More Fun Than Sitting at Home! Our Dec 2009 TR-UPDATE: 6/11 Final Thoughts & Big News

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by khertz, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    :wave2: Welcome to my very first TR! And welcome back if you have followed me over from my PTR (found here)!

    TABLE OF CONTENTS:
    Intro & DAY 0 & DAY 1: Travel Day - below

    Friday December 4th
    DAY 1: Resort Hopping!
    DAY 1: Resort Hopping! Continued... Check-In & DTD

    Saturday December 5th
    DAY 2: Epcot Rope Drop
    DAY 2: Epcot Continued...Tackling Future World!
    DAY 2: Epcot Continued...World Showcase
    DAY 2: Epcot Continued...Candlelight Processional
    DAY 2: Epcot Continued...IllumiNations

    Sunday December 6th
    DAY 3: Islands of Adventure
    DAY 3: Islands of Adventure Continued...
    DAY 3: Islands of Adventure Continued...
    DAY 3: Universal Studios

    Monday December 7th
    DAY 4: DHS...Rope Drop & Toy Story Mania mania!
    DAY 4: DHS continued...
    DAY 4: DHS Continued...
    DAY 4: DHS Continued...
    DAY 4: DHS Continued...
    PhotoPass Pics Are In!
    DAY 4: DHS Continued...Finishing @ DHS & Hopping to MK!
    DAY 4: MK...Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!
    DAY 4: MK Continued...Castle Dream Lights
    DAY 4: MK Continued...SpectroMagic
    DAY 4: MK Continued...Wishes!

    Tuesday December 8th
    DAY 5: Late morning @ Animal Kingdom
    DAY 5: AK Continued...FOTLK & Camp Minnie-Mickey
    DAY 5: AK Continued...Meeting the Characters!
    DAY 5: AK Continued...Character Trees & Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
    DAY 5: AK Continued...Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
    DAY 5: AK Continued...Maharajah Jungle Trek & MORE Characters!
    DAY 5: AK Continued...Pooh & Friends! & MVMCP
    DAY 5: MK Continued...MVMCP!
    DAY 5: MK Continued...It's a Small World After All!
    DAY 5: MK Continued...Small World Nightmare! & Holiday Wishes!!
    DAY 5: MK Continued...Holiday Wishes!
    OT Post!: New Orleans Mardi Gras & Wedding Fun
    DAY 5: MK Continued...Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
    DAY 5: MK Continued...Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade continued

    Wednesday December 9th
    DAY 6: Universal Studios
    DAY 6: Universal Studios continued...
    DAY 6: Islands of Adventure & dinner at The Melting Pot
    DAY 6: IllumiNations & Osborne Lights from our room!

    Thursday December 10th
    DAY 7: Animal Kingdom...Kilimanjaro Safari
    DAY 7: Animal Kingdom continued...more Safari & we meet the Yeti
    DAY 7: Animal Kingdom continued...
    DAY 7: Hollywood Studios afternoon
    DAY 7: Hollywood Studios continued...Future Animators? & Osborne Lights!
    DAY 7: Hollywood Studios continued...Osborne Lights
    Video of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at DHS

    Friday December 11th
    DAY 8: Breakfast at Chef Mickey's!
    DAY 8: Magic Kingdom morning
    DAY 8: Magic Kingdom continued...Jungle Cruisin'
    DAY 8: Magic Kingdom continued...Stopping to smell the roses
    DAY 8: Magic Kingdom continued...
    DAY 8: Magic Kingdom continued...Solo?
    DAY 8: Magic Kingdom Solo continued...
    DAY 8: Epcot

    Saturday December 12th
    DAY 9: Universal Studios
    DAY 9: Universal Studios continued...
    DAY 9: Winter Summerland Mini-Golf
    DAY 9: Winter Summerland Mini-Golf continued...

    Sunday December 13th
    DAY 10: Early MK Morning & KTTK Tour
    DAY 10: KTTK Tour continued...
    DAY 10: MK Afternoon continued...
    DAY 10: MK evening & Grand Floridian

    Monday December 14th
    DAY 11: Last Day! :-( DHS Rope Drop
    DAY 11: Last day continued...

    Extras
    Final Thoughts & Big News!

    First a little background...

    Over a year and a half ago, my DH and I decided to take a vacation to Disney World during the holiday season. Eventually we settled on the dates of December 4th-14th, 2009. Along the road of planning, we decided to make it a family trip and invited our parents to come along. Of course, they were excited to accept! My parents (Paul & Kathy) both love Disney, and have been visiting almost every year for the last 12 years. My in-laws (Kathy & Jamie) hadn't been in almost 17 years, so there was lots of new things to see and do since their last visit. And visiting during the holiday season was a first for all 6 of us!

    For seven nights, we stayed in a three bedroom suite at DHs and my timeshare, the Wyndham Bonnet Creek which is pretty much sandwiched onto Disney property, so we didn't feel as though we were truly staying off-site since we were still so close to the action! We had a fireworks view room, which we really enjoyed as well. On the 7th day of our trip, our parents spent the day in the parks with us, then headed home that night while DH and I stayed an additional three nights in a 1 bedroom suite to enjoy some time just the two of us.

    Here is a picture of all 6 of us from a few days into the trip:

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    My parents on the left, in-laws in the middle, and DH & I on the right

    DAY 0: Thursday December 3rd
    The day before DH & I left for vacation was a hectic one! I had been working like crazy in the days leading up to the trip so I wouldn't have to use as much of my paid time off, and DH was left in charge of doing laundry! Finally on Thursday morning, it was time to start getting our last minute things together and leave the house. The plan for the day was to drive from our house in Lafayette, LA to my in-laws house in McComb, MS to drop our cats off. Then we would be stopping in Tickfaw, LA for dinner at my aunt and uncle's house, and finally getting to my parents house to get to bed to leave for Disney in the morning...Things didn't quite go that way, though!

    I forced DH to take a picture of me crossing the LAST day off of our countdown calendar!

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    No more days left!! :woohoo:

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    All of the stuff we managed to cram into our little Honda Civic!

    We left our house pretty close to the time we had said we'd like to be on the road. We made decent time to my in-laws' house and the cats did fine on the car ride. They were of course a little freaked out when we brought them inside, but they adjusted pretty quickly. DH's grandmother was nice enough to stay at the house with not just our two cats, but also my in-laws' cat and dog. She has kept them plenty of times, so I knew they were in good hands.

    I had been in touch with my uncle David all day about going to their house for dinner, so that was our next destination. We got in the car, and I saw I had a message from him on my cell phone asking if we'd like wine or beer with dinner. I called him back to give him an answer, and he said that he was sorry, but it wasn't a good time for us to come over now. :confused3 I was a little confused and disappointed, especially since I had so been looking forward to seeing my two little cousins Skylar and Sawyer that night. So instead of stopping off, we headed straight to my mom's house for the night, and picked up Burger King on the way.

    We made it to my parent's house at a decent time, which actually may have worked out better anyway. We were able to shower, and get everything packed into the van before going to bed. My MIL even gave me one of her Ambien to help me sleep because I knew the excitement of leaving in the morning would keep me up ALL night!! And OMG did it work great! :laughing:

    DAY 1: Friday December 4th
    At 5:30 am Friday morning, my MIL dropped DH and myself off at the airport for our 8:00 am flight to Orlando. Then she drove back to my mom's so the four of them could hit the road at a decent time. We tried to convince them to fly with us instead of driving, but they were too chicken! It worked out for us though, because they were able to take our large suitcase so we didn't have any bags to check. We just printed our boarding passes, grabbed some breakfast at Popeye's (YUM!), and headed through security to wait for boarding.

    I was too excited to sleep, too excited to read my book...too excited to do pretty much anything but look around and try to guess who else was going to Disney World. :thumbsup2 While DH read his book and tried to hide from me, I snapped some pictures.

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    DH doing his best to ignore me.

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    Me: tired but excited! DH: tired & not that excited (yet!)

    We were in the first boarding group, so we got decent seats on the plane. The guy that ended up sitting next to us was from New Orleans, but you'd think he was a tourist looking at him! He was all decked out in Saints clothes, wearing beads around his neck, etc. It was pretty funny. He immediately noticed DH's Saints hat and sat with us! He then proceeded to show us Saints pictures on his phone and sing, "Stand up and get crunk!" at random times. He was heading to Disney to meet up with his wife & kids. This will be important later. HAHA! All I can say is, luckily it was a short flight!

    We landed a little earlier than expected, around 10:20, and headed right over to where our Mears shuttle would be picking us up. It was POURING rain! Not a good start!! However, what was nice was not having to even go to baggage claim, and only waiting about 10 minutes for our shuttle. There were a couple stops before us, but soon we were at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek! They had 3 bedroom units available immediately, but if we still wanted our fireworks view, we'd have to wait. We decided to wait, and just did pre-check in. They said they would call us when our unit was ready. We picked up some shuttle information, and headed outside to find a shuttle to MK and Epcot had just pulled up...perfect timing!

    UP NEXT: Exploring the resorts in the rain, and unexpected obstacles
     
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  3. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    DAY 1 Continued: Friday December 4th

    We hopped on the shuttle, which dropped us off at the Transportation and Ticket Center. Now, it was sprinkling, but for some reason, we had decided to leave all of our bags except the camera bag with bell services at the resort, including the bag with our ponchos in it?? :confused3 Stupid decision! But we were so excited to finally be in Disney that I guess we didn't care, even though both us hate being wet! Oh well.

    We promptly hopped on the Resort Monorail, our destination in mind the Grand Floridian! This was the resort I was most excited to see dressed up for Christmas, so needless to say, I was very excited!

    When we arrived, we immediately noticed a choir inside near the monorail station, which got me even more excited, to be serenaded with Christmas carols while exploring the GF! Then we got more inside and noticed a lot of camera equipment and people standing around the balcony...then we heard an announcer and a sudden rush of noise. We were able to sneak a peak over the balcony to see a GIGANTIC sea of people packed into the lobby!! :scared1: Not good. Apparently because of the weather, they had decided to move the castle shows for the Christmas Day parade to the GF. :eek: Really not good. All we were able to do was make our way in a circle around the balcony in the walkway made by the people on either side, glance around the giftshop, and get right back on the monorail. While inside, the resort called to say our room was ready, which was a relief. It meant when we got tired of traveling around, we wouldn't have to still be waiting on our room!

    I hadn't really planned on stopping at the Polynesian or Contemporary, but with my plans foiled and our bellies starting to rumble, we stopped at the next monorail stop, the Contemporary. The first thing we came across was the gingerbread tree! Not as great as the gingerbread house at the GF, but it'll do...

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    We decided to grab some burgers at Contempo Cafe, and really liked using the ordering kiosks! Very cool. The food really hit the spot, that's for sure. So with full bellies, we continued exploring the lobby and the gift shop, Fantasia.

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    A cool Monorail tree display!

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    Window display.

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    The giant Mickey wreath you see when you enter on the monorail. I was very excited to see this because I had seen it on the Disney Holiday special on HGTV and couldn't wait to see it! I tried to get a picture of it from the monorail later in the trip when it was all lit up, but that was pretty impossible. Still, crazy big!!

    After leaving the Contemporary, the only resort left on my must-visit list was the Wilderness Lodge. We used an app on Dustin's iPhone that was supposed to tell you the best way to get from place to place around Disney, and it said we could catch a bus from the TTC, so we got back on the monorail and got off at the TTC stop. Mistake! By now the rain was coming down harder and we were running around looking for resort busses that didn't exist!

    Eventually, we stopped at the bus information desk to ask what our best option was for getting to WL, and he suggested taking the express monorail or the ferry to MK and getting a bus from there. We decided to take the ferry since we had already been around on the monorail more than any of our other trips combined and it had only been a few hours! :lmao:

    We only had to wait a few minutes for the ferry, but it was a very cold wait as the wind started picking up. What miserable weather for our first day in Disney! But our spirits were still up, because in the distance we could see...

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    THE CASTLE!!

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    Still smiling!

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    The Grand Floridian from the ferry

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    Cinderella Castle and Space Mountain

    We ran through the rain to the bus stops, which was a bummer that we didn't even have a chance to stand there and check out the train station and take in that we were in front of the Magic Kingdom! We didn't wait too long for a bus, and it was so nice to sit on a warm bus out of the cold & wet.

    We got on the bus around 2:30 pm, and arrived just a few minutes later.

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    Christmas tree!

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    The balconies decorated with pretty garlands

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    I love the theming of this resort! These lights showed up in a lot of the pictures we took because they were so pretty. I'm not much of an outdoorsy wilderness girl, but I love the look of it, so this resort is perfect for me! I don't have to be out in the wilderness, I can just pretend I am.

    We took time to relax in the lobby amidst taking pictures. It was so relaxing in there, and there were plenty of people in rocking chairs in front of the fire. I almost didn't want to leave to go back out in the nasty weather!

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    Continued in next post...
     
  4. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    After finishing up at the Wilderness Lodge, we made our way back to the TTC to catch a shuttle back to Bonnet Creek. We had to wait a little bit for one because of their schedule, and there was a lot of other people waiting, so we were worried about not getting a spot. Well, I was worried, DH probably wasn't! :laughing: We realized we hadn't even really paid attention to what the bus looked like, so that was a little nervewracking for me that we didn't even know what we were looking for! But eventually the bus came, and everyone that was waiting was able to get on.

    We stopped at Epcot on the way and crammed some more people onto the bus, which made for a pretty hot and unpleasant ride with everyone standing and so many wet ponchos inside the bus. But the people we were sitting next to were really nice, and I felt bad for them. They had saved MK for their last day of vacation, which was that day, and it was all cold and rainy all day! It was kind of cute though because their little girl fell asleep standing up with her head in her mom's lap. Too funny!

    It was about 5:30 when we got to the resort to check in, pick up our bags and get a parking pass for my parents rental van for when they arrived. The rain had let up a bit and we were in the next building over, so we decided to walk over instead of waiting for a little golf cart thing to bring us over.

    Our suite was on the 11th floor and all the way at the end of the hall, which was nice. Of course, I had to snap a few pictures before we moved all our junk in and got the place wrecked! When you first walk in, there was a little hallway with a doorway to the left leading to the two extra bedrooms, the washer and dryer, and second bathroom.

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    Second bedroom where DH's parents stayed

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    Third bedroom my parents slept in

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    Second bathroom.

    When you kept walking straight, you would end up in the living room with the dining table to the far left, and the kitchen in the middle with the door to the master bedroom next to the kitchen and the balcony straight ahead.

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    Dining table and kitchen

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    Kitchen and breakfast bar

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    The door to the master bedroom is on the far left, then the balcony and the living room

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    Looking out to the living room from the master bedroom

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    Master bedroom

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    Around 5:45 our parents arrived and we had to haul all of our luggage and boxes of snacks and drinks up to the room. Everyone unpacked, then we met in the living room to decide what to do that night. The plan had been Downtown Disney for Characters in Flight and shopping, then mini golf at Winter Summerland. Characters in Flight and mini golf were definitely out because of the weather. I was pretty cold and tired so I could have just stayed in and got to bed early for rope drop in the morning, but the majority wanted DTD, so we got in the van and made our way there.

    Everyone was hungry by that point, so we made our first stop Earl of Sandwich for dinner. DH and I both got meatball sandwiches, and I remember my MIL getting the caribbean chicken one or something like that, but I don't remember what everyone else got. But we all thoroughly enjoyed our sandwiches.

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    My first and last food picture! I had trouble remembering, but really, we ate a lot of burgers, chicken and pizza, nothing to take pictures of daily!

    After the food, we went to Once Upon a Toy. I got 2 potato head boxes and stuffed them with accessories for the kids at the hospital where I work! I had been helping our child life specialist clean her toys for the activity room one morning earlier in the week, and her Mr. Potato Head made me think of the boxes you can stuff at DTD. So she said if I got some, to keep the receipt and the hospital would pay me back. I was able to get at least one of everything, if not more! The kids already love it! :thumbsup2

    Then we went to the Christmas store, where nothing jumped out at me and DH, but my MIL bought some ornaments for her tree, and my mom got a couple of things my aunt had asked us to get for her. Then we wandered through World of Disney and Art of Disney, but didn't spend any money.

    We got back to the room just before 9 pm. Around 9:30, we found out why waiting for the fireworks view room had been well worth the wait! It was hard to see a lot of the buildings in the dark, but we could easily see Spaceship Earth to our right and the hat from Hollywood Studios and the Tower of Terror to our left. We could see the Osborne lights as soon as they went on, and at 9:30...ILLUMINATIONS AND HOLIDAY WISHES SIMULTANEOUSLY!!!

    It was SO incredible! I was in my Mickey Mouse pj's with a cup of hot chocolate, sitting on the balcony in Disney World, and watching two fireworks displays at the same time. Definitely made the cold & rainy day well worth it!! In the dark, we couldn't even tell that MK was further to the right and behind Epcot, so the Holiday Wishes were a surprise. But Illuminations was so close that the sound was crazy loud. It sounded like thunder right on top of us! What an amazing way to end the night before crawling into bed!

    UP NEXT: My very first rope drop at Epcot!
     
  5. dhertz

    dhertz Vinylmation and Donald Duck Nut!

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    Wow, it's sad to look back at the beginning and realize that's all over with. It's nice to see our first and last slow day of the trip, even if you posted those bad pictures of me at the airport.
     
  6. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    I know what you mean!! Going in, it seemed like it would last forever, but now it seems like it was over way too quickly.

    And I love those pictures of you at the airport! Classic you until we get to our destination. ;)
     
  7. praisehisname

    praisehisname DIS Veteran

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    Loving your report so far!
     
  8. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    Thank you! I'm glad someone besides me and DH are reading it!! :laughing:
     
  9. stich626

    stich626 Mouseketeer

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    I'm reading. Jealous that you got to go during the holiday season. I think I have finally convinced the family to go in 2010.
     
  10. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    Thanks for commenting! This was our first experience going during the holidays, and we all really enjoyed every minute of it! I hope you are able to go this year, it's a really magical experience. :santa:
     
  11. DisneysRedhead

    DisneysRedhead Mouseketeer

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    Wow the room you stayed in looked so awesome! It almost makes me want to stay offsite!
     
  12. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    I was nervous to stay offsite, but it was actually great. The resort is within 10 minutes drive of each park so getting around wasn't a problem at all with our rental van. It was nice not having to wait on bus transportation. I missed having the access to EMH, but honestly, we went from morning to night every day, I doubt we could have handled extra hours on top of that! I would do it again in a heartbeat. It worked out even better than I could have hoped!
     
  13. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Wow! What a great looking room/suite...it almost would tempt me to stay off site! (Almost!) I would definitely do that if we had a multi-room group. But I so love being able to use Disney transport.

    We checked out Comtemp and WL as well. I just loved that "Monorail" Tree in the gift shop. We were very tempted to buy a monorail to go around our christmas tree, but didn't.

    Looking forward to the rest of your TR....mine will be started in the next few days!

    SkierPete
     
  14. AlohaPolynesian

    AlohaPolynesian DIS Veteran

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    Hey! I just noticed the link in your signature so I had to come over and take a look. Love the pictures of WL lobby. We never actually made it over there, so it was nice to see the decorations here in your TR. Your resort looks awesome (even if it IS off property, haha).
     
  15. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    To be honest, I thought I would miss using Disney transport so much, but I actually found I'd rather do without it!! Of course with adults, walking back to the car isn't as big of a deal as when you have little ones, so that is still something to think about. But I liked being able to get up and get moving in the morning and not have to worry about waiting for the next bus to show. Same as at night. But of course, if you don't want to drive around Disney, staying onsite is the way to go. The shuttles from Bonnet Creek were decent and bigger than I expected, but if you couldn't fit on the bus because there were too many people, you had to wait until the next scheduled bus which could be up to two hours later. Didn't like that idea!!

    I'm looking forward to your TR as well! :goodvibes

    Welcome!

    Hahaha The only reason we decided to stay offsite was because it was FREE! But it actually worked out really well for us.

    The WL and the GF were the two resorts on my must-see list, and I wasn't at all disappointed! The WL was actually a really great lobby to just sit and relax in. Glad you enjoyed the pics! I just wish they hadn't come out so dark. I promise, not all of our pictures came out that dark!
     
  16. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    DAY 2: Saturday December 5th

    The next morning, we were all up bright and early for our first park day!! While we were getting ready, my dad set up the tripod on the balcony to get some pictures of our amazing view in the daytime, where we could really pick out more details.

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    The view all the way to the right of one of the Epcot resorts (Beach/Yacht Club maybe?) and Spaceship Earth.

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    Spaceship Earth to the right and the Land building to the left

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    World Showcase buildings

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    The Swan & Dolphin

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    Hollywood Studios! Tower of Terror, the top of the Sorcerer Hat, and the Mickey water tower

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    Zoomed in on Tower of Terror where you can see the top of Expedition Everest

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    Zoomed in on the Hat & Water Tower, with the top of the Great Movie Ride

    And a couple more of the Bonnet Creek Resort...

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    The pool that we never visited

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    The main building

    It was already drizzling and a little cool, but not too bad. We piled into the van and arrived at Epcot for around 8:30. It was our first experience with the AAA Diamond Parking, and it was great! Just a short walk and we were at the turnstiles waiting to be let into Epcot!

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    I love the Christmas topiaries!! It was the first Christmasy thing we came across, and I immediately knew that it was going to be a great trip!!

    The turnstiles finally opened and we rushed in. Stitch and Daisy Duck were out, so we hopped in line to meet Stitch, who I just :love:

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    DH had left the camera on a timer, so this picture came out terrible but oh well. lol

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    My mom was the only other person who wanted a pic with Stitch.

    We decided to skip Daisy because she had formed a bit of a line, and we were ready to get to our first ride! However, we didn't realize that just getting through the turnstiles didn't mean it was time to ride, and that there was still a Rope Drop ceremony to be done! I got a little impatient waiting there because I couldn't see anything anyway, and I was just so antsy to get my butt in a seat on a ride. My dad distracted me by taking some pictures of everyone.

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    Kathy & Jamie

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    Mom & Dad

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    All of the people waiting for Rope Drop!

    Finally, the characters started coming out for the Rope Drop ceremony! I still couldn't see anything, and could only hear some music. And DH couldn't tell me what was going on because he was too busy trying to get crazy paparazzi-through-the-bushes pictures of Donald like this one:

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    Little did we know, we'd be seeing a LOT more of Donald over the coming days! But finally, the rope drop and we started moving in a huge herd over to the Land for our first ride of the day...

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    A TON of people went straight for FastPasses, but we figured if we decided we wanted to ride again, we could grab some on the way out. So we headed straight into line. We had about a 15 minute or so wait, which was great considering the volume of people we had just been following!

    I enjoy this ride, but I'm not a diehard over it like some people. Our parents agreed, so we decided we didn't need FPs for it. Besides, Epcot has SO much more to do, and we weren't sure if we'd be able to make it back to Epcot that week. Next stop was Mission:SPACE with a 5 minute wait! On our way over there, we grabbed some FPs for Test Track for later, then hopped in line. My parents opted for Team Green, which DH's parents were considering, but we convinced them to go for Team Orange! :thumbsup2

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    Kathy grabbed barf bags for her and James, but I kept telling her it really wouldn't be that bad if they just listened to the instructions and faced forward with her head back. As worried as she was, they both really liked it, and no one needed to use the barf bag! Gary Sinise guided us safely to Mars, and we were able to continue on our day to Epcot unharmed. :cool2:

    Despite being on two different spacecrafts, we all made it back to Earth about the same time, so we met up outside to decide what to do next. My mom really wanted to do Ellen's Energy Adventure, but I was wary to do it so early in the morning because it's such a long attraction, and there were other things I felt like we could be doing before it got too crowded. But she really REALLY wanted to ride, so the four parents decided to go learn about energy with Ellen, and DH and I had about 45 minutes before we were going to call each other to meet somewhere.

    Hmmm...what to do?

    Continued in next post...
     
  17. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    Messages:
    5,551
    MEET SOME CHARACTERS!!

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    We headed into the Character Spot to find the whole Fab 5 there doing meet & greets. The line was a little long, but we figured we had plenty of time with our parents doing Ellen. So we hopped in line, but it ended up not being too bad of a wait. The line is narrow and of course most of the people in the line were in families or groups, and the character handlers were doing a great job of keeping the line moving. We watched some funny classic Disney cartoons while we waited in line.

    The first character we met was the Big Cheese himself, Mickey Mouse!

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    I had decided this trip I wanted to bring some index cards to get autographs of some of the characters to use in the scrap book, and Mickey was my first autograph. I felt a little silly doing it, but I know when I start making my scrapbook I'll be happy I did it!

    This was also where we went ahead and got our PhotoPass card, which we were able to use at the Character Spot for all the characters except Donald. I'm in the process of editing them (we ended up with a total of 224 pictures, so that's a LOT of edits!) so that we can order the CD, but I'm thinking that'll take a little bit of time. When I do get the CD, I'll get the pictures all caught up in a post or 2.

    Next up was Pluto, who gave me a big lick on the cheek!

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    Then we met Minnie Mouse, who I just love, and had never gotten a picture with before, so I was very excited!

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    Getting Minnie's autograph. <3

    Then it was DH's all time favorite Disney character EVER...Donald Duck!!

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    Again, DH failed to tell me he was doing the thumbs up with Donald, so I end up looking silly! He did that to me on our honeymoon but with Stitch. Oh well. When Donald gave me his autograph, he wrote #1 under it and kept pointing to the #1 then himself so I would know he was REALLY #1! It was too cute.

    While we waited to move on to Goofy, Donald noticed DH trying to get a picture of just him by himself, so he flashed him this great pose:

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    I love it! I kind of fell in love with Donald this trip. I guess that happens when you end up stalking the poor duck all around Disney World! Hahaha

    Last but not least was Goofy, who was not afraid to pull me in tight for the pictures.

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    Looks like Goofy needs some glasses!

    After finishing up with the characters, we still had some time before our parents would be done. So we wandered through the Innoventions buildings and thought about trying some of the games but all of the lines were a little too long. Before we could look around too long, our parents called and we decided to meet in front of Spaceship Earth for a ride.

    As we started walking over there, the rain started coming down, and the temperature dropped like crazy! I had gone from being comfortable in my long sleeved t-shirt to needing my big sweatshirt again, and we had to put on our ponchos because they posted a 10 minute wait, but most of it was outside and uncovered.

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    The line moved pretty quickly, but we definitely could not get inside the building fast enough! The wind was even worse standing under the ball, and I was freezing! Plus the wind was making everyone's poncho billow up, so we'd occasionally get a spray in the face with water when that happened, which was less than pleasant. lol

    Finally, we were able to board our time travel vehicles and head back to the beginning of mankind! I really love this ride. It's so relaxing, and the animatronics are great. I especially love Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. This was mine & DH's first time riding SE since the update. They were working on it on our honeymoon in '07. So it was our first time "building our future" at the end, but it was a lot of fun!

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    When we got off of SE, the rain had stopped, so we decided we should try to ride Test Track now before it started raining again and got shut down. We trekked over and got in line, and were inside pretty quickly before we stopped for a little bit. So I took over the camera and snapped some pictures while waiting.

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    Does this count as a hidden Mickey??

    We got up to the point where they let you in for the pre-show when they made an announcement that they were down for technical difficulties. *GROAN* I figured it had started raining again, and we'd be stuck in there forever! I should learn not to be such a Debbie Downer, because we were actually on the ride within 15 minutes of that announcement. lol

    As we were loading into our ride vehicle, I glanced over at the people still moving through the line, and caught a glimpse of a familiar face just before we pulled off...The Saints fan from the plane!! I barely had enough time to point him out to DH before we started to move.

    Kathy & James really enjoyed this ride! It was among the MANY new attractions they experienced at Epcot since the last time they were there, and I think they liked it a lot more than Mission Space. Unfortunately, the ride pictures were down, so we couldn't add ours to our PhotoPass card. :-(

    After riding Test Track, we figured we had time for just about 1 more thing before we needed to start heading to World Showcase so that we wouldn't be late for our 2:10 ADR at Biergarten. So we discussed our options, and ended up deciding to head to the Imagination Pavilion for a ride with Figment!

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    At some point, we were looking around MouseGears when we heard someone yell out, "Hey you're from the plane!" Yep, we had been spotted by Saints Fan Man!! It was kind of funny that we ran into him, actually, considering how many people are in Disney World at any given time. But that was the last time we ran into him. He sure did give DH & I some laughs!

    UP NEXT: Epcot continued...Exploring World Showcase & lunch at Biergarten.
     
  18. paulgio

    paulgio Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    I'm patiiently waiting for the rest.

    Love, Dad:yay:
     
  19. praisehisname

    praisehisname DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    4,369
    Your resort is really pretty. I think I could be talked into staying off-site.

    Great character pics; can't wait to see your photopass pictures!
     
  20. kaguilbeau

    kaguilbeau DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2002
    Messages:
    571
    We were there the week of Dec 12 - 19 and drove from Carencro LA (pulling our camper and staying at Fort wilderness)

    Saw lots of people with LSU and Saints clothing. It looked like one big "who dat" party on the Sunday.

    Your resort really looked nice. I think if we ever got the hang of driving ourselves to the different parks, that would be a great way to stay. Even when we take Disney transportation, we complain because it seems to take so long for our bus to come.
     
  21. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    Messages:
    5,551
    :goodvibes I finally got ya on the DIS, Dad! I'll probably make another post this weekend. :thumbsup2

    The resort was really amazing! If you're willing to miss EMH and rent/drive a car, Bonnet Creek is a great place to stay!

    I'm still working on those edits. Still have a LONG way to go!

    I live right outside Lafayette! We saw TONS of LSU and Saints gear all over the parks. It was so funny. I loved it! DH was getting updates on his phone for the games so we wouldn't miss out on anything. It was great. Lots of people made comments about his hat or our shirts whenever we wore them in the parks, and we got lots of "Who dat!"s from other Saints fans.
     

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