Jennifer Baldovinos New Orleans, Louisiana and Pop Century March 25 April 1, 2011
Time of Year: Spring
Travel Method: Airplane and Magical Express
Resort: Pop Century
Accommodations: Preferred View Room
Ages Represented in Group: Adult, Toddler, and Infant
Experience Represented in Group: Extremely Experienced (DVC Members)
Jennifer 30 Years old
Jose (Husband) 31 Years Old
Jasmine (Daughter) Almost 3 Years Old
Jordan (Daughter) 9 Months Old
Introduction: This was another unplanned trip. We are going to New Orleans on at the end of March for my friend Angelas wedding. She was my roommate on my first Disney College Program. We figured (and by we, I mean I) that we were already halfway to Orlando, we might was well head over there. It is also the week before Jasmine turns three, so we should squeeze in one last trip while she is still free. Our Annual Passes are still good from last year, so we dont need any park tickets.
We are saving all of our DVC points for our upcoming October trip for a 2 bedroom at Kidani Village since we will be traveling with friends. So we are staying at Pop this time around. We havent been to the parks during peak season since we worked here, so it will be interesting to see how we handle the crowds.
Planning: In total we needed 9 one way plane tickets. Three from Denver to New Orleans, three from New Orleans to Orlando, and three from Orlando back to Denver. I had enough miles for 3 free tickets on Frontier, so we bought the rest. For Denver to New Orleans, the cost of two of the plane tickets were $299.28 and Joses ticket was used with miles.
For New Orleans to Orlando, the only airline that flies nonstop is Southwest. The three tickets were $500.10. Then finally from Orlando back to Denver, the cost of one ticket was $219.70 on Frontier. We used the remaining miles for the last two one way tickets. Ugh for having 3 free tickets, it sure was costing a lot!
The Plan: We will spend the first 2 nights in New Orleans. None of us have been there before, so we are looking forward to seeing a new place. Ellen and Beth (also other College Program roommates) are flying in for the wedding, along with Ellens husband, Leben.
Once we arrive in Orlando, some other friends of ours from Colorado (well call her S and Family) will be there. We plan on doing the parks in the morning, leaving at lunch time for the pool and naps, and then heading back in the evenings.
The first 2 days of this report are about New Orleans, so if you arent interested in that, please skip ahead to Day Three.
Day One Friday, March 25, 2011
The Plan: Fly to New Orleans and Dinner with Everyone
I started a new job last August (same company, different department). With this new job I now have Fridays off! I also decided to take off the Thursday before to get some packing done. That morning, Jose took the girls to my stepmom (she normally watches them for us during the work week) and I squeezed in the last bit of packing.
I was up at 5:30am and helped to get the kids ready. After everyone left, I showered, finished packing the carryon bags and locked up the house. On the way to my dads house, I stopped at Target to get a box of Uncrustables for the plane and contact solution.
I drove to my parents house and Jose was just getting off work. I went in and my stepmom was nice enough to make me some yummy food since I hadnt had time to eat, and we hung out and waited for my dad and Jose to get there. We said our goodbyes to my stepmom and then my dad drove us all to the airport in our car.
The check in was uneventful and we got to the gate about an hour and a half before the flight. We took pictures of the girls playing and ate our Uncrustables. Jasmine wanted to call her other grandparents (she has eight!) so that helped to kill some time. It was soon time to board and we all loaded onto the plane.
Jasmine and Jordan slept the whole way. Jose watched TV and played with his new cell phone. Right before the trip he bought a Droid.
It was about a 2.5 hour flight, and we landed on time. We got off the plane and it was hot and humid. I dont think it was more than the high 70s but we werent used to that kind of weather in a while. We walked to baggage claim and then saw the car rental counter. The person there told us to just check in at the offsite location since we would need to check in there again anyway.
We took a few pictures with the Louis Armstrong statue and then went outside to the car rental shuttle area. We waited about 5 minutes and an Alamo shuttle came. It didnt seem to have its AC on, and it was stifling! It was about a 5 minute drive to the cars, and we unloaded our bags off the van. Jose went inside and waited in line. All of a sudden he noticed a kiosk, so he went over to that and we were able to get going a few minutes later.
All of the cars were parked against a fence with the perspective sizes written on the fence. We went with a Nissan Murano. It was a very nice car! It was very spacious. We loaded up the car and then we couldnt figure out how to start it. It was one where you dont need the key in the ignition, but every time we pushed the start button nothing would happen. We called over a worker and he told us we needed to have our foot on the brake. LOL, so after that we were on our way.
We had brought our Garmin GPS with us, so we found the hotel easily. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn Kenner Airport. It was about 10 minutes from the airport. We got to the hotel and Jose checked us in while I waited in the car with the girls. He came out a few minutes later and we went to our room.
Ellen had texted me their room number earlier in the day since they had arrived from Orlando at noon. We were 2 rooms away from them. We settled into the room and I called Ellen. They were in their room, so we walked over. We did hugs and all said we were starving. Leben had found a restaurant on Yelp.com for a restaurant called the Harbor Oyster and Seafood Bar that was right next to the hotel. Yelp called it a dive and it had rave reviews.
We decided to try that since we wanted to try some authentic New Orleans cuisine. We walked to the restaurant and had about a 45 minute wait. It was a very small restaurant, so they didnt have a whole lot of seating. When we finally made it in, we sat down and were given a basket full of Saltine crackers. We munched on those and drank a lot of water.
We all got Po Boys. I had chicken, Jose and Ellen got Shrimp, and Leben had catfish. We all had them dressed, which meant lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and mayonnaise. I also ordered some onion rings, Jose got Cajun potatoes, and Ellen ordered onion rings and hush puppies. I felt a little guilty because it was Friday during Lent and I was going to eat meat. That and one of the things I gave up for Lent was fast food. But I was on vacation, and I knew I would never be here again to try this food. I had to do it!
The food was amazing! We all agreed that the onion rings were the best we had ever tasted. Everything was delicious! We had ordered Jasmine a kids meal and realized we could have just shared with her as the portions were huge! The bill came and we ended up just splitting it between the two couples.
We walked back to the hotel and Leben decided to go to bed. Ellen changed into her pjs to come hang out in our room and Jose took the hotel shuttle to Treasure Chest Casino. It was about a mile and a half away from the hotel. Beths flight landed around 9pm and she came to the hotel using the shuttle. We visited for about 30 minutes and then it was time for bed.
Jose came back around midnight and was grossed out at the cigarette smell on him. We are spoiled here in Colorado in that even the casinos here are non smoking. So he wasnt having that great of a time there and came back earlier than he thought he would. He showered and then went to bed. We put his clothes in 2 plastic bags so the smell wouldnt get on any of our other clothes.
Day Two Saturday, March 26, 2011
The Plan: Sightseeing around the French Quarter and Angelas wedding
I woke up around 7:00am and showered. Jose woke up a little while later and we got the kids dressed. We went down to the hotel lobby and got the free continental breakfast offered. Ellen and Leben arrived a little bit later, followed by Beth. We had the usual, cereal, yogurt, and juice. They also had toast and waffles. After eating, we all went back to our rooms and packed up our bags.
We left for Caf Dumond which was very close to the hotel. We all wanted to try beignets but didnt want to go to the crowded one in the French Quarter. We were fine getting ones from here. We all ordered some and bottled water which had a nice picture of the restaurant on the water bottle. The beignets were delicious! The powered sugar got everywhere which we loved. We took some pictures there and also with Jasmine and the random giant fish statue they had in the restaurant.
Ellen and I went to the bathroom before we left and there was a worker in there talking on her phone. She was taking up one of the stalls which was annoying since there were only two in there. There was starting to be a line outside, but she was talking away.
We left for the French Quarter which was only about 15-20 minutes away. Leben had come to New Orleans for his bachelor party, so he was familiar with the area. We drove past the Superdome and a large cemetery and I kept thinking about what the people had to deal with during Katrina. It was very sad to think about.
As we drove into the French Quarter, there were store vendors outside sweeping up the remnants of the last nights partying. This was at 11:00am. I can only imagine how much of a mess is made during Mardi Gras. We parked the car in a valet lot. It was very cool because the cars were on lifts. They would park one, lift it up, and then park another car underneath. None of us had ever seen that before!
Our first stop was Jacksons Square. We walked around and took some pictures, then decided to go ahead and take the carriage tours they had there. We werent able to fill up the carriage, so we ended up getting our own tour. It was $15 per person, and the kids were free. We had a great tour and learned a ton of things about New Orleans.
After the tour we walked around and then took our picture with our Disney Files magazine. That is the quarterly magazine for Disney Vacation Club members. Members can submit pictures of you reading the magazine and sometimes they publish them. I hope we made the cut!
It was getting hot and we were all hungry, so we walked around trying to decide on a place to eat. Unfortunately all the restaurants we were finding had limited seating arrangements, so we eventually picked Bubba Gumps. All of us had eaten together at the one in Breckenridge when they all flew out to visit us a few years ago. So here was another one to cross of the list. Beth stopped by the street fair that was going on first to pick up something to eat there.
During lunch Jose and Ellen checked in on their phones. That seemed to be the theme of the trip. Jose was constantly checking in. He does it through the Gowalla website, and you get virtual pins for it. It started to bug me towards the end, because I was just thinking put down the phone and pay attention to the vacation! Oh well. He was having fun with it, so I guess I cant begrudge that.
After lunch we drove to Carter Plantation where Angelas wedding was going to be. It was in Springfield. The highways in Louisiana scared me. They were on bridges above swampland for miles and miles. And there were no streetlamps. I would hate to make that drive at night. If you broke down, Im not sure where you could go.
The drive took about an hour and Jasmine slept the whole way. Jordan cried for about the first 30 minutes, and then went to sleep. When we got to Springfield, it was definitely out in the middle of nowhere. The houses were absolutely beautiful with a lot of land surrounding it. We pulled into the plantation and I went in to check in.
We had reserved a carriage room, which was the smallest and least expensive room they had. Apparently they had run out of those rooms, so they upgraded us to a bigger room for the same price. That was a nice surprise! Ellen and Leben did get a carriage room in the same villa as us, and then Beth was 2 villas over.
Our room was huge! It had a wet bar, dining room table, king sized bed, and a huge garden tub. Beths room had a full kitchen and fire place, but no bed. All it had was a Murphy bed in the wall. Ellen and Leben had a room above the car port, so they had to climb stairs to get to their room.
We hung out in our room for a little bit and then I gave Jasmine and Jordan baths before the wedding. As we left the room to go take pictures, we saw Angela outside with some of her bridesmaids. We gave her a quick hug, and then the rest of us walked around the plantation and took pictures.
We walked over to the clubhouse and sat in some rocking chairs before the wedding started. Around 6:20pm we went inside and took pictures of the candy buffet they set up and the grooms cake. We took our seats outside. The wedding started right on time and I have never seen Angela smile that big as she walked down the aisle.
The person marrying them forgot to tell us to please be seated so everyone stood for the entire ceremony. We unfortunately couldnt hear what he was saying, so we didnt get to see or hear much of anything. The ceremony was very short, maybe 5 minutes, and then we all went inside. Everyone started eating right away, which I thought was weird that we were eating before the bride and groom came back in.
We eventually decided to eat, too. Once Angela and Chad came in she came over to our table right away and we took pictures. But unfortunately that was all we got to see of her. I think we were the only out of town guests there. I wish we could have spent more time with her. Around 8:30pm, we needed to get the girls to bed so all of us left.
On the way back to our rooms, we could see the stars so clearly. Ellen and Jose turned on their phones and we looked at the stars with the star finder app. It was pretty cool to know what we were looking at.
Beth, Ellen, and Leben came to our room for a little bit and then left. We all needed to leave for the airport at 7:00am the next morning.
I finished up the packing and we were all in bed by 11:00pm.
Day Three Sunday, March 27, 2011
The Plan: Fly to Orlando and Dinner with Crystal and Alvin
We woke up early and packed up the bags and loaded up the car. Beth was outside sitting in a rocking chair with her bags. She told us that she had tried to use her fireplace the night before but it wouldnt work. But then afterwards she could smell the gas and was worried all night!
It was pretty foggy that morning. Ellen and Leben came down a little while later and we were on the road. Since we werent sure if we would see Beth at the airport, we said goodbye to her at the hotel. She was actually on her way to Denver to go skiing with her family. Unfortunately she was leaving Colorado on Thursday and we werent getting home until Friday, otherwise we would have tried to get together again.
The drive to the airport was quick. We dropped off the car and then took the shuttle back to the airport. After we checked in, we saw Ellen and Leben in security. We walked to the gate and waited. Jose went to Quiznos and got us all some breakfast sandwiches.
Just before we started boarding, Ellen and I got up to take Jasmine to the restroom. They announced that the flight was oversold, so they were looking for volunteers to give up their seat. Ellen checked and by taking a later flight, she and Leben got over $900 in Southwest flight vouchers! I wish we could have given up our seats, but with two young kids, it just wasnt conducive. Plus they were going home to work whereas we were going on vacation.
So we said goodbye to them and got on the plane. With this being our first time on Southwest, we didnt realize how fast they board! We had A22, 23, and 24 since we had prepaid for the early boarding. We ended up cutting the people in the B group since we hadnt gotten up there fast enough. I hope we didnt make anyone mad, but I paid for it and I wasnt going to the back of the B line!
We had no problems getting 3 seats together. We were in Row 7. I have to say, I really like Southwest. I thought the flight attendants were really nice and I really liked that they took your drink orders and then brought them back on a tray. It was nice not having to wait for that cart to go by. We will definitely fly them again.
We landed on time and then stopped by the restroom before heading down to ME. I of course packed the vouchers in our checked bags, so we had to get in line to get the vouchers reprinted. They said it happens all the time. We got in line for the Pop Century bus and waited for less than five minutes. Soon we were on our way!
We always love to see our old apartment off 417 on the drive to WDW. We drove through the welcome gates and the excitement was there! No matter how many times we go, it is still so exciting to be back again. Pop was the second stop after Caribbean Beach. We went in and I picked up our online check in packet. The front desk person knew Jasmines birthday was the next week, so we waited for a few minutes for her to give her some balloons.
We went back to our room. We were in the 70s building, room 6101. It was near the front and the buses. It was also at the end of the hallway, so that was nice not to have anyone next to us. Our room was on the ground floor and overlooked a grassy area with the giant foos ball players. The icon next to us was the large Mickey Mouse telephone and then across the way was a giant Big Wheel.
We dropped off our carryon bags and then got on the bus to go to Downtown Disney. We were meeting Crystal and Alvin there. We didnt have to wait long, maybe 5-10 minutes and a bus was there. Once we got to DTD, Crystal and Alvin werent there yet, so we stopped in a few stores. Our first stop was the Christmas Store. I love this store! I think its the smell.
There were a few ornaments out that we hadnt seen before and then we went over to Art of Disney. After that we stopped in the pin store. Alvin called and said they were there parking the car, so we went ahead and went into Earl to get started on our orders. We got our usual, an All American for me and a Club for Jose. We also ordered a turkey sandwich kids meal for Jasmine. We used the AAA discount there for the 10% off.
Crystal and Alvin arrived and it was hugs all around. They put in their orders and we sat around for almost an hour talking and eating. They had brought some dresses for the girls as gifts. After that we walked through Once Upon a Toy and then over to Pleasure Island. They had parked on that side because they wanted to stop by Planet Hollywood to visit a friend of theirs.
Jose walked with us towards the buses and then took Jasmine and Jordan back to the hotel. I left with Crystal and Alvin as they were taking me to Walmart to get some groceries for the week. We stopped by Planet Hollywood and then said hello to their friend who is a manager there. Then we left for the Walmart on 535. Alvin waited in the car while Crystal and I went in. I picked up a case of water, Pop Tarts, crackers, pretzels, chips, and Capri Suns. I also got Jasmine some new sippy cups because the ones we brought with us were leaking everywhere.
On our way back to the hotel, I noticed a new sign under the welcome sign to WDW. They now have a sign posted that says Absolutely No Stopping. I am surprised it took this long to get one. Every trip I always see someone pulled over taking their picture underneath that sign.
They dropped me off at the hotel and Jose came out and we said goodbye. I love having such wonderful friends that would go out of their way to help us out! We would have used Garden Grocer, but there is a $40 minimum and we didnt need that much stuff.
I went back to the room and we all went to the food court to get some dinner. Jasmine had a hot dog kids meal, Jose had the chicken alfredo, and I had nachos. We brought some water bottles with us and some Crystal Light mixins to save on buying drinks. Jordan ate Jasmines applesauce from her kids meal and some of Joses breadsticks.
After dinner we went back to the room and then changed to go to the pool. It wasnt very crowded at all. The water was a little chilly at first, but then we warmed up after a little bit. We stayed in the water for about 30 minutes and then got out. Once we got to the room, I called housekeeping for more towels since we had used all of ours at the pool. They brought new ones in less than 10 minutes. We got ready for bed and were all asleep by 10:30pm.
Day Four Monday, March 28, 2011
The Plan: Epcot
The original plan had been to meet up with Ellen at Epcot, but they ended up not flying home until late the night before and also it was POURING rain! This was the 10th trip we have taken back to WDW since we moved back from Orlando, it has never once rained. And the forecast was calling for rain all week. That was a huge bummer because we werent prepared for that. I hadnt brought the rain cover for our stroller or anything. But we had to make the best of it.
We got in line for the bus and it started to sprinkle. By the time we got to the front entrance of Epcot, it was raining pretty hard. So we decided to take the time and do some of the things we always skip over in a hurry to get to World Showcase. We started out at Character Connection. We saw Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald. Then Tinkerbell and Terrence were around the corner, so we got in line to see them, also.
After we saw the characters, we went over to Innoventions. We did Wheres the Fire, Jasmine and I starred in our own video game, and Jasmine also got to make some paper. Then we walked over to the other Innoventions and played some of the games there.
It was actually a lot of fun. We never take the time to do that stuff. I also saw the Sum of All Thrills, which I havent tried yet. I definitely want to come back and do that. We decided to brave the rain and walked up to the Festival Center. There werent any demonstrations going on, but we looked at the merchandise and talked to a few of the castmembers.
After that we walked over to Spaceship Earth and got in line. Jasmine rode with me and Jordan was with Jose. I let Jasmine answer all the questions, and we got a cute video of us. Jordan had somehow selected Portuguese for her and Joses video, so we werent able to understand it, but it was cute either way.
After that we walked back to the buses and rode back to the hotel. We stopped for lunch in the food court. Jose had a pepperoni pizza, I had a meatball sub, and Jasmine got a chicken nuggets kids meal. The pizza was actually really good! The crust was delicious. My meatball sub was just ok. The salad that came with it had way too much dressing on it.
After lunch we went back to the room and took naps. We woke up a little while later and went to the lobby. Our friends, S, along with her husband, and their sons were going to be arriving shortly. This was a surprise trip for the boys, so they had no idea we were going to be there at the same time as them.
We got to the lobby and waited in the area to the side where there are cartoons on. I decided to kill time by calling our bank because I was having problems viewing our account on Joses phone. While on the phone with them S texted me that they were here. In walked the family and the boys were excited to see us. We talked for a little bit and then I went with S to the check in desk.
They had originally put her in the 50s building but she asked to be moved closer to the front. They ended up getting a room right down the hall. We all went to the food court after that. I cant seem to remember what everyone had to eat. I do remember that the food court was mobbed. Maybe it was because of the rain, or maybe because it was spring break. Either way, it was crowded!
We decided to go back to the room and relax and they headed out to MK for the night. We watched a little bit of TV and then went to bed.
Day Five Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The Plan: Hollywood Studios
Tuesday morning we got up and went to Studios for the 9:00am rope drop. We ended up kind of getting stuck in the store because people were there watching the Streetmosphere performers. I headed over to RRC while Jose took the girls to the hat to go see some characters. I was going to ride in the single rider line, but it wasnt open yet. I rode in about 15 minutes. I called Jose and we met up near Voyage of the Little Mermaid. We walked down to TSM to get fastpasses to use later. It was about 9:30am and the wait was already 70 minutes and our fastpasses were good at 8:00pm that night. Insane how crowded it gets so quickly.
We went over to the 9:40am showing of Disney Junior. Jasmine was so excited to see Jake and the Neverland Pirates added. She had a great time dancing at the show, and even Jordan was getting into it. After the show we went into the Animation Building and walked around a bit. The lines were too long to see Mickey and Lotso, so we left. Next we took Jasmine to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground and Jose went in with her while I waited outside with Jordan in the stroller. Jasmine loved the playground but got a little scared when the ant started talking to her. Then she realized it was ok.
We went back towards the back of the park and went on Muppets. Jasmine was so cute and tried to grab the things that came out at her. By now it was close to 11am, so we left to go to DTD to meet S and family for lunch at Earl. We thought there was a bus from Studios to DTD since there is one at AK, but there wasnt. So we ended up catching the bus back to Pop and then caught the bus there to DTD.
When we got there, S and the boys were at the pin store, so we met up with them there. Then we went over to Earls for lunch. We snagged the huge high top table on the side of the restaurant. We had the same things as last time and this time I also got a bowl of the broccoli cheese soup. Lunch was delicious as usual. We stayed inside for a little while longer and chatted. After lunch S and family went to do some more shopping and Jose and I found a table next to the water and just relaxed. Jordan had fallen asleep, but Jasmine was wide awake.
We found tables next to the water behind the old Winnie the Pooh store. I checked my Facebook on Joses phone and we sat in the shade. Jasmine was having a good time playing in the dirt behind me. Karen called and said they were almost there. Once they arrived, we met them at World of Disney. Karen, Johie, and Gracie were all inside and Dwayne was outside with Charlie waiting for us. These are all friends of ours from Vero Beach.
We walked around World of Disney and then onto Once Upon a Toy and the Lego store. That yellow tent they are using until the new store is built is out of control! The tint of the room is not pleasing on the eyes. We all had to wait outside because we couldnt be in there for very long.
We had brought some Little Brother/Big Sister outfits for Charlie and Gracie from Colorado, so they opened them up outside. We started to make our way towards PI for our dinner reservation at Paradiso 37. We stopped along the way to take some pictures of the girls looking at the ducks. They looked so cute interacting together.
We got to the restaurant around 4:15pm and they were able to seat up right away. Dwayne had run back to the car to grab the gift bags for the girls that they had brought. Jasmine got a Barbie doll and Jordan received a My First Baby Alive. They were both excited to get their presents.
We had some chips and salsa as an appetizer and also some grilled corn with cheese on it. Both were delicious. For our entrees, I had the chicken enchiladas with a mole verde sauce, Jose had a pineapple burger and fries, and Jasmine had a dog two ways kids meal. It was a tiny little hot dog, some corndog nuggets, a little cup of mac and cheese, and some carrots and celery. It was the perfect little portion. I gave Jordan some of my black beans and she loved it! She also succeeded in getting it all over her face and hair.
Dwayne got the mahi mahi sliders, Karen had fish tacos, Johie had chicken quesadillas, and Gracie had a taco kids meal. All of the food was outstanding and the service was wonderful and prompt. I would highly recommend this restaurant. It will definitely be visited again. I dont know what the final bill was, as Dwayne was nice enough to treat us.
We took some more pictures and then left for the buses. On the way out we passed Raglan Road and there were 2 Irish dancers outside performing. They were amazing! I would love to eat there someday and get to watch more of the dancing.
We said good bye to everyone and then got in line for the bus. I think we waited about 10 minutes. We got on the bus and lo and behold S and family were on the bus! We thought that was hilarious since there are about 400 buses running at any given moment. Too funny that we would actually be on the bus together.
They held Jordan while Jasmine was asleep on Joses shoulder for the ride back to the hotel. We all went back to our rooms to drop off our stuff and then they came and got us. We all got back on the bus again, this time headed to Studios.
We got to DHS and all of us headed over to RRC. All of us were going to ride except for Jose who stayed outside with the kids. We got into the single rider line, but even with that we waited for over 30 minutes.
Everyone loved it except S. She was glad she tried it, but never again. She also got a headache afterwards, so that was not fun for her. We separated because they wanted to ride Tower and we wanted to go use our Toy Story fastpasses that we had gotten earlier in the day.
We rode TSM and then went to Scoops to get some ice cream before the second showing of Fantasmic. We got in line for the show and I called S to tell her where we were. They ended up skipping Tower and went to do Muppets instead. They joined us in line and then Jasmine decided she needed to use the restroom. So I left the line and by the time we were done, everyone was just about to pass me. So the timing worked out perfectly.
We made our way up the ramp and once we got closer to the top, there was a castmember taking strollers and parking them on the side. That surprised me since having worked Fantasmic in the past, I knew there was stroller parking at the top. We assumed that maybe it was full. But once we got to the top, the stroller parking was still pretty empty. We just had to cross our fingers that the strollers would still be there after the show was over.
We walked into the amphitheatre and were seated almost at the very end on the left side of the stage. We all loved it, and then followed the masses to the exit. We needed to stop at the restroom on the way out, so S and family went on without us.
We made it back to the hotel about 30 minutes later and decided to go to the pool to cool off a little bit even though it was about 10:30pm. S and the kids were already out there. We chatted for a little bit, and then went back to the room. We all fell asleep pretty quickly after that.
Day Six Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The Plan: Epcot and Dinner at 1900 Park Fare
We were originally going to go to AK for MEMH, but since we didnt have a chance to see the topiaries at Epcot on Monday, we decided to skip AK this trip and just go back to Epcot since it wasnt supposed to rain today.
We woke up and got ready and made it to Epcot right at 9:00am. We werent interested in doing Soarin since we would have to do a child swap. We went over to Innoventions again because I wanted to try the Sum of All Thrills and Jose wanted to take Jasmine to do the Waste Management exhibit.
Jasmine had a fun time pushing around the garbage truck. I dont think she really understood the concept of recycling and such, but she liked it. When they were done with that, I went to Sum of all Thrills. It was a lot of fun designing my roller coaster. I made it go upside down 4 times.
After that we went over towards World Showcase to look at the topiaries. Our first stop was in the Fairy Garden. The topiaries looked great. They also had a sheet of paper that you could take to each topiary. Then you could run a crayon over it to get each fairys autograph. Jasmine and Jordan also played on the playground that was set up there. They also had the little house set up from the Great Fairy Rescue.
We had to practically drag Jasmine away from the playground and we made our way to World Showcase. We stopped by the Butterfly Garden, although there were not a whole lot of butterflies in there at the time. We also took some pictures with the Winnie the Pooh topiary. Jose and I took one with Winnie the Pooh back in 2003 when we were still dating, so we had to have a more recent picture of us with the topiary.
Our first stop in World Showcase was the merchandise area where we bought the Mickey Mouse Welcome rock and a Flower and Garden pin for me. We were able to get an AP discount here and had it shipped back to the hotel.
We stopped at an information area that had some gardening tips. They had a table there and crayons, so Jasmine and I stopped to color while Jose talked with the castmember there. Next up we walked through the Tea Garden in the UK. We decided to get some fish and chips to share. I dont eat fish, so I just ate the fries. We sat in the tables behind Rose and Crown which is where Jose proposed to me back in 2003 during Illuminations. It was so fun being back in that spot almost 8 years later with our two children.
After the snack we continued around to France. We stopped and took pictures with the Belle and Beast topiaries and also with Princess Aurora. Marie from the Aristocats was also out. We took pictures with her and the rest of the topiaries in France.
Belle was out near the water, but her line was pretty long. We stopped in Germany to get some caramel popcorn for later and also to look at the trains and Rapunzels tower. I was actually surprised at how big it was. In pictures it looks a lot smaller. But in person it looked over 6 feet tall.
We took more pictures with the topiaries along the way and then recreated the one with Simba and Rafiki. Back in 2009 we took a picture of Jose holding Jasmine up in the air, and then this year we did it with Jordan. It was adorable. Next we went to the store in China. I bought a pair of pink slippers with a panda head on them for our niece, Jocelyn.
Our final stop was in Mexico. We still havent tried out either of the two new restaurants there. I got in line and ordered the guacamole and chips, and the cheese empanadas. Both were delicious! The chips tasted homemade. The only downside was the price. It was almost $19 for those two things. Just thought it was expensive for being such small meals.
By then the wind was picking up and it was getting close to nap time. We caught the bus and went back to the hotel. When we got to the hotel, the lifeguards were having a Big Wheel race right outside our room. Jasmine raced against another little boy around her age. Neither one of them could even pedal the big wheel, so the lifeguards helped them out. Jasmine ended up winning and all the kids that participated got a beaded necklace with a trophy cup on it. It was adorable. And the Big Wheels they had looked exactly like the larger one that was on the side of the building across from us. Hooray for Disney for creating such an exact replica.
We all took naps after that and then when we woke up we took showers. We had a dinner reservation at 1900 Park Fare that night.
We left for MK and waited about 5 minutes for a bus. Once we got to MK we then caught the monorail line to the Grand Floridian. I went to check in and our friend Nicole had just arrived. Then Ellen texted that she and Leben were there parking the car.
We waited about 2 minutes before the pager went off and then we took the group picture outside the restaurant. They also took one on our camera and it turned out great. The food was delicious. I have always loved the food at 1900 Park Fare. They do a great job of having a variety and keeping it fresh and stocked.
The first one to our table was Lady Tremaine. Next was Drizella and then Prince Charming. We somehow missed Anastasia and Jasmine was very disappointed. She did stop by the table to take a picture with Jordan and Ellen, but Jasmine and I had been up getting food. She had no idea who she was, but she knew that we had missed her. I didnt think Cinderella was very engaging with the girls. It could have been because she needed to get to the next table, but I just felt like she took her picture and then left. The stepsisters and stepmother talked to Jasmine for a while.
Cinderella and Prince Charming did a waltz right behind our table and invited the kids to come up and dance with them. Jasmine tried to dance with him, but by the time the line died down, they were finished.
We were all stuffed at this point and they still brought out a huge ice cream dessert. We wish we would have known it was coming so we could have declined it. We felt bad wasting it, but we were all way to full to eat any of it.
We said our goodbyes after dinner and then caught the monorail and then the bus back to Pop. We spent some more time relaxing in the room and then went to bed.
Day Seven Thursday, March 31, 2011
The Plan: Magic Kingdom
We were up bright and early today to get to MK for MEMH. We got there a little after 8:00am. It was of course pouring down rain, so I finally broke down and bought 2 ponchos to put on the stroller. The girls didnt like them since they couldnt see through them. Lesson learned I will never leave my stroller cover at home again, even if it says zero chance of rain!
We thought it would be drier to walk up Main Street through the Emporium, but we were slipping and sliding so much on the tile floors, it was probably safer to just have stayed outside. We stopped by a Photopass photographer that was outside of Caseys and had him take a picture of how wet we were and the strollers. It really is a funny picture to see the girls all covered up, and us soaking wet. You just gotta laugh at these things.
We went back to Fantasyland to see what we could ride. We were able to get on Peter Pan, Philharmagic, Snow White, its a small world, and Winnie the Pooh. We loved the new interactive line at Winnie the Pooh. Even though the ride was at a walk on, we still stopped to play all the games. It is a great feature to keep kids occupied instead of waiting in a boring line.
Dumbo was closed for most of the morning, but just as we were leaving Fantasyland it opened up. It was still raining, so we got soaked, but it was a fun ride.
We also took the girls pictures with their landmarks. Jasmine in front of the wishing well and Jordan in front of the Cinderella fountain. We went into the store next to the fountain and Jasmine saw the 2 sided doll. One side is Cinderella and the bottom half is Belle. She just had to have it, so we decided to get it for her. They also have a 2 sided Tiana doll, and one that is Ariel and Aurora.
We also stopped at Sir Mickeys and had 2 pairs of mouse ears made. We are coming back in October with a family that has never been to WDW before. So we had ears made for their two daughters and will be sending them those along with some park maps to get their planning started.
We went over to Haunted Mansion, and the new interactive line was closed at the moment. The manager said that it would be open that afternoon. We werent planning on being there, so we will just have to wait until we go back in October. They also wouldnt let the 4 of us ride together. We were able to in November, so I think it just depends on the cast member. So I rode with Jordan and Jose and Jasmine sat behind me.
After HM we went back to Fantasyland and picked up our stroller. We were all hungry, so we went to Cosmic Rays and had lunch. Jasmine had chicken nuggets, Jose had a bacon cheeseburger, and I had a turkey wrap. All the food was delicious. We were there long enough to see 2 sets of the Sonny Eclipse show and then we left.
The bus ride was quick and we went back to the room. I did some packing while the girls napped and Jose watched a movie. At dinner time we went back to the food court and ate. Jose and I both had a pizza and Jasmine had a hotdog. I also ordered a bowl of chicken noodle soup.
We also needed to take Jordans weekly picture. Every week we take her picture next to a Minnie Mouse doll. On previous Disney trips we have taken her picture with the actual Minnie. Since it was raining we werent planning on going back out to MK. So I improvised and took her picture with one of the Minnie Mouse dolls in the gift shop. Im sure we looked funny doing that, but I couldnt miss my picture.
We ended up seeing S and the boys there. They had just left the arcade. We chatted with S for a bit while I bought a few more souvenirs to take home. I bought Jasmine some markers and a toy car for my nephew, Garrett. I also bought a few kitchen items to take home with us.
S and family were headed back to MK for Wishes, but I didnt want to be out in the rain tonight, especially when we had to catch ME at 5:30 the next morning. So we said goodbye to them, knowing we would see them two days later back at our house for dinner. We went into the arcade and Jasmine played a few games. She won about 40 tickets and she picked out some candy for it. The castmember let her have all the candy for free as a magical moment, and then she picked out more candy with the leftover tickets. We were ready to leave, so we gave another little boy what was left on our card. Another little girl had also given Jasmine her leftover card earlier in the night.
We went back to the room and I let the girls play in the bathtub together. The packing was all done, and then we all went to bed early. It continued to rain all night, so I was glad that we had decided to stay in that night.
Day Eight Friday, April 1, 2011
The Plan: Fly Home
I woke up that morning at 4:00am to shower and get all the bags ready to go. I had a sore throat, so I drank some Airborne in hopes of getting it to go away before it got worse. We left for the lobby and I got a printout of our final bill. ME was a few minutes late, but once it arrived, we were the last stop, so we went straight to the airport.
The girls slept the whole way there. I had a revelation when Jose and I were walking through the airport that morning. So it was a little after 6:00am, and here Jose and I are, each of us wearing a car seat strapped to our back, each pushing a stroller, and each pulling a suitcase. All this in addition to our two carryon bags. Man, what a life our kids live that their parents carry all this around while they are sound asleep in the stroller. I told Jose we really need to look into Southwest on the next trip so we can do the resort check in!
When we went through security, they stopped the conveyer belt and said, Maam, whats in your bag? And I answered back very nonchalantly: a rock. TSA: a rock? Me: Yes a rock with Mickey Mouse on it and it says welcome.TSA: oh, ok. Hee hee, only in Orlando would that make sense!
We got Qdoba for breakfast and ate at the gate. The flight was smooth and we landed on time. I was starting to feel worse when we were on the plane. We landed and I called my dad. He was already at the airport waiting in the 45 minute parking area. We got our bags and then met him outside.
My sister was at our house when we got home and Jasmine was very excited to show her cousins our pictures and the souvenirs we had bought.
All in all it was a pretty good trip. The rain was the worst part, but you cant help that. It was very unusual to have rain that time of year, but having been back to WDW 10 times since we moved back from Orlando, it had to rain sometime on one of our trips. But I always say a bad day at Disney is better than a good day at home .
It was a lot of fun to see our friends and go to Angelas wedding. I never thought I would take a trip to New Orleans, so it was fun to try something new.
After the trip, I ended up getting a horrible cold that lasted about 3 weeks. Everyone else caught it, too, so that was no fun! But again, looking at the bright side of things, I am so glad that I got sick the day we left rather than while we were on the trip.
S and family left on Friday, also, and the weather was sunny and gorgeous that day! I guess we missed the good weather by a week. We all should have went the week after.
Our next trip is scheduled for October. We are going to spend a couple of days in the parks and also go on a four night cruise on the Disney Dream! This will be our 4th Disney cruise, but for everyone else, it will be their first cruise. We are traveling with 14 total people! S and family will be coming, our friends and their 2 daughters (4 and 1 years old), and our other friends who just got engaged, Brett and Allison. It will be interesting to see how 14 of us all do, but we are looking forward to it.
Our staterooms are all close together, but hotel wise, the family of four is staying with us at Kidani Village, and the others havent booked rooms yet. We are looking forward to showing them how wonderful Disney and cruising are!
Thanks for taking the time to read. Here are the pictures from the trip. They include a few from New Orleans.
04-27-2011 02:15 PM
"To Infinity & Beyond..."
Thank you for an amazing trip report! We are planning a trip to Louisiana and it's nice to read a real trip report on it, and then to read about Disney- well, that was icing on the cake.
I understand exactly what you mean about the highways in Lousiana. We drove on the last two trips and will again on the future ones and I plan the driving around Louisiana because I definitely don't want to get stuck on the highways and especially not at night!
WDW All Star Sports 7/1999, 6/2006 & now just waiting for the green light to plan the next trip- HOPE ITS SOON OR I MIGHT JUST HOP ON A PLANE AND GO ALONE!!- haha
Jennifer, thank you so much for another wonderful trip report. I would love to go to Louisiana especially New Orleans.
Thanks so much.
Thanks for the great report and pictures, Jennifer!
Thank you, everyone! New Orleans was definitely a lot of fun! But of course nothing can top Disney .
Loved this report and your pictures. You girls are beautiful
You just have to have it in you... the MAGIC*
Thank you so much!!!
Originally Posted by WdwGurl4life