Our Mommy & Me trip to Disney - Sept. 2007 - Pictures being added!

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by pamrob, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. pamrob

    pamrob DIS Veteran

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    Earlier this year I got this great idea that when each of my daughters (I have five) turned 14 I would take them on a short Mommy and me trip. Of course, I didn't want Dad to leave completely left out so I did leave it open that they could chose to take a trip with Dad. One of the 9 y/os is leaning this way - but I still have a few years to change her mind!

    This year my oldest daughter turned the magical age of 14. Her birthday is August. Since I love to travel a bit off season and love low crowds I chose September. At one point I booked travel to Chicago. Then I started to look at hotel rates, things to do, etc. My familiarity with Chicago is limited. Also, the fact that the potential to spend loads of money shopping kept me looking at other alternatives. We received our first ever WDW postcard with a special code so I began lurking for cheap airfare. A SW Ding for Orlando one day got things rolling. I cancelled our Chicago tickets and used the funds for tickets to Florida. I called our TA and made reservations for AS Music since this was to be a 'budget' trip. Having never stayed at a value, I was a bit apprehensive but had a reservation for early September with DH for Pop Century so I figured I would be more acquainted with the value hotels by the time Sept. 24 arrived.

    In the meantime, I began lurking at the DVC boards. Eventually I made contact with an owner renting points and changed our reservations to Saratoga Springs for only an extra $60 investment. The trip was starting to get exciting. I was trying to keep the trip a secret from DD which was difficult because I was very excited about the trip. I began buying a few little things here and there for the trip - always mindful of the "budget" in this budget vacation but still making it special for DD and fun for both of us.

    While my DH and I were at WDW the first week of September I made my first slip up. I called the girls from AK and made some remark to my DD about eating at Flame Tree when we came to Disney. My DH's face looked shocked which made me realize my mistake and I tried to cover up my mistake. My DD played along but I later found out she told her grandmother that she figured out where she was going.

    The next week my DH made some comment about plans he couldn't commit to the last week of the month because of our trip in front of DD. This time my face showed surprise. He said he didn't realize she didn't know WHEN her vacation was. In the end, it was nice having her know because she was able to make some decisions about priorities for the trip before we left. The entire trip was only four days with only 2.5 days in parks so it gave her the opportunity to decide what was not to be missed and what she didn't really care to skip over. (She had been to WDW as a 5 y/o and again last Sept with the entire family).
     
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  3. pamrob

    pamrob DIS Veteran

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    We left MCI at 12:30 pm and headed to MCO. We flew SW which I really don't care after flying Midwest for business quite a bit in the past few years. But we were headed to Disney so we were still excited!

    We landed around 4 and were on the Magical Express by 4:15 (You can walk pretty fast when you're headed to Disney!). After short wait the bus was on the way. We arrived at Saratoga Springs around 5:30. With no car and the high probability of wanting to use the main pool, I asked about room location and the possibility of getting a Springs room. The CM said he would check where we had been assigned and then see what was available. We were assigned in Congress Park. I had read ahead of time about locations and decided to stay this this room. I absolutely loved the location. We were in a studio, room 2323. Our balcony faced the lagoon and overlooked the quiet pool. The view was fantastic! Our walk to the main pool and shops was only a few short minutes.

    After a bit of unpacking and freshing up we headed to check out the food service area. We filled up the refillable mug and grabbed DD an ice cream snack. We loaded a bus around 6:40 and headed toward MK. We stopped at Guest Relations to trade in left over tickets from 1998 (DD's first trip). We then took a boat to the Grand Floridian around 7 pm. We had a photo session booked for 8 pm so we had a bit of time to browse around the GF. Marisa got some sushi at the CS spot which was ok (comparable to grocery store sushi). She was delighted so that's what's most important.

    We headed up for our photo session. Since it was dark our spots for photos were somewhat limited. I had hoped for some beach pictures but this was the only opening the entire time were on property. The pictures turned out pretty good, nothing spectacular but overall we were happy with the experience. Since we had prepaid for a Photopass CD the session was included in the price. The prepaid CD was a pretty good value for us with two trips in the same month.

    We monorailed back to MK and caught a bus right around 9 pm. The fireworks were starting and we were able to view quite a few as we made our way back to SS. DD didn't really want to stay for the fireworks and we were both tired from the trip. We had a little snack on the balcony. The view of DTD at night with everything lit up was amazing! We called home to talk to the family and headed to bed. We were both tired but excited and had a hard time getting to sleep . . . tomorrow would be a fun filled park day!!!
     
  4. Sleeping*Beauty

    Sleeping*Beauty Waiting For My Prince

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    Can't wait to hear about your trip!
     
  5. pamrob

    pamrob DIS Veteran

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    Wow, there's already someone reading . . thanks for posting. I'll try and get more posted later!
     
  6. Sleeping*Beauty

    Sleeping*Beauty Waiting For My Prince

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    popcorn::
     
  7. pamrob

    pamrob DIS Veteran

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    Here are some pictures to go with our first day . . .

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    This is Marisa. She is holding some stuffed toys that one of the younger girls insisted accompany us on our trip!

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    This is a picture of the bathroom sink area. You can see the kitchenette area in the mirror. Although I am certain I took other pictures of the room, they aren't on the camera??

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    This is the view riding on the boat from MK to GF.

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    This is the night view of DTD from our balcony. The pictures didn't turn out great but this gives you some idea. I particularly enjoyed the view at night sitting on the balcony.
     
  8. pamrob

    pamrob DIS Veteran

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    We were up bright and early and ready to hit the parks. We waited on a bus for about 20-30 minutes. We must have seen 6 buses before an Epcot bus finally arrived. I kept thinking maybe we should just go to another park but it was EMH at Epcot. This wasn't my original planned park but had found that the next day was a Magical Beginnings morning at MK so we changed things up a bit.

    We arrived at Epcot around 8. The lines were starting to move through the turnstiles. Our first stop was Soar'n. This is my favorite Epcot ride. We had thought about getting a fastpass but the machines weren't functioning properly on our way in (and consequently on our way out). We were seated in the middle section, middle row. This is a great spot if you don't mind the view of the front row's feet above you a bit. We were seated by some first time riders. I always enjoy talking to people who haven't ridden especially once the ride is over.

    Next we headed across the park to Test Track. We grabbed a FP on the way in and walked on the ride. I love that the ride photos can be added to your photopass card! The only thing I didn't like about this ride was the preshow. I know it's cute and adds to the effect but since I had been on this ride several times this month I just wanted to get on the ride!

    After Test Track we headed over to Mission Space and walked on the orange side. After we got our "tickets" Marisa started voicing apprehension about doing the orange side. I offered to change to green (hoping she wouldn't take me up on it) but she decided to give it a go. The take off sequence still takes my breath away a bit but I love this ride too.

    Next I stopped to buy a couple of postcards (which are still unaddressed in my Disney stuff) and went to check out the Segway area. Participants were practicing for the Segway tour. It was fun to see.

    A quick stop in Station Cool for some Coke products and then Honey I Shrunk The Audience. Four trips to Disney and I've never seen this. I think each time I ended up hanging out with one child who for some reason didn't want to see it. This show has some cool effects, esp. the moving floor.

    Now we were off to the World Showcase . . .
     
  9. pamrob

    pamrob DIS Veteran

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    When we arrived at the International Bridge around 11:05 there was a small crowd waiting for rope drop. Within a few minutes we were allowed into the rest of the Showcase. Marisa's lunch request was Tangierine Cafe for a schawarma platter. They didn't open until 11:30 so we shopped in Japan and (patiently) waited for opening.

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    Marisa bought her sisters some lucky cats for a souvenir. These are cute, relatively inexpensive, souvenirs. They come in different colors each representing luck in some area.

    We made our way back to Morrocco to share a lamb schawarma platter. Yummy!

    After lunch we made our way around World Showcase . . . more to come!
     
  10. LUVMYTINK

    LUVMYTINK <font color=red>Very Proud Marine & <img src=http:

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    We were there the same day and ate lunch there too. Maybe alittle later than you ( I'd say maybe alittle closer to 12pm). It was so nice at that time & not too crowded that we were able to sit outside by the fountain.
     
  11. pamrob

    pamrob DIS Veteran

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    That's funny . . we probably saw each other. We sat outside and ate. I often wonder when I read other trip reports and see similar incidents, times, etc. if I saw the person or not. I was recently reading someone's report about the rain at MK the next day. They were pretty close to where we were. Small world . . .
     
  12. pamrob

    pamrob DIS Veteran

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    Even as I am typing this, I am thinking we must seem kind of boring. But I guess that's just my adult perspective. This trip was about doing what my 14 y/o wanted to do so, of course, World Showcase would not be a highlight . .

    Once we left lunch we cruised around the remainder of the showcase. There were a few short stops to look in shops. The shop in China was of particular interested to Marisa. She also enjoyed taking pictures of the buildings through the showcase. Here are a few of her images. (Notice how empty it looks. This was early in the day but the crowds were great!)

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    Italy

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    Germany

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    China

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    Norway

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    and Mexico

    After our whirlwind tour of the World Showcase we headed back to the front of the park. A quick stop for Coke sampling (again) and we headed to Soar'n to use our fastpass (hmm . . remember the early part of the day?)

    We arrive at Soar'n to find we have about 5 minutes to use our "fastpass". One minute before the elected time I happen to look at the fastpass and have a "duh" moment. While we had intended to get fastpasses for Soar'n that morning the machines were working. Holy cow! We are holding fastpasses to Test Track and standing in The Land. So we trek over to TT and have a fun ride. There was a small line but skipping straight to the front was fantastic.

    One our way out of the park we stop at Guest Relations to get Marisa a birthday pin. Then we hit the monorail, transfer at TTC and arrive at Magic Kingdom. (Stay tuned, next installment MK! Halloween decorations and RAIN).
     
  13. pamrob

    pamrob DIS Veteran

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    When I last left off we were headed to MK via the monorail. Magic Kingdom looked nice decorated for Halloween. Marisa didn't take alot of pictures but we did manage a couple.

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    This out in front of the railroad station when you are first walking in. (There were fibroptic lights embedded in the Mickey design which you could see a night, very cool).

    It was early afternoon, a bit overcast. The crowds weren't bad considering the time of day. Here's a picture of Main Street heading toward the castle.

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    We made a stop to share a piece of fudge. My DH and I had fudge earlier in the month. This was something I never should have tried. Very yummy! One piece is definitely enough to share.

    Here's the castle. Again, notice the crowds. This is early afternoon when things are generally a bit more crowded.

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    Tomorrowland was our first land. We walked on Buzz Lightyear. Marisa's score was around 100,000 which is great but I got an all time high a little over 500,000. I don't know what I hit but I was excited! Next we rode Space Mountain which Marisa loves and I like. Maybe it's because I'm such a control freak but I don't like the fact you can't see where you are going. Of course, where do I end up? but in the front seat! I found I enjoyed the ride more if I just shut my eyes. That way I wasn't straining to figure out where we were headed.

    Marisa had never ridden the Tomorrowland Transit Authority so we headed over that direction next. That really is a fun, relaxing ride and you get a great view of Tomorrowland.

    We knew we were headed back to MK the next day so we figured we would just ride what we could and see how the lines were. Well the lines were cooperating today! We went to Haunted Mansion which had a 4 minute wait time posted. I was surprised since many posters have been reporting big wait times the week prior. We walked right in and enjoyed the ride. I'm not enough of a fan to notice all the changes but did pick out a few. As we were exiting HM the parade was in progress. We weaved around behind the crowd on the water side and made it to Splash Mountain which was down. We rode BTMRR and had a blast. This is just a fun, fast little ride. Splash was still down (and was down when my DH and I were there a few weeks prior). We consoled ourselves with Mickey bars in Adventureland and crowd watched for a bit.

    Next we meandered through the shops on Main Street and finally made it to the bus stop for the trip back to Saratoga Springs.
     
  14. thptrek

    thptrek DIS Veteran

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    Great picture of the MK entranceway all decorated for Halloween. The crowds look very light.

    Can't wait for more.
     
  15. pamrob

    pamrob DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for reading. It keeps me motivated when I know someone is following along. I'll try and work on it more later . . but the laundry is calling and those pesky work emails I need to answer!
     
  16. dismom9761

    dismom9761 DIS Veteran

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    Hi!:goodvibes That is a great idea to take them on a trip at 14 yrs.They grow up so fast it is nice to have that time with them.5 daughters!:scared1:

    I have really enjoyed your report so far and look forward to more.:surfweb:
     
  17. pamrob

    pamrob DIS Veteran

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    We were pretty lucky with crowds the week we were there. The wait times weren't bad at all.

    They do grow fast, don't they? I can't believe my oldest is 14. It really was a great age for us to take a vacation together. I'm looking forward to doing it with the other girls as well.

    I hope to get more report posted. I had alot of work communications to take care of today and started painting two of the girls' bedrooms. Hoping I'll get more up before the weekend! Thanks for reading along.
     
  18. kors

    kors <font color=blue>I am known in my town as a CROCAH

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    That is a cool idea to take your daughters on a special trip. I would have loved to do that when I was younger!!
     
  19. pamrob

    pamrob DIS Veteran

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    My apologies to anyone who has been following along. I have gotten sidetracked by making costumes for a couple of my daughters. Tonight I finished so I am hoping to get back to my trip report this weekend (right after I host a baby shower).
     
  20. pamrob

    pamrob DIS Veteran

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    After returning to SS, DD and I hit the pool and hot tub for awhile. After freshing up we ventured on foot to DTD. It's a bit of a walk maybe ten minutes. The biggest disadvantage was it put us at one end of DTD (east I think) and we were headed to Pleasure Island for dinner which meant a bit more of a walk once we got there.

    We checked in at Raglan Road without reservations. I think it was before 6 and there weren't many people waiting. Our wait was about ten minutes. I had enjoyed my meal there with DH earlier in the month and was anxious to share the restaurant with DD. We decided to forego entrees and just order appetizers and dessert. We ordered the calamari which arrived barely lukewarm and the little battered cocktail sausages (can't remember their proper name). The sausages were listed as a pick in The Unofficlal Guide. Unforunately I wasn't all that impressed. They are somewhat fatty. The appetizers we had gotten in early September were far better (the goat cheese appetizer and the steak salad).

    We both ordered the bread pudding for dessert since I had raved about it from the previous trip. We were not disappointed. We really enjoyed it.

    After spending some time in a few shops we made it back to the boat dock and waited a few minutes for a boat back to the resort. On the boat back I met OntarioOhana from the disboards because of the lime green mickey head on my sling bag. It was fun talking with someone from the boards!

    We hit the pool and hot tub again when we returned for a short time and then called it a night!

    (Tomorrow - more MK and return to DTD)
     
  21. pamrob

    pamrob DIS Veteran

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    Day three started bright and early. It was a early beginnings morning at MK and we arrived right before opening at 8 am. I love these mornings. If you are there with little ones it is so much fun to see them react to all the characters and play games like hide and go seek with Peter Pan and Captain Hook. If you are there with your older ones (like me) it's still fun to watch the little ones and great that you can ride nearly everything in Fantasyland in an hour!

    Our first stop was Dumbo. This is just tradition for us. If we go to MK at opening we head to Dumbo first! Next we headed to Peter Pan which was down so we grabbed a fast pass. Small World was next. My DD loves Small World. It was her favorite ride at 5 y/o and she still loves it. We got a boat with one other family and enjoyed our float.

    When we exited we headed to Snow White and then Pooh. After this we hit the Tea Cups. We had that cup spinning at top speed! I could barely stand when we got off!
    Here's our cup in action
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    After this we headed back toward Peter Pan which seemed to be working but the lines was long! We waited for the rope drop in that area and joined the crowd toward Splash Mountain when the magic hour arrived. We rode Splash Mountain which DD also loves! On our way to BTMRR we grabbed a FP for that and then rode.

    At this point we walked back across the park using our FP for Peter Pan and then heading to Tomorrowland. We rode Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear. We stopped for lunch at Cosmic Ray's. DD and I split the BBQ rib/chicken platter. They gave DD a free cake for her birthday which was so sweet (meaning nice, but I guess it was sweet too!)

    Because this was a trip for DD she got to pick our next destination which was BTMRR which we rode twice, once nearly walking on and once with our FP. Then we headed to Splash Mountain which we rode twice (yikes). Marisa wanted to go again so I decided to wait until the bridge at the exit. While she was on the ride the rain came down and I was happy with my little covered corner of the universe. She happily exited and we hopped the train to Toontown.

    We got in line for the Barnstormer and the rain started again. Soon the rain was coming down pretty heavily and most people were running for cover. I threw on my poncho and we took our ride. It was so much fun! Since most people were hiding we were allowed to ride SEVEN times straight! About ride two Marisa decided to put on her poncho but it was pretty pointless. As the rain lightened people starting lining up again and we exited.

    Here's DD's picture of complete saturation (both rain & ride saturation!)
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    Here's a picture of Main Street from in front of the castle after the rain shower
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    At this point we headed back to the resort to dry off and recoup. We arrived back to SS about 2:30 where I commenced in napping and Marisa enjoyed some TV time.
     

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