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Thread: Sue (Holland) Rayford, April 18-23, 2012 - Beach Club Villas

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    Sue (Holland) Rayford, April 18-23, 2012 - Beach Club Villas

    Who/When/Where:

    Who: Sue (53), DVC member
    Dates: April 18 - 23, 2012
    Travel Method: Personal car
    Resort: Disneys Beach Club Villas Resort (BCV)
    Experience: Very experienced (24th stay at this resort)


    INTRODUCTION:
    At last its time to start my traditionally solo trip season. Initially this could have turned into a trip for the 2 of us since SB isnt working this baseball season, and while it might sound as if I should be thrilled at the prospect of having him along on more trips thats not always realistic. I know he would be Disneyed-out if he came for 5 nights in April then came back in May, June, early September, late September, etc. Plus, to be perfectly honest, I LOVE my solo trips and did not want to give them all up! On solo trips I focus more on only the things I feel like doing, without having to consider another person. In April the weather is usually nice and I book Beach Club Villas partly to have access to Stormalong Bay. Hes not going to be interested in it more than once, so on a solo trip I can make that part of every day without impacting him.

    They say everything works out eventually, and this trip IS in fact a solo trip. While SB isnt working, he is volunteering with one of the local high schools baseball teams and their season will not be finished by the time this trip starts. Hell finish that while I spend my time at WDW sounds fair to me, right?? Hell come with me for the shorter May trip, and the May Hilton Head trip.

    For this trip I primarily plan to make use of Stormalong Bay (the section I use should be open), check out the Flower & Garden Festival and briefly see the small newly opened section of the Magic Kingdom. For meals I booked, canceled, rebooked and shifted around a number of reservations as I went through changes in plans based on SB possibly coming along. Im left with 4 reservations, so there is one day Ill either eat leftovers or go somewhere that doesnt require a reservation. On my arrival day I have dinner at Kona Caf booked, which is a place I like but SB was disappointed with it last time. While there Ill hop on the monorail and hopefully pick up a red velvet cupcake from Contempo Caf to bring back to the resort!

    My other dinner reservation is at Chefs de France, which is always a favorite. In fact I have it booked again for the 2 of us on May 6th, so we obviously like it there! Theres a lunch booked at Captains Grille (at Yacht Club), and a 3:10 lunch/dinner meal at Rose & Crown. Ill eat breakfast in the studio, so I can stick with the right quantity of food and avoid the unhealthy/fattening stuff. Id rather save my unhealthy/fattening calories for things like the red velvet cupcake, lol!

    There are no plans to visit Animal Kingdom this trip, and my time at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios will be brief. Im planning to visit each on the early entry extra magic hours day and at the Studios my only reason for going is to get some exercise by walking over and then after doing Toy Story Ill walk over to Epcot. The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie are performing in Epcot this weekend, so Ill be sure to check them out. I have no idea who they are, but most likely their songs will be familiar (at least I hope so). I really enjoy Epcot at dusk and in the evening, so Ill spend more time there than in any other park one more reason to be staying at Beach Club Villas!

    The plans so far are:
    Wednesday 4/18: Work, Drive to WDW, Outlets, Kona Caf dinner
    Thursday 4/19: Magic Kingdom, Pool, possible Downtown Disney
    Friday 4/20: Stormalong Bay, Chefs de France, Epcot
    Saturday 4/21: Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Captains Grille, Pool
    Sunday 4/22: Stormalong Bay, Rose & Crown, Epcot
    Monday 4/23: Drive to Gainesville


    DAY 1 Wednesday 4/18/12
    Who: Sue (53), DVC member

    Plan: Work, Drive to WDW, Outlets, Kona Caf dinner

    Actual: The workday went smoothly and just before noon I was home gathering the refrigerated stuff for the cooler. After saying goodbye to SB I was on the road but just after noon. The drive was uneventful and I was at the Premium Outlets by 2pm. As usual a LOT of people were here so I didnt bother trying to find a parking spot in the lot. I headed straight for the parking garage and tried to save myself a little time.

    The only store I went to is Character Premiere, but did not buy anything. They seemed to have more than last time but nothing I really wanted. Ill skip it in May but try again when I come back solo in early June. At one point I noticed it was after 2:30 and knew I needed to get the heck out of there if I wanted to see General Hospital this afternoon (the evening SoapNet broadcast will conflict with American Idol <g>). I rushed back to the car and at 2:38 was pulling out of the garage. Somehow I made it to the Beach Club by 3, checked in quickly (I had done online check in & the room was ready so the cast member who brought me inside just gave me my stuff without making me wait), and had moved everything into the room by 3:05!

    I unpacked and got online while watching GH (SB was watching at home). A couple of the storylines on there are getting weird even by soap standards! At 4 I drove over to the Polynesian since my Kona Caf reservation is 5pm. I knew I wanted a red velvet cupcake from Contempo Caf (Contemporary) so once I arrived in the Polynesian lobby I went upstairs to catch the monorail for the ride to the Contemporary.

    While I was on the monorail platform the Avengers monorail went by on the other rail (express). Its pretty cool looking, although I have zero interest in Avengers. Soon I was on my way and after stops at Grand Floridian and Magic Kingdom I departed inside the Contemporary. Of course every time Id try to go anywhere a large family of barely moving people would get ahead of me very frustrating! Not everybody on vacation wants to take forever to get from point A to point B <g>. Contempo Caf wasnt crowded at all so I got my cupcake and headed for the cashier. At this resort they have free plastic wine glasses for guests so I got one of those as well. I wish Beach Club had them, but they never have any time Ive asked.

    I was running out of time so I went back upstairs and had to wait for the next monorail, which was standing room only. We made a quick stop at the Ticket & Transportation Center before arriving back at the Polynesian. It was just before 5 so I checked in at Kona Caf and got my beeper. I was going to say hi to my friend Clinta at the Tambu Lounge but as I headed over there the hordes of servers from Ohana came out to begin their song & opening ceremony so I stepped around to the other side of the lobby. Once the singing was done my beeper went off and I was seated at Kona.

    My reservation was 5pm and I was out of there at 5:30! I decided to skip the wine until later, so I ordered ice water and the coconut almond chicken. Last time I didnt care for the salad portion s I asked about substituting and learned I could substitute any potato, vegetable or sticky rice. I went with the mashed potatoes, which I knew (from SBs meals here) were great. I was given a loaf of their great pineapple bread, warm from the oven. It comes with honey macadamia butter, which is also great. I ate some, but purposely did not pig out on it! My chicken arrived in less than 5 minutes I was shocked at how quickly it came out, but I didnt mind.

    The portion of mashed potatoes was huge and theyre real potatoes, with the skin mashed up in there as well. Everything was excellent and I brought more than half back to the resort with me. I skipped dessert, and with Tables in Wonderland dinner was $17.54 including tip. I took my bags of food (chicken, potatoes, bread, butter, red velvet cupcake), got the car and drove back to the resort. My son Chris called so I talked to him. He thought maybe Id just left work but I told him Id just left the Poly <g>.

    Back at Beach Club Villas I put the food away and then walked over to Epcot. I love entering through International Gateway rather than the front entrance! World Showcase was pretty busy for a Wednesday night, which surprised me. This isnt Food & Wine Festival after all! Id picked up a Flower & Garden brochure and saw they FINALLY have wine & snacks available at the Festival Center this year so I decided to head over there to check it out since SB isnt with me. If he was here hed have been grumbling about going all that way <g>.

    As I passed through United Kingdom I realized the Hat Lady would be getting ready to start a set so I stopped inside to congratulate her in person on her recent engagement. She updated me on her wedding plans she already has her dress! We had a brief but nice visit, then I headed into Future World. When I got to the Festival Center I saw it closes at 5pm. Boy, it would be nice to state that in the brochure, lol! It was now 6:30 so I missed it by quite a bit. I talked to SB as I wandered around, heading back out to World Showcase.

    In Italy I stopped for a glass of prosecco but wasnt able to see anything at Tutto Italia. Theyre renovating the restaurant and adding a wine bar but nothing is visible due to the tall fence blocking off the whole area. I kept walking, and found there was no wait at all in the bakery in France. I dont think Ive ever seen that except right at 11am! I didnt go in though, since I have the cupcake. I continued to United Kingdom again and checked out the Rose & Crown menus for a friend, then sat on a shady bench while I finished the prosecco.

    Just after 7:30 I started making my way back to the resort, taking a somewhat longer route since it was so pretty outside. I just wanted to be back in time for Idol, and I got to the studio just a minute or 2 early. I updated the report and once its posted Ill get some ice and pour a small glass of wine & relax with the kindle while watching Idol.

    Today was a nice relaxing day, even though it started at work. Im looking forward to an even more leisurely next 4 days! Im also keeping an eye on the weather its been beautiful in FL for weeks on end, but now it seems we can expect rain the next 4 days according to recent forecasts. The days dont look like total washouts (maybe Sunday) but itll mean my pool time might be cut short and my Epcot/concert time might be wet. Ill hope for the best and adjust my plans as I go along.

    Tomorrow I plan to get up early and head to Magic Kingdom for morning extra magic hours. Although, I better check online tonight to see what will be open in case that doesnt make sense. I really just want to see what portion of the new Fantasyland expansion opened recently, and maybe hit a few favorites before heading back here for some time at the pool before the afternoon rain/showers.


    DAY 2 Thursday 4/19/12
    Who: Sue (53), DVC member

    Plan: Magic Kingdom, Pool, possible Downtown Disney

    Actual: I slept really well (total silence) and woke with the alarm at 6am. The weather forecast sounds lousy, especially Saturday and Sunday. But, it looks nice this morning. Its unclear whether Ill have any good pool time, though. I showered & dressed, then had a slice of bacon and greek yogurt for breakfast with my cappuccino. I brought the refillable mug from last trip (same style still in use) because I knew the coffee mugs in the studio would be smaller than I like.

    I made some plans for later today with a local friend, and headed out the door for the bus stop around 7:30. I could see the Magic Kingdom bus at the bus stop but knew Id never make it. Sure enough it pulled away before I even got to the walkway. To my surprise though, another bus was there within a minute or two! This time of day Yacht Club & Beach Club share a bus, while Boardwalk, Swan & Dolphin share another bus. We went straight to Magic Kingdom, somewhat delayed by heavy traffic on the road in front of the Contemporary. I have no idea what was up with that!

    The area in front of the train station was mobbed with waiting guests, but they were let into the park before I arrived so the area was pretty clear. The bag check went quickly and I bypassed the people not paying attention and used an empty turnstile to get right in. My first stop was Space Mountain, which had guests lined up OUTSIDE (hello Disney the doors should be OPEN the minute the park opens). I grabbed a fastpass for 8:55 and although people were being let inside at that point I wasnt going to join the big crowd.

    Instead I walked over to the new Circus themed area (forget what it used to be called Mickeys Starland maybe??). Dumbo was operating, along with the Barnstormer. I took a few pictures of the Barnstormer but the sun was in the wrong place for any Dumbo pics. Honestly, it looked like Dumbo, lol just in a different spot. The Barnstormer has the same track but different theming built around it. Since there was no wait I rode that the whole thing cant even be 60 seconds! There wasnt much else to see except tall construction walls, so I decided to ride the train but learned it was not open during extra magic hours.

    I walked back to Fantasyland and noticed lines already at Pooh, Snow White and Peter Pan. It was barely 8:15! There was no wait for Small World so I rode that, having an entire boat to myself. I took several pictures (without the flash) so well see how they look later. The boat behind me had a couple (man in a wheelchair and his wife) who stayed on for another ride, and when I got off my boat they stayed on theirs for another trip! Wow they must like that song, lol!

    By now it was almost 8:30 so I walked back to the Circus area and took the walking path over to Tomorrowland. After a spin on the Peoplemover I was within 5 minutes before my fastpass time so I went to Space Mountain. There really wasnt wait for anyone at this point, but since the fastpass line was mostly empty I was able to walk faster than I would have on the standby side. Another solo lady & I got pulled out of line in the waiting area and basically had no wait at all before we were in a rocket. It was fun, as usual!

    At this point it was just after 9 so it was time to leave the park. Some of the attractions had pretty significant lines, so its a really bad move to come here at 9am on an early entry day! I left the park and there were hordes of people arriving not pleasant at all. I waited for the Beach Club bus but the one for Boardwalk arrived first so I crossed over to that one. It stopped at Boardwalk first, so I got off there and walked back to my resort.

    I changed into a swimsuit, packed my bag, grabbed a few pool towels and headed out to the beach along the lake. Cast members were towing one of those utility golf carts off the beach evidently someone had backed it up too far and the rear wheels were sunk in the water! A big event is booked for later at the other end of the beach so for a while they were transporting stacks of lounge chairs down to my end so they could get them out of the way and set up dining tables. Once that was done it was peaceful again!

    There was a nice breeze out there for the most part. I talked to SB on the phone, did some reading, played some games, and watched the Friendships bringing guests to Epcot. Clouds passed over fairly regularly and by noon theyd thickened to the point that it was going to be mostly cloudy for a while. I went inside and cleaned up a bit, and ate a few almonds along with a small piece of Konas bread and macadamia butter. Yum!

    I went downstairs shortly before 1 figuring Id sit out by the pool but discovered it was misting slightly out there. I sat at a table with an umbrella and soon Joy called to say she was here. We met out by the pool and then walked around the resort so she could see whats here. After Beach Club we did the same with Yacht Club, then checked in early for lunch at Captains Grille. We were seated right away and had a table at the edge of the restaurant across from the windows to outside. I was surprised last night and again today that all of Stormalong Bay is open. Theyre doing some painting but the pools and slide are all open.

    Lunch was nice cool, comfortable and prompt service. Since weve both worked at losing weight this year I ordered the Farmers Market Salad and Joy had the chopped romaine (Caesar) salad. Both were good enough but said she wouldnt order hers again (too blah) and I wont make a trip here for my salad either. There was nothing wrong with it just didnt merit a repeat trip. If I end up eating here with SB on a future trip I would consider it again if I didnt want something bigger. Our server actually split our check for us since we both have Tables in Wonderland. Normally they wont, and we would have been fine with one check. Mine was $7.22 after Tables in Wonderland.

    After lunch we browsed through the shops at Yacht and then Beach Club. It was too warm for a walk so we went up to the studio and watched General Hospital discussing the storylines and past characters during the show. It was fun, and Joy remember a few characters Id forgotten all about! After GH she headed out and I decided to make a quick trip to Epcot. I didnt actually leave the room until after 4:15 but that worked out well because the rain had really let up by then!

    There was no wait to enter Epcot this time, so I breezed right into the park. I walked briskly to Future World and arrived at the Festival Center by 4:30. One of the ladies working at the caf section looked familiar, and she remembered me from Food & Wine Festival so we chatted briefly. They dont have prosecco but they have 3 sparkling wines so I went with the Chandon Cuvee Riche, which is dry but sweeter than the other dry option. It costs $8 and I liked it! I walked through the building, which doesnt have a whole lot in there. Id been hoping to find another flamingo wearing Mickey ears since mine has faded to cream/beige instead of pink but they must be sold out again.

    The comfortable couches found here during Food & Wine were not present but I did find some cushioned wicker chairs and sat there with my sparking wine while I took care of some work issues. By the time I finished I noticed it was just after 5pm so I rushed up to the exit where a cast member opened the door to let me out. I could have stayed longer if they stayed open!

    I browsed through Mouse Gear and then headed for Future World. I wanted to check the Rose & Crown lunch vs dinner menu so I walked over there and saw the item I plan to get is on both menus. Im thinking that IF the weather is bad the second half of Saturday & first half of Sunday like theyre saying on the news I might prefer to be at the pool Sunday afternoon rather than in a restaurant. I decided Id try to book a meal there Saturday instead, and it wont really matter whether its lunch or dinner.

    With that decided, it was time for some exercise. I walked briskly around World Showcase, passing UK a 2nd time before exiting at International Gateway. From there I continued briskly around past the Boardwalk, to the Swan, the Dolphin, then Yacht Club on my way back to the path to Beach Club Villas. I got back just in time for the 6pm news, so it worked out perfectly. I set my photos to upload, which will take forever since this free wifi is so slow, lol! I also learned today its good for 24 hours. After that it boots you off and you have to reaccept the terms and start again, which is a pain.

    I checked Rose & Crown reservations and made one for 3:10 for Saturday, then canceled the Captains Grille lunch booked for that day since I ate there today. With that finished I updated the report, watched the news and then got up to fix some dinner. Rather than going out I had cheese and crackers Id brought from home, along with some pinot grigio. I took it out onto the balcony to enjoy while playing on the kindle.

    It was quite entertaining out there thanks to some guests on the 2nd floor. I wasnt trying to eavesdrop but couldnt help overhearing the various conversations and it was hysterical! Finally at 8 the bugs were getting annoying so I came inside and turned on American Idol.

    Today was a really pleasant, relaxing day. I enjoyed the early morning at the Magic Kingdom but Im really glad I left when I did because it was getting too crowded and I had better things to do. It was very nice out on the beach, and it was fun hanging out with Joy for a while. Im glad I got some exercise in too, despite periods of rain most of the afternoon!

    Tomorrow looks to be the best weather day left, so Ill go for a brisk walk in the morning then spend some time either on the beach or at Stormalong Bay. Later I have dinner at Chefs de France, and then it may be my best night for any Turtles concerts so Ill spend some time in Epcot!


    DAY 3 Friday 4/20/12
    Who: Sue (53), DVC member

    Plan: Stormalong Bay, Chefs de France, Epcot

    Actual: Last night I woke up just after 3 for some reason and noticed I couldnt see the time on the clock. Sure enough, the power was out. However, I could see light in the hall and when I opened the door slightly could see normal lighting out there. I didnt want the laptop battery to drain so I shut down the computer and then called the front desk using my cell phone to illuminate the buttons on the room phone. The operator seemed surprised, but she checked and came back on the line to say I should have received a letter in the room (I did not) letting me know the power would be off until 4am. I wonder what happened to my letter!

    I fell back asleep and woke up again after 4 to see the power was back on. I slept again, getting up at 6:30. I dressed in yesterdays clothes, brushed my teeth, and headed out for some exercise. I cut through the Beach Club lobby and briskly walked towards Yacht, Dolphin & Swan. A big group was out walking and the expert of the group was explaining how you can hop to all the pools at Disney except Stormalong Bay. Boy, it irritates me when people say stuff thats so blatantly wrong and say it as if they are sure theyre right, lol! Sometimes I stop and say well, actually.. to correct the buffoon so everyone else doesnt get the wrong info, but most of the time I stay out of it. Today I stayed out of it.

    When I got to the beginning of the path to Hollywood Studios I decided to run, and ran all the way to the studios and back! I started walking (quickly) again as I crossed over to the boardwalk, passing those resorts & coming back to the back path to Beach Club Villas. SB was up so I checked in with him for a bit. After that I grabbed my mug and filled it halfway with hot chocolate at the Beach Club Marketplace. Almost everyone there was getting soda in their mugs unbelievable that so many people drink so much of that crap! In any event, I was a cheater, but I dont think I ever used my mug when I got it last trip but if I did it was probably once for a half portion of hot chocolate. If Disney had installed those chip things to police the mug filling that would have been perfectly fine with me, but since they havent done it I enjoyed some late hot chocolate.

    I caught up with emails while drinking the hot chocolate, then at 8 got up and took a shower. After that I made my cappuccino along with a piece of bread & butter from Kona and relaxed online for a while. I keep hoping this weather system will stall or blow apart, lol but its still coming. Looks like tomorrow will be a crappy weather day (lots of rain, possible strong storms at times) but theres a chance maybe the second half of Sunday will be less wet. Im sure glad this was a longer trip and I had these first couple of days!

    Shortly after 9:30 I put on a swimsuit and heated up half of the leftover coconut almond chicken and mashed potatoes from Kona. I figure with an early dinner at 4:25 it made sense to bypass breakfast food and just go for an early lunch! Although my original plan was Stormalong Bay, in the end I decided the peace and quiet of the beach was more attractive than a crowded pool area. If I get hot I can always move to Stormalong Bay or the quiet pool later.

    It was wonderful out there I definitely made the right decision! Stormalong Bay was open, as I could see the lifeguard at the top of the slide. Several people were on the beach when I arrived just after 10, but after a little while I was the only one left. Once in a while people would walk by, detouring through the sand on their way to Epcot. At times it was very hot but when the breeze would blow it was really nice! I stayed out there until about 12:30, then gave my finished magazines to a woman on the swing and went inside.

    I figured I wouldnt be using my noodle (for the pool) after all and wanted to bring in the empty cooler from the car since I might have some perishable food left at the end of the trip, so I grabbed the noodle and car keys and left the room. Oops as soon as the door closed I realized my room key was still on the bed! I found a housekeeper but she didnt have my room on her key card so I had to go to the front desk. The cast member was very nice and just printed me another key even though I had no identification or anything.

    With my new key in hand I made the quick trip to the car and then returned to the studio. I took another shower, then spent some time online while my hair dried. I found SoapNet on the tv so I figure I can watch General Hospital tonight on that channel. I wanted a little something to eat so I had a few crackers with slices of cheese and a half glass of wine.

    It was 2:15 by the time I left to walk over to Epcot. It was still pretty hot and as I approached the top of the hill I saw a Friendship had just disembarked a big line of guests. I took my time walking down the hill and only had a short wait to get through the turnstiles. As I walked through Epcot it started to sprinkle lightly so I put up the umbrella.

    I stopped in Mouse Gear and bought the stick-on silver-colored Mickey head/ears for my car. One of the cars in the parking lot has it and I liked how it looks! I saved 10% by showing my annual pass. From there I went to the Festival Center and bought a glass of the Cuvee sparkling wine. I figured it was going to pour and this was as good a place as any to while away the time before dinner. Plus, I like that they sell stuff here so I try to buy something each day to help support it!

    A talk/demo by someone from HG TV was going on so I moved to a quiet area and sat on a bench that was placed next to a wall (so the wall was my table for the glass of wine). I played suduko on the blackberry and noticed it was getting dark. Soon I could hear thunder and then heavy rain pouring on the roof. Eventually people walking by were wearing ponchos, but it was amazing how many people had no umbrella and no poncho. What idiot doesnt prepare for weather thats been known for days now????

    I stayed until 4:10 and by then the rain had let up to a drizzle again. It was also significantly cooler almost chilly! I walked quickly over to France, arriving about 4:20 to check in for my 4:30 reservation. Dinner starts at 4:30 so I waited under the cover and at 4:30 they started calling the names. I was seated at a table by the window and ordered a glass of chardonnay and the onion soup. Everything was fabulous, and the soup arrived not more than 2 minutes after placing my order! I really didnt mind, since I figured Id make it to the 5:15 concert, lol!

    With Tables in Wonderland and tip dinner was $14.96. Boy, it sure is a lot cheaper being here solo, lol! After dinner I walked over to America, where the Turtles were just getting started. I was smart and decided to get in line for the 6:30 concert since I could hear this one perfectly fine in line. I had my kindle so I read while waiting. Once they let us into the theater I took a seat right by center stage, in the 2nd row. The 1st row ended at the person next to me, so I had no obstruction at all. It was great if only the Turtles were eye candy!

    When they came out I was a bit surprised they are old geezers, but then Im no spring chicken either! Their first hit was in 1965, theyve been together 50 years, so they have to be 65-70 at least! They still sound great, which is all that matters. Going in I had no real idea if Id heard them before, but I recognized almost every song and enjoyed each one. They put on a good show, and the audience loved them.

    After the concert it was starting to rain again so I put up the umbrella and walked back to the resort. Id considered doing tomorrows exercise tonight since the rain looks bad tomorrow but I abandoned that idea since it was raining again now. I updated the report and plan to get the other half mug of hot chocolate to warm up some and spend the evening in the room.

    Today was terrific I love just relaxing rather than spending a lot of time in the parks, and its been really nice using the beach here. Dinner was great too, and the Turtles concert was very enjoyable! Tomorrow I wont get to use the beach, since were supposed to have terrible weather most of the day. Im not sure Ill bother with Hollywood Studios early entry if its not raining I will, but I dont want to walk all that way (& back) in the rain, and its not worth going all that way if I cant walk/run to get some exercise. So, I might just head to Epcot, depending on the rain. I do plan to keep my 3:10 reservation at Rose & Crown, but beyond that Ill play it by ear.



    DAY 4 Saturday 4/21/12
    Who: Sue (53), DVC member

    Plan: Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Captains Grille, Pool

    Actual: Last night I changed todays Rose & Crown reservation from 3:10 to noon. I figure if Im going to slog over to Epcot in the rain it might as well be at opening so I can ride Soarin and once I leave the park I might not want to go back out again. I woke up this morning around 6 and didnt see or hear any rain. Eventually I turned on the tv and learned the rain was still fairly far away.

    I got dressed and headed out to repeat yesterdays exercise. I walked to the start of the Studios path, ran to the Studios and back, then walked back but this time passing Yacht Club rather than going around the Boardwalk. Its amazing how many people are out running this time of day it was quite busy!

    Back in the studio I took my shower and dressed, then had greek yogurt and a slice of bacon for breakfast. I made my cappuccino and chatted with SB before settling down online until it was time to leave for Epcot. It was just before 8:45 when I arrived at the International Gateway and they were holding people there. Normally they start letting people through at 8:45 but today 8:50 was the start time. It was cloudy and cooler today good for touring the parks!

    I headed to Future World and at the Land picked up a 10:00 fastpass for Soarin. The wait was posted as 20 minutes at this point. I walked over to Living with the Land and had my own set of boats. A lady with a few kids came after me but asked t wait for their own boat (thank you, lol). I saw (or heard) them later in one of the greenhouses and those kids were talking nonstop so it was nice to have our own boats! For whatever reason, some jerk (or jerks) on the ride were doing something they shouldnt, because on at least 3 different occasions a cast member had to announce over the speakers to please remain seated, keep your hands and arms inside the boat, etc. I would not have been upset if they simply halted the attraction, went to the offender(s) and ejected them from the park. Most likely it was a kid or kids with parents who cant be bothered to supervise them.

    Once Id lived with the Land I decided to save the Lion King movie for next trip since SB enjoys that. I left the pavilion and just walked around Future World taking a few pictures and enjoying the nice temperature! At one point I ended up at the fountains outside Imagination so I went inside to do the Figment ride. Once again I had the entire train of cars to myself. This attraction is so lame I miss the original!

    By now it was almost 10 so I returned to the Land and was shocked at how crowded and busy it was inside! What a different 45 minutes makes! The Soarin standby time was up to 30 minutes and the line was way back beyond all of the interactive games. No freakin way! I cruised right through with my fastpass and ended up being pulled ahead when they needed 1 person to finish filling the current show.

    My seat was in the bottom row, but it was concourse C so I was on one of the center aisles instead of the far wall. The lady next to me chatted a bit and then the attraction started. The screen and film were pretty good maybe most of the damage is higher up or maybe theyve fixed some of it because its been worse.

    From here I walked over to the Festival Center and found a different bench next to another wall. I got a glass of the Cuvee sparkling wine and sat on the bench playing suduko to pass the time. Its so cool, comfortable & quiet in there! Several people passed by, but they were nice quiet people not screaming terrors or loud adults. It was almost 11:15 by the time I finished the wine so I threw the plastic glass away and headed out towards World Showcase.

    I began on the Mexico side and started walking. It wasnt very busy out there yet, which was nice! In Norway I stopped to ride the Maelstrom and walked right onto a boat. Quite a few people were watching the movie afterwards, but just as many (including me) walked through without stopping. I had the common courtesy to walk through the BACK of the theater, but some people didnt think anything about walking across the front which seemed rather rude to me.

    The rest of the walk was uneventful and I arrived at Rose & Crown about 11:45. They said they wouldnt be checking people in until noon so I sat on a bench to wait. Eventually I joined the line at the podium and got checked in quickly, requesting a table outside. It was at least 12:10 or 12:15 before they started taking people to tables.

    I was seated out back with a nice view of the lake. It was pretty windy out there so I tucked my napkin into the legs of my shorts to keep it from blowing away. I skipped the wine and ordered the apple & frissee salad for my lunch. I have no idea what frissee is I guess it must be the weird looks-like-weeds lettuce they use? In any event, the salad was really large and very good. It had a bunch of fattening things in there (dried cranberries, candied walnuts) but isnt that what makes a salad taste so good? I ate most of it (and all the good stufff), glad my server hadnt offered me any bread & butter. With Tables in Wonderland lunch was $8.25.

    After lunch I took another walk around World Showcase, then exited through International Gateway and took a walk around the lake. I figure once it starts raining Ill be in for the rest of the day and evening, so this was my last chance for walking. When I got back to the studio I was pleased to see my trash & towel service had already been done. I updated the report while watching juvenile felons on msnbc and waiting for the rain and canceled tomorrows Rose & Crown reservation.

    I checked the weather online and learned the rain was now pushed back until around 4pm. So, I took advantage of this and sat out on the balcony to do some reading on the kindle. It was beautiful out there, except for an annoying yellow fly that I ended up killing. Yes, murder on Disney property, lol! One of us had to go, and since I pay dvc dues it had to be him. I could hear the band playing in the UK and that provided nice background music. The rain held off until 5, and then it came down pretty hard. I have a fairly wide overhang above me but when theres wind the balcony wont stay entirely dry.

    Dinner was crackers, cheese and wine followed later by cappuccino and another quarter of the red velvet cupcake. It was a lazy afternoon & evening, and the rain was much less than what had been forecast so far! I ended up staying out on the balcony until 8pm, then came inside since it was getting dark out there.

    Today was another nice relaxing day. Sunshine would have made it perfect, but at least it was mostly dry and cooler than it has been. Im not sure of my plans for tomorrow it will all depend on this storm system.


    DAY 5 Sunday 4/22/12
    Who: Sue (53), DVC member

    Plan: Stormalong Bay, Rose & Crown, Epcot

    Actual: They said it rained somewhat overnight, but I never heard it. I was up before 6 and since it wasnt raining then I got dressed and headed out for todays exercise. This time instead of walking after Id run the path to the studios & back I continued running until Id passed the Boardwalk and reached the bridge to Beach Club. Id guess it was about 2.5 miles of running, and I could definitely have gone further.

    Once I got back to the studio I showered and got dressed, then had some greek yogurt while making my cappuccino. I also ate a piece of biscotti with the cappuccino not something I do often any more but its a nice treat! Id hoped for sun but its very overcast right now, with rain expected by late morning. It should all clear out & be sunny by late afternoon so while its not a pool/beach day it wont be a washout either. I decided to head to Animal Kingdom to do a few things once that park opens.

    Around 8:20 I took some stuff to the car and then walked over to the bus stop. Id no sooner sat down on the bench when the Animal Kingdom bus arrived, with hardly anyone on board. At Animal Kingdom the lines were huge for the stupid back check, and they only had one side open. I had no choice but to stand in line, and thankfully the guy working was getting people through as quickly as Ive seen!

    It was before 9 still so I expected to be held up inside the park until 9. But, they made an announcement about it being Earth Day and also the 14th anniversary of this park opening and they took the ropes down about 5-10 minutes early. Most people went to either the safari or Everest, but I headed to Dinoland along with a few parents looking for the Dino-Dumbo experience with no wait. I went to Primeval Whirl and had to wait a little bit while they finished opening the attraction. In that time a dad & son came and ended up in my vehicle with me. It was a fun ride, and the cast member was asking people if they wanted to stay on for another ride so of course we all said yes.

    This time as we were waiting to go up the hill something went wrong and the ride shut down. After a short wait cast members came by with a special key to unlock our car door and a ladder so we could climb down to the ground. They gave everyone a fastpass good for this attraction until April 30th.

    From here I walked through Asia and into Africa, picking up a fastpass for 10:05 for the safari. To kill the time until then (about 25 minutes) I walked the Pangani Forest Trail and watched the gorillas for a while. After that I sat on a chair by the Dawa Bar and people watched until 10. They let you in with fastpasses 5 minutes early and 15 minutes late so it was a nice change to walk right in at 10:03 instead of having to wait for 10:05 on the dot!

    The standby line was backed way up beyond where fastpass guests enter, and it was very slow moving on that side. I breezed past everyone with the fastpass! I was seated with a family of 3 and did have to ask the dad to hold his damn video camera closer to his face. Each time Id turn my head to the left his stupid camera was extended out almost into my space. He complied, so I didnt have to feed him to the lions.

    We saw lots of animals, and it was a good safari! The trucks were actually stopping briefly in several places to let people take better pictures. After my safari got cut short I walked back to Dinoland and stood in line to ride Dinosaur (about 10 minutes). I havent ridden in a while, so it was fun! From there I used my fastpass at Primeval Whirl to finish up the day. As I disembarked I noticed the sky had gotten much darker. I left the park and as I approached the bus stop the rain started. I ran ahead and got under cover before it rained too hard.

    The drive back was an adventure freezing cold bus, stop at Blizzard Beach, then the driver mistakenly went to Epcot rather than the Epcot Resorts. He realized his mistake and turned around in the parking lot. I ended up getting off the bus at Yacht Club since it was so cold on there!! The rain had ended and the sun was shining again. I went up to the room and had the rest of the Kona leftovers for lunch delicious!

    At 12:30 I went out to the pool for about an hour. I figured that was closer than the beach in case it rained again! Afterwards I puttered around the studio and decided to hang out in Epcot. I still have to pack but that will just take a few minutes so Ill do that tonight. This trip has just flown by I feel like I just got here and its the 5th night already. I downloaded the last of the photos and set them to upload to Shutterfly while I was out. Wifi here is very slow not much better than the old dial-up modems!

    I was walking over to Epcot just after 3pm, and as usual once I got inside I headed for the Festival Center. On a solo trip I can do this without anyone complaining about how far it is <g>! I got a glass of cuvee and found both of my benches were occupied. One had room for me at the end so I sat down and soon the big group of people there left. Works for me! I played suduko on the blackberry and listened to the music for about an hour it was very pleasant!

    Once the wine was gone I walked out to World Showcase, starting in Mexico. I thought about riding the boat there but the queue was complete filled in and snaked around outside of the queue area. I dont want to ride it that bad, lol! I thought about looking in all the shops as I made my way through the countries but as I approached Norway I made a detour to the Kim Possible thing. I know theyre replacing this sometime this summer, so I decided to save the world one last time.

    I was very pleasantly surprised to find almost all of the clues were new to me. I saved Norway, then signed up and saved China as well. From there I saved Germany and then France. I detoured a bit to listen to some of the Turtles concert and then quickly saved France so I could do Japan next. I backtracked over there and sat on the wall next to the Kaki Gori stand to listen to the last few songs of the Turtles concert.

    When the concert ended I saved Japan, and these clues were a little tougher than the other countries. I selected United Kingdom for my final country (wasnt interested in Mexico) but walked over there the long way. Id been trying to see the caprese menu item at the kiosk in Italy and on this trip past I finally saw it. Its a giant sub sandwich!!! I was hoping it was a caprese salad, as theres no way Id eat that giant roll. It looked good, just too big.

    I continued around to the United Kingdom and saved that country, then hung up my super hero communications device. The band that plays in the back garden had a huge crowd I dont think I ever saw the old British Invasion with this many people! They sounded really good so I checked the schedule to see when Id hear them on my balcony tonight (7 & 8). At this point I left the park my feet were hurting from all the standing doing the Kim Possible stuff!

    Back in the studio I got some ice, then fixed some cheese, crackers & wine for dinner. I brought that plus the laptop out to the balcony to get the report finished up and wait for the next concert. Its a gorgeous night weather couldnt be more perfect!
    Today was a terrific day I ran 2 miles, visited 2 parks, got evacuated off a ride, saved 6 nations and finally finished Wednesdays dinner <g>. I wish I was staying longer, but I realize I need to get home and get back to work. It makes me dream of retirement, though when I can take longer trips! I guess if I was willing to only go away a couple times a year I could do long trips, but I couldnt go that long between vacations! Plus, its hard being gone from work for long.

    I checked my receipts and other than gas & tolls I spent exactly $97 for these 5 days. That $97 was covered by Disney Rewards, so the trip was pretty much free. Thats one benefit to a solo trip <g>!

    The photos from this trip are on shutterfly at
    http://share.shutterfly.com/action/w...ZNGTdm2bMWjC6A

    My next trip will be here very soon in just 12 days!! I booked a 3-night weekend at Boardwalk Villas because Davy Jones has been here this weekend the past few years. I was bummed when his dates were so much later, and then saddened by his death recently. Its hard to believe none of us will ever see him in concert again. I kept the trip, though with dvc points theres no reason not to! SB will come with me this time and he plans to visit a racetrack in Sanford for the Kentucky Derby on that Saturday.

    Thanks for reading along!

    Sue (Holland) Rayford
    WDW1972

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  3. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle

    Nice trip report! I liked the pictures too. I'm surprised at how well your "It's a Small World" pictures turned out. And just so you know, I'm one of those idiots... I never have an umbrella or rain poncho. I live in Seattle, and I never have an umbrella here either. I guess I just don't mind the rain. LOL! I am going to WDW in mid-May. It will be my second visit (although I'm sort of a DL pro, but not nearly to the level you are with WDW). I'm going with my son who is 9, and it will be his first visit. I'm so looking forward to it. I would prefer rainy days to days that are too hot. I will be there for the Herman Hermit's and The Monkees weekends. My son and I plan to catch concerts for both. Thanks for posting!
    - Betsy


  4. #3

    Thanks for posting your Trip Report Sue. I am so glad that you are starting your trips up again. I miss them when I don't have one of yours to read.


  5. #4
    Registered User spectromen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Santa Ana, CA

    After I copied and pasted this text into Word for printing, I had to change "Holand" to "Holland". Couldn't take it. OCD!!


  6. #5
    Registered User tinkaparis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Connecticut

    Great report Sue and we were there at the same time! I agree that the weather was great and that the buses were kept absolutely at too low of a temperature!!!!

    Somehow I spent a small fortune on food this trip...but solo tripping is very nice and time does fly

    Formerly tinkinparis

  7. #6
    Disney Bird Watcher bochnikm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Mount Vernon, NY

    I can tell by the way you wrote your trip report that you were in a great mood all the time and enjoyed your trip.

    Ill have to look for that red velvet cupcake from Contempo Caf. But NO WAY could I eat that a bit at a time in quarters over 4 days. - Maybe a cupcake a day for four days!

    Michael and Kellis April 2014 Trip with Friends, Pop Century
    http://mousepad.mouseplanet.com/showthread.php?205704
    August 2013 TreeHouse Villa Trip http://mousepad.mouseplanet.com/showthread.php?197595
    Our other Disney Trips (including our Disneymoon): Kelli and Mike's Adventures http://www.bochnik.com/

  8. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Pacific Northwest

    Thank you for bringing us along on your trip and sharing your pictures! Your descriptions of everything bring the magic of Disney alive!


  9. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Boston, MA.

    Sue, Another great trip report! Planning on going to Kona Cafe during our upcoming August trip,thanks for the review. The pictures at IASM actually came out well. Love the giraffe, at AK! Thanks once again for sending a little pixie dust our way!

    Gail


  10. #9

    Wanted you to know that I always read your trip reports (even though I don't always comment on them). Totally understand your love of solo trips and how relaxing it can be to spend a few days doing exactly what you want, when you want.

    Looking forward to your next trip report.

    “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” - Roy Disney

  11. #10
    MousePlanet Columnist
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Florida

    Thanks everyone!! Bochnikm - maybe 2 days per cupcake? They're pretty big, but then the faster you eat it the sooner you can get another one!

    Sue (Holland) Rayford
    WDW1972

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