Countdown to Cupcakes! - An Independence Day Road Trip! Updated 11/8!

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by missx0xdelaney, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. missx0xdelaney

    missx0xdelaney Mouseketeer

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    Hi all, welcome to my first trip report!*
    While this is my first TR, it is not my first trip this year! My BF and I were able to come down at the end of January when we stayed at Pop Century for a week, at the end of May where we stayed offsite in Davenport for a little over a week, and now just 4 weeks later we're heading back to stay in an offsite timeshare! (Yay Annual Passes!) This time, we're being joined by some family!

    As you can tell, there will be lots of tasty treats in this trip report! The majority of my planning time (and real life time, let's be honest) is devoted to scouring the depths of the internet for the best in Disney treats and meals! I loves the foods!:thumbsup2

    We are down to the last few days of the countdown and I am ecstatic! I'm pretty sure my boyfriend will kill me if I keep talking about all of the snacks I'm going to eat, so I figured I'd start a TR! :confused3 I will be sharing restaurant reviews and lots of pictures. I will also (definitely) be Instagramming and (possibly) be tweeting. Feel free to follow me on either at @missx0xdelaney!


    *(I had started a PTR for my January trip, but abandoned it due to some personal issues that almost stopped the trip from occurring.)
     
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  3. missx0xdelaney

    missx0xdelaney Mouseketeer

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  4. angelabrezovsky

    angelabrezovsky Mouseketeer

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    Joining in can't wait to read more!! :)
     
  5. missx0xdelaney

    missx0xdelaney Mouseketeer

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    Let me introduce our cast:

    Me, 23

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    I was the Rebel Spy on Star Tours!

    Lover of all things Disney. First trip to WDW (and a Disney themed cruise in the pre-DCL era) at 2 years old, in addition to 8-10 other family trips throughout my childhood and one spur of the moment trip to DL in 2001 (one month shy of DCA opening :/). Favorite character is Winnie the Pooh. I am a seamstress/costumer/theatre junkie in my spare time when I'm not working my day job in retail. I also enjoy scrapbooking, watching Say Yes to the Dress, and of course surfing (lurking) on the DIS. I suffer from an addiction to FOOD PORN! I live for those hunger inspiring morsels of delicious! NOMS! Love polka dots, stripes, and anything (hot) pink or (lime) green. Self professed nerd: <3 Harry Potter, sci fi/fantasy, comic book movies (AVENGERS, omg!), and recent convert to the dark side of Star Wars! I am basically an 8 year old in a 23 year old's body!


    BF, Tony, 28!

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    Tony and the appetizer feast we shared at Friday's!

    Secretly loves Disney but pretends to be too cool. Went on one trip at about age 5 but only has fuzzy memories, so his first real trip was in May 2012. LOVES Stitch. Fan of the Pixar movies. Huge gamer, really into Call of Duty/Fallout type games. Also works in retail (at the same store, in the same department as me hehe). Avid reader (Stephen King), audiophile (obsessed with Incubus!), Superman fanatic (including a tattoo on his arm), and fellow superhero lover. Always up for a midnight movie release. Healthy appetite and loves to try new things to eat/drink. Could probably spend all day in the Japan pavilion if not forcibly dragged away. Turns into a big kid as soon as he enters the parks but doesn't care to do the planning. ("I'll get excited when I get there.")




    Now for the family joining us!

    Mom!

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    Mom with Mark before his graduation

    My mom and her boyfriend will be joining us this trip! My mother LOVES Disney World and was last there in 2009 when she and my aunt brought my brother and one of our cousins (I was supposed to join but sadly retail employees can't go on vacation the week before Christmas... wompwomp!) She works in a hospital in the outpatient care center and ER, so she's glad to be getting away and relaxing. This will be her first vacation with both me and my brother since 2005 or so! So it's a long time coming!


    Steve, Mom's boyfriend

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    Steve with my mom on the ferry to Ellis Island

    Steve is not too excited to be going back to Disney since he took his daughter several times when she was younger. I think he'll warm up once we get there. He's looking forward to relaxing and possibly heading to the water parks or Universal for a day. He works for Siemens so we get to check out the awesome Siemens lounge in Spaceship Earth!


    Mark, my brother

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    Mark with Megan in Times Square

    Mark is 18 years old and he just graduated from high school last month. He will be starting school at our local community college in the fall (where does the time go?). He was a member of tech crew for his school's drama department. Huge fan of anime, and pretty much everything Asian. I swear, his main reasons for coming are the Japan and China pavilions! For the past two years, he's attended Anime Central (ACen) convention in Chicago, like Comic Con in San Diego, but mainly focused on anime shows. He's always working on costumes from his favorite web comic, Homestuck, and is greatly anticipating purchasing a set of Chewbacca Mickey ears.


    Megan, Steve's daughter

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    Meg at Ground Zero

    Meg is a typical 15 year old and is getting pretty excited to go. She had many suggestions on where we should eat, so it will be fun to see how she enjoys the ones we ended up with! She, like Mark, is an anime superfan. We'll just have to keep these two away from the Japanese department store! She's also looking forward to meeting some characters! (Me too!)


    On top of our immediate cast, some friends of mine from work also have overlapping vacations to the world! My friend Valerie will be arriving a few days after us on Sunday with her husband Harry and their adorable 5 year old, Jack! (Named after Nightmare Before Christmas, of course!) My friend Lauri and her fiancee Joe (who also used to work with us!) will be down Thursday-Sunday, the 4-7. Valerie and I made plans to meet up on our Magic Kingdom day so we can meet the princesses together! For some reason, Tony doesn't want to go! Party pooper! It will be fun to see if we run into each other elsewhere (especially since Valerie and Harry don't carry their phones while they're in the parks! Eek!).
     
  6. missx0xdelaney

    missx0xdelaney Mouseketeer

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    Welcome! Thanks for following along!:wave:
     
  7. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    In for your TR! :)
     
  8. missx0xdelaney

    missx0xdelaney Mouseketeer

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    OMG you guys. I can't believe I'm one day from leaving for Disney again! At this time tomorrow, we'll be on the road! Eek! :yay: I still have to get my oil changed and find our "WDW AP" magnets for the car! I wish we could just leave now! At least I'm officially on vacation! Anyways, now that you've met the cast of our little jaunt, here's the details:

    When: July 5(ish) to July 12(ish)..... BECAUSE IT'S A ROAD TRIP! We were originally planning on flying, but after waiting months for tickets to come down, we gave in. This will be my 3rd time driving down in the last 13 months! Each time I keep saying that I never want to drive again and then I get roped into it anyway. This delights Tony, as he loves a nice long road trip. I hate how it cuts into my Disney time! We are leaving at 11 am on July 4 because Tony has to work in the morning. The others are leaving at 6 am because they want to beat the traffic I guess? and don't want to wait for us. Tony and I decided we would just drive down at our own pace and pick a resting point when we get tired, although we're not going to be surprised if we actually make better time. I think we actually will since we're now so comfortable with the route. Still not comfortable with the fact that it's an 18 HOUR DRIVE from Chicago to Orlando, though!


    Where: Legacy Vacation Club Lake Buena Vista (time share).
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    We spent a good chunk of time trying to pick a Disney resort, but since we needed 2 rooms for 6 people (or an outrageously priced suite), we thought we'd look elsewhere. Steve owns a timeshare and found out he could switch his week in Cancun to a resort near Disney! Can't get a better price than something you already own! We'll be staying in a 2 bedroom condo with a full kitchen, washer/dryer, and even a den with a sleeper sofa and kitchenette! As much as I'd rather stay onsite, we'll have some pretty wonderful amenities!



    Why: Why not?! But seriously, when we got back from our January vacation we already started planning the next times we'd be able to go. We were looking at a weekend trip for Star Wars Weekends, and were going to have my brother tag along for his graduation, which somehow evolved into a family trip. Everyone was getting pretty pumped.. until my mom talked to her work and found out there were vacation blackout dates for a computer system rollout they were going to be doing. The entire months of May and June were a no go. Steve eventually checked with his time share and found out the week of July 5th was available... From there it was a plan!​
     
  9. missx0xdelaney

    missx0xdelaney Mouseketeer

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    EEE! I've got my oil changed, all of my bags are in the car, and Tony's in bed for his last shift in the morning! I still need to get some wiper fluid and tidy up the car a bit... so close!:banana: Without further ado, on with the plans!

    ADRS

    Bongos Cuban Cafe - This Downtown Disney restaurant will host our dinner on our first full day. This is the only one I don't know much about, but if nothing else, at least it sounds fun!

    Sci Fi Dine In Theater - I <3 Sci Fi. Tony and I have gone here on 3 of our last 4 trips (and almost went on the 4th, but thought it might be overkill haha). This is sure to be a highlight of the trip because everyone requested we go there. This is one of the places my family always wanted to visit when my brother and I were younger but my parents never made ADRS (doh! :confused3) so we could never get in. We will be visiting for lunch.

    'Ohana - AHHH. So excited for this breakfast! We all love Lilo and Stitch (especially Tony) and everyone wanted a character meal so this was perfect! I've heard so many good things about this place! I'm secretly hoping we fall in love so I can come back for dinner and try the noodles and the glorious bread pudding!

    Whispering Canyon Cafe - This is another anticipated stop! I've been trying to get there for a few trips now and it hasn't happened. The skillet NEEDS to enter my life! Plus the hijinks will be excellent with so many people. :rolleyes1 Also, visiting the Wilderness Lodge will totally get Tony and me amped up for our September stay at the Fort Wilderness campground!

    Via Napoli - I'm dying to go here. Every photo I've seen of the pizza from here looks amazing! Plus, being raised in an Italian family really makes you appreciate the cuisine! We'll need to see how the sauce compares to my grandmother's secret recipe-rumored to be kept in a safety deposit box! And of course, Italian desserts, nom!

    Coral Reef - This is a repeat visit for me and Tony. We last were there on our May 2012 trip and definitely fell in love. We arrived early for lunch and asked to wait for seats near the windows, and not only did that grant our wish, but they also took us early! On top of that excellent service, the food is to die for! I can't wait to come back and I'm hoping our 11:30 reservation is early enough to get a nearby seat again (although I'm afraid being a party of 6 might hurt our chances).

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    This was literally right next to our table!
     
  10. missx0xdelaney

    missx0xdelaney Mouseketeer

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    Ahh! It's so close to time to go! I'm supposed to be sleeping so I can take the first shift, but I can't possibly stay in bed any longer! Way too excited! I think I'm going to finish packing the car and last minute errands before Tony is back so we can hit the road asap! With that in mind, here's what our plans look like!

    Tentative Schedule


    Thursday July 4 - Departure from home! Mom, Steve, Mark and Megan are leaving at 6 am; Tony and I will be leaving around 12 pm. They plan on stopping for the night in Macon, GA (about a 12 hour drive according to Maps). We plan on stopping whenever we feel too tired - we're thinking around Nashville or Chattanooga.

    Friday July 5 - Arrival in Florida! My mom told me earlier that she thinks they'll be at the hotel around 12 pm (we'll see). I think we'll probably get an early start and be there by late afternoon. I tentatively have Epcot scheduled as our park for this evening.

    Saturday July 6 - Animal Kingdom - Since this park closes earlier, we'll have dinner at Downtown Disney. I thought Bongos seemed like a good place to welcome us to our trip! We have our dinner reservation there at 7 pm.

    Sunday July 7 - Hollywood Studios - This day we have lunch at Sci Fi. It's at 1:20 so we'll probably grab something light for breakfast and then come here before taking an afternoon break.

    Monday July 8 - Magic Kingdom - I am very much looking forward to this day! First we have breakfast at 'Ohana at 9:05 am. Then when we get to MK, I'll be meeting up with my friend Valerie and meeting princesses with her little heartbreaker, Jack!

    Tuesday July 9 - Animal Kingdom/Magic Kingdom - This morning we'll finish up checking out AK and then head to MK later in the day for our 6:30 pm ADR at Whispering Canyon Cafe! I'm adding that we're celebrating my brother's graduation here, so hopefully they give him a hard time!

    Wednesday July 10 - Hollywood Studios - Wednesday is another DHS morning! Must get TSMM fastpasses! We'll hang out there most of the day until it's time for a meal which I've dubbed my birthday dinner - Via Napoli! My birthday is July 28, and since our September trip is for Tony's birthday, I wanted to celebrate mine too! We'll be headed there at 6:20.

    Thursday July 11 - Epcot - Today we'll try to make rope drop for those elusive Test Track fastpasses! If I ride nothing else but this ride, I'll be pleased! We also have lunch at Coral Reef at 11:30 for our last full day at WDW. :(

    Friday July 12 - Animal Kingdom - I picked this park based on the Touring Plans recommendations, but I'm not sure whether everyone will be keen on going there a third day. We're also not sure what time we'll be leaving to start the long, sad trek home. Technically, we COULD stay another night, but that would mean we'd probably have to drive straight through on Saturday to make it home for a bridal shower for my cousin that my mom and I were invited to.

    Saturday July 13 - Still driving hoooommmeeee. WAH. :sad:

    Sunday July 14 - Hopefully already home, but possibly still arriving. eek! Bridal shower is at 1 pm, I believe.

    Also not factored in to this are possible visits to Disney Quest, the water parks, and Universal. (Mostly the others are planning these. Their discounted Siemens tickets included Waterparks and More, plus they want to do Harry Potter. I'm dying to get there too, but I feel like I'd rather spend more than one day with the high prices.)
     
  11. Chelley00

    Chelley00 DIS Veteran

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    Coming from my trip report.

    You are driving right past me today!!! We usually do the stop in Chattanooga. It's not much farther than Nashville, less traffic and cheaper hotel rooms.

    Safe trip!
     
  12. missx0xdelaney

    missx0xdelaney Mouseketeer

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    Oh wow! That's what we were thinking. Although, as it turned out, we decided to stop at a rest area just passed Chattanooga around 11 pm. I woke up from dozing and i think it was after 1:30 and we were 2 hours past Atlanta (1 hour past Macon). BF had a Red Bull and "just felt like driving!" Lol. The rest of the fam ended up 2 hours past Macon.
     
  13. missx0xdelaney

    missx0xdelaney Mouseketeer

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    Hi everyone! I'm back from my trip (and my first day back to work :sad2:). I took lots of notes during the week and I just need to get my pictures uploaded and I'll start posting! The trip didn't turn out exactly as we planned, but I think we made the most of it!
     
  14. missx0xdelaney

    missx0xdelaney Mouseketeer

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    Hi all! I'm finally ready to start my TR! I have the majority of pictures ready to go now. That's partly to blame for dragging my feet. I'm also moving right now, so it's been a little crazy! Without further ado, here's the first installment of our journey!


    JULY 4, 2013 - ROAD TRIP DAY 1!


    On the morning of the 4th, Tony had to work at 4 am, but I was off so I was supposed to stay in bed until he got home so I could take the first shift driving. In reality, I got woken up at 6 by a text from my brother responding to a question I'd asked the night before. After that I couldn't really get back to sleep - way too excited! Tony kept texting me and posting on my Facebook telling me that I should be sleeping.... ummm, yeah right!:yay: Instead, I made a bunch of ecstatic posts, such as this one on Instagram!

    missx0xdelaney 3 weeks ago
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    OMG you guys! I'm supposed to be sleeping so I can take the first shift, but I'm too excited! #disneybound #wdw #roadtrip


    Around 8, he texted to let me know he'd be getting out early so I started getting the car together. I cleaned all of the trash and random items from the car, then loaded up the luggage. As I was outside, Tony's grandpa returned from his morning walk and asked if I checked the fluids in the car. I had not, so he did it for me. Then the wait began. Tony ended up leaving work an hour early at 10, but then not long after called to say he got a flat tire! Argh! He had a spare so it was all okay, but it took so long to deal with! I was already pretty antsy by this point!

    I tweeted: Arielle Hughes &#8207;@missx0xdelaney 4 Jul
    Ahhhhh dying to leave and Tony got a flat on the way back from work! :/ #independencedayroadtrip #disneybound


    I sat around surfing the web on my phone waiting for Tony to get back, which finally happened... at pretty much the same time it would have if he'd left work on time. UGH! He got home and started filling the coolers while I ran to grab gas. His grandparents let me use their Sam's Club card, so it was super cheap!

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    Then when I got back and we tried to pay them, they refused to take the money! So that was a nice, unexpected surprise! After doing a final onceover and putting our AP magnet on the back of the car, we were good to go! I think we finally hit the road around 12:30-1:00, which was nice because there was very little traffic around! I spent most of the morning finding music for our playlists so the time flew.... especially after I fell asleep after we stopped for dinner. I woke up around 11 pm and we were past Chattanooga, right where we had planned to stop. We looked on my Rest Stop app to see where the next one was and picked one about 30 miles past the Tennessee-Georgia border.

    I fell back asleep and then dozed off again until we pulled into the rest stop. Then I realized it was almost 1:30 in the morning and I had no idea where we were! Tony had bought a Red Bull while filling up for gas and just "felt like driving"... Uhh, okay? We were actually getting MORE gas at this stop, because that's how far he had driven. It turned out that we were actually almost near the Georgia-FLORIDA line! We got much further than the others did (by about an hour). We finally made it to a rest stop and fell right asleep. (We almost got a room, but the rates were higher than we had wanted to pay, so we figured why not save it for the trip?)
     
  15. missx0xdelaney

    missx0xdelaney Mouseketeer

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    July 5, 2013 Part One- Road Trip Day 2/Downtown Disney!

    We got up around 6 am and I was oddly wide awake and starving! I got back in the drivers' seat and headed back on the highway, but stopped soon after at the first McDonald's I saw! I got this yummy treat!:worship:

    missx0xdelaney 3 weeks ago
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    Road trip breakfast of champions! #independencedayroadtrip #road trip #wdw #mcds #mcdonalds #eggwhitedelight


    Those things are so good it's sinful! I never thought I'd prefer egg whites to a regular egg, but they've done it! Besides, it's not a road trip without some Mickey D's! We got in touch with the other convoy and found out they just woken up. They made it on the road about an hour after us, but just in time for us to pass by their exit. By the time we made it into Florida, we were around 45 minutes ahead of them. After driving for a few hours, I was getting tired, so I stopped at the first Starbucks we saw, which happened to be in Gainesville. When I opened my Starbucks app for my gift card, I saw something exciting! :bounce:

    missx0xdelaney 3 weeks ago
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    Awwww yeah! #starbucks #starbucksrewards #goldlevel #junkie


    For those of you who aren't Starbucks addicts like I am, the Starbucks Rewards program gives you a star each time you purchase a drink with a Starbucks card that is registered on their site. You start with the Welcome level, which means you've registered your card, and you get a free birthday drink. After earning 5 stars, you advance to the Green level, and gain the new perk of free refills on hot or iced coffee or tea! After getting 30 hard-earned stars, you make it to the prestigious Gold level! Gold level gets you a free drink every 12 stars plus a PERSONALIZED GOLD STARBUCKS CARD! I cannot express how excited I am about this. Oh, by the way... did I mention that I reached Gold level today??? DYING. Sorry for that interruption.... now back to your regularly scheduled trip report! :car:

    After that refreshing layover, we headed back out for the final stretch. I got to be a passenger again and caught up on reading some trip reports. After what seemed like forever, we finally started seeing the signs we love so much telling us how near to Disney we were getting! And then, we got stuck in traffic on I-4 for what seemed like forever. Luckily Tony was able to check out Google Maps and find an alternate route. A few minutes later we were at our hotel right outside the gates near Downtown Disney! And then the torrential downpour began! It seemed like buckets of water were being dumped on the windshield, but then after about 10 minutes it stopped.

    By then the others had arrived, except we didn't see their car. After a few minutes of confusion, I realized I drove too far through the parking lot and we were actually parked at the lobby of the hotel next door to ours. Oops! We made our way to the correct lobby and found the kids sitting in the van waiting for the adults to check in. And waiting. And waiting. We sent them in to see what the hold up was. Still not sure but eventually they came out and we found out that we couldn't check in until 4.

    We decided it was lunchtime! We knew the perfect spot to go..... EARL OF SANDWICH. I realized before stopping at Starbucks that we'd make it early enough to eat there and I couldn't wait. I posted on Foursquare:

    Arielle Hughes &#8207;@missx0xdelaney 5 Jul
    Noms! Welcome to Disney! (at @EarlofSandwich w/ 3 others) http://4sq.com/1cZyg25


    We ordered:
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    Me - Italian - Oh my, so much noms! This is my staple! So good Tony had one too.

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    Steve - Ham & Swiss - Didn't try.

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    Mom - Chicken, Bacon, & Avocado Wrap - This was really tasty!

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    I believe this one belonged to Meg with the slush, but not sure what it's a half of! (This is what happens when I let people take their own pictures.)

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    Mark - BLT! There wasn't enough for me to try. Don't mess with a boy and his bacon!

    Everyone loved their food. I tried some of the wraps, which were tasty, but nothing compares to that hot melty sandwich.

    After we were done with the meal it was still too early to check in so we did a little shopping. We went right to the Once Upon a Toy store to get something Tony had been waiting all month to buy: Who Framed Roger Rabbit on bluray! It was cheaper there than online ($19.99), and we couldn't find it anywhere in our area, so it was a good buy.

    After he made his purchase, we continued on, stopping in TrenD, the Team Mickey store, and the crystal store that are all in a row. Tony wanted to stop in Basin to get some bath bombs, but we couldn't remember whether our room had bathtubs or not, so he didn't buy anything. That didn't stop us from spending an outrageous amount of time there! I would die for a cabinet full of products from there. When we left, my hands felt so soft!​
     
  16. missx0xdelaney

    missx0xdelaney Mouseketeer

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    July 5, 2013 Part Two - Checking in at Legacy Vacation Club!

    By this point, it was around 3:30, and Steve wanted to head back and try to check in again. Luckily, when we got back there, our room WAS ready, so we got the keys and unloaded everything. Our condo was located kitty-corner from the lobby building and a little down. Perfect walking distance to the pool! As soon as we opened the door, we were amazed at how much space there was! There were pictures on the website, but it didn't look nearly as spread out.

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    The view of the kitchen, dining room and living room from the doorway


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    Kitchen


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    In between the kitchen and dining area was this nice nook for extra space. There was a stereo system in the cabinets. We used the ledge for snacks and sunscreen!


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    The living room from the dining area


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    Living room


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    To the right of the living room was the master bedroom.


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    Television in master bedroom


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    Master bathroom!


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    Whirlpool tub in master bathroom!


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    Lovely courtyard outside living room window


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    To the right of the kitchen, a separate hallway with a door connected to the other two bedrooms - Megan stayed in this one.


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    Television and closet in second bedroom


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    Second bathroom, this one had a jet tub too!


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    Finally, the den, where Tony and I stayed! We had a sofa bed and small table and chairs set.


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    Here's our tv and coffee table. Behind me is a kitchenette setup with sink, microwave, fridge and entire set of dishes!​
     
  17. missx0xdelaney

    missx0xdelaney Mouseketeer

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    July 5, 2013 Part Three - Monsoon at the Magic Kingdom!

    Everybody brought their stuff inside and unpacked. Each room had a generous closet and some drawers (although not nearly enough hangers!). One by one, we all got showered and ready. My plans were to head to Epcot that night because of the low crowd levels expected there. However, my mom really wanted to go to the Magic Kingdom and see the fireworks. Even though Touring Plans called it a worst park. GAH. :mad: For the first and last time that week, we all piled into the van together and headed out to MK.

    In about 15 minutes we were at the gate where the attendant told my mom "Welcome back!" after she showed him my annual pass. We parked in the Scar parking lot and took the tram up to the TTC. Just in time for another downpour. It turned into chaos as everyone made a beeline to the covered express monorail platform. I smiled at Tony and said "Resort line?" and headed over like champions as 80 people were on the express platform waiting. We just missed a monorail on the resort side, but we had the luxury of being the first in line for the next one! My mom didn't believe our expert advice when the monorail on the express side pulled up and was swarmed, while we had barely anyone waiting with us. She asked the cast member at the gate, "Does this go to the Magic Kingdom?" Of course, her reply was "Yes, it's the third stop!" Mom said something like "Okay, third stop...." to herself... almost like she was trying to figure out a subway line! It's okay, Mom, it's just a monorail, it's not like you can get lost!

    By the time we made it to the turnstiles, it wasn't raining anymore. Tony and I breezed through security and the RFID checkpoints. The others had to go to Will Call for their tickets. Watching them try to enter with their tickets was pretty amusing. Of course, right when they got through it started raining again. These showers weren't drizzles either. We're talking soaked in 60 seconds. There were a lot of people standing around under the tunnel which I find silly. It's only water, you're not going to melt!

    I looked at it for a second, and then just headed right out into it towards the confectionary. We tried to cut through but only made it as far as the Main Street Bakery/Starbucks before we couldn't pass. We went back out onto Main Street and there were more people standing under the covered walkway. To pass we had to go into the street and walk around them. To save time and get dry, we cut through Tomorrowland Terrace. Finally, soaking wet, we made it to Space Mountain and grabbed fastpasses. I don't think Steve and Megan really understood the whole fastpass thing even though they'd been before. They seemed a little upset we couldn't ride right away.

    I suggested we go on the People Mover to kill some time and dry off a little. So glad we brought Tony's yoga towel (a nice find on clearance-his is purple!). It was so absorbent that all of us were able to use it. The six of us were split up into two cars, the four kids in one, and the other two in a completely different vehicle. While we were on the ride, there was either someone acting up or a handicapped guest who needed to be loaded because twice the vehicles came to a stop and they made an announcement to remain seated and the ride would be up shortly. Luckily for me one of the times got me some pretty neat pictures!

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    CITY OF PROGRESS!


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    These pictures have been eluding me for two trips! Luckily we were stopped right in front!


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    Creeper shot of Mom and Steve in the vehicle behind us!


    It dried off again while we were touring Tomorrowland, and we made our way to Stitch's Great Escape which was getting ready to load! This ride. I don't know. I like the idea and execution of it, but compared to the original ride that scared me to tears as a child.... it's a little lacking. Tony loves it because it features his favorite character! When we got out I looked at my Lines app and saw that Pirates of the Caribbean only had a 10 minute wait! We made our way to Adventureland, but not before stopping for obligatory castle shots!


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    #selfie


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    Mark, Tony, me and Meg!

    After that brief detour, we continued to Pirates. When we got off, it was definitely time for some noms! We decided to go to Pecos Bill's since it was right around the corner and had something for everyone. ​
     
  18. sue_88

    sue_88 DIS veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2010
    Messages:
    476
    Looks like a good trip so far!
    I always stay on site (because I never have a car with me) but the place you stayed does look pretty!
    I hope the rest of your trip was magical.
     
  19. DisneyJo

    DisneyJo Lost my tags :(

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Messages:
    19,749
    Great report so far but I still can't get over how long you guys drive for, here in the UK we think anything over about 2 hours is a long way :rotfl2:
     
  20. missx0xdelaney

    missx0xdelaney Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    180
    Thanks for joining! We were really impressed with the resort, but I really missed being on site. Everything's just so much easier and more magical! The trip had some ups and downs but we had a good time!

    Thanks for reading! I wish all of the major places in the US were closer together. Road trips are fun, but SO long and exhausting. Believe me, I think 18 hours is a bit far too! Tony keeps trying to get me to do a cross country trip but I don't think I can handle it!


    LIFE UPDATE #1

    Sorry I've been away for so long! August was a really busy month for us with work and parties. Also, we made a big decision that we've been doing a lot of planning for...... :yay: WE'RE MOVING TO FLORIDA! :yay: I can't even begin to describe how excited I am. I've been wanting to get my own apartment for awhile because our (my mom, me, and Mark) lease was up at the end of July. My mom was supposed to be buying a place with Steve, but his house hasn't sold yet, so she and my brother moved in with my grandparents. I am staying at Tony's house until we move. I've been looking for apartments around here (suburbs south of Chicago) for almost a year but nothing really stood out, plus there is nothing in the price range I can afford on my own. Tony didn't really want to move out at the time, so I kind of shelved the idea.
    Each time we've been down in Florida we've talked about how awesome it would be to live there, how much nicer and seemingly well run the Target stores we visit are, and how nice the apartment buildings look. On our May trip, the guy checking us in to our Hampton hotel noticed my address and was actually from the same town! He told us all about the different places he's lived and how the cost of living is about 30% cheaper in Orlando compared to Chicago. He raved about the area and how moving was the best decision he made and it really got us (especially me) thinking.
    This time while hanging out at our hotel, I decided to look up apartments to see what the rent was. I was amazed at how much cheaper AND nicer the listings actually were. Here in Oak Forest, about 30 minutes south of Chicago, we were paying $915/month for a 2 bedroom apt that was just pretty plain, with older basic appliances and a pool that opened seasonally and had a separate fee. The listings I've seen in Florida for 2 bedrooms ranged from around $600-900 (the max I really want to spend on just rent) and include in unit washers/dryers, open floorplans, pools, AND fitness centers, to name a few amenities. I am just floored at the cost difference.
    We've already mentioned that we'll be leaving to our HR manager and store manager, and while they're sad to see us go, they wish us the best, and will assist in transferring down there when it gets closer. The stores near the area have SO many positions available, from ones that would be lateral moves to promotions! I want to have plenty of money saved before we make the move so we can fully furnish our apartment as well as have extra on hand to take care of any unexpected expenses. I still can't believe that we're actually moving. It's been a lifelong dream of mine to work for Disney so I can't wait to actually be in a position to start that process! I'm also planning on transferring to UCF when we get settled so I can finish my Theater degree! I will finally have my car paid off in May, so I can finally put that money back toward school, where it belongs!
    As of right now, we'll probably be moving March 1 (probably leaving a few days earlier to make our way down). I am between a few other options though. One thing I'm concerned about is meeting people down there, so I'm considering doing a College Program and then staying in Florida after. I like this option because then I'd get to be down there two months sooner and don't have to deal with finding an apartment from 1000 miles away, plus we'd have instant friends from having roommates. The cons are that we wouldn't get to live together, and we'd be taking a paycut from our current jobs. The other option I'm hoping for is meeting our savings goal a little early from Christmas gifts. Depending on what we are lucky enough to receive from our families, we may be able to either reduce our budget because we'll have things we won't need to buy or possibly just have the money from gifts and from working more during the busy 4th quarter!
    We just booked our trip in January to replace the one we were planning for this month. We were going to head down to celebrate Tony's birthday and go to the Villains party, but August was a tight month after having two back to back vacations and I'd rather save money now knowing that in 6 months we'll be able to go whenever we want! We were hoping for a January trip anyway, right before our passes expire, and now we'll be able to see apartments in person! We'll be camping at Fort Wilderness January 10-12 (as of right now)!
    Anyway, I'll stop rambling now and get back to the trip report, but as you can tell, I'm really excited! I can't wait to start the next stage in our lives! :cloud9:
     
  21. missx0xdelaney

    missx0xdelaney Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    180
    July 5, 2013 Part Four - Nighttime at MK!

    When we last left off, the fam was headed toward Pecos Bill's. For some reason I don't seem to have any pictures of what we ate! After eating, we headed over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for some fastpasses. We got there about 5 minutes before we could get new fastpasses, which we tried telling my mom and Steve, but they didn't listen. They tried pulling new fastpasses and of course received the "Not a Valid Fastpass" slips. There was a cast member right there and he tried to explain to them, but they tried to argue that it was close enough to the time that they should be able to get some anyway. It's not close enough for the computer! They decided that they didn't even want to pull fastpasses and they'd find something else to do.

    They ended up following us to the Haunted Mansion and riding with us, then we split up to head back to Thunder Mountain. Unfortunately, I forgot about the Main Street Electrical Parade, and it was in full swing as we exited the ride. We wanted to get to Tomorrowland by way of Fantasyland so we could use our Space fastpasses, but traffic was practically at a standstill. Eventually we made it over to Liberty Square and it was less densely crowded. We took some time to look at the amazing Tangled area as we passed through, and then proceeded on toward Tomorrowland. Outside Auntie Gravity's (the ice cream shop in T-land), there was an amazing custodial cast member making mop art! (Sorry about the questionable picture quality. My iPhone is terrible at night shots!)

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    That was definitely a highlight of night, and we were sure to let him know how much we appreciated his work!

    We made it to Space Mountain few minutes before Steve and my mom did. Before we headed in, I tried to get a hold of my friend Lauri from work who was down because we almost had an extra fastpass, but the next day I found out I actually had two numbers saved for her and didn't use the right one. Not sure who I texted! When it was our turn to ride, we made Megan sit in front because she couldn't remember what the ride was like :lmao: She tried to get Mark to switch, but we wouldn't let her!

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    The nice part about having 6 people is we got an entire ride vehicle! Meg, Tony and I were in the front car, and the others were behind us. After we passed the picture, I actually ended up riding with my hands on my head. I was afraid my bows were going to come loose!

    After we rode, I wanted to head to the front of Tomorrowland to catch the Celebration in the Sky/July 4 fireworks. The Limited Time Magic for this week was that they were actually having the fireworks every night! Unfortunately for me, everyone else wanted to keep going on rides. We ended up going on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and both Tony and Mark maxed out their guns to 999,999. So jealous! I've given up on winning at this game. When we got off we headed over to the photo counter and they got Galactic Hero buttons.

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    We headed outside and the fireworks had already begun. We had a decent view of most of them since it was the fancy version that includes perimeter bursts, but it wasn't ideal. After that, despite my protestations, we got in the sea of people fighting their way down Main Street. It was terrible because you had people coming back into Tomorrowland, people trying to find spots on Main Street for the second showing of the MSEP, and those trying to exit. We got as far as The Plaza before we were directed to the side towards Tomorrowland Terrace. Then we were directed backstage down a corridor behind the Main Street Shops. It was kind of exciting to see the backstage area, but I wasn't sure whether I could take pictures so I didn't. There were cast members cheering everyone on the whole way which I thought was fun. We came out right by the Town Square Theater fastpass machines. And that is where my mom decided we should wait for the others. I gave up and started walking toward the exit and found the men on the Town Square porch.

    We exited and headed towards the scariest line for the ferry I've ever seen. We wove through a massive mob of people for about 20 minutes before we were able to board a ferry. It was not my cup of tea. Eventually we made it to the TTC and after watching 3 trams pass, we finally got on one and made our way to Scar. I dozed off for a few minutes in the car and woke up to find Steve adamantly trying to go the wrong way. We got back going the correct way and then made it back to the hotel. We got dressed for bed pretty quickly, but then Tony and I ended up going across the street to Cici's for a $4 pizza midnight snack. Why are those terrible pizzas so good??? After nomming the entire thing, we headed right to sleep so we could have an early start the next morning.​
     

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