Led Zeppelin Collides With The Magic Kingdom! The Grand Finale!!! 6.28.2012

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by TinksThree, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. ksl5f123

    ksl5f123 DIS Veteran

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    The kids all look really excited in the band room pictures. I laughed at the thought of them mostly being asleep soon after. :laughing:

    I bet having movies on the bus made the trip go faster. I love that they chose PoC first! pirate:

    The skies do look so grey and yucky your whole drive. You said it was bad, but those pictures really tell the story.

    I love the pictures of Mobile Bay. I have never been down there despite having lived in Alabama in the 90s. Maybe some day...
     
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  3. Belle83

    Belle83 DIS Veteran

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    I'm just joining in :) I was in MB in high school and played the flute too. My school went to DL but not until after I graduated, so I am jealous! We did have some fun trips, just not Disney trips.
     
  4. TinksThree

    TinksThree DIS Veteran

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    It definitely made sense once it was all explained but it did stink not being able to use those FPs during Spring Break crowds!

    I thought the food court was brilliant! I was prepared to title this report "Yes we were that group!" just imagining the faces on people walking into McDonald's with 83 people trying to order!! :rotfl:


    They fell asleep and slept all day which meant when we arrived at 10:30pm they were wired!! :laughing: I loved having the movies because time did fly by! And thankfully all of the movies we watched were ones I enjoy! I kept thinking of you guys and hoping it wasn't doing that in Orlando!

    When your DS(s) ;) get older I bet they would love running through the USS Alabama and the submarine. My kids always loved it. Mobile has some fun and interesting things to do plus it is close to Gulf Shores which is an added bonus!


    :welcome: I love the flute. I think it has such a pretty sound! My high school MB never went on trips except away games but that is a whole different story! :laughing: I am so glad Madison has the opportunities to go on these trips!
     
  5. teentoddlermom

    teentoddlermom DIS Veteran

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    Looking forward to reading more! It might be a better idea to somehow black out the other faces, rather than distort.
    Hope you had good weather!
     
  6. TinksThree

    TinksThree DIS Veteran

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    :welcome: Glad to have you on board!! For various reasons and not liking the distort feature we actually had played around with the photo features (our first venture into this!) and we found an erase button which is one easy click. Future pictures will be adjusted differently than with the distort (white out is now our friend! :laughing:).

    The weather improved greatly from the trip down!! :thumbsup2
     
  7. sherylcin

    sherylcin Mouseketeer

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    Well, that trip doesn't sound so bad! Having the movies to watch sure helped pass the time I'm sure. My experience chaperoning a bunch of teenagers was with our church youth group on a choir tour. We were on a regular old church bus so movies weren't an option (no equipment!). Glad you had much more elegant transportation!:thumbsup2 We were also "that group" at McDonald's. What a fantastic idea to pull up to a mall with a food court.

    It looks like you had fun with your new camera on the trip too. You got some good shots. Especially loved seeing the Bay pics. I've only driven across Florida a couple of times but it really does seem looonngg and boorriinngg!! Those beaches are sure beautiful though. We spent some time in Panama City one year and couldn't get enough of the gorgeous beach. I've always wanted to go to Gulf Shores...........I just need to stop going to Disney instead.:rotfl:

    Your trip report title always makes me smile. Looking forward to your next chapter...........popcorn::
     
  8. TinksThree

    TinksThree DIS Veteran

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    The drive between Pensacola and Tallahassee is very long so I was happy for movie diversion! I wish I-10 was closer to the Gulf because it would be nice to make a stop! Gulf Shores is great! We love going to the Perdido area. I also know how Disney affects trying other places!

    The TR title came from nowhere and when I told Madison she said "Yes! That is it!" so glad you like it too!! To me that is one of the hardest parts of a TR...coming up with a title!!
     
  9. TinksThree

    TinksThree DIS Veteran

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    Clarion Maingate

    As soon as I learned the hotel location I went to Trip Advisor. TA is my all other vacations go to and I trust (for the most part) the reviews. The Clarion seemed to get mostly positive reviews and after staying there I give them a 4 star on the TA standards!

    To make a long, boring story short, we got the keys, dispersed the keys, unload the buses and head to the 5th floor. Luggage placed in rooms, ice chests filled for the next day, a quick walk to Walgreens by me and another chaperone, room check, and lights out.

    Exhausted! It had to be one of the longest drives ever! It took 16 hours to get to Orlando. Normally we make it within 12 hours depending on our length of stops! I will say though that those students were overall very good and not loud on the buses! Only towards the end did they get a little antsy but we had a band director on our bus and he made it clear they were too loud!! And those one hour stops at the mall? All returned at the appointed time! Shocking…I know!!

    We pretty much had the whole 5th floor reserved for our school. There were other groups in the hotel also but on other floors. Of all of the girls’ rooms, there was very little wrong. Only minor things like a missing remote, missing mirror, slow toilets but overall the rooms were clean, comfortably sized and one group even had two double beds and bunk beds. I wish I had taken a picture of their room! This hotel is very close to the main gate of Disney and it took only 10-15 minutes to get to each park. There was a putt-putt (mini-golf) nearby, something with a giant wizard (wish I had looked into what that was!), and several decent looking restaurants one of which was BBQ. As I said before, we had to walk to Walgreens which was a few blocks away, maybe ¼ of a mile. There was a wide sidewalk, well lit and at 11:30pm we did not feel unsafe.

    Breakfast was served every morning and we had a good selection that included waffles, eggs (I am extremely picky on scrambled eggs and these were decent with salt and pepper), some awesome potatoes that weren’t really hash browns but more in chunks…they were yummy!!! Also link sausage, cereals, mini-powdered donuts, muffins, fruit salad, toast, and the typical juice and coffee selections were offered. We had little vouchers and the breakfast may actually be an added cost because I saw non-group people leave due to not having the voucher. The waffles were made by an attendant, which I thought was great since turning a bunch of teens loose with a waffle maker could equal disaster.

    Evidentially this hotel is frequented by groups very often and they were very well prepared. Even though there were other groups there the hotel was quite. There were also two pools but those were off limits for our group. When we arrived our keys were already assigned to one person in the room (the band director had sent the room groupings to the hotel prior to us leaving). We also had a security guard assigned to our hall each night and this made our (the chaperones) lives easier since we did not have to take shifts to monitor escapees and noise!! :thumbsup2 Overall this hotel was really nice and I would stay here even if I was not a part of a group.
    Now some pictures of the hotel.

    First of my room:

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    There was even a towel swan!!!

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    And Stacy is off -site too! Although it is only the "Must-Do's" and it got old very quickly!!

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    The view from my room at night which looks down on one of the pools:

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    And by day:

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    The hotel (these next pictures were taken later obviously due to the daylight but I want all hotel comments to be in this post!):

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    Notice in the distance what my view held! Expedition Everest!

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    Tower of Terror! And you can also make out the curve of Epcot, although it was easier to see in person!

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    I thought I had the most awesome view ever!! :goodvibes

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    I did not get a picture of the breakfast area due to it being crowded. They did offer an overflow area though so there was always somewhere to sit!

    Next: Finally we get to a park! But this park visit is unlike any I am used to!!!
     
  10. mickeystoontown

    mickeystoontown DIS Veteran

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    It looks and sounds like the Clarion Maingate is definitely a place that I would book if we weren't going to stay onsite. It looks nice and clean and in a good location. (love that view of your's) From what is sounds like, the hotel does do a lot of group bookings and were on top of their game.
     
  11. TinksThree

    TinksThree DIS Veteran

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    It really was a nice place to stay considering it wasn't a Disney property! I highly recommend it!!
     
  12. shan23877

    shan23877 I make lists about my lists

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    It sounds like the hotel was great for your group! The breakfast sounds yummy. My first thought when I read waffles was "oh no, teenagers (probably tired) and a hot waffle iron" , so I was relieved that there was and attendant :rotfl:

    What a view! I could totally see epcot in the picture.

    I assume the no pool rule was for the same reasons as the no FP rule. The kids probably wouldn't have had time to swim anyway-except at midnight. Yay for security guards!!
     
  13. pinkxray

    pinkxray DIS Veteran

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    The hotel looks pretty nice and the breakfast sounds great:thumbsup2

    The reasoning behind the no fastpasses does make sense now.

    The bus ride sounds LONG:faint: Glad everyone was well behaved.:)
     
  14. TinksThree

    TinksThree DIS Veteran

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    The hotel really worked perfectly. The pool rule was for the same reasons but we were asls exhausted every night and everyone pretty much crashed! We basically got to the rooms at 11:30pm and woke up at 6pm so swimming wasn't really missed!

    I loved :cloud9: that view!


    The breakfast was really good! I usually eat the breakfast but it is ho-hum and I am ready to eat shortly after but I left full every morning! FP rule made sense but boy did I miss those things!! :headache:
     
  15. sherylcin

    sherylcin Mouseketeer

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    Phew! So happy to hear the hotel was good. I'm always a little worried until I see it for myself! TA is my friend too. Always check out hotels there first. So did you get your own room? You actually didn't have to share? So cool!:goodvibes At least the views offered you some Disney vibes. Pretty great view IMO. Breakfast sounds yummy. I think you're off to a great start.

    Hmmmm! Is this ominous????:rolleyes1
     
  16. TinksThree

    TinksThree DIS Veteran

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    It's not too ominous but it is definitely a lot different from what I am used to! :rolleyes:

    I did get the room to myself! I was actually pleasantly surprised by this! It was nice to come back and unwind in my own time (after room checks and such of course!!). The room was even better than I expected. I always take reviews at face value because you just never know. I have gotten a few duds but usually the reviews direct me in the right direction!

    Hopefully I will have an update very soon! :goodvibes
     
  17. TinksThree

    TinksThree DIS Veteran

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    Friday, March 23, 2012

    Are you ready!?

    Wake up calls were to be made at 6:30am. I am not a morning person and had to struggle making those perky “This is your wake-up call!” calls!

    Breakfast was at 7am and everyone’s (well almost everyone since some chose to skip it) tummies were filled.

    We gathered in the lobby:

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    And soon we were loading the buses and heading to our first park: EPCOT!!

    First though, those wonderful gates we all live to see!

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    Epcot is my favorite park and the Flower and Garden Festival was going on which made me even more excited! So a warning here and now: a brand new camera to experiment with and the Flower and Garden Festival = A LOT of pictures!!!! I had been looking forward to this day for a long, long time and I was ready to try out my camera. Some of my pictures weren’t as good as I would like but it is all in learning! Plus with others around I couldn’t just stop and play with my camera features all of the time. It was all good though!


    My usual touring plans for this day would have been: arrive at 8:15am (we had not even left the hotel yet!), from Rope Drop (we were unloading the buses at this time) head to Soarin’ for a Fast Pass (which we could not use) then go to Test Track and Mission Space. By 9:45 we have usually accomplished several rides. This trip not so much!

    Now I will say that I realized a long, long time ago that this trip wasn’t about me and my plans. I was going simply to enjoy and soak up whatever magic was floating around. With this said, I had prepared my planning brain and it was relaxed and in “whatever” mode. And that is really a great place to be!!

    Nixing my “usual touring mode”: We arrive at Epcot and go through the entrance:

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    Once we are parked, we hand out the passes.

    Getting everyone ready!!

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    We gather the passes as the students enter the gates at this lovely local:

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    My assignment once in the park (along with another chaperone) was to go to First Aid and leave all of our information. So once we got through bag check, collected the passes and sent the kids on their merry way, we headed to Guest Services and then First Aid. First Aid is in the Odyssey Center.

    As we make the trek I just have to stop and take a few pictures!!

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    Peter Pan!!

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    And Captain Hook!

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    We stop, leave our info and head out towards Soarin’. I have never, ever gone through the Stand-by line at Soarin’ and I pretty much plan to never, ever go through the Stand-by line at Soarin’ again!! (unless the wait is 30 minutes or less!) As we walk to The Land it is quickly approaching 10am. We stop for some photo ops along the way.

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    I kept missing the monorail!

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    Soon we see:

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    And make our way to:

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    The Stand-by wait is around 60 minutes. I had two chaperones with me who had not been to Epcot (one had never been to Disney). I gave some tidbits of Disney trivia along the way while still trying to not be too obnoxious! It was sort of fun playing tour guide though since they asked questions of which I knew the answers! :laughing: They were up for waiting so we jumped in line. First off, we were HOT!!! But as we moved up the ramp some it began to cool off a little. The wait was kind of boring but then we got to an area that had these huge screens and interactive games were being played.

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    Waiting, waiting, and waiting....

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    Continued in next post....
     
  18. TinksThree

    TinksThree DIS Veteran

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    We played along for a minute or two and then felt really weird. We were sure that the game wasn’t really interactive and began speculating that what we were actually doing really didn’t affect the outcome but instead cameras were hidden to capture us leaning left and right, swatting our arms and hitting at invisible objects! Since we felt nothing we were doing had any effect on the game we stopped but I snapped this picture of others having at it!

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    I was bored and began taking pictures of this long ramp area and even found some Mickeys on the screens!

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    Finally it is our turn and we are soon soaring over California. I really do enjoy this ride and after it was over I asked the newbies if the wait was worth it. They both said “YES”! I know the beauty of FP but did not feel the need to say anything. I did mention if they ever return to go there 1st and grab a FP and don’t bother stand-by unless it is a shorter wait time unless of course they are dying to ride!

    We head out and one of the chaperones found her daughter and friends in Sunshine Seasons.

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    I wasn’t ready to eat lunch even though it was after 11am and neither was the third chaperone. We left them to eat lunch and the two of us headed towards Mission Space to meet up with Madison and the other chaperone’s son and their friends.

    Next: Will we finally find our kids and plenty of F&G photos coming up!!!
     
  19. mickeystoontown

    mickeystoontown DIS Veteran

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    I know that you were just itching to get to the park but at least ya'll didn't get there late in the morning. It's too bad ya'll couldn't use Fastpasses and avoid that 60 minute wait. It's been so long since Disney started the Fastpass system and we've gotten spoiled haven't we? But, as you said, the others didn't even know about the Fastpasses and they loved the ride so the wait was worth it.
     
  20. sherylcin

    sherylcin Mouseketeer

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    Isn't the Flower & Garden Show a beautiful time to visit Epcot! I've been there once in May and everywhere we looked there was some new topiary or flower garden to enjoy. Makes for some pretty great pictures!

    I am so with you on this! Mornings come way too early for me most days!

    I was in that Soarin' line playing those same games in February. However, after the interactive games got boring my granddaughter entertained herself by changing my cell phone to Spanish :eek:. Since none of us could figure out how to change it back, we approached a fellow line-waiter who actually spoke Spanish fluently and asked for his help. We managed to entertain ourselves and several people around us with this little drama. Pretty funny actually! Oh and we also met a couple from England and talked to them for a good while. I agree that Fastpass is the way to go here!

    It's fun to get to be the tour guide isn't it! I'm applauding your restraint at full out Disney mania but I bet the other chaperones were glad to be with someone who knew the Disney ropes!:goodvibes
     
  21. shan23877

    shan23877 I make lists about my lists

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    I cannot wait to see Flower and Garden for the first time! I am also trying to learn to use my new camera and plan to make F&G my guinea pig ;)

    I'm glad the other 2 enjoyed Soarin! 60 minutes is tough though.

    Can't wait to hear more!
     

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