How EMH saved our trip-Doing the World on West Coast Time! Completed. Stop by my PTR!

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by eandesmom, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    Intro and Takeoff!

    Arrival at Fort Wilderness

    A walk through the Fort

    Where in the world is Wall-E?

    Test Track or Bust

    Beer...I mean Bier...are we illuminated yet? and the first lanyard

    Valentines Day at the World!

    Pixie Dust, little boy style!

    The first Mickey Bar!

    There is no bus to the Magic Kingdom

    Scrooge's big day

    No fireworks for you, will a volcano do?

    A Towel Animal Party in the cabin!


    we WILL get there early today. Right?

    What do you want to do? I don't know, what do you want to do?

    Oh what the heck, it's vacation!


    Belle is the Bomb


    RRC or Bust

    The finale and...."did you wash your hands?"

    Faster Faster, Higher Higher!

    MY day

    The Best Burger in the World


    Shopping, Strolling and Spinning


    A wild west end to the day complete with a Hoop...Whoop...or two

    A Hoop, or Two and More for You!


    Where's the bus? There is a bus, right? There will be a bus, right? and Yakking and Yeti-ing....locally.


    Kali? or Safari? Kali? or Safari? FP pay it forward!

    A Goody and Tink photo-safari

    Gorillas and Gazelles, the Pagani Trail

    The fast pass gods of Presidents week strike again! Pay it forward Kali Karma

    EE, some EMH, a view of AK at night and a Bombastic dinner!

    What do you mean we are already checked out?

    Why we love FW

    A week on the DDP, $ignificant $avings for us. A dining recap and garden grocer review


    Final Thoughts, Sniff!


    Ok first, a little bit our gang. We have our fabulous blended family which includes

    • Belle (me) and Scrooge McDuck
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      otherwise known as the parental units

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      And the brood
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    • Steven Tyler, DSS16, the cool rocker
    • Tink, DSD12, budding soccer star and official tween (meaning hormones, makeup and hard to wake up)

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    • Goofy, DS9, high energy that one.
    • Wall-E, DS8, low maintenance that one, except when he hasn't had enough sleep.
      [​IMG]

    I'm a working mom trying to juggle full time work, pta and 4 different schedules at 4 different schools, and I tend to over volunteer for just about everything much to my husbands dismay. I am married to a fabulous engineer. Or enginerd as I lovingly call him. Who likes to fly as you can tell by the plane shot. He plans to build a seaplane in our garage. Sigh. We've been together for almost 7 years, married for almost 5 and are blessed to have navigated the blended family thing surprisingly well. I keep waiting to be the evil step mom but it hasn't happened yet.

    I'm a huge disney fan with many trips over the years. Being from the west coast, not as much as I'd like! Scrooge is also from the west coast but grew up in CA so grew up going to Disneyland ALL the time. He'd never been to the world until 4 years ago and has always wanted to go back with all 4 kids.

    Wall-E and Goofy went with us 4 years ago and all the kids had been to Disneyland but 4 years is a long time when you are a kid and none of them really remembered much. This was our Christmas present to the kids and we were all pretty excited, the little ones more than the big ones but everyone was ready to get out of Dodge, it had been quite cold. Originally we had wanted to go over thanksgiving but Tink's relentless soccer schedule and ridiculous airfare had us rebooking for spring break, and then rebooking again for mid winter break once there became yet another soccer conflict. Scheduling vacation dates in blended family world is never easy and this one was as difficult, or more, than most for a variety of reasons. The kids are in 2 different school districts with 2 different school calendars and that just complicates things more. But summer is even worse, we can't plan until we know soccer schedules and at least for this trip, frankly, we didn't want to wait that long. So we held our ground and kept getting luckier with our rebookings.

    At first we were at BWV, for thanksgiving. Then OKW. Then I got laid off and I almost cancelled but instead decided to try and just downgrade. So we moved it to spring break, those thanksgiving airfares were too insane and were able to get into the FW cabins. For a family of 6, there aren't a lot of options! Then mid winter break, some killer airfares AND the buy 4 get 3.

    It was meant to be!

    We are avid campers so the cabins seemed actually more "us" than either OKW or SSR which was all that was available. We'd spent one night at ASM and I just couldn't face a value with 6 in a family suite. The cabin would be tight enough but we'd have a deck and a full kitchen which made up for a lot.

    All that set, ADR's made (and surprisingly we got everything we wanted at the 45 day mark except LeCellier) we got ready to go. I found DIS and did a LOT of research and planning. Quite the opposite of our previous trip where we just showed up!

    Despite the headache coordinating dates with the other household, once we actually get on our vacations, we have a GREAT time.

    Our trip started with the somewhat frantic rounding up of kids. With 4 kids at different schools and 2 different school break schedules there were some logistics involved. Our flight was at 1:30 PST and all kids had gone to school except Wall-E. Wall-E however had a monster project due the next day which, despite my best efforts (and his) was NOT done and would need to be completed on the plane and emailed out when we arrived. He had delivered his class valentines the day before so he got to have a nice lazy morning. Not really. I ended up with a surprise work conference call when I should have been loading the van and Scrooge oversaw Wall-E's story report effort. Which, although I wasn't in the room, clearly wasn't going well given the noises I was hearing.

    Not the ideal start to the day!

    Finishing my call an hour before we were supposed to leave for kid collecting I dashed into the shower and started jamming the rest of my toiletries into whichever suitcase I could find. We also had to repack Tink and Steven's bags a little, we always like to get their bags the night before to check and make sure they really have what they need and apparently all of Tink's LS shirts were at our house and I had her texted list of what she wanted to add.

    So...sweating a little but everything done, we load up.

    First stop. Goofy. I'd originally planned to keep him home that day as his school starts late but had forgotten he had math olympiad practice and that if he missed it...no competition. So he'd gone in for that (which had meant driving him to school before my work call) and then stayed for his math period and to turn in his classroom valentines.

    He is SUPPOSED to check out at the office and I was supposed to meet him there. I had something else to drop off in a teacher box (the homework Goofy had left on the counter that was due the next day) and then I went into the office. Only to see Goofy RACING through the hall to the van. Gee dude...excited? :) The head admin joked that he needed to come back in and sign out as he was breaking the rules.

    Next stop was Tink's MS. We've actually never picked her up mid-day before and were timing it for lunch break. Her lunch break and Steven's were 15 minutes apart but the schools were only 5 minutes. It was Steven's pickup time we were ultimately worried about as it was making it tight for airport timing but we really didn't have a choice. He had a big biology test he couldn't miss and we were picking him up after that. While the younger 2 had a full week of mid winter break, Tink and Steven only had 3 days and as a result, had more "due". Plus of course they are older! At any rate we waited. And waited. And waited. We were a little early but we started to see the crowds milling for lunch. And we waited.

    Finally Scrooge went in to see what was going on. She eventually showed up. Nice to be in middle school and have all the time in the world. It was their "friday" and valentines were being passed out. Tink showed up holding a rose...ah hah! Now the real reason for the delay :)

    Off to the HS. As with Goofy, Steven had also left homework on the counter. So he had to come to the car, get it, go turn it in, and come back. His classroom must have been in Egypt! Finally, seriously like 10 minutes later, we were off to the airport!

    Check in went relatively smoothly. I'd printed boarding passes before we'd left so it was just baggage check in. Thankfully our outbound was on Alaska so the 1st bags were free. Good thing when you have 6 of them! Of course...my bag was too heavy. For some reason my suitcase, empty, is heavier than most. One pair of shoes out and smashed into Steven's bag and we were ready to go!

    Our "fancy" plane lunch
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    Animals excited for take off (both kinds!) The younger boys had really wanted to bring 2 animals each but we drew the line at one :)
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    and...Homework on the plane.
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    Wall-E literally did homework the entire time we were flying. As did the rest of the kids but his was the worst. One 11 page paper later, we had it up and in my outbox, ready to go once we got to the cabin and logged in. Steven should have been doing more but we didn't find that out until we got back!

    Next...DME, arrival at Fort Wilderness and dinner in the cabin. Plus a surprise for the gang!
     
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  3. msce2

    msce2 DIS Veteran

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    Love the title! I'm subbing, Cant wait to read more!!!
     
  4. Faustous

    Faustous Round Two!! ... Fight! err... HUG!

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    I am on board!!

    Alaska Air? Are you flying FROM Alaska??
     
  5. OhMari

    OhMari WDW PreTrip and Trip Moderator Moderator

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    Hi,
    I had 4 kids and they are all in college or out, so I know how hectic 4 kids schedules are.

    Can you please not post your pictures side by side.
    It makes the pictures to large.

    Thanks,
    OhMari
     
  6. kimiza

    kimiza Single Mom Even more of a disney kid than my daugh

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    I'm in, sounds fun so far!
     
  7. MissBellesMommy

    MissBellesMommy Earning My Ears

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    awe look at those kids! I am so on board
     
  8. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    I can't figure out how to resize anything in photobucket, it just shows the original image data. I was hoping side by side at least it was shorter length wise!
     
  9. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    otherwise known as the ONLY non stop way to get to orlando from Seattle :)

    I guess we might as well be in alaska huh! :)
     
  10. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    Given that we had a late arrival (10pm) we'd elected NOT to DME our baggage. They arrived quickly and we were off to the DME check in. That too was amazingly fast. Landed at 10 and we were on a bus by 10:20. The bus however sat for a while before taking off. The video's on the bus were not working so the kids kept me entertained while we watched the same image over and over again with Mickey and his flying wings.

    [​IMG]

    Upon arriving at FW I scooted off the bus to beat the check in line and it worked, I was 2nd in line. It took a bit to get us checked in. I'd had 3 packages shipped ahead and it took them 2 trips to find them all. Then I'd requested to be in loop 2200, we'd been assigned 2700 so they went to see what they could do. I'd pre-ordered groceries so we could make dinner and was informed they were already in the cabin. Whoo hoo! I'd been dreading schlepping groceries on top of the packages and all our stuff to the cabin.

    They could move us the next night but for tonight they were full so we stuck with 2703. A great choice. My other request had been for the front of the loop and this was right there, close to the internal bus stop, close enough to walk to the outpost for all our buses if we didn't want to wait for the internal bus but super private and absolutely lovely (not that I could tell that in the dark!).

    Upon arrival we were greeted with our first set of towel animals...towel top hats!

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    We walked in, dumped our stuff and set out to make dinner. First order of business was tossing the beer in the freezer lol. While all the true perishables had made it into the fridge, the beer and wine had not. I had my priorities! :)

    While I was making dinner, I had the kids open one of the surprise boxes (and hid the other two). Here is what was in it.

    [​IMG]

    I'd ordered special trip mugs for everyone to use during the trip. For a couple of reasons. One, just a fun way to commemorate. Two, the kids needed at least one of their "own" mugs at home, three, I like a big mug for my coffee in the morning and rarely do hotel mugs meet that need (and the forts were ESPECIALLY tiny). The new disney shopping customizable item program was so fun to work with to make these and I was absolutely thrilled with how they turned out. So was the entire crew. They were a godsend for the trip, we all used them almost exclusively, liking them better than the fort mugs and the fort glasses (which are like mason jars...cute for the theme but a little odd to drink out of...unless maybe it's kungaloosh which I've yet to try).

    Dinner at the cabin

    [​IMG]

    Next....playing with towel animals and a full day of EPCOT!
     
  11. msce2

    msce2 DIS Veteran

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    I'm in awe of your organization! :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

    You thought out every detail!!!:worship:
     
  12. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    Scrooge makes fun of me for it but it does generally pay off. It's funny, our last WDW trip we completely winged it, just showed up. And it was fine. But it was really really nice to have a plan, still have flexibility but know that the big things were taken care of. And I had fun with my surprises...there were more in store for the crew.
     
  13. KittyKat08

    KittyKat08 Mouseketeer

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    I'm in!

    Great start so far, looking forward to the rest.
     
  14. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    Our first day dawned beautifully! Sunny and 70 at wakeup was a perfect way to be greeted. We sat outside on our deck while the big kids slept.

    Enjoying breakfast on our deck
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    Our views
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    We decided, once the lazy people were up and finished playing around, to walk through the Fort and take the long way to Epcot. While we could have just grabbed a bus and gone straight to Epcot, it was EMH day and I wanted to at least SEE where we were staying.

    Playing around with the towel hats...

    [​IMG]

    On our stroll we went by the swimming hole (otherwise known as the quiet or cabin pool). The "Big" pool is under a major reconstruction. The fun part of that meant we had access to WL's pool and we planned on hitting that later in the week.

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    We enjoyed walking through the fort, seeing the cabins, then the RV's and tent sites. The Fort was quite full!

    Then it was off to the Marina to catch the boat to the MK.

    View from the dock, the beach at the Fort

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    Waiting for the green boat

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    It's a pretty boat ride, one we did many times. Seeing the abandoned River Country is something else...a movie should be set there and Discovery Island was just beautiful. It was also nice to be "up close" to a few of the MK resorts.


    Sailing by the Contemporary.
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    And finally, the MK is in sight!

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    Two short monorail rides later and
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    Epcot!

    Or as Wall-E says...Ecpot. While the child still can't say it right is beyond me!

    [​IMG]

    Next...the reality of WDW during President's week and moving Illumination hours
     
  15. cjsteiger

    cjsteiger Mouseketeer

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    Subbing
    I can't wait to read more of your TR we were in Fort Wilderness Cabins from 2/16-2/22. We were in 2644. Love the cabins!!

    Cheryl:)
     
  16. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    We were there the 12th-19th. Wish I was there now!
     
  17. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    Wow, I am so behind on this! Darn job getting in the way of my trip report, what is up with that!

    Our plan, upon arrival, was to grab TT FP's, dumb the bags in a locker and grab some lunch. With the weather having pretty big swings and knowing we would not want to leave to go back to the Fort to get jackets, we had packed a bag to get us through EMH. We grabbed the FP's and were a bit taken aback to see they weren't until 4:30! I'd been to the World 3 times previously, and DL many times and Scrooge grew up near DL. We have never had that kind of gap on a FP. It was probably noon at this point. This was our first taste of the Presidents Week crowds.

    Now, I love Epcot. Love love love it. One of my favorites for many reasons. But I cannot stand the layout of Future worlds. It is not intuitive, it always feels crowded and just isn't as pretty as the other parks. The WS more than makes up for it but I tend to find myself frustrated at times navigating FW. This happened right after grabbing our FP's. For some reason we thought lockers would be at, I don't know, guest services? Information?. Nope. Inside the camera shop. In retrospect it was kind of funny and it did help us find lockers super quick everywhere else but it was really annoying at the time. However, as with everything, there was a silver lining to the 20 minutes "where in the world are the lockers" tourists looking lost saga.

    After finally finding them, and stowing our stuff, Scrooge came back to announce that there was NO wait at Spaceship Earth! Lunch plans abandoned for the moment, we took off! Now I've been to Epcot probably 6 times over 3 different trips but none of us had ever gone on Spaceship Earth. Sad I know. I think we thought it was dated or something or were just too busy heading straight to TT or to the WS for good. Clearly we'd been idiots and were missing out!

    It was SUCH a great start to the trip, a perfect perfect first ride. The kids absolutely loved it. We had been fearful that Tink and Steven might find some things at the World a bit cheesy, or dated and we might get some teen/tween attitude. They were just as captivated with it as the rest of us and in a small way I feel like it set a super positive tone for the trip that never left us.

    This is a lame picture but...as our first ride of the trip, I had to include it

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    By the time we finished it was 1:30 and the gang was seriously hungry so off to the WS we went. You can read about our lunch here, in post #8. We were on the DDP and hit Tangerine Cafe and Cantina de San Angel. LOVED Tangerine Cafe and the dining setting at the Cantina was lovely (as long as you didn't feed the birds). The food reviews for the Cantina were less glowing but the gang ate everything.

    http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2095766

    While eating, we enjoyed these guys
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    Full and happy it was off to the rides! We tried to go get FP's to Mission Space and it wouldn't let us. I didn't remember what the timing rules were but knew on past trips we'd been able to have more than one at a time. Like idiots we thought this meant we couldn't get another set until after we went on TT which bummed us out as that was quite a ways away and the FP's would be gone by then. We clued into the 2 hour thing much much later in the trip, I don't know how I missed that in all my research but rest assured, it won't happen again. If we'd have waited another 30 minutes we could have gotten them but oh well.

    Thankfully the wait at Mission Space really wasn't that bad, 20 minutes for green and 30 for orange so we just went for it.

    Our kids are funny when it comes to rides. When we went to the world in 2005 it was just the 2 little ones, they were 4 and 5 at the time. We took them on EVERYTHING that they were tall enough for. Wall-E missed a bunch but Goofy went on everything. A couple of things freaked them out (taking my 4 year old on ToT was not a mommy of the year highlight for me...lol) but for the most part, they were ride rockstars. The big guys on the other hand, are, well, wimps. They avoid intense rides like the plague but had been getting better about it. One of the reasons we decided to skip Universal Islands of Adventure (though Scrooge and I LOVE it) was that the "thrill" rides really aren't what Steven and Tink love. We may have converted them on this trip but I'm getting ahead of myself.

    At any rate, Tink is completely paranoid about the unknown. Every ride has to be dissected before she gets on it so she knows what to expect. Except I don't always really remember! She is always fine once she gets on it but she kills me before :) It's pretty cute actually. So 4 of us headed into green and two into orange (Scrooge and Steven)

    Going in...
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    Coming out
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    In between those pictures, we had a blast on the ride. However immediately afterwards we went into the main area to wait. It was PACKED. And...Wall-E has a tendency to wander. He was given some pretty specific instructions. We (all 4 of us) headed into a corner and started playing the little astronaut game, Goofy on one computer, myself and Tink on another. Somehow Wall-E thought weren't there and...LEFT THE BUILDING.

    I was wrapped up in my own astronaut attempt to save the other astronauts and thought he was with his brother (and had just given him VERY strict instructions to stay with us and his brother and had reminded his brother and Tink to help keep track of him) Yes he is 8 but...he is in his own world, completely oblivious to what is going on around him. He pulled a similar stunt at Christmas but I digress.

    Right then, Scrooge and Steven show up and we start talking about the ride, the game we were just playing and I realize...no Wall-E. We split up to go look. Scrooge finds him outside, crying, talking to a CM about how he has lost us. Now...the good news is he knew what to do and had found a CM right away and he does know my cell phone number by heart. But...suffice to say for the remainder of the entire trip I did make my second grade eight year old hold my hand, every day, everywhere we went. I can blame it on how crowded the Mission Space Pavilion was but the reality is that he probably walked right by me and kept going. It's dark in there and hard to see but he's done this in broad daylight. It's scary!

    Drama resolved...off to more rides.
     
  18. msce2

    msce2 DIS Veteran

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    How scary! Thank goodness he knew exactly what to do and found a CM. I agree completely about EP. It's almost like FW and WS are 2 totally different parks. If it was that busy in Feb, I can't imagine what it will be like in May!!!! Thank you for the update, looking forward to hearing more!
     
  19. Eeyore18

    Eeyore18 Mouseketeer

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    Enjoying the trip report! We were there from the 16 to the 19.
    We usually are summer people- but was very surprised about the crowds!
    Felt like summer, but without the heat! Actually, wished it was a bit warmer down there!
     
  20. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    I've been in June twice and in November (during F&W!) and have never seen anything like it with the crowds. The bummer is in reality, school breaks for the foreseeable future are likely our best bet. The good news is that really, for the most part, we really "did" 3 out of the 4 parks quite well but the MK was pretty brutal. So I need to go again. And soon! :)

    I can dream right?
     
  21. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    Thankfully we'd packed appropriately but it did get pretty cool in the evenings and I found myself layering in the morning, stripping during the day (ok not literally but...) and then layering up again at night. In six days I went from tank top to parka! I wouldn't have minded it a bit warmer as well, it will make me reconsider Feb as the month to go but, on the flip side it was a REALLY nice time to get away from home at, we've never done a full week at that time of year and I liked it.
     

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