She's Five at Riverside - A September 2014 Trip Report (Completed 2/27)

GrandCalifornian

Can't Wait To Go Back
Joined
Mar 16, 2012
This is our Trip report for our September 13-22, 2014 trip to Walt Disney World. This was our third year in a row going in September, and we took advantage of the low crowd levels and free dining bounceback offer. Let's get started with the introductions:

Like in our previous Trip Reports and Pre Trip Reports you get to hear it from both of us. Paul will be in blue and Melissa will be in orange. Now that Allie is older she gets a say too and her quips will be in pink.

Who:
Hi I'm Melissa, Allie's mom.

My family owns an elevator company and I work in the office shuffling papers. In the last year Paul and I have been doing some photography work on the side as well. I like to sew in my spare time but I didn't get to do as much of it for this trip as I have in the past. My favorite Disney character is Stitch but I'm a Perry the Platypus fan too. My favorite WDW park is Epcot followed closely by Animal Kingdom.

I'm Paul, a 34 year old Daddy, Mechanical Engineer, and general "car guy".

I've been a Disney fan all my life, with my first WDW trip to Fort Wilderness when I was five years old. The Disney addiction definitely stepped up when I began dating Melissa and we got passes for Disneyland. We do lots of other activities together and with our families, but going to Disney has always been our thing. When Allie was born she joined right in with that, and made her first park visit when she was a few weeks old. My favorite WDW park is Epcot, and ride is Test Track. Being a car guy, my favorite memory of WDW when I was five was sitting in a 1985 Suburban in the GM exhibit. My favorite movie (really of all time, not just Disney) is Cars, and my favorite character is Tow Mater. Another interesting fact, I think my ideal Disney job would be to be a boat driver on Bay Lake or between Downtown Disney and the Resorts.


This is Allison she turned 5 on this trip.


Being older this trip she had a lot more input on what we did then on past trips. Her favorite princess is... wait for it... Elsa.

Since Allie provided so much more input this year, we decided she needed her own color. We'll throw her comments in the trip report in Pink.

Allie's favorite rides are small world, Ariel, the Carousel, and whatever she doesn't think will be too scary.

This trip we learned that she loves Soarin, but that will come later.

Soarin was a huge hit.

This is Grandpa Jim and Grandma Nancy, my parents.

They joined us on this trip after having a great time two years ago, and following last year's trip closely from home while missing being part of it themselves. Grandpa Jim likes Cars and Tow Mater, while Grandma Nancy's favorite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast and she is a huge Belle fan, since she is so into books. (Grandma Nancy is a past librarian and teacher.) Grandma Nancy also has an extensive watch collection, and brought enough Disney themed watches on the trip that she had a different one for each day.

Where: Port Orleans Riverside:


As we detailed in our pre trip report, we spent a lot of time debating where to stay for this trip after having our prior trips as a family be to Wilderness Lodge. While we loved it, we wanted to save a little bit of money to make this year's trip happen, and POR was the one resort we had visited during each of our other trips and enjoyed, so we decided to give it a try. Since my parents were coming with us, we decided to book preferred rooms to minimize the walk to the lobby and food court so we didn't miss the compact feel of WL.

We both fell in love with the resort by the end of the trip and I really like the Alligator Bayou rooms. We lucked out and got a corner room which I adored. The extra window make the room feel bigger and it was nice and quiet not having people on both sides.

When: September 13-22

We chose to delay this year's trip by a week or so over our past two so that we would actually be at WDW for Allie's fifth birthday. This also meant that we would get to catch the start of Food and Wine, but would have some time at the beginning of our trip to experience Epcot without it.

Once I found out that delaying the trip would allow us to catch a bit of Food and Wine I was so excited. I'm the foodie of the group and I loved the opportunity to check out this event. The deal was sweetened even more when we found out that Jo Dee Messina would be playing while we were there as part of the Eat to the Beat Concert Series. I love her music and really looked forward to catching a concert.

I guess that's about all for the introduction. We have over 6000 pictures to choose from, so hopefully we use lots of good ones to keep the report interesting.

Thanks for stopping by and following along. We hope you enjoy reading about our trip as much as we love reliving it.
 

Nohal

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 28, 2008
I'm in. We were there from 9-19/9-27. The weather was crappy, but we had a great time anyway.
 
  • WDWKOOK

    NOW WITH LESS TAG!
    Joined
    Mar 10, 2009
    Love the title;). So nice "meeting" everyone again and 6,000 photos?! Bring 'em on and don't forget those watches:hyper:
     

    GrandCalifornian

    Can't Wait To Go Back
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2012
    I'm in. We were there from 9-19/9-27. The weather was crappy, but we had a great time anyway.
    Welcome, and thanks for being our first follower! We got so lucky with the weather, since the only really bad rain of our trip was from mid-day on the 19th until mid day on the 20th. You arrived just in time to catch it, and the storms that came in later as well.

    Love the title;). So nice "meeting" everyone again and 6,000 photos?! Bring 'em on and don't forget those watches:hyper:
    Hi there, glad to have you here! You pretty much named the TR, with your "Five means Riverside" suggestion in the PTR. We look forward to sharing everything, including some pictures from WL. :thumbsup2
     

    kastoney

    Disney foodie served with a side of sarcasm
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2010
    I'm so in...can't wait to read about all your adventures
     
  • cinderkelly

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 9, 2014
    I'm jumping in too! We were also there the 19-21st pre cruise. The rain the morning if the 20th at HS was horrendous but once we hopped to Epcot mid morning things were much better! Didn't get to try much at the F&W festival though :( I love POR, we visited there to eat dinner one evening, hope to stay there next time
     

    Marsheliz

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 8, 2010
    i'm going to jump in too.. I think you followed on my first TR and I am trying to wrap up my second! :) Love the birthday outfit and we love Riverside too!!!
     
  • GrandCalifornian

    Can't Wait To Go Back
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2012
    Joining in! Can't wait to see what Food and Wine was like!
    Welcome! We really looked forward to Food and Wine and got to enjoy it a lot, but also enjoyed having some quieter time at Epcot as well since it is our favorite park, particularly World Showcase.

    I'm jumping in too! We were also there the 19-21st pre cruise. The rain the morning if the 20th at HS was horrendous but once we hopped to Epcot mid morning things were much better! Didn't get to try much at the F&W festival though :( I love POR, we visited there to eat dinner one evening, hope to stay there next time
    Hello, we're glad to have you here. We had visited POR on every one of our prior trips, and finally stayed there. It is our favorite Moderate, and is a great fit for us.

    i'm going to jump in too.. I think you followed on my first TR and I am trying to wrap up my second! :) Love the birthday outfit and we love Riverside too!!!
    Hi there! We enjoy reading your reports, and are glad to have you following along again.

    Joining in too
    Welcome, we're glad you're here. We should have our first real post ready shortly.
     

    GrandCalifornian

    Can't Wait To Go Back
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2012
    After a full year of planning and preparing, our 2014 trip started with Diesel, our 180 lb Great Dane, barking at something in our yard. It turns out it was Grandma and Grandpa, who arrived a little early for our planned 3:45 AM departure. This was a good thing, since out 3:15 AM alarm didn't go off since it was set for weekdays. (Oops, my engineering failure on that one...)

    I completely blame him for this. I don't think I should type the first words out of my mouth that morning but we had allowed plenty of extra time for our morning schedule so it ended up working out ok. I ran through the shower and made Paul do the same.

    Yep, definitely my fault, but the delay was only about 15 minutes, since my parents were nice and early. They now live in Arizona about six hours away, but had arrived the night before and gotten a hotel room so we could all go out to dinner and be ready to head to the airport early. It worked out, and after washing myself as instructed we were all en route to the airport by 4:00 AM.

    We put Allie in the truck in her jammies and made the trek to Long Beach. After reports of freeway closures and accidents we were a bit nervous about traffic but we buzzed right down to our now traditional Denny's on PCH. I think it can be considered a tradition after doing it twice right?

    Sure, it is a tradition now. The crazy thing is we had the same server we did a year ago. It felt very familiar being in an empty Denny's way too early in the morning and being super excited about flying to Florida.

    The guy barging in on you when you were in the bathroom was new though. That should definitely not be a tradition.

    Oh yeah, that was interesting. I couldn't get any privacy in an otherwise empty restaurant at 5AM. Fortunately we don't have photos of that encounter...

    After breakfast we loaded back in the truck and headed over to the airport. The boys dropped us girls and all of our luggage on the curb while they went to go park the truck.




    We parked the truck in a nearby structure agreeing to the $17 a day charge. That is the only down side of the lovely little Long Beach airport, there isn't any cheap parking nearby. With all of us in one car it was worth it though, and was cheaper than getting a shuttle.

    Not to mention we still saved money if you add in the parking by flying out of there versus LAX, Orange County, Ontario, Burbank, or Palm Springs. All of which are driving distance from us.

    We got the bags checked in at the counter and the agent was super nice. She gave Allie wings for herself but also her dolls. Side note here, the "girls" are a recent addition, Allie got the American Girl Dolls Isabelle and Kit for her birthday and they joined us for our trip.



    While we waited in the terminal, Allie took pictures with her camera. We'll have to post some of her shots of the trip as well.

    While waiting Allie used her magic negotiating skills on her daddy to buy her a pink sparkly plush pony. Her first souvenir of the trip and we hadn't even left California yet.

    That pony has a funny story, she wanted an orange one from the gift shop right by our gate, since they only had one but had multiple blue ones. Being a skilled Daddy negotiator, I convinced her to walk across the airport with me to make sure they had other orange ones at the other gift shop, and said that if they had more there we could get one on the way home if she still wanted. Well, they did have more orange ones, but only one pink one, and she HAD to have it. She agreed not to beg for anything else, which was a promise she actually kept for the rest of the trip.
    Before long our plane arrived and we started boarding. The gate agent offered to gate check the stroller through to Orlando, which was perfect so we didn't have to deal with it during our Austin stop, and then she even offered to take our picture in front of the plane.


    We had an uneventful flight which is just the way I like it. Allie watched Sponge Bob and played with her iPad a bit.




    Side note: On this same flight the following Thursday (while we were at WDW) the plane lost an engine shortly after takeoff and had to return to Long Beach. Fortunately it worked out ok, but they did have to use the emergency slides. We are very fortunate to have avoided that kind of start to our trip.

    Most certainly, if this happened to us it would probably be impossible to get me on the next plane out. I'm a bit of a nervous flyer. I refused to let Paul talk about that engine failure the whole trip.

    Our flights however were flawless, and we had our short stop in Austin which gave us just enough time to stretch our legs and buy some hot dogs for lunch. Then we were on our way to Orlando, and this year we took a more direct route over water than we did the year before.


    We also had free internet on the plane, which was great fun for me since I was able to read and post on the DIS boards on our way to WDW.

    Once we got to Orlando we made our way down to Magical Express and got to use our Magic Bands for the very first time! Everything worked just like it should and we had a short wait for a bus.

    We actually were the first people in the line for POR, which meant we might have had a longer wait there than some, but we thought it went pretty quickly. Our bus was shared with Saratoga Springs, POR, and WL, which was an odd pairing but one we had seen two years before on our way to WL. Fortunately this time we were the second stop, so the ride felt really fast.

    Allie was awake the entire bus ride, she was such a trooper. The past two years she konked out on the bus. When we got off the bus Allie had to go potty so I took her there while everyone else checked in. By the time we got out they were all done and had our room assignments and were waiting for us in the middle of the lobby.

    She was still bouncy after we checked in, so we have a blurry shot of her with everyone else in the lobby.


    We got our much anticipated room assignments and found that we did very well. We had rooms 1429 and 1430, connecting rooms on the ground floor of the closest building to the food court and lobby. Once we got to the room we found that ours was a corner room, so we had a nice extra set of windows. The room location was just amazing, and we enjoyed it all trip.








    We dropped off our carryons and I changed my clothes and we headed out to get dinner at the Riverside Mill.

    This was one of our most anticipated QS meals, because we had visited POR last year and enjoyed the large servings of made to order pasta. It was really nice to have it just around the corner from our room. I introduced my parents to the pasta station.




    Paul and I split a pasta and Allie had macaroni and cheese. For desert we split a glorious Magic Cookie Bar. I cannot explain my love affair with this treat but they are devine!


    It was a good dinner, and hopefully it lived up to the expectations we had set for it with my parents. We also picked up our mugs, and to my delight they had green ones available.
    After dinner, we headed to Magic Kingdom to get our APs sorted out at Guest Services. Grandma and Grandpa decided to stay back and get acquainted with the room, since it was already late and probably wouldn't be worth them using a day of park tickets for a little time in the park.

    We were both anxious to get our passes squared away and make sure everything would work for our trip. I wasn't nervous if they would actually do the pass extension, I was just worried about linking with accounts and Magic Bands and such. When we upgraded to the Premier Passes last year it locked us out of our rooms and messed with charging. Then when we added the passes to our MDE account it was over an hour on the phone. Luckily it only took 45 minutes (she says super sarcastically) to get everything changed and working.


    While Melissa was at the Guest Services window, I was keeping Allie busy. The task got easer as Wishes started, and Allie and I watched the show.


    After I got done at Guest Services we decided we should make sure that our passes worked. I noticed that the line to meet Tinker Bell was super short so we hopped in that and Allie got to meet the first character of our trip.


    The line for Mickey was super short too, and to our surprise Allie wanted to meet with him too, so we did that as well. We were even more surprised when she met Mickey and he talked!

    I had no idea that Mickey would start talking, both Paul and I stood slack jawed while he asked Allie if she'd like to pretend to fly with him.


    After meeting with the head mouse we saw that it was almost time for the second MSEP of the evening, and we figured watching it would be a fun way to dive right in to the Disney immersion. We got a great spot right in front of the barber shop and enjoyed the show.




    Allie remembered the parade from previous years and she continues to love it. I can't blame her though it was my favorite too when it used to be at Disneyland.


    It just felt so neat being there watching it the same day we had woken up at home in California. Melissa commented on how it was neat to see Allie's reactions, because as she put it, "The magic is different at every age." I think we were all feeling the magic that night, and were so happy to be there.

    It's so true, I think there was a bigger difference in her maturity and what she thought was neat between this year and last than the previous two years.

    After the parade we browsed through the Emporium. It is so much bigger than the shops on Main street at Disneyland. Then we headed out of the park and got to the bus stop at 11:40, on a bus at 11:46, to POR at 12:01, and to our stop (which was last returning from MK) at 12:13. We made the short walk to the room and settled in to bed.

    Next up Day 2...
     

    TheMaxRebo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2008
    joining! Happy Birthday to Allie!

    We also had a 5 year old girl with us on our recent trip and her favorite princes is ... wait for it ... Elsa also! I am thinking this Halloween there are going to be like 100's of tiny Elsa's walking around our neighborhood

    Glad you had a fairly smooth trip and that seems like a great room location ... having the extra window and then getting to open up the door to the connecting room must have made the entire space feel really large.

    Even if it too 45mins glad they got everything settled with your passes.

    Sounds like a great start to the trip to jump in and meet Tinker Bell and talking Mickey and see the MSEP!
     

    vleeth

    I heart Disney
    Joined
    Sep 26, 2006
    Joining!

    Love how you both comment...wonder if I can get my husband to do that???

    The spot in front of the barbershop is our of our favorites. There is almost never anybody in that area.
     

    GrandCalifornian

    Can't Wait To Go Back
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2012
    joining! Happy Birthday to Allie!

    We also had a 5 year old girl with us on our recent trip and her favorite princes is ... wait for it ... Elsa also! I am thinking this Halloween there are going to be like 100's of tiny Elsa's walking around our neighborhood

    Glad you had a fairly smooth trip and that seems like a great room location ... having the extra window and then getting to open up the door to the connecting room must have made the entire space feel really large.

    Even if it too 45mins glad they got everything settled with your passes.

    Sounds like a great start to the trip to jump in and meet Tinker Bell and talking Mickey and see the MSEP!
    Thanks for joining in. We definitely think this will be the Halloween of Elsas. I picture our older neighbors asking each other who the girl in the blue dress is.

    We loved our room setup and location. It felt like we had our own private suite, and the size and layout of the room overall worked as well for us as WL.

    It was a great start to the trip, and having the passes all done was nice. No more Guest Services for us. :cool1:

    Joining!

    Love how you both comment...wonder if I can get my husband to do that???

    The spot in front of the barbershop is our of our favorites. There is almost never anybody in that area.
    Hello, we're glad you found us.

    We both have gotten in to the DIS, and each have our own favorite sections. Melissa follows the dining threads and I spend most of my time on the resort threads.

    Most of our writing is done between each other over Instant Messaging while we are at work. Then I collect the text and post it. It is fun to have a record of reliving the trip.

    We discovered the barbershop location last year, and found it to be just perfect. It can make for a quick escape after, which is nice too. :thumbsup2
     

    Marsheliz

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 8, 2010
    Happy Birthday to your sweet 5 year old :)

    Look at all that luggage!!

    Man, I love POR and love how they have connecting rooms. I am hoping to book there and get connecting rooms in February. We have some friends going for their first times! The food court at POR is outstanding as well!

    MSEP is my favorite thing at Disney!
     

    GrandCalifornian

    Can't Wait To Go Back
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2012
    Happy Birthday to your sweet 5 year old :)

    Look at all that luggage!!

    Man, I love POR and love how they have connecting rooms. I am hoping to book there and get connecting rooms in February. We have some friends going for their first times! The food court at POR is outstanding as well!

    MSEP is my favorite thing at Disney!
    Thanks, she is so happy to be a BIG 5 year old now.

    With five of us we had a bunch of stuff. Fortunately with JetBlue it flew free. Yay!

    We really enjoyed POR. We'll post more pictures of it in the next update. The Alligator Bayou section was just perfect for us for this trip. WL has some nice features too that might make it worth the upgrade cost depending on the deal to be had. The food court is our favorite of ANY resort. :thumbsup2

    It is neat that you enjoy MSEP so much. We both miss it out here, and remember sitting on the street watching it as kids when we were so tired from a long fun day at Disneyland.
     

    GrandCalifornian

    Can't Wait To Go Back
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2012
    I woke up at 8AM, which was later than I expected to sleep but I still was the first one up. I played online a little bit updating our PTR with pictures of the night before and then went out to take some pictures of POR. I walked by the food court and onto Old Man Island to find the pool and playground. Then I took another bridge off of the island eand explored some of the other Alligator Bayou lodges. I found that our room location was really great, because some of the other buildings in that section were at least a 10 minute walk away.












    I got back to the room about 9, and Melissa got up to take a shower.

    It felt amazingly wonderful to wake up at Disney. Nothing beats that first morning when you still have the entire trip ahead of you.

    Allie was still sleepy after Melissa was up and ready, so we woke her up by having her "girls" (The American Girl dolls) reinact the part of Frozen where Anna wants to get up and play. It was pretty cute, and got Allie moving. Once she was dressed, we headed to the Riverside Mill food court for breakfast at 10:15.

    I used that strategy to get Allie up while we were at Disney. I think it helped her start her day in a good mood. Allie and I split a mickey waffle with strawberries for breakfast.

    I got a made to order omlette, which was another thing I really looked forward to about POR.


    I love custom made omlettes with as many kinds of meat as I can get in them.

    Allie loved the Riverside Mill because of the TV.


    After breakfast she got in a couple minutes of Disney Jr. before we unglued her and headed off to the bus stop.

    She really enjoyed watching TV there. Every time we were there she asked to go sit by it as soon as she was done, and even ate well and quickly so she could go over there sooner. It was pretty cute to watch her go off by herself to be with the other kids. She is getting so big. After we left there we got on the bus for Hollywood Studios at 10:41. This bus then picked up at all the other POR stope before heading to HS, and we got there about 11:15.


    We made it through security and into the park pretty quickly, and all of our passes and magic bands worked great. We saw that we had missed the Frozen welcome parade, but were in time to catch Voyage of the Little Mermaid at 11:40.


    This was something that we didn't get to the last two years so we decided we'd see it this time. It is a really cute show and lasers and effects took me back to my childhood which occured when The Little Mermaid was released.


    It was a little 1990's with the lights and lasers, but it was a nice cool room with a neat quick show. After that we decided to find the Frozen stuff, and went off in search of Oaken's trading post.

    We wandered back to Pixar Place and found it just beyond Toy Story Midway Mania. I asked Allie if she wanted to go play in the snow and she said no so we waited in line to go check out the gift shop. We didn't have to wait too long, I imagine over the summer those lines were pretty long though.


    Waiting in line to get into a gift shop amazed my Dad, but reminded me of the Disneyland Half Marathon where we waited 45 minutes to get in. It was a cute store, and the Frozen magic bands looked cool.


    I liked the Olaf one but since we were rocking our own custom bands we didnt feel the need to buy it.

    After the store, Allie decided she did want to go see about playing in the snow so we waited in a short line to get in next door. It was a really big room with a large ice rink and other area with a pile of ice shavings that they let the kids play in for 10 minutes at a time with buckets and sand shovels in small groups.


    It was a cute activity and Allie enjoyed it. The wait was nice and cool.



    They also had a photopass photographer taking magic shot pictures that put Anna and Elsa in the picture with you.

    We decided to take a picture of all of us. Allie wanted nothing to do with it and pretty much freaked out crying while the four of us had our picture taken.


    After her tiny meltdown we swiftly left and it didn't take long before she was back to her normal self.

    After that we were ready to head for Epcot, so to get to the front side with as little walking as possible we did something new for us and took a park to park bus.


    We were on the bus at 12:52 and to Epcot by 1:00.


    So our first stop once we were in the park was the bathroom, I'm almost sure of this because it never fails if I don't ask Allie if she has to go as soon as we get in line she does. After a pit stop we went over to use our FP+ for Spaceship Earth.

    I remember riding this when I was five, and hadn't been on it since. I remember sitting on the really hard seat between my parents. It was a fun ride, and Allie enjoyed it. She was proud to have ridden something new and not been scared by it.

    I thought it was a cute ride and Paul seemed to take a fancy to the lady with the Afro and yellow leggings... maybe it was the boots?


    That look definitely had a bit of an engineer look to it...
    Then since it was lunch time we headed for The Land.


    We had lunch at Sunshine Seasons which never fails to disappoint


    Sunshine Seasons is one of our favorite Quick Service spots, and we always wind up choosing the chinese food. This time Melissa got an interesting salad too, and we shared everything including a lemon cupcake that was yummy but a little dry.


    It was a Power Salad with Quinoa, Almonds, Dried Cherries, Goat Cheese, and Honey Vinaigrette. It was super duper yummy and my mouth is watering thinking about it now. We also shared the Mongolian Beef with Vegetable Fried Rice. The lemon cupcake was unfortunate. We also shared cheesecake with berries which was Allies pick.

    My mouth is watering for that cupcake, even though it was a little dry. It was a great meal overall.

    and a great place to cool off and relax for a bit.

    Afterward, we hopped on the Living with the Land boats for a nice ride. Grandma Nancy had fun spotting hidden Mickeys, and being an Agriculture major Melissa always enjoys this one.


    Allie really likes it too and I point out all the different plants for her.


    She was curious this time why the plants were spinning in circles. She loved the ride so much she insisted we ride it again right away.

    It is fun when the crowds are light enough to get off a ride and right back on it again, so that's what we did.

    But, we've reached our picture limit so the rest of the day will have to be continued in the next update.
     

    BOG Obsessed

    Foodie & Disney Lover
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2013
    Following along... Love the commentary from you both on this TR.
    Can't wait to read on.
     

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