Epcot resorts so we just hopped on it. It wasn’t long before we were “home” where we made it an early night to rest up for the rest of the trip.
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