Avacrand Trip to Disney World for a long weekend
Goal: To see the holiday displays and experience what it is like there during this time of
Family Members - Mom (Tina) age (gulp) 40(still have trouble saying that.)
Son (Seth) age 14
Previous trips- several this is my sons 6th trip - our last trip being July 2008.
Ticket / Accommodations: I bought us both annual passes before the increase in price in August. I had sold something on EBAY that made it possible to buy the passes. I knew we would go again in 2010 so I figured we would get our moneys worth. I also purchased Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party tickets back in May. I booked a room only reservation and received the AP rate, so we stayed at POP for about 54 dollars a night.
Travel dates: 12/10-12/14 from CT via Delta. We were set to arrive non stop at 6 pm on Thursday the 10th and depart Sunday the 14th at 6:55 pm.
This is a long weekend trip mainly to see the holiday happenings as we have never been there at this time of year and wanted to experience it.
Seth and I have traveled together to Disney several times together just the two of us. We have fun bonding (he wont admit that) and spending time having fun instead of the normal grind of me hounding him to do his homework etc.
We have gone together as a team in 2003 when he was 8, 2007 when he was 11, 2008 when he was 13, and now 2009 now that he is 14. We will go again in April 1 month before his 15th birthday. I think the reason he still puts up with going with just me is that I will go on everything, be there at rope drop and all that craziness that he likes to do.. although now that he is firmly in his teens his preference is to sleep but we dont let that happen much while we are there.hahaha
Thursday 12/10- Plan- arrive in FL at 6pm and get to POP around 7:30 ish and go to DTD to pick up my will call annual passes, MVMCP tickets and purchase a Tables in Wonderland card. All the parks would pretty much be closed or closing so we figured we would just go and get the ticket stuff and shop around a bit.
What actually happened: Delta flight got cancelled 30 minutes before boarding due to plane breakdown got rebooked on UsAir and had to connect in D.C. and didnt get to POP until 11 pm.. that night was a wash, but we were glad to get there and we didnt have big plans so we just sucked it up and got some sleep.
I did run to the food court and got one mug so I could grab my coffee in the am. I am an addict so I will get a headache without my caffeine.
Of course we took a few minutes to check out Staceys bit, but I didnt care for it as much as the top 10.
Friday 12/11- Plan- DHS to stay for Osborne Lights.
I woke up early around 5 am. I was worried about the stupid luggage which at that point, I wasnt sure if it even made the switch from Delta to USAIR flight, let alone made it to Disney. I packed very light so we had nothing in a carry on of any worth for cleaning up or changing into. So I awoke at 5 am and called Luggage and they said, yes the bag is here, we can bring it right up! I was thrilled!!
I got ready slowly and around 6:30 I shook the boy and told him I was going to get my coffee so he should think about getting up and ready. I fully expected to return with my coffee and he would be still sleeping. He was actually in the shower when I returned.
Keep in mind we are used to busy times of year and being commando style tourists so I figured we needed to be on the 8am bus to open that park at 9. Plus I knew that since I had yet to pick up my tickets Id be forced to do it at Guest Relations at DHS.
I bought Seth a small OJ and we had pop tarts in the room that I had packed and off we went.
We got to the park a bit after 8 and there was hardly anyone there! So Seth went in line (first in line due to not realizing this was not really necessary at this time of year)
And I went and got all the tickets and TIW card. I used the 65 points I had on my Disney VISA to purchase the TIW card so I only spent 10 dollars on it. I had used 60 points on my annual passes so this VISA card has worked out well. I use it for most everything and pay it off each month.
I joined Seth in line and they let us in to the rope at 8:45. The parks are just beautiful, each one having a HUGE tree fully decked out and garlands, wreaths and bows everywhere. Christmas music playing in the background. I LOVE DISNEY ANYTIME BUT THIS IS JUST CRAZY AWESOME!!
We like Midway Mania, but love RnR and ToT more so we are heading that way while 90% of the other guests are trying to get to TSMM. We watched the opening show which was funny, the guy who was the director was a riot. Rope dropped and we headed toward
RnR. We didnt even have to run. We didnt run at all this trip. The entire pace was slower. We made it there and walked right on. That first ride was so intense. We were seated at the back so we figured thats why. Off to Tower of Terror. Again walked right into the Holding room to see Rod Sterling and onto the ride!! We are shocked at how easy this is.
We decided to head on over to TSMM to get fast passes. Even at this time of year folks were saying that the FPs would be gone by noon. So we went and got the FPs. We had gone on several times our last trip so I was ok with not seeing the theming in the standby line this time. I think it was only about 9:30 am and the FPs were at like 1pm.
After that we went to the Great Movie Ride. We had a girl gangster. That was sure a bit different. Weve had female hosts but never a female villain. It was cute.
Next we went to Muppets. No matter how many times weve seen that we just cant get enough.
We needed snack so we went to ABC Commissary which was empty and got fries and a couple of drinks. I had a coffee and Seth had soda. We chilled in there a bit.
We went into a couple of shops too just to see the merchandise. I am not a huge shopper in general and until this trip my son would whine and complain about shopping so I could be way off base here, but it seemed that the merchandise was of lesser quality than it used to be and way more expensive. I didnt even see any sweatshirts under 50 dollars.
Anyway I believe we rode RnR again, very little wait and did TofT again. Now its about 11 am. We just made it into the American Idol Experience for the 11 am showing.
I like American Idol but havent watched it really since the season with Carrie Underwood. Since then I just tune in at the beginning when the really sucky people sing and its funny, then I lose interest. So I wasnt thinking I would like this at all. It was VERY well done. I thought the process they do with the auditions, the stage and sound system is wonderful and it was just a nicely done attraction. The judges werent hugely engaging probably because we have no history with them to learn their credentials or their personalities.
We were now starved. I had reservations at Sci Fi for 1:30 but we were not going to make them since we were so hungry so we headed over to see if they could take us early and they did. Seth had a bacon cheeseburger (his main staple of late) fries, and a chocolate shake. I had the Reuben, fries and ice water. We both enjoyed the food and the movie reels as usual. We usually go for lunch here every trip because Seth likes it, especially the 50 foot woman trailer.. As I mentioned our food was decent but where we were seated was kind of lousy. We were on the outside edge where everyone was walking in and out, and we could hear the kitchen door squeak every time someone went in our out, which was constant. We could live with that, but unfortunately someones child nearby REALLY needed a nap and screamed a good part of our meal. I used my TIW card and save a few bucks there.
Once we were done with lunch our FPs for TSMM were usable so we went over. The FP line was busy but no more than 5 minutes and we were on. This ride is fun, no denying it. My son creamed me score wise, but I did pretty well for once!! My arm was tired from pulling that string though lol!!
We know we are returning in April so we werent hell bent on doing everything this trip. Our goal was to enjoy our favorites and see the holiday stuff. So we went off to RnR again.. each time we sat in a different spot, front mid back, the ride experience really does vary based on where you sit. My son made a funny face on one of the rides so I bought the picture. They were running specials at all of the parks for the ride pics. This was if you buy one here then you get one at ToT for 5 bucks so off we went back to ToT.
Well, we went on again and we are pros at this ride. We know it is randomly programmed to do the drops differently but this time it was weird. We went up but not all the way up and suddenly dropped, had a few weird climbs and drops, the ending film came on and we just sat there and sat there and sat there.all the time wondering if we were going to be thrust up or down or what??? We are brave while on the ride but this was actually getting a bit scary. FINALLY the recording comes on and says our elevator has been delayed and will be moving momentarily repeat. Repeat
After several minutes it goes completely turns around and we end up at some service type exit where the cast member tells us that we can go right back on again if we wish
We wished and away we went. This time ride was normal- fun- and we bought that pic for the 5 bucks.
By now weve ridden each of these 3 and 4 times so we are done.
We then went to a few more stores, went on Star Tours, (no wait, but then there was no wait in July when we went either.. refurb hurry please) its still cute though.
Every year I take a picture of Seth standing next to that Cadillac that is parked on Sunset Blvd. Its so funny to see even in one year how much taller / bigger/ older he looks. I hang them all next to each other on my wall, its great! So, we went and took the annual picture.
We were tired and wanted to relax so we walked over to the Streets of America, claimed a bench and sat down. Before we knew it we realized the lights would be coming on in about another hour. We were afraid to lose our coveted bench, so we just sat there another hour and people watched. Soon that whole area was packed. When those lights flipped on and the snow was flying, it really was a sight to see. When they flipped that switch its just amazing. While sitting there you can see all the lights but when they flip it on, its just unbelievable!! It was good to see that. We left shortly after. Did I mention the whole day was 57 degrees!! SOOOO Cold!! We were glad to be on the bus and back at POP. I believe it was about 8:30 or so when we got home. I took a very long hot shower to warm up, then Seth did the same. He took a stroll around the resort after and I watched TV and dozed. Then we both crashed.
Day 3- Plan Animal Kingdom in the morning, Epcot Candlelight Dinner Package at Coral Reef and 8:15 Processional Show- Illuminations after that.
Actual We got up pretty early, I went for my coffee while the boy slept. He got up more reluctantly than the day before but was ready. We were not on the first bus out but pretty close. We still got in before rope drop and got to see the Jeep in the opening show all decked out for the holidays.
As I mentioned, each park had a huge tree. The AK tree was by far the most beautiful in my opinion. Just the animal dcor/theme was gorgeous!!
Once in we headed directly toward Everest. We are huge Everest junkies. We walked right on. We had a back seat here too. What a ride. The first ride of a trip is so cool because you think you remember how good it was but you get on and its even better!!
We got off, walked right back on and rode again.. lol.. then we walked off, got fast passes for about an hour later, and walked on and rode again.each time we were in different spots and it did vary the ride depending on where you sat. Oh and for the first time that Bird was working where the track is broken. I asked if that was new and the CM said no, it just didnt work all the time. That was cool!
We finally dragged ourselves away from Everest and were walking to the Safari. It was down. Bummer.. so we decided to go to Its Tough to be a Bug. We love that too. We walked right in and had time to look at the Tree, read all the funny posters inside and got into the show within minutes. I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!!! The weather was absolutely beautiful too. Sunny and warm but not too warm..
I digress.. next we were walking back to see if the Safari was open yet and there was
DEVINE. I had heard about her but never saw her. Wow she is so cool. What grace and beauty and talent to walk on those things. I wonder how many Devines there are? Or is there only one? We were in awe. We stood there several minutes to see her.
Safari was now open. We had a wonderful ride, there were more animals than I had ever seen out and the CM was awesome too. We got stuck for about 10 minutes due to an Ostrich standing in the road!! I didnt mind! We got to see so much! The CM was very knowledgeable and fun, she totally knew how to keep us occupied while we waited for Mr. Ostrich to get out of the way.
We had decided to go directly from AK to EP so we didnt want to do Kali this trip and be soaked. We will be sure to do it in April. For some reason my son and I ALWAYS get the side of the raft where you get drenched so we erred on the side of caution. We did stop and one of the stands and got some cookies and other pastry which were great, and we always get a frozen coke at AK for some reason. Its our tradition so we stuck to it. The big difference here in December is there were so many places to sit. Lots of empty tables and beautiful views. You cant even get close to these spots in busier times.
We loved that aspect of this trip A LOT.
We rode Everest one or two more times and decided we had enough of AK for this trip. We hopped the bus and went over to Epcot. We arrived there around 2pm. The topiaries of Mickey Minnie and Pluto at the entrance were so beautiful and Epcots tree was also awesome. I cant get enough of the parks decked out.
We skipped Test Track and Soarin this trip. Weve done them many times before and will again, but wanted to see some of the decorations and stuff.
We went to Spaceship Earth and it was a whole 5 minute wait.. lol.. we only rode this once since the refurb so we again laughed at the interactive part.
We did do Mission Space- Orange side of courseI do get a bit queasy but I wont switch to green side!! No way!!
We somehow wandered into Ellens Energy Adventure which has been closed while we were there the past two trips, so we went on that. It was cute and a good rest.
If you have ever read any of my previous trip reports you may remember that my son HATES Epcot. Not enough rides and not enough patience to go through the countries. Well, last year he did better and we did go in and out of the countries. This year he was even better about it. We didnt have time to go into them all though due to the shortness of our trip and our reservations.
We started in a counter clockwise direction. When we hit France I got myself a Grand Marnier Slushy. That was soooooooooooo good. We then realized we needed to head to Coral Reef for our reservation.
Coral Reef Where the heck is the seafood?? There were a couple of fish entrees then chicken, beef and pasta. I paid for the Candlelight dinner package so we got an appetizer, entre, desert and non alcoholic drink each.
Seth got- Seared Shrimp Appetizer He said tasty but only like 3 shrimp!
Salmon for his Entre- Tasty but again not hugely portioned.
Rolls- The rolls were awesome.
Dessert- again not great, there were 5 choices all kind of weird and with alcohol. I finally agreed to let him have the mousse which had Baileys and Jack Daniels in it. He didnt taste that, but the mousse had mostly dark chocolate and was kind of bitter. He ate it anyway because hes a teenager and doesnt really take the food much
before it goes down the shoot.
I had- Crab Cake Appetizer three tiny crab cakesgood but tiny
Also had the Salmon. It was on a bed of cheesy pasta with bits of asparagus and leeks.
Dessert Cheesecake. Very good, fresh raspberry compote on top.
Soda and Iced tea. This was to the tune of 120 dollars. I hope the package was worth it..
It was neat to see the aquarium, service was slow it took 2 hours.. the waiter was good, but the food took forever. There were divers in the tank and one proposed that was cool..
Would I go here again.. heck no. It was over priced and under portioned and took WAY TOO LONG.
We received our reserved seating buttons. I had read to line up in the reserved line 30 minutes prior so we browsed through Italy and Germany. We get to the reserved line 30 minutes early and we are WAY BACK to Japan!! Mind you the regular free line was not even mentionable it was so long.
We waited the full 30 minutes and while I was shocked that we all fit (reserved folks) I was still a little miffed that we didnt get in line sooner because we were pretty far back.
We had Chita Rivera as our host and she was good. The music and all of that was wonderful. Can I also say that the woman who did the sign language was incredible? I know nothing about sign language (except for the universal signs we all use in traffic on the highway) but she was so expressive and followed the music, I kept finding myself looking at her. If there is anyone out there who is hearing impaired and saw this woman, please comment, Id like to know what you thought of her.
Again if youve read my prior trip reports we never get to see Illuminations for one reason or another. This time I saw the beginning but we decided to get out before the masses because we were tired and didnt want to lose patience waiting for busses and fighting the crowds. So I actually did get to see SOME!!
Sunday 12/13- Plan- Magic Kingdom during day and Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party that night
Actual- See above.
Just kidding. We went to MK about 10. We slept in and I knew that we would be there very late due to the party so I didnt force us to get there for rope drop.
MK is my favorite park. I just love everything about it. The buildings on Main Street, the castle, the attractions. Its a dream come true. The colors, the smells, I want to live and die there. Honest. I love it that much.
I am not a teary person, Im Italian and a pretty tough one lol; I usually make it a point to go to MK first night or first day of the trip. This time due to the shortness of the trip and the Xmas party date I had to wait until day 4 (really 3 since we got there late on day 1) so I was very happy to finally be there. I walked onto Main St and saw all the Garlands, the MK tree, all the wreaths and then I saw the Castle. Mind you its still day time so no lights on yet, but just all the holiday dcor, finally being there and all that just got to me. I actually had tears running down my face as I stood there. I have secretly teared up before but this was all out tears. My son looked at me and was mortified..lol.. he was like, Mom, youre crying at the Castle?? Crying? Really? So anyway, I couldnt believe it myself, but I tell you if you have never gone there during the holidays please try to go, or look at it on You Tube. Magic Kingdom to me is beautiful everyday, but this just put it over the edge. And later when those lights come on the Castle, I literally sat on a bench on the Tomorrowland Bridge and just stared at it for about 2 hours. My son finally said, What do you think about while you are staring at it for so long?? I said, I dont know, I think about how nice it looks, how they do this and who thought this stuff up, how they get it so perfect with the lights, how they know what color to change the Castle to make it look actually ICY.. How Im lucky to be here, happy to be here, thankful for my eyesight to enjoy it, thanking God.. you name it!! he finally said, ok, nevermind sorry I asked..
Anyway..back to our MK arrival-
We went directly to Space Mountain because we were anxious to check out the refurb. It does look really nice in there. The games are cool but I figure all the germs on those suckers huh?? Talk about H1N1 the ride was fun, seemed the same only with softer seats. We still loved it. And while the time posted said 30 minutes it was more like 10.
From Space we went to Haunted Mansion. Walked on! No waits at all walked onto BTMR right after By now it was time for lunch. I had made ressies at the Plaza. We have never been there and I wanted to give it a try.
Seth had a rootbeer float, bacon cheeseburger (again) and fries.
I had the chicken and strawberry salad and Iced Tea.
We both had brownie sundaes for desert. Used my TIW card for a discount.
Ok- Id go there again. I like the atmosphere its cute and small in there. While we were in there a lady dressed up in a Victorian dress and a fellow same theme came in and announced that a couple eating were the hundredth customer of the day and so they got a free desert and a picture of them together.. it was cute.
Lunch done we went to the Hall of Presidents. We stayed awake seeing how it was newly redone. It was neat. I thought the movies screens were cool now instead of that crackly old wrap around screen. Overall we liked the refurb.
Next up was Pirates. NO WAIT at all, then walked right onto Jungle Cruise.
After that we decided to do Mickeys Philharmagic, Buzz Lightyear and Monsters Inc.
We loved all of them. (Buzz seems kinda lame now since TSMM though)
We saw the Carousel of Progress was open so we went on. Seth had never seen it. He pretty much never wants to see it again. Oh well, its one of those things I felt we needed to do for his own good.
We havent done the Stitch ride since it was Alien. It was lousy then and is even worse now. Thats 15 minutes we are never going to get back.
We went in a few of the shops and looked around. Then we went back to Haunted Mansion and again onto Splash.
I remembered we had to go into Small World. A buddy I work with hates Disney so each trip I make sure I leave him a voicemail with about 2 minutes of the music. So Seth and I waited a few minutes in line and as soon as we got into the ride I called my buddies voicemail and just held my phone out for several minutes.. buhahhhahhaa
We did a lot of zigzagging. We were amazed at the fact that even though it appeared the parks were busy there were really very little waits. Other thing is people walked slower to get places and it there were so many nice places to sit down. Tables, benches, you name it.
We stood and watched the castle lighting. I was breathtaking, I almost cried again, but I didnt! I knew it would look amazing with the lights but its beyond amazing. After that we ran to Splash. We have this thing about looking at the castle from the top of the Splash drop after dark. EVEN BETTER WITH THE LIGHTS!!
We got so soaked this time on Splash for some reason. We have ridden 4 times probably today alone and didnt get wet this time soaked. I asked the CM if they crank the water up, and she said it was a secret. Anyway we bought a couple of tee shirts and changed.
We went on BTMR again, we like that after dark too. Then we walked around and saw some of the shows and part of the first parade. We then camped out on the Tomorrowland Bridge for a couple of hours. (thats when I sat and stared at the Castle as I mentioned above). Seth went off to get us some hot chocolate and cookies while I did that. Then Wishes started. We were right under Tinks wire. I actually could see her come out there and get hooked on the cable. I am still in awe that someone does that!!
After we did stay a bit longer to see some of the later parade but we were tired and left.
I was slightly disappointed with Party. I thought that there would be some different characters around, but that was not the case. It was all the normal ones. The parades had some different characters in it but. I guess I wanted to do the party once at least.
Day 5- MK again for Cinderellas Royal Table breakfast- trip to Grand Floridian and shop.
I got up pretty early and packed up our bags. I hate the last day at Disney, but know that in 120 days or so I will be back, so its ok. I woke the grouchy child up. Hes ready to go home, he misses his friends, our dog, his bed and his XBOX 360 by now. So while he showered I ran and got my coffee. We then proceeded to do the Airline Check in. While I waited in line for that he ran over and had them tag our carry on so we could get it later.
We went to MK. We had 10:15 am reservations at the Castle. My son agreed to this for me. That was really nice. We got in and had our pictures taken with Cinderella. She was sweet and called Seth His Majesty. The picture came out a bit lousy, I had a baggy tee shirt and look like Im huge and he didnt really smile.. oh well.. then we went into the breakfast. The room is very nice in there, albeit small. No wonder it takes so darn long to get a ressie. I dont know why but I thought it was a buffet. It wasnt. My son couldve eaten more. We had pastries and a fruit cup first. Coffee and Juice. We had prepaid. Pretty soon someone came over with our picture package. Then they began to announce the Princesses. We had Belle, Aurora, Jasmine and Snow White. My son was a sport and allowed me to take his pic with each one. Would I do this again? No. But it was nice to do once. They gave him a sword and me a magic wand. Seth had the French toast and I had the omelet. We did have a great seat overlooking Dumbo and the Carousel.
After that it was probably about 11:15 ish. We walked over and went on Haunted Mansion but decided that was enough rides. We went down Main St and went shopping a bit. I didnt find anything but some nice sweets in the Confectionary. We sat at a little table and relaxed for quite a long time. We have never done this much sitting and enjoying before. It was wonderful, again, plenty of seats and just nice weather!!
So around 1 we decided to take the Monorail over to the Grand Floridian to see the dcor there. It was a neat ride over. We were amazed at how beautiful GF is. We see how the other half lives!! We want to live like that too!! We saw the gingerbread house which was amazing. My son wanted to break a piece off and eat it. I figured they would frown on that. We walked around the shops and saw much of the same merchandise but some really high end stuff too. Finally we felt that if we didnt leave we would never be happy staying at POP again so we went back to MK and hopped a bus back to POP.
We shopped there in that gift shop, got a drink and just chilled until our DME time came.
We went home to CT to frigid weather and are looking forward to the next trip- April 2010. Happy Holidays to all! Thanks for reading!