We are NOT Disney people – a trip report

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by sleepingbean, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. sleepingbean

    sleepingbean DIS Veteran

    Dec 21, 2006
    We were not Disney people. Far from it, in fact. When Dh and I started dating in highschool 14 years ago, we considered ourselves a bit individualistic. We watched foreign films, ate ethnic food, listened to music you’d never hear on a radio and so on. With all our might, we ducked and weaved away from the flow of mainstream. When we became parents, we considered homebirth (although we didn’t actually do it!). I nursed my babies, we used clothed diapers. Heck, I made their baby food, sewed their dresses (okay, only some of them) and we made their toys! Notice a crunchy anti mainstream trend here?
    So how did we end up in Disneyworld? When did the first addictive bite begin? Upon much reflection, I am almost certain we can blame Mother in Law.

    Before I go further, let me introduce Mother in Law (from here on, MIL). Now, MIL was an at home mom who keeps a nice house and makes wonderful meals. Before we brought her two grand daughters, I am not sure what her hobbies were, but I do know for certain that after that first little Bean was born, she had a new and life long hobby. Showering those two girls with gifts! And if there is one gift MIL likes to give the girls, it’s a Disney movie. It started innocently enough with Winnie the Pooh. Then there was the Tigger movie (had to have that). Soon, Piglet came out with a movie, and then there was a holiday movie, and Roo, and Christopher Robin and on and on!

    We were soft as butter to the idea of Disney by the time our girls were old enough for a family vacation, but still were not Disney people yet. As our girls reached the ages of 3 and 6, I began talking to Dh about a family vacation. A BIG one. One that didn’t involve us sleeping upstairs from my parents or his. Hmm…this was going to take some planning. I began researching places and we had two BIG criteria to meet.

    1) It had to be a place we could drive or fly to affordably. We are smack dab in the center of the country, and I was not about to spend $2000 to get to our destination! So affordability cut down the choices. Chicago and St Louis were both in driving distance, but boy…wouldn’t it be nice to go to a beach? I started looking and wouldn’t you know that flights to Orlando, Fl were cheap. Very cheap! We’re talking a fraction of the cost of flying anywhere else in the country! Hmm…maybe the airline was trying to tell us something? I have family in Orlando. Double bonus. Hey…isn’t DISNEYWORLD in Orlando???
    Dh protests quickly and loudly. “We are NOT going to Disney World when Bella is only 3. No way no how. Keep looking cause it ain’t happening. I am the man, I bring the bread that pays for this vacation, and I say we are not taking the 3 year old to Disney. She would be overwhelmed, overtired, over cranky…over it. No.”

    2) Okay, but I did say there were TWO big criteria to meet. While cost of travel is big, it doesn’t hold a candle to number two. Bean (our first born dd) can’t eat gluten or dairy. If you don’t know what that means, let me tell you this…it means she can’t eat what everyone else is eating…ever. She ALWAYS has to have her own special homemade foods because everything under the sun has gluten or dairy in it. And to add to that, mama can’t eat it either. If we went to a vacation and got gluten or dairy in our food, we may as well just toss our vacation money into the toilet, because that is the place we’ll be focusing on as we spend hours in the bathroom, sick. Nope, we can’t eat that stuff, and that means we are limited on where we CAN eat. Very limited. As any dedicated organizing mom would do, I started searching…where oh where can a gluten free dairy free family go for vacation? I found two places. A ranch in Wyoming and … what is this? DISNEY WORLD! Apparently Disney knows our laungauge when it comes to food. I began to find report after report of others who enjoyed gluten free dairy free meals all over the World. I nearly fainted when I read that not only could they deal with the meals, but they also had GF/CF breads and desserts around every corner! SOLD!!!!!

    Hot dog! I was going to be free of cooking for 5 whole days! No homemade rice flour, nut flour pancake making, no gluten free bread making, no sautéing or baking. I was going to step away from the kitchen and not look back. It was as if something had just gifted me with the dream vacation of a lifetime…but wait…I could remember hearing the voice of Dh in the back of my joy. What was it he was saying?
    No Disney?…
    Not Disney?…
    Now Disney?
    Yes, that was it! He must have said NOW! Book that Disney vacation pronto! Of course that is what he meant. So, off I went to find a resort. :)

    In my giddy excitement, I started looking at resorts. It was December and wouldn’t you know it, there was a SALE for January travel! I love a sale. It is part of my genetic code that I will buy something at a sale, even if I don’t want or need it. It is part of some weird gene that my mother passed on. It also requires that I save stuff I don’t need (like hundreds of empty glass jars in the event I ever want to make enough Jam to feed an army). Dh has been gently breaking my habit. I no longer buy junk I don’t need at the grocery store, but when I saw that resort sale, it was ON! Free parker and swimming! Great! Room discount? GREAT! Where do I sign?!

    I researched the MouseSavers and Allears.net sites, licking up every drop of information I could gather and I came to the conclusion that the Animal Kingdom Lodge was the place for us. Our first trip to Disney and we were starting off right. Of course, I had no idea at this point that once you go to Disney World, it is the beginning of a life long commitment of repeat travel. Had I known this, maybe I wouldn’t have started us at a Deluxe, but I digress….Animal Kingdom Lodge. Animals, cool theme, lots of gluten free dairy free food available, and remember those Orlando relatives? They love that place! Can’t get enough of it! So now the only thing to do is…talk to Dh.

    I approached dh in the evening when the girls were in bed. I came armed with my information on where to stay and when. I told him in my sweetest voice that while I respected his decision to wait until Bella was 5 years old to go to Disney World, my hands were tied. It was the only place we could go with any appeal where I didn’t need to bring a kitchen along with me. And furthermore, Bella would be turning four that same month so she would be ALMOST 5, and that is when he said we could go, so it really is about, almost, exactly what he wanted!
    He started to protest a bit, I recall, and he repeated his concerns about the Bella being too young…but I started showing him pictures of the resort and details of the food and a recap of the SALES! And to cinch it, I talked up the whole “less crowds value season” to emphasize how important it was that we went immediately before the spring break season was upon us! My joy was just beaming from within, and while dh can talk a tough talk, he can rarely walk it. Not in a house of women, anyway. As they say in My Big Fat Greek Wedding… Dh may be the head of the family, but it’s Mama who is the neck (turning that big ol’ head in the proper direction as needed). Plus the man does not like crowds, he loves his family of women, and he thought that Animal Kingdom Lodge was looking pretty cool. (so there was that too, but still…I’m the neck!)

    Booking the tickets was supposed to be a breeze. I just logged online, brought up my saved deal and went to order, but that crazy computer system wouldn’t let me order my super deal! I gave up and called the CM’s for help. Boy were they helpful. Have you ever noticed how fun and kind and joyful those CMs are on the phone? Sometimes when I am feeling down, I just want to call them up cause the stories they tell! Man, they brighten my day! The CM matched my online deal and upgraded us to Savannah room view and we were booked. Next stop…ADR!

    Getting food figured out was as EASY as a gluten free pudding pie! I just emailed Brenda at the Magic Kingdom and she sent me an email attachment that I treasure as a piece of Disney Magic right in my very own inbox. It was a listing of where and what we could eat that was gluten free and dairy free in the World. Wow. It listed restaurants that could easily accommodate us and spots for finding snacks. Oh Brenda, how I love you and your happy email attachment. Life was looking fine! Now all we had to do was wait a few weeks and we would be on our way.

    In preparation for our departure, I decided to do some pre – shopping to make sure we had all the necessities (Pepto, earplugs, Imodium, pain killers…you know the important stuff) and I also bought some Disney shirts. I figured it would be just my luck that the girls would want to buy Disney T-Shirts for $25 a piece in the world. Now, you have to remember we were not Disney people yet and I was not about to buy $25 shirts that turned my children into walking advertisements for the latest new release DVD. I would, however, buy them for $5 shirts that turned them into walking advertisements without hesitation (you may recall, I love me a sale)! And that is just what I did. Okay, the list was printed and everything checked out. I began my packing about 3 weeks early. I am an organizer. I want things like that done. I am one of those people who is always there 10 minutes early. And suitcases get packed even earlier, still. Unlike certain overdue overpackers (cough…lala family) we do NOT overpack. I am the most minimalist packer on the planet, and so far it works for us. I managed to get all we needed into two bags, plus we each had a small backpack for carry on. Not too bad. We were on our way to the World! Look out mice, here we come!

    Up next: what is this magical place???
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  3. Chris

    Chris DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2005
    Great start!! :) How quickly we become Disney people huh?? I see you are going back in November!!!
  4. SuzieN

    SuzieN DIS Veteran

    Jul 6, 2007
    Waiting with baited breath for your next installment!
  5. AlyssinWonderland

    AlyssinWonderland Lost in the Looking Glass

    Jan 11, 2007
    What a great start for a TR! Very entertaining! I enjoy the way you write! Can't wait to read more! Thanks for sharing! :goodvibes
  6. LaLa

    LaLa <font color=green>Hangs with the Mensas<br><font c

    Aug 26, 2005
    I'm numb.

    I thought everybody overpacked. It's a good thing you're off to a great start or else I'd be forced to put you on Ignore based on your packing philosophy alone. ;)

    In other words: I'm lovin' it. Keep it comin', Sleepingbean.

    Can't relate to that at all. Or can I?

  7. Avivasmom

    Avivasmom DIS Veteran

    Sep 2, 2003
    What a great beginning. You will love AKL....my DD favorite resort.

    I knew a few people who went to WDW who are GF/CF and Disney is just very helpful like you are experiencing.

    Cannot wait to read more.
  8. chiefdragon

    chiefdragon DIS Veteran

    Mar 13, 2007
    I can not wait to read more. 2 Suitcases for 4 people. I am floored. We take 2 1/2 just for 2 people. I guess I need to take lessons from you :)
  9. keliblue

    keliblue <font color=blue>It's kinda like a constant bad ha

    Apr 24, 2006
  10. luvmyboys

    luvmyboys <font color=blue>WoW Widow<br><font color=deeppink

    Apr 22, 2005
    Another one bites the dust....;)
    My DH was anti-Disney too-- but here we are, planning our 3rd trip, and I occasionally find him wearing his Goofy shirt!

    Can't wait to hear more Sleepingbean, especially about the food issues. Hope your family was able to eat well!
  11. Mickey'sMainMami

    Mickey'sMainMami <font color=red>I love playing video games!!<br><f

    Mar 29, 2007
    Loving your Trip report so far, can't wait to hear how you enjoyed it!!
  12. Annie&Hallie'sMom

    Annie&Hallie'sMom <font color=deeppink>Things turn out best for peop

    Oct 26, 2001
    Brilliant. Bloody Brilliant.

    I can't wait to read more...especially about your dining experiences, as I am the QUEEN of food allergies.
  13. sleepingbean

    sleepingbean DIS Veteran

    Dec 21, 2006
    What is this Magical Place?

    Well, we flew there. I won’t bore you with details on flying. Of course there were goods (no one got sick this time!) and there were bads (no one told me not to put a three year old on the isle! And that 1 hour wait on the tarmac in OH…), but it was travel. Who cares about that, let’s get to the good stuff!

    We arrived and were greeted by our Orlando Family. They were kind enough to spend that extra hour waiting for us, and they even brought us our own vehicle! Gotta love family.

    Off we went to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. My Dad was driving and I was talking. In real life you would be amazed to know that I can fit entire paragraphs into about 20 seconds of speaking. Dh speaks even faster! So while my Dad is driving, I am blabbing up a storm. And this is causing dear old Dad to lose track of his navigation abilities (because trying to understand hyped up chipmunk speak takes full concentration and that is just me! Plus you got hyped up chipmunk Bean and Bella in the backseat!). It was a few wrong turns later that I learned to shut my yap until we were there.

    Wow. The Animal Kingdom Lodge was amazing. It was huge! The lobby was beautiful, everything was beautiful. I went to the main desk to check us in while my weary Dh strolled the girls to the TV in the lobby.

    Bob was the gentleman who checked us in and he was from Ohio! We just sat on the tarmac at Ohio for an extra hour! Small world indeed, and you know what, I was grinning ear to ear. Bob could have told me our room was going to be 15 miles away and filthy, and it wouldn’t shake that smile from my face. I was dang happy to be in Disney World! Never had I been in such a nice hotel! Not even on our honeymoon! Bob got us a room he was sure we’d love. I informed him I was coming from Iowa and I doubt there was anything he could do to disappoint me. He liked my style, I could tell. Off we went. Dh towed the 2 suitcases and the girls skipped ahead to the room.

    We threw our stuff in, looked around at the very dark room. Our eyes had not yet adjusted to the dim lighting, but we could see giraffes out the window, right off the bat! Wow, this place was going to be great! After zooming around the room to look at everything once and after each of us took turns saying “Look at this!” 50 times, we went back down to the lobby to chill with the Orlando family members. They toured us around the Animal Kingdom Lodge viewing areas where we watched the pelicans, flamingos, and other strange animals throughout the Savannah. We found the playground and the girls played a bit. We laughed and sipped some sort of frozen margarita drink as they played. Life was good. Very very very good.

    Fast forward a bit and it’s time for our first ADR…Boma,! I had read many rave reviews for Boma, so I was excited to finally get to try it out! Plus, being so into ethnic food, I was sure I would love it. It was the four of us, and four more of my Orlando family members. They love Boma, and they loaded up huge plates. The Bean and I were all set and ready for our first gluten free dairy free Disney meal. I found many great things to eat at Boma, such as the salmon, the salad with Mango dressing, and lots of veggies.
    Bean, however, was not a big fan of most of the offerings. She ate some, but wasn’t thrilled.
    Bella got some rice milk, which is good cause she needed her fix. Bean asked for some dessert. Hmm…dessert was not too exciting. All they had for her was a strange sorbet that tasted of cranberry mint? She was happy, though, and she ate most of it. Thank goodness we ate at Boma first because for gluten free dairy free dining with Bean, it was her least favorite place to eat. The Orlando family ate oodles of food, which they loved. I enjoyed my food. It was loud, crowded and hard to hear one another, but I was still grinning ear to ear. Did I mention I was happy to be there?

    The rest of the night was a blur. All I know is we had to get up early and BE SOMEWHERE tomorrow. My planner says breakfast at 8:25 am and as I mentioned, I am a 10 minute early kind of girl. My family was not about to make me run late for something! So to sleep we went.

    Dh and I awoke early and we watched the sun begin to light the sky. The animals were coming out. I must admit, there was just something lacking for me about the Savannah. I hate to be a bummer, but I could see fences. It just didn’t feel that exciting to watch the animals be released from their pens to feed in buckets hanging from trees. It was nothing like spotting an animal in the wild. But still, I did enjoy watching the animals up close. I showered quickly and got ready to get us all moving out the door. We were down at the bus stop and en route to Magic Kingdom in no time at all. Plenty of time to get to the Crystal Palace for breakfast.

    We beamed with giddy excitement all the way there. I think Dh even had a bit of beaming going on. When we got there, it was like we owned the place. It was empty! The girls and I ran to sit with Goofy on a bench and have Dh take our picture. I felt like we were doing something wrong by being there when no one was there! But it was pretty flippin’ cool. And then it happened, the girls turned around the corner and saw it for the first time! They both stopped in their tracks and Bean put her hand to her heart and gasped. For a moment, I thought she may even begin to cry, but that moment went in a flash as the girls put themselves into high gear and bolted toward the castle. Cinderella’s castle was only steps away from them and they were the only children in site. I just looked at my Dh. My eyes were welling up a bit and my smile was still glued to my face. He had it too. I think I even saw a bit of mist in his eye as he stepped forward. This was true magic to two little girls who believe in fairies, princesses, castles, and never land. What could be better than this?

    We snapped off some pictures of the girls in front of the castle with not a single person in site. Just them and the castle and a blue sky. This would be hard to top. Crystal Palace was our breakfast destination. As Bean always tells me, Winnie the Pooh is her favorite Classic. I knew the girls would go wild to see Pooh and friends and I was right. This was their favorite place to eat on our trip.

    Once inside, the girls were tripping over themselves as they would stare, take two steps, stop, squeal and then jump up and down with excitement each time one of the characters was nearby. We sat down and ordered our specialty food items. Bean received this gluten free dairy free beauty [​IMG] and she also had all of this [​IMG]
    Mostly she just loved the Mickey pancake and she asked for another as soon as she gobbled that up. She couldn’t believe they had gluten free pancakes in Florida! When the characters came around, the girls were too shy to speak, but their eyes did all the talking. The joy was just shooting out of them and they hugged each character with so much enthusiasm and love. They waved, watched, and wailed with laughter at any remote hint of an antic. It was all too perfect.

    When we left I held their hands and asked them if they had fun (I know, silly question). Bean looks at me, introspectively, and says…
    You know, I never expected Piglet to be so BIG!
    She is 6 years old at this point and she’s getting older by the second. She probably knew why Piglet was so big. She is a smart little girl, but she wants the magic, and we want her to have that magic as long as she can, so I just smiled and said that I was surprised too.

    Do you think our first stop was a big ride to avoid the long waits to come? Nope…we went right for Pooh’s playground. The girls were just dying to see Pooh’s house! They loved it. Dh and I had to pry them away from playground with threats that they were going to like the rest of the park too or else! Okay, so maybe it didn’t roll exactly like that, but I do recall they didn’t want to leave and we felt a bit silly spending time there when there were NO LINES AT ALL for the rides.

    They rode the teacup ride, we went on the Pooh ride (which was a blast from the past for me…I loved it). We went on Snow White’s ride, carousal and Dumbo and then we saw it…the Phil Harmagic. And wouldn’t you know it…no line?! So in we sprinted. We only waited a minute to be let in to the best 3D show we have ever experienced. Dh and I were laughing louder than the kids as the water squirted and the pie smell filled the air. We all loved it. What’s not to love?! So we finish up there, walk out into the blinding sun and we walk about 10 feet before Bean starts playing some strange game of charades with me. I didn’t understand what the game was, however, and I was getting tired of the “guess what my gesture means” game pretty quickly.
    Finally I said, “Just tell me what it is, I can’t guess!”
    With a defeated look in her eye she opened her mouth and…Threw up.
    Oh…that is what that gesture means. Mental note for next time…run for a garbage can or bathroom when Bean makes that gesture. We decided a simple thumbs down would do the trick next time. I don’t know if it was the movement of the show without her glasses on, or if it was the blinding sun, or overdose of Mickey shaped pancakes, but she wasn’t sick, she wasn’t about to slow down. She just had to let it all out and carry on. I cleaned up her mess and we were on our way.

    We decided to go to Mickey and Minnie’s houses next(okay I threw down the law and told them where we were going). I didn’t want the girls to miss that, as I was pretty sure they’d love it. Of course they did love it. We didn’t know we were waiting in a SLOW line to see Mickey Mouse, but the girls didn’t mind because they were just chilling out in the shade watching cartoons as we waited. We just chilled, met the mouse and his freaky looking pumpkins, and headed off to the train. We were getting hungry for lunch, and we decided we’d do Pecos Bills since my magical list revealed they had gluten free buns.

    Pecos Bills. What can I say about this that is good…hmm…there were birds there that entertained the girls (oh and pooped on them too, I guess that wasn’t good). Ummm…the did have food! I give them that. It took us FOREVER to order. We waited in line like everyone else. The girls suddenly went from their happy place to that whiney place that sends both myself and dh to our grumpy place in a heartbeat. We needed to get a move on. I split with the girls to walk around while dh ordered. We waited and waited and waited. We watched every single table inside and outside fill up and dh was still standing there waiting. Finally, we went back and asked the man what the problem was and why he wasn’t bringing out the gluten free bread?! (well, something like that). Dh was doing his best NOT to blow his top, but he was about to experience line rage as person after person was let ahead of him while someone was searching high, low, and in other countries for some gluten free bread. 30 minutes later we had food. We had to be careful not to upset Dh because he was at a critical point where he needed to sit and eat or explode.

    Unfortunately there was not a table to be found. Then, suddenly, a family stood up. We set our trays down and began thanking them, crying for joy, and sitting our hungry and cranky selves down when someone else grabbed dh’s chair out from under him…literally. He was still in “maintain your cool” mode, but I could tell he was about to implode. I nicely pointed out that we were sitting here (hence the reason we are setting this long over due meal down and in the crouch mode over said chair). The man was apologetic and he gave Dh back his chair. There were 3 chairs for the 4 of us, and even with the crazy birds and bird poop, we were glad to be sitting and eating. As for Pecos Bills, it is NOT on our list for places to go to in the future.

    As we bolted from that spot, we found Belle telling a story. We stopped and watched. The girls enjoyed it. We goofed around for a bit and the Bella found the Tinkerbell shop. Now, before we left I was afraid that we would be dealing with kids begging us for $100 toys left and right, but that was not the case at all. MIL sent each girl with $100 (which is a nice amount for an almost 4 year old and a 6 year old! Bella made her first purchase. It was a small plastic Little Mermaid doll with multiple outfits to change into. Bean bought one too (she didn’t want to be left out), but she chose Tinkerbell. These little kits were about $12 each and the girls just LOVED THEM! They sat and waited for the parade and played with their dolls the whole time they waited. When the parade started, we picked up the pieces (probably lost some microscopic doll shoes) and the pure joy began. The girls were staring so hard at the floats I was afraid they’d hurt their eyes for lack of blinking. They were LOVING the parade. If you could capture the expression of their faces on film AND see the princesses in the background…it was perfect. Too perfect! Bean was standing and dancing along with every song. She got smiles from a couple cast members. Bella (was turning four and therefore was already almost exactly five) was wearing a birthday pin, which got her a bit of attention too. Life couldn’t get any better.

    When the last of the parade went by, we got into schedule mode again and we jumped up to follow the parade out. We had an ADR at Artist Point with the Orlando family and we needed to get a move on. The Bean was dancing and walking behind the parade when a red headed CM saw her and asked her if she’d like to help hold the end of the parade banner as they walked down main street. Would she like that? Are you kidding? ! She was overjoyed. She was doing her best to walk, dance, hold the banner and wave to people, but mostly she was just bonkers about being in the parade. When we left, she was nearly limp with exhaustion and joy. Daddy scooped up his little Bean, and carried her like a baby, back to the bus pickup. She was a happy girl. They were both happy, I was teary (again) and Dh was smiling. Life at Magic Kingdom was good. It was so good it snagged a little hook into my heart at the exact moment my Bella looked at Cinderella in the parade and shouted for joy, and it cinched it when Bean looked over her shoulder at me as she wrapped up the parade. We were definitely going to be Disney people. Time to throw out the old us cause I could see, we were gonna need MORE of this kind of happy.

    Up next: Artist Point and why Grandpa is banned from Martinis
  14. Crazy Kanga

    Crazy Kanga DIS Veteran

    Feb 9, 2003
    Just have to say WOW. I love these kinds of stories. Tears of joy flowing as we speak!
  15. jcc0621

    jcc0621 DIS Veteran

    Mar 8, 2007
    :cool1: I'm in. Can't wait to hear about Artist Point. My mother is a CM there, so I always like to hear peoples reviews of it. She is a seater, not a server, so don't worry if you say anything bad about your service only in your seating:lmao:
  16. sharonW

    sharonW DIS Veteran

    Apr 2, 2005
    aaaaahhhhh that disney magic, its like a magnet!
    Lovin your TR. Nothing like makin beautiful disney
  17. sleepingbean

    sleepingbean DIS Veteran

    Dec 21, 2006
    Chris, yes you are right. It happens fast! But what does that mean in your sig...19 day long vacation!? Do you have a Vacation Club or Timeshare?! Tell me more!

    Suzie, when I decide to write something, I usually blaze through it, so you shouldn't have to wait for too long. ;)

    Alyss - Thank you :love:

    LaLa, you got me SO HOOKED with your second trip report. It was actually the only one I have ever read. Now that you have finished (sniff sniff) I decided I wanted a piece of that detailed memory to print and save and share and laugh about. So this is my attempt :cutie:
    Plus, it helps me kill time while I count down those terribly long days until our next trip!
    I'm glad you saw your reference :cool2:

    Aviva - Thanks! I hope we like CSR as much cause that is where we're heading next! (unless Wilderness Lodge sneaks in a win for location !)

    Chiefdragon, there is a whole system to my packing :laundy:
    Basically it consists of me bringing only what we actually absoultely need. All that other stuff that we likely won't need...I don't bring. And I pack smart (layers). Plus, you'll see it doesn't always work out that great as the trip report unfolds :scared:

    Keli, we are on the fence about switching from CSR to WL for next trip...location looks awfully sweet!

    Luvmyboys, while I am full fletched Dis-addicted now, I am afraid I have to step it up a notch to get DH signed on for more than a 3rd trip back. But don't worry...I do have a plan!

    Mickey's-Thank you!

    Annie&Hallie'sMom - I hope you have had good experiences there too! :)

    CrazyKanga - thank you :)

    JCC, don't worry, we were seated just fine! No worries on that department! :groom:

    Sharon, you said it!
  18. tinkercat

    tinkercat Mouseketeer

    May 12, 2007
    Great start! I look forward to reading the rest! We weren't Disney people either, but our most recent trip definitely changed that!:wizard:
  19. sleepingbean

    sleepingbean DIS Veteran

    Dec 21, 2006
    Part 3: Artist Point:

    So my Dad was the lead in our next meal. He insisted that I let go of my schedule and give him the reins for one night. He really wanted us to eat at Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge. Dad and StepMom had a friend working there and they just wanted to share the love with us. I must admit, being a super planner, organizer kind of Mom, it was hard for me to give up a whole night of planning, but I let go of the reins and headed off to Wilderness Lodge in that vehicle so lovingly provided for us upon arrival (nice!).

    Walking into the Wilderness Lodge had much of the same effect as walking into the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I could tell I would love it there too. Coming from the Midwest, I loved the outdoor woodsy feel of the Lodge. Loved the WOOD everywhere. If I had it my way, I’d be living in a log cabin! (granted, it would be a large and extensively modern log cabin). The totem pole was a fabulous touch. I was happy to be there.
    We were there 10 minutes early (did you expect anything less?) so we bellied up to a four seater table in the bar and I ordered my first Mai Tai (spelling?). I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t expect to like it! Orlando family walks in and Dh makes sure they all have drinks before we get seated. Our table was ready. Actually the restaurant was pretty empty! It was still early and it just never did fill up. I loved it. I loved the huge art hanging on the walls. I don’t remember what it was, now, but I do recall that I loved the colors, the softness, the lighting, the huge ceiling. I really enjoyed the atmosphere.

    Now, this is the part where you need to remember two things: we are on round one of drinks and Orlando Family is friends with the waiter. Can you see where this may be going? Dh had ordered the wrong drinks for StepMom, so My Dad (Grandpa from here on out) helped her drink hers in order to be polite. Grandpa also drank his drink in order to be polite. He had already ordered himself a Martini, and the waiter (friend) brought that out. He drank that. Again, must…be…polite! The girls were playing with Ariel and Tinkerbell. They played for 2 hours with those little dolls and they never got bored. This must be a bit of the magic because they were the most well behaved little girls all night long! You hardly knew they were there, except that they were darn cute and fun to look at.
    Food comes and we were feasting like kings. The chef seemed to enjoy our food restrictions as a fun challenge to mix it up a bit. Maybe cooking the same ol’ steak and buffalo night after night gets boring? Who knows, but the chef enjoyed coming up with meals for myself, my Bean, and my StepMom (who has shellfish allergies). So, to recap – no dairy, no shellfish, no gluten for three of the people in our party. Whew!

    Anyhoo, Waiter friend comes over and gabs a bit with us. He’s fun! The Chef is fun! This whole place is fun! And what is this? Free sparkling wine for all of us?! You MUST be kidding. And it was delicious! Guess what Grandpa does? Of course he drinks it! He doesn’t want to appear impolite! Bean’s gf/cf (gluten free casein/dairy free) chicken dish was delicious. I must admit, It was tastier than my buffalo steak, but Bella preferred my steak to her mac and cheese, so we were just all nibbling off each other’s plates. It was about this time that friend waiter brought Grandpa another Martini. He was being nice and Grandpa drank it. He was trying to be polite. Well that may be the last time Grandpa lets his need to please others step in the way of his sobriety because he was long gone within moments. Dh helped him up and out to get some fresh air and there was a bit of embarrassment all around the table. Dessert was skipped and we all just paid up and went on home. Everyone went back to their rooms and no major harm was done. Here is a shot of my food, by the way

    Our happy (and sober) family of four heads back to the AKL for a sit around the fire. We all had a wonderful day and my planner mode was kicking back in. I couldn’t just sit still looking at a fire. I had to be doing something…something DINSEY! So, while my family enjoyed the fire, I went to the gift shop! Hey, why not check it out?

    The next day was going to be busy! We called it an early night. This is the part where you have to feel sorry for Dh. He is a night owl, but the girls and I were tired. Worn out. Pooped. And I was on a PLAN! My plan involved getting up and getting going EARLY! And that meant going to BED early. Poor Dh. He just didn’t want to go to bed before 9pm. He went down to the hot tub…by himself and had a drink…alone, the poor man. Don’t worry, we’ll get him fixed up for the next trip…now back to our plan!

    We sleep. We wake up early, and we get a move on!
    In the morning, we head down to Mara for breakfast. I go up to the counter and confess that we are going to be trouble. We need gluten free dairy free breakfast, please :cutie:
    This is the cue for Chef to come out and greet us. Now, I always feel badly about this. I KNOW they are busy back there in the kitchen and I KNOW they really don’t love to just up and drop everything to come talk to me, but you would never know it for how nice the Chefs are at Disney World and let me tell you something…Chef Eddie at Mara…he is the man! He hooked up Bean with some gluten free, dairy free waffles and he hooked me up with some dairy free eggs and fruit. Not only did he hook us up, but he came out to check on Bean, see if she liked her food, compliment her on her cool endangered animal T-Shirt and find out if she was available to date one of his sons in the future. I liked Chef Eddie. I like people who treat my family so special. I like it when my Bean doesn’t have to be the only one left out of things at social events involving food. I liked that she got some extra positive attention in the World. And I liked that everyone in my family was happy. What’s not to like? (and did I mention, I liked the vacation from my kitchen duties? Oh yeah…that was a BIG bonus!)

    Bean wasn’t sure about marrying one of his sons yet, so we just finished our meal and continued on our plan. Next stop…Animal Kingdom Park!

    Up next, why having a PLAN is better then NOT – a wasted day at AKL
  20. Avivasmom

    Avivasmom DIS Veteran

    Sep 2, 2003
    So how was grandpa feeling the next morning? What a polite man to finish every drink!!! :rotfl2:
  21. Chris

    Chris DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2005
    Nope! we rent a house in sunset lakes <4 miles from Animal Kingdom> ~ we have rented the same house for our past 3 vacations and love it!!!
    with 5 kids, we needed more room then hotels can offer!! :)

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