A Failure to Launch but Scaling a Mountain (aka My First Trip Report!) Updated 04/20!

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by Missyrose, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. Missyrose

    Missyrose DIS Veteran

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    Hi everyone! This is my first stab at a trip report but what I lack in trip report experience, I promise I’ll make up with fun stories, awesome photos (courtesy of my partner in crime, Franklin) and a little pixie dust. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but mainly, you’ll wish you were in Orlando RIGHT NOW!
    So away we go....

    But first, a few introductions:

    The stars of our show:
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    That’s me (Missy) on the left. I’m 28 and a copy editor in the Sports department of The Washington Post. I live in the Virginia suburbs of D.C. with my loving boyfriend of almost eight years, Franklin. I love sports (a little obvious from my career choice), all things pop culture and of course, I’m a total Disney World geek. My family went every four years while I was growing up (I went at age 4, 8, 12 and 16) and I took Franklin for his first WDW experience in February 2009. I’ve only ever stayed offsite (mostly at the Marriott World Center, but also at a couple of timeshare places), but have vowed that my next Disney trip will be an onsite stay!

    Franklin is on the right. He’s also 28 and he’s a space planner at an architecture firm in the D.C. area. His current project is at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. He loves cars, sports (especially his beloved Virginia Tech football) and his true passion is photography. I think he’s extraordinarily talented, and hopefully you’ll agree once you see all the fabulous photos he took on this trip!

    Here’s two more people you should know:
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    Kristin (aka KK) is on the right, she’s been my best friend since the eighth grade. This photo is actually from our last vacation together (Mexico in May 2007). Her parents work for NASA and her mom was the one who got us launch tickets and encouraged us to go see the shuttle launch before NASA ends the shuttle program.
    Dan is on the left, he’s KK’s boyfriend of almost 7 ½ years, they live in Berkley, Calif. which means we don’t get to seem them nearly enough. So getting to spend a week with the two of them was really exciting.

    Here’s what you need to know about our trip plans:

    Why we’re in WDW: We were heading to Florida for the Discovery Space Shuttle launch (original launch date was scheduled for Nov. 1 -- KK’s birthday!). We’re all big Harry Potter fans, so this was our first chance to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure. I also was planning for four days at Disney with Franklin, and KK and Dan could tag along with us if they wanted (they’re not as into the whole Disney thing as I am).

    Travel: We all flew into Orlando on Saturday, Oct. 30 and stayed until Thursday, Nov. 4.

    Where we stayed: My dad is a member of Interval International, so we were able to score a two bedroom villa at Mystic Dunes for really cheap.

    How we got around: Another one of our friends was planning to drive down from Savannah for Harry Potter and the launch, so we rented a minivan (using an awesome code I found over on the transportation board!) to carry us around. And we had a Diamond Parking Pass from AAA to use at the Disney parks.

    Where to eat?: I made a few ADR’s before the trip, but between the early park hours and how flexible we were going to have to be in case the launch got pushed until later in our trip, we planned to eat most dinners after the parks closed (and probably offsite, as well).
     
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  3. Missyrose

    Missyrose DIS Veteran

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  4. Missyrose

    Missyrose DIS Veteran

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    So my job comes with some weird hours and the night before our trip was no different. I was at work until just after 2 a.m., got home closer to 3 and had my alarm set for 4:30. So there would be very, very little sleep for me before our date with the Mouse. But it would soooo be worth it, because we were heading to Disney World! :banana:

    Franklin’s mom arrived at 5:15 a.m. to take us to the airport. Our bags were packed, my lime green mickey heads were clearly visible
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    And we were off! We got to the airport at 5:30, about an hour and a half before our flight. Now the security lines at the Washington D.C. airports have been known to be extensive, so imagine my surprise when we were checked in and THROUGH SECURITY by 5:40, that has never happened to me before. Perhaps a little Pixie Dust to start our vacation?

    With all the extra time on our hands, we decided to grab some breakfast. The Five Guys at the airport does egg sandwiches so we headed that way.
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    We each had a sandwich and we split an order of fries. Yes, french fries for breakfast... we were truly on vacation! :woohoo:

    We were both full (but still pretty bleary-eyed at the early hour)
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    so we grabbed a seat as we waited to board. Now a little backstory about our plane tickets. We had gotten fairly good deals for direct flights on JetBlue. I always select seats when I first buy tickets, and I did just that for these flights. When I had gone online to check something out about our reservations about a month before we left, it didn’t have any seat numbers listed on our outbound flight. I called JetBlue and customer service assured me that my seat assignments were showing up in their system. So imagine my surprise when I went to check in the day before our flight and it asked me to select seats. So I called JetBlue again and this time they said they didn’t show seat assignments for us in the system, so the supervisor gave us the last two seats together on the plane: the extra-legroom seats in the exit row. Score!

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    It was still really early (and I was pretty exhausted from my lack of sleep) so as the sun came up
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    I dozed until the pilot came on the P.A. and announced we were beginning our descent into Orlando!
    As we were gathering our things to leave the plane, the woman who had been sitting behind me saw my LGMH and said “You’re on the DIS boards too?” I was so excited to meet another DISer that I forgot to get her screen name. But we talked about how we ended up posting on both the October and November trip boards because our trips overlapped both months.

    I would have loved to stay and chat, but it was just after 9 a.m. and I had a crazy, time-sensitive plan to start our trip.

    Our plan was to go to DHS that day, but I knew how ridiculous the FastPass situation has been with Toy Story Mania. So my crazy plan was to pick up our rental car, head straight to DHS to try to get TSM FP’s and then go check into our hotel. It was an Early Morning Hour at DHS, so I knew the odds of us getting a FP after 10:30 would be slim, but we’d give it a shot.

    So did we nab those coveted FP’s? Stay tuned for “A crazy plan to start the trip”...
     
  5. Where'sPiglet?

    Where'sPiglet? DIS Veteran

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    I love great pictures. I'm looking forward to seeing some!

    My family also went (almost) every four years growing up! We went in 92, 96, 2000, and 2005.
     
  6. irishdancer86

    irishdancer86 DIS Veteran

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    great start to your trip report!

    your job sounds like a lot of fun! you were lucky to get to go to a launch, I hadn't realised they were winding down the space programme until we vsited KSC this year, pretty sad!

    looking forward to reading your thoughts on the launch and Harry Potter, the film was released here on thursday, can't wait to see it!:banana:

    I'm like you, determined my next trip to Disney will be on property!:cool1:
     
  7. Where'sPiglet?

    Where'sPiglet? DIS Veteran

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    Oops...double post. The first time I tried to post it, I was given the "fatal error" message.
     
  8. kpetten51

    kpetten51 Earning My Ears

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    I'm subscribing! :) Looking forward to hearing more about your trip! Can't wait to see if you got the FP's! :rotfl:
     
  9. Missyrose

    Missyrose DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for reading! I love how often my family went. Actually, while I was in DW this time, my dad said he was a little jealous that I got to go back :lmao:
    Thanks for stopping by my report! The plan was to see the launch, but plans don't always work out...you'll just have to stay tuned :eek:
    My first subscriber! I'm so excited. I was a little afraid no one would read what I was writing!
     
  10. Nermel9

    Nermel9 DIS Veteran

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    I'm in! Great start! I can't believe you have a Five Guys in your aiport...so jealous! :rotfl:
     
  11. Missyrose

    Missyrose DIS Veteran

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    :welcome: Thanks for joining me!
     
  12. heaven2dc

    heaven2dc DIS Veteran

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    Great start! We are flying out of Reagan on Sunday and am excited to finally be in WDW in just a few days (my son lost his I.D. card so we aren't sure how that will pan out when we try to go thru security. He's 23 and since VA mails your ID's to you now, we won't get it in time before we fly out.)
     
  13. Missyrose

    Missyrose DIS Veteran

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    :wave2: Hi, welcome aboard! Hope you have a magical trip, can't wait to hear all about it when you get back.
     
  14. Missyrose

    Missyrose DIS Veteran

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    Where I left off, we had just arrived in sunny Orlando. When we had left D.C. that morning, it was experiencing its first cold snap of the fall, bottoming out at 35 degrees. So that blast of heat you feel as you leave the plane was a quick reminder of the climate change we were in for.

    We got off the plane just after 9, grabbed our quick-arriving luggage and headed for the rental car counter. Now my group had researched rental cars for months and we were pretty set on getting two intermediate cars because it was proving to be FAR cheaper than a minivan or SUV that would hold all five of us at once (Me, Franklin, KK, Dan and our friend Ben who would be joining us for the shuttle launch). That was the plan until our lovely friends over on the DIS transportation board gave me the Budget code X474200 and the coupon code MUWZ023. Instead of a minivan being $500 or $600 for the week, it brought it down to $258 for the entire week! Total score. Hope some of you can take advantage of the same deal the next time you’re heading to WDW!

    We were in our minivan and on our way to DHS at 9:55.

    [​IMG]

    Now, for those following at home: The plan was to race to DHS (which was having Early Magic Hour that morning) to try to get Toy Story Mania FastPasses. I knew the odds were against us. I’d been looking at the WDW Lines app on my Droid the past couple of Saturdays and the FP’s for TSM had been running out between 10:30 and 11. But, this was our only planned day at DHS, so unless we wanted to wait in a ridiculous standby line at the end of the day, our best attempt was going to be those FP’s.

    Soon we saw this:
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    and I started grinning. :woohoo: I know I’m supposed to be this mature adult and I’ve taken lots of fantastic trips all over the world. But there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being back at Disney and really realizing that you’re there.

    And at
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    we pulled through this gate!
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    And tooled our way up to the AAA Diamond parking lot.
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    Now we were pretty focused on our goal, so there aren’t any pictures of our entry into DHS (I’m sure ya’ll can understand). But as soon as we were through the turnstiles, Franklin took off with our tickets to hopefully grab a set of TSM FP’s.

    I wasn’t too far behind him and as I turned the corner into Pixar Place, he was walking back toward me.

    He had gotten into a FP machine line and as the two people in front of him stepped up to the machine, the CM’s announced that all the FP’s had been given out for that day, it was 10:36. So close! :sad2:
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    The standby line had an 80-minute posted wait time and since we hadn’t even checked into our hotel yet, we decided that line was a bit much for our first attraction at Disney. So we headed toward Rock-n-Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror so Franklin could get in a ride or two before we headed to the hotel. Now, I should probably tell you guys upfront that I am a complete scaredy cat when it comes to rides. I don’t like roller coasters (Big Thunder Mountain being the only exception ever since I was little). Franklin gets it and he’s perfectly fine going on stuff as a single rider.

    As he went off to ride his first thrill rides,
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    I took a seat on a bench to people-watch and look at the park map to game plan a bit. That was when I realized how hot it was and how much I was sweating. I was wearing a cute short-sleeved cardigan with short leggings, an outfit I had worn plenty toward the end of summer at home. And with a forecast of the low 80s I thought it would be perfect. Wrong! I had forgotten how hot that Florida sun gets and how much warmer the low 80s feel there. So I ducked into the store to look around and cool off. After a few minutes I started to feel like myself again and my shopping gene totally kicked in. I did a mental tally of the outfits I brought with me and determined that I could definitely use another lightweight option or two. And luckily, I just happened to find two adorable t-shirts (one Mickey and one Minnie, of course!). I tried them on and they fit perfectly, totally meant to be. I waited for Franklin to show back up because he had my credit card in his backpack.

    Having already made a dent in my credit limit, I decided it was time to head back to the hotel, drop off our stuff and change. We piled back into the minivan and headed off to the Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf. I had only ever stayed in Marriott timeshares so I was a little worried about trying something outside of that brand. But it ended up totally fine. The two bedroom villa was huge! The master had a king-sized bed, the second bedroom had two queens. There was a living room, dining room, kitchen and screened-in porch. I quickly changed because we had to be back at DHS for our 12:55 ADR at 50s Primetime Cafe. Here’s the first of my new T-shirts:
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    50s Primetime Cafe was a repeat visit for us (we’d first eaten here during our 2009 trip and loved it!) We made it back to 50s after our hotel detour, but we were 10 minutes late which made Cousin Sally at the host stand none too pleased with us. But we were quickly seated.
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    Cousin Cooper was our waiter and he was very into the whole 50s vibe, totally sarcastic, gave us tons of crap and we loved every minute of it! We ordered our drinks (iced tea for me, a root beer float for Franklin). Cousin Cooper brought me two iced teas
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    and said “I know how you iced tea drinkers are.”

    He brought Franklin just one root beer float and proceeded to line the table around it with napkins
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    “This is going to be messy,” he said. “And it looks like I won’t be getting any help from the two of you with cleaning up.”

    He then proceeded to dump the plate of silverware that was sitting on the table. “I guess it’s too much to ask of you guys to set the table properly.”

    The manager came out and asked us not to make Cousin Cooper upset because once he got upset, there was nothing anyone could do to calm him down.

    Luckily our relationship with Cousin Cooper thawed just enough for him to bring our onion ring appetizer.
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    And soon after he brought my fried chicken and Franklin’s pot roast.
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    Just as we were digging in, a person at a neighboring table got in BIG TROUBLE for keeping his elbows on the table. His punishment? He had to stand facing the wall with a sugar packet pressed between his nose and the wall as we all scolded him: “Shame, shame, shame.”
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    I really wanted the ice cream sundae for dessert but we were both waaaaay too full to even attempt it. I knew there would be plenty of ice cream in the week ahead, so we passed on dessert.

    So with that visual of us toddling out of 50s very full and very happy, I’d like to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. I hope everyone enjoys their holiday with their family and friends and once you’ve eaten lots and lots of turkey, come back and see how we ended our first day in Orlando! “Two park tours and a Disney classic” will be coming soon!
     
  15. kpetten51

    kpetten51 Earning My Ears

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    OK, the 50's Cafe is now on my list of potential ADRs, that's looks like so much fun, I love sarcasm!

    Bummer about the TSM FPs but I hope you got on the ride later!
     
  16. irishdancer86

    irishdancer86 DIS Veteran

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    bad luck on the fastpasses! :eek:

    but love your minnie t shirt very cute!

    those onion rings look delicious! I'm always so hungry when its cold outside (we've got snow exciting in itreland!) and those photo's didn't help! :lmao:
     
  17. Nermel9

    Nermel9 DIS Veteran

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    Ugh I can't believe you didn't get the TSM fast passes! :eek: I can't believe how fast they are gone!

    Love that Minnie shirt! :thumbsup2

    Mmmm 50's Prime Time looks like it has great food...but I'd never be able to handle the whole routine there! I don't want to get yelled at for putting my elbows on the table and stand in a corner, I'd die!

    Can't wait to read more!
     
  18. Missyrose

    Missyrose DIS Veteran

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    50s PTC is a blast! Though you have to be totally into it, there are plenty of people on these boards who are terrified of that place. :lmao:

    I was bummed about the Fastpasses, but as you can see, I recovered quite well. ;)
    There's plenty more food porn to come. :rotfl:

    Hooray! We made it to page 2 :woohoo:
    The Toy Story Mania, um, mania has gotten completely out of control. When we were there in Feb. 2009 (before the refurb) it was crazy, but nowhere near this crazy.
    Glad you're enjoying the report! I'm almost done with the next update, I just need Franklin to upload the pictures from the little camera. :rolleyes1
     
  19. Joyciemc

    Joyciemc DIS Veteran

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    You are totally right: the pictures are amazing! The shot of the entrance gate may be the best one I've seen.

    I love, love, love the Minnie shirt! Can't wait to see the Mickey one.

    Sorry you missed out on the FP! I have a hate/kinda like relationship with Toy Story Mania. DH and I have decided to opt out of the craziness entirely this trip.

    Once again, the photos are great... those food pics made me hungry and I just finished stuffing myself silly at dinner.

    LOVE your report and can't wait to read more!
     
  20. Missyrose

    Missyrose DIS Veteran

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    I definitely understand the love/hate thing with TSM, we like the ride (and we even own the Wii game at home!) but the craziness and the planning it takes to actually get on the ride has become a bit much.
    Thanks for reading! :banana:
     
  21. Missyrose

    Missyrose DIS Veteran

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    Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Now where we left off, Franklin and I had headed out of 50s Primetime Cafe completely stuffed.
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    It was time to game plan the rest of the afternoon. We had decided we wanted to spend the evening at Magic Kingdom. I knew it was going to be very, very crowded (it was a Saturday and MK had evening EMH) but I just wanted to look at the castle and soak up a little of that MK magic to start our vacation. :wizard:

    The only plan we had for the afternoon was we wanted to see Beauty and Beast at 4, it was a show we’d skipped in 2009. It was 2:00 when we left the restaurant, giving us a couple of hours to tour. Franklin’s plan was easy: He wanted to head back to Rock-n-Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror. I wanted no part of either ride so I headed off on my own with a couple of goals: Pop into the DIS meet at Writer’s Stop, Muppetvision 3D and The Little Mermaid.

    I first wandered over to Writer’s Stop where I got to meet several fellow DISsers. I walked in and realized that Franklin had the backpack with my LGMH on it, so I had nothing that distinguished me as a DISser, but I quickly found the group and introduced myself! :goodvibes

    The location of Writer’s Stop made Muppetvision 3D an easy choice. And I walked in just as the preshow was ending, what luck!
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    Now I know people rag on this attraction and say it needs to be updated. Yes, the 3D is old-school 3D and not nearly as sophisticated as, say, Avatar, but the film is just as entertaining as ever! The Muppets are classics, people!

    [​IMG]

    Next I headed to The Little Mermaid, but the lovely CM at the front of the line said the next showing wouldn’t be until 3:30. Hmmm, with a 4:00 Beauty and the Beast, that might be cutting it a little close. But I had a half-hour to kill, regardless. So I wandered over to the Magic of Disney Animation. The lines for Lotso and Sorcerer Mickey seemed a little long, but there was only one family waiting for the Incredibles, so that’s where I landed.
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    I saw the standby line for the animation class and decided to give it a shot. I’d never done the class (and I’m pretty terrible at drawing) but I love doing things for the first time at Disney. Alas, the girl in front of me was the last into the classroom. By this point it was 3:15 so I decided to head back to Little Mermaid for the 3:30 show.
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    I texted Franklin to tell him that I’d be getting out of the show at 3:50 and to find seats at Beauty and the Beast if he got there first.

    Franklin, meanwhile, rode Tower of Terror twice: once as a walk-on and another time with an excruciatingly long wait of a minute and a half. There was a line for Rock-n-Rollercoaster (including a sizable FP line), so he held on to his two FP’s he’d grabbed earlier and spent the rest of his touring time taking pictures around the park and stumbled onto the afternoon parade:
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    Next up? Beauty and the Beast, a show I’d never seen in all my years coming to Disney. It was incredible and I thought it lived up to the Broadway production (which I had seen) in many respects.
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    As we filed out of the show it was time to plan our DHS exit strategy. Stay tuned for “Park Hopping With a Little Pixie Dust," coming soon!
     

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