Fleeing From a Winter Wonderland - A First-Timer's Disney Christmas-Completed 12/9/09

GreatBiscuit

Golden but never flaky
Joined
Aug 20, 1999
Yeah, I'm still here, and yeah, I'm going to finish this thing...
Woohoo!

Then again, apparently I can eat 75 kilograms of fat per day and still be within the recommended daily allowance, so it's all OK, right?
Absolutely! It’s all part of the Disney magic.

I wouldn't say that I was feeling sick at all (a bit too full maybe,) but I was getting the sneaking suspicion that the Rock 'n Roller Coaster was probably not the best place to be taking $25 worth of lunch at that particular point in time.
I know that feeling. Good call!

Not only was this my last day at Disney World, but I also found myself facing an early morning flight out that would have me leaving the hotel at 4:45AM.
Yikes! That’s early my friend.

I didn't quite head straight out of the park though. As I was leaving, I noted that someone from Disney Research was looking for people who had eaten in the park's restaurants that day to take a survey. Not being in that much of a hurry, I volunteered, and was led to a small room (more of a courtyard really) off to the side near the park entrance where several computers were set up. The survey was... Well, a survey. Having made my opinion count (or something like that) I continued to the park exit, and found the stop for the hotel bus.
We salute you for doing your Dis worthy duty!

Not exactly the most fun thing to return home to, especially after four days at Disney World.
I would think not.

Apparently hard enough that I managed to get lost on the way to the monorail and end up on the seventh floor.
Uh-Oh

Oh well, photo op, I guess.
Nice recovery!

Can’t wait to hear what the remaining surprised are!
 

brookelizabeth

<font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang<br><font colo
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
The nutritional facts on those cookies are hilarious! I love those little details.

Too bad you weren't feeling it for RnRC, but as you said-a good thing to save for your next trip!

Looking forward to the "surprises" you mention...
 

All7OfUs

<font color=darkorchid>We too are so very NOT into
Joined
Dec 12, 2007
That nutritional info. thing was out-of-control-fuh-nee!

Thanks for the chuckles today!

Bummer, you forgot your bag! Hate when that happens.

I remember those ice storms from last year! I can totally understand your not wanting to re-immerse yourself into real life again!
 
  • Vexorg

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 8, 2006
    Just a quick post to note that I'm still around (I rebuilt my computer for Windows 7, and never got around to logging back into the boards afterward.) I have actually put together most of the final part of this trip report, so it should be posted here in the next day or two.
     

    brookelizabeth

    <font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang<br><font colo
    Joined
    Jul 20, 2006
    Just a quick post to note that I'm still around (I rebuilt my computer for Windows 7, and never got around to logging back into the boards afterward.) I have actually put together most of the final part of this trip report, so it should be posted here in the next day or two.

    :yay: Welcome back! I look forward to your update!

    How is Windows 7 treating you? DH has it on his work lappy, he seems to like it pretty well, had some major issues with getting VMWare (his job) to work properly, but once he got past that, it's been good and stable. I'm glad to see a new stable OS out, I'm still on XP-won't probably move to 7 until I get a new machine though.

    I know you work(ed? you still there?) for Microsoft, but I'll say it anyway........Vista...ugh!!!!!!! :headache: :laughing:
     

    Vexorg

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 8, 2006
    :yay: Welcome back! I look forward to your update!

    How is Windows 7 treating you? DH has it on his work lappy, he seems to like it pretty well, had some major issues with getting VMWare (his job) to work properly, but once he got past that, it's been good and stable. I'm glad to see a new stable OS out, I'm still on XP-won't probably move to 7 until I get a new machine though.

    I know you work(ed? you still there?) for Microsoft, but I'll say it anyway........Vista...ugh!!!!!!! :headache: :laughing:
    I'm inclined to agree. I'll say that Win7 hasn't made too much difference on my desktop system at home (apparently even Vista runs pretty decent if you throw a Core 2 quad, 8 GB of RAM and a fast enough system drive at it) but the difference between running Vista and Win7 on the 10 VMs we use for our automated testing here was ridiculous. I'd actually say that on an older system running XP you might actually be OK just sticking with what you have and saving the upgrade for the new machine. As much of an improvement as Win7 is over Vista, there are a few quirks of the new user interface I haven't quite gotten used to, and you might need to tweak a bit to get things the way you want them,

    Anyway, thanks for checking in, and enjoy your upcoming trip. As I said, I should be posting the final installment of this Trip Report in a day or two.
     

    Vexorg

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 8, 2006
    Yeah, I know that I slacked off on this one again, but I suppose I REALLY should finish it off at some point, because I'm pretty sure that if it was to end up taking a full year to finish this thing I'd probably earn myself some sort of award from the Procastinator's Society (which they, of course, could never be bothered to actually send out.) With some of the really cold weather that I tried to dodge a year ago making another appearance (albeit a rather dry one) around here over the past few days, it seems timely. Therefore, it's time to (finally) bring this trip report to a seriously belated close. Since I didn't take a whole lot of pictures at this point, this update will be a bit light on photos.


    Part 17: And Now It's Time to Say Goodbye...



    When I last left off on this thing a couple of eons ago, I had managed to take a left turn at Albuquerque and get myself lost in the Contemporary... For a couple of minutes, anyway. Eventually I found my way back the monorail platform (where I should have been going if I had been bothering to pay any attention in the first place) and return to the TTC to transfer over to the Epcot monorail. With roughly an hour and a half before Illuminations, I briefly considered getting a couple of final rides in, but the combination of lines and my relative lack of energy at that point led me to quickly reconsider. Instead, I headed for the MouseGear shop (voted best place to get yourself hopelessly lost at Epcot for four years running!)




    Taking advantage of the 40% off T-shirt deal that had been going on throughout the parks, I selected a few shirts and a couple of selected items of miscellaneous kitch (I noted that the refrigerator magnet selection was a tad disappointing, which is a bit of a bummer because my fridge has turned into something of a mini-travelogue,) and departed. With some time to kill at this point, I slowly made my way out to the back of the park.



    I stopped along the way to sample some of the hats on offer at one of the carts. I think I'm putting this one on my Christmas cards this year.



    I continued on for one one last trip around the World Showcase, heading toward the Canada/UK side and... Oh look, a bunny! Wait, where was I? Oh yeah... Somewhere around this time, I called my parents back at home to discuss the weather situation (which wasn't looking all that fun) and if I should consider possibly trying to delay my return in hope of more favorable weather conditions (this, as it turned out, would have been a VERY bad idea.) I was advised that it was probably best to just stick to the original plan, which is what I intended to do, but the 4AM wakeup the next morning to catch a 7:30 flight out wasn't looking like too much fun.



    Slowly I made my away around the World Showcase, pausing to note which cultural accomplishments each of the national pavilions chose to highlight. The UK pavilion seemed to contain a surprisingly large quantity of Beatles merchandise, with a little bit of Rolling Stones tossed in for good measure...



    And there was a fair bit of Ferrari stuff in Italy (with the usual ridiculous pricetags that come with anything that has a Ferrari logo on it. In other words, the stuff seemed right at home in a Disney gift shop.)



    The Mitsukoshi store in the Japanese pavilion is actually one of the more interesting stores I found in the World Showcase, and lends credence to the theory that if you look hard enough, you could find someone selling merchandise for just about anything somewhere in Disney World (except for Pepsi, or course. And the loss of the Virgin Megastore probably puts a bit of a dent in this theory too, but that's beside the point.)



    Finally, over in the US pavilion, it seemed that America's major contribution to world culture consists primarily of stealing David Beckham from the Brits.



    As the time for Illuminations approached, I remembered that I had yet to eat dinner, and time was running short. Without a whole lot of options on offer, I decided to grab one of the turkey legs from the stand near the American pavilion. Waiting in the line took most of the remaining time before the show, and with just moments to spare I acquired my somewhat improvised dinner, and went to stake out a spot. I ended up somewhere between Italy and Germany as the show started, and quickly came to the realization that the idea of a turkey leg for dinner wasn't quite as enjoyable in practice as it was in theory. I gnawed at the thing for a while, but ended up less than impressed.



    The Illuminations show, on the other hand, was rather impressive, although I wasn't really paying all that much attention...



    ...Because out in the distance, the Magic Kingdom's MVMCP fireworks were visible from here, providing the rare treat of being able to catch both fireworks shows at once. This provided a nice little finale to a whirlwind trip, but as a finale it came with the lingering bit of regret that comes with not having more time (something I'll definitely address next time I go.)




    When the special Holiday ending of Illuminations arrived, I think I managed to get something in my eye somewhere around that point. Both of them, in fact.



    As Illuminations drew to a (for real this time) close, it was time to leave. Joining the crowds on the way out, I made the notoriously long hike back to the DTD hotel bus stop, and by the time I got to the bus, it was standing room only. Given the choice I seriously doubt I would have been doing much standing at that point, but with a packed bus there wasn't much of a choice. Somehow I survived (fortunately the Hilton is the first stop) and made my way back to the room, where it was time to settle in for the evening, pack up for the early departure in the morning, and make an attempt to get what little sleep I could manage (As I may have mentioned here oh, about 11 months ago, I just can't sleep on an airplane for anything.)

    As it always does when you really don't want it to, 4am arrived in short order. With the airport shuttle scheduled to arrive at 4:45 for its pickup, there wasn't much time to lose. I managed to drag myself out of bed, get dressed, get the last few items packed up and ready to haul out. Before I packed up my notebook computer, I decided to make one last quick check on the flight. When I did, this is what I found:



    Yes, you're reading that right. My flight out had been delayed by over five hours. And if I could help it, there was no way in heck that I was going to be spending those five hours at the Orlando airport. Fortunately, thanks to the various fiascos that had occurred on the trip down, I had American Airlines rebooking number in my phone's memory. A brief call later, and I was able to get myself rebooked onto not only a later Dallas to Seattle flight, but also to a 4:30pm flight out of Orlando, which would work out better with the new connecting flight. Apparently I managed to get the last seat on the flight, which is a good thing because when I finally did arrive at DFW, I saw that the standby list for this particular flight was 30 passengers long. So with that, I no longer needed to be at the airport until (much) later, but there was still a shuttle coming at 4:45. I made a call to Mears to reschedule the shuttle, and although it took a bit of confusion (and eventually the shuttle showed up anyway so I had to let the driver know I had rescheduled,) I got that rescheduled for 2pm. Travel arrangements rescheduled and potential disaster(s) narrowly averted, I promptly reset the alarm on my phone to wake me up at a slightly more sane hour of the day, and went right back to sleep.

    When that slightly more sane hour arrived, I had some unexpected time to kill, but I had used up my park ticket. Now that I think of it I probably could have added on an extra day and got a few more rides in over at the MK, but instead I opted to take it easy at Downtown Disney for a while. Before I could do that, there was the minor matter of packing up and checking out of the hotel. I did this, left my luggage at the hotel's bellstand, and headed over to Downtown Disney with a few hours to kill. With all my luggage already packed, there was little shopping to do, and I ended up not taking a whole lot of photos. A quick McDonald's breakfast (which, in retrospect, was probably a violation of my personal "try not to eat anything you can get at home while traveling" rule,) I don't have any pictures of this, because DTD has pretty well been done to death much earlier in the trip report.



    A few hours of semi-aimless wandering later, it was time to try this whole going home thing again. When the shuttle arrived at 2, the ride to the airport was uneventful, and thanks to the flight delays I had encountered, it appears that American had waived the baggage fee for my checked bag and given me priority boarding. I was able to make it through security and to the gate with about an hour and a half to spare. With the terminal in Orlando under construction, there wasn't a whole lot to see, but I was able to (sort of) find a power outlet and Wi-fi to kill some time before boarding. Incidentally, the wallpaper photo on my laptom came from the Caribbean cruise I went on with my family back in April of 2005, which is right around the time I bought that notebook. To be honest, the whole "swimming with the dolphins" bit was a tad oveerated, but it makes for a nice photo.



    The flight from Orlando to Dallas was relatively uneventful, although I did manage to get this picture of what I would assume to be Lake Ponchartrain (but I could be wrong on that.) When I arrived in Dallas, it turned out that there was also a minor delay on the connecting flight, although I ended up without time to do much more than grab some thoroughly mediocre airport Chinese food and quietly dread the weather I was about head back into. Once the flight was boarded and got off the ground, it was also relatively uneventful (although I will say I'm not a big fan of these 4-hour flights, especially on MD-80s.) I made it back into Seattle sometime around 9:30 or so local time, and was able to claim my checked bag in short order, although I did have to wait about a half hour or so for my ride home to arrive. The drive back to my place from the airport was made on roads only slightly less icy than the ones I made the initial trip to the airport on.



    The next morning after I got home, this is what I found waiting for me. The snow would remain on the ground (and making roads nearly impassable) for the better part of two weeks after this, and I think by the time all was said and done, the total I got at my apartment was somewhere around 18 inches, and it took until halfway through February for the snow to go away completely (which is unusual, since snow rarely lasts for much longer than a couple of days around here. For a place that gets all of six inches of snow in an average year, this was a lot. My car, which I had left at my parents house when I left on the trip, had to be towed out of their street on a hill, and the hill ultimately remained impassable to all but their 4WD truck for the next week and a half after this before the neighborhood got together and carved a path through the ice up the street a week later. The planned extended family Christmas Eve get together at my parents house ended up having to be cancelled due to the impassable road, and generally the whole thing turned out to be a nice little mess. Fortunately, thanks to a bit of serendipity (and just a little bit of pixie dust,) I managed to avoid at least part of it, and to visit Disney World for the first time.

    ----

    And with this, my trip report FINALLY comes to a close, nearly a year after I started it. I suppose if I hadn't been quite so lazy I could have gotten this done a LOT sooner (by, oh, around ten monthsor so.) As I believe I've mentioned previously here, if I was going to go again, I would make sure to go for at least seven days. I think Seattle is about as far away from Orlando as you can get in the continental US (at least in terms of major airports,) and on a good day, it takes the better part of eight hours to get from one to the other. With all that travel time, four days is an awfully short time to spend on the trip before you have to head back (although I did manage to sneak in a bit of unplanned overtime as well, so we'll call this one 4 1/2 days.) Given the opportunity, I'd head back as soon as I could, but at this point, I have no idea when I'm going to be able to get back to Disney World. I seem to have this pesky little problem where I either have the time and no money, or money and no time, and last year's trip was one of the rare instances where I managed to have both available at the same time. If I can help it, I'd also kind of like the next one to not be a solo trip, but that problem falls a little outside the scope of this site. I suspect that my next Disney trip (whenever that happens to be) will be returning to Disneyland, as it's a lot easier to work out the logistics for that. It's only about a 2 1/2 hour flight away from here, and is a lot easier to do over the course of a long weekend. I still don't know when this is going to happen though...

    I should also note that even though I debated trying to stay a bit longer, in the end it was a good thing that I left when I did, because just a couple of days after I got home, Sea-Tac Airport ran completely out of deicer, resulting in basically every flight in and out of the place being cancelled for three straight days. This left a lot of people stranded and sleeping on the terminal floor, so it would definitely not have been a good situation to have ended up in.

    Anyway, I thank those of you who have followed along on this trip report (all five of you) and hope to be able to write another soon, although I have no idea when that will be. Once again, if you like what you've read here, you can find more of my writing at my Blog, located at http://thesledgehammer.wordpress.com. I try to update that a little bit more often than I update this, so you might even find something to read.
     
  • All7OfUs

    <font color=darkorchid>We too are so very NOT into
    Joined
    Dec 12, 2007
    Hey Vexorg!

    Glad you could get your Trippie wrapped up- a nice little present for those of us waiting :)

    I remember very well that ice/snow storm in the northwest. My in-laws talked about it for weeks! Glad you made it back w/o too much of a hassle, and hey bonus hours at Disney is always a GREAT thing!

    Well, being one of your faithful 5, I'd humbly like to invite you over to my pre-trippie. You'll find some familiar company there, ie. Great Biscuit, and we have such a great time yacking it up.

    http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2166702

    Join us over there!!

    Good finish!!

    Liesa
     

    GreatBiscuit

    Golden but never flaky
    Joined
    Aug 20, 1999
    Awesome wrapup! I hear you on the turkey legs. I liked turkey and all, but they are bit much. I'm glad you were able to spend the better part of your flight delay at Disney rather than at MCO. (We were not that lucky unfortunately.)

    It's been a fun ride. Hope you find your way back to The World sometime soon!
     

    brookelizabeth

    <font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang<br><font colo
    Joined
    Jul 20, 2006
    I'm inclined to agree. I'll say that Win7 hasn't made too much difference on my desktop system at home (apparently even Vista runs pretty decent if you throw a Core 2 quad, 8 GB of RAM and a fast enough system drive at it) but the difference between running Vista and Win7 on the 10 VMs we use for our automated testing here was ridiculous. I'd actually say that on an older system running XP you might actually be OK just sticking with what you have and saving the upgrade for the new machine. As much of an improvement as Win7 is over Vista, there are a few quirks of the new user interface I haven't quite gotten used to, and you might need to tweak a bit to get things the way you want them,
    My DH is a VM Administrator - he has said some positive things about Windows 7 after he was able to get it working and solid. He also appreicates the new OS features that allow him to invert the screen and zoom, this is VERY helpful with his eye condition. :thumbsup2




    I stopped along the way to sample some of the hats on offer at one of the carts. I think I'm putting this one on my Christmas cards this year.
    :lmao: That would be a great Christmas card!!!




    The Illuminations show, on the other hand, was rather impressive, although I wasn't really paying all that much attention...

    ...Because out in the distance, the Magic Kingdom's MVMCP fireworks were visible from here, providing the rare treat of being able to catch both fireworks shows at once. This provided a nice little finale to a whirlwind trip, but as a finale it came with the lingering bit of regret that comes with not having more time (something I'll definitely address next time I go.)

    When the special Holiday ending of Illuminations arrived, I think I managed to get something in my eye somewhere around that point. Both of them, in fact.
    Beautiful Illuminations pictures - and score on getting to see MVMCP and Illuminations at the same time! :woohoo: I experience the same bizarre sensation at Illuminations and Wishes - something always gets in my eyes! :confused3 ;)



    I promptly reset the alarm on my phone to wake me up at a slightly more sane hour of the day, and went right back to sleep.
    Wow, 5 hours!! Score on being able to reschedule everything and enjoy some more SLEEP and Disney!!!

    I should also note that even though I debated trying to stay a bit longer, in the end it was a good thing that I left when I did, because just a couple of days after I got home, Sea-Tac Airport ran completely out of deicer, resulting in basically every flight in and out of the place being cancelled for three straight days. This left a lot of people stranded and sleeping on the terminal floor, so it would definitely not have been a good situation to have ended up in.
    Oh, that would have been awful! Ugh! Very good thing you did not end up in that situation...

    Great report, thank you for sharing it with us!!! I enjoyed it all! I am subscribed to your blog but terribly behind on ALL my blog subscriptions, I'll catch up at some point. :goodvibes
     



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