PDA

View Full Version : Sue Holland - April 2008 - Saratoga Springs



Sue Holland
05-04-2008, 02:16 PM
Who/When/Where:

Who: Sue (49), DVC member
Dates: April 25 – 29, 2008
Travel Method: Personal car
Resort: Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort
Experience: Extremely experienced


INTRODUCTION:
This might be a truly solo trip – Chris & Amanda could arrive towards the end, but mostly they won’t be here this time. They are leaving Ft Myers on the 27th and will be living in the outerbanks of NC by May 1st for the summer. They will enjoy a few days here at WDW first, and then spend the summer working at a business owned by Amanda’s dad’s girlfriend. According to Chris, it’s a lot like Hilton Head, which is really nice!

As for me, April is my favorite weather month at WDW. It’s always warm enough to enjoy the pool, but usually not so hot it is sweaty touring the parks. Nights are comfortable, too. I love when Easter is in March, as it gives me the entire month of April to pick from (avoiding the 2-week Easter period). Next year I will have to work around Easter, since it will be April 12th.

This trip was originally booked at Beach Club Villas, for easy access to Epcot as well as the ability to enjoy Stormalong Bay. Even DVC members cannot pool hop there, so I need to stay at BCV if I want to use that pool. However, in March I got word 2 days prior to sailing that my cruise was over booked. Holland America Line (HAL) made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, so I changed to the same itinerary leaving April 6th, which would not be back in time for my WDW trip. Luckily they still had Saratoga Springs available on short notice, so I moved the trip back a couple of weeks and have to skip Beach Club Villas. Surprisingly, when I checked on replacing my LeCellier reservation I was able to secure a spot for lunch on the 3rd day. Dinner was not available, but since I eat the same thing regardless of what meal is being served I guess it doesn’t matter.

This trip will be only 4 nights, since I have to stretch my vacation time. I’ll leave early Friday, take Monday as a vacation day, then drive before dawn to get to work on time Tuesday morning. So, I get 3.5 days with it only costing me 1 vacation day.

I plan to mostly relax, although I will miss having access to Stormalong Bay for this trip! I only booked Le Cellier in advance, as I will play it by ear for the other meals. Since I am staying in the Downtown Disney area, this will be a great trip to have lunch at Portabello Yacht Club and check out the newly refurbished Wolfgang Puck’s Express at the Marketplace. One evening will be spent at Comedy Warehouse, most likely Saturday night.


The plans so far are:
Friday 4/25: Work, Drive to WDW, Epcot
Saturday 4/26: MK, Pool, Comedy Warehouse
Sunday 4/27: AK, LeCellier, Resort, Epcot
Monday 4/28: Epcot, Pool, Epcot
Tuesday 4/29: Drive to work


DAY 1 – Friday 4/25/08
Who: Sue (49), DVC member

Plan: Work, Drive to WDW, Epcot

Actual: No dental appointment today! I’ve been in Gainesville for the past few days, and rather than leaving by noon to allegedly drive back to Ft Myers, I only had a 2-hour drive to get to WDW. So, I arrived earlier than normal, which is always a good thing! Since I was passing the exit for the Russell Stover outlet, I had to stop there for a slight detour. A lot of the prices aren’t that outstanding, but they do have some stuff really cheap – particularly if you’ll buy 4 of something (usually for less than 2 would cost). I didn’t need 4 boxes of anything, though. I did buy a small box of something I really like, and a large box of milk chocolate rocky road for the office. When I went to pay my credit card wasn’t in my wallet, and besides looking like a deadbeat I was worried that I’d lost it somewhere. Then I noticed my driver’s license was also missing, and remembered last night I’d moved those 2 things into my travel wallet in the Disney backpack in the trunk of the car!

The drive passed quickly, as I was on the phone quite a bit. Before I knew it I was passing under a WDW gate that was new to me, and I realized I was behind Coronado Springs. I would have preferred to stay off the property until after I went to the outlet, but that didn’t happen. I had to deal with all the Disney traffic lights and pass through Downtown Disney to get to the Premium Outlet (it might not be called that anymore – not sure). I hadn’t been to Character Premiere in a while, and since it was only 2pm I figured I’d kill some time there before checking in to increase the odds my studio would be ready.

Traffic at the outlets was a pain, and the place was mobbed. Don’t tourists have better things to do than shop??? I fought my way through the hordes in the food court building and only went to Character Premiere. They had some decent frames for only $2.99 so I got one hoping my Belize aerial trek photo will fit. It’s not Disney, but so what! I also found a Christmas gift for SB, but can’t say what it is because he might be on this trip report list (can’t remember – too lazy to check). After that I began the tedious trip back through traffic and checked in to Saratoga Springs by 3pm. The extremely anal security guard wasn’t working today, so I didn’t have to leave a dna sample in addition to showing my license, credit report and social security card. I’ll be using the back gate from this point, so I won’t have the pleasure of encountering him this trip!

My studio was ready, the cast member checking me in (earning her ears) did a great job – very quickly, too. I got Congress Park (as requested), 3rd floor, and my view is the lake & Cirque du Soleil. The quiet pool is on the other side of my building, which is perfectly convenient for me.

I unpacked quickly, then talked to a friend at work for a while, then talked to SB and checked some things for him online. Then, just as I was about to use the restroom and head out the door Leesa called. We’d made plans to do Comedy Warehouse Saturday night but I hadn’t followed up in writing this time. She thought we said Friday night, then read my pre-trip report this morning and learned we were a day off. Since she has to arrange transportation, I said I’d join her tonight so she didn’t have to try to arrange a ride tomorrow night (& incur the extra expense). It’s just easier for me to be the one to change, and since the concert at Epcot is the same tomorrow as it is tonight, I won’t even miss anything!

We finished up on the phone, and I walked over to Downtown Disney since I was getting very hungry. I’d had a big breakfast (fresh waffle with strawberries & whipped cream – more like dessert than breakfast) and no lunch, so it was time to eat again. It was a little after 4 and I was shocked that Puck’s Express wasn’t busy at all! The lady placing an order was inordinately clueless and was taking forever, but the line was short. Finally after a long time with the same lady at the register another guy came out and opened a 2nd register.

I ordered the side Caesar salad and side 4 cheese macaroni, and got 10% off for being DVC (same discount is good for passholders and I think DDE). The wait for the food to come out seemed a bit long, considering maybe 10% of the tables were occupied. I used to love their mac & cheese, but what I had today wasn’t nearly as good as I remember (it’s been years). The side portion is plenty for a kid, and is really too much if you’re also eating a meal. I ate more than half, then pushed it aside. The side Caesar was excellent! It wasn’t too big, it was freshly made, and it was delicious. I’ll definitely get this here again.

After dinner I walked to the bus stop area and boarded the waiting Boardwalk-Swan-Dolphin-Yacht-Beach Club bus. Yes, it stops at all 5 resorts! It stopped at Pleasure Island, and then Typhoon Lagoon. At TL there was a big crowd waiting since the park was closing in 5 minutes, so I moved over to the empty seat across from me so a party of 2 could take my seat and the empty one next to me. The woman I ended up next to asked if I was Sue, and when I said yes she asked if I was Sue Holland, and I said yes again. Turns out she’s read the trip reports and MousePlanet stuff, and recognized me from photos. She wrote a blog on allearsnet.com about her stay in the castle last December, so I’ll have to go back and read it again now that I’ve met the author, lol! I remember reading one over there, and I bet it was hers! We chatted away until we got to the Swan, where we both got off.

I walked around the Yacht/Beach Club side to the International Gateway, and arrived just after the boat dumped off a lot of people. So, entry wasn’t very quick but the security guard was basically letting people through with barely a glance at the bags. I hate that whole ridiculous bag check thing, and it’s insulting that Disney would think I’m stupid enough to feel “safe” because of it, lol!

Once I got in the park I was surprised to see how busy World Showcase was. I stopped at the bakery in France to get one of their chocolate chip cookies for later, but the line was out the door and not moving. The cookies are great, but I can wait for a less crowded time. I was still wearing slacks and a blouse (from work), so while it was comfortable in the shade, when I hit a sunny spot it was a bit too warm! I kept walking until I got to Germany, then walked through the shops (a/c was cool) to the wine cellar. I bought a glass of Riesling then went to Sommerfest and got a cup of ice to make the wine colder. I finished walking around the countries, finding shade whenever possible. Once I got to Future World I sat on a shady bench near the fountain and people watched while I drank most of the wine and tried to cool off.

Eventually I got up and walked over to the Land. I knew Soarin’ would be out of fastpasses, but I was surprised to see a 25 minute wait for Spaceship Earth on the tip board! I finished my wine and went into the Land to see if anything at Sunshine Seasons looked good (cookies), but there was nothing I wanted. Living with the Land only had a 5-minute wait, but I decided to save it for another day. Back outside I headed for Spaceship Earth, and although the posted wait was now 15 minutes, I didn’t like the looks of the line so I skipped that for now too. I exited the park and went to wait for the Saratoga Springs bus.

It arrived in about 10 minutes or so, and it had around 7-8 people plus me. One guy let his son walk around on the bus while it was driving, which I thought was extremely stupid and careless on his part. The boy would run to the back to torment his little sister, who would yell at him. Idiot Dad pointed out the lever or something on the seats that get raised to tied wheelchairs down, so of course the boy had to play with that stuff, fold the seat up, etc – all while the bus was moving. I’m not the bus police, but I would have liked to see the driver pull over and tell us all he cannot drive the bus while people are walking around <g>. At one of the Saratoga bus stops a huge crowd filled up the bus, so the boy had to go sit still at that point!

I went up to the studio, and the cold air conditioning felt great!! Leesa called to report she wouldn’t make it to the first show because she had some idiot van driver who was headed in the wrong direction (towards St Cloud) instead of here! She sometimes has problems with the drivers, but this was a bit much. I told her I’d skip the 1st one too, so that way I can get her call when she’s getting closer. I finished updating the report, then around 7:30 or so walked back over to Downtown Disney figuring I’d wander around now that it was getting cooler outside.

I was shocked once again – it was mobbed!! Everywhere it was shoulder to shoulder, and just like at World Showcase every food/beverage stand had a huge long line. I swear I could set up a stand selling Fancy Feast cat food and I’d have had a line 12 people deep all night, lol! At Earl of Sandwich the line filled in the queue, extended along the side and then curved and ended back inside the kitchen shop! I have never seen it like that. Puck’s line was outside the door, too.

I passed through Pleasure Island (also busy), got my wristband at the Adventurer’s Club, and headed to the West Side. From the bridge all you could see was a sea of people – it was unreal! Leesa called when I was down near Bongos, so I turned around and went back to meet her at Adventurer’s Club since we had about 10 minutes to kill.

The Club was quiet upstairs, but it was quite busy downstairs even though it was pretty early. Jennifer Br was working as the maid tonight. We headed over to Comedy Warehouse around 8:45 and had a brief wait for the 8:50 seating. I realized when I was walking over tonight that I’d forgotten to bring a pen or any paper. Instead of taking my usual bag, I wore the lanyard thing I bought on the HAL cruise a couple weeks ago, and only had my cell phone, room key and PI pass. So, tonight I took no notes at the Comedy Warehouse shows. Both shows were very good, and the people working were Philip, Matt, John, Brian, Lisa, Missy & Christine (5 of them per show). They did Story Time in the 2nd show I saw, and it was a sick story but very funny. Sorry about the lack of details – I’ll do better next time! I didn’t even bring a camera this trip, so I’m really slacking this time <g>.

The show ended just before 11, so Leesa headed to meet her van ride and I walked back to Saratoga Springs. It was still surprisingly busy at the Marketplace. Back in the studio I started getting ready for tomorrow and was going to set out my coffee cup (Styrofoam) for cappuccino and the only one up there was the one holding the utensils. I actually prefer the foam cups to the real mugs, but I don’t want to drink cappuccino from a paper cereal bowl! I called housekeeping, and they sent someone over – with 32 cups for me! LOL – I will have to buy more cappuccino to use all of these <g>.

I finished up the report around midnight, talked to SB for a while, then settled in to hopefully get to sleep soon. Tomorrow will be a brief MK visit, followed by pool time and lunch at Portabello Yacht Club (not sure if it’ll be lunch first or pool first), then Epcot for the evening. Maybe the crowds won’t be so bad tomorrow – ha ha!


DAY 2 – Saturday 4/26/08
Who: Sue (49), DVC member

Plan: MK, Pool, Comedy Warehouse

Actual: Last night I decided to make a half cup of cappuccino and have a piece of biscotti since I was hungry. I plugged in the coffee maker to heat the water, and when I pressed the button it didn’t come on. I tried it several times, unplugged it and used the other plug, and even hit the reset button. Still, nothing happened. I figured I’d have to call housekeeping in the morning, but then when I picked it up to try an outlet elsewhere in the room I discovered I’d actually plugged in the toaster – not the coffee maker! Once I fixed that blunder, it started working right away (imagine that, lol). I had my cappuccino & biscotti, and it was lights out by 1am – later than I’d hoped, but that’s the price of going to Comedy Warehouse!

I woke up shortly before 7, and soon SB was up too so we talked on the phone. His game is early today, so I’ll probably miss it. I made some cappuccino and an English muffin for breakfast, and figured I’d find a snack later before I went to the pool. It looks like a beautiful day – clear blue sky, not too hot. By my next trip it’ll be uncomfortably hot again!

I went out to the bus stop by 8:30 and no buses came by for a while. There were a lot of people waiting, and finally the MK bus arrived followed by AK and some other bus. We arrived at the Magic Kingdom by 9am, and there was no wait to enter at all. I went first to Space Mountain and picked up a fastpass with a 10:15 return time. This will work out well, as I can do all I want to do before that time.

My first ride was Big Thunder Mountain, at the request of Jean. I did notice Tom Sawyer’s Island was opening at 10am today, at the request of one of my email lists. I would have ridden Big Thunder again, but the line had formed and I decided to just be happy with the one ride. Next I rode Pirates of the Caribbean and didn’t confront the lady 2 seats behind me taking flash photos that hopefully will not come out. After that it was Haunted Mansion, where a couple of kids were truly scared but hopefully they won’t be traumatized for life!

Fantasyland was very busy, with lines everywhere. I just passed through, and took a ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. When we went inside Space Mountain I thought it was odd that no rockets were going up on either side, and sure enough the ride was not operating. The lights were not on, but nothing was moving on the tracks. After I got off the TTA I went over and waited for my fastpass time, and stayed about 10 minutes past that but left when a cast member said if it opens it’ll be after noon. They changed the standby time to 999 minutes, lol!

I was hungry, and decided to try to get a yogurt parfait at the Main Street Bakery (I think I read they have them, but could be wrong). Along the way I passed a woman with a pretzel from under the Astro Orbiter and thought that sounded good – but I went to the bakery. When I got there the line was insane, and I wasn’t going to wait 20-30 minutes for yogurt. So, I walked back to Tomorrowland and learned the pretzels were cream cheese filled – no plain ones, lol! I passed on the Magic Kingdom food, and exited the park. On the way out I stopped at City Hall to see if they’d give me a fastpass in Epcot since I was unable to use the one for Space Mountain today. I figured if they said no, that was fine – but I’d never know if they’d say yes unless I asked. Sure enough, they said yes! They were out of Epcot fastpasses so they entered me into the computer and gave me the case number to help the cast member over there find me! Very cool – I’ll get to ride Soarin’ today, which makes up for Space Mountain.

My bus was waiting for me, and I was the only passenger until we got to the first stop at Saratoga Springs. At that stop a very LOUD group boarded and it was unbearable. Some of them sat in the very back seat and the rest were way up front, and they shouted their conversations – which was very easy since they were all loudmouths! They represented the state of New Yawk very badly. At one of the other stops 2 women wearing the cloth on their heads, pinned under their chins so it covers their hair, chest & back were waiting to board the bus. The 2 men in the group immediately started laughing loudly and talking about camels, referring in a derogatory way about these women! To make it worse, the 2 guys were on opposite ends of the bus, so they were shouting this. I was glad my stop was next, as these pigs were disgusting!

I was only in the studio briefly, before walking over to Downtown Disney to have lunch at Portabello Yacht Club.

Thankfully the Marketplace wasn’t mobbed like it was last night, although I’m sure that will change as the day goes on! When I got to Portabello Yacht Club they’d just recently opened for lunch (11:30) and a woman was inside with her bottle of olive oil talking to the chef. Evidently her kids have severe food allergies, so the chef was figuring out what he could prepare for them. I was impressed the lengths they go to in order to accommodate these food allergies. He washed all the items & ingredients twice, cooked them in the unopen half of the kitchen and had it brought out immediately to lessen the chance of any contamination. Using ingredients he had, he pieced together a balanced meal for the 2 young boys, using foods they’ll eat & enjoy. I cannot even begin to imagine what it’s like dealing with that on a daily basis like that mother! I’m so glad Chris was a human garbage disposal and could eat anything <g>.

I was seated by the window – I chose inside because it was a bit too warm outside. My server did a great job, and was very nice. I wasn’t thrilled when after a while they seated the family with the 2 allergic young boys at the table next to me despite the whole room being empty, and sure enough they were loud & obnoxious until their food came. They’d make shouting stupid sounds and the parents would make the same sounds back at them – oh joy. The table on the other side of me had a young tattooed couple with a baby girl. Sure enough, she would get bored & start acting up, but those parents took turns occupying her and even walking her around outside the restaurant. They were very attentive, and did an excellent job – that was so nice to see today! Unfortunately, service was very slow – or at least it seemed that way to me. The family with the baby spent an awful lot of time with one of them at the table alone and the other outside with the baby. It wasn’t busy, either.

I looked at the wine list and wasn’t sure whether to gasp or laugh. The Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling I get in restaurants at home for $5-6/glass was one of the less expensive wines here at $9.95. Several were over $10 and the cheap Beringer’s white zin was $6.95. Those prices for those products are just ridiculous! I opted for their sangria at $4.95 and it was just ok.

For my meal I ordered their lunch combo, which is minestrone soup or salad (Caesar or garden) plus ½ panini (caprese, chicken, or sausage & peppers). I went with the Caesar and caprese. The salad was good, but not as good as the one at Puck’s Express yesterday. The half panini was good, but not so good I’d go out of my way to return here. The bread was like pizza dough, but not heavy at all. It was toasted, so the mozzarella was somewhat melted, and it really did taste good but the overall meal experience wasn’t as great as it used to be here. Plus, as I mentioned it seemed to take an awfully long time to get the food delivered, and it’s not a complicated order. The couple with the baby ordered the combo also, and theirs still had not arrived when I left almost 45 minutes after they arrived.

I had no room for dessert, and took half the half panini back to the resort with me. I was sure to give the server all the cards she needed so she could just settle the check before she brought it to me, in order to save some time. As a dvc member I got a 10% discount, but it probably didn’t include the sangria. I might give it another try some day, but it won’t be #1 on my list.

I walked back through the Marketplace and stopped at Earl of Sandwich to pick up one of their small yogurt parfait things. These are only $1.95 and are more of a snack than a meal, as they’re very small (but very good). I figure with cappuccino & biscotti it’ll be breakfast. The line to order food was completely filled in and beyond the roped off area, so I went to the cooler section off to the side and got the yogurt over there. I brought it to the cash register in that area and was able to get out of there in no time! After a quick stop at Goofy’s Candy Co for a rice krispie square for the room I walked back to Saratoga Springs. Just as I pulled out my phone so I wouldn’t miss SB’s call, he called. I knew his game was starting in about 30 minutes, and knew he always calls about that time.

After changing into my swimsuit I went down to the quiet pool and spent about 1.5 hours laying in the sun while doing some reading. It was pretty busy, but there were plenty of chairs available for more people. I got back up to the studio around 2:30 and after checking the status of SB’s game I got changed and walked over to the fitness center to use the gym.

The equipment here is similar to what I have in my gym, although I still consider my gym nicer than this one. It’s a whole lot bigger, too! I do like the ice water available here, though. I just wish they’d keep the air temperature colder, as it’s too warm to me. I used the equipment, then did half the usual treadmill time since I’d be walking around later. When I got back to the studio again around 3:30 or so SB’s game was still tied, and his pitcher walked 3 guys in a row yet somehow got out of the inning without giving up a run! They went to extra innings, I took my shower, updated the report, ate the rest of the panini and finally gave up on waiting to see who won the game. We scored a run, then gave it back to them – so frustrating! SB promised a recap, so that will have to do.

I left around 4:45 and drove over to Beach Club to enter via the International Gateway. Spare me any concerns/comments. The parking lot there was barely half full when I arrived and when I left. Walking through the resort made me feel like it was Food & Wine Festival time, which sadly it is not. I think that’s my next trip here at BCV, though.

At Guest Services at International Gateway I renewed my Disney Dining Experience card since I noticed at lunch it was expiring on 4/30. I wish they would send something out to let us know when it’s about to expire! They now do the same paper-like ticket they use for park passes, instead of the plastic card. $60 later and I was good for another year! I also picked up my fastpass and he issued me 2 of them, for 1 person each. They’re good at any attraction today.

When I entered the park I headed right and began with France. It was after 5:30 by now so I was mainly headed to America for the concert. A lot of people were seated, so I continued on to Germany and got a cup of ice from Sommerfest then went to the wine store and bought a glass of the Madonna Kabinett. When I ordered it the guy next to me commented that it was excellent, and his buddy was buying 2 bottles of it to take home. I tried it, and agreed with him – it was sweet and tasted much better than the one I tried yesterday. This one is only $4, which is the lowest price on the menu.

I took my wine and walked back to the theater in America, where it was pretty full by now. I sat on the wall, as I needed to be able to exit without bothering anyone if SB called. The Ventures were performing, and they’re an instrumental rock band. I recognized their first song, but don’t recall what the name was. I ended up staying for a few songs before finally admitting that although they did a good job their music just wasn’t my style. It was a full house, though!

I wandered around towards Future World and SB called just as I left Mexico. His team won in the 12th inning, thank goodness. After talking with him I walked over to the Land and rode Living With the Land since there was only a 5-minute wait. After that I used a fastpass to ride Soarin’. The posted wait was 95 minutes, and I was seated next to a family that waited that long! Even fastpass took a while, as it was backed up. I ended up in the front row, which was excellent. However, it all took so long I knew I didn’t really want to get back in line with the next fastpass tonight. I looked for any solo females (the pass had my name on it), and continued looking for the next hour but never found anyone.

After Soarin’ I wanted to ride Spaceship Earth but the tip board kept showing a 30-minute wait. I decided to walk over and check it out, and it appeared to be moving pretty well so I joined the line. Despite still saying 30 minutes, it was just under 10 minutes until I was seated on the ride. It was fun – I really get a kick out of the new ending. The teen girls in front of me were giggling through their entire ending!

From there I went to Test Track, but both the single rider and fastpass lines were too full so I headed back towards Mexico and World Showcase. In Germany I got another glass of the same wine, and sipped it while walking around. I thought of getting a pretzel in America, but both lines were way too long. The funnel cake line was even longer – there must have been 25-30 people in line! I decided to suck it up and go to the bakery in France, and that line was about 10-12 people OUTSIDE the door.

It actually moved pretty well, and I passed the time talking to the family behind me. The 3-year old boy rode Tower of Terror. Granted, he was big for his age, but still! He’s braver than I am, lol! Once it was my turn I got a crème brulee and of course a chocolate chip cookie since I was in there! I got it all to go, and then exited the park and drove back to Saratoga Springs.

I talked with SB then toasted an English muffin for a late dinner and after finishing up the report enjoyed the crème brulee for dessert (yum). Today was a pretty busy day – a park, lunch, pool, gym, and another park. Tomorrow I’ll head out to Animal Kingdom in the morning, then hop over to Epcot before my lunch at LeCellier.


DAY 3 – Sunday 4/27/08
Who: Sue (49), DVC member

Plan: AK, LeCellier, Resort, Epcot

Actual: I slept well, and was up shortly before 7. It’s going to be tough getting up at 3:30 on Tuesday, and then back to my normal 4:45am on work days! I cleaned up, got dressed, and had the yogurt parfait with cappuccino and biscotti this morning. My LeCellier reservation isn’t until 12:40, but since I just booked these dates in early March that was all I could get! I may try to get in earlier, but at least I know I’ll get to eat there this trip.

I was at the bus stop shortly before 8:30 and today it took longer for buses to arrive. Again it was pretty crowded, which usually means no buses have been seen for a while. The Animal Kingdom bus was the 3rd to arrive, and it was almost standing room only at that point. We filled it up, and at the final stop several people got off, which made room for the people waiting. It seems that of the DVC resorts the Saratoga bus service gets slammed the most, and I have to admit my longest waits for buses have been at this resort.

We got to Animal Kingdom just after 9, and there was no wait to get into the park. I headed back to Harambe first in order to get a fastpass for the safari. It always amazes me how many meander slowly and aimlessly first thing in the morning, rather than hustling to their first attraction. Walking slowly is fine – whether by choice or necessity, but please don’t block the entire walkway and make it challenging for the people who walk more briskly! My fastpass had a return time of 10:00, which was perfect!

I walked back to Dinoland and found the standby time posted for Primeval Whirl was 10 minutes, but the line looked much shorter than that. I joined the line, and was on the ride within 5 minutes. I rode with another lady riding solo, while her husband waited with their 2-year old. This is always a good first ride, as it shakes you awake, lol! It takes longer to exit the ride than it does to actually ride, and since people were waiting I could not ask to stay on. It was about 9:30 so I walked over and rode Dinosaur, with no wait at all. Three very noisy teens were directly in front of me in the boarding line, and I asked to not be seated in their row. Instead the cast member put me in a row with a couple of women, and during the first part of the ride you could hardly hear anything over the loud teens (and this is a LOUD attraction)! Finally they settled down – then I could hear one of the women in my row screaming her lungs out in fear at the dinosaurs, lol! She was genuinely terrified – it was so funny! Those dinosaurs are pretty fake-looking <g>. Oh well, she had fun & her companion and I both got a good chuckle.

After this I wandered slowly back through Asia and to Harambe. I noticed Expedition Everest was not working, yet at Primeval Whirl I talked to a dad/daughter party who had ridden it already. Something must have gone wrong after they rode. I spotted a big monkey up on the overhead habitat, then he went out of view and I noticed a mother duck and 8 tiny ducklings on the edge of the water. The little ones were so cute!

Back in Harambe I had about 5 minutes to kill so I browsed in the nearby shop, then returned at 10 for my safari. This time I was seated first in the row, instead of last. You really see a lot from either side, but I enjoyed having the left side for a change. I had some great photo opportunities, but since the camera was in Ft Myers I missed them all! Most of the animals were out, and the female lion was sitting on the top of the highest rock – I’d never seen one up there before. In the white rhino area we came to a stop for about 10 minutes or so, and the rhino walked right by the side of our truck (on my side). It was amazing being so close! Later when I was off the safari I heard a dad explaining to his son that he had no idea why the safari was closed, so I guess that went down for a while also today.

It was 10:45 or so and I was done with this park, so I exited and went to the Epcot bus stop. Soon the bus came, and at Epcot they let us off in some bus holding area in the middle of the parking lot rather than at a resort bus stop. I guess they pull buses from here as needed when lines form at a particular resort’s stop.

Entering Epcot was a breeze – no delay whatsoever. It helped that instead of carrying my backpack I only used the “neck wallet” I bought on the cruise. I carried my cell phone, park pass, resort ID and DDE card – nothing else. Spaceship Earth was mobbed. The standby time was 30 minutes, but both sides were really filled in. I can’t see waiting that long when I’m here as often as I am, so I did not stop. Soarin’ was still issuing fastpasses so I headed to the Land and picked one up – return time 2:57. It was after 11, so I wandered out to World Showcase and arrived at LeCellier just before they opened at 11:30.

My reservation was for 12:40, but once again I took the chance that they’d accommodate me earlier. If they’d said no, I would have come back at 12:40, but as expected they said “no problem” and seated me at 11:30. They opened the restaurant with all the servers singing their national anthem – O Canada. My server did a terrific job, and I enjoyed meeting & chatting with the couple seated at the next table.

There’s a new appetizer that the chef added last month – cold watermelon soup. It comes with a rock shrimp, but I ordered a cup of it without the shrimp, and then ordered a cup of the cheese soup for my entrée. I also had the Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling which is priced at $7.00/glass here. The breadsticks were all hot & fresh, although the pretzel one was a bit crispy on the bottom. When it’s just me dining there are more than enough breadsticks! The watermelon soup was very watery – I expected a thicker consistency and when the server asked, I said it would be better if it was thicker. The flavor was good, but it was like water! I had a watermelon gazpacho on the cruise recently, and that was better. This appetizer would be a good pick if you were looking for something that wouldn’t fill you up!

The cheese soup was excellent, as always. I passed on dessert, even though I like their crème brulee. I settled the check, then headed back outside. I must have missed SB’s pre-game call, as I had a voicemail. Cell phones don’t usually get a signal in that restaurant, as it’s basically underground. I decided to walk about the countries, so headed off in the direction of France.

It was sunny and warm, but except when I was in the direct sun it was pretty comfortable. Next trip it’ll be humid again – actually for the next several trips. So, this trip is the last chance of decent weather at WDW. In Germany I stopped at Sommerfest for a slice of apple strudel “to go” and a cup of ice. They no longer do the to go containers – for “hygiene” reasons. The cast member explained they don’t know how long we’re going to carry it around, so don’t provide the carryout containers. That didn’t thrill me, but it wasn’t her decision so I can’t shoot the messenger, lol. They put an extra plate on top of it, and when I went into the wine store I used their stapler to create my own carryout container <g>. I also got a glass of the kabinett I enjoyed yesterday.

I had to walk to Mexico to find a shady bench, then sat down and watched people walk by for about 20-30 minutes. That’s always interesting here – you have all ages, nationalities, etc. There are cute kids, ordinary kids, and demon child kids. There are people who seem to take care to stay in shape and dress decently, and then there are the “oh my” other folks. It’s never dull!

When the wine was almost gone I started walking again, and realized I probably looked odd drinking wine at 1pm, but this is a vacation after all! I left the park and had a long wait (20-30 minutes) at the Saratoga Springs bus stop. Evidently there had been a wreck in the Congress Park area and that caused the delay. Today the other passengers were fine, normal people – no shouting ethnic slurs or being disruptive. At Congress Park the wreck had been cleared, and just a couple of Disney vans were left. I went up to the studio, put the strudel in the fridge for later, and signed on to join SB’s game in progress. I updated the report while listening to his game and just relaxed in the cool air conditioning. I was telling him last night – this room is almost frigid! He likes it colder than I do, so he’d be in heaven here. I’ve read reports of people complaining about the rooms not getting cold enough here, but that’s not my experience!

The game ended at 4, so I left then to catch a bus back to Epcot. I hoped to use the Soarin’ fastpass before catching the BJ Thomas concert at the theater in America. As I approached the bus stop I could see the Epcot bus leaving, but I hoped the buses were still grouped together like before. I sat on a bench and enjoyed the breeze, but after 20 minutes I was getting impatient. After 30 minutes and seeing the 2nd bus for at least 2 parks, I’d had enough. I went up to the studio and got the keys to the car and just drove over to Epcot!

I was hoping to park close the park, but instead they were making people park in the far lot. I swear I was near Sea World! The tram was waiting, so I hopped on board, and then hopped off when SB called. I knew I couldn’t hear him with the tram driver talking, and he was calling before getting on the bus with the team for the 3-hour trip back to their home city. So, we chatted as I walked up to the entrance.

Entering was pretty quick, and as I passed Spaceship Earth I saw the line was shorter than I’ve seen it all weekend. I saved it for later, knowing there would be NO line then. I went to the Land and used my fastpass to ride Soarin’. For the first time they had the loading area backed up all the way to the cast member who takes your fastpasses. It meant people had a longer than normal wait in that boring line area rather than back in the main queue. I hope that’s not how they do it all the time now. I ended up with the 2nd row in the center section, which was fine.

I headed to World Showcase next, as it was about 5:30 by now. I could tell it wasn’t nearly as crowded as the past 2 nights, so I guess the weekend crowds, cheerleaders and grads have gone home (hooray)! The food places had lines of maybe 2-3 people instead of 20-30! I got to America just before 5:45 and took a seat on the wall along the side of the theater. There were some empty seats, but sitting on the wall was a little bit cooler. I’ve heard the name BJ Thomas, but didn’t really know what songs he did. As it turned out, I knew all but 2 songs in the show! One of them plays on my radio station quite a bit, too.

BJ Thomas looks great – from a distance I thought he looked really hot, and I of course had to ignore the math when thinking about how old he must be. I just thought he looked fantastic (except for needing a haircut), and his voice was excellent. He really did a great job, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was a shame I was so far away, lol – in case he really was that good-looking. Performing must keep a person young, as he had no gray hair either <g>.

After the concert I continued around the countries, and went on the boat ride in Mexico. Since it wasn’t as crowded tonight, there was no wait. Maelstrom still had a 20-minute wait posted so I didn’t bother with that. I walked back towards America and stopped in Germany for a glass of the same wine. It was 5 minutes before the 7pm show when I reached the theater, so I went inside and got a great seat in the 3rd row. I forgot to mention – when I left the last show at 6:20 the line for the 7pm show was already huge – and shortly after 7 people were in line for the 8:15 show. I don’t get it, since you can get a seat walking up fairly close to showtime!

Anyway, being up close when BJ came out I saw his “hottie” days are behind him, lol! I don’t mean that in an offensive way at all, as he looks great for his age. One of the songs he did was his first hit song, from 1965. So, he has got to be 65-70 years old! He looks amazing for that age, and sounds just as good as he did decades ago! The 2nd show was mostly different songs, except of course for Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head and one other one. I think I liked the song selection of the first show better, but both shows were very good. I’d gladly see his concerts again.

When the concert ended I stopped to get a pretzel in America and then to get a bag for the leftover pretzel. I wasn’t really hungry, but I love these pretzels and hadn’t gotten one yet this trip. I ate a piece of it and saved the rest, since I need to eat half the apple strudel later. Vacations are tough, since there’s so much good food and so little time!

In Canada Off Kilter were playing, so I stopped and caught the last couple of songs in their set. Now that lead singer (Jamie?) IS hot – and you don’t have to stand really far away to think so, lol! My eyes and ears are always happy with this group <g>. When they finished I continued on my way to Future World. My final stop was Spaceship Earth, where there was no wait at all. Nobody was in the several cars before or after mine, either.

It was a nice ride, and I chose different options at the ending to see myself in a different scene (where work is the reason I live, lol – what a liar I was). I left the park after this, riding the tram out to the parking lot where I’d parked. On the way back to Saratoga I stopped at the Hess station across from Pleasure Island so I didn’t have to fill up the car later. SB called as I approached the resort, and the security lady was on duty again and opened the gate for me once I showed her my card. Someone was there last night, too – I have never seen that before but I like it. Just so long as they don’t send that pain-in-the-butt power-trip guy back there!

Back in the studio I finished up the report, the made a half-cup of cappuccino to go with half the apple strudel. I’m not hungry at all, but it’s too good to go to waste.

Today was another really great day – I just wish this was a longer trip <g>. Tomorrow the weather is supposed to turn rainy during the afternoon/evening, so I’m glad I got the BJ Thomas concert done tonight. I plan to skip running off to a park tomorrow morning, and just do resort stuff. Then, if the weather isn’t too bad I’ll head to Epcot tomorrow night.


DAY 4 – Monday 4/28/08
Who: Sue (49), DVC member

Plan: Pool, Epcot

Actual: Last night the weather was updated and it was looking good for tourists! Instead of downpour rain the afternoon & evening, now there’s a chance of rain late at night. Then, this morning it was back to being cloudy all day with rain in the afternoon – ugh! I hate that my last day has non-sunny weather, especially since my plan was relaxing at the pool. But, there’s nothing I can do but choose to either be happy or miserable, and I choose happy. After all, I’m not at work, lol!

I was up a little before 7, showered, and had some cappuccino. I hung out online and watched the morning news shows, and then around 8:45 I left to walk over to Downtown Disney. I’d checked at WG Puck’s Express a couple of days ago to see what time they opened for breakfast, and was told 9am. Before I headed out I noticed the 4 swans were sitting at the edge of the lake – very pretty. I’d never seen them before this trip, but I’ve seen them swimming in the lake every time I’ve been out there.

I got to Puck’s a few minutes before they opened, so I went to see if the Ghirardelli ice cream place looked like it would be open as a cast member had stated the other day. The fence is still up, and I would think they’d take that down during the night before opening day, so I’m not optimistic it will open today.

I went back to Puck’s and ordered breakfast to eat outside. It was nice out there – slight breeze, not too terribly humid. I had the 3-cheese, tomato & basil omelet which came with garlic potatoes. Their 3 cheeses are mozzarella, parmesan & goat cheese – way more interesting than cheddar! It was huge, and it was absolutely delicious! I ate more than I normally would – more than half. It was just too good to leave, and my next planned “meal” wasn’t until dinner so what the heck!

After breakfast I walked back to Saratoga, paying attention to whether the path has streetlamps, and sure enough it does. Someone had asked, but I’d never paid attention before. The entire path will be lit at night, although it’ll be a little dimmer away from the resort where the lights are spaced a little further apart.

Back at the studio I saw the trash & towel service had already been done, which was great! I’d meant to call and have it done yesterday, since I’m checking out tomorrow morning, but no big deal. I changed into my swimsuit and headed down to the pool – so far there has been glimpses of sunlight but I’m not sure how long that will last. SB has an off day today, so we spent a while on the phone throughout the morning.

The quiet pool was wonderful, and it was mostly sunny during my stay. I got there about 10 and stayed until after 12:30. A duck was enjoying the pool, then got out and stood looking at me and quacking to me. I didn’t feel like going upstairs to get the rest of the pretzel, but if I’d brought it with me I would have shared it <g>. A lady on the other side saw him and had a bag of leftover bread (checking out today), so she took him off away from any other people and fed him. Once he was done, he plopped back in the pool and kept swimming around. It was never crowded with people, although several came and went after staying a short while.

Back in the studio I changed into gym clothes and about 12:45 walked over to the fitness center to use the treadmill for 30 minutes. Tomorrow I’ll go to my gym after work and use the equipment, then get back on my morning routine the next day. The gym was fairly busy, with everyone doing their own thing. It’s nice that this many people care about their health, too.

I took a treadmill and an older guy took the one next to mine. After about 15 minutes I noticed he wasn’t looking well, and had removed his feet from the moving part to catch his breath. I asked him if he was ok, thinking he might need me to get him something or call someone, but he seemed to know how to handle his situation. He started feeling better, and we chatted for the rest of the workout. I finished shortly before him, we said our goodbyes and I went outside and talked to SB on the phone while walking back to the studio. From the first 2 buildings in Congress Park, it’s a relatively short walk to the gym.

Once I got inside I took another nice shower and washed my hair. I was sweating a lot at the gym, and felt gross! The sun was still shining, but by 3pm it was completely cloudy and getting a little dark. By 4 it was fairly sunny – very strange day. After getting dressed I packed up what I could, and then finished the other half of the apple strudel. Don’t they say an apple strudel a day keeps the doctor away?? I know it’s something like that, and I always try to be the picture of healthy eating <g>.

I hung out in the studio watching General Hospital, and then at 4 walked back over to Downtown Disney. I’d toyed with the idea of dinner at Spoodles, but I have that booked next month when I’m staying at Boardwalk, so it made more sense to enjoy Puck’s Express again today. As I got to Puck’s I realized I couldn’t remember putting my resort id into my bag, and sure enough it wasn’t there. I had left it on the table in the room! I was using my Disney Rewards card to pay for dinner, so I was ok for the moment.

Puck’s wasn’t busy but there were 3-4 groups ahead of me in line at the only cash register open. I ordered the tortilla soup and a glass of the Riesling. The wine was a generous pour, and at $7.95 it seemed reasonable considering where I was. It was also very good – I liked it a lot, and will be back for more in July. The soup was also very good – it’s been a while since I had it, and I’m glad it hasn’t changed for the worse. Overall it was a terrific dinner!

I walked back to the resort and hopped on the first bus to ride to the main building. I had a short wait at the front desk, then quickly got my new resort id and had them settled the one charge on my account to the credit card. That way with a zero balance there won’t be a bill hanging on my door after I’ve left in the morning. I should be on the road around 4:30 am, which is before they deliver the express checkouts.

I headed back to the bus stop and saw the Epcot bus leaving before I could get there – drat! I sat down and continued reading the book I’d started this trip, and the next Epcot bus arrived in less than 20 minutes. SB called just before it arrived, so we only talked briefly since it’s hard to hear on those buses.

At Epcot I went straight back to World Showcase, and got to America as BJ Thomas was doing his first song of the 5:45 show. Like last night, it was excellent! When it ended I walked back to Norway and rode the Maelstrom with about a 10 minute wait, then returned to Germany and got a glass of the Madonna Kabinett. When I came outside it was raining slightly, so I put up the umbrella and headed back to America. It was 5-10 minutes before the 7pm show, and the uncovered section was empty. I found a seat in the 4th row under the cover, and managed to stay dry. This show was also excellent, and if I didn’t have to get up so early I would have considered staying for the final show at 8:15. He still needs a haircut, but he sounds great and seems like a very nice person. One of the things he said he’s happiest about is being married to his wife for 39 years – not many people in his business can say that!

It was still raining lightly, so I walked to France and picked up a chocolate chip cookie from the bakery, then went to Spaceship Earth for one last ride of this trip. Once that was done, I exited the park and found the Saratoga Springs bus sitting there for a change! Back in the studio I made a trip out to the car with some odds & ends, then updated the report and snacked on some of last night’s pretzel. The rest of the snacks will go home with me, and won’t go to waste!

Today ended up being a really good day. I enjoyed taking it easy this morning, loved the omelet at Puck’s, had a good workout at the gym, and enjoyed my Epcot time in the evening except for the rain. It’s been a wonderful 4 nights, and I can’t wait to get back for 5 nights in 25 days! Tomorrow I’ll hit the road early, to arrive at work before 8 (3 hours away). Thanks for reading!

TinaMouse
05-04-2008, 09:13 PM
So I was JUST going to bed as it has been a long, busy painting weekend, and I decide to pop in here to see if there's any new report.

Voila! There you are, my dear! How exciting to read another report on the back end of your recent cruise!

A few notes: 1. No dental work? Wow--that was a change in the usual itinerary! Good for you!! 2. Meeting someone who knew you by your famous reputation--Very cool...You're a rock star! 3. Apple strudel. MY FAVORITE treat at WDW. I HAVE to hit Sommerfest to have one each trip, and yes, they only gave me another plate to cover it. 4. Rude guys on the bus--How did you hold your tongue? I would've thrown a fit, but maybe not by myself. I would worry that they would follow me or something. How horrible. 5. Puck's Express--I love this place. Didn't know they were open for breakfast! Good to know. 6. There was something else, but I've gone and forgotten now. Thanks for my bedtime story!

Sue Holland
05-05-2008, 03:22 AM
Nope, no dental work this time - not til the 7/3 trip I think. This trip was preceded by a business trip ;-)

That apple strudel is excellent! The first time I got it "to go" they put it in a clear carryout container - guess that was 1-2 years ago. I'm sure 2 plates is so much safer, lol!

Puck's has been open for breakfast for a long time, and the food is outstanding. It's definitely worth a trip, but they don't open til 9. If you like french toast, they have a corn flake crusted version that's really yummy - but big enough for 2 people.

I was so stunned by the rude people on the bus, and they waaaaay outnumbered me (2 men, 2 wives, bunch of assorted kids). It would have been nice if the women would have just slapped them upside the head, but their wives were not sitting near them. It was strange - the 2 wives up front on the left, 1 guy midway back on the right, other guy in the back of the bus with most of the kids. Yet, they all had to chat by screaming across the bus.

Kel
05-05-2008, 07:24 AM
Great Trip report!

I have to ask though, what exactly IS the comedy warehouse?

EJ4Disney
05-05-2008, 08:01 AM
Wonderful as usual!! Thanks so much for the pictures on the cruise. I now have a face with your great reports.

You are beautiful - SB better hang on to you.

Thanks again,
Ellen

Fantasmicgal
05-05-2008, 08:36 AM
I always enjoy your trip reports Sue. Thanks for another good one:) Although it has made me late for work:eek:

arnoldvb
05-05-2008, 08:45 AM
Hi Sue,

Another enjoyable trip report. My wife (Helena) and I had a short overlap with your trip (April 20-27), and we were at The Ventures' concert that you sat in on. The opening number that you recognized was "Walk Don't Run." My trip report's basically done, but I'm waiting to finish it off with our return trip home on May 12. We're still in Florida visiting our daughter and granddaughter.

Thanks for again sharing your trip report.

Arnold

jillybeaner21
05-06-2008, 09:03 AM
Another fabulous trip report Sue!! I absolutely love reading your reports! You're the reason I decided to do a trip report for my upcoming trip in 2 weeks!

Eighty8Keys
05-06-2008, 12:26 PM
Hooray! Another Sue Holland trip report. I'm looking forward to my next few lunch hours happily engrossed in your lastest report. Thanks for taking the time to write them! As long as you keep writing, I'll keep reading.
Patty

relaaxedwheniamthere
05-06-2008, 01:46 PM
sue like you i do a lot of people watching . i had a solo trip mid april to see grass roots & the happening
& was ill :mad: for most of the trip so not much energy to do rides . really enjoy your reports

Big V
05-08-2008, 07:47 AM
Thanks for another great trip report Sue! :cool: Is there any way I can get your cruise trip report yet?
Scott

WDW heart
05-08-2008, 10:04 AM
Thanks for sharing, Sue! I always look forward to your trip reports! :)

jmb910
05-28-2008, 07:33 AM
Yeah! I was so excited to see your report when I came back to work! Your cruise one was also great! It took me my whole maternity leave to read it in between feedings :). Looking forward to more!

I also sent you a PM a while back. Did it go through?

Jennifer