Family of 6, 24 hours in the car, and the race to beat the blizzard - 12/18/16 trip

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by jvz82, Dec 30, 2016.

  1. jvz82

    jvz82 Mouseketeer

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    Hello all!! This is my first DTR (not my first Disney trip though!) and I loved reading the DTRs before my own trip so I thought I would give it a try!

    First to tell you a bit about me and my family!

    I'm Vicky and I LOVE Disney. My family took trips every couple of years when I was growing up and I've had many magical Disney moments. I'm 34 now and this was my 3rd trip with my own family (our last trip was 3 years ago, and the trip before that was about almost 6 years ago).

    My husband is 39 and he basically tolerates Disney. He knows I love it and agrees to go, but has yet to really enjoy it the way that I do. His first trip was with me about 10 years ago. He is 7 feet tall and there are some rides he can't go on because of his height, not to mention he doesn't like crowds because people always ask him how tall he is (it's really annoying actually).

    I have 4 kiddos. My oldest son is 7.5. He likes Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, and hates princesses. My only daughter is going to be 6 next month (I'll just refer to her as 6 to make it easier!) and she LOVES princesses and pretty much anything Disney. My next son is turning 4 tomorrow and he adores Mickey Mouse (in fact he's having a Mickey Mouse birthday party with his brother tomorrow). I was worried about him with Disney World because he has ZERO patience (I mean it's ridiculous) and I didn't know how he would handle waiting in the lines. Then my youngest son turns 2 on January 1st. He is a busy boy!

    Our trip was scheduled to start on Friday December 16th after school and work ended. We would start our long drive from snowy Minnesota and be there Saturday night! Instead, we heard rumors on Wednesday that a huge blizzard was coming. By Thursday, it looked like it was definitely coming. We were in a storm warning from Friday at noon through Saturday at 6 pm! We were really nervous about waiting until Friday evening to leave, especially since the storm system was going to hit all the way down through Illinois. It would have been either an impossible drive, or a really long one. So we made the decision to pull the kids out of school and leave Friday early morning!

    Here are the kids at 6 am on Friday morning, all excited for the trip!
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    It took my 4YO about 45 minutes before he started asking if we were there yet. He then proceeded to ask every 10 minutes from that point on if we were there yet or not. It was wonderful. :earboy2:

    I have to say though, despite that, my kids were rock stars in the car. They got out at gas stations for bathroom breaks and got back into the car with zero complaining. We drove straight through the night so my husband and I took turns sleeping. We didn't want to eat out at all, so we had a cooler full of food and a basket full of snacks. We also wrapped DVDs and gave each kid a turn opening a present throughout the drive to make it more fun for them. This back fired a little, as my 4YO kept wanting it to be his turn! Oh well.

    We constantly checked the weather and were literally staying JUST head of the snow storm the entire time. It was the right choice to leave early!

    We made AMAZING time and arrived in Orlando at 7 am Saturday morning! It was 24 hours of travel, plus the time change.

    All along the way when my 4YO asked if we were there yet, I would say "Do you see any palm trees yet? We're not there until you see palm trees!" So when we parked the car and saw palm trees in the parking lot, we decided to take a picture in front of one. :)
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    Unfortunately, arriving earlier than planned did have some downfalls. I'll be back later to write about our first couple days in Orlando! Thanks for reading along so far!
     
  2. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

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    joining in - sounds like quite the adventure!

    While our family is only 5 we drove down this past summer from NY (though we made a trip of the trip and stopped several places on the way down and on the way back up.

    Your 4yo sounds a lot like my son (who just turned 5)

    glad you made the right decision and the kids did so well in the car!
     
  3. StarWarsMomofGirls!

    StarWarsMomofGirls! Mouseketeer

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    I can't wait to hear more! I don't think our family would survived 24 hours in one car all together! And that is both adults and kids. Def sounds like you made a good call to leave early. My girls would def make a game out of trying to beat the snow.
     
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  5. debjk4

    debjk4 Mouseketeer

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    Joining in and ready to hear more of your story! Seeing those palm trees is the best!!
     
  6. jvz82

    jvz82 Mouseketeer

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    I've thought about making a trip of the drive, but I'm always in such a hurry! Maybe when my kids are older. Thanks for reading!

    Yes, my husband and I were making a game of it for everyone! We kept watching the radar and predicting when we might hit bad weather. Kinda fun!! Thanks for reading!

    Thanks for joining in! Love seeing palm trees, especially when they are decorated with Christmas lights! ;)
     
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  7. jvz82

    jvz82 Mouseketeer

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    All right friends, time for the next part of our trip!

    When I left off, my family had just arrived in Orlando at 7 am on Saturday morning. The good news? It was sunny and BEAUTIFUL outside! The bad news? We had nowhere to go. Our original plan would have brought us to Orlando late on Saturday night, so we had booked a cheap non-Disney hotel room just for the night. Unfortunately, check-in time was at 4. We called to see about an earlier check-in time, and they said to call around noon and they would let us know if a room was ready or not.

    Sooooo.....

    4 hyper children. 2 tired parents. 6 people who were trapped in a car for the last 24 hours.
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    So we went to the Waffle House for breakfast! The kids are always hungry (this will be a common theme throughout my DTR) so feeding everyone was imperative.

    After Waffle House, we found a playground nearby and decided to let the kids run.
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    By 10:30, we were all hot and tired. Kids were getting whiney.
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    My husband decided to call the hotel, even though it was before noon, and basically said "please let us come early" lol. And THANKFULLY they agreed to an early check-in!

    We checked in to Quality Suites and got settled in. My husband was barely holding on at that point (he had trouble sleeping in the car) so we decided that he and the baby would take a nap in the hotel room while I took the big kids swimming.

    The pool area was beautiful!
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    The water was freeeeeezing though! The kids convinced me to jump in eventually and I may as well have been jumping into a Minnesota lake, lol.
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    Here's me and my 4YO though, proof that I was actually here lol.
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    We spent a couple hours down in the pool (Mom spent more time in the hot tub!!!) before my 4YO was apparently starving to death (why oh why didn't I bring snacks?!) so we headed back up to our room.

    After having snacks, the kids were bored and picking on each other. We made the decision to go to Disney Springs for the evening and maybe get some dinner there.

    We did a little shopping and explored. I haven't been to Disney Springs since it was Downtown Disney (probably 6 years ago) and it's changed a lot! We decided to get on the list for the T-Rex restaurant because it looked cool! It was a long wait, so in the meantime we headed over to the new Christmas Tree Trail. We had our first official family Disney picture:
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    Note: my 4YO with a face full of sticky sucker, lol.

    The Christmas trees were cute, and I liked that it looked like it was snowing. It probably would have been more impressive in the evening but we still enjoyed it!

    And our last stop for the evening was the T-Rex restaurant! It was a really cool place! We loved the meteor showers especially. It was a really loud restaurant, which some people may not like but I liked it because if my kids were whining or yelling about something, nobody else was bothered by them, lol. We were sitting by the Woolly Mammoths. Here's my daughter:
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    And after dinner we headed back to the hotel for an early night because we were exhausted!!!

    So if you've stayed with me this long, THANK YOU!!! I promise, it gets so much more exciting tomorrow when we finally get to check into Caribbean Beach Resort!!!
     
  8. StarWarsMomofGirls!

    StarWarsMomofGirls! Mouseketeer

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    I personally love photos with things like that! We are all real families and real things happen. And a sticky sucker face is a happy disney face! Love it!
     
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  9. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

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    Seems like you made out ok all things considered and had a decent day

    We've never eaten at T- Rex as my kids found it too loud and got scared by the animatronic T-Rex in the front but it looks fun
     
  10. disneyAndi14

    disneyAndi14 DIS Veteran

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    I'm in, we are from Duluth, Mn. So I know what you mean about winter storms, glad you stayed ahead of the weather! We will be heading to WDW in February I always worry about the weather here, we will fly out of Duluth so fingers crossed the weather cooperates.

    It looks like a fun first day, glad you were able to check in early. T-Rex is a great place for kids for sure.
     
  11. jvz82

    jvz82 Mouseketeer

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    <3 Absolutely! That sucker made him so happy.

    I can totally see where some kids might be scared. I would say my younger two were unsure but not scared. The food was really tasty!

    I hope the weather cooperates for you!! We love Duluth. You're a few extra hours from Disney compared to us, we're an hour south of the cities.
     
  12. jvz82

    jvz82 Mouseketeer

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    Hello Disney friends! For the record, yes I am writing this at 9 pm on New Years Eve. My youngest 2 children were barely functioning, so they're in bed and the rest of us are watching Netflix New Years countdowns. If I make it past 10:30 I'll be thrilled. Ahhh the life of a parent!

    Anyway!

    Sunday morning, I had high hopes that my 2 year old would sleep in. But no.
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    I had really been wishing that we had checked into our Disney resort a day earlier since we got to Orlando so much earlier than anticipated, but my husband didn't want to spend the extra money AND we had paid in advance for the Quality Suites room so we'd lose out on that money too. So, it is what it is and it all worked out fine but would have been a ton easier without the change in hotels! We had to check out of Quality suites and hopefully we would get a text that our room at Caribbean Beach Resort was ready sooner rather than later!

    Our plan all along had been to spend the morning at Disney Springs, and then have a pool day at CBR and enjoy the resort! Even though we had just been to Disney Springs, there were things we wanted to do there that we hadn't done the night before, plus we wanted to do a bit of shopping.


    The first thing we did was let the kids run free in the splash pad! They were completely drenched. They must have spent an hour running around in here! Some people were looking at us like we were crazy (maybe because it's December?!) but eventually some other kids joined in too!
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    We had brought along some meat & cheese & crackers for lunch so we had an early lunch on the benches by the splash pad too.

    For dessert, we told each kid that they could pick out a treat. 3 of the kids picked cotton candy!
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    But I was dying to try a Mickey Brownie from the bakery!! My 4YO decided he wanted one too!
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    We hit the World of Disney store, where my husband and 4YO both decided they needed hats for Disney this year. They both wore their hats the entire trip and I looooooved them!
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    My daughter also picked out a Lady stuffed animal.
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    At this point, it was just after noon. We hadn't heard that our room was ready, but we were definitely ready to be done. We had to stop at a drug store anyway, so we figured we would just head out and hopefully the room would be ready by the time we got there!

    On the way to the store, the baby fell asleep almost right away. My husband ran into the store and got what he needed and literally as we were on our way to the resort, I got a text that our room was ready at CBR! And great news -- we got our first choice room request!
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    We had requested Jamaica and got it, and even got the building number I had requested. We got super lucky!

    Since it only lets me upload 10 images per post, I will start a new post to talk about our resort! Thanks for reading!!!
     
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  13. siestakeys04

    siestakeys04 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for posting you have a lovely family. I realized you guys were literally in the car 24 hours :worship: your kids were great!!!
     
  14. buteraa

    buteraa Mouseketeer

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    Great trip report so far!
     
  15. Holly324

    Holly324 Mouseketeer

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    Joining in! Loving your report so far! We are staying at CBR in June, so I can't wait to hear about your experience. We are deciding what room requests to put in right now. Looking forward to hearing more about your trip!
     
  16. disneyAndi14

    disneyAndi14 DIS Veteran

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    We stayed at CBR last April and really enjoyed. Excited to hear what you all thought of it.
     
  17. Momto2minniemice

    Momto2minniemice Mouseketeer

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    Love reading trip reports!!
     
  18. tinkerbell1991

    tinkerbell1991 Mouseketeer

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  19. jvz82

    jvz82 Mouseketeer

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    Yes, literally 24 hours straight!! :crazy2: It's not as bad as you'd think though!

    Thanks so much!

    Thanks! We requested Jamaica 45. Our second choice was somewhere in Martinique. We really enjoyed Jamaica. The main pool and Old Port Royale was right across the bridge so a very reasonable walk, plus the playground was between our room and the pool so the kids liked that too. Also we were the first stop for the bus in the morning, and the first stop to be dropped off at night!

    Loved it!!! My only experience so far at Disney has been the value resorts so CBR felt like paradise to us.

    Thanks for joining in!

    Thanks for following!!
     
  20. jvz82

    jvz82 Mouseketeer

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    Happy 2017 everyone! I am really enjoying reliving our Disney experience through this DTR. :)

    When I left off, we were on our way to CBR and had just gotten our exciting text that our room was ready!

    This was our first time staying at CBR (or any moderate resort) so I had no idea what to expect. As I mentioned before, we were going to stay in Jamaica 45. I was thrilled at how pretty the buildings at Jamaica were!
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    Looks like a tropical paradise, right?? :)

    As I was loading in bags from the car, I caught a glimpse of these two rascals watching me from our room, lol.
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    Here are my kids, who were basically jumping out of their skins with excitement to finally be in our room!!
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    Their favorite part was the murphy bed. There were already some heated discussions about how they kids were going to take turns on the bed during our stay.
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    Look at lounging Mickey in the back of the bed! I love the small touches like that in Disney resorts.

    By the time we had loaded our suitcases into the hotel room and got somewhat organized, the kids were already wearing swim suits and begging us to go to the pool. We headed across the bridge and admired the resort more.
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    I have to say, I was SO EXCITED for the pool at our resort! Probably more excited than the kids. CBR has the pirate themed swimming area for younger kids and the Spanish fortress themed pool. The pictures made it look so AWESOME!

    It did not disappoint.
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    It was zero entry so it was perfect for my toddler, but with all the water slides and "hidden passageways" to get to the slides, it was perfect for older kids too. I barely saw my 7 year old, and every time I saw him he was grinning ear to ear.

    We decided to check out the pirate play area for younger kids. My daughter really wanted to go with us. It's supposed to be for kids under 48" and I know she is over that. :/ As I mentioned earlier, my husband is 7 feet tall and my daughter towers over almost all kids her age. She is 5 but looks like an 8 year old. I told her she might not be able to stay because she is too tall. At one point, the cast member who was monitoring this pool area called her over to get measured. My poor daughter. :( She wanted to stay soooo bad! She was slinking down to try to appear shorter, but it was obvious she was too tall. But we got lucky, and the cast member was so nice. She had been talking to my husband about how tall he is, and so she understood that my daughter is very tall for her age and she agreed to let her stay. My daughter's face just lit up! Talk about Disney magic. :)

    Here she is, taking my 2 year old by the hand up into the pirate ship.
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    This lasted all of 30 seconds until he got to the top and walked under the water streams. He started crying and came back down to Mom!

    But he started having fun after that. :)
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    It really was a unique and fun water play area. The kids had a blast and it was nice that it was gated in so I didn't have to worry about kids wandering off. That made it much more relaxed for me as the parent.

    After playing at the pirate ship area for a while, we headed back to the big pool. My 7YO was still having a blast. He was super brave with all the water slides! We stayed all afternoon. I don't think the smiles left my kids' faces the entire time! The weather was beautiful.

    Before it was time to go, we hit the hot tub. There were actually 2, and one of them was really busy but the other one was a little more hidden away (I had found it by accident while exploring with my 4YO earlier) and totally empty!
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    The sun was starting to set at this point, so it was nice to sit in the hot bubbly water. :)

    After we were done swimming, we decided to head over to Old Port Royale to pick up our Disney mugs and fill them up!

    The kids were sitting by the fountain outside of Old Port Royale and I took one of my favorite pictures of them.
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    On our way back to our room, the kids talked us into letting them play at the playground and how could I say no to those faces?! My husband had to go pick up our stroller though that was being delivered to the main building, so he left to get it and I stayed with the kiddos. Unfortunately, we couldn't play long because the sun went down and a cast member stopped by to tell us she was closing the park. The kids weren't upset though, and we headed for home!

    Back at our room, we got the kids ready for bed and everyone snuggled in bed in their jammies while watching Mickey Mouse episodes on one of the Disney channels in the hotel room. They had these weird Mickey episodes I've never seen before (my son kept saying they were "classic Mickey" but they definitely weren't) but all the kids loved them.

    My husband returned with the most massive stroller I've ever seen, lol. It was a Bob double stroller, which I chose because it was the tallest and I thought it'd be easiest for my husband to push. But holy cow, it was huuuuuge!

    So that was basically the end to our day! I have to say, it was a wonderful day. It was relaxed and everyone was happy, the weather was perfect, and WE WERE FINALLY AT DISNEY WORLD!!!

    Join me tomorrow when we spend a day at EPCOT! :D :D :D
     
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  21. Holly324

    Holly324 Mouseketeer

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    Me too! My two don't even know that they are staying at CBR. We are starting off property, so they think that is where they are staying the whole time. I can't wait for that pool! I just know they will love it!

    I will keep this in mind!

    Can't wait to hear about it! :)
     

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