Solo and Unleashed!

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by jenseib, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. jenseib

    jenseib Mommy to Claire

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    Welcome to my newest Trip Report.
    This was just a quickie trip down to Florida…Aug. 22-25, 2014….and by the title you can probably guess…..I went solo!

    So who am I? Well I am Jennifer…many people call me Jen.

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    I am a self-proclaimed Disney-aholic! And I have been very fortunate to take many Disney related trips over the years.

    I am also a wife to a resister…Skip! And a mother of 3 children, Michael who is 25 (yeah I know, the math doesn’t add up, I must’ve had him long before I was even born), Paige, 22 (again the math doesn’t add up right?), who is also having a baby girl of her own in Oct. and Claire, who is 9. Many of you probably know Claire from many of my other Trip reports.
    I was a stay at home mom for many years after I had Claire and I loved it. A few years back I was presented with a work from home option and I jumped at the chance. It really has worked well for me and I love my job. Of course there are days I scream and rant about it, but for the most part, it is the best job I have ever had.

    This job is really what led me to this trip, as it was a business trip.

    I am working towards a particular certification in my field of employment. There are several things I have to do and meet to get all the credits required for this certification. I actually did what I thought would be the hard part with flying colors and fairly early on. BUT I still had to do a few other things to fulfill everything on my list. In May I took a trip up to Detroit Michigan for the day (about 1 ½ hours away) to attend a seminar. This seminar gave me many of the credits I needed for this certification, but I still had 3 things I needed to check off that list after it was done.
    I knew there was another seminar in Orlando in Aug. and I threw it around in my mind a bit, but didn’t pull the trigger. I still had to do one other thing that would require travel as well even after attending this seminar. I really tried to get both things to magically coincide with each other…so much so that it made my brain hurt, but I just couldn’t do it.
    I finally decided two trips were going to be needed to finish this up and approached Skip with my plans. Surprisingly he didn’t seem to mind. I hope that means he is finally becoming less of a resister….but I am not holding my breath on that just yet.

    So I booked this trip, to arrive on Aug. 22, a Friday and to leave on Aug. 24, a Sunday. My seminar was most of the day on the 23rd. I planned to make it a cheap trip, I had air points with Southwest and I could get a reduced rate at a Disney hotel while staying for the Seminar. I decided All Star Sports would be it. I have absolutely no desire to ever stay there really, but I am trying to stay at each resort at least once and this would be the perfect time to stay…right?
    Well, you know how when you quote a Disney resort it lists on the side other resorts and their prices….I fell for it! It listed Caribbean Beach and the price wasn’t too much more…I haven’t stayed there yet…so I took the plunge and booked my 2 night stay there.
    And surprise, surprise!!!! The Villains Unleashed party was announced and also going to take place on the 23rd. Well that works out just nicely! So a ticket was bought for that.
    OK, everything is set for this quickie trip.

    BUT WAIT!!!!!

    I am a Harry Potter fan and I have been watching and reading up on the info about the new Diagon Alley opening some time in 2014 at Universal Studios. It was finally announced to open in July. Now I had just been to Universal Studios in April on a spur of the moment decision my husband had made on our last day of our Spring trip and I had longed to see Diagon Alley while we were there. This is the best I could see at that time.

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    It was such a tease!
    So I looked at my air and I could change my day of departure to Monday instead of Sunday and it was actually slightly cheaper.
    I then decided I should stay onsite that extra night and went to look for a hotel there. Cabana Bay is the newest resort there and I really wanted to stay there….but it does not offer Express pass, and being this was only going to be a 1 day whirlwind I thought it probably would be wise to stay at one of the resorts that offered it. In the end I chose the Royal Pacific. The price wasn’t too much higher and since I haven’t stayed at any onsite resorts there yet, this would be a new experience as well for me.
    Another perk to my job is that I can sometimes obtain discounted or free 1 day tickets to different places. Sure enough Universal was on the list and I put in the request for that ticket and it arrived a few weeks after.
    One last detail was how to get to Universal from Caribbean Beach. I looked at getting a car from the Swolphin Alamo, but the price was still kind of high for just 1 day…and picking it up would be later than I wanted it to be. I looked at getting one from MCO and just keeping it the whole weekend….and BINGO! That ended up being cheaper than the 1 day rental….and a few weeks before my trip I double checked it and it went down a few more dollars as well. YAY!

    Everything was all set and I was excited.
    Day 1, drive to Columbus, fly down, arrive at 5:50PM, get rental car perhaps go to Downtown Disney.
    Day 2, drive over to the Dolphin for the Seminar, after seminar walk over to Hollywood Studios and go to Villains party. Come back to Dolphin and get car to take back to CBR.
    Day 3, Get up extremely early and head over to Royal Pacific and get checked in and do early entry for Universal Studios and get in line for the new Escape from Gringotts ride.
    Day 4, drive back to MCO for a 11:05 AM flight. Land in Columbus at 1:15 and drive the 2 ½ hours back home.

    Sounds fairly easy and simple right? Well, there were a few wrenches in the plan….some were good wrenches and some not so great, but I just went with the flow and made the best of it. And the good wrench was REALLY worth it!
    I hope you will all join me as I relive this quick weekend getaway.
     
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  3. jenseib

    jenseib Mommy to Claire

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  4. mom2rtk

    mom2rtk DIS Veteran

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    Yeah! I'm in! :cool1:
     
  5. lovethattink

    lovethattink DIS Veteran

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  6. wvgoofyfan

    wvgoofyfan Mouseketeer

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    looking good :cool1:
     
  7. JanaJohn

    JanaJohn Mouseketeer

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    I'm in and it looks like I've made the 1st page! :banana: I've never read any of your TR's but have seen many of your replies in others. I think I'll go back now and read your last one.
     
  8. mickeystoontown

    mickeystoontown DIS Veteran

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    I'm here Jen! Looking forward to hearing about the great times and even the not so great times.
     
  9. dizneeat

    dizneeat DIS Veteran

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    Caught this one early! :cool1: And even made page 1! Now going back to read!
     
  10. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    I am here.

    Corinna
     
  11. scottny

    scottny <font color=blue>You better have crackers<br><font

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  12. micandminforever

    micandminforever DIS Veteran

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    Joining the party.:cool1:
     
  13. wiscbugs

    wiscbugs Loving everything Disney!

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    Awesome...in for another great report!
     
  14. JKSWonder

    JKSWonder Twelve plus trips and counting

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    Sounding great so far. Looking forward to the Unleashed review. I actually decided not to ditch the family and go, though I totally should have since the kids were HORRIBLE on this trip. Like, we are never taking them again horrible. Should have left those little monsters in the dust and joined you and the villians!
     
  15. jenseib

    jenseib Mommy to Claire

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    :cool1:

    :thumbsup2

    Thanks for joining!

    Welcome! I am still working on my other "latest" one too. But that one is a few days along at least! ;)

    Hi Lisa! :yay:


    Woohooo! :dance3:
     
  16. jenseib

    jenseib Mommy to Claire

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    :cheer2:

    :wave2:

    :p

    Thanks!

    Oh no!!!!! I tell you back when my son was little he was the worlds worse child and so unappreciative. I wouldn't let him buy the Terminator VHS set at the over priced price they had at Universal and her literally cried about it for 2 hours. I swore I would never take him anywhere again. I even told him he could buy it at home at Target, but that wasn't good enough...and it wasn't like he would even watch it TILL we got home anyways. I can laugh about it now....but it was so awful then....so I feel your pain.
     
  17. jenseib

    jenseib Mommy to Claire

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    Aug. 22, 2014, Friday, Day 1

    I was up around 6 AM to get showered and ready for the day. Around 7 I got Claire up and ready for school….this had been her first week of school and she wasn’t too excited by the fact that I was leaving for Florida and leaving her home, but she got over it. I had her clothes laid out for school on Monday as well as her lunch packed for Monday so things would go as smoothly as possible while I was gone.
    I took her to school and gave her embarrassing kisses goodbye and told her I would see her Monday evening.
    Back at home I loaded my suitcases in the car and made sure I had everything I needed. I wanted to be on the road by 10 AM at the latest.
    Oh no! I never checked in for my flight yesterday, so I went and did that and I was surprised to be a B24. Not too bad for doing it so late.
    I took one last potty break before heading out and the button on my shorts went flying off. UGH! I hope that is not a sign of things to come. I quickly sewed it back on and it was good as new.
    Around 9:30 Skip came over (he is a dairy farmer and our barns are on the property) and said good bye and handed me some money with a 20 on the outside of the fold. He always does this and acts goofy about it. He said “here’s $20 for you to spend”. Of course the 20 was folded over a $100 bill. He thinks he is so funny when he does stuff like this.
    I said good bye to him and left a little before 10. I went into our local town and washed my car with the self-serve sprayer. Now you might think this is an odd thing to do….and it is….but I was going to be parking my car in my Aunts garage in Columbus and she has a cat…..and we have about 100 barn cats. Our cats all seem to be in competition at who can spray my car tires the most and the last time I had parked in her garage her cat went crazy because he could smell all of our cats on my car….so I thought it would be nice to try and spray off their scent if possible for that poor thing.

    I also made a quick stop at McDonalds and got a breakfast combo and then set off for the 2 ½ hour drive to Columbus.
    Now you may also ask why I was flying out of Columbus instead of Detroit, which is only just over an hour from my house.
    Well a couple of reasons really. My Aunt and sister both live there, so they can take me to the airport. Price is a big factor and it was MUCH cheaper to fly out of there and then direct flights. Detroit rarely has a direct flight on SW to MCO and if I can manage it, I rather fly direct.

    2 ½ hours in a car can be rather boring, especially by yourself…but I come prepared. I love to listen to books on CD. I was just finishing up the latest book by John Sandford, Field of Prey. If you haven’t ever read his books before, I really suggest this series.
    So I drove along listening to the exciting ending to this story and made a potty stop about half way down at another McDonalds and when this book was done I was prepared…and pulled out Zoo by James Patterson to listen to. I didn’t get too far into it when I was arriving at my Aunts house.

    I parked in the garage and we loaded my bags into her car and made another potty break and then we headed out.
    We were going to grab some lunch first and she gave me a few choices, but I really didn’t care.
    We ended up at a place call the Bag of Nails, which she said was really good …and it was.
    I didn’t take any pictures, but I know I got the lobster bisque and I think I got the fish sandwich as well. It was all really good and I was stuffed when we left.

    Once again we piled in the car and headed to the airport. She told me about some upcoming River cruises they have planned (she travels a lot) and then a story about some friends of theirs that is going on the River Cruise with them and before we knew it we were at the airport. I unloaded at the curb and said my thank you’s and goodbyes and did the curbside check in. I really prefer curbside check in so much more than going inside. It always seems so much faster.

    Once that was taken care of I moseyed in towards the security. Columbus is a small airport and usually security is really fast and today was no different. I think there were only 2 other people in front of me and when I gave my boarding pass to be let in the line I was notified that I had TSA priority…which meant I got to go in a different line and not take off my shoes, or pull out my laptop and just went through the old school scanners. SCORE for me…..but I wish I would get this at a busier airport.

    So within seconds I was through and on my way to the gate. I stopped off and bought a diet coke and found a seat with a plug and it was near the podium that the SW agents work at.
    The guy there would chat with me a bit off and on and then I noticed an email from SW and it said we would be delayed about an hour, so I asked him if that was true and he checked and said yes. UGH! I hate getting those emails AFTER I have gone through the security check.
    I then pulled out my laptop and went online a bit but after a bit it seemed like the connection kept failing and I gave up on that and just edited pictures from my March trip.
    The guy did tell me that our flight was not full and that there were around 50 seats that would be open so he said there was a good chance that many people would only sit 2 to a row. Yay!!!!!

    We ended up being about 1hour and 20 minutes late if I remember right, but we finally did load onto the plane. The reason was that the plan was coming from Baltimore and they were only using 1 runway right now as the other one was under construction and the guy told me you can almost count on every flight coming from Baltimore right now to be delayed.
    As we lined up there were only a couple of people behind me to board. This flight really was empty. The last person said they never even did online check in and was so happy to get a B boarding number.

    I sat on an aisle seat with an older gentleman at the window.
    Soon we were in the air and I had my laptop out and working on pictures. This flight was pretty bumpy and sadly we really didn’t make up much time in the air. It was now right around 7 when we landed. That was 1 hour and 10 minutes later than planned…but I really didn’t have any set plans for the evening. I had thought about going to Downtown Disney, but at this point it already seemed too late to do that.
    The bad thing was a storm had just passed through. The gates had all been shut down due to lightening and now they were backed up, so we had about another 20-25 minute wait before we could even pull up to a gate. I knew that button flying off my shorts earlier was NOT a good omen.

    Finally we pulled up to our gate and you could tell by this time everyone was antsy to get off and get going. I actually was pretty patient…for me that is. I got off, made a potty stop and worked my way to the fake monorail and rode over to the main building and then went towards luggage claim. Nothing was coming out yet so I stepped outside and got blasted by a wall of hot air. UGH. This wasn’t a good sign when it’s this hot at 8PMish. But I had expected it as my friend had been in Florida over the past week and she had warned me it was extremely hot this week.

    I walked back in and saw that the bags were starting to come out but it still took quite a while till mine came out. Had I known it was going to take this long I would’ve gone to the car rental counter first.
    With the bag in hand…..oh and I used new luggage this trip. I had bought some luggage with the 4 spinner wheels on them and used the carryon and the big suitcase. I LOVE these. Now mine were kind of cheap, so at times they didn’t roll on all 4’s as well as I am sure nicer ones do on carpet, but still, these are so much better.
    So as I was saying….with bags in hand I rolled down to the Dollar counter, which had moved since March. Of course the line was long. They did have 7 agents working the counter, but it still seemed to take a long time. I got to talking to the lady behind me and we had similar types of occupations. She was entering some contest and she needed a picture of herself in front of the Dollar sign and when she found out my occupation she asked if she could get a picture of her handing me her business card and I said sure and we exchanged cards and soon we were both called up.
    Check in was quick and painless and I was soon on my way to pick up my wheels for the next few days.

    I went out to the garage and checked with the guys out there and they directed me to the economy aisle. At that point there were only 2 cars in the aisle and another family was getting in the other car, so I basically had no choice…and I ended up with a Toyota Yaris, which is a hatchback. I opened the trunk and laughed out loud. I don’t even think my carryon would fit in there. It was the smallest thing I had ever seen. Luckily both bags fit in the back seat. As I familiarized myself with the car I saw that the employees brought out several more cars to the economy aisle that were bigger, but since it was only me there was no need for me to switch over to one of them.

    Finally I am off. I have Siri programmed and she is taking me a way that doesn’t sound right….and then she gives me a turn left…then a turn right and I just know it’s wrong as I am doing it and sure enough she tells me to make a U-turn. And of course I had to pay 1 50 cent toll and then another right after the U-turn.
    I finally got going the right way and it’s dark and I just hate driving in the dark in unfamiliar places and people are whipping by me on both sides…..and I wasn’t going slow either. I was actually surprised how much traffic there was at this time of night.
    As I got closer to Disney I did recognize a few more things and felt more comfortable and finally I was pulling into Caribbean Beach resort. And Disney was welcoming me as I pulled in with Epcot’s fireworks going off…what perfect timing.

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  18. mickeystoontown

    mickeystoontown DIS Veteran

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    Skip and his funny business....a hundred underneath a twenty. He's so cute and sweet despite the fact that he waits until the last minute to tell you he wants to go somewhere and you have to plan it spur of the moment. ;)

    I can certainly understand why you'd want to make the 2 1/2 hour instead of flying from the nearest airport. Direct flights always seem the way to go. I'm talking like I have a ton of flying experience and all I've ever done was fly on my uncle's private four person plane. :rotfl:

    Your rental care sounds like it was tiny and something a bunch of clowns would pop out of. :lmao:

    Yay! You've arrived at Disney!
     
  19. wiscbugs

    wiscbugs Loving everything Disney!

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    Never good having delays on such a short trip...hopefully things get better!
     
  20. dizneeat

    dizneeat DIS Veteran

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    Sounds like an "interesting" travel day, Jen! But so far everything seems to work out fine, even with a little delay (and a button flying off :lmao:)
     
  21. jenseib

    jenseib Mommy to Claire

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    it was a clown car, but for me it was fine. And you will laugh when you hear how little gas I used....Less than $6 for the weekend....so I know it's good on gas!


    Yeah, I was annoyed about the delay, but nothing I could do and I purposely didn't schedule anything that night because I figured if I did I would for sure be delayed. :rotfl2:

    It was long and I was tired, but it was nice to just chill out once I arrived!
     

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