Travel Dates: February 6 - 13, 2009
Travel Method: Plane, Magical Express
Resort: Grand Floridian
Sherry - Me (42-43) ULTIMATE DISNEY FANATIC, Planner and Organizer 18 WDW trips and 1 DLR trip, NO motion sickness Rides ALL Attractions.
Steve - Husband (46), The Sensible one (keeps my feet on the ground) ,11 trips to WDW and 1 DLR trip. Some motion sickness issues.(Recent Neck injury)
Planning and reason for the Trip
When and Why
In December we reached a milestone of 25 years of Marriage. I wanted to take a trip to Disney World since we went there on our honeymoon; unfortunately I was not able to find any deals for a December trip. I started looking in September. Shortly after that Disney announced the come free for your Birthday deal. That sounded good to me, but it was still not enough of a savings to make a trip worth it for me. The next promotion Disney announced was pay for four nights and get three free. THAT DID! I started researching on line. The discounts started in January. They also threw in a $200 gift card if you went before March. We decided to go in February. This would be during My Birthday and I would get a $75 gift card. I wanted to stay at the Grand Floridian since it was our 25th Anniversary I thought this would be the time to try it. I got a quote for $3,435.02. That included seven nights at Grand Floridian Magic Kingdom view, 7-day hopper pass Disney dining plan and Magical Express and the $200 gift card plus insurance. I paid extra to have the Magic Kingdom view. I figured I may not ever stay there again and should have the whole experience. I called my friend (travel agent Roger) He booked the trip for me. We actually booked the trip the week of our anniversary. December 10th.
I guess I pretty much explained my choice of resorts above. I also have a Disney Wish list that included staying at the Grand Floridian Resort. I was so excited about staying there for our 25th anniversary. I researched everything I could about the resort so I would not miss a thing and be prepared. I have stayed at other deluxe resorts (Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, Polynesian and Beach Club. I wanted to know what made the GF the best of the best. I checked the room size. The wdwinfo website stated that the standard room at the GF was 448 feet I compared it to the Polynesian, and they stated 409 feet for it. I looked at the 2009 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, on page 125 they stated a typical room at the Polynesian was 404 square feet and the typical room at the Grand Floridian was 440.I dont have the best spatial skills to know what 440 square feet feels like, but I know I have stayed at the Polynesian three times and the rooms are huge. I figured I would not be disappointed in the room, knowing it was bigger then the Polynesian. I also found out some things the GF offers that the others do not. They were turndown service and robes in the room. I checked out the quick service food menu at the Gaspirilla Grill. I used allearsnet for that. I made sure they had the refillable mugs. I knew they had two pools and a hot tub. I asked roger where the best rooms in my category were located he recommended an upper level in Boca Chia. One other thing I read about was the Housekeepers put on a show and twirl their parasols. On Monday and Thursday Morning on there way to work in the courtyard. It sounded like something I would like.
On our last few trips we have been driving. Steve likes to drive and I hate it. He does all of the driving. I think he prefers it that way too. This time I thought we should fly. He hurt his neck back in October and has to take it easy still. I know he would try to drive straight through by himself. That cant be good for a person with a neck problem. On top of that we are going in February and will have to worry about the weather. It only made sense to me to fly. There were only two of us so the price wouldnt be bad. I found nonstop flights on Southwest for a total of $506.00. We flew out of Providence. We can fly out of Logan or Providence from our house. We prefer Providence. It is smaller then Logan and easier to get through, plus there is less traffic in Providence then Boston. We decided to use the Magical Express instead of renting a car. I have used this on three other trips without Steve. I find it works great. He prefers to rent a car. He liked to have freedom to leave Disney property. He calls it getting out into the real world. I of course like to be totally immersed in the Happy World for my whole stay. We couldnt justify paying for a rental car. I called roger and the best deal he could get for a compact car was around $400.00. I figured since we had the meal plan, the only thing we would do is drive to Wal-Mart and get beer and wine. Even at Disney prices we would not drink that much. We normally do not order any alcohol at restaurants. We have it in our room when we take our afternoon break, or in the evening.
Final Plans Made
Travel agent (Roger) booked the trip for me, even though I could do this myself. I prefer going through him. He is a one-man show. He has been on 98 trips to WDW and I value his opinions on everything from restaurants to hotels. He has even found better deals than I find on my own, and has also handled a few travel problems that I have had over the years. He booked us on Magic your way with dining package for two adults. I handled the Air myself online with Southwest. Total price so far $3,941.02 plus $175.00 for the Keys to the Kingdom Tour.
My Fun Part
Being the organizer that I am, I love the planning part. I started with the park hours calendar on the official Walt Disney World Resort website. I always make up a daily plan first based on the Extra Magic Hours. I like to take advantage of them. Once I know what park we are in on what day I decide where to eat and start making my dining reservations. I checked out the menus again on allearsnet. I discussed it with Steve I told him I wanted to eat in the Castle at Cinderellas Royal Table. We had eaten there 25 years ago when it was King Stephans banquet hall, on our honeymoon. It was the only table service place we ate at on that trip. We were young and did not have much money. He mentioned he would like to try Morocco. I also decided I wanted to eat dinner at 1900 Park Fare with Cinderella for my Birthday. We wanted to eat at two of our favorite places, Chef Mickeys and Trails End Buffet. The first time I called I was unable to get Chef Mickeys and Cinderellas Royal Table. I kept calling everyday and was able to a 4:00 Dinner at Cinderellas Royal Table for our last night. Great!! I was so happy to get it I did not mind it was at 4:00pm.
Here is what I booked:
Friday- Trails End Buffet 6:00pm ( Fort Wilderness Campground)
Saturday- No Table service
Sunday- 1900 Park Faire 5:50pm ( Grand Floridian)- My Birthday
Monday- Biergarten 5:15pm (Germany)
Tuesday- Marrakesh 5:00 (Morocco)
Wednesday- Boma 4:55 (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
Thurdsday- Cinderellas Royal Table 4:00pm (inside Castle) = 2 table service per guest
When I made the reservation for the 1900 Park Fare. The cast member asked me if we would be celebrating anything I said yes a birthday. They asked me for the name then said how old is she? I said forty something. There was a little chuckle on the other end. I guess this should have been a clue.
About a month before our trip, I decided to do a behind the scenes Tour for my birthday. I have always wanted to try one, and it was on my Disney Wish list. I was a little afraid it might ruin the magic for me so I did some research online. Mouseplanet had several reviews. I was thinking about the steam train tour or the Keys to the Kingdom. After reading the reviews, I knew it would not ruin the magic. I chose Keys to the Kingdom. I wanted it to be on the morning of my birthday. I wanted to use the $200 gift card we would receive. When I called I was told we could not use the gift card because we had to pay for it in full when we booked it. We would not receive the card until we checked in. That was okay. It was $ I was able to book it on the morning of my Birthday. They had three start times. I chose the latest one, which was 9:30am. I wanted to make sure I had time to get my birthday fun card. The cast member on the phone told me to go to any will call window at the park entrance to get it.
I was told I would be able to choose from a one-day pass, good for up to another year. Or a Magical Fast Pass Or a Birthday Fun card ($75 on Disney merchandise.) Once I had all my plans ready, I used the Unofficial Guides free touring plan online. I created a master plan. I printed the pages cut them out and glued them in a notebook. I left room to make notes for my trip report.
Planning done- Countdown begins!
Friday Feb 6th
Plan: leave for the airport at 3: 45am to be at the airport two hours before our 6:45am flight time. I always have an estimated time of arrival to be at my resort. It was 11:30am to be at the Grand Floridian front desk. If our room was not ready we would go to Downtown Disney get lunch at Earl of Sandwich, go through the shops. When our room is ready we will go to it and unpack, then take the monorail to the Magic kingdom. Walk through Main street shops and Look for the Plastic Cinderella Castle set. That is what I am going to get with my Birthday fun card. I am going to put it around my Monorail that I have in my Disney room. Steve got me the monorail, Spaceship Earth and the Contemporary Resort, at a yard sale. He paid only $25 for all three in the original boxes. I have wanted to get the Castle to finish of my set, but I cannot justify paying $75 dollars for a plastic toy. This way the Mouse will be buying it for my Birthday. I want to see how big the box is. I will most likely have to pay to have it shipped home. I figured there would be time to ride the TTA before taking the boat to Fort Wilderness Campground. I planed on leaving between 4:30 and 5:00. That would be more then enough time since our dinner reservation was for 6:00. If we were early we would look in the trading post. I like that gift shop. I found some unique things there. After dinner we will take the boat back to the MK then we would take the monorail back to the GF watch the 9:15 Electric Water Pageant, and be in bed by 10:00pm
I woke up at 2:50 am by the alarm clock I slept pretty well. I took a quick shower then made the bed. We pulled out of the driveway at 3:35am. We parked the car at 4:29am in Garage B level 3. It was a very long and VERY COLD!! Walk to the terminal. The Thermometer in our car said 2 degrees. We went to the Southwest desk. It was not open. We formed a line. A few more people showed up. They finally opened at 5:00am. There was a new process since we last flew southwest to check your bags. It was very confusing. A guy in line told us we had to use the computer and check our own bags in. Then we had to wait for someone to call our names. That is when they looked at our IDs and weighed our bags. We then went through security with no issues. We were at the very last gate (I think we always are) It was now 5:24am Steve got Coffee. I took a bathroom break, and we waited. We had a nice quit uneventful fight. Our Flight was scheduled to land in Orlando at 10:00am. I dont know how it happened but we actually touched down at 9:15. At 9:45 we entered the line for Magical Express. The Magical Express pulled out of the Airport at 10:15. We pulled into the Grand Floridian at 10:45.Yeah!! I did the check in. Steve sat in the lobby and made a phone call. The check in went very smoothly. They gave us each a pin that said Happy Anniversary and one for my birthday. They gave us the $200.00 gift card. I asked the cast member that checked us in if we could use if for food and alcohol. She said if we left a credit card we could charge anything on that and then we could apply the $200.00 gift card to our account before we checked out. I said oh great that is what we will do. I asked her where our room was and she said it would be in the Boca Chia building we wanted. But it would be on the ground floor. I asked if we could move up and she looked. She said the only other room said there was an obstructed view of the castle by a tree. She said our room had a view of the Castle and the Contemporary Resort. I said that would be ok then. We checked our carry on luggage with bell services Steve said we should check out the area our room will be in to make sure I will be happy. The cast member had drawn on the map, where our room would be within a few rooms. It looked good to both of us. It felt nice and warm. I only had a light sweatshirt on. We had a cold winter and have been covered with snow since December. It felt so good just to see green things. We made our way to the bus stop. We waited only 10 minuets for the bus. Just as we arrived at Downtown Disney Steves phone rang. It was the GF saying our room was ready. It was exactly noon. I thought oh that was nice. I was not sure if that was something new they do, or it was just because we stayed at the Grand Floridian. It was a lot better then calling every 20 minutes to ask them if our room is ready. We were hungry now since we had been up for hours. We headed to Earl of Sandwich. Steve had not eaten there before. I told him it was good, and not to worry if the line is long it always moves fast. We used our first quick service meal. I had to ask what we could get and we were told a sandwich, drink chips or dessert. I got a Hawaiian BBQ sandwich Steve got something called the original we got one bag of chips and one brownie and split them. The receipt was confusing because it did not refer to the meal plan at all. It gave us a total of $18.50. Most of the time it says 00.0 and tells you how many meals remaining. In the end it was fine I kept my eye on the receipts We walked through the World of Disney, The Christmas shop. And I checked out the new place where you make a T-Shirt. It was kind of cute, but I did not want a T-shirt. We left Downtown Disney at 1:30. We were told our room was number 8133. We went right there to see if we liked it. Our luggage was already there. The room was surprisingly smaller then I was expecting. It was very pretty and the view was nice. There was a couch an easy chair with a small round table a desk for a computer with one chair. There were two robes hanging in the closet. The bathroom was pretty small. There was a phone in there (not sure why) and a hamper. There was one of those make up mirrors. Those can be very scary first thing in the morning; I dont need to see my face up that close. The wallpaper was cute with Mickey and Minnie and Pluto on it. There was also a huge pink stain on the wallpaper directly across from the toilet. The bedspreads were pretty with hidden tinker bells on them. There was a small safe and fridge. I was not sure if all the rooms were that small or if we had gotten some weird room. I never found out. I did see the rooms around us when the door was open. They appeared to be the same. If I had not stayed at the Polynesian and or the Contemporary I would not have been disappointed, but when you are paying more you expect more. The rooms at the other two resorts and the bathroom are quite a bit bigger. I did not need the room since there were only two of us. It was a matter of principal. What makes the Grand Floridian more money was my question. If you had a family of four you would be much more comfortable in a room at either of the other two monorail resorts. Steve asked me again if I was okay with the room. I told him it was perfectly fine for the two of us. I liked the location a lot. We had a nice patio with two chairs, where we could see the Castle and hear the train. It was a nice spot and that was most important to me. Once that was settled we walked to Gasparillas Grill. We bought two refillable mugs, and one bottle of red wine. I drink white wine or wine coolers. I wanted a wine cooler but they did not have any at the Gasparilla. We went back to the room I did the unpacking. I could barely fit our clothes in the draws once again. I thought four of us stayed at the Contemporary in one room and fit all our clothes in the draws with less trouble. Steve took a nap, and I took a walk. I went back to the Gasparilla and filled up my mug with lemonade. I didnt get lost. I usually have trouble finding my way around the resorts. I went to the shops. I bought a Grand Floridian Pin. I dont trade pins. I started collected them, before the big pin thing came about. I only have about 30 I always get the pin from all the resorts I have stayed at. I asked if they had the light up ice cubes. I love them. They said they did not have any. The cast member at the store told me to try the over at the Cotemporary. He said the new building was open. I didnt think he was right. I went back to the room Steve was just getting up. He showered and got ready to go. We were not going to the MK to visit just to take the boat from there to Fort Wilderness for dinner at 6:00pm. We got on the monorail at 4:40pm. Right after the doors closed they announced that there would be a delay. They said that the purple monorail ahead of us was stuck on the track and it would be 6 minutes. It actually took fifteen. Then they said we are going to do something special. We were going to go backwards and everyone had to get off at the TTC or the Contemporary. We got off at the Contemporary. We took the walkway to the MK. We got in line at 5:10pm for the boat. We waited and three boats came for the Wilderness Lodge and none for the campground. Finally the campground boat came, and we made it to the Trails End Buffet exactly at 6:00pm. We had our Anniversary buttons on. Our waiter was Deryl. He made us stand up and announced our 25th Anniversary and made us kiss. They did bring us a special dessert. I didnt mind the announcement so much but not the kiss with everyone watching. We did enjoy the dinner. We got our slip saying we had 12 remaining table service meals. We left the tip on our room charge. That was new. The last two times we had the meal plan that was included. We left at 7:00pm. We went to the boat dock. The first boat that came was for the Contemporary. We decided to take that one. We saw the new building was defiantly not open. I am not sure if I like it. They did a very nice job of making it blend it with the Contemporary. The part I dont like is that it takes away from the original. We noticed from certain angles. When you see the monorail go into the Contemporary. The new building is behind the track and you loose sight of the monorail. It is not as an impressive sight as it used to be. It also looks like a building that could be anywhere. To me the original building is unique in that it is an A frame. (Enough about that) We checked out the renovations done inside the lobby of the original building. They looked nice. I was not disappointed. We went to the shops. I purchased four sets ice cubes. I noticed they had wine coolers at their shops. I did not get any because we wanted to go in the MK. We took the walkway to the MK. It was 7:45 when we got there. We took our ride on the TTA we stayed on twice and watched Wishes. We rode Buzz lightyear. I got a record score for me 150,00. I guess I am better when I am tired. Steve got 385,000. We left the MK at 8:45pm. We had two wait for the second monorail. The first one filled up. We got back to the Grand Floridian at 9:16. We saw the Electric Water pageant was in the middle of its show. We were not sure if we could see it from our room, so we did not rush back. We went to the Sandy Cove gifts. We got one bottle of wine and one bottle of scotch. We went back to the room. The beds had been turned down. There was a little card saying sweet dreams and 2 chocolates on each bed wrapped in paper decorated with a Grand Floridian painting. The chocolate was actually pretty good. It was not as good as Godiva, but it was not that cheep stuff. I took a hot bath and made notes for the trip report. I got stuff ready for the next day. Put out one of my pre made mousekeeping envelope. We were in bed at 10:20pm.
Happy Thoughts for the Day:
I have made it to the Grand Floridian!
I have a whole week in my happy place.
Celebrating we made it to 25 years of marriage.
Warm Weather and no snow.
The Grand Floridian rooms are not Grand in size.
Expenses for Today
Bottle Merlot 13.95
Refillable mug 12.49
Refillable mug 12.49
M. Mouse Mercantile
Glow ice cube set
4 @6.50 26.00
Sandy Cove Gifts
Bottle white zin 11.95
Grand Total 120.01
Saturday Feb 7th
Plan: I will get up at 6:00am and get ready to go to morning extra magic hours beginning at 8:00am. My plan is to be at the bus stop at 7:00. I would like to ride Rock n Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror a few times. Steve is going to bypass these because of his neck. He usually only does each one once anyways. Steve will sleep in and meet me over there. He doesnt sleep late, but he will probably want to sit relax and watch the news. Once we meet up. We will get a pass for the Toy Story Mania. We have not done this yet. It was not open the last time I was there. We can ride the great movie ride and see the Muppets. The rest of the day we will play by ear. I would like to visit One Mans Dream. We have no lunch plans and no dinner reservations tonight. We will be one Table service meal short because we are doing the Cinderellas Royal Table, and that is a signature meal, which takes two table service vouchers. We will not have to pay for any meals because we are doing the Keys to the Kingdom Tour and that includes lunch. That leaves one extra counter service we will be using for tonights counter service dinner. Our plan for the Evening is does not include Fantastic. I could take it or leave it. It is an excellent show if you have never scene it or only scene it a few times. I have scene it at least ten times. Steve said he would rather not see it. I really did not have a plan for the evening. I had some options open. They were: visit another resort, Downtown Disney or Magic Kingdom. I am not doing my usual plan every minuet. My last few trips I have gone with someone who has never been and wants to see everything. I enjoy doing that as well, but this time it is just the two of us and we are more relaxed and have no family members with us. I did not feel the need to plan so much. It felt weird but it was enjoyable as well.
I woke up at 5:30. I did not sleep well. Steve was snoring all night. At home we sleep with a loud fan on to drown out the noise. I got ready and tried to be quit. I stopped and filled my mug with coffee. I got to the bus stop at 6:55am. I was the only one there. At about 7:10 a lady and a little girl showed up. The bus stop had an overhead TV with one of those Disney ads playing. The bus came at 7:15 there was one other family on the bus with 2 kids. I saw three hot air balloons over the Studios. I am not sure why. I made it to the Turnstiles to the Studios at 7:28. There were lots of Cheerleaders. They were being let in at a special gate. They were high school age. They were in uniforms and getting ready to perform. I was the first one in my line. When they let us through I walked on the sidewalk on the right side of the street. I was the first one in front of the rope. We waited there. And had some entertainment. I made it on the first elevator of the day. I was walking out of the gift shop it was 8:15 and my phone rang. It was Steve. He said he was in the park. I guess he did not sleep late either. I asked him to come meet me and get my pass so he could get a fast passes us both for Toy Story Mania. I went to Rock N Roller Coaster. He was there he got one fast pass. He said he couldnt hear me. I went on RNRC He took my pass and went back and got another one for me. It was a half hour later. It was not a problem because we could still go at the same time, if we went in the middle of both times. He walked around while I went on RNRC two more times. There was no wait. The wait said 10 minuets. We then went to the Great Movie Ride. No wait there either. Next we went to the Muppets and walked right in. It was now time to see Toy Story Mania. The whole area was cute. It was decorated with huge classic toys. The ride was fun. It was like buzz, only it was not a laser. You wore 3D glasses and you pulled a string to shoot things like rings and darts. It took us a while to get used to it. Our scores were pretty bad. I got a whole 26,000 and Steve got 64,000. We then walked through One Mans Dream, which makes me happy. We watched the movie. I still enjoy it. We decided to leave the park for lunch. The studios are my least favorite place for food. I was feeling pretty tired for me. I usually am not. I also had not had anything to eat. Steve said he had a breakfast bar in the room. I had packed two boxes in my suitcase. I told Steve suggested we go to Epcot for lunch. He asked me how to get there because normally we have a car. I told him there was a boat, and there was a walkway. I have never taken it but I am sure we can find it. I told him the boats are slow. We walked over by the boat dock and saw the sign for Walkway to Epcot. It was a short walk. There was a boardwalk it was very nice walk along the water with lots of flowers. It was now warn enough to take my sweatshirt off. Steve said he was sweating. I loved it. If felt so nice. It was also nice to see the colorful flowers. We started in the land pavilion looking for food at the food court. It was a zoo. I was just too tired to deal with all that confusion. The lines were long there were no tables it was way to loud in there. . It was about 12:15. That is peak time for lunch. I usually try to eat by 11:30 or after 2:00. I told him I like the Electric Umbrella. Last time I came it was closed, but most likely open now. It was open. The lines were not long. We used our counter service meal Steve got the Island chicken salad and a fruit cup. I got the bacon burger and choc chip cookie. The burger was huge. Steve ate half. We saw a staircase and went up stairs. It was nice and quit and we sat in front of windows and watched people. It was just what I needed. It was I nice rest. We saw a group of about fifteen people. They did not seem to know each other. They were playing Disney Pictionary. They had a big easel set up. I wanted to ask them what it was all about, but I didnt. It seemed like they may have been cast members. I felt much better after I ate. I had a little more energy, and felt more alert. Steve suggest I ask the Grand Floridian if they had a fan we could use. I thought maybe I should, but I was not sure who to ask. We went on our way. I checked Mission Space for a single rider line. They said they did not have one. The line was 30 minutes. I did not want to wait. We walked to the monorail. It was a short wait before one showed up. We got off at the TTC and took the walkway to the Polynesian. Steve had not been there since they had done the renovations. We went to the Trader Jacks gift shop and they had wine coolers. I got three, one fuzzy navel, one wild berry and one strawberry. We asked for a double bag, so it would be easier to carry back. We walked on the brick walkway back to the Grand Floridian. We saw a bride and bridesmaids getting photos in the courtyard. They were pretty. We went back tour room. Mousekeeping had not been there yet. I decided to call the front desk about getting a fan. They transferred me to housekeeping. They said they would bring it as soon as possible. I guess that all you have to do is ask sometimes. We went to the hot tub. I put my wine cooler in my refillable mug. Steve had something I dont remember. Only two jets worked and the tub did not really bubble up. There was a timer on a board. I turned it but it did nothing. There was one other guy in there with a little boy about three. He asked his Dad four a drink and the father told him there were no drinks allowed in the hot tub. Off course being three he did not miss a thing and pointed at us and said those people are drinking in there. I looked at him and told him he was right and we were being naughty. He kept looking at us. It was funny. It got a little cooler when, some clouds starting to come overhead. We went back to the room and Mousekeeping still had not come to do the but the fan was there already. I grabbed some towels and laid on a chair then covered up with towels. I was a little cold. When sun came back out and it was plenty warm. We each got a drink at the bar. Steve got beer and I got a frozen pina colada. Now this felt like vacation. At 3:30 I went back to the room it was getting chilly for me. Steve asked me to get him another beer first. He said he would be back in a few minutes. I told him I was proud of him because he doesnt usually just sit and relax. Mousekeeping had finally come. No towel animals. I took a hot bubble bath. Steve came back and took a snooze. Even though I was tired, I could not sleep. I am not good at taking naps. We choose to go to the Magic Kingdom. We went to the monorail at 5:45pm. We went to the Starlight Caf for supper. We both got chicken and chocolate cake. I only had a couple bites of the cake. I wanted to use a snack option and get a Mickey Ice Cream Bar. Those are a lot better then the cake. We sat outside and looked at the castle all lit up. It was a nice out and I was happy to just sit and enjoy that. I was still tired. We went to check out the Haunted Mansion. Last time I was there it was closed and they had made changes. There was no wait. We noticed a few changes. I always liked it they way it was, so it was not disappointing to me. They could probably do a lot more, but it would change what most people like. We were both tired and I wanted to see if we could see the Electric Water pageant from our room, so we headed back. Steve wanted to take the big boat that brings you over to the TTC. We had plenty of time so we did. We took the brick walkway that goes from the Polynesian then to the Grand Floridian. As we walked along the path, we saw the fireworks. We also saw that on the beach they had a big screen playing the movie Cars and there was a small campfire. We stopped in the lobby because I needed to pick up a new Times Guide. We then went to the Gasparilla where I got a Mickey Bar. We went back to our room. The bed was turned down. There were still no towel animals. We heard the music for the parade it seemed far off. It was playing to the Polynesian. We could see it but it was off to the side. Then it came around and played DIRECTLY in front of our balcony. It was like a private show. It was pretty close too. That was at least one special perk for staying at the top resort. I got stuff ready for the next day. We went to bed at 10:30
Happy Thoughts for the Day:
First ride of the day (Tower of Terror)
The quit spot at the Electric Umbrella
Walkways around WDW (they are always more efficient then taking transportation)
Mickey Ice Cream Bar
Relaxing by the pool
Unhappy Thoughts for the Day:
No towel Animals
Our scores on Toy Story Mania
Broken Hot Tub
Expenses for Today
3 wine coolers @ 3.75 each
Summerhouse pool bar
Draft Beer 5.50
Draft Beer 5.50
Pina colada 7.50
Grand Total 35.70
Sunday Feb 8th (My Birthday)
Plan: Set the wakeup call for 7:30am. We will be at the monorail at 8:30am. Go to the will call window, and get my birthday fun card. Meet at the spot for the Keys to the Kingdom Tour at 9:30am. I am told the tour will be four to four and half hours, including lunch. I want to get a dolewhip after the tour. Then Stay at the Magic Kingdom until about 3:00pm. Go back to the GF sit by the pool have a drink. Get ready for Dinner at the 1900 Park Faire, which is right at the GF. After dinner we will take the monorail to the MK do any thing we want. See wishes from the MK and and stay for Extra Magic hours until 11:00pm. Be in bed my Midnight.
Real Story: I woke up at 7:00 Thanks to the Fan and Steve. I felt a lot better. I got ready. I opened the sliding door to see if was warm out. It was warm out. It was even warm enough to wear shorts. I guess that was a nice birthday present. The noise from the door woke Steve up. He said happy birthday and he went to get us coffee in our mugs. We got ready. I put on my birthday pin.. We were at the monorail at 8:20. We went right to the Will Call It was really easy. I showed them my license and they showed me a brochure with the choices in it. I told them I had heard that I had to use the card by the end of the day. They said no that was a mistake. The MK was not open yet people were lined up. I wasnt sure where the place was to meet for the tour. I asked a cast member, and she said we could come right in now. She opened the rope and let us through she said we would go to city hall. We went right there. We checked in. They were very organized we gave them our name. The handed us a pin with our names on them. It was cute it had the castle on it, and Mickey and Minnie in tour guide outfits. It said Disneys keys to the Kingdom in gold writing. They also gave us a lanyard to where around our necks that send TOUR. They had a menu for lunch. It was a large card with the choices and photos of the food. The Lunch was at my favorite lunch spot in the Magic Kingdom, (The Columbia Harbor House) I picked the Chicken Strips and Steve picked the Fish. They told us we could walk around and come back at 9:30. The park was still not open. There was no one around. It was fun. I wish I had my camera, but when I reserved the tour they said cameras were allowed on the tour. The shops were open. I went in the Emporium and I bought a headband that was soft and had Minnie ears. Her bow was made out of sequence. I put it on the room charge, but I had a gift card that my mother in law gave me for my birthday. We went back to city hall just before 9:30 we were told that we had to wait a few minutes for a party that was not there yet. Our tour guides name was Johnny. He gave us each a headset to wear, so we could hear him over the crowds. It worked great. I was like the other people were not even there. The other people showed up and we started about ten minutes late. He told us we would be taking breaks for the bathroom and then he asked us to each say our name, where we wore from and what we would like to do if we worked for Disney. I absolutely LOVED every minute of it! There was lots of stuff I knew but just as much that I did not know. He told us about the four Disney guidelines all cast members are taught. Safety, Courtesy, Efficiency I cant remember the last one. It was something to do with empowerment. He explained that if someone dropped an ice cream cone, every cast member could replace it or should be able to solve problems for the guest. He talked a little about each one. I remember he said example of safety were the walkways. They did not have many steps and curbs and tried to be flat. He said an example of a cast member being courteous, was the fact that they never point with one finger. He explained that in other cultures it is considered offensive. They will use their whole hand our two fingers to point. Then he talked about efficiency. He mentioned fast pass was the most efficient way to wait in line for a ride. He would bring us to little out of the way places like a little side street off of Main Street, and then he would point out things to us. He gave us lots of details about the buildings and windows. We went to Adventureland and sat at the tables where you get the dolewhips. It was not open yet. He explained details in the music in the park and the rooflines, and much more. We got to ride on the Jungle Cruise. We went to the front of the line, and we had our own boat. Johnny was the captain. He told us lots of inside information. We went to Frointerland. We Actually got to go back stage. He asked us to be courteous of the cast members when we went backstage. He said for us not to point of laugh. It was a funny feeling, to cross that line on the pavement. I always have wondered what goes on back there. We went through the gate near Splash Mountain. The one where you see the parade disappear. I wont tell you too much but dont read this section if you do not want to know. The place was huge and you dont even know it is there. We saw the back of Splash Mountain, where the water is filtered. We saw huge garage like building with all the parade flouts in it. We saw lots of people working. There was even someone riding a bike. Johnny asked if anyone had any questions. A woman asked how they picked someone to be a certain character. He said they had to have a certain look and be a certain size to fit the costumes. Then he said there was only one Cinderella, of course. After that we walked through liberty square. He told us about the red brick in the road represented a ditch from that time frame where the people emptied chamber pots. (YUCK!) He also told us that true to the period there are no restroom located in Liberty square. I remembered that the Columbia Harbor House has one. He told us that the restrooms in the Columbia Harbor House. Where set way backs in the building and were actually in Fantasyland. Now I know why they seem so out of the way. I knew Disney was all about paying attention to detail, but really I had no idea how much. We headed to the Haunted Mansion. He said we were going there next. He came back and said it was down, so we would go to lunch and try back later. We went to lunch at the Columbia Harbor House. We had a reserved place upstairs. It was nice There were place settings with our names and everyones food was brought out. We sat with a mother and daughter. They were also taking advantage of the three nights free. They were staying at the Polynesian. They did not buy the meal plan they said they were going to use the $200 gift card towards food. I would have done that if I were not with my husband too. I have to keep him happy with food. Johnny told us to turn over our place card and there was a gift. We each got our very own key to the kingdom. After lunch Johnny tried back to get us in the Haunted Mansion. It was still down. He apologized and we went towards the castle. He told us some details about that. Some one asked about the Dream Suite. He said it was not being used right now, but he showed us where it was and what windows. He brought us to the first aid area. He waited for anyone to use the restrooms, and told us it would be are last opportunity for a while. Once everyone was ready we went behind a gate. I could not even tell you where it was now. We walked behind Main Street. He showed us a whole room where they make balloons. He showed us where Tinker bell lands. We went in a door and went down a few sets of stairs. We were now under the Magic Kingdom. He reminded us to be polite. And told us if a vehicle came to step out of the way. They have the right away. We saw a quick movie off the costume area and the laundry facilities. We heard the garbage coming down in the overhead pipes. It was very loud it sounded like things were being ground up. It looked sort of like the back of a store. I worked at the Disney Store it reminded me of the back room. He told us some top-secret stuff that I wont reveal. You will have to take the tour. He told us where we were standing. Like underneath Caseys hot dog place. We then came back up, and went back to city hall. We all thanked him and he gave us a special fast pass for any attraction, because we never got on the Haunted Mansion. That made sense. There was nothing they could do about it being down during our tour. When the tour ended it was 2:00. It was sad when it came to and end for me. I cant say enough about how much I enjoyed. There was no such thing as ruining the magic for me. Steve said he enjoyed it but it was a little too long for him. I could see that if you are not a Disney fanatic. I read a lot about it being a lot off walking and tired people out. I guess those people must have some kind of condition or something. I found it to be way more relaxing then my normal day at the Magic kingdom. It was about 80degres at 2:00, and my plan said it was time for a Dolewhip. The line was long we waited about fifteen minutes to get them. We sat in the seats and enjoyed a quiet moment watching people. What a nice perfect birthday so far. Since it was warm we went on Splash Mountain. The wait was only ten minutes. Then we took the train to Main St. Station. The train ride was unique. We saw an actual real alligator that was a first for us. The train also tooted its whistle to the big steamboat and the boat tooted back. It was that Shave and a haircut two bits. Then when we came into to Toontown Station, there were about ten characters standing at the fence waving. Chip and Dale, Goofy Robin hood character, Tarzan, Alice, Pluto, Maybe they knew it was my birthday. (I have no problem believing in the magic) That also was a first. Steve went back to the room. I stayed I saw a marching band from Fenton Michigan. They had lots of flutes and one piccolo. I use to play the piccolo in the high school marching band. I checked the fast pass return time for Space Mountain. It was during our dinnertime so I did not get one. I went on the TTA then on the teacups. Then I rode on the carousel and then Small World. Steve doesnt like those three things, so that worked out well. It was now time to leave. I got on the monorail at 4:16 and was back in my room at 4:26. When I got back to the room Steve was working on his laptop. I looked at the bed and there were some towel animals two birds and a princess crown also made out of towels. It had pink and blue foam hearts glued on it. It was so cute. I said Oh they must have know it was my birthday. Steve said when he got back to the room the saw our mousekeeper and told her it was my birthday and asked her to do it for me. That was romantic! We sat on the patio and had a glass of wine. We watched boats go by and we could also hear the train. I got ready for dinner. We left our room at 5:45 our seating was at 5:50. We had to wait until 6:15 to be seated. We sat in the lobby and listened to the guy playing the piano. He played mostly Disney songs. It was nice. The dinner was a buffet. I had the strawberry soup that I like. Our waiter was Michael. He started talking to us. After we finished eating I think so we would not leave. Then they brought out a very big pink cupcake with Mickey sprinkles on it. And a nice crown with colored jewels on it that said Happy Birthday. All of the kids that had a birthday got up and danced with Cinderella and the prince. It was funny and cute. I also got a plastic Cinderella placemat to take home. It said 1900 Park Fair. I had just enough room to eat the cupcake well mostly the frosting. It was very good and a lot of frosting (just what I like) It was a perfect birthday dinner for me. I have had dinner there twice before, but I never saw the ugly step sister. They were very funny. They asked me if my prince had a brother. I told her yes but he was also married. She said She would have to look for a younger one. They had just the right way of taking. It made me laugh every time they spoke. We left the restaurant at 7:40. We went back to the room to drop off the placemat I wore the crown. I forget to mention, that because I had the birthday pin on all the cast members would say happy birthday to you. We went to see about getting a Space Mountain fast pass and it was closed(just the fast pass machines.). We went to the Carousel of Progress, and then rode the TTA. While we were up on the TTA Steve noticed people in line at the fast pass machines for Space Mountain. He was right they were open now. I got two passes. We went on the Haunted Mansion and then the Pirates Steve left the park at 10:00 He said he had enough fun. I wanted to stay for extra magic hours. I have no problem staying by myself. I went to Thunder Mountain and used my special pass from the tour. After that it was time to use the Space Mountain Fast passes I did each side. For some reason it was a long wait about 30 minutes. I then rode Winnie the Pooh. I checked the line for Peter Pan and it was still 40 minutes I did small world instead there was no wait. There was a cast member blowing bubbles at the entrance. I found out earlier that they had extended extra magic hours from 11:00 to 12:00. It was now 11:00 Peter Pan now said 30 minutes. I walked down Main Street. I stopped in the emporium and asked about shipping the castle home. They told me it was $20. I figured that was ok. I took pictures of the windows on Main Street. They had some nice Valentine decorations. I got on the Monorail at 11:24pm it made quick stops at each stop. I was the only one in the whole care from the TTA to the GF. It was a little weird. I got back to the room at 11:50. Steve was still up I made trip notes and went to bed at 12:30
I did not set a wake up call.
Happy Thoughts for the Day:
The Perfect Birthday
Birthday Towels (thanks Steve)
Keys to the Kingdom Tour
Unhappy Thoughts for the Day:
Everyday cant be your birthday
Expenses for Today
Minnie headband 16.95
Summerhouse pool bar
Draft beer 5.50
Tax and tip 1.36
1900 Park Fare
Bottle cab- sav 19.95
Total Expenses 59.17
Monday Feb 9th
Today is our Relax day. There is no wake up call set up. We will use our quick service meal for breakfast at the Gasparilla. I also want to look for the twirling housekeepers in the courtyard. I read that Monday was one of the days they do it. We will decide what we want to do for the morning and early afternoon after breakfast. We will take the monorail to Epcot around 2:30 maybe ride spaceship earth it has been changed since both of us have been. I want to visit inoventions then start touring World Showcase in Mexico. Dinner is at 5:15 at the Biergarten Germany. This will be a first for both of us. I have no set plans for the Evening we can do anything we want. I hope to be in bed by 11:30pm.
I woke up at 6:00am Steve made a loud crash. He was trying to leave the room in the dark and not wake me up. He went and got us Coffee. I sat in bed and drank coffee. Then I got up and straighten up the room and organized all of our receipts. I went to see if I could find out about the twirling housekeepers. A cast member told me it would be at 8:30 and showed me where they would come from. I went back to the room for about fifteen minutes. I stayed there until 9:00am. There were no housekeepers. Steve came out we took some photos around the resort. We went back to the room I called housekeeping to ask about the twirling. They said it was cancelled due to the weather. I had no idea why the weather was fine hmmmm? We took showers then went to the Gaspirilla Grill for breakfast. Steve got the Bounty Breakfast and milk I got the Mickey Waffles and OJ. They were just as good as the Character breakfast ones. When we went through the line to pay the cast member offered me coffee, even though I did not have my mug with me. We ate outside at the tables under the umbrellas. It was nice. We talked about what we wanted to do. We decided to go to the MK. It was 10:15 when we left. We took the monorail. When we got to the MK there was a big rush two monorails arrived at the same time and so did the big boat from the TTC. I did not have a bag this time. So we did not have to go through the bag check lines. We went to exhibit hall. Walked through there. Next we went to tomorowland. We went to Mickey Star Trader and the pin carts. I was looking for a lanyard that holds your passes for Auntie Linda. She is coming whit her family to wedding at the Grand Floridian in May. I told her I would pick one up for her. I wanted to check out the new Pixie hollow area with Tink. We got near the area and the line was huge. I just wanted to see what it looked like. I did not wait. It was way around a corner and you had to wait in line just to get near the area. I found a cart near the speedway that had the lanyard. I called Auntie to so if she wanted Minnie or Tink red or purple. She thanked me and was happy to her from WDW. She wanted Red. We went to the haunted Mansion. Then we walked through the Main Street shops. At 12:45 we took the monorail back to the GF. Mousekeeping had not been to our room. I put a wine cooler in my cup and we went to the hot tub. Steve came out and joined me. We then went to the pool. I sat in the lawn chair. The pool was still not warm enough for me. I made my notes for the trip report. Steve ordered a Sam Adams Beer that is what he likes. Dan the waiter said they were out. I went to the Gasparilla and got a Mickey Bar. I brought back a snack opt for Steve that was veggies and ranch dressing. He was happy with that. He said Dan brought him out 2 bottles of Sam Adams he found. We went back to the room about 3:15. Got ready to go to dinner. We left the room at 3:45 got the monorail it took only five minutes. I asked we could ride up front and they said we could. That was a first for Steve. We got off at the TTC and switched to the Epcot monorail. We rode Spaceship Earth. We liked the changes. We both thought they could have done more. But we liked the new look with the screens, and it was funny. We went to Sorain and got a fast pass for 7:51-8:51. We walked to Germany checked in at 4:50 we went right in. You are seated at tables with other people. We were told this ahead. We sat with an older couple from NJ and another couple who pretty much only spoke French. When we came in there was one of those umpappa bands. It was VERY! Loud. This was also a buffet. We went up to get our food. When we came back the music had stopped, so we could actually talk now. The food was ok It was not bad, but there was nothing there that we thought was really good. I would not go back. I am glad we tried it. The band played again before we left. There was a stage and then a dance floor. They got some of the crowed involved from their seats. There were kids up on the dance floor. A couple of little girls had gone to Bippity Boutique and were twirling their dresses around they were having a great time. They were fun to watch. We left there and did the 6:45 show of the American Adventure. (Steves favorite WDW attraction) We then went to Sorain (my favorite WDW attraction) it was 10 minutes until we could use our fast pass. A lady came up to us and gave us 2 FP for right now that she said she did not want. YEAH! We were on row two. We did it a second time with our FP we got row 3. We headed out for the night. I walked over the sparkly lights that I love. There were actually several new ones now. They had yellow and red swirls and greens and blue. That was fun. We waited only 2 minutes for the monorail. We got off at the TTC we walked back to our resort from there. We got back in time to see the Water Pageant again. I cant see it enough with the view we have. We each had a glass of wine while we watched. I made my notes, and got stuff ready for the next day. We watched TV. We were in bed at 10:45.
Happy Thoughts for the Day:
2 extra FP for Soarin
View of the Electric Water Pageant
Unhappy Thoughts for the Day:
Twirling housekeepers cancelled
Expenses for Today
Summerhouse Pool Bar
Draft beers 17.58
Tax and tip 6.00
Total Expenses 35.56
Tuesday Feb 10th
Plan: Wake up call at 7:00. I will take the monorail to Epcot for morning extra Magic hours. Steve will meet me later. I will ride Soarin and Mission space. After I meet up with Steve we will get FP for Test Track. Then we will go to the living seas, and take the Nemo Ride. I have only done it once. Steve has not done it yet. Go to Imagination ride. And ride Living with the land boat ride. Have a quick service lunch at the Yakotori house in Japan. Then go back to our room for a break. Dinner is at Morocco at 5:00. No set plan for the evening.
Real Story: I woke up at 6:45am Phone rang at 7:15. I forgot to mention that I like to hear the Mickey wake up call. It only worked once the whole week we were there. That has never happened. It would start to talk and cut right off. I got coffee and got ready to go. At 7:41 at the Grand Floridian Monorail. I was on the Monorail at 7:46 at 7:51 I arrived at the TTC. I got on the Epcot Monorail at 8:01 arrived at Epcot at 8:18 Arrived at Soarin at 8:24 waited in standby line it was 20 minuets. I asked a cast member named Gus if I could wait for row one. We had a nice chat. I road Soarin. It was just as good as always. I went over to Mission Space I walked right on did Orange the spinning one. I have never done the one that does not spin. Steve called me when I got out. He said he was taking a boat over from the Studios. I asked him if he forgot where I was going. He said no. He said the first bus that came was for the studios and he thought he would try taking the boat to Epcot from there. He said it sounded like a good Idea. I told him I was going on MS again since it still said five-minute wait. I went again I went with a Dad and a little girl who was scared. I told her she would be ok. It seems to me the kids handle this better then the adults. I have gone on with my nieces and nephew and they dont seem to mind it at all. She had a smile when she got off. She was proud of herself. I called Steve again and he said, wow the boat is slow He had just got off and was in Canada. He said go again and he will meet me there. This time I went with a guy who and his two kids. He was all revved up. He was hooting and hollering. I guess he was having a good time and was funny to watch. Nope I was not Dizzy yet. Steve showed up after the third ride. We went over to Test Tract and got FPs. We went to the living seas next. The line for Nemo said 15 minuets. It moved the whole time. We then could use our FP for Test Track. It took 20 minuets to get on the car. We made it to the heat room and the ride stopped. I told Steve this always breaks down. I once spent 40 minutes stuck in the car at closing time. In just a few minutes a cast member showed up told us to get out of the car, asked us not to step on the track. He said for us to just wait right there. Then one cast member lead us all out in a big line. They told us again not to step on the track. We went down some staircases and came out at the loading area. They gave us a fast pass good for anytime that day. We then went to Japan we had lunch at the Yakitori. This was a first for Steve. He liked it. He got a meal with Beef and noodles. I got chicken and steamed veggies. We both got the Ginger cake for desert. It was good. It tasted like gingerbread but only cake. We then did the new Kim Possible. I went to the Kiosk and asked a Cast member for help. They gave us the phone and a few simple instructions. I could figure out and I dont even know how to program my own cell phone. It was fun to find the things it asked you to. A few things were new to me. You had to listen to this story in between. I have never seen a Kim Possible show, but it did not matter. When we turned the phone back in the box at the end. There was a cast member there. He asked us what we thought. I told him I enjoyed it. Steve said it took to much time to explain the story. The CM told us the stuff it points out is not new it is just things most people did not know about. I like the concept. I think they could have used something more mainstream then Kim Possible. It talked about things like killer beebees. It sounded like nonsense to us. I was thinking it would make more sense if they had done it using the Incredibles. We looked at the menu at Morroco. I didnt think I would like it. Steve said he would rather eat somewhere else too. I tried calling and getting a reservation. I asked for Ohana, Kona Caf, Chef Mickeys, nothing was available. We walked over to France and they said we could come at 5:00pm. I said ok. We went to Mexico and went on the boat ride. We watched some glass blowing they were making sorcerer Mickey. We went to Norway the boat ride was a 25 minute wait. We looked in the shop instead. We went to Test Track and used our fast pass. We made it up to the pre show area and they said it was down for technical problems. We left. I heard a guy behind us say no wonder no one buys GM cars anymore. We went to Inoventions. We did a thing that was sponsored by an insurance company. It was called Storm Struck. We had to put on 3D glasses. We sat in a theatre that was for about 50 people. There were small screens and button in front of each seat. They showed us a storm scene with wind blowing and loud crashes. It was all in 3D. It was fun. Then we had to vote to make choices to prevent weather related disasters to our homes and selves. It was something new and worth doing. We stopped at Ice station cool and got some soda samples. It was too late by now to take a break. Steve asked me where I really wanted to go for dinner I told him Chef Mickeys but it is not possible. He suggested we go over there and see if we can get it. I was skeptical but agreed. I called and canceled the Morocco and France reservations that we had made. We left at 4:00 took the Monorail to the TT then rode the other monorail to the Contemporary. We arrived at 4:45 no one was at the podium but there was a sign that said Chef Mickeys Check in wait here. I was the first one. At 5:00 a girl came out. She asked if we had a reservation I said no. She asked us where we were staying and if we were on the meal plan. She said I can take you at 5:10 I said ok great. I guess they must save some for walk ins. We waited less then 10 minutes and our buzzer went off. We sat way in the back where I never sat before. After the sun went down a little. The blinds on the windows opened automatically and we could see the castle. It was a nice spot. We took a few photos. It was a good meal as always. I love the desserts. I saved room. We left just after 6:00pm We walked to the Magic Kingdom. We were going to ride the TTA but it was down we on Buzz lightyear instead. The TTA was up so we rode it. I love it. It is so relaxing and a good place to people watch. When we got back to the GF we decided to go to the hot tub. I brought a drink in a plastic cup with my lite up ice cubes. There were a couple guys working on the timer. I heard them talking and they said the motor was burnt out. Maybe that means they are going to fix it. That would be nice. We went back to the room. I took a bath. We watched the water pageant. I got stuff ready for the next day made notes. We went to bed at 11:00pm
Happy Thoughts for the Day:
Being able to ride Mission Space three times in a row
Getting to eat at Chef Mickeys
Unhappy Thoughts for the Day:
Grand Floridian Hot Tub
Grand Floridian Wake up calls
Expenses for today
Grand Total 11:00
Tuesday Feb 11th
Plan: Be at the bus stop by 8:00 for the 9:00 opening of Animal Kingdom. Ride Expedition Everest, and have Steve get Fast Passes for us both for the Safari. Try to get the Nemo Show. Lunch around 11:00 at Pizzafari leave the afternoon open for whatever we feel like. Take the bus to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for Dinner at Bona at 4:55. Take the bus back to AK and stay for Extra Magic Hours from 5:00-8:00. Ride EE in the dark. Try to ride primeval whirl or Dinosaur and Tough to be a bug show.
Take the bus back to GF. Relax in the room or go to the hot tub. Bed by 11:00pm
Real Story: I woke up at 4:45. I guess I have been relaxing too much. I snuck out of the room at 5:45. It was still dark out. I went to the Gasparilla and filled up my mug with coffee. I took a walk around the resort. I went to the boat dock, beach pool, and through the lobby. Steve called me at 6:45 to see where I was. I went back to the Gasparilla got him some coffee. We got ready to go. We stopped at the Gaspirilla and for a quick breakfast. We used one of our snack options and split a cinnamon bun. They are huge!
We were at the bus stop at 8:02. One thing I have not mentioned yet is the fact that at the bus stop there is sometimes a Grand Floridian cast member. I am not sure why. The first bus that came was for the Studios. The cast member spoke to us and said. I am assuming you are going to Animal Kingdom. We confirmed this. He then told us the bus would be along in 12 minutes. It actually came in three minuets. He then said oh you were luckily he must be running early. It seemed liked a little overkill to have a cast member there, but I guess if you it was your first trip you could ask questions. We arrived at Animal kingdom at 8:17. We waited at the rope drop. Steve took our passes and went to the Safari for fast passes. I went towards Expedition Everest . He was not going to sit this one out because of his neck. I rode with a woman from NH. She left husband back at their hotel with the kids so she could ride. She said it was her last day and she had not made it on yet. She was not disappointed. Steve got a FP for 9:50-10:50. After the ride we went through Pangia Forest Trail. We took our time and enjoyed the Animals. Last time we came there were no Gorillas. They had them some place else because they were redoing their habitat. We went to Dinoland. I wanted to walk through the boneyard because I have never been in there. There was hardly anyone. It was cute, but it seems like it would be hard to keep track of little ones in there. We went to Pizzafari for lunch. We sat way in the back. It was nice and quit. After lunch I wanted to ride Primeval Whirl. It was down. It was just about noon. We decided to take a break back at our resort. We took the Polynesian and Contemporary bus. I forgot to mention our bus is combined with the Wilderness Lodge. Not sure why seems like the Polynesian would make more sense. We got off at the Polynesian. I wanted to get wine coolers. I bought two more one for today and one for tomorrow. We took the walkway from the Polynesian back to the Grand Floridian. Mousekeeping had come because I had called before we left the room and asked them to come before noon. Steve stayed in the room worked on the computer. I went down to the beach just beyond the beach pool with my wine cooler poured into my refillable mug. I laid on a chair on the sand. I was right under the monorail. I tried to see how long it took for one to go around it seemed to be between 12 17 minutes. I tried to close my eyes and relax, but there were too many things to look at. I can take a nap anytime, but I cant lay in the sun in February and look at the castle and the monorail. I went back to the room about 2:45. Steve was on the phone with one of ours a neighbor who called. My mom called. We were sitting on our balcony. She said she could here the boats and wanted to be there two. At 3:15 I figured it was time for a Mickey bar. We went up to the Gasparilla and each got one. We got ready to go. We left the room at 3:55. We took the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom. We got there at 4:15. We walked to where the busses were. We waited in line at the Animal Kingdom Lodge bus stop for 15 minutes. On they way we saw police (not Disney police) on the side of the road doing radar. That was a first for us. We arrived at the Animal Kingdom Lodge at 4:40. We checked in at Boma. It took only five minuets. This was a first time for Steve. He enjoyed it. My favorite things are still the Coconut curry chicken soup and zebra domes. They seated us at a table for two with a couple on either side of us. The ones on our left were a young couple. They were having a good time, but the girl had one of those loud voices where you cant even hear yourself think. Steve has trouble hearing and I dont speak loudly. We pretty much could not have a conversation. I felt like I was screaming so he could hear me over that other women. We left there at 6:00 we took the bus to AK. We arrived at 6:15. The bugs life show said the wait was only 10 minutes, so we did that. Steve noticed that EE had a single rider line open now. I did it twice. The first time I road with a guy and his two kids. He was from CT. Then I rode again with a boy about 10 years old. He was all excited about riding in the dark. It was fun to watch him get so excided. It reminded me of how much fun my son was when he was that age. I road one more time. This time I rode all-alone. It was fun too. There is a great view at night from the top of the mountain. You can see spaceship earth, the swan and dolphin and the contemporary. After that we made our way back to the GF it was about 7:30. We stopped at the front desk and applied the$200.00 gift card and the $25.00 one that my Mother in Law gave me, on our bill. Steve had a visa gift card that was suppose to work like cash. It was for $65.00. They tried to put it through, but it did not work. We went back to the room and in time to watch the Electric Water Pageant. It was another perfect ending to a magical day. I cleaned up the room a bit and was in bed at 10:45
Happy Thoughts for the Day:
Single Rider Lines
Unhappy Thoughts for the Day:
Only one more day left
Expenses for Today
Fuzzy Navel Cooler 3.75
Strawberry Cooler 3.75
Total Expenses 18.99
Wednesday Feb 12th
Plan: for me to spend as much time as I can in the Magic Kingdom/ I will start with morning extra magic hours. Steve with meet up with me later Dinner to celebrate our Anniversary will be at Cinderellas Royal Table (in the Castle) Pack up to leave the nextday (boo hoo!) We also have to take care of our boarding passes for southwest. This is a first for me. I did not have a plan (not my normal) I new Steve had his computer so I figured we could go on 24 hours and do it. I was aware that Southwest does not participate with Disney. Oh yeah we have to make sure we use up all our snack options and get are free photo pass photo. It was part of our package. They told us at the front desk, that we had to purchase it before we leave.
Real Story: Steve woke up at 5:45. He made some load noise creeping around in the dark again. I told him he should have just put the light on that would not wake me up. It was no big deal. I got up at 6:00 took shower. Steve went on the photo pass website and looked up all the photos we had taken. We choose one to get for our free one, after that we both went to the Gaspirilla and spit a blueberry muffin with a snack option. We talked about the fact that we had to get our boarding passes. It started to become an issue. Our flight was at 11:10. We wanted to have lunch together. No problem Steve could stay in the hotel room log on at 11:10 get the passes, and then meet me for lunch. BUT! It was a problem because out dinner was at 4:00 we should have our lunch at 11:00. We also still had a quick service meal that we would have paid for in the meal plan so we wanted to use it. Sometimes this meal plan becomes a problem. If I did not have the plan, we would just have a snack. We pretty much agreed if we were going to eat lunch we would have to each get something and not eat together. I went to the monorail at 7:41 I arrived at the Magic Kingdom at 7:50. They had already let the guest through the turnstiles. I went through then I walked through tomorowland to Space Mountain. I made it to the front of the rope. When you are alone you can squeeze through groups without being rude and no even notices. The rope dropped, and the cast members walked us to Space Mountain. I rode once. When I came out the line already stretched outside. The park seemed like it was the most crowed we had scene it, at least it was our last day. I walked by the speedway. The wait said 15 minutes, but it looked longer to me. I passed it by. I saw Peter Pan. It said 10 minutes. This was the shortest wait I had scene this trip. I waited and it did take 10 minutes. I thought it would be nice to go to Main Street. . I was having a great time by myself, just taking in the sights and enjoying being in my happy place. I was taking photos of the candy store when Steve called. He was told at the Grand Floridian that guest services anywhere could help us with the boarding passes. He wanted me to find out. I was not happy because I was not missing my extra magic hour. I went to guest services by City Hall. I had to wait in line there were five people ahead of me. I was told they could, but of course they could not guarantee It would be right at 11:10 because I would have to wait in line and I could not hold up the line waiting for the clock to strike 11:10. I would not care if my I did not get the A boarding, BUT Steve wants an isle seat or he will be uncomfortable. As for me, I dont care where I sit as long as I am on the plane. I guess I have to put up with him. He puts up with me when I dont get what I want at the happy place. Steve called back I told him what I found out. He then wanted me to find out if he could bring his laptop in the MK. I asked a security cast member and he said yes. Right after that, He called me again. I yelled at him and told him he was messing up my last day. He said sorry. In a few minutes he called back and said that our sister in law Lucy could help us out. He said he had taken care of the free photo pass photo. He would come meet me shortly. He said he would call when he got there. It was now 9:10 and the Magic Kingdom was open for regular guest. I walked through Frontierland and it was pretty deserted. I went on Thunder Mountain. It was a five-minute wait. I think the most people had not made their way over to Frontierland yet. When I got off the line said 20 minutes. Steve called again and said or Sister in law Lucy could help us out. He called her because she works at home. Everyone else we know was either at work or not good on computers. He said he would call me when he got to the Magic Kingdom. He said he was sorry. I told him it was not his fault I was just angry at the situation. I went back to Main Street and purchased my Castle at the Emporium. It was a huge box. I asked him about shipping he said it was only $14.95 to my zip code. He gave me a slip to fill out. I used my Birthday Fun Card (you get to keep it too). They said Happy Birthday again. The total with tax and shopping was $89.90 after my $75.00 gift card $14.90 went on my room charge. I wanted to ride the trolley. I saw it coming so I waited in the loading area. I sat on the outside. It was nice because I saw a lot of the things that our tour guide Johnny told us about. My phone rang and it was Steve he said he was up near the castle. He said he must have walked right by me. I looked over to the right and there he was. I took a photo of him from the trolley. When the trolley started to slow down, he asked me to hand him the camera. He was able to take a photo of me on the trolley and getting off. It was not just before 11:00 we went to have our lunch at Cosmic Rays I got a chicken nugget kids meal and he got a cheeseburger. We sat outside and enjoyed the view and the weather, before we had to go back to the cold. Lucy called. She had a question about getting he boarding passes. We could not hear her because there was a show going on. It was something new that happened several times a day and they sing VERY LOUDLY!! About celebrating. It looks like to me they just recycled some old floats. I guess Disney is trying to cut the budget like everyone else. I had to take the phone because Steve could not hear. Everything was fine she just was not sure if she needed to do it twice, once for each of us. I told her our flights were connected because I bought them together. We got the A boarding group. I thanked her a lot!! After that we rode one of our favorites the TTA. Then mentioned we had not done Mickeys Philarmagic Steve likes that. We were able to walk right in. We then got a fast pass for Splash Mountain. When we walked by Country Bear Jamboree we heard them say five minutes so went in. It was fun but I like the Christmas one better. I hadnt been to Tom Sawyers Island in a while so we went there. We walked through the caves and bridges and looked for paintbrushes. (No success this time). We headed back because it was time to use our fast pass for Splash Mountain. We did not sit in the front so we were pretty dry. We went in the Yankee trader shop that is in Liberty Square. I bought a Minnie Mouse Apron for myself. It was really cute and a reasonable price. We took the train to Toontown from Frontierland. We walked through the Minnies house. I took a photo in her garden. Then we walked up through the long winding path that goes by the speedway. We were looking for something we had not done so we went to the Adventureland. We walked through the Tree House. I somehow made room for a Dolewhip since it was right there Yummy! We decided it was time to take a break. We stopped at the Emporium and I bought a purse I had scene earlier. It was actually marked down. It was pink and green plaid with a Mickey embroidered on it. I also got a Mickey beaded bracelet. We left at 1:45. We took the big boat to the TTC. We walked back to our room. . I sat on the patio and had a wine cooler. I took a shower and put my hair up because it was humid and I would have had big hair. I put on a sundress. I made Steve wear the Anniversary button because we were going to celebrate at dinner. We took the Monorail at 3:15. When we arrived that noisy show or parade thing was going again. We made our way through to the restaurant. I wanted to be early so we could be sitting near the windows. Our Dinner was at 4:00 I got there about 3:40. I went to the podium. The cast member said come back at four. I did not see anyone else waiting yet, but I wanted to be first. So I just stood in front of the podium and waited. I could tell she did not like this. I did not understand why they did not have a sign that said wait here to check in, like at Chef Mickeys. A few other people came and asked her she told them to come back. They looked at me funny, I told them I was just going to wait here. They said they would to and we all just started forming a line. Steve said he would be over stand out of they way. He said he would let me take care of this. I think he was afraid I might make a scene or something. I guess it was my turn to be a pain and get the seat I wanted. At 4:00 she opened and took my name. She gave me a slip to hold with our name on it and some kind of card for a photo. She said to wait over there and we can have our photo with Cinderella. I knew that it was included in our meal so we will do it. We were called second for some reason. We had our photo. Then we had to sit in the photo area. A cast member started calling names. Two were called before us. I was on a mission to sit by the window. I asked the cast member why we were not called. She asked me if I had my slip with my name on it. I told her they took in when they took our photo. She said then you couldnt go upstairs. She acted like she was not going to do anything about and began to walk away. ON NO this was not going to happen. I followed and her said I was the first one to check in and because someone took my slip in error was not going to stop me from going in the right order. She said for me to wait and she would be right back. I made a comment about just walking up the stairs, but Steve said I think we should wait. She came right back then. She said with an attitude follow me. I was wondering what the problem was. We did nothing wrong. I did not yell at her or say anything rude. I just told her the facts about what had happened and what I expected. We went up a spiral staircase. I had forgotten about it but I remembered when I saw it. When we got to the top, a smiling cast member at the top of the stairs greeted us. I told her what happened and asked her if we could still sit by a window. She said dont worry you have the best seat in the whole place. She was right! We sat right up against the window in the center directly across from the carousel. It was perfect. Steve laughed at me and said I think we had this seat all along because the tables against the window were tables for two. Everyone else in the place had kids with them. I looked around and said those dreaded words. I think you are right dear. The place looked the same as I remember 25 years ago, but it was very different. There were hardly any kids last time. I did expect kids this time but we were the only ones without kids. I knew that the Princess breakfast was all about kids. This was not a character meal. Kids dont bother me I love kids. I just didnt think this was as much about the kids. I noticed the girls were all given sword and the girls had wands. I noticed a group came in right near us with two older girls about 14 and 16. They were given swords. I started to whine to Steve. Our waiter came over and we had order our whole meal. There were about four choices for appetizer and entree and dessert. This meal included appetizer I guess that plus the photo makes it worth the two table service options. I also forgot the tip and tax were also included. Now it is worth two service meals. Our Waiter was named Saied. He brought us our drinks and asked he could get us anything else. I asked him how I could get a wand and he said just ask me. He came right back with it. It was cute. It says Cinderellas Royal Table on it. It made me happy (Its the little things) Meal was pretty plain. I got a Tortellini veggie in alfredo. It tasted like a frozen dinner. I did not care though I was not there for the food. It was magical to sit in the window and look at the carrousel and all the people. The desert was very good. I got a special celebration dessert. It has a white chocolate on it that said celebrate with the castle on it. Not only did it taste good it looked good. At the end of our meal Saied brought out a white box and gave it to me. He said that my prince had came by earlier and asked him to give this to me. It was two wine glasses that had white writing on them saying Cinderellas Royal Table. That was a nice surprise. They asked when we made the reservation if we were celebrating anything. I liked that a lot better then and embarrassing announcements. Before we left. I gathered up all the confetti on the table. They were little foil castles. Hey that works for our silver anniversary. Steve put them in his pocket. They will be perfect for my scrapbook. It was a magical way to end our vacation. We also got our photo before we left. It came in a nice paper frame with a photo of the castle. Before we left I noticed there now two other couples with no kids. On our way out we took some photos in the spiral staircase. There were some very pretty stained glass windows. We decided to go back to our room and drop off stuff. I now had wine glasses a magic wand and a photo. We took the monorail I dropped off the stuff and quickly changed out of my dress into shorts and a tee shirt. The whole trip there and back took only 39 minutes. The whole place was very crowded now. A couple gave us two fast passes for Thunder Mountain. That was lucky! I went by myself. It took 15 minutes. For some reason the cast member at the bottom was confused. When trains would come in he did not have guest lined up and they left empty. There were lots of people in line. I have never noticed that happening before. He did not seem new. I wonder if he was just not paying attention. Steve said he noticed two empty cars in the train I was in. Hmmmm?
We walked around Small world was a 20 minute wait. Space Mountain was now 70 minutes. We went to the Tiki birds. We missed it it said it closed at 6:00. It was now 6:45. We walked behind the castle and took some photos of the window we sat at for the scrapbook. Steve did a good job. He got the light just right. They came out perfect. It was now time to say good-bye to the Magic Kingdom. I had to begin the packing process and I wanted to watch the fireworks form our room. We made our way down Main Street. I turned and took one last look at the castle. We took the Monorail. Steve went to the Gasparilla and got us each a Mickey Bar (I had room since our dinner was so early). I began the packing. At 8:00 we sat on our patio and watched the fireworks. You could hear the music off in the distance. I think they should have speakers around the resort. I noticed that one of the robes from the room was missing. I had accidentally put it in the hamper and now we only had one. I did not want to get charged for it. I read that you would be charged something like $80 for it. I called housekeeping. They brought us two more so now we had three. I finished packing about 10:00 and we were in bed at 11:00 I set the wake up call on the phone.
Happy Thoughts for the Day:
Perfect Seat at Cinderellas Royal Table
Dolewhips and Mickey Bars
My Castle Play set with arrive after I get home
The whole Week!!!
Unhappy Thoughts for the Day:
Its all Over WA! WA! WA!
Expenses for Today
Castle playset 74.95
Shiping charge 14.95
Les: Birthday card -75.00
Net Total 14.90
Yankee Trader Gourmet shop
Minnie Apron 14.95
Total Expenses 51.01
Friday Feb 13th
The phone woke me up at 6:00. It did not work again: no Mickey. Steve went down and got us coffee. We went to the lobby and asked about a Arcade Card we received it with our package it was suppose to be good for 30 minutes of games. They said we just swipe in . . . we said it did not work. They told us to ask in the Arcade. No one knew we never got it to work. We should have asked a kid. We each got a Cinnamon bun. We did it our receipt now said O snacks remaining. I went in the lobby and picked up information on the Grand Floridian to bring home for Auntie Linda, who is coming with her family in May. We washed out our mugs and packed them. We went out front to wait for Magical Express at 8:10. The paper we got yesterday said it would come at 8:25. It came exactly at 8:25. We had no other stops The driver told us our airline was at terminal A. We checked our baggage We decided to check our carry on bags because South West lets you each check 2 bags with no charge. We did not need anything and it would be easier. We went through security with no issues. And then took the monorail. It was now only 9:15. our flight was at 11:10 we sat and read. We got good seats we sat near the front of the plane. No one sat in the middle seat. I took the window and Steve took his aisle seat. Flight was smooth we got in ten minutes early. We were the first off the plane. We waited five minutes for the luggage to start coming out. We walked to the Garage and the Car would not start. Come to find out we had left a light on inside. We got a jump from the airport security. We stopped at Wendys to get lunch. Steves phone started ringing from work. I told him so far it was not so nice in the real world
It was a very fun trip for both of us. Steve enjoyed himself because he had time to relax and unwind and not so much running around. I am not sure how he felt about not renting a car. He never complained, but I think he would have preferred if we had. I am not sure if he would do it that way again. I had the best birthday since I was a little kid. I absolutely loved the Keys to the Kingdom Tour and was so happy we did it. We both enjoyed celebrating our 25th Anniversary at the Grand Floridian. To think on our honeymoon we stayed in a trailer off site that Steves Aunt and Uncle let us use for free.
My Review of the Grand Floridian
First let me now say. The Polynesian is still my favorite resort. Here is why:
Rooms are bigger at the Polynesian
The location is better at the Polynesian. You can walk to the TTC and take the Monorail right to Epcot no need to transfer monorails. You can also use the boat that brings people from the TTC to Magic Kingdom. We still did that from the GF, but it was a longer walk. We walked from the TTC to the Polynesian and then to the Grand Floridian. The Polynesian has wine coolers..
The Polynesian has Dolewhip.
The Polynesian has a more fun atmosphere.
The things I noticed that the Grand Floridian had that the Polynesian did not have were:
Robes in the room
Hampers in the bathroom
Phone in the bathroom
Nightly turndown service
Cast members at the bus stop
Over all I was disappointed with the Grand Floridian. I have stayed at the other deluxe resorts and expected more from this one. I expected things to be in working order and always look new, based on the price you pay to stay here. That was not the case. The hot tub was never fixed. The wake up call did not work. The phone rang but the character voices were cut of after one word. The room had stains on the wall and carpet looked worn. I never found out about the room. I was confused as to why it was smaller then the other deluxe resorts. I asked a cast member at the front desk. He never confirmed the rooms were smaller. He went around the issue and said you are paying more for the services. I would rather not pay more for a cast member to great me at the bus stop and bring me robes and turn down my bed. I WOULD rather pay LESS to stay at the Polynesian where there is a bigger room and wine coolers and right near the TTC. Last time I stayed there my room was in perfect condition. July 2007. I would not choose to stay at the Grand Floridian again. I have to say a few things on the positive side. The Grand Floridian is a romantic setting with beautiful grounds and pools. It is welcoming to children as well. There are many childrens activities throughout the day.
Total Trip Cost:
Magic your way with Dining Package: $3,435.02
Refillable mugs: $24.98
Parking garage: $ 96.00
Gift Card -$200.00
Gift Card -$25.00
Total Trip Cost: $4356.62
Firsts for me on this Trip:
Staying at the Grand Floridian
Keys to the Kingdom Tour
Not visiting a Water Park
Not renting a Car with Steve
Eating in Germany
Riding Toy Story Mania
Not riding Test Track
Things crossed off my Wish List this trip
Staying at the Grand Floridian
Taking a Behind the Scenes Tour
Things Still on my Wish list to be done:
See the Candlelight processional
Post Trip Note
The Castle arrived on the 19th. It took six days. Its better then I thought. It has lights and makes four different sounds. My favorite is the sound of the bells ringing at Midnight.