PDA

View Full Version : Donna Sharick - June 1999 - Offsite DVC: Hilton Head Resort & WDW: Old Key West



Trip Reports
02-22-2007, 01:48 PM
Donna Sharick - June 1999 - Offsite DVC: Hilton Head Resort & WDW: Old Key West

Time of Year: Summer
Travel Method: Personal Car
Resort: Disney's Hilton Head Resort, OKWR
Accommodations
Ages Represented in Group: Pre-School, Teen, Adult
WDW Experience Represented in Group: Veteran, DVC Member
Comments: Donna had a wonderful trip with her family that was punctuated with the surprise arrival at WDW of several of her on-line friends for her 40th birthday! This is a nicely written report, detailed and play-by-play in style that I'm sure you'll enjoy reading.


Donna Sharick -- June 1999 -- Disney's Hilton Head Resort & Walt Disney World (OKWR)

June 12-20, 1999

Cast of Characters:

Donna (me) - turning 40 on this trip (what a blast!)
Joe (husband) - age 45 and loves Disney more each trip
Justin - age 14 (turns 14 at Hilton Head on 6-14)
Jacob - age 4 - my little disney daredevil
The idea behind this trip was Justin wanted to celebrate his birthday at Hilton Head on June 14, 1999 and I wanted to turn 40 at WDW so it would lessen the blow, LOL. So, I carefully planned the dates and prayed I would get a 1 br at Hilton Head for mid-June at my 7 mos. window. I called exactly 7 mos. out at 9 o'clock and got my 1 br. I was told by MS that had I called 1/2 hour later, that 1 br would not be mine to have! I planned a cash night for the Saturday of our stay to save points. More on that later. So it worked out for Hilton Head and all I had to do was add the rest of the stay at OKW in a 1 br which I knew would not be a problem. The only other new thing for this trip was our new Plymouth Grand Voyager and the TV/VCR combo that Dottie recommended. Talk about a Godsend! So anyways, on with the show:

Day 0 - June 11, 1999

I had to work 1/2 day to get some training in during the morning. I was going to leave around 11:30 but the training finished up early and around 10:30 my boss told me to hit the road cause he KNEW I had alot to do! Thanks Gerry! I went home and finished packing, took the dogs to the kennels and we left PA around 2:45 pm. We had planned to drive as long as possible and stop whenever and wherever we thought we needed to. We had no prior reservations. The drive was uneventful except for the swarms of locusts (17-year cicadas) that we hit in West Virginia. They were just everywhere; flying right in to us, hitting the windshield. We actually found ourself ducking as they were coming at us. It started to get really funny actually. It really is tough to be a bug if you're a 17 year locust, LOL. At one point, the windshield was so smeared with them, Joe had to stop and clean the windshield and literally pull them out of the radiator. Not an easy task since they're 1-2 inches long and very hard! Well, we lived through that and made our way to a Hardees for something to eat. Around Wytheville, VA, Joe said it might be a good time to stop for the night. We pulled in to a Holiday Inn - $90 plus tax. Nope, that's way too much for one night in Hicksville, USA. Went across the street to a Days Inn and it was $60 plus tax and right next to a Shoneys. Perfect. Only problem was, they only had one room left and it was smoking. Yuck. I'm not THAT tired! She said she'd let me inspect the room to be sure it did not smell. I took the cardkey and we checked it out. The only evidence of smoking was an overturned ashtray on the table (empty, LOL). I smelled the bedspread and blankets and they smelled fresh. The room was really nice and I would never have known it was smoking had she not said anything. I went back down and said we'd take it. We only had to take in my freedom bag (QVC, love it) and our overnight bag.

Day 1 - June 12, 1999 - Arrival at Hilton Head

The next morning, we went over to the Shoneys for breakfast. Pretty good buffet there. About 9, we set out for Hilton Head figuring on arriving at HH just around check in time. I remember passing the Disney outlet store and, unfortunately, that was the first and last time I saw it. Joe said we'd hit it on the way off the island on the way to OKW but we forgot :-(. (I think he "conveniently" forgot, LOL). Anyways, we pulled in to Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort about 3:30 - of course, there are no parking spaces so Joe lets me off to go check-in. Gotta love that pooh and tigger topiary in the front. I looked a little closer and realized, it's not real. Kind of like artificial christmas tree pine, LOL. There was NO line at check in and I was greeted warmly, as usual. No welcome home at the gate though :-(. I inquired about ANY possible discounts on my cash night, whether it be CM or DVC discounts. No, sorry, she said. But, the good news is, our room is ready! YEH! I paid cash for the Saturday night $272 - yikes. Justin hung around long enough to get the room number - 1114 - in the main lodge building - and he took off to get his crab net and start crabbing. Remind me to thank him later for helping us unload the car, LOL. Our room was just around the corner from check in and to the right before you go outside. We had an inside entry door. I put the key in and go to walk in and there is a man sitting there fixing the vacuum cleaner. I said, oops sorry, I was told the room was ready. He said they always "pull" this on him. He then called somewhere (I assume the front desk) and said, what did I tell you about sending guests to the room before i give you the ok!" I told him to take his time cause I had to find my husband. I left to find Joe (he was still looking for a parking space, LOL). I directed him to the spaces under the building. They are much larger for vans and the cars stay cooler down there in the shade. There are steps towards the back of the garage that lead right up to the steps that lead to the back of the check-in area. Except for having to climb the steps, it was very convenient. By the time we got up there, the vacuum man was gone. This is when I noticed this was a handicap room. The only thing noticeable was the lower light switches and lower peephole on the door. I hate when they give non-handicap persons a handicap room; I guess they know what they're doing. I just don't want to be using a room that might really be needed by someone it was intended for. I thought the shower would be handicap accessible too, but it wasn't. However, we DID have an absolutely HUGE porch. About double the size of a 2 br. The extra space, I assume, was for wheelchairs to be able to use the porch. It was great, but we'd never need or use all that space. I noticed this room was a lock-off to a studio. It also has a marsh view which is what I requested (along with non-smoking). We unloaded our food that we brought with us and put everything away. As we were sitting there relaxing, we hear a loud buzz. It was hard to tell where it was coming from. Seemed like towards the kitchen, yet out in the hall too. I went outside to look and sure enough, our neighbor in the studio next to us was using the handicap buzzer (our room did not have one) to tell his wife to open the door. He apologized and said his hands were full and he won't make a habit of it. He then realized his room was handicap too and that it also rang in our room! We all kind of laughed about it.

We left a note for Justin that we were going over to Piggily Wiggily in Shelter Cover to pick up some groceries. Maybe it's cause Joe does most of the grocery shopping but I don't think PW's prices are really that bad. We had a coupon from the Island Events book you can get in the lobby, for a free liter of coke if you spend $10 or more so we used that. The store was quite crowded being a Saturday. We came home and put the stuff away. Joe and Jake decided to go take a swim and I said supper would be ready when they got back. I told them to be back by 7. Menu for tonight - spaghettI - garlic bread. I had planned on cooking each night at hilton head since we had alot of eating out planned at WDW. Everyone always says how can you cook on vacation but I do the opposite actually; we eat out alot at home and cook on vacation, LOL. Anyways, before I started dinner, I went out on the porch and heard the neighbors over there. We got to talking about DVC and they said they were thinking about it. I told them how we love Disney and Hilton Head and it was the perfect thing for our family to do. They had a young son, maybe 5 yrs. old. I was talking to them for so long that I didn't realize I hadn't started dinner yet!

That night, going on at the resort, was the family barbecue. It is about $12.95 per person/adult. We did it last year and it was ok but I thought it was alot for all that you got. After our dinner, which was delicious by the way, we walked down to the mercantile/pool area. A campfire was going on. There were no seats left but Jake kind of hung around and was singing some of the songs. I couldn't help but noticed the beautiful pink/orange sunset off to the west. it was just gorgeous. It was just laying on the edge of the water, it seemed. We walked down the pier which starts off to the right of the campfire and got Justin. We all walked back through the resort, about a 5-10 minute walk at a leisurely pace, back to our room. I made Justin change since he smelled, well, crabby, LOL. We walked on over to Shelter Cove which is a bridge cross-over away practically from our door step. I thought the place would be hopping on a Saturday night but it was dead. It was getting late - 9:30 - and the shops were closing. Bummer - there is some great little shopping places here. We all got an ice-cream. The boys found a playground but the area wasn't very well lit and made me nervous cause this was a big climb-on type contraption and I was afraid Jake would fall. They were sitting on a tire that had chains and were spinning really fast so Jake could hardly walk when he got off. They were giggling their little red heads off, LOL. We walked back over to the resort and went up to Big Murgie's Den. Since it was right around the corner from our room, we decided to spend the evening in there for awhile. We had the entire place to ourselves! Justin and Joe played pool for awhile, Jake played checkers (with himself, LOL) and I watched the Disney DVC channel. I curled up on the big couch and pulled down the afghan and got cozy! Some people came in, looked around and left. I guess they figured we had dibs on the room tonight, LOL! It is the most comfy cozy room and incredibly inviting. I can only imagine when that fireplace is roaring with a warm crackling fire! After about 45 minutes there, we walked - about 10 steps - back to our room. Bed at 11 - have to be at church tomorrow for 9:30. I absolutely LOVE this place!

Day 2 - June 13, 1999 - Hilton Head

I got up around 6:45 a.m. This is actually sleeping in for me since I get up for work everyday at 5. I am a morning person, too, which helps. I made breakfast for the gang, which consisted of scrambled eggs (lots of butter, LOL), english muffins and OJ. Jake was sleeping really long but he was just getting over a bout with an intestinal flu so I figured he needed the rest. I was just glad he felt better by the time we left for this vacation. He eventually wandered out in to the living room and was "starving"! He had some Lucky Charms (his favorite) and some toast. I cleaned up (threw everything in the dishwasher) and we left for church. Joe and I feel it is important that the kids know that even though WE are on vacation, we do not take a vacation from church. So no matter where we go, if it falls on a Sunday, we find a church. We have a Catholic church we go to while in Hilton Head, so we went to the same one. It is Holy Family Catholic Church just near Sea Pines Circle at the end of the island. This is a very large and beautiful church. We got there early and I honestly never thought this church would fill up but it did. It says come appropriately attired but alot of people were in shorts and sandals. It really doesn't matter what you where in my opinion, at least you are there. It started at 9:45 so we were a little early since we thought it started at 9:30. No problem there, we just got a better parking place! By the time we got out it was almost 11 o'clock. We went back to the room and I made a pizza for lunch. Then we all changed in to our swimsuits, coated up with sunscreen and walked on over to the main pool (the ONLY pool at the resort). The pool wasn't too crowded but there were no tables available - there are only 6 covered tables to begin with. I DID find an empty chair over by the kiddie pool which worked for me. Jake was having fun and brought a bunch of toys with him to the pool. Mostly squirt guns; the kids were having fun with them. Jake's always been good about sharing his toys with strangers and this was no exception. I did notice he seemed a little more watchful of how far the other kids took his toys this year, LOL. I was glad that Justin joined us instead of going crabbing. We had alot of fun going down the slide and then playing volleyball with a beachball. Joe went and signed he and Justin up for shark fishing the next day. It was $46 for members. He was going to golf but thought that Justin would get alot more out of them doing this together than Joe going by himself golfing. It was from 8-11 a.m. and there were openings the very next day so he took them. They opened a new snack shack type of place called Tide Me Over. Joe noticed they were selling crab meat sandwich's so he got one of those. I had brought chips and some cookies from the room so Jake and I snacked on those along with some iced tea.Justin and I decided to play some ping pong while Joe watched Jake. I beat Justin 2 games out of 2! I declared myself the new reigning DVC champ! Justin was embarrassed I think, LOL. About 3 o'clock or so, we headed back to the room. You can only take so much of that direct sun. I could feel it burning me even though I had sunscreen on. Tonight's menu consisted of hamburgers, hotdogs, corn on the cob and baked beans. Everything was really good. It seems EVERYthing tastes better down here, I swear! After dinner, we sat around for awhile and just relaxed. It is SOooooo easy to do that here. I guess we relaxed a little TOO much cause we ended up falling asleep for awhile. When we woke up, Justin wanted to go miniature golfing but I didn't feel like doing that since I didn't think Jake would be patient enough to walk the course and he seems to swing a golf club even though it's a putter so i thought he and I could do the playground for awhile when he woke up. Joe and Justin weren't gone that long and Justin won a free game from getting a hole in one! Jake ended up sleeping longer than I expected. He finally woke up and we walked over to Broad Creek Mercantile, stopping at the playground for a little while. A little marsh bunny (no tail) came right up to us, almost within reach but then it ran away. We then walked over to the shuffleboard and Jake picked up a game with some other kids (who also didn't know what they were doing, LOL). There's a hammock right there next to the shuffleboard and I laid down in it for awhile. Jake joined me and then he got out and pushed me for awhile. aaaahhh, the life; having your kid push YOU in a hammock. It was tied between two HUGE live oak trees. Those hammocks always feel like they won't hold you, but they do. It was another gorgeous night at Hilton Head. I just so much enjoy those sunsets on the water every night. Tonight was another pink and blue swirly sky. On our walk back through the resort, we ran in to our neighbors from the studio. They were having a great time. I was glad to hear that, but I knew they would!

When I got back to the room, I just HAD to get in the jacuzzI for awhile. I put on my suit since you really have NO privacy with a 4 year old running around! LOL! Jake wanted to try it but said the water was too hot. I kind of turned the jets on a little too soon and water sprayed everywhere! It was so loud and funny. My ooohs and aaaaahhhhs must have been contagious cause next thing i know, Joe says he wants to come in too. We sat in there for awhile just soaking it up, literally, and I had been in for about 15 minutes and didn't want to shrivel up too much, LOL, so I left Joe in there to soak his weary bones, LOL. Lights out at 11 tonight. I slept like a baby from being in the hot tub. I have noticed, however, the king size bed seems to slope on both edges. Joe said he noticed it too. Still very comfortable though. Stay tuned for Day 3, the fun has just begun! LOL!

Day 3 - June 14, 1999 - Hilton Head (last day)

Today is Justin's 14th birthday! Joe picked up a cake for him last night over at Piggily Wiggily and had Happy 14th Birthday Justin put on it. We tried to hide it but there wasn't much in our fridge, so that was kind of hard to do! I got up around 6:30 cause I knew they'd be wanting a good breakfast before heading out to catch those sharks. I made some waffles for Justin since those are his favorite and it IS his birthday. They had to be at Broad Creek Mercantile by 7:50. I was hoping to make it over to the Grand Villa (2822) for a meet and greet coffee/tea session with the DVC people. I really only wanted to see the GV again. It started at 8:30 and was till 10 a.m. I got the older "boys" off for their day and then I showered and walked with Jake over to the GV. It's way over on the other side, just past the pool. The door was open so we just walked in. They had some juices, coffee and tea. Jim, who works at the resort was talking to other guests. I couldn't help but over hear him talking about DVC and how flexible it was and how he, himself, was a member. He is a retired NY police officer and now lives in SC and takes alot of weekends off at OKW.I enjoyed talking DVC/Disney and how we manipulate our points and talking about how we've made it work for us and how we love OKW and HH so much.He said, in his opinion, Disney lovers are cut from a special mold, in other words, touched by the magic. Then Jim mentioned that they should work for their local Disney Store and they could get all those benefits including discounts on DVC. Well, of COURSE, I had to tell him how that is just what I am doing & how much I enjoy it. I told him all about our message boards and how we all meet each other and have made some great friendships out of it all. He just thought this was great. He even joked that they could use me at the resort to help with DVC. Hey, no problem! LOL! I got his email address and I promised to send him the link to darla's planner. He said his wife would LOVE that! I videotaped around the GV for awhile, said my goodbyes and then walked over to the Mercantile. Jake wanted a chocolate LOLlipop so I bought that for him. We walked back to Big Murgie's Den. I watched Andy Griffith for awhile and Jake decided to play pool. I thought it was ok since no one else was waiting to play. Pretty soon, some other kids came in and they were showing Jake how to shoot pool. He seemed to prefer HIS way, which is just hitting the ball closest to him, LOL. I must've been quite a sight sitting there with my box of Vanilla Wafers watching Andy Griffith! Every once in awhile, i'd give Jake one, LOL. We went back to the room after awhile and Joe and Justin were just getting in from their shark excursion. Neither one of them caught anything but there were others on the boat (about 6 total) who DID catch some. I noticed Joe had blood all over his good Nike golf shirt (why he wore that, i'll never know). Here, what happened was, he was putting a hook through squid and it squirted blood out at him. YUCK! We washed it right away and it came out. I noticed Justin just laying on the couch and he said he didn't feel too good. oh no, not a repeat of our 1997 trip. You may remember, he was VERY sick during that trip and we ended up spending an entire day in the medical center there. It seems when he's around raw seafood, this happens every time. He did not have a fever but felt sick to his stomach. We had planned on going over to the beach but Justin just wanted to sleep. He insisted we still go over to the beach without him. So we all got ready and went over around 11 or so. The beach and beach house were not crowded at all. I got a table in the shade at the beach house where I could watch Jake easily. He was playing in the area where they have these big beach balls and water squirts up around them periodically. He really liked these and was laughing really hard when the water surprised him. I called Justin and he said he still did not feel up to getting off that couch. We went down to the ocean (tide was out) and stayed there only a short time. I videoed Jake walking in and that was about it! We did bring our beach umbrella but decided to spend more time up at the pool. The ocean water was VERY warm however. Jake wanted to go back in the big pool. There's no shallow there for him, but he liked to walk on the steps and along the edge. He was telling everyone his name which I thought was cute. He made alot of friends this way. He passed out his squirt guns and they were having fun. Joe went and got us some really good smoothies. I think mine was banana. I didn't want it with alcohol but he must not have heard me. Could barely taste it anyways. As long as it's cold, I don't care WHAT is in it. We finally talked Jake out of the pool and went back to the resort. We all took some well-needed naps. Got up and showed - again - and got ready to take Justin out to the restaurant of his choice. He said he wanted to go to a Damon's and we could have sworn we saw one on the way on to the island. He wanted ribs but he was white as a sheet so I wasn't so sure he was up to this. When we got in the van, he reclined his seat and I thought, nope, this isn't going to happen. We rode for about 1/2 hr and still didn't find Damon's. Me, Joe and Jake were starving. I asked Justin if he really felt up to this dinner and he said, no, mom, not really but I don't want to ruin your evening. Then he said he thought he'd feel better once we got to disney world. He wanted us to go eat and just drop him off at the resort. No way was I doing that. so we all went back and since I had planned this evening to eat out, i didn't have much on hand to make. I threw together some macaronI and cheese and had some hotdogs on buns. It was no where near what I had in mind, but Justin said he could go for some macncheese. At least he would eat SOMEthing. So much for his birthday cake. Well, we sang to him anyways, had candles but no matches (lol). We all had cake except Justin. Well, there's no use in perfectly good cake going to waste, now, is there!

Before going to bed, I happen to come across my confirmation from MS on our cash night cost of $245 plus tax. Then I looked at my receipt and noticed I was charged $271.95. I went out to ask the front desk what the difference was since it seemed like alot for tax. I was told that the tax went up to 11%. The numbers added up, I just wanted to confirm it. But a peculiar thing happened as I waited to ask about this. In front of me was a man who just came from Sea Pines Plantation. He was saying how he was unhappy with his accommodations there and was asking did Disney's resort have any vacancies at all? The CM told him, yes, we have a 2 BR available and the rate is $210. I thought maybe I heard him wrong. The man said he would go talk to his wife and be back. So then it's my turn. I first asked about the cash rate and tax amount and that was fine. Then, I asked why was that person just quoted $210 for a 2 BR when I am paying $272 for a 1 br? He said, well, we DO have a room available and the rate is lower so that it won't go empty for the night. hmmmm.....ok, so I called 7 mos. ago for MY reservation, I am a returning guest here, a DVC member owning points at HH, yet this stranger who just walked in off the street, gets this great discounted rate? He said, yes, I know it is not fair but this is a business and it's how we run it to increase revenue. He also said my reservation guaranteed me my room would be here when I arrived and people that do not have reservations may pay less but they take that chance of no availability. I understand that, I told him, but it is not my fault the room is empty. I should be entitled to the same rate. Especially since I specifically asked at check-in if there were ANY discounts available for my cash night and was told NO. Don't get me wrong, this CM was VERY nice and apologetic and I was very nice but persistent with him. Still, I was getting nowhere. It was 9 o'clock at night and there was no manager on duty. I thanked him for discussing it with me. I went back to the room, lights out at 10:30. Stay tuned for more to come on THAT story.

Day 4 - June 15, 1999 - Hilton Head and OKW

Woke up to another glorious sunny day at Hilton Head. I haven't mentioned the weather but every single day is sunny and no/low humidity. Gotta love that! Anyways, I made breakfast with what was left, used up the eggs, waffles, milk and juice. Justin just had toast till I was sure he was feeling better. He said he felt much better. YES! I got showered first and finished packing. I wanted to get to that manager at the front desk first thing! LOL! I went out and a front desk CM was there and I simply asked for the manager. A nice (not to mention handsome) guy came out, Tim, I think his name was. He looked like an Osmond Brother (ok, so now you REALLY know i'm 40, LOL). I explained to him what happened the night before and he was nodding and agreeing with me that it sure didn't seem fair and yes, members deserve SOME type of discount no matter what time of year it was. He suggested I take it to my DVC rep (yeh right!). I said, maybe I will, but that doesn't help me now. I honestly felt like I was going nowhere with him. He kept agreeing with me (i hate that!) but next thing I knew he called up my account and clicked the keys a few times and he said, how about I give you the off season rate? I said, what is that? He said $185. It would be a difference of $60 including the tax. I said thank you SO much, I really appreciate it and I thanked him for listening to me and be sympathetic to the situation. I told him i realized he was under no obligation to do a thing but I appreciate him trying to please a guest. He said that is Disney's main objective (as I well know). So, I left there a very happy Hilton Head camper! We pulled out for OKW about 9:45 a.m. with just a short stop at Shelter Cove so Justin could run in and buy his grandmother and grandfather something he had seen the other night. We stopped at an ATM to get some more cash, got gassed up and hit I-95 SOUTH! It felt great to be going South on 95 and not north. We weren't on there too long before Joe and Justin noticed a golfball/fireworks superstore. So we HAD to stop there and Joe bought a dozen balls and Justin bought some fireworks. Let me just say, he and his grandfather do fireworks. Justin is not allowed to light them and they both wear safety glasses. I would not normally condone doing fireworks and I STILL worry even though they both take precautions. So this ends the Hilton Head portion of our trip. Just a few afterthoughts about Hilton Head:

I really didn't mind being so far from the main area of the resort. I did miss listening to my disney music on the porch from the rockers. I didn't realize it until I was sitting around the pool and heard the music coming from the trees. It seems like we really didn't do too much there this time. I guess cause it was a shorter period of time than normal. The LOS bike rental is $40 for members or $14 a day.Also, I was disappointed to learn that the CM rate for recreation is the same as the member rate. It just didn't seem worth it or a very good deal for just these few days. Justin and Joe said the shark excursion was ok but it was alot of money and it would have been more fun had they caught something! The CMs at Hilton Head are still great to interact with. Of the 3 DVC resorts i've been too, they are the friendliest here. We didn't stay long enough for the fireworks which were going to happen the day we left. That's every Tuesday night and they are really good fireworks (well, what do you expect from Disney). Just to give you an idea of the other activities available: Bull Island Crabbing Excursion - $36 member/$40 guest Dynamic Dolphin Discovery - $21 member/$25 guest Kayaking Excursion - $28 adult-$14 child members $35 adult-$17.50 child/guests Daufuskie Island Beach Combing - $46 member/$50 guest Schooner Welcome Cruise - $25 all guests (not thru disney)

We have done all but the Bull Island Crabbing and DaufuskI Island Beach Combing. Maybe we'll try those in the future. Some other things going on at the resort include, guided nature walks, The Savannah Expedition, Starry Nights (stargazing), campfires (you toast marshmallows and make s'mores), beachside trail ride, disney discovery club, gyotaku, sebastian's sea shells, intro to animation and cel painting, teen minI golf, sweet goodnights (an evening of bedtime storytelling in big murgie's den topped off with cookies and milk - you can wear your PJ's!, Shadow's doggone adventure, Kid's night out at the fun center, face painting, family kite making and flying, beach house pool games, all-american cookout, longview cooking club in the GV with Matilda, teen pool tournament, Behind the Ears tour of DHHIR, Beach Prints, member social, Kid's night out, Picnic Under the Oaks (this is free), Goofy Bingo, Pinckney Birding and Gator Adventure, Unbirthday Party, Family Scavenger Hunt.

As you can see, you need ALOT of time to do all of these things. Some have fees and some are free. Some require reservations and some don't. If anyone has any questions, feel free to email me for more details. You have to stay there to really get the full experience of this resort. If this resort were ALL that DVC had to offer, I would still invest in DVC. It was tough to leave but knowing i was heading to OKW made it ALOT easier to do.

OK, I think I left you off as we were flying eerrrrr... driving down I-95. I was starting to see alot of, let's say, lifeless armadillos along the highway. Poor things, they're so slow, they don't stand a chance on I-95. We ended up going through a few rainstorms here and there. When we got to Jacksonville, we had to wait for a drawbridge to go down - pretty cool, never saw that before. I thought we would NEVER hit I-4, but we finally did. I started to see those familier billboards and hotels. We went past Islands of Adventure and it looks pretty neat. It's on to Disney for us though! We finally pulled off on to 26B exit and pulled in to the OKW gate at 3:30. No welcome home :-(. Joe dropped me off while I ran in to check in. WOW, it feels SO incredibly good to get there and walk in! I just love that feeling! Lo and behold, NO line!! I chatted with the greeter for a second and made my way to the next available CM. I had someone who was training but she was very nice. I would have been very nervous if I were her because she had another CM looking right over her shoulder the whole time. I DID get a little nervous when she asked me how was I going to pay for my stay? Um........points? OH yes - she said. Then her trainer showed her how to tell on the screen whether it was points or cash. Wheeewwwww, that was close. A couple nights on cash in a 1 br in June would wipe out a good deal of my spending money! LOL! I asked her if my room was ready and it was - 4711. I ran back to the car to tell Joe where we were. We found it quickly, parked even quicker and ran in. It was gorgeous as usual! The view was finally a golf view, although it was a raised green and we were on the bottom floor. the 2nd floor would have been much better - but who's complaining! We unloaded the car and were back in the van on our way to Chef Mickey's by 4:30. I had PS for 5:30. We always do Chef Mickey's as our first meal there. I think it really sets the mood for the vacation. This dinner was no exception. We bussed to MK and monorailed to Contemporary. None of us felt like getting back in that van for awhile. We got there pretty early - bus wait was less than 10 minutes. There was already a long line at check in for dinner so I jumped in it. We ended up talking with another couple in front of us and we all decided that Chef Mickeys should be where the kids go and the Concourse Steakhouse is where the parents go! LOL! The line moved pretty fast and before we knew it, we were getting our picture taken in front of the big plate. Immediately after the picture, we were seated and had our food by 5:30 which was exactly our PS time. Jake was taking this all in. As soon as we got to our table, he took his napkin and started swinging it over his head. We weren't in the main room this time but just off to the left of the buffet. We had Chip and Dale when the music started. It was great fun as usual. We were all starving but Joe was saying his "stomach was starting to bother him". Oh no. He took food but didn't finish it all. Jake ate really good even though he was practically spinning his neck 360 degrees to see the characters. All of them came to our table. I videoed, Joe took regular pictures. We didn't have a very good server/CM at this table. She never came back to fill up our drinks. We had to keep looking for her. After about 45 minutes, someone brought our picture to our table - $26.50 for the package! That included 2 large pictures, 2 magnets. Yikes -- but it was a good picture of us as a family and afterall, we ARE on vacation. No CM discount, we bought it. Although, I could have easily walked out of there without paying! I had to go searching for the person to pay him. When they drop it off for your approval, they say they will be back. Well, 20 mins. later, he's still not back and we're anxious to go to MK. I found him easily and gave him our money and we left for MK. Jake wanted to ride the monorail so we decided to take the whole trip around. Of course, it starts pouring once we're on it. Sure enough, when we get to MK, sun is out and rain stopped. We headed straight for Pirates with about a 2 minute wait. It was so cute, this is Jake's favorite ride and I looked over at him, and there he is, swinging his arm like a pirate as he was singing YO HO YO HO - a pirates life for me (last year, he said pirates WIFE for me! ). After that, we headed over to Splash. Jake wouldn't ride this in october but he SWORE he would ride it this trip. Sure enough, they measured him and he never hesitated a bit. There was a 35 minute wait. I had never really seen the queu filled this much but who cares - the park was open till 11. It was a great ride and Jake loved it! he kept trying to stand up to see everything but I had to keep pulling him down. Going down the big hill, he shut his eyes and held on for dear life. we didn't get too wet. As we were exiting our boat, they made an announcement that the ride was shut down till further notice due to inclement weather. Imagine waiting all that time and you're about to board and you hear that! We headed over to Country Bears and got in the very next show. It was looking like rain any second and we figured we could visit the bears for awhile. This show wasn't as good as others i've seen them do but it's still really cute. Jake gave it a big thumbs up! Coming out of that, we heard thunder and saw lightning. We hung out at the shooting gallery for awhile. I handed out quarters left and right. Some nice kid saw Jake just standing there and let him use HIS money to shoot HIS gun. I thought that was really nice. We made a run for it over to Haunted Mansion which was incredibly spooky in a real life storm. You literally could not tell Haunted Mansion lightning and thunder from mother nature's lightning and thunder. We made it in with about a 5 minute wait. I told Jake I was really scared of this <g> but he told me not to be afraid and that it only LOOKED real. LOL. When we came out of HM, it was raining cats and dogs! It was an absolute torrential downpour! A haunted mansion CM came out a side door and asked if we'd like to ride again or go out in that rain. Of course we'll ride again! Well, she took everyone right up to us and told us to wait til she returns. It was about 10 minutes and she didn't come back so we ventured out in the rain. It was still warm so it felt really good. We checked out the new pooh ride but the line looked really long. Jake saw the carousel so we headed over there and walked right on to it. We all got on our own horses. This was truly a disney classic moment for us. Here I was with my family, riding Cinderella's Carousel at WDW. We were all smiles as we went around and around. Even Justin, who at 14, i'm sure would rather be riding thrill rides, enjoyed it. I taped a few rotations so i'd have it on video. Usually, we never bother with the carousel, but there's something about having a 4 year old with you that makes you want to try rides and see them thru HIS eyes. It was something I was really looking forward to and each ride was a perfect example of a child's pure joy and delight. Of course, the ride was way too short! We then walked past the tea cups - one of these days we are going to ride them! We headed over to Buzz - 15 minute wait. I swear I got another broken gun AGAIN <g>. My score was a lowly 15,500. Justin had the highest of course. Jake asked me what his score was and I said zero thousand and he goes, wow, mom, that sure is alot! LOL! As we exited Buzz, the fireworks were just starting even though it was raining pretty steadily. We watched them for awhile - they're always great in my eyes.We then headed down mainstreet in a light drizzle. How beautiful it is all lit up. I don't care how many times i see mainstreet and the castle, it still takes my breath away each time. I kept saying out loud, I just love this place SO much! We headed out to the bus stop and there was one waiting- yeh! He had the air on and it was pretty chilly in there. We only scratched the surface of the MK tonight but it was a perfect start to our trip and I always have to do MK on our first day there. When I got back, there was a message from darla and even though it was 11, I called her anyways. We went over what we did that day and she told me about rich's daughter breaking her arm. :-(. I am SO out of touch without a laptop! We were all pretty tired but also excited to get up and start our first full day at WDW. Lights out at 11.

Day 5 - June 16, 1999 - OKW

Today was scheduled to be our AK day. I had hoped to get it all covered by early afternoon and maybe do world showcase or epcot later in the day. I got up around 7 to get some breakfast together and realized we were out of milk. Joe got up and was feeling worse and didn't sleep much all night. He didn't want to miss going to AK though. We were all out by 8:30 and at the bus stop; waited about 10 minutes and along came our AK/Blizzard Beach bus. He asked if anyone was going to BB and no one spoke up so he said he would go to AK first. He gave us a little tour of the property along the way. Definitely one of the better and nicer bus drivers this trip so far. As soon as we got in there, I went over to get my free stroller (CM perk). You just show your ID and they hand you a NO REFUND card and you're off! This park was really crowded and bunches of people seemed to be everywhere and it was hard to get through them all. This park throws me off still anyways and I am constantly heading the wrong direction til Justin corrects me. Everyone seemed to be going left once we hit the other side of the bridge, so we went right. I know we should have done the SafarI first but the right was practically deserted. We headed over towards Countdown to Extinction. Joe didn't want to ride and Jake isn't big enough (or he would have) so Justin and I got in line. Joe headed for the dino dig area and playground with Jake. We had about a 30 minute wait. It was scorching hot in the outside wait area but soon we were in the a/c and everyone was happy. the 30 minutes seemed to really go fast in here. I guess cause it was nice and cool. I ended up next to a little boy and it was his very first time on the ride. I told him I thought he was pretty brave for riding and he smiled. He was very proud of himself for having made it through. We checked the picture at the end but did not buy it. We met up with Joe at the playground and he was sitting in front of a HUGE fan, LOL. Jake was having fun and I knew it would be a challenge to get him out of here. This worked out well though cause we got 2 things done at one time. Our only objective today was to hit our favorites and/or highlights of the park since we wanted to go to Rainforest for lunch before the crowd hits. Since the others had not seen Asia (I had seen it during AP preview in March), we headed over there. Jake got measured for Kali. I knew he was tall enough but he loves them telling him he is BIG enough. They put a blue stamp on his hand and he was beaming with pride! only problem was, it was hot and the blue ink got everywhere on him, face, neck, clothes, you name it. We waited in line no more than 20 minutes and we were off! Since it was so hot, we WANTED to get wet; i'd say we got damp but not soaking wet. The elephants trunks got us pretty good at the end, otherwise I would have been dry. Jake gave it a BIG thumbs up. He had fallen while walking through the queu and had a scrape on his leg and had forgotten all about that when this ride was over. We stopped at one of the little stands for some cold water and a pretzel. We then headed over to the Maharajah Jungle Trek. The tigers were really hard to see since it was so warm and they were laying up against the cool cement walls. Not active in the least but it was well in to the 90s and who is! It was pushing 11:30, so we headed over towards Rainforest (Justin had to point me in the right direction, LOL). We had about a 20 minute wait so we checked out the gift shop. When our name was called, I checked in at the podium and inquired about CM discounts. The person said only on friday, saturdays and sundays but sometimes your waiter will give it to you any day, it depends. hmm......that's a new one on me. So after we were seated (in the elephant room), I asked our waitress and she said, no, that's only on Fridays, saturdays and sundays and she doesn't know why he would have said it was up to the waitress. Oh well, never hurts to ask. I then asked about AP discounts but she said, no that is only before 10 and after 7. Guess I just didn't time this one right, LOL. Joe and I got the caribbe chicken (he ate one bite), Justin got the biminI wings and Jake got the pizza. Too bad Joe wasn't feeling well cause it was all very good.

After eating we all wanted to do the safarI ride. I hadn't mentioned this before, but my AP has yet to work on this trip. It did not work in March either (I had up to 3 new AP's isSued in march). The other 3 APs always worked but mine would not for some reason. I had to carry ID with me at each park entry to prove I was that person. No one can figure out why it's not working since it is kept with the others in it's own zippered compartment in my purse with nothing else in there. It would make sense that the others would also NOT work but they were working. Anyways, when we re-entered AK after lunch, my AP worked! YEH! What's strange is, it did NOT work upon the original entry to AK that morning. go figure!

We walked in to Harambe to get in line for the safari. yikes, a 1 hr wait. It seemed to move fast; Jake fell asleep in line. We left him in the stroller til the point that you have to give up the stroller. Then Joe had to carry him the rest of the way. He woke up just in time to get on the ride. We saw lots of animals. The closest ones were the giraffes eating from the trees. I'm not crazy about the poacher part; it was ok on my very first safari ride but is getting old now. It's just so staged and it's obvious. However, i guess there's always a first time rider on this so it's new to SOMEone. We had the very first row of seats behind the driver (perfect for taping) but our driver was not really in to it. he was OK, just not overly in to this. It was probably his 100th ride of the day and it was very very hot.

After this, we headed over to Tough to Be a Bug. We almost went right in, but were the cut-off till the next show. It's nice and cool in there so we didn't mind waiting. This is where a very un-disney-like thing happened. When they let us in, I told the others, don't rush to the door. Our entry door brought us right in to the front row area. It appeared there would be enough seats so we kept on filing in. When everyone filled in, we were one seat short for the four of us. I looked a little further back and the middle row was just about empty. We made our way up there and in the process, Joe got about 6 people behind me. I walked in to the row, looked behind me and figured I better wait for him. I let a few go in front of me and there were people that actually thanked me for letting them go first. Then, all of a sudden, this guy says to me, you have to sit down there lady, you can't wait for the perfect seat! I said, i'm not, I am waiting for my husband just a few back. He said SURE YOU ARE! So everyone before me had their seat, I sat down, put Jake down, then Justin sat down and Joe was on his way to sit beside Justin and this guy would not budge! Joe is very unconfrontational (unlike me, LOL) and he headed out! I said, Joe wait a minute, just take that seat right there - it was the seat next to the last person in this guy's party. I said, come on up here, i'm sure they can just move down. He said, no, we won't. The lady with him said, we need your seat. Justin was really mad. He said, why is he being like that and I said because he's a jerk. then Justin said the guy said for me to shut up. I didn't hear it and I said to Justin to ignore him and enjoy the show. So that is what we did! When we left the show, they immediately took another exit door. Have a Disney Day I said! Joe said the lady beside him told him she would have let him move down. Hey, it's no big deal if families are separated but he didn't have to be rude. We will be coming here all the time, maybe it's their first and only trip. We just forgot about it and headed out of AK; I think the heat was getting to everyone. We stopped and bought a few souvenirs on the way out. We were debating on whether to head over to world showcase but decided to go back to OKW and get some grocery items. A bus was waiting when we came out and it was starting to look like rain. We left the kids in the room and went up to the general store to buy a few things. I ran into Deb (rich's deb) and we talked about our trips and about his daughters accident. Rich was at the hospital with her. We bought some milk and donuts. When we returned, I knocked on the door (hands were full), no answer. I struggled to get my card out and went in. No kids anywhere. I heard some distant giggling. I made my way in to the master bathroom. The giggling was getting a little louder. I whipped open the closet door and there were my 2 guys laughing their heads off. They thought it'd be funny to hide from us. They said they were in there for 15 minutes and where were we! LOL!

After putting everything away, we headed over to EPCOT. Skys looked very threatening by this time. There are alot of boards up around the EPCOT entrance, kind of takes away from it. Jake put his ticket in and all we heard was this grinding sound. The ticket was stuck and jammed the machine. The girl popped the top off and this piece of metal comes flying out! She picked it up and dropped it and it went to the bottom of the place where you put your fingers. oh great! She tries to fix the machine and can't so she had to move the entire line to the next one over. This time, no ones ticket worked, not just mine. We showed our ID and got in. Gotta love those AP's! <g> It seemed like alot of people were on their way out but the park was still crowded. I think Test Track is really drawing them in to EPCOT since this park is usually dead by afternoon. We headed over to The Land for our PS at 5:15. we just made it. I noticed people in front of me were just walking up and asking if seating was available and it was. I had to wait while they discussed the menu. Why don't they have a separate line for those that took the time to make PS arrangements and already KNOW they want to eat there? I only made PS here because this is Justin's favorite restaurant in all of WDW. I don't think you get too much for your money here; it IS all you can eat but you don't get that much variety. He just loves how the restaurant revolves and he loves that house where the dog barks. Joe was still sick but wanted to try to eat so all in all, this meal was kind of a waste for him. Jake really got a kick out of the characters though. The dessert was the best of all; apple crisp with ice cream and worms in dirt. He gave us 4 worms in dirt and 2 big apple crisps. yummy! Joe can't be THAT sick cause he had some apple crisp! I'm not crazy how they include the 15% gratuity in for the CM discount now. I wonder how many don't realize it and leave another 15-20%. I always left 20% anyways. It's just that when you mention you'll be using a CM discount, you don't seem to get the same service. At least, I have noticed this cause i've tried it both ways, either mentioning it and then not mentioning it. We then did The Land boat ride, just our speed after eating. We passed on Food Rocks. The honey I shrunk line was really long even though the CM said about a 10 minute wait. He neglected to say that it was about a 10 minute wait to the PRE-show area, not the actual show. We walked over toward the living seas area. Jake loved this, even the movie. He kept showing me all the fish and wanted to know what would happen if the glass broke and could you drown in there. He comes up with some good ones sometimes. What hot day is complete without a visit to ice station cool. aaahhhh, it felt great to go in there! We then walked over to Test TRack and decided to ride if the wait was an hour or less. It was a 70 minute wait. It was now or never we figured. We knew it'd be after 9 when we got out since it was now 8 and that meant not riding Spaceship Earth. This was probably the least wait time of the day too. I thought the line moved really fast. Jake was getting a little "testy" (pun intended) in line, as tired 4-year olds do who have been dragged all day with no nap. (I swore we'd stop for breaks,lol). We met a DVC family in front of us from Ft. Lauderdale and staying at OKW. We talked about Vero and HH. They really like BW. That led us in to a discussion of our worst room horror stories. She had some good ones to tell. One time, they stayed on points at GF. There was a ripped dust ruffle pinned together with giant pins, towels were ripped, the shower had alot of mildew and was dirty. They found out the building was under renovation and complained and all their points were returned. Needless to say, I gave myself another kick for not complaining about our october BW room. SO unlike me, LOL. Talking with them made the time fly once we were in the room where you can see all the cars and stuff. The single line wait was only 15 minutes but we all wanted to ride together. Finally, we get in our car, me, Joe and Jake up front and Justin was just behind me. It was a great ride! We all really liked it. The boys thought it was so cool to go that fast. We got off that ride just a minute past 9 and the spaceship earth line was closed. Just as we were walking out to our car, illuminations started so we all walked backwards watching it. It was really a neat site to see the fireworks with spaceship earth next to them. Great way to end the day. Justin didn't want to end the day. He wanted to go on over to MGM since they were still open and check out the Star Tours store. Joe and I wanted to go back to OKW. We couldn't see pushing ourselves to the limit when we had MGM for tomorrow. We went back to our "home" and since it was early, we stayed up and watched a little tv and enjoyed the amenities the 1 br has to offer. It was a much better idea to hit MGM fresh in the morning. Jake insists he's doing ToT. We all watched Parent Trap on the Disney Channel and then it was lights out.

Day 6 - June 17, 1999 - MGM

I got up around 6:45 or so. We just had cereal and toast in the room. The kids were slow to get moving today. If we were at home, they'd be up at the crack of dawn, LOL. Well, Justin sleeps in now that it is summer. I don't think Jake will EVER sleep in! LOL! We were out of our villa by 9. We decided to drive over to MGM. The park seemed really crowded today. We were parked way out in no-man's land. I did notice, however, as we neared the tram that a van approached the parking attendant and said something about wanting an end space. The attendance/cm yelled to another one, "do we have an end space"? the other one said, right there is one and it was 2 steps from the tram! This was NOT a handicapped space, nor did they have a handi-cap plate. They merely wanted to park closer! I noticed they DID have 2 spaces on the end of each row coned off. I might try that next time! We finally got to the entrance and put our AP's in. Guess what? NONE OF THEM WORKED! I had my ID all ready to show the CM. She said, no, i'm sorry, you must go to guest relations. I said, i've already done that about 5 times, can't I just show you my ID? She said, no, you must need new passes and guest relations can help you. I said, fine but I want to go to guest relations INside the park. No, that isn't acceptable, you must go to guest relations OUTside the park (where there is a line). I tried to explain but if I came in, I would not have to wait in line again but to no avail; she would not budge. So we walked over to the line outside MGM at the Guest Relations window. By this time it was about 9:45 and about 90 degrees and the line is in the sun! I patiently waited my turn while listening to other peoples problems at the window. One lady was injured the day before at AK. She was on the boat that takes you around the tree along with her husband who was in a wheelchair. The wheelchair was positioned next to the open side of the boat that only had 2 chains between the rider and the water! Well, her husband's ECV brake let loose and he went over the side! She injured herself saving him. She pulled a muscle in her shoulder but she saved him from going overboard. AK people told her to call from whatever park she was at today to let them know how she was. Anyways, it is finally my turn. I explained all the problems with my AP and how it was mostly mine that rejected each time but today it was everyone's. The CM insisted I had a magnet inside my purse. I showed him where they were kept and he said that was fine. Fine, except they de-magnetized constantly. He then explained that some people have a chemical in their skin that could do this. I told him, I did not regularly handle the other's AP's except to hand them to them upon entry and even then, they are in their cardboard holder. I told him I would not be renewing my AP until they came up with something sturdier than a cardboard pass. I would think the credit card type plastic that LOS users use would be much better.He said they are thinking of doing that in the future. If I am a de-magnetizer, why didn't my room key do the same? He kept apologizing for our trouble with the AP's and said he'd give us an extra month on them for free. They WOULD have expired on 10-21-99 but he reisSued them expiring on 11-21-99. I thanked him for doing that. He then lead us through a side door for Cms and we got right in to the park. He told us to have a nice day! He really was a pretty nice guy. The more I looked at the pass' expiration date, I realized our next trip is scheduled for about 2 weeks AFTER that. I looked at Joe and he looked at me and said "what have you got to lose?" So, I went back out to the window where that CM was working. Another line. But THIS line could be worth waiting for. It turns out that same CM was on break. After waiting my turn in line (it is now after 10), I got Bryan (very cute). I explained the situation to him about the problem with the AP's and the new X-date. I told him while I appreciated the extra month, it really did not benefit me in any way; however, if the expiration date was 12-13-99, I would be able use them on my next trip. He said he needed to talk to Tim about our situation and would be right back. About 5 minutes later, he returns and says "that won't be a problem, Mrs. Sharick". I almost died right then and there! He said he was sorry for all of our problems and they want to make sure each guest is happy and satisfied. I said, well, you just made 4 guests VERY happy! He documented all of this under our name on the computer and isSued 4 new passes! This gives us 8 days for 4, for free! I told him he MADE my trip!This saved me over $1,000 since I was going to have to buy hoppers next time. Very satisfied and happy, I used my NEW AP (it worked) to go back in to MGM to tell Joe and the kids who were waiting all this time. It was half the morning gone, but well worth it.

We then headed for Star Tours. Joe decided to sit it out since it might bother his back. We had about a 5 minute wait. Justin RAN out to the store after the ride, only to find it was boarded up. We were on a mission now to find the replacement store. We walked down the New York Street and at the other end where the tour lets off, is the new Star Wars Store. I bought the kids each a character. Justin collects them; Jake just wanted one cause Justin got one. Geez, we only did one ride and here it was lunch time already. We checked in at Sci-FI about 11:15. Joe still wasn't feeling well, why he got a chicken salad is beyond me. He didn't like the dressing and he just let it sit there untouched. Justin and I split a burger since neither of us can finish one by ourselves. We had a great CM who gave us each a plate with the 1/2 on it and our own fries. This server was very attentive to our drinks too. Jake got a grilled cheese. After my discount it was about $43 including tip. This CM was really nice to the kids; he brought them each a frisbee with the cupcake on top for dessert. Justin doesn't look like a kid anymore but the CM's still give him the goodies, LOL. Unfortunately, both kids were full, so mom had to eat both cupcakes! LOL!

We then headed over to Muppet Show - the line looked long. If it's out in the queu area, we usually don't do it. I know it goes fast but it is usually a shorter line later. Instead, we headed on over to see the 1:00 show of Beauty and the Beast.The lady out front said there was hardly anyone in the theatre. Yeh right, it was 3/4 full, LOL. I had seen this show in March on the ladies trip but Joe and the kids never saw it. I think it is really done well. Four for a Dollar was not doing the pre-show but they had a good a cappella group performing. While in there, you could see the skies darkening. Then it sounded like a rainforest all around us. It was pouring really hard. When the show was over, no one got up to leave! I felt bad for the people who had seats up in the uncovered bleacher area. I put on my poncho and Joe and Jake finally decided they, too, would like ponchos. Justin didn't want one nor did he want to carry the umbrella I brought along. Too cool, I guess. We made our way out to the stroller, only to find it filled with water. We tipped it over to dump it out and just let it stay there for awhile, at least till Jake had a poncho to wear. We went in one of those stores right on Sunset Blvd. and the lady was practically throwing them at people since everyone in line wanted one. I had to help Joe and Jake figure out how you wear them and then we took off for ToT. It was a walk-on! Jake didn't even hesitate-I love it! We walked right up to the elevator and we were assigned row 5. Justin wanted the seat-belt seat. It was a GREAT ride, as usual. This was the boys (including Joe) first time with the new drop sequence. they all loved it. Well, Jake held on for dear life, didn't even scream. Not sure i'd say he "loved" it, but he "liked" it. You really cannot tell if you are coming or going on that ride. I was laughing so hard the entire time. What a blast we had. I wanted to buy this picture since it was our first time, as a family, that we all rode at once. Too bad though, the kid in front of Jake put his arms up and you can't see Jake at all. After the ride, Jake said it made his tummy tickle. We put the ponchos back on (they made us take them off to ride ToT), and went over to The Great Movie Ride, picking up the stroller along the way; it had about a 15 minute wait. We started out in the outer lobby and wound our way thru the turnstiles while watching the movies. We finally ended up with the cowboy side. We tried to catch the next Doug Live! show but it was just letting in and they were taking stand-bys only. I hate waiting all that time so we thought we'd do it later (we never did). We went back to check out muppets and it was a walk-on (or in). Jake really liked this; he was trying to reach out and touch the objects. I get a kick out of the two old guys in the balcony. The theatre wasn't even full for this show. It was raining (what else is new) when we came out so we went over to Pizza Planet and let the kids play some games. I think this was Jake's favorite thing at MGM. We were in there quite awhile and Justin got quite a few tickets but all it got us was a little plastic zebra. Of course, Jake was thrilled with it, LOL. The pizza in there was looking pretty good to us but we had PS at Prime Time 50s Cafe. We walked over to the restaurant and Joe perused the menu. It all seemed rather heavy for what we were in the mood for. We still had an hour to go for our seating time and we were kind of wet and tired (especially Jake) so we decided to cancel the PS. I told Joe that shopping seemed like a MUCH better idea to me! So we shopped Hollywood Blvd. for awhile. It is HARD to maneauver a stroller in there but I would not dare let Jake run loose in here. Too many snowglobes, LOL. Speaking of which, I caught Joe eyeing the Lady and the Tramp snowglobe. He said he wanted to buy it for my birthday but wanted to use my discount and he needed my ID. Well, at WDW, he would need ME, not just my ID to get my discount. I told him that is exactly what I wanted so we decided to buy it. They went and got me a new boxed one and showed me how the city lights up behind the dogs in the globe. I didn't even know that! I had it sent back to the room. We left MGM, tired and wet but very happy! We caught the next tram back to the parking lot and headed back to OKW. Everyone wanted something different for dinner. Joe wanted chicken noodle soup and the boys wanted macncheese. Since we didn't have the soup, Joe went up to the store and bought some. I threw a load of clothes in and washed the dishes. We all just relaxed awhile while the rain was coming to an end. Everyone wanted to do something different for the evening. Justin wanted to go back to MGM and I wanted to go to MK. Jake will go wherever we tell him, LOL. Joe wasn't feeling well and wanted to stay right where he was. Poor Joe :-(. He's probably been sick 3 times since i've known him in 20 years and it had to be now. Justin got tired of our indecisiveness and went out for a walk. Jake fell asleep.Joe said to go ahead and salvage the night and do something. I headed out walking up to the hospitality house.I found Justin walking around up there. We walked out to the front and waited for an MK bus. We were going to do the "take the next bus that comes" game; but it ended up being an MK bus anyways. It was 8:30 and the buses do not come too often at that time and we had just missed one. Finally, at 9, the MK bus came. We entered the MK (AP worked) just as the parade was passing through Town Square. It was killing me to not stop and watch it but we wanted to hit Tomorrowland. We took the shortcut thru the plaza restaurant and headed right for Space Mountain. The time to wait said 30 minutes and the line was not moving. We decided to wait. After about 5 minutes of not moving an inch, we got out of line. I asked the CM at the entrance what was wrong. He said they were "shortening the queu", whatever THAT means. We went over to the Tomorrowland Speedway - 30 minutes - we waited. This is not the fastest of loading rides. It seemed to take forever. While in line, we tried to guess which number of car we would get. I told Justin if he guesses correctly, i'd give him $10. He was trying to calculate how far back he was compared to how the cars were coming in. Justin's guess was #75 for him. My guess was #45. Well, he ended up getting #74 (dangerously close, LOL) and I got 34. We got separate cars so he could torture me, I guess. Just as I pulled out, I heard a loud bang. Up in the sky were the fireworks! Perfect timing and a great viewing spot! The lady in front of me was going very very slow since her 2 year old was driving and I was trying to watch the fireworks and watch I didn't hit her. Meanwhile, Justin was giving me whiplash left and right! Maybe now he knows why he's not getting that license till he is at least 17 or maybe even 18! When we got off this ride, the fireworks were still going on, so we watched them as we headed for the Pooh ride. Another 30 minute wait. Very cute ride though. This is one that mothers/fathers and young children (hand- held babies) will just love. It is very colorful and moves at a nice pace. At some points, it even rocks gently and bounces (like Tigger) back and forth. I predict long lines here for a good long time. A funny thing happened while waiting in this line. We were filing through with the others and this kid comes up, i'd say about 15 and he was holding about 6 drinks. He could barely walk with them all. You could tell he was searching the line queu for his family. Well, obviously, they were not in the same spot as when he left them. He finally set his drinks on a trash can and pulled out a cel phone. The guy behind us and me and Justin got a kick out of this. He was going to call them in line! LOL! Just as he puts the phone to his ear, his family comes out of the gift shop! He missed the ride altogether! Apparently, the drink line wait was longer than the pooh line wait! Anyways, the poor kid, the parents screamed at him - WHERE WERE YOU! WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG! I think the kid wanted to KILL them! and rightly so! The guy behind us said, do you believe that! HE misses the ride to get THEM drinks and they yell at HIM! We had to laugh though, it was kind of comical.

We headed towards the front via the castle walkway and found Cinderella's wishing well. How did I miss this before? We walked thru the castle and I touched the slipper ; it's looking kind of "worn" , LOL. <g> We walked down Mainstreet and I just HAD to try those brownies at the bakery. Well, I ended up trying MORE than just the brownies. I gave Justin money to get something down at the candy store. The parade crowd was lined up outside but it wasn't nearly as crowded as the 9 o'clock parade. I waited for about 15 minutes for my turn at the bakery. I got a brownie, lemon bar and chocolate chip cookie with some skim milk. No CM discount here. It was $5 something for those 3 things; not bad. I walked out of the bakery and found the perfect place to stand for MSEP. I was SO excited to see this parade for the first time. Too bad the video camera was back in the room. After about 5 minutes, I heard "Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, the Magic Kingdom is proud to present..........."; it just gave me chills to hear that! Then the music started. I just loved it. I loved spectro too but this is nice for a change. The colors seemed brighter and more vivid and I loved the Peter Pan float. Our plan was to watch about half and then walk out watching the other half to get a jump on the crowds. This worked out great. We raced each other to the bus stop. Our bus came after about 5 minutes. We got back at 11:40 and in bed by midnight. It was really a lot of fun to spend some one on one time with Justin at the Magic Kingdom. It was a really nice evening weather-wise too. (sorry this is so incredibly long!) :-)

Day 7 - June 18, 1999 - MK

I was up at 6:50 and started some waffles. We were all out the door by 9:15, too late for me but I guess it's THEIR vacation too! We headed over to MK. I know it seems like we're going there a lot but Jake only being 4, a lot of this stuff is all new to him so we wanted to do the parks that he would like the most. Justin has been going since 1989, so he had his day (s)! Well, you can guess what happened as we put our tickets in the turnstile, nothing, rejected AGAIN. A CM comes over and says we have to get new ones. I explained that they were just isSued the day before and she went over the credit card spiel. I swear I should just tape my response and play it back every time I enter a park. She was very nice and very disney-like so I let her go on and on and she said it would only be a minute till they gave us new ones. At least SHE let us wait inside the park! I went over and got a stroller in the meantime and then the CM found us with the new passes. It was a little hard to get upset knowing I got 4, 8 day passes for December; so I figured, put up with it!

Jake wanted to walk through the castle, so that is where we headed. The TTA was a walk on (is there EVER a line there?). Carousel of Progress was not starting till 11 so we'd hit that later. The astro Orbiter line was pretty short for a change (20 min.) so we waited that one out. Justin wanted to shop in Merchants of Venus so we said we'd meet him there. It was just Jake and myself on this one. He really liked going up high and around at the same time. Of course, I taped a couple rotations of this! When we came off that ride, I found Joe drinking a frozen concoction of something or other. It looked SO cool and I HAD to have one. So we all went over and got one of those, I had a coke one, the kids got blue (yuck!) Justin had found something in the Merchants of Venus shop and it must've been good cause he wanted this instead of a video game for his birthday. After having it shipped to the room, we sat down and cooled off with our drinks. We walked on over to Carousel of Progress and got the front row. Not my first choice of seats but it was the only place with 4 together. We have seen this so many times but it's always fun to sing along. Jake kept asking when are we going to see "it's a great big beautiful tomorrow"? So, this ride was mainly for him! And he DID sing along, well we ALL did. I looked around and we were the only ones singing, LOL; who cares!!!!

We then headed over to Toontown; Jake could barely contain himself when he saw this "land". He and Justin ran up to Barnstormer - 10 minute wait. I love how Justin will ride the most wicked of roller coasters but still take the time to take his little brother on the kiddie ones. We walked over and visited Minnie and Mickey's house. It was the first time in Minnie's house for me; it's really cute. Wonder what HER dues are, LOL! The boys wanted to get a little wet over at Donald Ducks's boat and it was suffocatingly (is that a word?) hot so I knew they'd dry quickly. We thought we'd save some foot-work and take the train back to the front. After waiting about 10 minutes, no train. We then realized the train was broke down; I should've known when no one was waiting there. I then realized we had not heard the train whistle yet this trip while at MK. We headed out of Toon Town, picking up 3 hotdogs along the way. I found the person who gets the slowest CM award, LOL; the hotdog people. They had 3 people working this tiny little hotdog stand and they were all three trying to cram under this umbrella to be in the shade. They were funny cause everyone was making jokes about how slow they were going. The poor kid taking the money was literally dripping sweat; glad he wasn't doing the dogs! LOL!

Anyways, we hopped on the monorail over to the Contemporary to do the boats (water mice). Justin had been begging me every day to do them. He loves how he can drive himself. Joe wasn't about to get in one of these boats being that he wasn't feeling up to par. He sat this one out in the upper lounge area in the Contemporary. I get 50% off with the CM discount - so 2 boats for 1/2 was only $19 something.We were warned about seaweed out in Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon. We were shown how to get it off in case we get tangled up. Well, leave it to me to be the one to have this happen to! We weren't out there 5 minutes and I started slowing down - right over by Discovery Island. Justin was zipping all around me and I was crawling! I did as I was told, put it in reverse to back off the sea weed, but the engine died! I got up to start it again and it would not start. It looked so easy when that CM did it! Then I realized, my safety cord became detached and the boat won't start unless the cord is plugged in. I plugged it back in and pulled the cord again, meanwhile, i'm standing in the boat and it's rocking! When I pulled the cord, it started for a second then died out again. Jake was just sitting there asking were we safe? Well, yes, we have life jackets on, LOL. I finally used the "waving hands" signal as I was told if I need assistance. It wasn't 2 minutes and a CM boat came along and pulled up along side me. He pulled my motor out of the water and it was a tangled green mess! He could not even get all of it off but he got a lot of it. He started the engine back on and away I went. I could tell I wasn't at full speed though. While he was helping me, I held on to his boat so we wouldn't drift apart. I heard on the radio he had that someone else was stuck from seaweed and they were stuck right in the ferry channel to MK! Yikes, I thought I was in trouble! Right after I started going, another girl very close to me said to send him over cause SHE was also stuck. I couldn't help but wonder WHY in the world are they renting these boats knowing this is a big problem. I only did these boats for Justin; I was very nervous out there with all the activity going on. You have your ferry boats, the biggest of all, you have your parasailers, tons of water mice, water skiers, pontoons and a few other watercraft, all out there at one time. It wasn't as much fun as it used to be. WDW waterways are way too crowded for me these days. That took up a good chunk of time, so our half hour had about 10 minutes left on it. Actually, I could not wait to go back to the dock. I had forgotten sunscreen this day and I hesitated even taking Jake out there. Well, luckily, the CM gave me a towel for Jake's legs but his cheeks were getting very red. We went up and found Joe and then shopped in the gift shops up there.I bought one of those white ceramic mickey hands for your business card.

We then headed up to the monorail and Jake and I got to ride in the front. Jake was in his glory. At the polynesian, we got a new driver who was in training. As we departed the Poly, the trainer said, did anyone tell you people that this is a GF monorail and you must leave the front at the GF? We said, no, but ok. At the GF, we found Joe and Justin a few cars back. I never saw the monorail jerk around so much; Joe said you could really tell we had a trainee, she was stopping too fast and too jerky. Well, everyone is new sometime! Besides, we were getting off at MK. We had talked about taking Jake back for a nap but it was killing me that he never got to see the Magical Moments parade. Joe and Justin wanted to go back to OKW to rest. I wasn't a bit tired and Jake seemed excited to be seeing a parade. So we went in to MK by ourselves. Yeh, the pass worked! We got an excellent curb space at 2:30 for the 3:00 parade. We were sitting there about 5 minutes when Jake said he was thirsty. oh great! I checked my wallet and had $2!!!!! I thought maybe we could find a drinking fountain but I knew that meant losing our curb spot. I kept trying to take his attention away from being thirsty. it was drop-dead hot there on the pavement so I KNEW he wasn't kidding me. Of course, someone sits down beside us and opened up their little cooler and popped open some pepsi's! I thought Jake was going to take one right out! It was more than even I could take. I had debated on whether to ask someone to watch him a second while I went for a water but I could not do that. I don't know these people and i'm certainly not leaving him out of my sight. So we gave up those great seats; man, mine even had a pole to lean against, LOL. We weren't even 3 steps away when someone plopped themselves down in them. oh well, I thought. We looked in some stores but couldn't find anything to drink. I looked outside and it was going to downpour any second. I told Jake lets leave to go back and get something to drink at our home. He agreed to. I walked around the corner (where the camera shop used to be, it's now a candy shop) and I couldn't believe my eyes, but there was a table with two chairs and it was empty! Well, I wasn't about to pass THIS up! It was a checker table, not to mention it was undercover from the impending rain. I showed Jake how to play checkers since there was nothing else to do till the parade started. Then the skies opened up and it poured. I waited for the announcement that it was cancelled but they came on and said it would be starting soon. I knew they would not have the part where the kids participated. As luck would have it, there was a water stand right there and I could buy water and still see Jake. I gave the CM the money and he called me back that I did not give him enough. I KNEW I had and said to check it again; he did and said I was right. good thing, cause I was down to mere change! LOL! It was still raining pretty good and I thought they'd be changing their minds about this parade. I went inside to get us some candy, I could see Jake through the window. I had to charge candy back to the room! The CM probably thought I was nuts! LOL! I came back out to find a smoker standing in front of us. This was just after they announced on the loud speaker, no smoking in parade viewing areas for the safety and convenience of those around you. Well, after all this, I was not about to let a smoker ruin it for me and my son. I kindly said, excuse me, they just made an announcement that you are not allowed to smoke in parade viewing areas. She literally looked at me like I was from another planet, but she did move way down away from all the people. Finally, we could hear the parade music. I have wanted Jake to see this since we missed it last October. I told him when it got closer, we would move to the ropes to watch it. Disney magic set in, the rain stopped just as it came to us and we had to leave our great seats. Jake didn't know anything about the audience participation so he didn't know what he was missing anyways. He was so happy watching this. It just made me feel all this trouble was so worth it. Little did I know that Peter Pan and Captain Hook were at the very end. Just seeing his little face light up watching all the characters and hearing that remember the magic song, well, it was just a bit much for me! I could barely see it myself with my eyes filled with tears. Jake kept looking back to see if *I* was watching and I was, but I was watching him. It was one of those moments for me that I will never forget. I was just SO glad I took the time to take him to this parade. He STILL talks about it.I had seen this parade before but it really was a first to experience it with my son. We were all smiles as we walked back to the OKW bus stop; had about a 15 minute wait.

When I got back to the villa, I told Joe all about the parade. We had to hurry up and get dressed for our PS at 1900 Parkfare. I didn't tell Jake, but this is a peter pan and captain hook (along with belle and the beast) character meal. We got there about 4:45 (drove) for our 5:15 PS. It's fun to just take the time to look around the GF lobby. I went and got some money at the ATM there. We ended up being first in line there. Well, we WERE first in line, till some lady made her way through all the people waiting and somehow ended up in FRONT of us. Not sure what her rush was, we all had assigned tables. We noticed that when they opened the dining room doors, she almost ran over the CM's waiting there. Takes all kinds, I guess, LOL.

The buffet here is absolutely the best on property! The buffet has 2 sides but both are different. There was SO much to pick from. I barely made it past the Cherry cobbler and vanilla sauce! Joe decided to try and eat some of this. As I was getting up, Jake yelled, mom, it's peter pan! He's here mom, he's right here! It was so funny. I said, ok, he'll be at our table soon. I was so glad he didnt go running over to the other tables. Peter did make it over as did Hook. Jake told Peter that he needed to watch out cause hook was here too. Peter Pan said, oh, Hook, he's nothing but stinky codfish"! LOL! We got that on tape. Jake was laughing so hard. Hook was pretending to use his hook on us. Then what happened next was kind of comical. Belle came to our table.She said to Jake, do you know who I am? he says, Yeh, you are the beast! I wanted to die! she said, the beast? no, I don't think so! LOL! I said, well, he meant that is the movie you are in. I was trying to cover for him, LOL. it was pretty funny. This was my favorite character meal, next to chef mickeys. I tried the strawberry soup - it was great! It tasted like whipped strawberry juice. It made a great topping too. I made sure we all tried it.This isn't a cheap buffet but well worth it.

After we rolled out of 1900 Parkfare, we waddled up to the store at GF. I bought the big Mickey Head umbrella. I've been wanting it for a long time and finally saw it. Yes, I WILL use it! LOL! If it's got mickey on it, I wear it, LOL. Since we were all in the shopping mood, we headed out of GF and decided to go to the marketplace. World of Disney was a madhouse! Plus, it started to downpour so half the world was in there, I swear! You literally could not move. Took all the fun out of shopping; plus, try keeping a hold on a 4 yr old in that store!The lines were too long anyways. I almost bought Jake a stuffed Hook but decided not to. We had told Justin to meet us over at the Lego Store, right next door. Well, I just wanted out of WOD, even if it meant walking in the rain. So we puddled our way over there and it was just as bad. We found Justin in there eventually and the rain soon let up a bit. We took this to be our time to get back to the van. I wanted to shop some more but it was just not fun at this point. As we were leaving, Joe missed a turn and we kind of ended up over where the hotel village is. Tons of construction and tons of cars. We somehow turned around and got back on track. We stopped at the store to pick up some packages (my snow globe). We were back to our room by 9:30. I felt, on one hand, this was way too early, but on the other hand, it gave me a chance to put Jake to bed, put my feet up and have a cup of tea. I LOVE these one bedroom villas! Stay tuned for tomorrow - it is our last full day and I TURN 40 AT WDW!!!!!!!!

Day 8 - June 19, 1999 -- 40th year of my life!

I got up a little later than usual - around 7. I usually start work around 7, so this seems like sleeping in to me. We had PS at Chef Mickeys but decided to skip it since we had a lot of food left and wanted to use it up rather than waste it. Of course, I just HAD to go to MK on my birthday. It is my all-time favorite park and we still had some things to cover there. Well, at least on my birthday, my passes worked! I remember, I had given them all to Joe to handle, so maybe there really is some truth to my skin de-magnetizing them. It was raining on the way to MK, but it stopped (like magic) when we got there. We walked up through the castle again, stopping to take a picture of us with the Indian along the way. We headed straight for the new Pooh ride. None of us are big pooh fans, but I wanted Jake to see this ride. It was only about a 10-15 minute wait. Not bad for a Saturday! The Dumbo line looked pretty short but, we bypassed it again. I regret not riding it every time we get home. We headed towards Frontierland and the Liberty boat was just boarding. In all my WDW trips, we never rode this. I remember last year some time, when the river was drained you could see the track that this boat rides along. It really felt like we were free-floating down the river though. I think there ought to be more places to sit on this boat. There was plenty of room but hardly any seating at all. It was hard keeping track of Jake on here since it wasn't that crowded and he was giving himself a tour of the whole boat. I just kept picturing us all looking over the side and Jake would come flying overboard from the top deck, LOL. Believe me, it's not THAT far-fetched! I like the announcing on this ride, plus we saw all kinds of little critters in the water along the way. Sure enough, we go to dock and we both thought each other had Jake. We sent Justin to find him since he runs the fastest. We gave him a little talkin to on the way off. We went over to the Haunted Mansion and it only had a 5 minute wait. They had both stretch rooms working. As we approached the moving walkway, a lady fell and they had to stop it so that they could help her get up. As she approached it, she held on to the wall and, as we all know, the wall does NOT move but the walkway does. Well, for some reason, she would not let go of the wall, even as her feet were being pulled away from her.I guess she was afraid she'd get dragged in to the mansion! LOL! As we left HM, I saw her get in her ECV. She looked pretty shook up. We then headed over to Hall of Presidents. We had not been in this since 1996 and Joe was really wanting to see it again. A very bizarre thing happened here. We watched the civil war movie in the beginning, then they did the Presidential roll call. Right after Pres. Clinton speaks, he motions to Pres. Lincoln who starts to get up but doesn't quite make it! He got about half way and just collapsed! He layed there sprawled out on the chair (feet bolted to the floor) with his arms extended out and kept on talking! No one knew what to do or say! Next thing we know a CM comes running down to the microphone and says they are having technical difficulties (obviously) and he hoped everyone had a better day than Pres. Lincoln! LOL! Then everyone just burst out laughing. We even heard one kid say, wow mom, they even shoot lincoln in this show! One lady said, well, Disney does everything so realistically so she just thought they shot him here too! What is weird is, the last time we saw this show in 1996, when Lincoln went to get up, hydraulic fluid poured from his left hand and he started to go down. Apparently that is what happened again. As we were leaving the theatre, I saw a bunch of Cms sitting him upright again. The show must go on!

We were still laughing as we walked over to Columbia Harbour House for lunch. I LOVE their chicken tenders here. The line wasn't too bad except they only had one girl working and it was taking forever since they go from side to side taking turns. Of course, AFTER I got waited on, they put another CM on! We all got chicken except Joe, he got fish. Well, he HAD fish; it did not stay with him very long (if you know what I mean), poor Joe. :-(. This lunch was about $25, no CM discount here. I must have been really hungry since I was the only one who ate all my food!Too bad this wasn't Prime Time 50s; i'd get a clean plate sticker!

We then took the shortcut over to Adventureland. We did PoC again. Both sides were open and I should have taken the left; they all walked on to the ride. As it was, the right side was about a 5 minute wait anyways. The boys wanted to do Swiss Family treehouse. Joe and I did NOT feel like going up there in the heat. We waited near the entrance; I thought about a Dole Whip but I am not a big ice cream fan, especially in the heat. It seemed like a long time till the boys came back so I went looking for them. They were looking for us for 15 minutes they said. We decided to head out of MK, not realizing it was my last time at MK for this trip. On the way out, Joe wanted to go get one of those frozen drinks over in Tomorrowland. I had a feeling there was one closer but wasn't sure where. We told him we'd meet him down by the flagpole. While we were waiting, I saw a traditions class taking place; I think for the college program. Didn't hear the train whistle so I guess it is still broke down too. After about 20 minutes, Joe came with his drink and we headed for the bus. We waited about 10 minutes. We picked up the car and went to the store to pick up some more packages; Justin's star wars souvenir. I shopped in the store for awhile; got some DVC glass mugs and 1999 picture albums. I had really wanted to go to EPCOT in the afternoon but decided to relax in the cool a/c of our villa. It wasn't too long that I heard a knock on the door. I just figured it was probably Darla. When I opened the door, a CM was standing there with balloons and a card and said HAPPY BIRTHDAY! It was a card from the Fab Five! What a nice surprise; but who could have done this? I was stumped; the card was not signed. I put them over on the table to enjoy them. They were helium balloons and made a nice centerpiece!

I took a nap for awhile and when I got up I told Justin I would go with him over to Disneyquest to get him in there.We go to the bus stop but no downtown disney bus is coming for awhile. It is already 4:30 and I had PS for 6:00 at Cape May with my AOL/DVC friends darla and rich and deb. Not to mention we STILL had to take Jake to Neverland Club. I decided to just drive Justin over to Disneyquest. We drove over and I found a pretty good parking space down by Disneyquest. We stood in line for about 5 minutes (can you see me checking my mickey watch here?,lol). It is finally our turn and he tells us $25 for unlimited play. I mention that Justin has a card with some units left on it from 10/98. He takes the card and comes back and says there are 15 units on it and he can get in for free! WOW! Not a bad deal! I was just going to get him in for the CM 50% discount and be happy with that, but THIS was great! I told Justin have a good time and made sure he got in there ok. He was planning on taking the bus back later on. I felt comfortable leaving him there; I knew he would not leave that building and he knows his way around WDW and knows the bus system. I drove back and we got ready for our dinner at Cape May. Around 5:30, we dropped Jake off at Neverland Club. This kid was ecstatic to be here! I signed him in; I get a $6/hr rate (CM discount) in lieu of the $8 rate. Jake walked through Wendy's window and was just thrilled! I kept saying goodbye to him but he wasn't paying any attention. I took my beeper and made sure it was securely attached cause NO BEEPER - NO KID! Well, something tells me, they'd be begging me to come get him, beeper or not! LOL! (just kidding).

We hurried on over to Cape May. It was about to down pour any second - skies were really dark and the clouds were really low. Looked like a tornado to me! I made ......eeerrrr asked Joe to drop me off in the front while he parked. Just a note, Joe will NOT valet park ANYWHERE! He is so afraid someone will damage his van. So it took him awhile since parking is kind of far away. I walked in to the lobby looking for a familiar face. No one was in the wicker chairs, ok, it's still kind of early yet. I look to my right and see Darla over in the bar area. She comes running out and says happy birthday to me. we exchange hugs and how do you do's and I ask where Rich and Deb are. Darla says they will be here soon and let's go wait in the bar area. We go in there and I take a seat near the door so Joe would find us. I see Rich and Deb come in about that time. I go to stand up and catch a glimpse of Sue (WDW1972) on the other side of the pillar. I KNOW how often Sue comes to WDW so I just assumed they ran in to her and told her about my birthday. This is great, I thought. Sue is here - what a great surprise - and it's my birthday! I was really glad to see her. I hadn't seen her since the March ladies trip and we didn't get a chance to talk as much as i'd like. We always talk about how "alike" we think about things and call ourselves the "clones", LOL.

I no sooner get over seeing Sue and all of a sudden Dottie (ilovebskts) turns around at the bar and says Happy Birthday Donna! I'm telling you, I almost fell over, right then and there! I couldn't believe my eyes! There was Dottie - wait, she lives in Georgia! she FLEW in JUST for MY birthday! It was all I could do to contain the tears at this point. If that wasn't enough, then Tina (Sfarmer509) turns around and says HI Donna - Happy Birthday! Oh my god - TINA! This is just TOO much to take in! Tina - she flew in from Virginia! For ONE NIGHT - just for ME! They ALL did this just for ME! I kept saying, oh my god about 100 times and "I can't believe you all did this" over and over. It was a moment I will remember for as long as I love.

Then Joe walks in and I have to explain to him, Joe, it's Dottie and Tina and Sue! Can you believe they did this? Actually, Joe could NOT believe they did this. He KNOWS I met these guys on the internet and we are constantly chatting but now he REALLY knows what wonderful friends they are. The whole time this is going on, Rich is videoing, Darla is taking pictures. Of all times for me to NOT be videoing. I was probably a shaky mess anyways, LOL. It turns out that Dottie had decided to do this, she was able to use her husband's (thanks again Joe) frequent flier miles and got first class flights! She also was the mystery balloon sender!!! I should have known! Tina did not decide until the day BEFORE that she was even coming! Everyone was IN on this and it was on our DVC boards too. I had no way of knowing since I did not have a laptop with me this time. I was never EVER so surprised in all my 40 years! LOL!

Before this all happened, I was starving but how could I eat now? I was way too excited and just wanted to talk talk talk. We were then led over to our table (same one we had in october) and we seated ourselves around it. I was still too much in shock to believe this was happening. We go up to the buffet line and are still chattering like crazy. Then someone behind me says, Sue, is that you? Sue says, yes, who are you? Here, it is Noel (FirstNo) from the FL boards. I remember reading some of her posts before. Sue is a popular poster (she knows EVERYthing DVC/WDW!) and she is always at WDW, so it wasn't surprising that someone recognized her. Noel said she recognized her from her internet postcard recently. Yes, it IS a small world! :-).

I think I might have taken a few bites of food that night, mostly dessert, LOL. For the most part, we just talked and had an absolutely wonderful time. Dottie got me a beautiful Longaberger basket - special edition for the American Cancer Society and was signed by the weaver. It has special meaning to me, as Dottie well knew, since my grandmother had a mastectomy 1 day before I left for vacation. It is so pretty; I can't believe people actually make these! Sue gave me the cutest little mini-snowglobe with Mickey inside and when you shake it, little black Mickey heads float all around. The globe itself sits on a mini-replica of the castle. it's great - i'm looking at it as I type! These gifts are something I will treasure forever and a great reminder of that night! You guys are ALL the best! Thanks to Rich and Deb and Darla for keeping it all a secret. We were at Cape May about 2 hrs - it really IS true that time flies when you're having fun!

We headed over to the Belleview Lounge at BW. Dottie and Tina went to change clothes and said they'd meet us there. It turned out to be a pretty decent night for the weather, no rain. Me, Joe, Rich, Deb and Darla went in to the BW store and looked around for awhile. I tried to exchange my Mickey-Head calculator (I got as a gift in October but it no longer works), but they were out of them. Oh well, any place on property would exchange it. We shopped a little and went outside and Dottie was on the steps going up to the BW lobby. She was going to shop a little and be right up. We made ourselves comfy up there; pulled up some wicker chairs so we all had a nice seat; ordered some drinks and just had a great time talking IN person instead of Online. I only wish Sue could have made it but she had a 3 hr drive back to Ft. Myers and thought she better get on the road when we left the Beach Club at 8. I checked on Jake and he was still having a lot of fun.

Around 11 or so, Deb went down to the harbour club to get their girls and I as much as I hated to, we had to leave also. Dottie and Tina were going over to MK to catch the MSEP. I wanted to go with them SO SO bad but I had to pick up Jake and start packing since we were leaving after church tomorrow. In retrospect, I should have gone with them and if I could do it all over again, I would have. I should have picked up Jake and taken him over to see it and I could have even taped it. I was afraid he'd be too tired but he was wide awake when me, Joe and Darla went over to pick him up. He had a great time and wants to go back again. We dropped Darla off and went back and I started to throw our junk in to the suitcases and get it all ready for tomorrow. What a night I had! I was too wired to sleep good. I kept thinking about what my friends did. Oh, I almost forgot, they had a big chocolate chip cookie with icing sent out and for rich too (his birthday was 6-25-99). Everyone sang to us. I got mine boxed to go since we were so full. Rich wolfed his down in two bites, LOL! Just kidding Rich! LOL!Well, tomorrow, we leave after church at the Poly.

D-Day - June 20, 1999 - Departure Day

This is the day everyone dreads that loves Disney. I got up extra early, around 6 to do the final packing and get ready for church at 8 over at the Poly. I was glad to have a chance to drop in there anyways and look around a bit. We arrived just before 8 and were ushered to a table that seated 4 in the Luau Cove. We had the same priest we have every time we go to church here. He has a great sense of humor. He's from Mary Queen of the Universe Shrine. He gets wordy in his sermon and there was one guy across from us that I thought was going to bust a vein before it was all over! It seemed like the LAST place he wanted to be! Anyways, we took a side path when church was over along the beach at the Poly over near the wedding pavilion. Great view of the castle here. We hadn't eaten much yet since we used all our food up for the most part yesterday, so we decided on trying Captain Jack's is it? The fast-food type place at the Poly. It wasn't too bad but it was quite expensive for all that we got which was a few danish, cereal, chocolate milk, fruit dish and a mickey shaped rice krispie bar. We made some friends with some ducks as we ate outside. They weren't crazy about the rice krispie treat but they sure loved that danish! I could hear the train whistle coming from MK (guess it was up and running again) but I KNEW there was no way we'd have time to go over there since we wanted to get an early start on the road and had to be out of our room by 11. It was only a little after 9 so we had some time for some shopping in the Poly. The original plan was to ride the monorail after church to the Contemporary and exchange my calculator since i knew they had them there. I decided to try the Poly gift shop and sure enough, they had them there too. This was good and bad. Good because we could get that early start now, but bad because it meant no more riding on the monorail one last time. After doing that, we headed back to OKW. I stopped at the store to pick up one last package and buy some goodies for work. I almost forgot to get my last load of clothes out of the dryer. About 10:15, i hear a knock on the door and it was housekeeping. I told them we'd be out by 11, not to worry! It was just a matter of packing up the car at this point. I guess I couldn't drag it out much longer, so we all piled in the car and said goodbye to OKW until December! We had an uneventful drive home except for hitting the locusts again in WV. It was great to get back to the clear blue and sunny skies of PA (we had no rain up here the entire time we were gone). We did stay at another Days Inn on the way back - near Charlotte. It was kind of outdated for a Days Inn. The TV had to be one of the original remote control TV's ever made. It was on a pedestal - or as Jake says, on a stick, LOL. I tried to use the phone to let my parents know where we were and to wish my dad Happy Father's Day and was told since they were printing something in the office, the phone system was out of order. Was this Hooterville or what? I was waiting for him to tell us we had to climb a telephone pole to make a call! LOL! We finally arrived at our door around 5 or so at which time I immediately went to get our dogs. That is always the official end! So that was our HH and OKW adventure. Our first time driving and doing the resorts back to back. We will definitely do this again. If you read my report to this point, thanks for sticking it out!

Magical Moments

Seeing Jake's face as he watched the Magical Moments Parade
Spending one on one time with Justin at the MK
Spending my 40th Birthday with all of my AOL/DVC friends
Getting my AP's extended for my Dec. trip
Things to do next trip

World Showcase (never DID make it over there)
Spaceship Earth
Dumbo
Big Thunder Mountain
Tom Sawyer Island
Fantasmic
Afterthoughts

Even though this was by far the rainiest Disney trip for us, I honestly think it was the best! I've more than made up for my past rain-less trips all in one week. I don't think we let it slow us down too much, except for maybe swimming in the afternoon. I think next year, we will try August since that is my use year and it works better for us.

Even though I know that we all go to WDW frequently, I don't think i'll ever get used to walking under that train station and seeing that castle and the smell of freshly baked cookies as we walk down Main Street. It seems new and exciting each time and I can't get over how much I love this place. I love how each trip is unique in its own way no matter how many times we go. I still have a tendency to go in to commando mode but I am getting better. I keep telling myself "you're coming back, you're coming back", LOL.

Of course, what can you say about OKW! I love every inch of that place! It was as gorgeous as ever and I can't imagine staying anywhere else. As for Hilton Head, every time we go there, I want more points!

I also want to mention how much having my DVC/AOL friends there for my birthday meant to me. When you buy DVC, no one tells you about this little fringe benefit you get from fellow members called friendship. They just don't get any better than you guys! I can't thank you all enough for taking time from your lives, families and vacations to spend that evening with me. I will truly never forget it.......well, unless we do the cruise for my 50th! LOL! ;-)

Donna Sharick