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Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by jusero, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. jusero

    jusero DIS Veteran

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    Chapter 1: Page 1, Post 1
    Chapter 2: Page 1, Post 12
    Chapter 3: Page 2, Post 30


    Chapter One


    Well…it’s about time! There. I said it for you. It has only been two months since we got back. So I am now finally getting started on my trip report.

    First, let me introduce us to those of you who may be new to my TRs. We are from Maryland. Well, that is where we live at the moment. I am actually from Glens Falls, N.Y., and the hubby is from Manila, Philippines. I am Jane, a 30-something big kid, retired Army Disney geek. Well, ok … 40-something. Alright already … 50-something. Sheesh. I love everything Disney and absolutely LIVE for our annual trips to the World. If I am not IN the parks, I am planning our next trip or talking about our last trip.

    Leo, my DH, is not as much of a Disney geek as me, but he does love Disney. I am not allowed to tell you his age … or even the “something” part. But, suffice it to say … he is waaaaaaay older than me. But I think we both turn into 12-year-olds at the parks. But, with each trip, these 12-year-old wannabes get slower and slower and just don’t seem to be able to put in the miles or hours we use to.

    I thought it would take forever for Sept. 15 to get here, but it finally did. Woo-hoo! It’s finally time to hit the road and head south to the house of mouse. We usually go in May, but due to monetary issues, we had to push the trip back to September. This means it was a year and a half since we went last. Didn’t think I would make it.

    But, he we are, a year and a half in the making and we are finally ready to go. Most of the car was packed last night. The only things we had left was the overnight bag and the cooler. With all our last-minute checks done, goodbyes said to our two fur babies and one last run-through of the house and we are on our way.

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    Now, if you read last year’s TR, you know we had a very old kitty we were worried about leaving. He lived long after last year’s trip, but sadly didn’t make it through the year. We had to say goodbye to our 19-year-old boy earlier this year. But, even though we miss him dearly, he had a very long, happy and love-filled life.

    About a half hour late hitting the road, we finally were on our way. We just had to make one quick stop at the corner for ice. Um, not quite as quickly as I thought. They didn’t have any ice. What gas station doesn’t have ice? Apparently, this one.

    OK. So just one more quick stop at the next gas station. Finally iced up we were on the road at 8:30.

    Even though we were a bit late getting started, traffic through DC was a breeze. And if you have ever driven in or around DC at any time of the day or night, you know that, in itself, was a small miracle. I guess that is a good reason to start our trip on a Sunday.

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    With Leo dozing in the passenger seat (as is his usual stance while I am driving), we breezed through DC and into Virginia in no time. I made our first stop at 9:55 for a very quick break. Back on the road with me behind the wheel, we made great time … until about 11 a.m. when the traffic came to a crawl. And I do mean a crawl. It took 30 minutes to move literally three miles. Eventually I found out the backup was due to road work where three lanes went down to one. And Leo slept through it all.

    So much for all the time we made up earlier.

    By 1 p.m. we were ready to stop for lunch. The next exit had signs for several fast food joints, so I hung a right and headed off the highway.

    Well, we thought we were going to get lunch.

    Once we got off the highway, we saw nothing. And after driving about five miles, we decided to head back to 95. And, 30 minutes later, we still had not found a place to eat.

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    At this point … 313 miles on the odometer … I spotted the first South of the Border billboard. This is a true testimonial that we are, indeed, on our way south.

    But still no lunch.

    We finally found an area with fast food and other restaurants. Leo decided he wanted Cracker Barrel. The food was good, but took so long to get and eat it … in addition to the traffic back-up earlier … we were now well behind schedule. Full, but behind schedule.

    By 7 p.m., Leo took over the driving and, within an hour was wanting to stop for the night. I wanted to keep pushing on to Jacksonville, but I guess he was just too tired to go another 140 miles. There’s that age thing creeping in again.

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    So, we found a Comfort Inn at about 8:30 and called it a day. It was a bit of an older Inn and the hall smelled horrible. I was a bit concerned with the stench, but the room was fine. I found out later that the smell was because they just had the carpet installed and the smell was carpet glue or something.
    Leo jumped in the shower while I went out to get some dinner. I brought back a couple burgers and some chili cheese fries (might as well start the bad vacation diet now). But I forgot to grab forks. Ever try to eat chili cheese fries with your fingers?

    After a quick shower and a little TV, it was dream land by 11 p.m.
     
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  3. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Following along...:)
     
  4. rsbh00

    rsbh00 Earning My Ears

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    Following...
     
  5. mickeystoontown

    mickeystoontown DIS Veteran

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    I'm here! Let the fun begin! :cool1:
     
  6. jusero

    jusero DIS Veteran

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    Let's just hope it doesn't take two more months to get the next chapter up. :lmao:
     
  7. jaz0308

    jaz0308 Mouseketeer

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    I'm in!!!
     
  8. OnSpaceshipEarth

    OnSpaceshipEarth DIS Veteran

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    Following along!

    Love your narrative style...funny!
     
  9. jusero

    jusero DIS Veteran

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    Thanks everyone! Hope to have the next chapter up in the next few days. It is written, I just have to get the pics together.
     
  10. Jessicavoet

    Jessicavoet Mouseketeer

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    I am so happy that you are doing trip reviews with shades of green! We're going on our first ever trip in July and I can't find many reviews involving shades of green so I'm reading your older reviews as well!
     
  11. jusero

    jusero DIS Veteran

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    Glad you are with us here. Sorry it has taken me so long to get this thing going, but work and the holidays have had been jumping. I hope to get the next chapter up next week.

    And, by the way, Shades is an absolute gem of a resort. Just awesome!
     
  12. Pc1005

    Pc1005 Earning My Ears

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    Following..... with anticipation! :thumbsup2
     
  13. jusero

    jusero DIS Veteran

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    Chapter 2

    OK, so I originally started my TR just before Thanksgiving and am just now getting back to it. So sorry to all of you for the delay. I never realized working retail could be so crazy over the holidays. Well, yes, I should have known, but it didn't really sink in until I lived through my very first Black Friday (actually Grey Thursday since we had to work on Thanksgiving day) to Christmas at JCPenney.

    OK, enough of the sniveling and on to day two.

    We got up a little after 7. Why "a little after" and not 7? I forgot where I was and smacked the snooze button. But once the alarm chirped the second time I realized it was Disney day today and I flew out of bed. OK, so flew may be a bit of a stretch, but I was up and out fairly quickly.

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    After dressing and getting packed up, I opened the drapes and found the window completely fogged up. My first impression of southern humidity since leaving Panama in 1995. Of course, as soon as we walked out the door, Leo's glasses were just as fogged. And for some reason I thought this was really funny. Maybe it was the "I'm going to Disney" state of mind I was in.

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    Anyway, we were on the road by 8 and crossing into Florida by 8:50. And pay no attention to that ickyness on the windshield. Dragonfly meeting a 65 miles per hour SUV windshield doesn't really end well for the dragonfly.

    While Leo napped (big surprise), I drove on until about 10 trying to get through Jacksonville traffic before Leo took over. Along the way I noticed a car that drove by me that literally had its bumper duct taped onto the car. No, really.

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    In no time at all, we were on I-4 and starting to see those lovely, wonderful signs for Disney World.

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    And then, around the bend, there it was! The beautiful, spectacular, oh-so-unbelievably awesome arch welcoming us to the World.

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    Within minutes, we were under that arch and approaching the Magic Kingdom gate, through which awaited our home away from home ... Shades of Green.

    Since it was just a little after noon, I was pretty sure our room wouldn't be ready. But it couldn't hurt to ask.

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    It wasn't. But that's OK, we checked in anyway, got our park tickets and wandered the resort a bit taking it all in. We then hit the road to find lunch and ended up at Checkers.

    While sitting there eating what was to be many orders of chili cheese fries this trip, we noticed a small amusement park behind the restaurant. After lunch, we drove around to check the place out and found a little place called Old Town and, since we had another hour to kill before our room was ready, decided to check it out. I am glad we did. What a cute little place!

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    Well, all except that strange guy who kept appearing behind us. It started in the parking lot after we parked and got out. He came up and asked if it was OK to park there and was worried he might be towed. Then, when we were looking around the rock store (yes, it was actually a store that sold only rocks) and he followed me around telling me that he drove all the way from Michigan just to shop in this store. Luckily we seemed to lose him somewhere between the rocks and the store selling alligator parts.

    [​IMG]

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    One pink sparkly rock for Jazzy and a gator foot on a string for Chirstopher later, it was time to head back to Shades.

    We pulled up to Shades at about 3 p.m., fully expecting to see Mr. Chatty Pants standing there waiting. Thankfully, he wasn't.

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    Our room was ready. Yay!!! although we didn't get 2102, our fave room, we did get room 3104. Not a bad room at all. Except for the fact that our view was right into the fronds of a palm tree. But that's OK too. We are, after all, at Disney World!

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    Unpacked and the room set up for the next two weeks, Leo kicked back on one of the beds while I went out on the deck just to soak it all in. Soak is a good choice in words at this point because it started to downpour. But, within 10 minutes, it stopped.

    Leo then decided to continue his three day attempt to open his camera card.

    When he bought it at Walmart, he used the self check out and forgot to have the attendant take it out of the anti theft packaging. And without the receipt, we couldn't take it back and ask them to open it.

    I guess you have to be a thief in order to open that sucker because for three days he has been pulling, yanking, pounding, prying and stomping on the damned thing to get it open and nothing has worked. So, in desperation, he went and got the hammer out of the tool box in the car and tried to open it that way.

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    Only ended with a broken hammer.

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    He finally managed to get it open without breaking the card, but it sure was an adventure. He won't forget to have that removed in the future, that's for sure.

    That done, we headed to Downtown Disney. We got there by about 4:30 and found an empty parking lot. That's cool. And a good sign that my research about this time of year being a low crowd level time was accurate.

    Just as we were about to get out of the car, the skies opened up for another downpour. This one lasted about 15 minutes before letting up enough to get out and head into DTD. And, even though DH really thinks he will melt in the rain, he braved the sprinkles ... and didn't melt.

    It ended up raining off and on the rest of the day. No biggie.

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    You may have to look closely, but Leo is in there somewhere.

    We hit World of Disney first and split up. Me ... window shopping. Leo ... penny hunting.

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    The first thing I found was this year's Mickey/Minnie plushes: Believe in Magic. Very cute. But I still can't figure out what they are suppose to be dressed in. I am thinking maybe PJs?

    After spending some time wandering my favorite store (sorry JCP), I made my purchases and hunted down the hubby. Next stop: Earl of Sandwich. And, boy, did we have great timing there. When we walked in the door there were only about four people in line. By the time I was at the register and turned around, the line was out the door.

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    It was awesome, as usual. But I can never remember to take food porn before we dig in. Sorry Lisa!

    Tummies full, I headed out to the Christmas store and Leo on the penny hunt again. I found my 2013 ornament as my "not-so-big ticket" item for this trip. A Mickey nutcracker. Not the $400 one from Germany in Epcot (I wish), but the $50 one. He is still cute as the dickens, though. I didn't buy him today, just in case I find something I like better during the two weeks here, but I know where he is if I still want him.

    Treasures in hand (and pennies in pocket), we decided to call it a night and head back to Shades. And, as usual, we got lost trying to get back. Never fails. You would think we would have it down by now, but we still get lost.

    Oh well, finally back "home" and tucked in for the night. Magic Kingdom in the morning!!!!
     
  14. jrj

    jrj always looking forward to our next trip to DA WORL

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    :wave2: Following along... can't wait to read more :surfweb: popcorn::
     
  15. jusero

    jusero DIS Veteran

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    Welcome aboard! I see you will be in the World in February? I will be there Feb. 9. Can't wait!
     
  16. jrj

    jrj always looking forward to our next trip to DA WORL

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    Awe shucks :sad: we leave February 8th... here's hoping for great weather and low crowds for both our trips pixiedust:
     
  17. NMAmy

    NMAmy Can speak food in German

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    I followed you over from the Shades of Green thread--thanks for posting the link! We're coming up on our first stay at SoG in late Feb/early March so I'm interested in hearing all about it. Thanks so much for the recent photos of the room--it's very difficult to find them anywhere. ;) Can't wait to hear more!
     
  18. jusero

    jusero DIS Veteran

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    You won't be disappointed. Shades is such a beautiful and peaceful resort and the staff are great. I will try to post the video I made of the room this trip.
     
  19. jusero

    jusero DIS Veteran

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    Here is a video tour of Shades. Click on photo.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. mickeystoontown

    mickeystoontown DIS Veteran

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    Waaaay back in 1998, when we made our first visit to Walt Disney World, we used to stay at a Days Suites near Old Town. Over the years, it started getting a little run down so we switched to onsite. We always spent some time at Old Town and eating at Checkers. Gosh what I wouldn't give for a Checkers slaw dog right now. :hyper:

    I know the rock store that you are referring to. It's Black Market Minerals. I wish that you could have visited it before they changed it over to mostly rocks. They used to sell all sorts of neat things...jewelry, carvings, windchimes, etc.

    Did the General Store still have the 25 cent Pepsi?
     
  21. WDW 3

    WDW 3 Mouseketeer

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    Love reading you TR's. AND!!! You'll be back in less than a month! Lucky!
    I don't know when we'll get back :( On the bright side we are going to be trying Hale Koa in a couple months:)
    But I really do need a SOG/Disney fix! Your pictures and narrative are going to have to hold me.
     

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