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LMM Plays Tour Guide - Spring Break at the World

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by LittleMissMagic, May 9, 2012.

  1. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    Visiting Walt Disney World with a college guy who once thought that Disney was just for kids. This is the first time I've visited WDW as a "part" of another family (my family has gone with other families and extended family before, but I've never been without them). As the Disney "pro," I was given tour guide position, and it was my responsibility to make sure that my boyfriend and his mother were left with great memories of WDW (this is a tough spot - I won't lie, I was nervous!).

    At the same time, I had to deal with challenges/scenarios I've never encountered before:

    - Vegetarian dining
    - Too tall/wide for rides
    - Slower pace touring, as little backtracking as possible
    - Fear of flying
    - Allergic reactions (okay, I have encountered that, but I was just a child)
    - Picky eater (kids food only for the big guy)

    The backstory on how I managed to swing an 8-day Split Stay at WDW -

    For a long time, my family was undecided on how to spend spring break. I was looking at cruises and wasn't even considering Disney because the last spring break we spent there was disastrously crowded. However, though my little sister, Rachel, got a break from her tech classes this week (she's an over-achiever who has been taking college classes from our local technical school for two years - and I will take the moment to brag that she is graduating Valedictorian), she still had high school. So we were having to pull her out of school, and though my sister didn't mind, my parents didn't want her missing too many days. It's also been very busy at work for Dad, so he only wanted to take two days off (he works four days a week). For the days Dad could vacation (Wed-Sun), cruises didn't line up. So, he wanted to do either Disney or Vegas. And from those options, Disney was the clear winner with both Rachel and me. So we booked Wednesday to Sunday at the Polynesian.

    Well, my boyfriend, Max, also wanted to go to Orlando. His parents had been talking about taking the two of us last spring break, but after his mother's sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, that vacation was postponed. My family booked for the second half of the week gave us an idea - I could go with his family the first half of the week, then stay at Disney with my family the second half.

    Max's mother, Marcia, was on board. She gets Hilton HHonor points through her work, so she wanted to book a Hilton hotel. Unfortunately, the Hilton in Downtown Disney and Hilton Bonnet Creek (her first two choices) were already booked solid. The second tier included the Doubletree in Downtown Disney and an off-property Hilton hotel. Marcia thought the off-property hotel looked a bit newer and nicer in photos, but Max chose the Downtown Disney hotel because he wanted to be on Disney property, and I believe envisioned us going to Downtown Disney every night to shop and hang out (I don't think he understood how late the parks stay open).

    So, after that lengthy introduction, the Cast includes...

    Me, Victoria - pixie sized, Disney-obsessed

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    DSC_1243 by vshingl, on Flickr

    BF, Max - thrill ride-loving BAMF (who is a total kid at heart)

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    DSC_1151 by vshingl, on Flickr

    BF's Mom, Marcia - loves Tinkerbell, hates attention

    Would kill me if I introduced her with a photo.

    BF's Dad, Jim - became a child at Disney

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    DSC_0292 by vshingl, on Flickr

    Dad, Boyd - total goof, also a pirate, Disney commando, hurdles baby strollers for FPs, best dad EVER!

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    DSC_2018 by vshingl, on Flickr

    Mom, Sharon - goes with the flow, brings up the rear << Her words, not mine!

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    DSC_2155 by vshingl, on Flickr

    Sister, Rachel - crazy funny, has never met a stranger

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    DSC_2559 by vshingl, on Flickr

    I'm also going to mention that I just bought a new camera before the trip - a Nikon1. I'm very, very pleased with it. I had been planning to buy it since after Christmas, but I kept putting it off... I figured going to Disney was the perfect reason to finally make the purchase.

    So, all of the pictures in my TR will either be from my Nikon1 or someone's iPhone 4s.

    I suppose I'll add a table of contents, since these seem to be popular:

    Downtown Disney Doubletree - Post 1, Post 2, Post 3
    T-Rex Cafe - Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4, Post 5
    Coral Reef Restaurant - Post 1
    50's Prime Time Cafe - Post 1
    The Wave
    Rainforest Cafe Animal Kingdom
    Chef Mickey's
    Crystal Palace
    La Hacienda de San Angel
    Big River Grille
    1900 Park Fare

    P.S. If you like what you read, please check out my travel blog, www.victoriaonvacation.blogspot.com!
     
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  3. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    Day One
    Max's Dad was at his older brother's house in Jacksonville. He was working on a house there. The original plan was for us to meet up with his brother and his wife (who is expecting twins!) and eat lunch before heading to Disney... but then his brother ditched us for his friend who invited him to biker weekend in Daytona. So, we met up with Jim and ate at Cracker Barrel before heading to Disney.

    We had the worst service ever at Cracker Barrel. Our waitor always had to justify himself. We'd ask for something and he'd say, "Oh, I didn't bring you that because..." Really? It doesn't matter why you didn't bring it... we want it, so bring it to us now.

    After killing over an hour at Cracker Barrel, we were back on our way to Disney!

    I had never really noticed before that there is a significant difference between what is behind and outside of these gates..

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    Downtown Disney Doubletree by Hilton

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    Lobby

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    IMG_1370 by vshingl, on Flickr

    We were on the sixth floor.

    The Doubletree is "all suite." Suite as in bedroom/living area... not suite as in fancy room. We had a one-bedroom suite with two double beds in the bedroom and a pull-out sofa in the living room. There was also a small table for four in the living area, and a 32" flatscreen in each room.

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    Doubletree Room by vshingl, on Flickr
    It's funny... Max's habits are the same as my sister's... plop down on the bed as soon as he enters the room.

    He attempted to smooth the bed back for the picture...
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    Room2 by vshingl, on Flickr

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    Room3 by vshingl, on Flickr

    Our view... my apologies for the terrible reflection.

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    View by vshingl, on Flickr

    I was glad that we had a view of Downtown Disney, rather than off-property.
     
  4. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    The pool was a good size, but otherwise not very exciting...

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    Doubletree pool by vshingl, on Flickr

    I thought it was cool that they had a children's playground.
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    Playground by vshingl, on Flickr

    And tennis courts
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    Tennis courts by vshingl, on Flickr

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    Doubletree by vshingl, on Flickr

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    IMG_1379 by vshingl, on Flickr

    There was a bar by the pool.
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    IMG_1380 by vshingl, on Flickr

    The hot tub looks small because it's in such a large area, but it's actually quite big.
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    IMG_1381 by vshingl, on Flickr

    There was an arcade inside (that was really hot), and the pool table and sitting area outside.
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    IMG_1382 by vshingl, on Flickr

    I thought the hopscotch was cute.
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    IMG_1383 by vshingl, on Flickr
     
  5. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

    Joined:
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    They also had a conference center...

    And looked to be set up for some event.
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    IMG_1384 by vshingl, on Flickr

    The sixth floor elevator lobby...
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    IMG_1386 by vshingl, on Flickr
     
  6. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    It was dinner time, and we were all hungry. I had made us reservations for T-Rex Cafe. I wasn't sure how they'd like reservations, so I went ahead and made a reservation for every day, but only for restaurants that weren't in high demand to make cancellations easier.

    We took the Downtown Disney resort bus, and this was our first encounter with the awful system. They kept cramming people on, even when we already full. But, the drop-off location happened to be very convenient - right by T-Rex Cafe!

    I made ressies for T-Rex by calling direct, rather than booking through Disney. However, I didn't know that I could go straight to the check-in desk since we had reservations, so we waited in line for about 20 minutes. However, after checking in, we were seated almost immediately. The reservation proved to be very effective.

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    Marcia didn't understand why I took this picture...
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    Max LOVED T-Rex Cafe! As soon as we walked in, he started telling me how awesome it was. He really liked the atmosphere and the different themed rooms. They had eaten at a Rainforest Cafe before, but never a T-Rex Cafe. It was a hit!
     
  7. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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  8. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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  9. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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  10. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    The menu at T-Rex Cafe has a very wide selection, which was great for us. I got the Tribal Tacos, and they were great. Max had the T-Rexadillas, which he loved. The food was good and the atmosphere was fun with great, over-the-top theming. If you don't mind lots of children and the loud noise, this restaurant is a good bet.

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  11. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    After dinner, we did a little bit of shopping around Downtown Disney together. First, we hit the Lego store because Marcia loves legos (she used to be PR for Toys R Us). She was looking for Disney lego sets, but we didn't find them.... it was really crowded and crazy, though, so maybe we just overlooked them.

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    DSC_0296 by vshingl, on Flickr
     
  12. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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  13. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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  14. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    When we reached Disney Quest, we were surprised to find that tickets were 1/2 off today only. I'm not sure if "today only" meant all day today, or if that just meant you couldn't go ahead and buy tickets for tomorrow. So, I can't verify whether it was a late evening discount or just a St. Patrick's day special. We got there with 2.5 hours until closing.

    I had never been to Disney Quest before, so this was another.... Disney first!!!

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    DSC_0300 by vshingl, on Flickr

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    DSC_0302 by vshingl, on Flickr

    Our first stop was Cyper Space Mountain because this is what made Max want to go to Disney Quest. We had 2 minutes to design our coaster, and our goal was to make it as thrilling as possible. However, we only scored a 4/5 on the thrill scale. It was really fun making the coaster, though. The simulator couldn't really simulate speed that well, but the upside down parts were really fun.

    We decided to go ahead and try other things before doing Cyber Space Mountain again, since that took up a lot of time.

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    DSC_0301 by vshingl, on Flickr

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    DSC_0303 by vshingl, on Flickr

    Our next stop was...

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    The Jungle Cruise! It was actually quite a workout. Our arms were burning afterwards.

    Next, we did the Pirates of the Caribbean.

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    DSC_0308 by vshingl, on Flickr

    It's really fun - kind of like TSM with the pull-to-shoot cannons, except you're in a 360 room and are shooting pirate ships. We had our ship put on "ghost pilot" so that we could both shoot. It worked out really well since there were only two of us.
     
  15. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    [​IMG]
    DSC_0311 by vshingl, on Flickr

    Then we did Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters. It was pretty fun.
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    DSC_0315 by vshingl, on Flickr

    Then the Mighty Ducks Pinball Spin... I won!!! I have no idea how, but I was proud because I don't normally win video games.

    Then we did Ride the Comics. I wasn't a big fan.

    It was nearing closing time, and we decided we had time for one more thing... and chose to do the Pirates of the Caribbean game again. Even though we were better prepared, we didn't do much better than the time before. I think it would be easier with more people... but I could see how too many people would be a crowd.

    I definitely don't see Disney Quest as an all-day activity. I've seen the suggested time as 5 hours, but we didn't need that much because we bypassed the kiddie-looking things. It also wasn't very crowded when we were there - hardly a wait for anything, except Pirates of the Caribbean and Cyber Space Mountain.
     
  16. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    We decided to avoid the DtD bus and just walk back to the hotel. On the way, we stopped at Haagen Daz for ice cream.

    The walk wasn't bad... just about 15 minutes. I heard that you can wait forever at the light, so we must've timed it just right because it turned to 'walk' as soon as we got there.
     
  17. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    Day Two

    Max had decided that Sunday would be a good day for Epcot because he remembered that his dad really enjoyed eating around the World, and this was the only day his dad would be with us, since he was leaving that night to return to work in Jacksonville.

    The plan was to take the 8:00 Downtown Disney resort bus to Epcot so we could get there in time for 9:00 opening. We quickly learned that Max isn't an easy guy to wake. We finally got him up and going, then we remembered breakfast. The buffet downstairs was $15/person, which we didn't want to spend because we were short on time and didn't need that much food. Jim was suggesting that we drive to McDonald's, but that could've ended up in us being stuck in traffic. All of us were fine skipping breakfast except for Max. Then I remembered that I had seen a little general store downstairs, so we went there and bought Pop Tarts, drinks, and muffins. Happy Max. And breakfast for the two of us was just $10.

    We made the 8:00 bus, and were the last stop before we were on our way to Epcot.

    Jim had to buy his one-day pass. I had already picked up my 7-day park hopper at Disney Quest the night before (helpful tip I had come across on the internet - don't recall where).

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    Epcot by vshingl, on Flickr

    Little did he know, this was the last time he'd need to consult a map...
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    Max Waiting for Rope Drop by vshingl, on Flickr

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    Epcot by vshingl, on Flickr

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    Epcot Flower and Garden Festival by vshingl, on Flickr

    We were 30 minutes early, so we had a good spot in line. They didn't really have a show, but a celebratory opening on the loudspeaker, and they shot confetti. Then all of the little kids ran at it, collecting as much as they could. Max joked that he should've run after the confetti, too.

    Then we realized we picked the wrong line... it's always annoying when you're in the slow line. I noticed a lot of people on this trip having trouble remembering which finger they scanned. How hard is it to remember? The scanner is on your right side - obviously use your right hand. And it's awkward to twist your wrist to use your thumb (though a lot of people wanted to do that - the most trouble I witnessed was with people who tried to scan their thumbs). Any finger besides your pointer finger is ridiculous to use, so if you happen to use another finger, it should be easy to remember.

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    Epcot by vshingl, on Flickr

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    Flower and Garden Festival by vshingl, on Flickr

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    Epcot by vshingl, on Flickr

    Finally, we got in the park, and we headed for Soarin' - which is when I remembered that I was going to have to walk a lot slower than normal. It was difficult because Max is all legs and wants to walk at a quick pace, but his mother can't walk that fast, so I was stuck in the middle, trying to decide what pace to take for myself.

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    Epcot by vshingl, on Flickr

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    Epcot by vshingl, on Flickr

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    The Land Pavilion by vshingl, on Flickr

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    Soarin' by vshingl, on Flickr
     
  18. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    [​IMG]
    The Land Pavilion by vshingl, on Flickr

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    The Land Pavilion by vshingl, on Flickr

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    Garden Grill Restaurant by vshingl, on Flickr

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    Soarin' by vshingl, on Flickr

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    Soarin' by vshingl, on Flickr

    I didn't intend to test the new FP enforcement, so I figured it would be better to FP Soarin' after we rode so that we'd have more time to go do other things and then return.

    Even though we got a late start at entering the park, we were able to practically walk on to Soarin'.

    Max's mom had never been to Epcot before. She had only been to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Marcia had visited Orlando a lot on business. She told me that one of Max's first trips to Disney was when she was training at the Disney Institute and they let him come and stay with her in the villa. But, during the day, she would attend business things, and Jim would take Max to the parks.

    Max remembered that he and his Dad loved Soarin' (their last trip to Epcot was soon after Soarin' had opened). He was convinced that his mother would love it, too. So, despite her reservations about it, Max insisted that she should ride.

    Well, he overlooked the fact that HIS MOTHER HAS A MAJOR FEAR OF FLYING!!!! Yeah, that didn't end well. Luckily, we were on the third row, so we weren't too high off the ground... okay, we were very high off the ground.
     
  19. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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    I was afraid that this would set the day off on the wrong foot, but Marcia didn't let it get her down. After the awful Soarin' recommendation, she still braved Test Track.

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    Test Track by vshingl, on Flickr

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    Max at Test Track by vshingl, on Flickr

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    Test Track by vshingl, on Flickr

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    Test Track Queue by vshingl, on Flickr
     
  20. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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  21. LittleMissMagic

    LittleMissMagic Victoria on Vacation

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