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A little of everything WDW YES MNSSHP US/IOA Seaworld Legoland and more FINISHED

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by Chelley00, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. Chelley00

    Chelley00 New Member

    I thought I would get started on my trip report while waiting for 14 nights worth of pictures to upload. I may have a slight "take too many pictures" problem.

    Anyhow, we returned Sunday night to the cold, rainy, windy Midwest after spending October 13-27th in lovely Florida. It was a great trip, full of new places, new rides, new restaurants and more downtime than we've ever had on any other trip to FL.


    I'm going first. I researched, I planned, I paid (for most of it anyhow) I drove, I directed, I photographed and I took DS to CentraCare on our last night of vacation and then stayed up half the night packing to come home.......... Well, we'll get to that later.


    I really had to dig to find a picture of me. Isn't that sad? Especially since I only have the first 4 days of our trip uploaded, this is the best I could do. A picture of me with DS and DD on the ferry on our way to MNSSHP


    I'm a 30 something, at least for a little while longer, mom of 4, wife to one, accountant, soccer and swim team taxi driver. I love to scrapbook and read, love soccer and I obsessively plan anything and everything. I love rules and lists and spreadsheets and schedules. You will find out that a lot of my lists and schedules went out the window for this trip, and I survived, even though it was very hard to just go "Okay, we'll just go with the flow". That's so not me, and it's a mini-accomplishment! I'm such a dork!

    This was my 5th trip to Disney. My favorite character is the Evil Queen (she doesn't let anything stand in her way) and I love Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror. I'm not as dark and dreary and evil as that makes me sound! I have some health issues and multiple food allergies which come into play a little during the trip.

    DD10, almost 11

    It's so fluffy, I could die

    DD is, well, complicated. She's a total tomboy, the joy of having 3 brothers. She loves thrill rides and spicy food, stuffed animals and Minnie Mouse and Disney. She hates dresses, princesses and getting up in the morning. This is also her 5th trip.


    DS is our fun loving, never stop moving youngest son. He's also our worrier. The day we left there were storm warning at our house and he was a mess thinking DH would not take care of the cat and when he heard Hurricane Sandy was nearby it was a million questions at a time. He's the one we have to coax onto rides, while answering every question he can think of while waiting in line. Then once he rides it, he's hooked for life. He loves dinosaurs. This was his 4th trip

    Mom (aka Granny)


    Granny lives 3 hours from us and is a nurse (and that comes in so handy later on) This was her second trip to Disney. We took her for the first time 2 years ago and she was hooked. She has a huge fear of heights and last trip skipped a lot of things due to that, but this time braved some things I never though she would. She loves meeting characters and trying all the different restaurants.

    My brother, SIL and nephew join us part way in our trip for a few days. I haven't gotten their pictures uploaded yet.

    The ones we left behind:

    DS19 - is currently in college a little over an hour from us. He obviously couldn't miss class for 2 weeks.

    DS16 - couldn't go because he was rostered on the varsity soccer team and it was tournament time.

    DH - someone had to stay home to take care of DS16. Don't feel too bad for him. He gets to go to the Bahamas in 2 weeks with his brother (notice, no kids and no wife and no mother with him! NO FAIR!)
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  3. Chelley00

    Chelley00 New Member

    Details, Shmetails

    October 12th
    To quote Peter Pan "And here we goooooooo"

    October 13th
    You're married and your husband isn't here? Go away.
    Wait! Is that Tower of Terror? (insert squeal)
    Are there MORE fireworks?
    Home Sweet Timeshare Condo

    October 14 1900 Park Fare, MNSSHP
    Say "Caterpillar"
    I forgot my what where
    Work first, play later
    But I wanted to be a dummy
    Where the heck is our captain?
    A little more to the left
    What can you do in an hour?

    October 15 Universal Studios
    Home away from home away from home
    Granny - the MIB junkie
    Opening up a can of Whoop A*s in ET line
    Wait! Was that really the parade?
    I'm not buying you a puppy

    October 16 Islands of Adventure
    We're off to see the wizards. And not the ones in Oz
    You only have to ride it once. Or maybe twice
    I finally get to ride it. I've waited my whole life
    It's a dry dry Toon Lagoon
    DD the chicken
    We should have eaten Green Eggs and Ham instead

    October 16 Universal Studios
    Universal's own Characterpaloza
    Really, Mother? Again?
    We really shouldn't have done that
    Where to go? Where to eat?

    October 17 Epcot
    Y.E.S. We are here to learn about sea turtles
    We're off to eat around the world(s)
    Dinner with the Mouse and a big surprise

    October 18 SeaWorld
    Stingrays and dolphins and shows, oh my
    Turtles again?
    Those *&#^$# birds!!
    Feeling Hot Hot Hot
    A big disappointment and a big favorite
    It's hot! Let's head to the Arctic
    Dinner with Shamu

    October 19 Magic Kingdom
    Yo Ho! A Pirate's Life for the Kids
    What are all these people doing here

    October 20 Animal Kingdom
    We almost made a rope drop!
    Fish are Friends, and Rafiki is annoying
    That was not nice!
    A Roarin' Good Time

    October 21 A Day Off
    A Pirate Adventure for All!
    We are swimming in EVERY pool
    Hurry and finish the plan before the meltdown!

    October 22 Disney Hollywood Studios
    You take the high road and we'll take the low road
    Some big kid fun, a couple of goodbyes and a vacation stopping moment

    October 23 Magic Kingdom
    Do we, or don't we, make it to surprise Granny
    What's left on the Fantasyland checklist?
    Get er done
    Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I love ya, Tomorrow....land
    Run far far away
    Keep on movin'
    Ohana means family. And that no one goes home hungry

    October 24 Disney Hollywood Studios
    Such a big boy
    Bye Bye DHS
    A little pool time and an unexpected DIS meet
    Hoop De Doo Review. Maybe?

    October 25 Epcot
    Seeing a little more of the world
    OMG We're Stuck! And the worst Disney CM ever
    and the rain rain rain came down down down

    October 26 Legoland
    What do we do with DS?
    Happy Winds-day, Pooh
    The kids find a favorite
    We get adventurous
    Knights and Dragons, and Granny braves a coaster
    I could spend my whole life here
    MiniLand continued
    MiniLand continued again
    MiniLand from me
    Arrrghhh, the lamest pirate ye be
    The race to be the best
    A little shopping and a lot of eating
    Hanging out in the ghetto - Centra Care

    October 27
    A tough decision
  4. Chelley00

    Chelley00 New Member

    How the trip came to be:

    Brother, SIL and nephew have to come to Orlando every other year for Tae Kwon Do championships/training so it seems like a good place for a mini-family reunion. Two years ago was the first time we tried it, and we all had such a great time, it was no question we'd do it again, especially since we go to Disney every other Fall Break anyhow.

    Previously, Fall Break was just Thursday and Friday off, and we'd pull the kids out of school the other 3 days (shhhhhhhh) This year our school went to a balanced calendar, giving us 2 full weeks off for Fall Break. When I brought it up to my mom, I jokingly said "We should go for 2 weeks instead of one", and about fell over when she said "Ok".

    Since we were planning on a longer trip, we decided to do things a little differently.

    First: condo or house was a must. We've stayed offsite in a rental house before when we've had all 4 kids with us and we enjoyed it. I knew 2 weeks in a hotel room with one bathroom was going to be a bad bad idea, and I didn't want to stay in a house because we might want a shuttle and I liked the idea of a condo being a little more secure. We finally decided to rent points at Wyndham Bonnet Creek and booked a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom condo through Vacation Strategies.

    Second: We weren't going to spend all our time at Disney. We had plenty of days, so we decided to branch out and visit some other parks. Universal/IOA was a must since we didn't go last trip and DS and DD both love Harry Potter. I started researching tickets and scored some great discounts on Seaworld and Legoland so we added those as well.

    Third: more downtime. I'm a total commando and knew with the amount of days we were there, I couldn't push everyone all the time.
  5. PrincessNancy96

    PrincessNancy96 <font color=deeppink>My family drove me nuts, and Moderator


    I need a disney fix..and having a DD in college too.. I wondered about flying her down if we decide to do Fall break next year. *At this point we are not on a balanced calendar.. only time will tell if that changes.* ETA: We have a Varsity HS soccer player here too.. so I know all too well about tournament time!! :) Love every moment of it!
  6. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

    Followed you over from my TR...I'm in!!
  7. xkaittloveex

    xkaittloveex New Member

    Reading along!

    Can't wait to see your review of Harry Potter Land. It was incredible, wasn't it?! :lovestruc
  8. Chelley00

    Chelley00 New Member

    I offered to fly DS down for the weekend since he had Thursday/Friday off but he ended up saying no because he was afraid he would have a lot of homework. It was a good thing he said no earlier as he hurt his ankle playing basketball 2 weeks before we left and was just off of crutches when we went.


    I loved it. The details were amazing.

    October 12: And here we gooooooooooo

    When we originally planned on leaving, we decided to have my mom leave after work (2:30pm) drive 3 hours to my house and then we'd leave from here. My mom ended up with the day off and since oldest DS was off for Fall Break we decided that the 2 kids going on the trip were going to be "sick" *cough* and we'd leave early and visit college first since my mom hadn't been there before. I know I know, so bad.

    I woke up early, packed the car and then took DS for a haircut and DD and I got Mommy and Me pedicures while we waited.

    My mom got here around 11am, put her stuff in my car and we hit the road, driving an hour south before stopping at DS's dorm to drop off care packages of food and snacks, plus coat, hat and gloves since he didn't pack them when he moved out :) We took him out for lunch, said goodbye, and headed towards the interstate and our first stop for the night.

    Check out the sweaters and leaves on the ground. It was maybe 50 when we left.

    On the way to our hotel reservation in Nashville, I realized we had left a lot sooner than I thought we would and we started talking about that reservation. We had time to cancel it and drive a couple more hours south before it got really late. We put it to a vote, called and canceled the reservation and kept going.

    This is my first "Wait, we did what" moment. I like everything planned out, and here we were, just driving all willy nilly south with no place to stop for the night. What were we thinking. Freaked me out even more when we got to Chattanooga and the first 2 hotels were FULLY BOOKED. There was a fishing tournament going on. I was seriously considering just driving straight through at that point, which would have put our arrival in Orlando at

    We got to the 3rd hotel and got their last 2 rooms :worship:

    I'm so lucky that my kids are great travelers. We have to drive because my mom will NEVER fly, and it's a LONG drive. Each kid is armed with a travel bucket that has new coloring books, colored pencils, little toys (Squinkies, Legos etc) movies, a new DS game and an activity book that I printed out from a link here. (my mom has an activity book too) For every minute the kids watch a movie, they have to do some other activity for that same amount of time. It eliminates the constant movie stuff.

    Just a few hours left

    and FINALLY


    the obligatory OJ

    and then this beautiful thing
  9. PrincessNancy96

    PrincessNancy96 <font color=deeppink>My family drove me nuts, and Moderator

    So sorry that you weren't able to fly DS down from college... but glad you were able to take your Mom to campus and drop off a care package.. The kids just love them!!

    You were making some really good time on the way down.. We usually don't book a hotel on the way down and play it by ear..

    The best sight is seeing that sign!! :)
  10. Chelley00

    Chelley00 New Member

    I have to know what I'm doing. Ugh, I couldn't stand not knowing where I was going :) Too much OCD :)

    October 13
    Home Sweet Home

    We had went through Vacation Strategies to rent timeshare points for Wyndham Bonnet Creek. Our original receipt for our deposit payment said checking in Oct 13 and checking out Oct 27. Perfect.

    Only when we got the confirmation for payment from VS, it had us checking out on Oct 21. After multiple calls to VS, I never got anything more than "your reservation is secure and we just have to wait to assign your name to the final reservations". It was incredibly nervewracking to not know for sure if we had a place to stay for our last 6 nights. I ended up booking a back up room at the Poly on the discount code and went armed with a list of suite hotel and condo rentals just in case we had to leave WBC.

    The night before we left, I called WBC and they still had us checking out on the 21st. Someone from VS called as we were driving saying they had transferred everything into our name and we could make our final payment as soon as I got to WBC. I started feeling a little better.

    We got to WBC around 7pm and were the second in line for check in. My first question was "when do you have us checking out?" and he said "The 27th". Finally I could breathe!!

    After check in, we went to the parking pass desk which I've heard can be bad. She asked me if I was married (yes) and if my husband was with me (no) then she basically dismissed me and turned to my mom and asked her if she was married (yes) and if her husband was with her (no). She very quickly handed me a parking pass and sent us on our way :)
  11. Chelley00

    Chelley00 New Member

    October 13th cont'd:
    Wait, is that Tower of Terror (insert squeal!)

    We were assigned to Tower 4 and pulled up in the circle drive, unloaded the luggage onto luggage carts. I parked the car in the garage and we headed up to the 8th floor. When we got off the elevator I noticed that the even numbers were facing the lake. This meant one thing.

    We had the dreaded parking lot view. Sigh.

    I'm not proud, but I complained all the way down the hall. All the way. We were at the very end of the hallway so it was a lot of complaining.

    "But, I asked for either a view of Tower of Terror or a lake view"
    "I don't want to look at parked cars all the time"
    "We aren't even near Tower 6 for the cool pirate pool"

    You get the picture.

    Open the door, pull the luggage carts in and pull back the curtains.

    First thing my mom (the Disney novice, remember?) says, is "Isn't that the ball thing from Disney?"

    We can see Spaceship Earth, which means we're going to be able to see

    :yay::yay: FIREWORKS :yay::yay:

    Giddy little me looks to the left and guess what I see?


    Seriously? It's like the mother of all views. I immediately called DH and rubbed it in. A lot.

    We decided to unpack, eat a quick dinner from our soon to be arriving grocery order (I love Garden Grocer) and go from there.
  12. PrincessNancy96

    PrincessNancy96 <font color=deeppink>My family drove me nuts, and Moderator

    Very nice views!!!! what an awesome sight for fireworks!!! :)
  13. Chelley00

    Chelley00 New Member

    Just wait!

    October 13th Settling in and wait, are those more fireworks??

    We all unpacked, had our groceries delivered and put them away, then had a quick sandwich for dinner. We still had some time before the 9pm fireworks, so we decided to take the kids for a quick 30 minute swim. Down the elevator, out the back door and just a few steps and we were at a smallish pool that really never had many people in it. There were also 2 hot tubs, and a lazy river just a few feet away. So nice.



    back up to the room for fast showers and look what we found outside our bedroom windows. DTD Characters in Flight balloon!


    We all headed out to the balcony in our pajamas with a snack to await our first Disney fireworks show of the trip, Illuminations. Amazing way to end the day.




    After the fireworks are over, I went back to put the kids to bed. My mom, whose bedroom overlooks the same direction as the balcony, comes rushing in that there are more fireworks going on outside. I'm trying to figure out why there are more and walk to the balcony. Nothing. I wait. Still nothing. So I head back to the kids room. My mom comes rushing back in and says there are more fireworks again. I go to the balcony, and again, nothing.

    I'm thinking 17 hours in a car with my kids might have made my mom crack up a little. And then I see it.


    When I saw the America building lit up to the left, I figured it out. This was Illuminations at 10. The 9:00 fireworks had to be Wishes. The breaks in the fireworks when my mom was making me come to the balcony was the break where they do the projections in the middle.

    We could see both parks' fireworks. Holy crap.


    A couple of time during our trip, we were fortunate enough to see both at the same time. I didn't think the kids were ever going to settle down after this!!
  14. Chelley00

    Chelley00 New Member

    Oct 13

    I kinda skipped ahead a little. I wanted to post pictures of the condo. I actually got a few taken before we made ourselves at home.

    Staying at WBC was a great decision for us. 3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms went a long way in saving sanity for such a long trip. We were the next stoplight down Buena Vista from Caribbean Beach, and 2 stoplights from Pop where my brother's family stayed. We were very close to DTD and even closer to I-4 which made getting to the other parks so easy.

    When you walk in, there is a long hallway that leads into the living room. Halfway down the hallway, you turn right and that leads into a separate little wing where my room,

    the kids room,

    our shared bathroom and the washer/dryer closet were.

    There was also a separate sink outside the bathroom which helped in the mornings.

    If you kept going down the hall, you'd have the living area straight ahead, balcony straight past the living area, kitchen and dining table to the right.




    Past the kitchen was my mom's doorway. She had a jacuzzi tub and separate sink area, and then in the her bathroom, toilet, stand up shower and sink.

    My mom's bed

    Past her bed into the tub area

    In the bathroom stand up shower

    There was plenty of space, and the kitchen was fully stocked. They provided soap, shampoo, conditioner, dishwasher soap and laundry soap. We knew we wouldn't get housekeeping, but there was broom and Bissel if we needed, and sponge, dishcloth and dishtowels. After we had been there a week, housekeeping did come and change all the sheets and towels and cleaned bathrooms. We didn't expect it, so that was a nice surprise to come back to.
  15. Madzac

    Madzac New Member

    Awesome Shellody I love your trip reports!! Cant wait to follow! I am such a planner like you. I also have 4 kids and you have to be right?! I promised DH more downtime next trip so I will be anxious to see how that worked!
  16. PrincessNancy96

    PrincessNancy96 <font color=deeppink>My family drove me nuts, and Moderator

    Very nice layout of the condo..

    It looks very spacious!
  17. ash-n-brensmom

    ash-n-brensmom New Member

    Hey!! I'm here...can't wait until my chapter of your TR!!:lmao:
  18. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

    Looks like y'all had an amazing view!! Looks similar to the view we had on our first stay at WBC in 2009. It is really beautiful to watch both fireworks shows going on at the same time. Unfortunately, a fireworks view hasn't worked out for us the last couple of years, but this year we were able to work with it a bit. :thumbsup2 Excited to read more about your trip!
  19. Chelley00

    Chelley00 New Member

    With 4 kids you have to be a planner, and patient. :) Having such a long trip made me not feel guilty about taking some downtime. I hate short trips where I feel like we need to get our money's worth out of the tickets, you know?

    It was really nice. Just the 2 bathrooms and separate bedrooms was worth being offsite.

    It starts with "some lady came up to us in the pool and said I know this family" and completely freaked out my mother.......... :rotfl:

    I think they give that view to first time visitors so they suck you into coming back :)

    October 14th
    Say "Caterpillar" :teeth:

    Everyone was up pretty early this morning. It's our first day in Disney! I had booked a first time ADR for us at 10:30am to give us time to sleep in, but no one listened. We headed towards the Grand Floridian and breakfast at

    First we were taken for our picture. I had purchased photopass plus but hadn't had a chance to exchange the certificate for the actual photopass plus card yet. I had planned on doing it at DTD later that day. The guy taking the picture said they would take care of it for me, took the certificate, took our picture and then said they'd bring me the card. Not long after we were seated the guy showed up with our photopass plus card and our picture print out.


    This was our first time at 1900 for breakfast and we really enjoyed it. The kids and my mom were impressed with the food, the chef was great about my food allergies, and the characters were great (except for Mary Poppins - she wasn't so practically perfect)

    To set this picture up a little, 2 months before we left, DD was playing in the soccer goal for her biggest brothers and, the NIGHT before he leaves for college, DS19 took a shot and she stopped it.....and shattered her wrist. She spent 6 weeks in a cast, and had her cast taken of the week before we left. She went to Disney in a brace, and got a lot of attention. This is Tigger's reaction:


    Now, because I'm the photographer, I don't get character attention, but Tigger came over, gave me a huge squeeze, grabbed my napkin, looked at my mom and fanned himself like hugging me and made him all verklempt or something :)

    Pooh was next

    Mary was boring. I mean, really boring.

    DD is in the middle of saying "caterpillar". Alice had asked DD if she hurt her arm falling down the rabbit hole

    Now, this guy needs a raise. He was amazing, and the kids couldn't break him out of character at all. He spent more time at our table than all the other characters combined.


    Somehow their conversation got around to hitchhiking ghosts

    Now, I'm so sad this picture turned out so blurry. I miss my old camera. DD is kinda shy and really at the cusp of that "I'm too cool to laugh at people" tweenage crap. Blech. Anyhow, blurry or not, this is my favorite picture of her on this trip I think

    I don't remember what was so funny, but she laughed even after he left our table.

    So, 1900 Park Fare gets a thumbs up from all of us. The only that sucks is parking out in the middle of nowhere to walk to the Grand Floridian. It was muggy outside.

    Up next: I know you want to play, but we have things we HAVE to do
  20. Chelley00

    Chelley00 New Member

    I forgot one of the most important parts of our trip!!!

    I can't believe I forgot to post the drama!!!!!

    The first night when we stopped at Chattanooga, I asked DD to go through the bathroom to make sure I had packed everything. Between the 2 of us, we bot missed on VERY important thing.

    My medicine container.

    As we are unpacking our groceries in the condo the first night we are there, (Saturday) the hotel calls and says they found my medicine container (and DS's nightlight). They are willing to overnight it to me, at my cost plus a $10 pick up fee, but they can't do it until Monday. That's okay. It's Saturday. I should be okay without everything until Tuesday, but I probably shouldn't push it much longer. One of my meds is expensive and I have to mail order it. Plus, my doctor's office wouldn't be open to call in anything until Monday anyhow. I can make it.

    I hope.
  21. Madzac

    Madzac New Member

    The mad hatter was our absolute favorite character interaction on our last trip! He was a hoot!

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