Joy to the World: an offsite Christmas extravaganza at Disney, Universal & SeaWorld – Dec. 2016 TR

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. greenclan67

    greenclan67 Callie35

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    Checking in.......waiting too read more. Booked for Xmas 2017.
     
  2. tortilla24

    tortilla24 Mouseketeer

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    WOO new report!
     
  3. dancin Disney style

    dancin Disney style <font color=blue>I found one to share with some fa

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  5. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    That's awesome!! (on both counts! :cheer2:)

    Only 35 weeks, or 248 sleeps to go! (probably less until you actually leave, though......it will come faster than we all think! :santa: )

    :welcome: back! Happy to have you reading and posting with us again!!

    Well, its about time someone showed up :rolleyes1. We're on page two, after all :rolleyes2.
     
  6. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Friday, December 16th :santa:

    Up until the week of our departure, the plan had been clear: Steve would drive home from Michigan on Thursday night, we would leave for Buffalo on Friday afternoon [staying overnight in a park-and-fly hotel] and take off for Orlando at noon on Saturday. The Days Hotel was booked, I was taking care of all the packing and other pre-vacation preparations, and Steve’s employer was supportive of the vacation that was booked long before his transfer (even though we both knew it was putting them a bit under the gun at an already hectic time of year). Despite the chaos of our lives at the time, we felt we had things firmly under control.


    And then, Mother Nature decided to mock us :headache:.


    I cringed inside when I first heard the possibility that a major winter storm could impact the weekend we were scheduled to fly out, and began following the weather like a woman possessed. By the Wednesday of that week, Jetblue had issued a travel advisory (encouraging those with booked flights to reschedule without a fee) and the low pressure system was upgraded to Winter Storm Decima. Steve and I talked endlessly about what the best course of action would be: stay with our Saturday flight, and hope for the best? :confused: Or, rebook for Friday instead, hoping that we could take off before the worst of the storm unleashed? :confused: The Friday wasn’t ideal, as there was no way we could make the trip to Buffalo on Thursday……..Steve wouldn’t get home until nearly midnight as it was, and there was no way he could drive another 4 hours immediately after a 7 hour commute….which meant we’d have to be up in the wee hours of Friday to make the drive to New York State. Then again, the Saturday wasn’t sounding ideal either, considering the current path and speed that Decima was travelling.


    We debated it at length, and ended up rolling the dice on a Friday departure. I contacted Jetblue and switched our flights, called the Days Hotel and cancelled our night’s stay (adjusting our park-and-fly package to the reverse plan, with the parking on the front and the hotel stay on our arrival back in Buffalo), and readied our neighbor for an extra day of kitten care. Then we crossed our fingers and hoped we did the right thing.


    We ended up leaving our house by 4:30 in the morning on Friday to ensure we had enough time to deal with Toronto traffic, any potential delays at the border, and any potential weather issues that might develop on the 4-hour journey. We also had to allow for time to drop our vehicle off at in the Days long-term parking lot and be shuttled to the terminal. Poor Steve, after being home from Michigan for less than 5 hours before the alarm went off, was bleary eyed as we shuffled out into the cold that morning. Temperatures had dipped to -18 Celsius that night, so it was absolutely bitter as we loaded our luggage into our vehicle. Our first stop along the route was Tim Hortons for some much-needed caffeine.

    [​IMG]

    We drove in and out of snow squalls for the first half of the commute, but thankfully they stopped by the time we hit Toronto and it was relatively smooth sailing as far as the drive was concerned. We crossed the border with no delays and we arrived at the Days Hotel in great time. The front desk was great about helping us get our vehicle settled into the long-term parking lot and beckoning the shuttle to the airport. We both heaved a HUGE sigh of relief as we handed off our checked bags to the Jetblue counter, made our way through a virtually non-existent security line [encountering a small delay when one of our carry-ons was pulled aside for secondary inspection, thanks to the grenade-like appearance of the butter tarts we were bringing to @dsmom … the TSA agent, however, was super nice and simply joked “you brought these to share with the wonderful TSA agents, right?” :laughing:], and noted with a little smug satisfaction that we appeared to beat Mother Nature at her own game :cool1:. The ground was bare, we were safely in Buffalo, and we would be flying to Orlando in just a few hours.

    The Christmas tree at the Buffalo airport:


    [​IMG]

    Breakfast hadn’t been much of a priority in the chaos of the morning……our coffee and snacks from Timmies had long since worn off…..and it would be a few more hours before we’d be eating a decent meal on Florida soil, so we decided to enjoy a relaxing breakfast at the airport since we had ample time before boarding.

    [​IMG]

    Buffalo is a small airport so dining options are minimal. We decided on the Anchor Bar since we could sit in and eat rather than have to carry our food back in bags to the seating area at the gate. We both just ordered their basic breakfast plates…..eggs, toast, and bacon for Steve, scrambled eggs and biscuits for me……and glasses of milk. It was crazy packed in there – it must be “the” place to eat in the morning at the airport – but the service was still prompt and friendly and the food was fine.

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, I took no pictures of our meal that morning…….a trend that repeated itself quite often this trip. I’m not sure why :confused3. I guess my focus was just elsewhere on this vacation.


    Heading out of the restaurant and turning in the direction of our gate, we noticed that it had started to snow….and heavily, at that….since we had went into the Anchor Bar for breakfast. Big, fat flakes were swirling thickly in the air and the ground was already covered enough that you could no longer see the pavement :eek:. It was a good thing that we’d be boarding within the hour. We said to each other……”We’ll be getting out of here just in time”.


    Be careful what you say out loud. I’m not much on the concept of “jinxing”, but…..

    [​IMG]

    The snowstorm just exploded in that hour, and it didn’t let up even a little bit. The snow was falling at an alarming rate, and the chatter among the other passengers grew concerning. Everyone started to wonder if we’d get off the ground as scheduled. Can an airplane even take off in that heavy of snow? :confused3

    [​IMG]

    Surprisingly, we were boarded on time much to the relief of the 100 people who were dying to escape Decima’s grasp. The inflight crew swiftly had everyone in their seats, all carryon bags safely stowed, and the plane began to slowly back away from the gate. Then……..we stopped :(.

    [​IMG]

    The captain’s voice came over the speakers. “Sorry folks. I know you’re all eager to get down to sunny Florida, but it’s snowing much too heavily for us to safely take off. It’s accumulating on the aircraft faster than it can be cleared away. We’re going to give it 15 to 30 minutes, and hopefully the storm will let up enough for us to taxi onto the runway”.


    The whole plane groaned :mad:.


    30 minutes go by, and the captain comes on again. No change. He apologizes again, and tells us all that we will soon be required to deplane if the storm does not let up. Steve and I looked at each other, and just shrugged. What could we do? We had tried. My window supported the captain’s update: by this time, we couldn’t even see out to gauge what was currently happening outside.

    [​IMG]

    45 minutes. 60 minutes. 75 minutes tick by and……a joyful captain’s voice on the speaker system announces that the snow was subsiding just enough that we had been cleared to proceed for de-icing :woohoo:. We waited in a line behind 5 other planes, but were finally getting in the air a full 2 hours behind schedule.


    A small cheer rang out from the passengers as we navigated slowly onto the runway. I was super nervous that the snowfall would make us slide off as we attempted to ascend, but the pilot was skillful and we effortlessly gained altitude.


    We were on our way at last :worship:.


    Next up: So, we’re here a day early. What now?
     
    NH-to-FL, smga1, ariane37 and 3 others like this.
  7. afan

    afan DIS Veteran

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    I brought my quote from the last report :) This was me in 9th grade too. My science class required us to summarize articles, I seem to recall doing several using the Mariners Magazine game program. My downfall was my summary would be 1/3 to 1/2 the length of the article, not much of a summary :)

    Because there are too many cats in the report already :) Here's an old picture of Dude snuggled up not wanting to get up. He's not a morning dog, I can't imagine who he got that from :rolleyes1
     

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  8. jennasmommyinMS

    jennasmommyinMS Mouseketeer

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    Yay, another trip report!
     
  9. pigletto

    pigletto DIS Veteran

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    On board for another trip report:goodvibes
    I hope to do much better at keeping up with this one !
    I'm glad to see you eventually got off the ground in Buffalo. It's always wise to try to get out ahead of the storm in my opinion. You can be delayed for days and days if you wait too long . We've left a day early ourselves before a winter storm.
     
  10. pepperandchips

    pepperandchips [melinda]

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    Saving my spot popcorn::
     
  11. nancy155

    nancy155 DIS Veteran

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    Looking forward to this report as well! However I leave early Saturday a.m., crack of dawn early for the most amazing place in the U.S.! Yes on my way to Disney. So I will catch up on the report when I return. Love your trip reports!!!
     
  12. Raeven

    Raeven Happiest Haunt

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    Our trips we're so close this time we narrowly missed each other in December. We left around when you got there!

    Isn't that how it always happens? :rotfl:

    We had a great interaction with the Grinch! We didn't end up doing the breakfast but I can't wait to hear about it.

    :cheer2: we love it there. Can't wait to hear how you liked it!

    Ooo sounds fun!

    Oh no! In our area we didn't get a lot of snow until those weird late Feb/early March storms. But this was my worry when leaving in December.

    :scared1: oh no!

    :cheer2:
     
  13. tortilla24

    tortilla24 Mouseketeer

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    Wow sounds like a doozy. Deicing the plane always makes me a bit nervous and I would've had the same fears about take off amidst the snow. But hooray for an extra day of vacay!
     
  14. scottishgirl1

    scottishgirl1 Mouseketeer

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    Yay! another trip report! Your departure was just so stressful!
     
  15. pattyw

    pattyw WDW- We luv u!!

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    Gotta love living in Buffalo! Love my home, but the weather is intersting!! Even in March- what a big storm we got then- @dancin Disney style remembers only too well!!
     
  16. vrajewski10513

    vrajewski10513 DIS Veteran

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    Is it bad that I live in Buffalo and don't recall this storm :rolleyes1
    It's always a toss up flying in the winter when you live in the Northeast. I feel anything from November-March is a gamble lol
    I'm glad you guys we're able to get out on a Friday, albeit delayed a few hours. Hopefully poor Steve was able to snooze on the plane for a few hours!
     
  17. pattyw

    pattyw WDW- We luv u!!

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    Not at all- they all blend together for me after a while! You only remember the really big ones and for us, there's not many of those because we still have to go to work, etc. for most of the storms!
     
    vrajewski10513 likes this.
  18. JaxDad

    JaxDad DIS Veteran

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    Hi Gina! I'm sorry I'm a little late to the party. I'm also sorry again we had to cancel our DISmeet next week...:sad: We will have to try again later.

    I've tentatively rescheduled our next trip for mid-June. Hopefully, my son will be off crutches by then!!!
     
  19. happy wanderer

    happy wanderer Earning My Ears

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    Yikes!! Am so glad you made it out ahead of the worst part of the storm! The snowy airplane window looked ominous...
     
  20. spiceycat

    spiceycat dvc-blt

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    okay I am new - loved your report. have a couple of cats but having trouble putting them on the computer so can't share yet. that say more cats - the more the better.
     
  21. Curiouser&curiouser!

    Curiouser&curiouser! DIS Veteran

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    I was in search of some Sea World informatoin which led me to your last report. I read your last trip report in it's entirety, though with little commenting. I enjoyed it so much I had to mosey over here to take a gander at this one too!

    Glad you made it out safely! Now on to sunnier weather!
     

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