This trip report is a year in the making!!!! I took all my notes last summer. I had it almost all typed up back in January and Cam dropped the laptop and we lost EVERYTHING on it!!! It was tough to see all that typing go down the drain. However, by June, I decided it was now or never and I needed to get this baby typed up! So I have!!!!
I have some good and bad news that I am going to share with my Mouseplanet friends. The good news is that we are heading back down to Disney for an eleven night stay in less than two weeks. Now the bad news.I have been given a double cancer diagnosis. I have both uterine and ovarian cancer. It has been both shocking and devastating news to say the least. I have a tough road in front of me. A second surgery is scheduled the day after we get back from Disney. After that I will begin chemotherapy. While this diagnosis has been traumatizing, my oncologist has looked me in the eye and told me that my chances for a complete recovery is excellent. She has been very positive. I hope that all of my Mouseplanet friends will remember me in their prayers or simply send good thoughts my way. It would mean the world to me!!!! So while our upcoming trip, is not the one we had originally planned, we are making the most of it. I am still in the process of recovery from a surgery that I had on July 12th and I have some anxiety about my next surgery. However, if anything can make me feel better, it is definitely Walt Disney World!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
On with the show!!!!!!
August 16th-28th 2010 All Star Music and the Beach Club Resort
Cast of Characters
Heidi-43-I love to vacation with my family, and hope to someday live at WDW!!!!
Jim-46-loves free dining and meandering through World Showcase!
Jimmy-17-loves everything about WDW from the rides to the atmosphere, a true Disney kid!
Cam-14-Is his happiest while at WDW. When the vacation starts to wind down he gets the blues and is bummed that he has to go home!
Late May-Jim happened to ask if Disney was offering the free dining promotion this summer. I told him that as a matter of fact, they were!! Jims answer was, lets go! My response was ya, right! I just didnt feel like we could afford a fifth vacation in a twelve month span. We had gone to some California National parks and DL just last August, followed by an 8 night WDW trip in August, followed by an 11 night WDW trip in November, followed by yet another WDW trip in April. Another trip seemed to be out of the realm of possibility. Jim said that he might pick up some extra work with his old company so that we could squeeze in another vacation. I called down and made reservations at the All Star Music. We would just need to make a final decision by July 1 when the package would need to be paid for.
June-As fate would have it, the extra work never came through. However, I had a bit of a health scare. After a VERY long doctors appointment, I got the good news that all was well. I looked at Jim from across the office and mouthed, We are going to Disney! He heartily agreed, so the trip was on!! Technically, it became official a week later. Our plan was for Jimmy to have a summer job for the first time ever. However, he was invited to try out for a Legion baseball team. When he made the team, the idea of a summer job went out the window. The season would end at the beginning of August, so Jimmy essentially had the month of August free. So in the end, a 5th trip to a Disney park in a 12-month span began to take shape.
We tossed around a variety of ideas. One was driving down and visiting the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Stone Mountain, Georgia, and a Ripleys Believe it or Not Museum in St. Augustine, Florida. Unfortunately, Jim could only take a week off and we would need two weeks to accomplish visiting all of those places and Disney. The other factor is that with free dining there was really no other place that we could visit that would be as affordable as Disney. As much as I wanted to visit the Smokey Mountains (we LOVE our National Parks!!!), I was also itching for a long Disney stay. We used to stay at Disney for 2-3 weeks in April, but it had been four years since wed had a trip longer than 12 days. (We really like the longer trips. While a week is fine; its just not long enough for us!!)
It was decided that the boys and I would fly down on August 15th. We would spend five full days at Disney before Jim arrived on the 20th. My plan during that time was to visit both water parks, Fort Wilderness, Disney Quest and a day at the Magic Kingdom. We would then focus on the theme parks when Jim arrived.
Late June- I received an e-mail, with some excellent room-only rates. I checked them over and saw that we could stay at the Beach Club for $204.00 a night plus tax. There was, of course, no free dining with the room-only discount. However, we have always wanted to spend a night at the Beach Club to experience the amazing pool area. So I booked our last two nights there.
Late July- I ended up getting us a rental car for the entire two weeks. Originally the kids and I were going to use the Magical Express and Jim was going to get the rental car when he flew in. However, in the end it was only an extra $40.00 to have the car the whole time. While we have always had good success with Magical Express when we have used it and Disney transportation in general, a rental car gives us the freedom to explore other resorts. Disney transportation is super if youre focusing on the theme parks because you can get mostly direct bus rides to them, but thats not so for the water parks and other resorts. Since wed be doing lots of that the first week, the rental would be money well spent!
August 15th- We had our annual Disney party with our cousins, the Carters. Lots of Disney themed games, food and our $5.00 Yankee swap with gifts purchased at Disney. It was lots of fun and even more fun knowing that we were flying to Disney tomorrow!!
August 16th-Today was the big day and we were so very excited. It was hard to have to wait until a flight later in the day. However, it was better than the alternative, which would have been to fly out tomorrow! Somehow the day dragged by and finally Jim was driving us to the airport. He dropped us off at the curb. We grabbed our luggage and hugged Jim goodbye, knowing that we would see him on Friday. We headed in and were shocked to see absolutely NO line to check our luggage!! I checked in our cooler and a single suitcase, while the boys went to the restroom. I was never asked for my ID here, which seemed odd as I have always been asked for it in the past. We moved on to security and there was ABSOLUTELY NO LINE!!!! WOW!!!! I have NEVER seen that before!!! What a difference it makes to leisurely put your bags on the conveyer belt and your random items in a bin without having people practically crawling up your back!!! What a relaxing way to start a vacation!!!
I gave Jim a quick call to let him know we were through security, before we headed to our coveted bagel place!!! (I know that I have written about this place in past trip reports, but it deserves a mention today as well! This place serves the BEST bagels anywhere and if they werent located on the other side of security, I would probably make a weekly trip to the airport just to buy a bag of them!) Cam opted for a personal cheese pizza, while Jimmy and I got a bagel. The kids went into the nearby game room to begin their money search and returned with their first find of the trip, 25 cents! I paid for our food, as well as three bottles of water. The total was $18.39, ugh!!! I cant wait to get to Disney for our FREE dining!!!
We sat at Gate 15, which was a first for us, although Jimmy mentioned that the baseball team left from this gate in April. With our April trip so fresh in my mind, I have to say that it felt GREAT to have Jimmy with me. I was already missing him terribly at this point back in April, when it was just Cam and I together at the airport. Being in the airport also brought back some memories for Jimmy as well. He mentioned how a few teammates had purchased drinks right before they went through security, having no clue that you cant do that!!! This stunned Jimmy at the time. Jimmy and Cam are so well-traveled that the rules and procedures are just second nature to them. Its hard for them to realize that some people have rarely, if ever, flown and are simply clueless to the rules. Jimmy then went on to say that one teammate had brought a deck of cards, so a small group (6) of kids sat down to play Rummy. However, Jimmy was shocked, again, when only he and another boy knew how to play. Jimmy has grown up playing not only card games, but all sorts of games, so again, its just second nature to know how to play and seems sort of odd not to!
We all enjoyed our food. The kids played with their IPOD and I made a few trip report notes. A father behind me was reprimanding his teenage daughter, telling her that they would not go ANYWHERE without a cell phone on this trip. Apparently they had gotten separated last night at the mall, which had caused the Dad some extreme anxiety and he WASNT going to go through that again!!! Meanwhile, Gram called to see if we were waiting for the plane, so we chatted for a bit.
Before we knew it, it was time to line up and board! Yippee!!!! We were A-31-A-33. We selected the sixth row back, stowed our carry-ons and settled in. I called Jim one more time, before I turned my phone off.
Soon enough we took off. I settled in and read Pams (Pammer) trip report. (A great trip report!!) Jimmy read some as well and we were both surprised to read that she never saw the Yeti! I wonder what is up with that and why Disney cant seem to keep him in running order!!
We had a pleasant flight and were so happy when we arrived in Orlando. I still almost had to pinch myself over the fact that we were indeed back to Florida so soon. I felt very blessed indeed!!
We were quickly off the plane, and after a quick restroom stop, we were on the monorail. The kids went directly to baggage claim to pick up our cooler and single suitcase, while I went directly to the rental car area. There was no line and I was waited on immediately, which was extra nice. I told the agent right away that I was not going to buy any additional options, so we could both save ourselves time. Within minutes, I was finished and had my keys. It was the quickest that I have ever gotten away from the car rental counter.
I had to wait a few minutes for the boys to show with their luggage. As soon as they arrived, we scooted out to the car rental lot. A worker quickly directed us to the row that we could select our car from. We decided to be a little different and selected a------Jimmy and I walked around the car and saw a few blemishes, so when we drove out, I mentioned them to the worker who made a note of it. As soon as we were out of the garage, Jimmy set our GPS and we were on our way. It was clear sailing all the way to Disney. My heart was soaring. I was truly just so happy!! We all cheered as we went under the Disney sign. We quickly went through security, parked and headed into the lobby of the All-Star Music.
We continued with our theme for quick and efficient service here as well. I had done the on-line check in, so I just showed them my ID and was quickly handed my packet. It was 8:45 and we were hungry, so we decided to go eat first, then check into our room.
After paying for all of our food back in April, we were especially happy to be back on the free dining plan again! I had my favorite steak salad, cheesecake and water. Jimmy had his favorite chicken quesadilla, cheesecake and chocolate milk, while Cam had a cheese pizza, cheesecake and strawberry milk. ($47.89)
We found a table, ate and chatted about our plans for the week. We were all so happy!!! Happy that we were here and happy that we had two weeks of fun in front of us!
We drove to our building, parked and dragged everything to our room. We unpacked a bit, and set our wake-up call. Lights were out by 10:30.
Tomorrow well go to Typhoon Lagoon.
Monday August 16th
I didnt have the best night. My stomach was revolting around 1:30. I ended up having a warm bath, which was quite soothing and went back to sleep around 2:30 with no further problems.
I was up first at 7:30, Jimmy followed soon after and I woke Cam up at 8:00. We didnt bother with showers since we were headed to a water park. I organized a few things before we headed out at 8:10. The boys walked to the food court to grab something with their snack credits, while I drove down and picked them up. The boys also filled up our water cooler with ice water. Jimmy selected a cheese Danish, while Cam selected an apple turnover. ($5.29) The boys met me in the parking lot when they were finished.
We headed out and on our way to Typhoon Lagoon. As I drove past Blizzard Beach, I joked that we should go there today. When I said that, I happened to catch Cams reaction in the rear view mirror. He had a look of panic. Cam loves Blizzard Beach, but has NO desire to go on Summit Plummit. He has an unfounded fear that I will make him ride it, which I would never do. He also gets some ribbing from Jimmy about not going on it. Because of those two things, he has a slanted view of Blizzard Beach, although he loves everything else the park has to offer. However, once I saw that look of terror, I changed my mind. If Cam was that nervous about going, I figured that wed just go to Blizzard Beach first and get it over with so he wouldnt spend all day and night being nervous about going tomorrow. I made a U-turn and headed back to Blizzard Beach. I reassured Cam that he did NOT have to ride Summit Plummit, to just have fun and ride what he wanted to ride. I also gave Jimmy a stern reminder about not badgering Cam to ride Summit Plummit.
We waited in line for about ten minutes for the park to open. While waiting, we had the misfortune of being near the stupidest guest of the day. This guy was standing in the middle of the crowd of people smoking!!!! We were far enough away from him that it wasnt too terrible, but what the heck was he thinking!!!!!
The ticket turnstile opened at 8:45 and we headed in to the rope drop at the bridge, where we waited again. Right before the countdown started a lone duck appeared and started to come across the bridge toward the crowd. I had visions of the poor duck getting trampled, when he suddenly turned and headed back in the direction he came. Whew!!! We counted down and headed in. The boys headed straight to the chairlift, while I took all of our gear and went to get a spot. I found our spot and grabbed an assortment of chairs that I covered with t-shirts, towels and sandals. Since our chairs always have a magical way of disappearing, I always grab extra, so we at least have enough to sit on when we want to rest. Once things were settled, I walked over to the Downhill Double Dipper. I love this ride but rarely get to ride it. I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived and saw two CMs lifting tubes onto the conveyer belt to send tubes to the top, for guests to ride back down!!! Wow!!! I guess someone from Blizzard Beach must have read my last trip report and decided that my brainstorm was in fact the best idea ever!!! Instead of rotating 2-4 tubes and having guests standing around first thing in the morning, that just MAYBE they should send some tubes up so people could actually ride down on!! Genius!!!
I had a GREAT ride, just loved it!!! The only downfall was that the bottom of my suit turned into a thong when I landed in the water!!!
Next, I ran up to ride the Toboggan Racers. When I got to the top I saw Jimmy AND Cam going up the stairs to Summit Plummit!! Wow, it looked like Cam was going for it!!! I quickly grabbed my toboggan and since there was no line I headed right down. If Cam was going to conquer Summit Plummit, I wanted to see him! I ran over to the bottom to wait. However, Cam had bailed and gone down Slush Gusher. I met them both at the bottom. Cam felt bad that he didnt ride down Summit Plummit, but I told him not to. I told him to ride what he wanted and someday, when he was ready, Summit Plummit would be waiting!!
Both boys headed back up, Jimmy to ride Summit Plummit and Cam to ride Slush Gusher. I ran to the restroom. When I passed a drink station it was just alive with buzzing bees! Eww!!! No thanks!!
I met the boys and we walked up the mountain to the family raft ride. There was no line, but we needed a minimum of four people to ride, so we had to wait. Fortunately, a Mother and daughter arrived and we all were able to ride together. I wish the kids and I could have just ridden together as it would have been a lot more fun, but oh well!
We all walked over to the Downhill Double Dipper and waited for maybe two minutes to ride down. We all had a great ride!
There were still no lines! This is awesome, 100% better than when we were here for this same week last August. We had come later in the week, when the place was mobbed! We rode the Snow Stormers twice and then the Toboggan Racers twice. On our second ride down, there was no one there at all and just the three of us rode the Toboggan Racers down!! How cool was that, just the three of us going down together?
We walked back to our spot to have a snack and some water, before heading to the tube slides.
The boys went ahead and rode a double tube, and I met them after their first ride. The three of us walked up with two double tubes. The kids hurried up the stairs and rode down. I took my time walking up. By the time I got to the top, Cam, who had just ridden down, had sprinted back up to the top to meet me. We rode down together on my double. Cam made our ride extra exciting by swinging our tube up on the side. We had a great time!
We all headed up again, this time with single tubes. (BB made a change last year, where single tubes can only go down the enclosed slide, double tubes can still go down the two open slides, but the single tubes that used to be able to go down any of the three slides can only go down the enclosed one. It makes no sense to me, and makes it hard for a family of three to enjoy the slides together. It also creates a super long line for the single tubes. To put it simply, I HATE the changes!! Therefore, in the old days the boys and I could go up with a double and a single and ride down the same slide, one after the other. Not anymore! When we arrived at the top there was a large group of at least fifteen people. They all had single tubes and went to ride the open slides. Because of their error, we were able to scoot right into the enclosed tube line. As always, we had a great ride!
We went back to our spot to grab the boys goggles, before heading to the Lazy River. The boys were searching for money and ended up with 53 cents. I hopped out after one ride around to grab lunch, while the kids went around again.
Soon after I got in line, they opened up two more registers and I was able to walk right up and get waited on. (This was the complete opposite of last year as well, where I probably waited a good twenty minutes just to get waited on!) This perfect day just kept getting better and better. I ordered two lunches to share, because I knew we probably wouldnt be able to eat three. I got two cheese pizzas, bottled water, chocolate milk, a fruit cup and a cheesecake. ($26.22) I met the boys back at our spot and we still had mostly all of our chairs!! (This was unlike last year, when someone had stolen our entire spot at this point!!) Everything was quite tasty and we were stuffed, before we even touched the cheesecake!
We headed up to the Toboggan Racers. The lines were building a bit. We waited about ten minutes to ride, which wasnt too terrible for an August afternoon! I do so love this ride!!
We went for a dip in the wave pool. I only stayed for a few minutes, before going back to our spot to relax. The kids swam for awhile, thoroughly enjoying themselves. We then did one more loop around the Lazy River, before gathering up our stuff and heading out.
It was only 1:30, but we had done so much! We decided to head back to the resort, relax then come back in around 5:00. (This is where having a rental car is extremely handy! We were back to our room five minutes after exiting the park!)
As we were walking back to our room, we spotted a HUGE grasshopper. It was UNBELIEVABLE!!!! We laid the room key down next to it, before I snapped a picture. The thing was longer than our key and almost as wide!!!! It was crazy!!
We all had showers. The boys walked over to the All Star Sports in search of money and I lay down to rest my head. The kids returned in about half an hour with over $2.00, before heading down to the food court for sundaes. ($8.66)
When the boys returned, we watched a bit of Staceys must dos, before heading out. I drove to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for some zebra domes. First we ducked into the gift shop for a peek around. Here we met CM King Pin. He was wearing a vest covered with pins, in addition to holding a bulletin board covered with pins. He was very friendly and engaged us all in conversation, as well as some pin trades. We made our way down to the food court and picked up three packages of zebra domes. ($12.07) We sat down where we ate and visited. I just felt so happy to be here, we all did!!
We headed out to return to Blizzard Beach. It had just started to sprinkle, so I made a detour back to our room to grab a poncho. Jimmy ran up and grabbed one and we were soon on our way again. It was plenty warm enough out; I just didnt want my backpack getting drenched by the rain.
We found a great parking spot at BB and headed in. The rain was really picking up and a steady stream of people were exiting just as we were going in. Cool!!! We grabbed a single chair in the same spot from earlier today. We put my backpack and our towels there and covered everything with the poncho. We headed up to the Toboggan rides for four rides. We rode both the Toboggan racers and the Snow Stormers twice each.
Next, Jimmy went on Summit Plummit, while Cam rode down Slush Gusher. Then we meandered to the back of the mountain to the tube slides. We selected the single tubes and had three rides in rapid succession. When we were done, we hopped in the nearby Lazy River. Now this was the ultimate in relaxation. The park had emptied out and the Lazy River was deserted. None of us used tubes. I just floated on my back and let the current gently pull me along. Now this was the life!!! We had truly had the perfect day to the perfect vacation!!!
We got out and the kids each did one more ride on Summit Plummit/Slush Gusher, before the park closed at 7:00 and we headed out.
Back in the room, we all had quick showers, before walking to the food court for dinner. We all ate the exact same thing that we had last night and everything was delicious!!! ($47.89)
The kids ducked into the game room, while I did a quick browse through the gift shop, before we retired to the room. Between running up the stairs all day and being in the sun for most of the day, we were pooped!!! It felt great to lie down and relax, before going to sleep.
Typhoon Lagoon tomorrow. Cant wait!!!
Tuesday August 17th
Unfortunately, I did a repeat of last night with my stomach doing a major revolt!! What the heck??? After an hour in the bathroom and another hot bath, I finally crawled into bed and watched the news until I fell asleep around 11:30.
Happily, after that I had a great nights sleep and didnt get up again until 7:30. Again, we didnt bother with showers since we were heading to a water park. We puttered in the room for a bit, before heading out. The boys walked to the food court and redeemed two more snack credits for breakfast. They both got a blueberry muffin. (5.86) I drove down and picked them up, and we were on our way.
We arrived at Typhoon Lagoon at 8:30. We parked next to a large white van. They had their doors open, so I waited to open mine until they all got out. Well, wait I did!!! One after another, after another, after another, kids kept getting out. To this day, I am not sure how they all safely fit in that van. It reminded me of the clown skit, where all the clowns keep getting out of a tiny car!
When we arrived at the entrance I was surprised that they were already letting people through the turnstiles. We headed in and separated for the rope drop. I took all of our gear and waited to grab a spot near the wave pool, while the boys went to the rope drop near Crush N Gusher. Right before 9:00, a large group of 20-30 people approached from inside the park and had to squeeze through all of us to get out. I am guessing that they were in the park early to do the surfing experience. I felt sorry for them as they tried to get through the mob of people. I would have thought that Typhoon Lagoon would have had a CM exit to let them leave from, as that would have certainly been more pleasant for them.
The park opened and I was able to grab our spot. I had the same routine as yesterday at BB. I grabbed a variety of chairs and draped our towels and t-shirts on them, before I went to meet the boys. Just as I arrived, the boys were getting out of the water from their second ride. The three of us went down an additional three times together. Our favorite slide was the middle one. There were two dips, one after another. You couldnt see the second one coming and it was such a surprise!!!
We then headed to Shark Reef. The CMs giving the instructions was a little over the top, but he was quite happy and we were too, so all was well. We slowly floated across the water, the cool water that you are repeatedly warned about here felt glorious!! We all commented that we didnt think there were as many fish to look at as in past trips.
The boys went to Humunga Kowabunga, while I rode the adjacent storm slides twice. I met the boys and we all started to go up the storm slides. Just as we started up the path we saw a girl surrounded by her family loudly crying. The Mom said, didnt you see that you had to step down? right in front of the family is the little stream with the stepping stones, that you walk on to continue up the path. Apparently, she wasnt looking down and tripped and fell. She was holding her wrist and saying how much it hurt. The poor thing, I felt terrible for the girl and her family. It didnt look good, and I suspected that she had most likely broken her wrist. We quietly walked up to the top, feeling sad for the girl. I hoped that this was the last day of the vacation and not the first if indeed she had broken a bone.
We arrived at the top, where there were only a few people in front of us. We selected the slides we were going to ride down, then a loud high pitched whistle began and no one was allowed down the slides. We waited about ten minutes thinking that the slides would re-open at any second. I assumed that maybe a young child had trouble in the landing pool and as soon as they were out, we could go down. However, after 10-minutes of waiting none of us could take the high pitch whistle anymore and had to walk down. Thankfully, we did, because when we got to the bottom things were still closed and the whistle was still blaring. We found out from a lifeguard that the whole ride had closed down because there had been an injury in the queue line. (The poor girl of course.) I was really surprised that the whole ride was closed down, because she had tripped in line and was now not even in the area anymore.
We headed to the Wave Pool. We were so excited to see hardly anyone in the pool. The waves were awesome and we rode them from 9:45-11:00. We only got out when the large waves changed to the small rolling waves.
We hopped into the Lazy River. We did the full circuit before getting out. The boys went to Humunga Kowabunga, while I went to Leaning Palm to grab some lunch. I used three counter service credits. I ordered two hotdogs/fries, two chocolate milks and two chocolate chip cookies, and a turkey wrap, water and cheesecake. ($37.45) We all met up at our spot to eat. Everything was pretty good, although I most likely wouldnt order the wrap again. We saved the cookies for later.
We returned to the wave pool. There were more people in the water, but it wasnt too bad. When we had enough, we got out and walked over to the storm slides. As we neared the top, a little boy who looked about age four walked by us. He continued squeezing by everyone else. I kept looking behind me, thinking that his family would soon appear. When they didnt, I kept scanning the crowd to see if he belonged to anybody up ahead. I was feeling especially concerned, thinking that there must be a parent somewhere searching frantically for him. We were on the bridge and I could see him down below, passing more and more people to get to the slides. Other people also noticed the boy and seemed puzzled as to who he was with. I wanted to yell down to the lifeguard, but I knew the nearby water fall was going to drown out my voice. I was relieved when a lady spoke to the lifeguard and pointed to the little boy. The lifeguard seemed to look around for his family, spoke to the boy and let him go down. It was a strange situation.
We headed to the Lazy River. I casually mentioned to the boys that when I was getting our lunch I had seen a family (Mother, Father and three teenage girls) and the Mom and girls were covered from head to toe in robes. I wondered what they were going to do at Typhoon Lagoon dressed like that. We had a great loop around. It wasnt nearly as relaxing as last night in the empty Lazy River at BB, but it was fun just the same!
We returned to our favorite attraction at Typhoon Lagoon, the wave pool, where we rode wave after wave. After quite a few waves, Jimmy turned to me and said, hey Mom, does that answer your question and he looked in the direction of three young girls up to their shoulders in water complete with their Muslin robes, covered from head to toe. Wow!!! I was surprised!! I have to say that those girls seemed to be having the time of their life, thoroughly enjoying each and every wave. I couldnt imagine how uncomfortable those robes must have been in the water, but I was so happy that they were having such a good time. I did find it odd, that while the girls were completely covered, the Dad was just wearing a regular bathing suit with all of his skin exposed. I guess if I shared their religion, I would want to be a man, as it seemed much more comfortable.
I got out of the wave pool. The boys were going to watch a couple more waves and then we were going to head out and return tonight. However, soon after I got out the boys were right behind me. Apparently, a lifeguard had to jump in and help someone and the waves were shut off.
We left at 2:00 and returned to the resort for showers. The kids walked to the food court to use some snack credits. They got themselves hot fudge sundaes and brought a frappe back for me. ($14.29) The kids said the CM put tons of cherries on their sundaes, which they thought was funny. We hung out in the room resting while we watched Staceys show.
At 4:00, we headed out to drive back to Typhoon Lagoon. We lucked out and were able to park in the very first row. We grabbed a single chair and piled our stuff on top. We went directly to the storm slides where we went for four rides in a row. Each time we went back up the line was shorter than our previous ride. Although it was short each time, three minutes, then two minutes, then a walk on.
We really dont care for the tube rides here. They are almost a joke compared to the ones at BB, but we figured since we hadnt ridden them for quite a few years, wed give it a shot. We did the bumpy one first. While it was nothing special, we all said that it was fine and we had a nice time. When we exited, there was an announcement that all of the rides were closed and to seek shelter away from the beach and walkways!!! Huh??? It was sunny with a beautiful blue sky. I was obviously confused and asked a passing CM what was going on. The CM told me that it was a mistake and someone must have pushed the wrong button. Soon after another announcement came on saying that the previous announcement was a mistake and to carry on!
The kids went to the wave pool, while I walked over to give Shark Reef another whirl. It always seems strange to me to see adults wearing life vests on this. I forget that some people have never learned how to swim!!! I loved my float across. This time there were tons of fish and sharks to look at. It was quite a contrast from this morning!!
I rode the Lazy River back to our spot and met the boys in the Wave Pool. As soon as I reached them (6:00), the waves changed over to the rolling waves, so we all got out and went over to Crush N Gusher. It was quite frustrating here, as people were getting out of the water and were not handing off the tubes to us waiting in line. After this happened three times and the lifeguard said nothing to them, I asked the lifeguard what the heck we were supposed to do. He went and got us a tube that was lying off to the side behind a rope. I thought it was strange that he wasnt having people hand off their tubes, but whatever. He had our tube and headed up. We ended up waiting about ten minutes to ride down, for some reason our line had stopped, while the others continued. There must have been a problem, but I have no idea what it was. We had a great ride as always!!
We returned to the Wave Pool and at 6:30 the big waves returned. The sun was SO BRIGHT, that even with sunglasses, I couldnt look forward. Our faces are also feeling a little sore, despite the fact that we have used a ton of sunscreen these last two days.
At 7:00 the park closed, so we slowly dragged ourselves out of the wave pool. We were sad to go, but knew that we would be back next week with Jim. We packed up and drove back to the resort.
We lucked out on the ride back, because we hit a green light EVERY time!!! That has NEVER happened before! We all had showers and walked to the food court for dinner. On the walk, the kids showed me a HUGE spider in his web!!!
As much as I wanted to have a steak salad for a third night in a row, I didnt. For some reason, I had been sick in the exact same way the last two nights and the only thing that was the same was the salad. I ordered a turkey dinner and hoped for the best!! Jimmy had the chicken quesadilla and Cam had a cheese pizza. ($49.22)
I was surprised when we walked by the pool. There was no rain, but a lot of lightning in the clouds. Lots of people were swimming, so I guess the lightning wasnt a concern. Back in the room, I called housekeeping to get more towels. I had left a note for extra today, but none had been left. Someone arrived in five minutes with a stack of towels so that was good.
We settled in and watched Americas Got Talent. We are all looking forward to spending the day at Fort Wilderness tomorrow.
Wed. August 18th
I am happy to report that I was not sick in the night! Whew!!!
I was up at 7:30 and had a quick shower, before I packed everything up to spend the day at Fort Wilderness. The boys woke up at 8:00 and also had quick showers, before walking to the food court to get some breakfast (I have to say that having the two snack credits a day is such a treat, since it essentially covers breakfast for us!) and to fill up the jug with ice water. I drove down to pick them up. Today Jimmy had a chocolate croissant and Cam had a cheese Danish. ($5.89)
We had a nice drive to the Fort. We were all especially looking forward to our day. Its funny to think that this is our third full day and we have yet to visit a theme park! We are all fine with that and are enjoying ourselves immensely!! The outer parking lot for day visitors was blocked off, so I drove to the guard shack. It was no problem to park in the other parking lot. I lucked out and was able to park in a nice shady spot. We had our bathing suits, towels, water and pins all packed in my backpack.
We caught the bus to the Meadow Trading Post. We didnt even have to wait, as a bus pulled right up. We enjoyed our little ride through the Fort. Honestly, I was so happy to be here, I couldnt wipe the smile off my face!! We are having the most PERFECT vacation and I am just so thankful to be here!
The boys brought our stuff to stash at the pool, while I went to fill out the paperwork to rent the bikes. The area was completely dead; there was absolutely no one around. Cool!!!
We rented three bikes and headed off. ($57.51) First we biked to the 1600-1900 loops. The 1600 loop, as well as the 1800 loop, was completely empty. It was odd to see that. We stopped at the pool, where the kids got in their suits and jumped right in. I sat in a lounge chair in the shade. No one else was even at the pool, which made the area especially peaceful. I just sat there watching the kids and listening to the Fort Wilderness music coming out of a nearby speaker.
We biked to the Settlement Trading Post. We had a quick peek around, before walking down to the dock. I wanted to check the price of the boat rentals. Apparently, I had the wrong price at our recent Disney party with our cousins. The site that I had checked out needs to update their prices!
Next, we biked out to the Lodge. I just love this path. Its probably one of my most favorite places in all of WDW. I also felt especially happy to have BOTH Jimmy and Cam with me. When Cam and I were biking on this path in April, I was missing Jimmy SO MUCH!!!!
We didnt see our friend Sandra in either the gift shop or the pin trading cart. We made a few trades, before heading down to Roaring Fork for a snack. We looked at the bagels and Danishes, but nothing looked appealing to us. We then spotted the full breakfast items and they looked good! So, since it was FREE, that is what we got. I ordered the breakfast platter, with scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon and toast. The boys each had pancakes and bacon. We all had bottles of orange juice, as well as bottles of water. (With the counter service breakfast, you get to have two drinks, since youre not having a desert. The total was $37.04.) Free dining is FUN!!!
We went back upstairs. I asked for Sandra at the pin cart and the CM told me that she was in the store. We didnt see her in the store, so I asked a CM if she was actually here today. The CM said that yes, she was and was working out back. He said that he would go and get her. Soon enough Sandra appeared. After hugs all around, we visited for about 20-minutes. We said good-bye in hopes of seeing her again this trip.
We got our bikes to head back to the Fort. As I approached the crosswalk, a CM van never looked or stopped!!!! It was a good thing that I did!!! We passed a surrey bike on our way back. We headed straight for the pool. It was hot out and we were all ready for a swim. The water was almost too warm for it to be refreshing, but we still enjoyed ourselves. We all went down the slide a few times. I got out before the boys and pulled my chair into the shade. It felt heavenly to sit there and relax at my most favorite place on earth!!!
We went for another bike ride, this time biking through some of the cabin loops. We went through our loop from back in November. The whole entire loop was empty!!!! Again, this is such a strange sight!!! Each cabin had a HUGE net completely over it, which was weird!!
We stopped at the Meadow Trading Post and the kids settled in for a game of checkers. I just love, love, love the fact that we have two weeks here. The gift of time allows us to be able to relax and take the time to do things that we enjoy, but wouldnt take the time to do on a shorter trip! I spotted some good pin trades, but realized that we had left our pins at the pool, with our other stuff.
After retrieving our pins, we biked to the Settlement Area and went into Trails End to get some drinks. We made two great pin trades here. We spotted the Carters friend Josephine before we sat down in the comfy rocking chairs. The large blocks were sitting in a pile, so Cam built a tower out of them. (He never would have done this if anyone else was around, since he would have felt too old for it. However, with no one around, it was a nice diversion!)
Sitting there I was struck with the multitude of butterflies everywhere. Of course there were lots of pretty flowers everywhere, so I guess they were attracting the butterflies. A lady walked by the porch studying a map and looking for something. I asked her what she was looking for in hopes that I could help her. She said that she was looking for the restrooms. I pointed her in the direction of both of them, the one in Pioneer Hall and the one at the Settlement Trading Post. I was happy that I could help. There is nothing harder than visiting a place for the first time and not knowing where anything is!
We biked to the pool and used three snack credits to get three Mickey ice cream sandwiches. ($9.00) The girl in front of me had all three CMs waiting on her. I have to say that sometimes Disney employees seem terribly inefficient! We ate our ice cream at the picnic table in the shade. While we were eating, a life guard whistle went off. One lifeguard raced to the chair and hit a button to stop the flow of water coming out of the slide. Three other lifeguards all jumped into the water. From our vantage point it looked like a young boy may have had trouble, but thankfully appeared to be just fine.
We all went swimming together, as well as going down the slide a few times. We really wished that the water was a little cooler and more refreshing. Poor Jimmys face was hurting him. Despite slathering himself with sunscreen, his face looked red and burned. I think two days in a row at the water parks may have been too much for his face. The worst part was that just putting the sunscreen on was burning his face. The chlorine in the water seemed to be burning it too.
We decided to go for one last bike ride. This time we went through the tent camping loop. It was surprising to see that people were actually tent camping in August in Florida!!! Yikes!!!! We love to tent camp, but I would NEVER tent in the summer in Florida. Between the extreme heat/humidity and the strong rain/thunder storms, I just cant see the fun in it. Plus financially it seems like a waste. We are paying right around $90.00 a night to stay at the All-Stars and we are averaging around $150.00 worth of free food every day. I cant imagine spending $40.00-$50.00 a night for a campsite, then have to buy all of our food. Wed have to spend more to do that then stay in our air conditioned room with a bathroom. Now, I LOVE Fort Wilderness, but like I said, camping in August just isnt going to happen!!
We went into another loop and saw the most adorable cabin/camper!!! It was the cutest thing imaginable, so we stopped and I snapped a photo of it. It was actually on wheels and had a trailer hitch and brake lights, as well as an air conditioner. It looked just like a little cabin that someone had made. (In the Fall, we actually saw a program on TV about these little cabins on wheels!)
We biked through the 300 loop on our way out to the dam. That was completely empty as well. It really is a surreal feeling to see the place so empty!! We got off of our bikes at the dam and walked around a bit. I couldnt help but think of when the boys were little and we would come out here to explore and fish..
We returned to the pool for one more swim, before we returned the bikes and returned to the parking lot. We were driving out around 4:00.
We really had the BEST day!!! While this day certainly wouldnt be for everybody, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and would be perfectly content to repeat this day if we had the time!!
Back in the room we all had showers, before we made our nightly walk to the food court for dinner. What a contrast in crowds!! The food court was pretty dead. It was 5:30, as opposed to the first night when we were in here around 9:00, and the last two nights when we were in here around 8:00. The last three nights the place had been hopping, so quite a difference!
I really wanted the steak salad, but didnt want to chance any problems, so I had the turkey dinner again. I had a bottle of water, and a frappe for desert. Jimmy had a chicken quesadilla for the fourth night in a row and Cam had chicken Alfredo. They both had milk with their meals and frappes for desert.($49.89) We ate, visited and had a nice meal.
We stopped in the gift shop where we found even more new pins. We had our receipts to get our frappes for desert, but honestly we were SO FULL!! Cam didnt bother to get his. Jimmy and I did, but I think I only had two sips, before I tossed it, I was that full!! I should have gotten a cheesecake instead, and then I could have brought it back to the room and put it in the cooler for later.
Once we re-grouped in the room, we decided to drive to Old Key West to see our CM friend Barbara. Old Key West is the only Disney resort that I have never visited. We parked and found the gift shop. I asked if Barbara was working tonight and found out that she had retired three weeks ago!!! She had just sent the kids 20 pins back in May and hadnt mentioned that she was retiring.
We looked around the shop and at all of the photos outside of DVD members outside of the restaurant. Some of the photos appeared to be quite old.
Next we drove to the Contemporary. (I have to stop here to make a comment about rental cars. We have vacationed at WDW with rental cars and also relied solely on Disney transportation. On trips of a week or so, when we are focusing on the parks, a rental car isnt so necessary. However, for what we have been doing a rental car is priceless. We wouldnt have gone to all of the resorts that we have, if we had to rely on transportation.) The security guard here really examined my license while everyone else has just waved me through without a glance!
We parked and headed in. The kids went into the game room, while I browsed the shops, before grabbing a bench to sit and people watch.
We all met up and went into the gift shop to use two snack credits for two pieces of peanut butter fudge. ($6.98) The fudge was ok, but we have had better!
We drove back to the Music. I dropped the boys off at the Main Building. Cam was going to see if he could turn in his receipt for a frappe, even though the 90 minutes was up. He was able to, which made Jimmy and I regret that we hadnt waited as well, since we had been so full. However, the receipt is clearly stamped 90 minutes, so I would never assume that this would work out again.
We were in the room by 8:00, so it was an early night. We settled in to watch Americas Got Talent again and fell asleep at the conclusion.
Magic Kingdom tomorrow! We are pretty excited for our first park day, as well as to go to our FAVORITE Park!!!
Thursday August 19th
The wake-up call came at 6:45. I was sound asleep and in my stupor, I stepped right on Cam as I rushed to get the phone. (We had brought a sleeping bag with us and the kids took turns sleeping on the floor.) I quickly got ready and woke the boys up at 7:00. They quickly got ready and we were out the door by 7:15.
Our routine was a little different this morning, since we werent driving to our destination. It was the first morning that we had all walked to the main building together. One side of the pool was roped off and closed, while workers were cleaning all of the pool chairs. Meanwhile, there was a sign up about lifeguard training and around ten lifeguards had gathered in a small circle.
We stopped in the food court. We filled our jug with ice water and the boys each grabbed a muffin using their snack credits (5.59) before we headed out for the bus. There was a good size line waiting for the bus. We only waited about two minutes for it to arrive. We ended up being the last ones to squeeze on, so we stood right near the driver.
I think that I overheard the most puzzling conversation of the week. There was a family sitting right to my left. The mom said, Right after we eat our breakfast at the Crystal Palace, we are going to Epcot. What the heck!!! Why would you go all the way over to the MK to eat breakfast first thing in the morning and then leave???? Once you invest the time to travel there, why wouldnt you just enjoy the morning there when things are relatively uncrowded? I am always amazed when I read trip reports of all the running around that people do and then not really accomplish much because they spend so much time just traveling from park to park!!!
We werent asked to see any resort ID to gain entrance to the EMH. We breezed right through both the bag check and the ticket scan. We waited about ten minutes for the park to open. The Good Morning show was performed. I remember when this wasnt performed on EMH mornings, so it was nice to see it.
We went straight to Space Mountain, as is our tradition. We grabbed FPs before we hopped in the line. The CM gave Cam the red card on a string to pass off to the CM inside. That seemed a little strange to me that first thing in the morning they were checking on the wait times, when we never even stopped walking. I was in the front seat with Cam right behind me and Jimmy behind Cam. Cam had me laughing hysterically when he began imitating the English boy that rode behind Cam back in April. Space is fun, Im in Space, I like space, etc.
We hurried around to ride again, this time waiting about 15-minutes. The games were turned on this time through, but we walked right by them all. We rode the left side again, totally enjoying ourselves.
We headed down to the hub and then up through the castle. It seemed like a rare treat to be able to walk through it, since it seems like it is closed off so often. We turned left and walked by Peter Pans flight, where we stood at the rope drop waiting for the rest of the park to open. We wanted to get some rides on both Splash and Thunder Mountain.
Sadly, Splash Mountain was closed, there wasnt even any water coming down the drop. Major bummer!!! With Splash closed, the big rush of people were now all going to Thunder. Luckily, we never stopped moving and walked right down to the trains. I asked for the back seats, our favorite, and received them. We had a fun ride, but opted out of a second, because of the line. Instead we walked over to pirates. Two groups in front of us went left, so we went on the right side. When we got to the loading area, there wasnt anybody on the other side. I guess we should have gone left too, although we really didnt wait long. Jimmy mentioned that he sat next to Mr. Mills on this ride back in April. (Its been fun hearing bits and pieces about Jimmys trip in April. As he sees things it triggers the memories for him.) He also mentioned the different reactions of the kids from both baseball and band over the Davy Jones projection on the fog. We were seated in the very back seat. I am not sure if I have ever sat in the back seat before, but I felt it was far more comfortable than the other seats because the back of the seat was higher.
We exited through the gift shop and used the restrooms off to the left. I dont ever recall these bathrooms being here, so that was a surprise! I thought that I knew every square inch of the Magic Kingdom, but I truly dont remember these restrooms.
It was now 9:50 and the boys got in line for Tom Sawyers Island to look for a paint brush. The island opened at 10:00, and to find a brush you need to be on the first raft of the day. I went to Splash Mountain to wait a few minutes to get more FPs. I snagged the FPs and returned to the dock. Unfortunately, the boys werent able to fit on the first raft, I joined them and we were the first ones on the second raft of the day. We were bummed that they didnt make it on the first raft. As soon as we reached the other side, we split up in our search for a paintbrush. We had NO LUCK. We looked everywhere and not only did we not find a paintbrush, but we never saw anyone else with one either. I was doubtful that any had been hidden at all. When we left I asked the CM if any had been hidden today and she answered that they had all been found and turned in. Hmmm..if that was true I wonder why we never saw anybody holding a brush.
On the ride back the water was so clear we could see the bottom of the river. Before we reached the other side, the CM had to slow the raft down for a family of ducks to pass by.
We walked over to the Haunted Mansion, where we only had to wait about two minutes. The air conditioning felt absolutely divine!!! When we go into the stretching room, we always position ourselves at the door so we are the first ones out, which is what we did today as well. The boys rode together and I rode right behind them. I have loved this ride since I was eight years old!!
We split up for lunch. Jimmy went to the Columbia Harbor House and ordered the shrimp plate, strawberry yogurt and chocolate milk. ($15.69) Cam and I went to Pecos Bills. I had a cheeseburger, carrot cake and water, while Cam had a taco bowl, carrot cake and chocolate milk. ($28.52) We all enjoyed our meals and met up afterwards. As Cam and I walked out of Pecos Bills, I looked up and saw a large white bird with a long beak right over my head!!!
We walked over to Splash to grab more FPs and use our passes from this morning. After we had gotten another set of passes, we went to go ride. We arrived at the entrance and I showed the CM our passes. She told us to go stand behind those people. Huh??? She held up her arm to block us and waved a big group through. We waited for them all to go through, and then we did to. It was a little strange, but whatever! I was in the very back seat, with the boys right in front of me. Jimmy didnt ride Splash on his April trip, so this was the first time he got to see the refurbishment. (Which really amounted to just a brightening up of things!)
At this point we decided to head out and come back in later today. We walked right by the Dole Whip stand as we were too full. We went through the shops on the right side of Main Street. I traded for a pin that Cam needed and then Cam traded for another. Now he only needs one more pin to complete his set!! I bought Jimmy a Kingdom Keepers book, Disney at Dawn.
We were feeling quite warm as we walked to the bus stop. Happily, we only waited about two minutes before our bus pulled up. Sadly, we didnt feel one speck of air conditioning on the bus. Ugh!!!
We stopped in the food court and redeemed three snack credits. I had a chocolate ice cream cone, Jimmy had a hot fudge sundae and Cam had a chocolate shake. Yes, we are a chocolate loving family!!! ($12.49)
We were happy to see that our room had been already cleaned. We all had showers to refresh ourselves from the heat and relaxed. Jimmy began his new book, Cam used the IPOD and I updated some trip report notes.
We headed out for our return to the MK at 3:45. We arrived at the bus stop and I waited outside (in the heat) while the boys traded a few pins in the gift shop. It was a short wait though, about five minutes for our bus. We noticed some bright pink ticket booths off to the side of the road near the MK entrance. We all wondered where those were going to go.
We went through the ticket turnstile and I noticed the CM had a pin that Jimmy needed. I pointed to the pin to make a trade when another CM walked over and said, oh no, I want to trade for that one! The CM took the pin off his lanyard and handed it to him and he promptly put it on his lanyard. We all laughed together and joked around. The CM then mentioned Cams Red Sox hat and t-shirt and said, There will be no more trading. He then pointed at his name badge that stated where he was from, New York. We all laughed some more, completed our trades and said goodbye.
We browsed the shops on Main Street that we hadnt looked through when we left earlier today. We then continued on to get Dole Whips. I left the boys in line there and continued on to Thunder Mountain to get FPs. For some reason my ticket didnt scan, so the CM just handed me a FP for my ticket. I also traded pins with him. He had a lanyard pin from the very first series, so that was a rare find indeed. Someone must have traded for that years ago and when they returned on this trip must be re-trading all of their old pins. They probably dont even realize that the pins from the original set sell quite well on eBay. At any rate, I was happy to have the old pin.
I returned and met the boys, who had just received the Dole Whips. Yummy!!! ($12.79)
We walked to Space Mountain, planning to use FPs from this morning. However, when we arrived the sign proclaimed a 10-minute stand by wait. Wow!!! I asked the CM if that was really accurate and she answered, Yes. It seemed VERY odd that the tip board had Mickeys Philharmagic as a 60 minute wait and Buzz Lightyear as a 30 minute wait and this CM is telling me that Space is only a 10-minute wait!!! We figured what the heck and headed in. Sure enough, there was really no wait at all!!! We were so happy that we had saved our FPs! We had the right side this time and had a fun ride. Jimmy said that the lady behind him kept saying, oh my God.. Oh my God..oh my God.this is NOT SAFE.I am NEVER riding this again!!!! Apparently she kept repeating this throughout the entire ride.
We exited and grabbed more FPs for Space and checked the wait time. This time it said 20-minutes, so we decided to use our FPs from earlier to get another quick ride in. As we were walking in, I happened to glance up at the wait time and it had been changed to a 120-minute wait!!! What the heck??? We headed on in and while the standby line did begin at the games, it most certainly was not a 120-minute line!!!! We had another great ride!
The kids ducked into the game room in search of money and came out with $1.50! When we got outside, Jimmy glanced over at the Grand Prix Speedway and mentioned that they rode that with band back in April. Even though I had talked to Jimmy once a day on that trip, I obviously didnt get to hear all of the details, so its been really fun for me on this trip to keep hearing things about Jimmys April trip every time his mind is jogged by a new memory!
We walked over to Buzz Lightyear. The sign proclaimed a 15-minute wait, so we hopped in line. The sign was accurate as that is what we waited. The boys rode together and I rode behind them. I can take or leave this ride, but we had a good time.
Next up was Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. We have watched this show one other time and it just wasnt a hit for our family. We are just not into the whole audience participation thing. However, we decided to give it a whirl. We were fortunate NOT to have our faces fill the screen or get singled out. We had some good laughs and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!
We next rode the TTA. We always enjoy this ride and there was a nice breeze to boot!
We were beginning to get hungry, so decided it was time to eat. Jimmy really wanted to have the shrimp meal again at the Columbia Harbor House and Cam wanted another taco bowl from Pecos Bills. I had both boys go to Columbia Harbor House to order Jimmy and my dinners, while I walked down to Pecos Bills to grab Cams. There was no line for the self-ordering kiosk, so I quickly placed the order of a taco bowl, carrot cake and milk. As I stepped up to the counter, a man appeared next to me, with his taco bowl. He got one of the CMs attention, and asked for another bowl. He said that his wife wanted another one as the one he had was too dark. I looked at it and thought that the man was being very generous by calling it too dark. To me it was clearly burned and I cant imagine why someone filled that with meat and gave it to him in the first place! Yuck!! Luckily mine came out looking fine and I was quickly on my way to the Columbia Harbor house to meet the boys.
Apparently there were no lines here either, as the boys had already gotten our food, a spot to eat and Cam was outside waiting for me. We went inside and Cam led the way to the table. I really havent been here for a few trips and almost forgot how nice it is inside. It is much quieter and more intimate than the other counter service places. The food was very good. I had the shrimp platter like Jimmy and enjoyed it very much. ($56.20 for all three lunches.)
We walked over to Splash Mountain to use our FPs from this morning. The boys ended up in the front seat and I was right behind them. To say that we got wet on this ride would be an understatement, we got SOAKED!!!! How ironic that when we rode this that morning, we wanted to get wet to cool off and received nary a splash. Now that it is 8:00 at night and considerable cooler, we get soaked to our underwear!!!!
We walked over to Thunder to use our FPs, but we didnt even need them. Now I found this to be shocking. I have heard from various sources that Disney is almost filled to capacity and here we are walking onto one of the most popular rides at the Magic Kingdom. This on the heels of walking onto Space Mountain just a little while ago! We are feeling very lucky indeed!!! What was even cooler was that we were walked back to the very last seat without even having to ask for it!! Fun, fun!!! We love riding this at night!!
We could have walked on again, but we were feeling a little tired and wanted to beat the after Wishes crowd out of the park. We caught the train and rode that to Main Street. There is something about riding the train at night too, we all enjoy it.
The electrical parade was going on, so we watched some of that, before walking to the bus stop. A bus pulled up just as we arrived, so that was fun. We all sat down and had a nice ride back to the resort.
We stopped in the food court to use three snack credits. I had a cone, Jimmy had a sundae and Cam had a chocolate frappe. ($13.52) We ate our desserts as we walked back to our room.
We all had showers and watched TV before we called it a night on another magical day.
Tomorrow the boys are going to Disney Quest, and Jim flies down in the evening.
Friday August 20th
Today was our day to sleep in a bit since Disney Quest doesnt open until 11:00, but wouldnt you know it, I woke up at 6:30 and couldnt fall back to sleep. Cam woke up at 7:30 and Jimmy slept until 8:30. Since everyone was up, we had showers and headed out at 9:00. We had enjoyed our breakfast at the Wilderness Lodge so much on Wednesday; we decided to go back there to have breakfast again.
We parked and as we were walking in Jimmy started a nosebleed. It was a bad one and I had no tissues. We hurried to the bathroom for tissue in an effort to stop it. It took a good ten minutes to get it under control, but it finally stopped.
We all walked down to Roaring Fork for breakfast. I had scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns and a biscuit. Jimmy had the same meal as I did, plus two pancakes. Cam had pancakes and bacon. We also got three OJs and three Smartwaters. ($42.02) The area was pretty busy so we ended up sitting at a small table that was set up in the hallway. I have never seen tables in the hallway; I am guessing that they are set up here because it is so busy. We all really enjoyed our meals and left full and happy.
We made a few pin trades at the pin cart before going into the gift shop to see Sandra. She wasnt working on the floor and I didnt want to ask for her again, so we headed out.
We had an easy drive to Disney Quest. It was still early, so we waited about ten minutes in the car, before going to the entrance where we waited about 15-minutes for the place to open. I stood outside and watched the kids go in. I just wanted to make sure that their tickets scanned fine. They did! Last year Jimmys ticket didnt scan, so I was happy that all went well today.
I returned to the car to drive to the Premium Outlets. It felt strange being by myself, but I enjoyed it. The drive was quick and easy. I pretty much remembered how to get there, but I did use the GPS for backup.
I parked and headed in. It didnt seem to be super busy, which was nice. I ended up purchasing two Disney backpacks, postcards, a couple of magnets and some tins that had two pins in them. (Funny thing, we gave one of the tins to Gram at Christmas and her tin actually had four pins in it!!! Apparently, someone over counted!!!)
I drove back onto Disney property and parked at the Marketplace. First I went into the Toy Store, followed by the Winnie the Pooh store and the $10.00 and under store. I usually find some deep discounted item in here, but not today. I then went into the Art Store. I saw a CM with two pins on her lanyard that I wanted. However, she stopped me dead in my tracks when she practically hissed at me that I could only do one pin trade!!! I really HATE it when CMs do this, as the rule is two pin trades per person. It irritates me when CMs make up their own rules and act like the pin lanyard they are wearing belong to them, when it clearly is part of their work outfit. I just said, REALLYthe rule printed on all pin trading information sheets is two trades per person. She didnt answer me and I didnt push it. I should have, but I just didnt feel like it. I couldnt help but mutter, Get a life lady as I left.
I stopped in Goofys Candy Company and used 4 snack credits on four cookies. ($12.89) My absolute favorite cookie here is the peanut butter chocolate chip! I ate one as soon as I left the store.
Next up was the World of Disney store, where I picked up some items that I hadnt seen before for Christmas gifts. I then stopped in guest services. For our package, I had purchased us all 2-day base tickets to get the free dining. The kids and I each had 10-day park hoppers, so we werent using ours on this trip. However, Jim didnt have a 10-day ticket, so I needed to upgrade his 2-day base ticket to a 4-day park hopper. I hadnt had a chance to do it yet, and figured this was the perfect opportunity. (I was wrong) I explained to the CM what I needed to do. She checked my ticket and proceeded to tell me that the ticket would expire on the 26th. I responded with, I thought it expired 14 days after the first use. She then agreed with me, but went on to say that some people come to Disney for a week or two and only go into the parks for one day but I dont mean anything She then started rattling off a bunch of ticket info and what some people do with their tickets. After she made each point she would say, but I dont mean anything as somehow inferring that what I wanted to do was strange and she had some superior knowledge over me. Oddly enough, after all of that she refused to upgrade it for me. She said that only Jim could do it since his name was on it and he would need to show his ID for any changes to be done to the ticket!!!!! HUH????? She again told me that she didnt mean anything and I turned and left. (That night at the Music, I went to the concierge desk and upgraded Jims ticket to a four day park hopper without the CM batting an eye. Believe me, I was tempted to go to the Marketplace, hunt that CM down, let her in on the fact that she could have assisted me then told her that I dont mean anything!!!!
I walked next door to the Team Mickey store, and found a quiet corner to call Jim. I dont normally make phone calls inside of a store, but it was beastly hot outside and I would have wilted into a puddle during the first minute into the conversation. Jim was at home packing a few last minute things before he drove to the airport. He was excited to get down here and I am excited to see him. We finished talking and I browsed around a bit.
Jimmy called around 2:30. He said that he was about done at Disney Quest and was starving. He went on to say that he had waited in line for over ten minutes to get him and Cam some lunch and the line never moved, so he gave up. (I remember this from last summer, when I went inside, I think I spent thirty minutes getting lunch, it was crazy!) I suggested that they play games for another half an hour and I would go to the Earle of Sandwich, get us some lunch and I would call him when I got to the Disney Quest parking lot.
There was a pretty long line at Earle, but they really know how to move crowds here and before I knew it, I had our lunch and was walking out the door. I had the turkey sandwich, Jimmy had the pizza sandwich and Cam had meatball. We also had three bags of chips and three bottles of water. ($30.49) This was our cheapest counter service meal by far!!
I pulled into the parking lot and called Jimmy. He answered and said that they had just finished Cyber Space Mountain and would be on their way out. Although Jimmy had done all he wanted to do, I think Cam would have stayed for a couple more hours.
The boys ate on the ride back to the Music. I ate in the room while we all hung out for a bit. We then went to the pool. There was a table/chairs available, so we grabbed that. The only problem here is that in the afternoon when they do the activities they play very loud music. The music would be fine if it was distributed in different speakers around the pool, but it is not. It all comes out of one speaker right near the activity directors. How they dont go deaf is beyond me!!! I know we always cringe when we have to walk by that speaker to go into the main building.
The pavement was hot, hot, hot as we quickly walked to the pool!! After I was refreshed (Not!!!! The pool water was SO warm!!!!) I went inside to get Jims ticket upgraded. I returned to the pool just in time to see the changing of the guard. At the end/beginning of the lifeguard shift they all dance at the end of the pool. To the left, left, left One poor lifeguard looked like he had no rhythm and just wanted the earth to swallow him up. I felt sorry for him. When they finished dancing, the activity directors held a water balloon toss. I am pretty sure (positive in fact!) that we Commerfords could have taken this competition!
After about an hour, we headed back to the room. On the way, we grabbed a bunch of towels off the rack to take back to the room with us. (That is one of the perks of the All Star Music, towels by the pool. I dont ever see that at the other Value resorts.)
We all had showers and got ready to go to the food court for dinner. Ordering dinner was painful. I think if I hadnt gotten assertive with the CMs, Jimmy would still be standing there. A CM took our order. (Cam was in another section getting a pizza.) Steak salad for me and a chicken quesadilla for Jimmy. However, I noticed that while someone was making the salad for me they never put the chicken on the grill for Jimmy. More and more people behind me were giving their orders. Some were ordering chicken quesadillas as well. Their chicken seemed to be going on the grill to cook, while Jimmys never did. I asked the CM who was making my salad, and who had taken my order, several times if he was going to make Jimmys quesadilla and he nodded his head each time. He finished, handed me my salad, and walked out back! What the heck??? Meanwhile, people behind us were getting handed their chicken quesadillas!!!!! I grabbed a CMs attention and told her that we had ordered a chicken quesadilla about 15-minutes ago and were still waiting for it. She apologized and went and put the chicken on the grill. After another 6-7 minutes we FINALLY had Jimmys dinner!!!! We paid and sat down. By this time, Cam had long finished eating! ($48.02)
We went back to our room to get into our swimsuits again. We all swam for awhile, and then I got out to update my trip report. The kids played some hiding game with each other. Two CMs set up the giant screen and put the movie on. It was so relaxing sitting there, writing, and watching the boys, half listening to the movie. I just felt so happy and content.
Jim called to say that he had landed and was headed to Magical Express. We ended up staying at the pool until he arrived about an hour later. We were all happy to see him and to be together again. We walked back to the room together. After showers and unpacking, we watched some TV before going to bed.
Tomorrow we are going to The Studios. Toy Story Mania is down for a refurbishment for our entire vacation, but we knew that before we came. Instead, we will focus on our other two favorite rides, Rock n Roller coaster and the Tower of Terror.
Saturday August 21st
The alarm woke us all up at 7:45, which is super late for me!!! (Last night someone went running and screaming by our room around 1:30!!!! What are people thinking????) We quickly had showers and got ready for the day.
The three boys walked down to the food court together, while I drove down to pick them up. Jimmy and Cam filled our jug with ice water and used two snack credits for a cheese Danish a piece. (5.29) Jim used one of the refillable mugs for a coffee.
I drove to MGM and we were waved right in, the guard barely glanced at our parking pass! We had a fairly close parking spot and walked in. There was a good size line at the bag check, but it did move right along. We jumped in a line, but sadly we picked one that didnt seem to move. People on either side of us kept streaming right by. It was very frustrating and the people in front and behind us were equally frustrated. I would have jumped in another line, but the end of the other lines were out of sight, so we stayed put and hoped for the best!!
FINALLY, we entered the park just as the preshow was ending. We had spent over 15-minutes just to get through the ticket turnstile!!! It really was ridiculous! Not one of our tickets scanned and had to be rescanned by the CM. Apparently, this was done for every guest, which explains the back-up. It made me wonder why they didnt just close that line. Oh well, we were in now!
Jim had our tickets and quickly walked to TOT to grab FPs. We all met at the entrance of TOT to ride together. As always we had a great ride. This is a family favorite and we could ride it over and over for sure.
We walked next door to the RRC. The standby line proclaimed a 15-minute wait, which proved to be accurate. It was hot standing outside in the line and we were all quite happy when the line moved inside! Jim and I sat together while the boys were right in front of us. We all had a great time; although I found myself wishing that the ride was a tad bit smoother.
We grabbed FPs for RRC, before we returned to the TOT, where we used our FPs for a second ride. Our second ride was just as great as the first!
Next up was a stop at the Starring Rolls bakery. We used five snack credits here. I had a fruit tart, Jim had an clair, both Jimmy and Cam had strawberry parfait and they shared a chocolate milk. ($17.52) Everything hit the spot and was quite tasty. While we were eating, we all commented on how much we LOVE the free dining!!!
We ducked into the 11:00 American Idol show. As always, there were three contestants. One was a 14-year old girl who was EXTREMELY nervous. She actually had an awfully sick look on her face. The MC even mentioned how she had almost backed out of performing and they talked her into it. He also added how the audience should be especially kind and encouraging to her. Thankfully, even the judge that is usually rather harsh to the contestants was very kind to the girl. At the end of all three performances, Cam and I voted for the young girl (Jim and Jimmy voted for the man) and the majority of the audience did as well, because she won. I almost wonder if shell show up to perform in tonights show..hopefully her nerves dont get the best of her! (Ive always wondered how the girl did!)
The boys and I took a spin on the Great Movie Ride, while Jim walked around a bit. When we came out there was evidence of a big rain storm, which Jim confirmed. Jim and the boys went on RRC with our FPs and the boys went a second time with extra FPs. I browsed a few shops and made a couple of pin trades. During this time, it started to rain again, but it was so warm it felt quite nice.
We all met up. The boys and I pin traded out of the park, while Jim used a counter service credit to get a hotdog wrapped in a pretzel as well as a Coke. ($8.29) We all met at the car, where we cranked the air conditioning. We drove back to the Music and went to the food court, where the boys and I had lunch. I hadcan you guess?......yes, a steak salad, Jimmy had..can you guess?.......yes, a chicken quesadilla, while Cam switched it up a bit and had chicken Alfredo. We all had an assortment of milk/water as well as an ice cream cone, frappe and a sundae. ($49.43)
Upon returning to the room, we had showers to refresh ourselves and relaxed. Jim had a nap, I just sort of daydreamed about how happy I was to be here, Cam used the IPOD and Jimmy read his new book.
We left around 4:00 to go to Epcot. We parked and rode the tram in. I walked over to Mission Space to grab FPs for the kids, while the three boys went to Club Cool. Once we all met up, we went to see Captain EO. It was lightly raining and lightning as we walked over. We were all a bit shocked when we looked up at the same time and saw a bolt of lightning that appeared to go right toward a plane and then surround it!!! Ive never seen anything like it!! I half giggled throughout Captain EO. I remember watching it as a teenager and thought that it was the coolest thing ever!!! Now with all the advancements that have been made in making movies, it seemed old and tired. It also made me a little sad to see Michael Jackson in his prime, knowing of the struggles that were in his future.
We walked toward Mission Space. I stopped to look around MouseGears, while the boys continued on. Jim sat on a bench outside, while the boys went in to ride. When the boys came out it really started to pour and got very windy. We all threw on our ponchos and walked to World showcase.
The boys and I went straight to England to get Fish and Chips, while Jim stopped to get a beer. The kids and I all got bottles of water and Lays chips with our fish and chips. ($34.50) It was still raining, but we found a table with an umbrella which we claimed and sat down to eat. As we were finishing, Jim arrived to meet us. There were tons of ducks around, which some young kids were following around. An older lady nearby said, pardon me, please refrain from chasing the ducks as that makes them poop!!! Huh???? I never heard that before!!!!
We finished up and continued our walk around World Showcase. As we were going over the bridge toward France, I looked to my right. Down below there was a boat that was turned upside down, a fishing pole and a painter easel with a painting on it. I looked closer and the painting was of the shop across the water. (Is it the World Trader Shop?) I had never noticed it before, but seeing it today just reinforces why I love Disney so much. The attention to detail is amazing and what is equally amazing is that even after 30+ trips, I can still find new details that I havent noticed before!!
Unfortunately, the light rain turned into another drenching downpour that was accompanied by quite a bit of lightning. We stopped in Morocco to use the restrooms and take shelter. We slowly browsed through all the shops, where I came to the conclusion that I DONT care for the smell of incense burning!!!
We stopped in Germany where Jim ordered a Bratwurst, a slice of Black Forest Cake and a bottle of water. ($14.09) We were fortunate to find a table inside, where we sat to continue avoiding the storm. By the time Jim had finished eating the rain had let up to a sprinkle, so we tossed out ponchos and continued on.
We noticed that there was only a 10-minute wait for the Maelstrom, so Jimmy, Cam and I headed on in. However, we soon realized after waiting for five minutes, and not moving an inch, that the sign was far from accurate, so we bailed. We met back up with Jim and continued on to Mexico. We used two snack credits for two churros. ($6.00) Jim got these for us, while we sat on a nearby bench. We were entertained by two ducks, one of which was especially ugly. Not only was he ugly, but he was such a bully to the other one. While Jim was waiting, he witnessed two ladies fighting. One lady was upset that the other one had run over her toes with a stroller. Jim wasnt sure if a fistfight would ensue, but thankfully it did not. Oh my!!!!
We walked over to Test Track and the three boys took a ride using the single rider line. I peeked in Mouse Gears, and then waited for them at the exit of TT. When we neared the exit, we decided to take a ride on Spaceship Earth. There was no wait and we were able to just walk on.
We were going to wait for the tram to go to the parking lot, but after waiting for ten minutes with no tram in sight, we ended up just walking to our car.
We had a quick ride back to the All-Stars. As I pulled up to security, I held out my room key. The guard gave me a thumbs up and said, Good job.
It was 9:45 when we walked back into the room. The three boys grabbed their stuff and headed to the pool. I picked up the room and repacked our stuff for tomorrow. When the boys returned, Jim commented on how warm the water was. While the warm water isnt particularly refreshing during the midday, it does feel great at night!
We got ready for bed, looking forward to going to Animal Kingdom in the morning.
Sunday August 22nd
Jim was up before the wakeup call came through at 7:45. We quickly got ready and I woke the boys up at 8:00. They were both dead to the world and it took some effort to get them awake! Jim mentioned that his knee is REALLY bothering him. He had mentioned it yesterday as well, but had managed pretty well. (Jim has had three knee surgeries. Its strange, because he is very active at home, playing weekly hockey, which is quite physical, walking, hiking and biking and doesnt have too many problems. However, on all of our recent Disney trips, he has been having more problems with his knee.)
Despite the fact that he knee was sore, Jim walked to the food court with the boys, while I drove down to pick them up. Jim got himself a coffee in the refillable mug and the boys used two snack credits to get an apple and cheese Danish. ($5.29)
We drove to Animal Kingdom. As we got nearer to the parking attendants, I could see that we were going to be directed ALL THE WAY down to the opposite end of the row. Jim groaned when he saw that, so I stopped and he hopped out in an effort to save his knee a few hundred steps!!!
We all met back up and walked in together. We were going through the bag check at 8:50 and I could already hear the opening show going on in front of the Tree of Life. I gave Jimmy and Cam our tickets so they could quickly walk to Expedition Everest to grab FPs. Jim was definitely lagging, so we walked a bit slower. When we arrived, the boys were waiting with the FPs and we all walked into the standby line together. Now we have walked through the stand by line many, many times. However, the display of the tent shredded up by the yeti certainly had new meaning for me!!!! Just last week, the boys, Mom and I had been camping in the mountains. It had been our sixth camping trip at the same campground this summer. We were aware of the presence of bears, but really hadnt given it much thought. (I mean after all, we are talking about NH, where bears are plentiful, but are never a danger. You never hear of bear attacks, like in some of the western states.) Anyway, on our last night of camping, around 1:00 am, I was woken up to a loud cracking noise and could hear the bears footsteps circling my tent!!!!!! YIKES!!!!!! Needless to say, I didnt sleep much for the remainder of the night! Today, as I stand looking at that shredded tent, I can only think thank goodness that we had a nice bear visit our campsite!!!!!
We had a fun ride on Expedition Everest! So much so that we hurried around and rode a second time! There was still no line after our second ride, so the boys and I hurried around for a third ride, while Jim sat down and rested his knee.
Next, we strolled over to Dinoland. There was a 10-minute wait for the Primeval Whirl, so we hopped in line. I think this ride has just gone downhill over the years! (Not that it was ever anything particularly special to begin with!) The ride was terribly jerky, every time we would gain a little speed, the brakes were thrown on and we all were thrown forward. It was not fun and almost bordered on being painful!
As we were walking toward the gift shop, Jimmy realized that he didnt have his phone anymore. He hurried back to the ride and returned a few minutes later with his phone! Whew!!!
At this point we split up. Jimmy and Cam rode Dinosaur and had eight rides (yes 8, with FPs) on Expedition Everest. Jim had never seen the Nemo show, so he and I went to see that. We both enjoyed the show, as well as just sitting in the air conditioning!!!
After the show, Jim went to Everest to wait for the boys and I walked over to the Kali River Rapid ride to grab some FPs. We all met up near the Yak and Yeti. As I approached, I could see the three boys sitting on a bench literally bursting with laughter. (I can still close my eyes and see them cracking up. This is one of my favorite memories of the trip!) As I was wondering what was so funny, I noticed a crowd of about thirty or so people in a circle looking and taking pictures of something on the pavement. As I got closer, I caught Jims attention and asked him what all the excitement was about? It turns out the crowd had circled around one of the giant grasshoppers like what we had seen at the Music. While we had been enthralled with seeing the giant grasshopper a few days ago, this was a funny sight!!! Here we were at Animal Kingdom, surrounded by some of the most amazing animals on the planet and people were stopped dead in their tracks for the grasshopper!!!!
It was lunch time, so we decided to give the counter service of the Yak & Yeti a whirl. We used three counter service credits and ordered three of the chicken and rice meals, as well as bottles of water and frozen lemonade for dessert. ($58.93) Cam used a snack credit and got an order of French fries. ($4.00) We found a table outside that had an umbrella. The meal was outstanding! We thought it was just as good as when we have eaten inside of the Yak & Yeti. However, it was just WAY TOO HOT to be eating such a hot meal outside in the heat and humidity!!! We werent even half done eating when the rain started in. Our umbrella covered about half of the table, so we all shifted our chairs to squeeze under.
We finished up our meal and headed out just as the rain changed to a light mist. The three boys went on the Kali with the FPs while I browsed a few gift shops and did some pin trading as I worked my way toward the exit.
We all met up in the Rain Forest Caf and walked to the car together. I have to add that while it is very hot, it is not as hot as it was when we were here last summer. I remember last year we had to open the car doors, start up the car and stand outside for a couple of minutes before we could get inside. Of course it is hot and the car was hot, but we were able to hop in and drive off without having to wait.
Back in our room, we were surprised to see that while the room was clean, the bedspreads were left in a pile in the floor. I assumed that the cleaning lady got distracted and it wasnt a big deal. I gathered up all the dirty clothes. Jim got into his swimsuit, grabbed his book and the clothes and headed to the laundry/pool. I made up the beds and the kids and I laid down for a half an hour, soaking up the air conditioning, before we also headed down to the pool.
We met Jim and we all went swimming together. The pool wasnt crowded and we had a good time. I went into the food court and used a snack credit to get a chocolate ice cream cone. ($3.00)
Later, I went back in to get the boys a couple of the Premium Mickey bars. ($6.00) I didnt realize until after I had paid, but before I left the food court, that the bars were completely melted. I went back to the register and showed them to the CM. She told me to go get two more. However, I soon realized that each and every ice cream in the cooler was completely mush!!! Since I had already used the snack credits, the CM just told me to pick something else out. I went and got the kids bowls of ice cream.
The kids had their ice cream and returned to the pool. Jim finished up the laundry and read his book and I updated the trip report. As I was sitting there, a Dad approached his family (wife and two teenage daughters) who were sitting in front of us. The Dad was wearing a set of leopard print Mickey Mouse ears over his baseball cap. When his family looked up at him they all squealed with laughter and happiness. One of the girls hopped up and plucked the mouse ears off her Dad and put them on her head, then gave her Dad a big hug. The Dad said that he checked countless gift shops in the Magic Kingdom to find the leopard print mouse ears. Watching that little scene play out in front of me made me think of my Dad, as he would have not only searched out something for me, but would have showed up wearing it, as well!!!!
Before we returned to the room, we all filled our refillable mugs with lemonade. After showers, we left for the Magic Kingdom around 4:30. The bus pulled up to the bus stop just as we arrived, so that was nice.
It started raining on the ride over and continued to rain lightly as we walked up to the bag check. However, it was like someone flipped a switch, because right before we finished at the bag check the skies opened up. The rain was coming down in sheets so thick that you couldnt see very far in front of you. It was crazy!!!
We sprinted to the ticket turnstile and from there sprinted to the train station. We holed up in the train station for a bit. We showed Jim the pictures of Walt with his trains that we had discovered the other day. It didnt seem like the rain was letting up, but we had had enough of the train station, so we ran across the way to the Emporium. BIG MISTAKE, because at that moment there was a HUGE lightning strike. It was bright all around me and for a second I was terrified that one of us or someone else may have been struck. Thankfully, all was well and we made it inside. We browsed around the crowded shop, while it not only poured, but thundered and lightning, as well.
After about a half an hour, while the rain continued, the thunder/lightning had eased, so we headed to Tomorrowland. As fate would have it, when we got there the storm whipped up again. We had hoped to watch the Carousel of Progress, while it stormed, but because of the storm they werent letting anybody off, therefore no one could go in. (I know this sounds strange, but its true. Not sure if they always do this, as I have never heard of anybody being held hostage in the Carousel of Progress, but it continued to rotate, with no doors opening and nobody coming out.) We stood under the track of the TTA, which was also stopped. After about a half an hour, the doors to the theatre opened and we ran over. As always, we all enjoyed the show and we were happy to be out of the storm.
When we came out, the rain continued and we debated about what to do. We ended up grabbing FPs for Space Mountain, and walking over to Mickey Philharmagic. This is our favorite 3-D show on property and even though we have seen it countless times, we all love it.
The rain continued as we walked over to Liberty Square. We went on the Haunted Mansion, before going to the Columbia Harbor House for dinner. The kids and I all had the shrimp platters and Jim had Fish & Chips, as well as drinks and dessert. ($74.21)
We walked over to Thunder Mountain and went on two rides in the rain, before catching the train to the front of the park. We headed out and were happy that a bus pulled up as we arrived to our stop. We hopped on and in 15-minutes we were back at the resort.
We settled in for the night. The weather forecast didnt look too promising for tomorrow either. While we are used to the afternoon or evening rain storm that pass, it really seemed to be socked in.
Tomorrow we are going to Typhoon Lagoon again. Hopefully the crowds will be down like last week!
Monday August 23rd
We got up at 7:45 and quickly got ready. The three boys walked to the food court to get breakfast and I drove down to pick them up. We used three snack credits today, as I had the boys grab me a cheese Danish. Jimmy also had a cheese Danish, while Cam had a cinnamon roll. ($5.79) The boys filled our jug with ice water and Jim got a coffee in his refillable mug.
We drove to Typhoon Lagoon, and when we arrived the ticket turnstile was already open. My ticket wouldnt scan, so the CM went and issued me a new ticket. Just like last week, we split up and went to different rope drops. The three boys went to the rope drop near Crush n Gusher, while I went to the one to go to the wave pool.
The park opened promptly at 9:00. I secured the same spot that we had last week and went to meet the boys. I arrived at Crush N Gusher at 9:10 and it STILL wasnt open.bummerso much for a few quick rides before the lines formed. The line was quite long and I wasnt going to cut through everybody to join the boys, so I told them I would meet them at Humunga Kowabunga when they were done.
I walked over to Shark Reef, where the area was pretty deserted. The CM handed me my snorkel and mask and I walked in. There was a couple in front of me, and we arrived at the next CM together. The CM, walked right up to them and said, Im from Ohio, are you from Japan? They nodded and he walked over to a wooden box and took out a laminated instruction sheet, written in Japanese. While the couple read the instruction, the CM went over the rules with me. I wondered to myself how the CM knew that the couple didnt speak English, and was in awe of how seamlessly he introduced himself and gave them the instructions.
Again, I enjoyed my float across. I met up with the boys, who had had one ride on Crush N Gusher and two rides on Humunga Kowabunga. The four of us had three rides on the Storm Slides. Every time we walked up by the stepping stones, I wondered about the poor girl, who had fallen there last week.
Next up was the wave Pool, which was awesome, because there was hardly anyone there. Its funny, because while each wave appears the same, each ride is little different. After each wave, we always compare notes, on how we thought the wave was. Sometimes, Ill have an awesome ride while the boys didnt get as much of a ride. Other times, I dont get a good ride on the wave and the boys do.
We got out around 11:00. Jim went to get us some lunch, while the boys and I went to the Lazy River. We took one leisurely loop around and met Jim back at our stop. We shared two counter service lunches of; two cheese pizzas, two cheesecakes, and two chocolate milks. ($26.22) Everything was tasty and filling.
Next up was another ride on Crush N Gusher, which we waited about 30-minutes to ride. We rode on two double slides, Jimmy and I together and Jim and Cam together. It was a fun ride, but probably not worth a 30-minute wait! Afterwards, Jim went back to our spot to read and the boys and I walked over to the Storm Slides. However, when we arrived, I could see a man lying on the ground surrounded by CMs. It didnt look good, and I didnt want to go any closer to that scene, so we went to the Lazy River instead.
We rode the loop around once, before heading to the Wave Pool. At this point it started pouring again. While the rain didnt affect our fun, there apparently must have been some thunder or lightning, because the waves stopped and there was an announcement that all of the rides were closed. Bummer!! We really have had our fair share of bad weather on this trip. We met Jim who had packed everything up and we headed out.
An ambulance left when we did. I really hoped that the man we had seen on the ground was ok.
We hung out in the room for a bit, before the three boys walked down to the game room. Our package included a card with 100 points for the game room, (which, doesnt amount to many games!) so they used that.
When the boys returned, we drove over to the AKL. We used three snack credits to get three packages of zebra domes. ($12.69) Yum!!!! The food court was pretty busy, as the pool was closed due to the storm. When we finished, we stopped in the gift shop. King Pin was inside again, so we went over to say hello, and made a couple of pin trades.
We drove back to Typhoon Lagoon, in hopes that things would have reopened. We were able to park right up front and went in. We walked over to the Storm Slides, but they were closed. Instead, we rode the loop around the Lazy River, before going to the Wave Pool. We LOVE this wave pool and wish that there was something like this closer to home!!!!
When the waves changed to the rolling waves, we got out. Jim went back to our spot and the boys and I went to check out the line for Crush N Gusher. Happily, there was not much of a line, and we were able to have three rides on a triple tube. We noticed on our first time up the tractor that is actually hanging from the roof. I am sure we have noticed this before, but we really took notice of it today. It appears to be a full size tractor, so its quite remarkable to see it sitting on the roof!!
We met Jim and headed back into the wave Pool. We rode many, many awesome waves. The craziest thing we saw here was a kid that I can only describe as a human torpedo!!!! I am not sure how he did it, but he would pick up a wave way out deep. While other bodies would ride to the top of the wave then go back down as the wave continued on, this boy was somehow in the middle of the wave with his head and shoulders protruding out and he would ride the wave ALL of the way. It was truly unbelievable. We couldnt figure out how he did it, it was amazing!!!!
We walked back to the Storm Slides, but they were still closed. I now wondered if the injured man we had seen this morning had a heart attack or something after riding the slide down this morning. We all rode Humunga Kowabunga together. Once was enough for me!!! The three boys rode a few more times, before we all walked over to the Lazy River. We thought we heard the big wave, so we hopped out, but it was still the rolling waves. Soon after, there was an announcement that the park was closed, so we went back to our spot and gathered everything up. The boys and I felt a little sad when we left. It was great when we left last week, because we knew we would be back, but tonight, we knew we were done with water parks on this trip.
We drove back to the resort. Back in the room, we discovered that while the room had been cleaned, the bedspreads were in a pile on the floor. I figured that yesterday was just an unusual lapse in judgment. However, having that happen two days in a row is a little bizarre.Hmm.
We all had showers and left to go to the French Quarter for dinner. We make a point of eating here every trip, so tonight was the night! On the drive over we reminisced about when we stayed here for a few nights years ago. This is, by far, my favorite moderate resort, because of its smaller size.
The food court was pretty quiet and we were all able to order pretty quickly. I had the ribs with potatoes, gravy, corn and cornbread for the sides, as well as an ice cream sundae and a bottle of water. Jim had chicken Alfredo, a salad and breadstick as well as beniets and a bottle of water. Jimmy had a chicken quesadilla (big surprise!!!) sundae and an ice tea, while Cam had a taco salad, sundae and a PowerAde. ($76.59) Everything was excellent and we were absolutely stuffed!!!
When we were done, the boys went into the game room to play a few games and I looked around the gift shop. On the drive back to the resort, Cam mentioned that his throat felt sore. Ugh!!!!
Back in the room, we watched a little TV and Jimmy finished his Kingdom Keepers book. We had an early night with lights out at 9:30.
Tomorrow we have no parks planned. Hopefully we can sleep in a bit, then go to Downtown Disney and maybe visit a few resorts.
Tuesday August 24th
Cam woke me up at 6:30. He said his throat was pretty sore and he was congested and not able to get clear breaths. UGH!!!! (Cam struggles usually once a year with a bad cold that leaves him with croup-like systems. I have spent more nights than I care to remember, sitting by his side as he struggles to get a good breath. After every episode, I think he will outgrow it and it will be the last. He had a particularly bad bout just back In February. We went to the urgent care and they gave him steroids to reduce the swelling in his throat. In less than an hour, he was breathing well and the next day his breaths were back to normal. However, the ride to the urgent care, about a half hour from our house, was probably the hairiest car ride I have ever had in my life. I swore that we would NEVER go through that EVER again.) Sometimes a hot, steamy shower helps, so Cam set off to the bathroom. He showered for about a half an hour, then came out and went back to sleep.
At 8:30, I called the doctor to explain Cams symptoms and to see if there was anything to be done. (I REALLY didnt want to go to a doctor down here.) I said that while Cam was fine at the moment, just a bit congested, that this is usually the precursor to the full blown problems. I asked her to review Cams chart so she could see what happened to Cam in February, and that I was committed to not go through that again. The nurse said that they usually like patients to see a doctor before prescribing anything, but she would check Cams chart, talk to the doctor and call me back. In the meantime, she advised me to find a pharmacy and phone number for the pharmacy, so that if the doctor decided to call something in, wed have a place for him to do it. I hung up with my fingers crossed!!!
We headed out around 9:30. The skies were overcast and it looked like rain was on the horizon.
We spotted a NH license plate in the parking lot, so that was neat!! (We stopped at the food court and Jimmy and Jim ran in. Jim grabbed a coffee and Jimmy picked himself and Cam up a cheese Danish. ($5.29) We put CVS into the GPS and were off.
We found the CVS and I stocked up on Mucinex, Sudafed and throat lozenges for Cam. I had actually brought all this stuff with us, but Cam had used a bunch since last night so I knew we needed more. I noticed that there was no pharmacy inside, so I spoke to the manager about our need for a pharmacy. The manager gave me a phone number and directions to a nearby CVS that had a pharmacy. I almost went into shock when I checked out!!! The total for those three items was $27.63!!!! While most people may feel the pinch while buying items such as these, I have to say that for me it is 100 times worse. For the last three years, I have been a HUGE couponer. Not only do I get everything we need for free, (including the items that I just used my cold hard cash for!) but about half of the time, I usually make money while getting everything. Nothing could be done about it though. We needed the stuff for Cam and I was just thankful that we found everything we needed!
We decided to drive to Downtown Disney/Marketplace. After we parked, we went right to the Christmas scene to snap some photos for our annual Christmas card. (Weve been doing this for over ten years.) We then separated. The three boys went off together on a quest to go Christmas shopping for me. (I know it seems unusually early, but honestly, my favorite things to receive for Christmas are items purchased here at Disney. For the last five or six years, the boys have done their Christmas shopping for me when we are here in November and it always works out well. Since we most likely wont be able to make it here for our Thanksgiving trip this year, because of Jimmys hockey schedule, now is the time to do the Christmas shopping.)
I browsed around in the various shops, as the sky continued to get darker and darker. As I headed toward the large pin store, I noticed that all of the open air carts were closing up. Maintenance men seemed to appear out of nowhere, to assist the CMs working at the carts to drop the sides down on the carts and zip everything up tight. It seemed like a seamless operation, and I am guessing that it is one that they must have to do quite often. Sure enough, when I reached the pin store, the skies opened up and it started pouring. (It pretty much ended up raining the whole entire day.)
I met up with the boys and we went to the Earl of Sandwich for lunch. We used four counter service credits. I had the turkey sandwich, fruit cup and bottle of water, Jim had the Italian, three berry yogurt and Sprite, Jimmy had a pizza sandwich, chips and chocolate milk, while Cam had the meatball sandwich, pudding and chocolate milk. As always, it was an excellent meal, enjoyed by all. (45.00)
We stopped in the World of Disney store and I bought Jimmy another Kingdom Keepers book, Disney in Shadows.
While Cams breathing was still good, he was absolutely wiped out, so between his exhaustion and the rain, we headed back to the resort. Cam, Jim and I all laid down, where we ended up falling asleep. Jimmy spent the time reading his new book.
I was awakened by the phone ringing. It was the nurse calling me back with the good news that the doctor would call the prescription down for Cam. Yippee!!!!!! I was beyond relieved and so happy. I had been dreading the night, fearing that he would have trouble breathing. Even with the dread, it would have been pointless to go to a walk-in care at this point, because since Cams breathing was still good, they wouldnt have done anything for him. I truly felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
Cam slept for another hour (just his sleeping was evidence that he wasnt feeling well, as I cant even remember the last time that he has slept during the daytime hours.) and then we headed out to the CVS to pick up his prescription. On the ride (in the rain and dark sky) Jim said, They call this the sunshine state???? No way!!!! Its true we have seen an abundance of rain, since Jims arrival. We are used to the afternoon rain shower of an hour or so, but weve seen a LOT more rain than that, these last few days!!!
The prescription was all ready when we arrived, so I paid for it and we quickly returned to Disney property. We drove to the Polynesian to get Dole Whips. Jim didnt want one, so we used three counter service credits and made up three bowls. ($9.87)
Even though it was sprinkling, we walked all around the resort, before going inside and upstairs to catch the monorail. We rode to the Grand Floridian. I wanted to check out the new tile floor. Last August workers were installing it. We hadnt stopped here in April, so today was my chance to see the finished product! We headed on in, and I have to say that it did indeed look very nice.
We walked over to the elevator and all got in to ride one floor down. I have never ridden in this elevator, since it is just as quick to take the nearby stairs. I ended up not riding it today either. As we all got in, we pushed the button and nothing happened. We waited a few seconds, and then I pushed the button to open the doors and hopped out. Jimmy and Cam followed me and we went down the stairs. Jim stayed on to try it again and after a few minutes had success!!
We checked out the gift shops, before boarding the monorail to the Contemporary. The boys played a few games in the game room, while I checked out the gift shops and traded a few pins. When the kids finished, they rode the elevator up and waved to me from the highest guest floor.
We hopped on the monorail again, and returned to the Polynesian and our car. We rode back to our resort to get ready for dinner. Cam was holding up quite well. His throat was sore, he was congested, a bit tired and achy, but definitely hanging in there.
We walked to the food court and used four counter service credits. I had the turkey dinner, bottled water and ice cream, Jim had the meatloaf dinner, water and a fruit bowl, Jimmy had his standby, a chicken quesadilla, chocolate milk and a sundae, while Cam had chicken Alfredo, strawberry milk and a sundae. ($69.80) As always, everything was delicious!!
We walked back to our room to change into our swimsuits. It was only lightly raining, so that was nice! The towel cart was in the Calypso building, so we grabbed a bunch. Not only to use tonight, but to restock our room, as well.
I was surprised when I got in the water. Apparently all of the rain had really cooled it down, because it no longer felt like bath water. We had only been swimming for about half an hour, when somehow Jimmy swam straight into the side of the pool and hit his head. In less than two minutes he had a huge egg on his forehead. We got out and sat on the chairs. A nearby lifeguard walked over and offered to get an ice pack. I went over to his lifeguard chair to get one from him. Jimmy put it right on his forehead and the lifeguard told us to let him know if we needed anything else. We sat for a while longer, and then Jimmy and I walked back to our room. He said that he was fine, but I was a little concerned. I always get nervous when the kids get a bump to the head.
Jim and Cam returned and we all had showers and settled in for the night. We watched Americas Got Talent, which has become a family favorite.
Lights out at 11:00. Jimmy said his head was fine and it had been a few hours since he had bumped it. So despite the large egg, I feel better, although Ill probably check on him in the night. Cam had held his own all day. I wasnt sure what the night would bring for him, but I felt great knowing we had the meds to give him if he had trouble getting a good breath.
Tomorrow we are going to the Magic Kingdom. I wonder if we will see the sun!!!
Wednesday August 25th
I was up before the wake up call. Although I got up a few times to check on the kids, everyone had a quiet night. The three boys were up between 7:30-7:45. Cams throat was pretty sore, but his congestion was no worse and he had a pretty clear airway, so that was a relief. Its probably the first time he had had the symptoms, and he hadnt gone into the full blown breathing troubles. (I have to say, that I am typing this up ten months after the trip. We went through the whole entire winter, and while Cam did have his share of colds and sore throats, he never got the terrible congestion with difficulty breathing. I am hopeful that after fifteen years, that just maybe he has finally outgrown it!)
We all got ready and walked down to the food court together. We all grabbed something for breakfast with our snack credits. Jimmy and I each had a cheese Danish, while Jim had a chocolate croissant and Cam had a coffee crumb cake. ($14.52)
We walked out to the bus stop where there was a bus waiting, so we hopped right on. When we left the bus was only half full, which was nice.
We made it through the bag check and ticket scan and only waited a few minutes before the Good Morning Show started. Its always fun to watch the reaction of the young kids around us. Seeing their reactions always brings back fun memories of when Jimmy and Cam were small and got so excited to see the characters.
We went straight to Space Mountain. We waited to enter the line while Jim grabbed FPs. Unfortunately, the line he picked was quite slow, and then Jimmys ticket wouldnt prompt a FP, so he had to get the assistance of a CM. Finally with FPs in hand, we headed in. We rode on the left side and had a great ride. We walked out and were able to walk right back on. This time we were directed to the right side. We were in seats 1-4. Throughout the ride, the lady behind me kept repeating, Im freaking out, Im freaking out. What was odd was that she kept repeating that in a monotone voice, no fear whatsoever. It was weird! When we got off, we all mentioned that the right side seemed faster than the left.
We had hoped to find a paintbrush today on Tom Sawyers Island, so we headed that way. Jimmy and I had to make a detour for a bathroom break, so Jim and Cam continued on, in hopes of getting on the first raft of the day .Jim called me right before we arrived to Tom Sawyers, to say that Cam was on the raft riding over and he was waiting for Jimmy. Jimmy went to meet him and I walked over to Splash Mountain. I sat and waited about five minutes for my FP window to open, then grabbed the passes at 10:10. As I was leaving, I happened to glance at the CMs lanyard and saw the fireman Stitch hidden Mickey pin. This was incredibly exciting, as it was the last pin that Cam needed to complete his set.
I used a snack credit to get a Mickey ice cream cookie sandwich, while I waited for the boys to return. ($3.00) Sadly, when they returned they were paintbrush-less!!!! Just like the other day, they didnt see anyone else even with a brush. It makes me wonder if the CMs are slacking here or they just arent doing it anymore.
We rode both Thunder and Splash Mountain with no wait, so that was fun. We stopped at the same ice cream cart to get three ice cream sandwiches. (9.00) (I tell you, its hard work to use up eight snack credits a day in addition to the two desserts we get daily with our counter service meal!!!! Fortunately, we are up to the challenge!!!!!) As we were walking away and opening up the ice cream, Jim realized that his was really smashed and falling apart. I went back and asked for another one. The CM gave me another one and also let me keep the smashed one, so we ate that one too!
We had finished the ice cream by the time we arrived at Pirates, so we walked on in. The CM that was positioned by the turnstile noticed Cams Red Sox t-shirt and Jimmys University of NH t-shirt and gave us all a hearty welcome, as well as high fives. She pointed at her name tag that said she was from Windham, NH. We talked to her for a few minutes about NH, before heading on in. We waited for less than five minutes, before we were sailing through the Caribbean!
We walked over to Space Mountain, to use our FPs that Jim had labored for this morning. On the hill climb Jimmy said, This ride isnt safe, to which Jim and Cam started yelling in an English accent, Oh.I am in space and I like space. This prompted me to say in a loud monotone Im freaking out!! The four of us continued this throughout the ride and found ourselves to be tremendously funny. I ended up laughing so hard that I gave myself a bad case of hiccups!
At this point, we decided to head back to the resort for a break and swim. We split up on Main Street to pin trade, but nobody found any new hidden Mickey pins that we didnt already have. We passed a CM janitor, who was painting Mickeys face on the pavement with water. We had seen someone doing this on Sunday too. It looked very cute.
As we arrived at the bus stop, a bus pulled up. It seems like we have had such great timing on this trip with buses. After we were seated and started the ride back, I noticed two princesses on the bus with us!!!!!! (I use the term princesses VERY loosely!!!) It was in fact two women, one probably around 35 and the other in her 60s. Apparently, they had gone to the Bippity Boppity Boutique. They had little tight buns on top of their heads, complete with crowns!! Additionally, they had sparkles in their hair and face. They had little plastic jewels glued on their faces and pink sashes across their chests. The lady in her 60s had no teeth and even with her make-up she just looked like she had lived a hard life. I really had to chuckle to myself. I just cant imagine EVER having any desire to have a make over at the Bippity Boppity Boutique. It made me wonder if these ladies felt elegant. I just thought that they looked terribly silly.
Back at the Music, we went into the food court for lunch. We used four counter service credits. I had my favorite steak salad, water and cheesecake, Jim had a cheeseburger, water and a fruit bowl, and Jimmy had a chicken quesadilla, chocolate milk and cheesecake, while Cam had hotdog/fries, strawberry milk and a rice krispy treat. (60.00)
We returned to the room. The kids and I stretched out on the beds and Jim put on his swimsuit, grabbed his book and headed to the pool. A few minutes later Jim was back, as it was raining. Jim was bummed and has REALLY had enough of the rain!!! However, the rain actually stopped in about 15-minutes, so all three boys almost ran to the pool to get in a little pool time before it started to rain again. While they were gone, I started to pack up in preparation for our move tomorrow to the Beach Club.
At 3:45 we left to return to the Magic Kingdom. We only waited five minutes for the bus. Once in the MK, Jim took the train to Frontierland. His back is REALLY bothering him. The boys and I opted to go down Main Street in search of pin trading opportunities. We found a few, but nothing too exciting. We separated at the end of Main Street. The boys went to Splash Mountain to meet Jim and take a ride with our FPs from this morning. I headed to Space Mountain to grab FPs for later.
I then had a leisurely walk over to Frontierland, where I met the boys and we all rode on Thunder Mountain. I asked for the last seats and the CM brought us back, where we just had to wait for the second train. It was well worth waiting an extra couple of minutes as the back seats are SO MUCH better!
After our ride through the wilderness, we walked over to the Country Bear Jamboree. They were just letting people in for a show, so we walked on in. I know some people dont care for this show, but we always get a kick out of it!
We headed to Space Mountain, but made a detour at Mrs. Potts Cupboard for a snack. We used five snack credits and got three strawberry shortcakes, a smart water and cup of coffee. ($22.19) The strawberry shortcake was especially good, and we enjoyed every bite!
We arrived at Space Mountain with our FPs. Jims back was bothering him too much to ride, so the boys and I headed in. Jim walked over to Buzz to get FPs. We had a great ride. Ive said this before, but Ill say it again. This is such a simple coaster, but we really do love it!
We met Jim and the FPs he had just gotten were already good, so we headed in to Buzz for a spin. This ride doesnt do anything for me, but I am always happy to ride. When we exited, the kids and I went for another ride on Space with FPs, while Jim sat down on a nearby bench. (He swears he hurt his back getting out of the Lazy River, but it is hard to imagine!) After our ride, the kids rode again with the two FPs that Jim hadnt used.
We decided to go have dinner at Columbia Harbor House again. Cam, Jimmy and I all had the shrimp dinner, while Jim had fish and chips. We had the apple turnover desserts and an assortment of milk and water to drink. ($68.52)
Jim wanted to ride Jungle Cruise, so we walked over there. When we arrived the CM said, Youre finally here!!!! We have been waiting all day for you, where have you been? We had a good skipper and laughed throughout out excursion down the Nile.
Wishes were just starting as we got off. We had talked about doing Stitch tonight. Its been years since we have been to it. Cam couldnt really remember it and wanted to ride it. Jims back was really causing him a lot of pain, so he decided to head back to the resort, while we went to Stitch.
The boys and I walked through Liberty Square. After we passed the Columbia Harbor House, we could hear water running. We stopped to see where it was coming from and saw a practical waterfall, just sheets of water flowing down the side of the building. I guess this is done every night when the fireworks are going off, but I didnt realize the sheer amount of the water that they doused on things. It was so enjoyable walking along, listening to Wishes and seeing the fireworks going off. At one point we got sprinkled on, we looked up and could see the water coming off another building. We were right near Dumbo during the finale of Wishes, when just a huge amount fireworks were going off. We have been here before for the show, but I think we had all forgotten how beautiful it is from back here. Jimmy said, I forgot how great the show is from back here! We all agreed it is a neat view and well have to watch it from here on a future trip.
We waited about five minutes for Stitch and headed in. We listened to the pre-show and soon enough were buckled into our seats. I thought of Alien Encounter as we were buckled in. Jimmy and Cam were too young to ever go to that show, but I always think of my niece and nephew when I think of Alien Encounter. They both HATED it and I think my poor niece Ally was traumatized by the show. Stitch certainly isnt scary, but is the same exact set-up. As we were walking out, we all agreed that it wasnt as bad as we remembered, but certainly nothing that we need to do again for a real long time!!!!
We walked down Main Street knowing that this was our last time in the Magic Kingdom on this trip. As is our tradition when we got to the end, we stopped and turned to look at the Castle one last time..it always makes me sad when I leave this park for the last time.
The lines were the longest that we had seen them at the bus stops. One bus was filling up when we arrived. It was quite strange, as once it was filled the doors were closed and the bus just sat there, with all of the people packed in like sardines. After ten minutes or so, the bus left and another pulled in right behind it. We hopped on, got seats and then, thankfully, the bus left right away. We were in the back of the bus where two seats face two seats. A man from Buffalo, New York sat in the fourth seat. He and I chatted on the ride back. I said that I always hear how much it snows in Buffalo and he said he thinks all of the hype is wrong and that they dont get any more snow than the rest of the state. He was a nice guy and we chatted all the way back.
There was a movie playing on the giant screen at the pool. I have no idea what it was, as none of us recognized it. We slowly made our way back to our room. All three of us said that our feet/legs were tired. We were back in the room at 10:15. We had showers and talked for a bit. We are all feeling a bit sad that our vacation is winding down, but we are super excited to check into the Beach Club tomorrow morning. We were in bed with the lights out at 11:00.
We have a whopping 18 counter service credits and 20 snack credits to use before midnight tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!! The reason for the excess is because we were earning them for Jim even though he arrived five nights after we checked in. Since he didnt arrive until late on Friday, he obviously only ate one meal that day. So 11 of the credits would have been his from that time. My plan had been all along to get sandwiches/salads that we could put into the fridge at the Beach Club, so we would have free food on Friday as well. The snack credits will be easy enough to use, because we can get candy bars and other Disney themed candy to bring home.
Thursday August 26th
I woke up at 8:45, which is extraordinarily late for me!!! I quickly got up, showered, and packed up our stuff. Jim and Jimmy woke up while I was getting ready and I woke Cam up at 9:30. The boys made a trip out to the car with a load of suitcases and returned. Our check-out envelope was on the door. That is always a sad thing to see, but the blow was lessened by the fact that we arent really leaving Disney yet!
We drove out of the Music parking lot at 9:50. We were on a mission to enjoy our last day of free dining, so we drove to the Wilderness Lodge for breakfast.
We didnt see Sandra at the pin cart, so I figured that I would look for her in the gift shop after breakfast. Jim, Jimmy and I all had the Bounty Breakfast. Our two drinks were an OJ and a bottle of water. Cam had the pancakes/bacon, as well as an OJ and water. The meal was just as delicious as our other two. ($64.95)
We popped into the gift shop, and sure enough Sandra was there. She was curious when we were going to be back and I said that I truly didnt know, but I imagined it would be sometime in the next year. I have reservations for November, just in case, although Jimmys hockey coach has already told me that Jimmy could not be away during the season. I also thought it was a possibility that Jimmys baseball team might be back in April again. Next summer was an option as well as the following Thanksgiving. It was hard not knowing when we would be back for sure, like we usually do, but I was comforted by the fact that there were many options.
Cam saw that Sandra had the very last pin that he needed to complete his hidden Mickey set, so he happily traded for that. We hugged Sandra goodbye and wished her well throughout the year. Before we left, I got three candies in the gift shop (a jawbreaker and 2 strips with four individual packs of gummy Mickeys.) ($12.00)
We stopped at the Hess Station to fill up with gas on the way to the Beach Club.
When we checked in at the guard station he gave us a hearty welcome and told us to be sure to eat at Beaches & Cream. It was early and I wasnt expecting us to get a room yet, but I wanted to check in so that we could use the pool for the day. We parked and walked on in. Cousin David had done the on-line check in for me. I would have done it, but you cant do it more than 10 days in advance and we had left home 11 days ago. (Thanks David!!)
We checked in and happily our room was ready!!! Yeah!!!! In less than two minutes, I had our room keys. A bellman came right over to take our carry-on and give us a tour of the lobby! (Even though it is our first time actually staying here, we have visited here SO MANY times; I practically felt that I could give him a tour!!!) He brought us up to our room and said that he would be right back with the rest of our luggage.
The room was AWESOME!!!!!! It reminded us of our room when we stayed at the Boardwalk a few years back. It was a large room, with a nice dcor. We had two king size beds. Each bed had four pillows plus roll pillows and throw pillows. There was a large flat screen TV on the wall. One bureau was super long with lots of storage, as well as a mini fridge hidden inside a door. There was also a tall bureau and a good size desk. In the bathroom there was a beautiful marble floor, as well as a second phonehmm.
The bellman returned with our luggage and we all got into our swimsuits. Once we got outside, we saw a young girl really dressed up having many photos taken by a professional photographer. (We saw her again about an hour later on our way to the large waterslide. Even Jimmy commented over the fact that she didnt look too thrilled an hour ago and looked even less so now!!!! Poor thing!!!)
We went into the pool area and showed our room key to receive a bracelet. We found some chairs and stashed our stuff, before heading up to the big slide. Wow!!!!! We all LOVED the slide!!!! We rode the slide several more times, before we set off to explore the pool. We swam all around checking out the various sections of the pool. We all absolutely LOVED the sandy bottom of the pool. It felt great on my feet and is such a neat feature! We thought that the whirlpool area was neat, but didnt stay long as there were a bunch of young kids there. We couldnt get over that the lazy river section was 8 feet deep. We spent quite a bit of time there going round and round, until we got out for lunch. Even though we had a lot of counter service credits left, Jim and I werent that hungry, so we ended up sharing a cheeseburger/fries. With that we got a bottle of water and a frozen lemonade. Jimmy and Cam both had the same thing, hotdog/fries, iced tea and frozen lemonade. (37.25) While everything was fine, we sure did miss the huge selection of items at the All Star Music! We all went swimming again and had some more rides down the slide.
Eventually, I got out. Jim had already gotten out to read his book. I went into Beaches and Cream and got a single scoop of ice cream with a snack credit. It was laughable how tiny the scoop was after all of the ice creams we had at the All-Stars. Plus this one was more expensive! ($0)
When the kids got out a bit later, we went back to Beaches & Cream and each had an ice cream, using three snack credits. ($0) The boys kidded me about having TWO ice creams, but we all agreed that two ice creams here were basically the same size as one ice cream at the Music!!!
We all returned to the pool and swam throughout. The pool is simply AMAZING!!!! After all of these years of eyeing the pool as we walked by, we felt fortunate to be IN the pool!!!!!
Jim had gotten out a bit earlier and was able to snag a table with an umbrella. I got out and we chatted for a bit, both about the vacation coming to an end, and how wonderful the Beach Club is! While we were chatting, Jim spotted a snake go into the bushes right near us. Before we had much of a chance to react, a CMs appeared and guarded the area. Soon after, a maintenance man arrived, caught him and placed him in a bag. It looked like they were looking for a second snake, but never found another. (More on that later!!!)
We left the pool at 5:30 to return to the room. We had been there since 11:15, so we had made a day out of it, which was awesome!!! I had the first shower, and then I zipped downstairs to the little food area in the gift shop. I was going to use some counter service credits for sandwiches that we could eat tomorrow. I used four counter service credits. I got four sandwiches, two turkey, one Italian and one ham & cheese, as well as two bottles of water, an iced tea and lemonade. For desserts I grabbed four cheesecakes. ($54.24) Nothing really popped out at me on the limited menu, and there is NO WAY in this lifetime that I would EVER spend over 54.00 on sandwiches, cheesecake and four drinks!!!!!
I walked back to the room, admiring the beautiful vases of fresh flowers placed throughout, as well as the hidden Mickeys in the rug formed by beach balls. When I got back to the room everybody was ready for dinner, so I tucked all the food in the fridge and we headed out.
The Beach Club is wonderful, but the counter service options are such a step down from the All-Stars. I didnt really feel like having a cheeseburger again, but the sandwiches didnt look all that good to me either. Jim and Jimmy went to the food section of the gift shop. Jim ordered an Italian sandwich, water and carrot cake, while Jimmy had a pineapple and ham flatbread pizza, lemonade and cheesecake. (28.50) Cam and I went to Hurricane Hannas at the pool. I had a cheeseburger/fries, bottle of water and an orange, while Cam had a hotdog/fries, iced tea and an orange. ($26.29) We would have gotten the frozen lemonades, but we knew that we would be too full to eat them. I planned on having the oranges for breakfast tomorrow.
Cam and I grabbed a table and Jim and Jimmy met us there and we all ate together. When we finished, we walked over to the Boardwalk. The temperature felt pretty good. It was warm for sure, but we werent dying of the heat either. I honestly cant get over how great the temperature has been since Jim has arrived. Nothing like the first part of the vacation, and nothing like last summer, either. Of course, we could do without all of the rain, but not having it as hot is nice too!!!
When we arrived at the Boardwalk there was a show just beginning in front of the Screendoor General Store, so we stopped to watch. The show was EXCELLENT!!! We cant figure out how he does all the neat tricks. One of our favorite was a card trick. He had a lady in the audience pick a card. He put it back in the deck, and then the very same card was attached to his spokes with a clothespin!!!!! How does he do that??? The man is very talented and very funny, thats for sure!!!
After the show, we browsed through the store. We all picked out an assortment of treats, candy bars, gummies, and another jaw breaker to use up our remaining snack credits. ($27.80)
I couldnt help but wish that this was our first Friday here a week and a half ago..sob.
When we went back outside, we could see another show starting near the Flying Fish, so we walked on over. The centerpiece of this guys act involved him climbing up on the most rickety, beat up set of shelves imaginable! When he was on the top shelf he put a board on top of a round piece of wood and balanced on it. Then he asked a young girl in the audience to be the volunteer and to throw him the three juggling pins one at a time. Finally he got all three and he juggled those, while rolling back and forth on the board on the rickety shelf! It was quite a stunt!! Again, this show was very funny and full of talent. (I think that the entertainment here is top notch and always worth coming over for an evening.)
Jimmy and I went into Seashore Sweets for an ice cream. We used two snack credits and each got a cone. ($7.00) Here we were able to get two scoops with our snack credits as opposed to one scoop at Beaches and Cream. Its just odd about Beaches and Cream as its the same EXACT ice cream as over here!!!!
We walked back over to the Beach Club and walked into our room at 9:00. Jim was sore with both his back and knee so he stayed in the room. The boys and I got into our suits and headed down to the pool. There was no CMs manning the entrance, so we walked right in. I asked the lifeguard if we needed a bracelet and he said that they dont do that after 9:00.
First we walked up the stairs to ride the long slide. It was so peaceful and quiet at night. It was a whole different feel from the daytime. There were hundreds of lights outlining the buildings and it was just so darn pretty! We used the whirlpool for a bit, before continuing on. The sheer size of this pool is extraordinary and we swam throughout the whole thing.
We got down to the end that was the opposite end of the large slide, when we heard a lifeguard mention a snake. (Remember they were looking for a second snake earlier today???) Apparently, he waited until nighttime to come out!!!) I looked over to see a lifeguard standing on the side with the snake under her foot. (What happened next was quite bizarre!!!) The lifeguard on the other side said that she had to stand there with it under her foot and wait. (Wait???? Are you kidding me???) The girl clearly did not want to have to wait. The man said to wait five minutes and he would come over, but that he could not leave his post. There seemed to be no support to deal with the snake, no phone calls were made. Inevitably, the snake got out from under the girls foot and slithered into the pool, which we were in. The man told us that the pool was now closed and we had to get out. (ya, like we werent on our way out already!!!)
We stepped out and into the separate Lazy River. We went around and around countless times. Like I said before, it was so pretty and relaxing being under the night sky, with all of the lights. We were really having a great time! When we finally got out, the other pool had re-opened and there were no snakes apparent!! Whew!!! (I never did find out how they recaptured him.)
We had a lovely night swimming and returned to our room close to 11:00. Jim was sound asleep. After we had showers, we watched some of the Stacey show. As we were watching it, we noticed something odd. It was during the Typhoon Lagoon segment. It showed two open slides that went straight down. It was Humunga Kowabunga, but Humunga Kowabunga is enclosed, so it was strange to see them open. I could only guess that they used to be open (I actually dont remember.) and the video that we were watching was from then. If that is the case, then they really should update the video!!
Tomorrow we are going into Epcot.
Friday August 27th
We were up and at em all ready to spend part of our last full day in Epcot. The boys and Jim headed down first, and I followed a few minutes later. Housekeeping was out in force and had many carts in the hallway. Halfway down the hall, I stepped aside for a lady to pass me with a full tray of food. She never thanked me for stepping aside. No good morning, no eye contact, no nothing. While this is just one example of what we observed over our three days here, this is what we encountered more often than not, which is the COMPLETE opposite of the friendly guests that we see at the All-Stars. It is the same thing with housekeeping. Not one of them acknowledged me or nodded in my direction and I passed many on the long hallway. Again, a complete opposite of the All-Stars. (Now, I know someone reading this will have had the complete opposite experience than we did and were always surrounded by especially friendly people at the Beach Club, that just wasnt our experience.) I have to say though, that the incredibly comfy beds, the amazing pool and the luxurious touches throughout the resort more than make up for any unfriendliness!!!!!
I met Jim and the boys downstairs. Jim had gotten a cup of coffee and Jimmy had filled our jug with ice water. I was surprised that the burnt smell from the gift shop was alive and well!!!!! It wasnt as bad in the afternoon and evening when they are actually cooking flatbread pizzas, but there was no mistaking the smell. (I found that overwhelming stench mind boggling. Its hard to imagine that something cant be done to minimize it. For such a fancy resort, I guess that I would expect better. I think we have eaten in every food place at every resort on property over the years and I have never noticed such a terrible smell!)
We had a nice walk to the International Gateway. It really is a cool thing to be able to walk right into Epcot and not have to get in a car or on Disney transportation. Now I have noticed this many times over the years, but thought more about it today as we stood waiting to get in. But what is up with what looks like a large bus stop, complete with a road that circles up and loops back out, right at the International Gateway? I wondered if when the resorts were originally built they used transportation to bring guests from the resort to the entrance, or if that was the intent, as it certainly looks like a bus stop.
At the entrance, in addition to Disney security, there was what appeared to be an actual police officer with a bomb sniffing dog. People that had breakfast reservation or people that were attending a pin event could enter the park early. Various people who were apparently attending the pin event were bringing in large suitcases on wheels! Once they were inside the dog would sniff their suitcases and then they could continue on.
More and more guests continued to show up. I was beginning to wonder when we would be let in the park, when a lady asked that very question for me. The CM told her that the bag check would open at 9:00. HUH??????? What the heck!!!!!! I was NOT impressed to hear that. If the bag check opened at 9:00, by the time you go through that, then the ticket turnstile, and then walked through World Showcase to get in, the crowd at the main entrance will have beaten you big time!!!! It just seemed crazy to me that people pay such high prices to stay at the Deluxe Epcot resorts, and then get such shoddy treatment in terms of getting into the parks in the morning. I know at the main entrance the bag check is always open by 8:30 and you can enter the park at 8:45 and walk all the way up to the tip board. We had planned on walking right into Soarin first thing, but obviously this wasnt going to happen by the time we got there. To say I was shocked would be an understatement.
In the end, they did open the bag check at 8:45, as well as the ticket turnstile. (I am curious, and I am sure that Steve Russo has the answer on this, but when does the bag check and ticket turnstile normally open? I just cant imagine that they would do this at 9:00, giving the poor people in the deluxe resorts such a disadvantage at opening.)
The walk through World Showcase was absolutely beautiful! It was such a special treat for us, since we have NEVER seen the place so empty. What a special way to start the day. We lined up at the rope drop to Soarin. All the guests that had come in through the maintenance were right across from us. At 9:00, we were escorted to Soarin.
I decided to grab FPs and just ride later, so the three boys headed in. I am SO glad I didnt have them wait, while I grabbed the passes, as it took FOREVER!!! I jumped in a line behind six other people. Two people got their passes and left, then I just stood and stood and stood. A CM came over and fixed the machine. Another person stepped up and, again, we all stood and waited and waited. Meanwhile, all the other lines around me were really long, so I just stayed put. The CM returned and fixed the machine. The next person went, and then the next, yippee, I was next in line! However, the person in front of me wasnt getting any FPs back. For goodness sake, this was getting ridiculous!!!! Apparently, I picked the worst line possible to get into for my FPs!!! The CM returned, fiddled with the machine for a minute, and then announced, This machine is out of order, go get in another line. Are you kidding me???? I had invested about ten minutes in this line and now I needed to start all over again????? This really seemed quite unfair!!!
I got in a new line behind about 25 people and began again. This time, I was able to FINALLY get my FPs! Yeah!!!!! I happily walked into the Sunshine Season food court, so happy to be out of the FP area. I bought two strawberry shortcakes (sure wish we still had those snack credits!!!) and sat down to wait for the boys.
Soon after, they emerged from the ride and we sat down to share the two strawberry shortcakes. They were quite yummy! We headed out on our way to Test Track. As we left the pavilion, I noticed a few rumbles in my tummy. Unfortunately, with each step I took I felt worse and worse. When we got near Test Track, I told the boys to go on without me, while I headed to the restroom. Sadly, I really felt terrible and stayed in the restroom until Jim called me 25-minutes later to say that they had just exited Test Track. We all met up and I told Jim that I was just going to walk back to the Beach Club since I felt so rotten. I headed back feeling disappointed in the turn of events, but what can you do? Back in the room, I did everything in my power to feel better. I had a hot bath and took some medicine and then laid on the bed with heat packs on my stomach.
Meanwhile, the three boys had a great morning together. They rode Test Track a second time, Missions Space, Ellens Energy Adventure, The Sum of All Thrills and then Test Track a third time. When they returned to the room, I sent Jim down to grab me some crackers to munch on. The boys all ate the sandwiches that were in the fridge that I had picked up yesterday.
I was feeling much better, so I joined the boys to go to the pool. We were lucky and got a table with an umbrella. We had a wonderful afternoon relaxing and swimming. Cam is doing much better than I expected given the fact that this is the last day of vacation and usually he is feeling teary eyed at this point. Jimmy has admitted that he is feeling sad that its all coming to an end. Of course I am as well, but cant let it show!
We thought we had thoroughly explored the pool yesterday, but somehow had completely missed the sinking sands! This was a really cool effect. You could push your feet deep down in the sand, right up to my knee. Suddenly a suction-like feeling would grasp tightly around your leg for about 10-15 seconds, and then it would completely go away. Its hard to describe, and sounds rather strange, but we were completely enthralled by it!!!
Around 4:00, we returned to the room to shower, change and go back into Epcot. We went straight to Soarin to ride with the FPs that I had so painstakingly waited for this morning!!!!!!! After we handed off our FPs, we still waited about 15 minutes. I just love, love, love this ride. I love the whole thing, but the Yosemite part is by far my favorite. However, every time I watch it, it just makes me miss Yosemite even more!!!!
We walked over to Nemo and walked right onto the ride. I enjoy this ride and think that it is quite cute.
Next we walked over to Test Track. We had two leftover FPs from this morning, so Cam and I used those, while Jim and Jimmy did the single rider line. Jim and Jimmy ended up boarding right before us. It was a fun ride and I was especially happy to ride it with Cam!
We split up here. While the boys and I have early bird boarding passes for tomorrow, and dont need to check in, Jim does not. Jim headed to guest services to get his pass printed off in hopes of not getting a C boarding pass. The boys and I walked toward World Showcase to get something to eat. We walked to Japan to see what they had at their counter service place. The boys didnt see anything on the menu too appetizing. I ordered a combo plate with beef, chicken, one shrimp and white rice. Jimmy ate the single shrimp and Cam had a bite of the chicken. The chicken was fine and Jimmy said that the shrimp was, as well. The beef was disgusting..lets just say I wont EVER eat there again!!!!
We walked next door to America and the boys got hotdogs/fries. Jim called to say that he was going to stop in Germany to get his dinner. We made plans to meet in the UK to see the British Invasion.
We had a leisurely walk over. We saw a wedding reception on the right as soon as we had crossed the bridge from France to the UK. The bride and most of the people had on clear ponchos. Although the rain hadnt started it looked like it was going to rain at any moment. I felt bad for them. We sat down on a bench to wait for the show to start. Jim arrived soon after and soon after that it started to sprinkle. (Again!!)
The British Invasion took the stage and started to play. The music was great and we all enjoyed it. A couple arrived pushing someone in a wheelchair. (Possibly their adult child.) When they walked in, they were walking with a hop in their step, keeping in time with the music. Once they got closer to the stage, they stopped and really started to boogie. They were so into it; they didnt even realize that the wheelchair was starting to roll away. Obviously no damage was done, as they realized it and grabbed the chair. Together they lifted the man out of the wheelchair and set him on the ground. He too had great rhythm and excitement and bopped to the music. When the set finished we headed out and back to the resort. The kids and I had been looking forward to another nightly swim all day.
We stopped in the gift shop at the International Gateway. We didnt see anything that we couldnt live without, so we continued on. Unfortunately, we didnt head out soon enough, as the skies opened up and delivered a deluge of rain!! We were completely soaked in about 60-seconds. At first I started to run with the kids, but running in flip flops is not easy and since I was already soaked, I gave up and walked. The kids continued to run to the resort and Jim just walked along with his bum knee.
When I arrived at the Beach Club a lifeguard opened the door for me and handed me a towel! Nice touch!!! We all re-grouped and headed up to our room to change into dry clothes. Our plan was to go swimming, and we dont mind swimming in the rain, however, it didnt appear to be a good sign to see lifeguards at the door, and not at the pool! I called the front desk to see if the pool was open and the CM confirmed my fear that yes, indeed, the pool was closed. Bummer!!!
Once we were in dry clothes we headed downstairs. The kids went to the game room and Jim and I walked over to the Yacht Club to peek around. Its nice that both resorts are connected and you can walk from one to the other while staying dry.
I think that the only time I have ever been inside the Yacht Club was at Thanksgiving time when it is all decorated for Christmas. I think that it so much prettier at Christmas than it is now! While it is a lovely resort and I would be happy to stay there, (just as I would at any Disney resort!) I really dont care much for the dcor. I really prefer the Beach Club over this place. The lifeguards were spread out and manning each and every door along the way.
We met up with the boys and decided to get an (overpriced and tiny) ice cream at Beaches and Cream. Jimmy had a leftover money card from the April baseball trip. I wasnt sure if it was still good or not, but decided to give it a whirl. Sure enough it worked, so we had FREE ice cream cones!!!! (It would have cost $20.32!)
We found a table/chairs outside and sat down to eat. While we were enjoying each other and our surroundings, it was disappointing that this was our very last night and only one of two nights at the Beach Club and we couldnt go swimming. We had such fun last night and had been looking forward to it all day, but oh well. We lingered around for awhile, before heading back up to our room.
We all got comfortable with Cam and I stretched out on one bed, Jim on another and Jimmy on the couch/bed. We all talked and reminisced about our fantastic vacation. We also talked about the school year ahead, wondering what Jimmys senior year would be like and what Cams first year at the high school as a freshman would be like.
Lights out at 11:00.
We are hoping that the weather will have cleared and we can hit the pool when it opens, to have a good couple hours of swimming before we have to leave. I had asked for a late check out and they were giving us until 12:00, so that is nice.
Saturday August 28th
We all woke up at the same time, 8:45. I was surprised at how late it was. We didnt bother with showers and just put our suits on and went directly down to the pool. The pool area was very quiet with just a few people scattered about. We grabbed a table to stow our gear and got right in the pool. The water felt marvelous! We swam for a bit before getting out to ride the slide a few times. We also played in the whirlpool a bit, as well as the lazy river. We ended up spending a ton of time at the sinking sands. For anyone not familiar with the Beach Club pool, there is one area that the sand is very deep. You can work you legs into the sand, up to your knee. Then the air changes and there is like a suction all around your legs. It is tight for about 30-seconds or so and then the grip is released. It is a really neat effect that is hard to explain. At 11:15, I got out to return to the room, and the three boys followed at 11:30. We all had showers, dressed and packed a few remaining things. We left the room at 12:00 on the dot and headed down to the baggage check-in.
There was no line and we were quickly waited on. However, while I was standing there, there was a tremendous crash and then panic and a call to call 911. To my left was a truck and a man had been loading all the luggage on. There was a lift on the back that was full of luggage. The lift had been going up, when suddenly it broke away and the lift and all the luggage fell on top of the worker. It was a scary sight and all I could say was dear God, dear God, dear God. A few nearby CMs raced over and pulled everything off the man. He appeared stunned and his head was bleeding, but he stood up. It was a terrible sight, but we all breathed a breath of relief that it appeared that the man was reasonably ok. Whew, I think we would all have been scarred for life had we witnessed that man being crushed to death. As I finished checking in our luggage, the worker told me that she has worried about that very thing happening before as she thinks that they put way too much luggage on the lift. She also doesnt like the fact that they park the truck and load it right next to the sidewalk, as she has had visions of what happened today happening and there being a family or young children on the sidewalk getting crushed. Yikes!!!!
We went back inside and got drinks in our mugs and filled up our jug with ice water before saying good-bye to the Beach Club. We didnt need to leave Disney property until 3:00 for the airport so we still had another three hours.
We went to the Marketplace to grab some lunch at the Earl of Sandwich. We all had our usual and it was as excellent as always. While it was nice sitting there eating, it was bittersweet as well, as we all wished that it was earlier in the vacation when we were here.
We checked out a few shops then we headed out. We still had more time before we had to leave, so we decided to drive to the Caribbean Beach Resort. It has been years since we have visited this resort, so we figured today was a good time to check it out. I am always impressed with the food court here. There are so many options. We checked out the gift shop, before going out to look at the pool. We were all impressed with the pool area. It has changed since we were here last.
It was still early, but there was nothing else that really interested us, so we decided to head toward the airport. We stopped right before the airport, to fill up with gas.
It was easy to return the car and soon enough we were heading into the airport. There wasnt much of a line through security and we quickly went through that and boarded the monorail over.
We settled into the waiting area at our gate. We hadnt been there for too long when we heard an announcement that they were looking for someone to bump from the flight. Jim and I looked at each other wondering if he should do it. However, a man went right up to the desk, so we figured that the opportunity was gone. Jim decided that he would go up and at least ask if they were still looking for someone and to see what the compensation would be. Jim came back and said that no one had taken the spot yet, and they were offering to give a Southwest credit for the price of the flight home plus $300.00. Additionally, they would put you up in the airport hotel for the night and get you out on a flight in the morning. So our credit would be $475.00. We talked about whether to have Jim stay over or not. Jim was willing. My only hesitation was that Jim had left our van in the airport parking when he flew down. Since we were already at Disney, I, of course, hadnt been with him when he parked it. I was wondering how hard it would be to find the van in the dark parking lot. Jim drew me a simple map to give me a good idea where the van was. In the end we decided to give it a shot. Jim went back up to the desk and said that he would take the spot if it was still available. It was, so he filled out the paperwork.
Jim hung out with us until it was time to start lining up, then we said our good-byes. We picked seats near the front of the plane and had an uneventful ride home.
After we arrived in Manchester, we waited for our luggage, and then caught the shuttle to parking lot C, per Jims directions. I had the boys stand at the little bus stop with our luggage, while I walked down the row in search of the van. I actually found it quite quickly and waved to the kids. We loaded up the luggage and drove home.
We pulled into the driveway around 10:00. I called Jim and he was all settled in the airport hotel.
Another awesome trip was in the books.
As always we had a wonderful trip. I think this trip was extra special for many reasons. First, it was sort of unexpected, because we certainly didnt think that we would be back so soon. It was even more special just to have Jimmy with us. He was sorely missed on our April trip, when he was with his baseball team, so we just loved having him with us. I absolutely LOVED having the first five days with just me and the boys. It was so special. The heat was not nearly as oppressive as last summer, so that was an unexpected treat. We loved our stay at the All-Star Music and the Beach Club was extra special. The free dining simply cannot be beat. Its basically a no brainer to pay around $80.00 a night for a hotel and get on average $150.00 worth of food a day. Just brilliant!!! Cam gave us a scare with not feeling well, but I felt so blessed that we had the meds to deal with it, and we never even needed them. Whew!!!! We LOVED our water park days and have learned a valuable lesson. We will always go to the water parks on a Monday or Tuesday from now on. The crowds are like night and day. As always, we wished that the trip was longer. No one wanted to go home. However, we were so thankful that we did have a great span of 13 nights.
Comments about the Beach Club
We have always wanted to stay at the Beach Club. We absolutely LOVED it and look forward to the day when we stay there again. The best part was of course the pool!!!!! We could easily spend a week at the Beach Club and spend every day at the pool. We enjoyed it that much!! The room was gorgeous and large. Our microscopic balcony was a bit of a joke, but the room was phenomenal. It was fun to be able to walk right into Epcot. It was also great to be able to walk to the Boardwalk, to catch a show. Like, I said we absolutely LOVED our stay here and would stay here again in a heartbeat, given the opportunity. Now, as in anything there is good and bad. For years my complaint about the deluxe hotels is the lack of quick service food offerings. For many people this is not an issue, because they eat most of their meals at sit down restaurants. However, for families like ours that dont, the offerings are really lacking. We think that the food courts at the All-Stars offer a wonderful variety of offerings that are served quickly. No need to make a reservation three months out on where to eat! If we had stayed at the beach Club for all 13 nights, we would have spent a HUGE amount of time as well as money finding places to eat, as the offering at the quick service Beach Club was extremely slim. I was also shocked when the CM announced that the bag check wouldnt open until 9:00!!!! What the heck???? In the end that didnt happen to us. However, if it did, we would have been at a clear disadvantage to catch a popular attraction first thing in the morning, as the queue would have been filled when we arrived. I am hoping to hear from Steve Russo, that this isnt true, that they always open up bag check fifteen minutes before the park opens. I would hope that the deluxe resorts have the same benefits as everyone else, as far as getting into Epcot! Even Jim, who isnt the most observant guy in the world, said that hands down the CMs who run the pool games at the All-Star Music totally trump the games offered at the Beach Club! Certainly, not a big deal AT ALL, but all four of us, did notice that the other guests in general were not friendly like at the All-Stars or Fort Wilderness. Again, it could have been an off thing for the two days we were there, and it certainly did not effect our fantastic time in the least. I guess that about wraps up my observations of the Beach Club! Like I said, we cant wait to stay there again and had even debated about staying for a few nights this August.
1. Just being at the happiest place on earth!!!!
2. Getting to spend both quantity and quality time with Jimmy and Cam.
3. Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon!!!! We could have gone to either park everyday of the trip!
4. The FREE food!!!!!!!!!!!!! We took full advantage of using every credit to its fullest potential!
5. While it was crowded, we had good luck in getting on all of our favorite rides, multiple times.
6. The shrimp meals at the Columbia Harbor House.
7. Scrumptious food at the Earl of Sandwich.
8. Visiting with CM Sandra
9. Zebra Domes, Dole Whips, Cheesecake, Hot Fudge Sundaes! Yummy!!!!
10. Safe and seamless flights down and back. Including Jim having the opportunity to be bumped. That $500.00 voucher came in handy for our upcoming trip.
11. All of the nice friendly people and CMs that we met!
12. Our rental car!!!!
13. The AMAZING pool at the Beach Club!
14. The late night swim that the boys and I had in the Beach Club pool.
15. The super yummy breakfast that we had at the counter service place (Roaring Fork) at the Wilderness Lodge.
16. Our day at Fort Wilderness!!! Simply the BEST!!!!
17. Watching the three boys cracking up over the crowd of people gathered around the grasshopper at Animal Kingdom.
18. Being able to walk onto both Thunder and Space Mountain in the late afternoon/early evening with no FPs!!!! Just incredible!!!!
19. Catching some of Wishes from Fantasyland!
20. Being with my most wonderful family!!!
So I have to end this report by saying that we used a whopping 88 counter service credits as well as 88 snack credits. I added everything up and it came to a startling $1617.92!!!!!!!!! Considering that we paid around $85.00 for our room, this is an unbelievable deal. Of course we had to purchase a two day base ticket for all four of us as part of our package. I see the ticket purchase as a wash, since we will use the tickets eventually. I know people have their opinions about whether free dining is worth it, but for us, hands down it is TOTALLY worth it and really makes for an affordable vacation. Hopefully, Disney will offer free dining again at a time that we can go back!!!!