Sunburn, not windburn : WDW and Universal in September

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by bumbershoot, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    This is a story of a re-do. Sort of. We went in December, and it was just SO cold, we knew we had to try again. So this is the story of that try. But we'd already upgraded to APs before it got SUPER-cold, so we sort of already knew we'd be back even before our brains totally froze.

    Don't worry about the sunburn mentioned in the title...it's mainly just the way I was thinking of the trip...we slathered the sunscreen liberally throughout the trip! There were still some red shoulders, but it wasn't on purpose or wanted...it just happened despite the repeated applications spf 45.

    Anyway, this is just the start of my story; I'm too wiped out right now from travel and jetlag and new eyeglasses and two dental appointments back to back (first cavity in a million years!) to really start on it.

    :3dglasses

    ********

    As I was writing, I realized that I should do an introduction.

    I'm Molly, my hubby is Robert, and we have a 7 year old son, Eamon (said with a long A then a "mun"...sort of how you say Aidan, but different).

    Our traveling companions for the first 4 Disney nights included my Aunt (my late mom's sister), then her daughter/my cousin A and cousin's husband, S. Their kids are just-about 9 and a nice, solid 4 years old, boy and girl. The boy is Cousin E, and the girl is Cousin A.

    We own DVC and between last December and this trip, we've used SCADS of points at WDW. Without borrowing for a future trip, we've now used all our points from banked 2009 through borrowed 2012 points, and we don't have any until February 2013. We like our trips long, and we like to have family with us for part of it!

    So our Disney stay involved 4 nights in a 2 bedroom villa at Old Key West. Then they went home (1.5 hours from Orlando) and it was just us. We wanted to do the rest of the WDW stay at OKW, but a weird DVC points situation had us moving over to a Boardwalk Studio for one night, and THEN on to a 1 bedroom at OKW.

    We then moved to Universal. That was going to be it, but in the 2 weeks before the trip, Robert found out he had to go to the east coast for work right after the trip. Instead of going home and then making him fly all the way back out, we chose to add 2 nights at a Value resort to our stay, and he left straight from there for his trip.

    So there are the introductions, and a bit of overview, for those of you who weren't already reading my pre-trip report. :)

    ***********

    September 11/12: the beginning of the trip, here.

    September 13: Kona, checking into Old Key West, MNSSHP here, here, here, here, here, here, and.....here

    September 14: groceries and tomatoes, here!

    September 15: aqui

    September 16: lovebugs, tea, cute picture, more stuff, psychadelic psydewalks

    September 17: sleeping in when you shouldn't, Boardwalk pool!, dinner and a nasty cupcake here

    September 18: a' wanderin', a tollbooth, OKW and Wall of Minnies

    September 19: Epcot, KimPossibleDay, Norway, a storm in China, moving towards Japan, France and England, a UFO

    September 20: Chef Mickey, characters, AK Asia, AK Dinoland, dinner

    September 21: DHS, Jedi, evening



    Swimming one night.



    September 22:

    September 23:

    September 24:

    September 25:

    September 26:

    September 27:
     
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  3. ClarabelleCowFan

    ClarabelleCowFan <font color=teal>Found Someone You Have<br><font c

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    Hooray! I love your trip reports.

    Can't wait to hear all about your adventures. :wizard:
     
  4. kaoden39

    kaoden39 <font color=peach>Prayers and pixie dust from your

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    Hi Molly!! I can hardly wait to hear all about it.
     
  5. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    Upload, upload, upload....

    Dealing with post-filling mouth pain, dealing with eye confusion from new glasses, trying to unpack all the while...

    And just flat out trying to REMEMBER things from our trip!

    Upload upload upload...
     
  6. kaoden39

    kaoden39 <font color=peach>Prayers and pixie dust from your

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    I am sorry these things are getting you down.
     
  7. Brady's Mom

    Brady's Mom <font color=darkcoral>"Get off the roof, get off t

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    DH and DS ALWAYS suffer when they get new glasses - especially when the prescription changes quite a lot. DH got these things called wedgees that finally hold his glasses in place right where they belong (he has astigmatism) and for the first 3 or so days that he got them - depsite wearing the same prescription for over a year - he was dizzy and a little nauseous. :sick: The next thing he has to think about are bifocals and he is NOT pleased. :3dglasses

    I'm sorry you're feeling the teeth pain - yuck! I know what you mean about not having a cavity in a million years - I haven't had a cavity in about 30 years. My dentist says my teeth are slow to decay. :flower3:

    I hope your sort of do-over trip was great and can't wait to hear all about it! :cheer2:
     
  8. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    Whew, my eyes/brain are finally feeling better. I actually thought I had put my old glasses on this morning b/c I felt so normal.

    My mouth, however, sigh. Tiny little cavity, but way in the back of a molar. So my jaw is sore from the work and my cheeks and gums are sore from the injections. And I had to have two rounds of whatever-caine.

    But I don't mean to complain so early in my report! :rotfl:
     
  9. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    Our trip started on the 11th, when we finished up packing and made our way up to the SeaTac Red Lion. I'd gotten a 14 day stay/park/fly package thingie there, which ultimately felt like it served us the best.

    The Red Lion was...meh. The room was FREEZING and I just couldn't convince the thermostat to work with me. Their restaurant was not very good at all. I wish we'd eaten before leaving, but it just didn't work out that way.

    Our flight on the 12th was at a relatively decent morning hour, but since we are people who want to be bored at the airport, we caught the shuttle at a nearly pre-decent hour. :) And so the tipping began!


    Got through security to the pretty part of the airport, got some pre-flight Dilettante coffee and hot chocolate and bagels and such, and went to our gate. The flight was uneventful and just about 5.5 hours.


    As we exited the Orlando airport monorail, we were dumped right at the Universal giftshop. Now that was not painful at all! They have the same prices there as at Universal, which is good to know for those who might have a sudden need for a chocolate frog or a Fawkes-the-phoenix plush while preparing for their flight home.

    That night, instead of going onto Disney property, we were staying at the Hyatt Regency right there at the airport. I'd gotten a screamin' deal on the rental car which meant we also had to get that, and pay for parking (but it was still a better deal than picking it up the next morning). When we have to do two things at once it can be confusing, but we worked it out.


    Our hotel room:

    [​IMG]


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    I stepped out onto the balcony to take the next shot, and was immediately reminded that it was most definitely NOT wintertime. oh so so so hot. Anyway, looking up above our room, the hotel looks like the the rooms at the bow of a cruiseship.

    [​IMG]


    Conveniently placed towels, just inside the hotel before you go outside to the pool.

    [​IMG]


    Here's the only shot I got of the pool area:

    [​IMG]



    As we made our way down to the rental car area, I took this shot of the non-secure part of the airport that the hotel is in.

    [​IMG]


    There's this funky little area, where you go to get in the elevators, where you can sit in comfy chairs and watch TSA through glass walls go about their business on the secure side. Not sure who it might be who would choose to spend time there, but it's there for those so inclined! I did NOT take a picture of that, because I didn't want to make anyone nervous.


    We headed to the National Emerald Aisle for the car, and had a plethora of choices. Since we figured we might have family in the car with us at some point, and since we knew that for now we had lots of luggage, we chose a new Durango, with fold-down 3rd row seats. Not bad!


    For anyone who chooses to rent a car and stay at the Hyatt, finding the right place to park is extremely difficult. You have to watch for a teeny tiny little sign that points you in the right direction. We eventually found it, with no arguing and a bit of giggling, and then made our way back to the hotel/airport. OH my gracious goodness was it hot.

    The Orlando airport has some very weird art...

    [​IMG]



    We were then at odds on whether we should eat or swim next. It was resolved with Robert getting take-out from the hotel restaurant, while E and I went to the pool. This was a good decision, but I forgot that Florida's stance on smoking in public areas isn't quite the same as Washington state's stance. A pox on those cigarette and cigar smokers who chose to sit in such a spot so their smoke would go right over the pool! yuck!

    They play dance music at the pool, which was fun, though the pool itself was really weird. I've heard of pool liners, and i guess they had one of those, and the liner wasn't attached to the bottom. Is that normal? So if you walked close to the sides of the pool, your weight would push down the plastic liner. It felt VERY weird. But it was fun, and a nice way to start the vacation. Robert showed up with the food, we ate at the pool (still with the smoke wafting), then I sat with my coverup on and read by the light of the lighted Kindle cover, while R&E had their own pool time. OH and there might have been a rum drink involved. :)


    That night was the full, Harvest, moon. I couldn't get a shot of it while it was reddish orange, sadly.

    [​IMG]


    At last we grew weary (or felt we should be weary) and left the smokey pool area. Our room was very nice and rather swanky, though the fragrance of the toiletries was *disgusting*. To me.

    We made ourselves go to sleep because the next morning would show up soon enough, and 3 hours earlier for us!
     
  10. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    The morning of the 13th came WAY too soon. Also, way too bright and way too hot! This is about the time that I started reminding myself that we'd chosen this timeframe for a reason, and one of them was that it was almost impossible that it would be freezing cold!

    But there really is nothing like a parking garage in the South, is there? Sooooooooooo hot.



    This is how bright it was in the morning, still in the hotel.

    [​IMG]


    While the Orlando airport is big and confusing, it IS well marked. (and as we learned while leaving, even if you make a mistake, they allow for mistakes and you can just start over, LOL) As we left the parking garage on our way to WDW, this is what was beyond the gates.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    We headed out towards 417, which is a toll road that we find to be useful. You can't really see it, but this describes what you can get to on 417.

    [​IMG]


    Some people get very very confused and get into the wrong lane, and end up with big fines. If only they had a fast-reading navigator to direct them! (note that this group of signs is over a mile from the tollbooths)

    [​IMG]

    As you get closer:

    [​IMG]


    The first two tolls are very well manned, and give change and receipts.


    The last one, though, wasn't manned and had just one cash lane (exact change) and one pass lane.

    [​IMG]


    There are two 1.25 tolls, and then another that was 75 cents, the way we went. Some people end up at the non-manned tolls without change,and just blow through and end up with a fine. If only they noticed things like this.

    [​IMG]



    There are some HUGE resorts out there...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Getting close now!

    [​IMG]
     
  11. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    Just in case I have any newer folks out there reading, I want to explain something. :)

    Since I'm still a WDW-newbie, and my heart is still in Anaheim, I still feel that most people reading my stuff will be Disneyland-centric people who are curious about a WDW trip. So I tend to write for them, to show things that they haven't yet seen. Explain things they haven't heard about.

    So if I'm explaining or showing things that might be obvious to the WDW veteran, that's why!
     
  12. kaoden39

    kaoden39 <font color=peach>Prayers and pixie dust from your

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    And being one of those Disneyland people I really appreciate it.:goodvibes
     
  13. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    I'm glad for it!



    We were nearly following a car on the way back to the airport...they scrounged up some change for the initial (going that way) 75 cents toll, and then for the next tolls they went through the epass lanes. Now since they avoided the epass lane on the first, we can only assume they did NOT have epass...and they will be hurting in a month or so when they get those bills and fines. If my pictures can help a newbie know what to expect, I will feel good. :)
     
  14. kaoden39

    kaoden39 <font color=peach>Prayers and pixie dust from your

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    Oh goodness I can imagine those are some hefty fines too. I have in the past written a check at the toll booth because I didn't have the cash. Let's make that even worse and age myself tremendously the toll was $.40.:lmao:
     
  15. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    Ah, nothing like a check for 40 cents. :) I couldn't do a check for 50 cents, just could not do it, so I wrote one for a dollar, last December when Robert wound up on an unmanned, exact change only, tollbooth and had ZERO in change... I had to send in the check, and just couldn't do it for the 50 cents... You are welcome, Florida toll road! :goodvibes
     
  16. kaoden39

    kaoden39 <font color=peach>Prayers and pixie dust from your

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    I have to laugh. My mom gets stock dividends from BofA and her checks have been 15 cents and such. It costs the banks more to send them than they are worth.
     
  17. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    Yayyyyyyyyy!


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    Once again, the roads are nicely marked. You just have to pay attention. We now have maps from the rental car people and a few from OKW concierge desk, and we're slowly learning our way around and I think there are two slight shortcuts we know of, but even if you don't have that, as long as you know what *area* your resort is in, and where you're going, you can eventually find it with the signs.


    [​IMG]



    On that first true vacation day, we had late breakfast scheduled with the family at Kona. We were meeting there. Even though it wasn't until 10:30, we left *by* 8am from the Hyatt to make SURE we would be there on time.

    Because of this, we were safely parked in the Valet area (we were going to use the Tables in Wonderland discount card, and that allows you free (except for the tip) Valet parking for your mealtime) and had time to look around the Polynesian lobby well before they got there.

    Happily, they had my request for real maple syrup marked, and E was able to have goop on his pancakes without a problem. Sadly, he barely ate. :headache: OK, so...note to self, no big meals like that on our first real vacation day!


    After that we went over to check in at OKW, and got almost the exact same room we had before. Just one room over! We got unpacked and the kids were silly and it was chaotic and fun.



    I had an idea of something I wanted for the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party we'd planned for that night, and thankfully my aunt offered to watch Eamon while we went to downtown Disney. My cousin and her husband also took advantage of the generosity, and we had something of a double date to DTD.

    Sadly, I found out that the thing I wanted, Stitch Ear headbands, hadn't been sold in eons. Dangit. So we got Robert some Stitch *hands* (like those big huge Mickey hands, but, of course, Stitch), and I got this wacky headband that lights up, with black ribbons and funky orange tentacle things, and those were our costumes.


    Soon enough it was time to head back home. This was the FIRST part of the season, and of course the question of "does it actually start at 4?" was heavy on the Dis...I knew, just knew that it would be OK to go at 4, but it was scary to bring everyone else over on my feelings!

    However, that was moot, as it took so long for us to all get ready, to the bus, on the bus, and to the Magic Kingdom that we were actually entering AT 7, which is the official start time of the party.


    Here's E, with his cousin's Tink wings in the shot, dressed as Agent E, a Men in Black agent.

    [​IMG]



    Have I, um, mentioned that it was HOT? Everything was slow slow slow.

    And even though 5 hours for a party *sounds* like enough time, it was most definitely not. Things to do at a Halloween party :

    trick or treat
    look around and take pictures
    ride rides
    meet Halloweeny characters
    meet special characters not always out (like Flynn or the 7 Dwarves)
    see the parade
    see the fireworks
    extra bonus: see the parade and/or fireworks from a GOOD position!


    I'll tell you right now...we barely even got the ToT'ing down! We rode 2 rides, and that's it, I believe. We barely looked around. We saw the parade from a decent viewpoint, but that is ONLY because I was just about to pass out from the heat and insisted that we sit the Hades down and just WAIT for the stupid thing. We did see the fireworks, but from a less than optimal viewpoint (if Tracey's around...the fireworks were almost exactly the same that we saw together in '09 at Disneyland, only our spot with you and your friends was way better!).

    We saw NO special characters, or any characters at all. Sigh.

    So really, especially if traveling with a big group, if not used to the heat, if dragging, if your group *didn't eat before the party, nay, didn't eat since 11am*...it's going to take you MORE than 5 hours to properly do the party.

    So get there at 4!


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    This area in my next picture would have been a GREAT shortcut over into Tomorrowland. I thought it would be, as we passed by the entrance to it. Oh well!

    [​IMG]


    I love neon.

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    Agent E has just gotten some treats (that he can't eat, of course), and has found an alien!

    [​IMG]
     
  18. kaoden39

    kaoden39 <font color=peach>Prayers and pixie dust from your

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    May I say Agent E looks adorable? Because he does!!


    No characters? Really? I would think when you pay for a prty like this they should roll out the characters.
     
  19. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    Oh, the characters were there at the park. We just didn't see any. Traveling in a group of 7 is...not so easy. Traveling in a group of 7 that hadn't eaten since 11ish am is...not so easy.

    The trick or treating part was SO frustrating, but of course it's what kids want to do. The quality of the candy was gawdawful, and Eamon expected that we would swap it all out (dude, it's September 13th! And we paid $150 for the 3 of us to get into it...you want us to pay MORE? can't we NOT trick or treat please?). And so he wanted to do ALL the tot spots. The cousins weren't any better; their parents have a hint that they have the same problems with ingredients that E does (added to it, the little one can't have peanuts), but the kids know that they can *sometimes* have those candies, so they wanted all they could get, too.

    Eamon's the only one that really likes characters, but since his cousins weren't into it he didn't want to see them. I gave up quickly on finding Flynn, especially since I found out that the little one REFUSES to watch Tangled b/c of Mother Goethl and even seeing Rapunzel or Flynn would have freaked her out.

    It was just...cross purposes, ya know? And way too early in the trip for the party. Live and learn and spend a lot of money on it...typical for us and Disney! :cool2:



    We thought Agent E looked cute, too. :) He was absolutely broiling, though! And the shirt is dry clean only (didn't check the tag at goodwill), so I was worried it was going to shrink up as he sweat more and more. Oh the things I worry about....
     
  20. kaoden39

    kaoden39 <font color=peach>Prayers and pixie dust from your

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    You know I am kind of disappointed in Disney. You would think they would get on the health bandwagon a bit more than they are.


    Poor E I would love to meet Flynn!! So would Kody, she thinks Flynn is great!! I just plain love that movie. I think that Disney has hit it out of the park with the last two Princess's. I don't get how some people don't like the characters. To me they are part and parcel of the parks.


    A big crowd like that is tough, everybody hungry on top of that makes it even harder. When we had our big group in 2010 I about went nuts. It is so hard to make everyone happy.
     
  21. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    [​IMG]




    The Prince Charming Carrousel. I only went on because Cousin E wanted to ride but was nervous. Agent E ran up, got on a HIGH horse and got himself all buckled in (a first) while Cousin E and I found a nonmoving sleigh to sit in. :)

    [​IMG]



    Blurry day-after Harvest Moon.

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    So we trick or treated around Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, then came back on through and waited in a spot on the bridge to the Hub for the fireworks.


    Oooooooh.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Cousin E was (seriously, he WAS) Harry Potter. There had been discussion of E going as Ron Weasley, but Eamon was very iffy on that. He couldn't really embrace it. When we saw Cousin Harry we felt sad that E wasn't Ron, but ultimately it was for the best. Cousin has a hard time taking compliments or fully getting that people thought his costume was awesome; when people would yell out Hi to Harry, or ask to see his scar, or when we saw Teenage Snape and he sort of snarled, he just sort of ducked his head and kept walking. The few times he DID get that people thought he looked great, the JOY on his face was just immense. And I felt that if E had been Ron, then THEY would have gotten the compliments; Eamon can take a compliment much easier than Cousin can, and I think that Cousin would have started to forget that people were talking about *him* as well, and would have felt sad that Eamon got "all" the attention.

    As it was, no one really knew who Eamon was (though the quick explanation made them smile, especially when Robert and I would point out that we were aliens and that he had caught us), so he didn't get much attention. And really, I think that was for the best.

    But if Cousin had a more outgoing personality, it would have been a GREAT costume combination, to have E be Ron Weasley.


    Now, my cousin and her husband, they love love love dressing up. :) And cousin's hubby is a HUGE Indiana Jones freak. So he went as Indy, and he was *perfect*. He even brought a jar of Diatomaceous Earth, to brush on his hat and slacks, to make himself dusty. My cousin went as Marian, and she looked fabulous as well. They were bummed that Robert and I weren't really dressed up, but, ya know, that just isn't us.


    Anyway, here is E and a small, not really identifiable, part of "Harry".

    [​IMG]

    (believe it or not, in normal light, my cousin's hair actually IS black)
     

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