Sheri Niklewski - Memorial Day Weekend, 2012
The Who -
Sheri (50) - trip planner and reporter
Rich (52) - husband of above
We both really need breaks from our jobs and its just a three day weekend but were going to soak up as much as we can.
The When -
Our traditional Memorial Day weekend
The Why -
Because its a three day weekend
The Where -
For our last three Disney trips (Labor Day 2011, Food and Wine Festival in October 2011, and a big family trip the first week in January 2012), Rich and I have stayed onsite at Pop Century. Disney has cut back a bit on discounts and even though a very brief Annual Pass rate was announced for over Memorial Day, I knew it wouldnt be that great of a savings because of the holiday weekend. But I plugged in our dates and received the rate and decided to compare that to staying offsite. Our new preferred hotel offsite is the Ramada Gateway so I got the rate for that during the same time and then innocently asked Rich which would be better. I was very prepared for his response of saving money but before I even told him the prices, I said remember, you will have to drive back and forth each of the two days if we stay offsite. After I said the prices, Rich kind of grinned and said if you hadnt said anything about having to drive back and forth so I clicked on the link for the Annual Passholder rate and we were set for Pop Century! I did not expect that but Im going with it.
I think I have Rich spoiled now for staying onsite since we really dont do the parks commando style and riding the buses and other Disney transportation just adds to the experience instead of deterring from it. We dont usually have any plans, probably will never be at a park for rope drop, and just live each day as it comes so being able to take our time no matter what the transportation issues are is just fine with us. And I think weve done just about every single Disney transportation option out there in just about every conceivable circumstance possible so were used to waiting for the next bus or boat or monorail or whatever. We also dont mind walking and will usually just let the people who have an agenda rush by us.
Ill mention this didnt used to be my style of touring. I would insist on driving everywhere and balked at Disney transportation. But Ive learned (sometimes the hard way), life can be way too short to be rushing from one place to the next, especially when you are on vacation.
We will do our normal of leaving our place Friday afternoon/evening after work and then stopping in Valdosta for the night. I made reservations at a Super 8 at Exit 5 off I75 for less than $50. Not luxury by anyones standards but its functional and weve stayed here before. We should be arriving at Pop Century around noon on Saturday.
Touring and Such -
This will be a quick trip and only really for a day and a half. While Rich has a lot of vacation time, I have almost none. I took a ton last year with the two week long trips to Disney World and then ran out my personal time with a routine but serious surgery a few months ago so Im in the negative with everything. Im just damn glad to be going on this trip for very personal reasons.
Before our last trip, my doctor cleared me for going on the few rides I hadnt been able to experience since a 2006 accident where I broke my neck. So I did Expedition Everest, Rock N Roller Coaster, and Twilight Zone with absolutely no problems. I want to be able to do all those again this trip so thats my focus. Rich and I usually dont venture over to Magic Kingdom and while Id love to do Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad again, I highly doubt we will be at the original park. Maybe for the Thanksgiving trip if I can pull off one day off work but well see. Trust me, if you have limitations that are lifted or have a surgery you didnt expect, you dont really care about rides - you care about being here the next day to enjoy life and your family.
Star Wars Weekend will be going on during this time and while we arent the junkies, this event seems to be getting bigger and badder every year so I wanted to at least do a drive by of the activities. Rich is a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants guy so I waited until the week before to tell him what I was planning (which still could change). We should be at Pop Century by lunch and since Im not making any requests and I checked in on-line, our room should be ready when we arrive. After we unpack and have a drink (or two), I think well go to the Studios, check out the madness that is Star Wars Weekend, visit Darths Mall (I LOVE that name), and get at least one thrill attraction in. Then off to Epcot for dinner (see below) and Illuminations. Sunday will be Animal Kingdom and then Epcot after that. There is a NASCAR race Sunday but with the way this season is going, we really dont have to watch the entire thing so Sunday evening will be play by ear.
Rich and I rarely do table service meals at Disney World these days not only due to the expense but also because weve exhausted just about every place we wanted to try. However, I was unexpectedly given a $200American Express gift card from my boss for all the hard work Ive been doing lately so I decided to treat us during this trip. I wanted a dinner since we normally would pass those over because of the price and I wanted Saturday night at Epcot so we could also stay and see Illuminations. I looked at various places and then realized we both could be very happy with the Biergarten. Rich was pleased about the choice as well (after I also mentioned Rose and Crown and Chefs de France) so I made a reservation for 7:05 Saturday night. We can take our time with the buffet, have a big German beer and then go to our favorite spot for Illuminations. Test Track will be closed during our time and to compensate for that, Disney is keeping The Land open until 10:00 so well be able to swing by there and see The Circle of Life while the park empties out after the show. All in all, a very nice surprise for us (and I profusely thanked my boss.)
But I changed the reservation to 6:45 as the band at the Biergarten will be going on at 7:00 so I wanted to be able to be seated, have at least one plate, and then enjoy our beer and the entertainment.
And now, on with the show.
Day One Friday, May 25, 2012 Happy Birthday Chris!
I went into work as soon as I possibly could this morning and didn't take a lunch so I could leave at 3:00. Rich's work usually will do an early release the day before a holiday so he would leave at the same time. The day dragged on and on and on, though. I had enough things to do and they weren't exactly exciting but I did accomplish some tasks. Right at 3:00, I was out the door to face the Atlanta pre-holiday traffic. I had to use one minor alternate route as it seemed everyone was heading north on I85. But I was home around 3:45 which was pretty good. I started to pack up the car and make sure the cats had plenty of water and food for the weekend. Then I went online and waited for Rich to get home (his commute is at least an hour) which he did shortly after 4:00. We finished loading my car, Maxx, said goodbye to the cats and were on our way sometime after 4:30.
We sailed down I85 to the junction with I285 and had one of the slowest times onto that road. Then we played accordion each time we had merging traffic until we reached I675 and then the merge from hell which is getting onto I75. People in this area just cannot understand the concept. But we were cleared of the bad stuff in a decent amount of time, losing maybe a half hour which I had expected.
At 7:52 I made a very important phone call. I know the exact time because that's when, 30 years ago, our son was brought into this world. If I'm not with Chris on May 25th at 7:52 PM, I call to wish him a happy birthday. We talked briefly and he thanked us again for his present a set of very good kitchen knives. Chris is the cook in his family so I think maybe his wife and kids should thank us too!
Last night, our dinner was Subway and we had each saved half of the sandwich for dinner tonight so we ate those in the car before we reached Valdosta. We were at the Super 8 shortly after 9:00 so not a bad time for the day before Memorial Day. We quickly unpacked and Rich turned on the Atlanta Braves game he had been listening to just about the entire way down. The Braves lost to the Washington Nationals which probably made my mother-in-law happy as Bobbie is a Nationals fan.
Lights were out around 11:00 with the alarm set for 7:00 AM.
Day Two Saturday, May 26, 2012 A Day to Honor Lawyers, Squirrel Haters R Us
The alarm dutifully went off and I was up fairly quickly. Rich followed and I started packing up Maxx. After checking out and looking at the hotel breakfast selection (which we didn't partake), we got gas and then were on the road right at 8:00.
As usual, Rich had the radio on to some station and there was a bunch of commercials on in a row. Rich always has to have the radio on but he kind of tunes out on some things. But this one commercial came on and the person had a very thick South Georgia accent. Rich said "Did he just say what I think he said? Did he say we should honor fallen lawyers this weekend?" I thought hard for a moment and replied, "Um, no, he said WARRIORS, not lawyers!" We had a good laugh about why anyone would want to honor lawyers (no offense to the honest lawyers out there, all two of you).
We were on Disney grounds when I suggested that while I do the check in process, Rich get a newspaper since those usually sell out and I knew he would want one tonight. Rich said he wouldn't know where to find one so I proceeded to tell him exactly where those items were located since I had gotten a newspaper every single morning on the week long January trip. My loving husband then says "How would you know, we haven't stayed there for ages." I told him I didn't think January was that long ago. He said, "Aren't we staying at All Stars?" Er, no, that's Labor Day. He had it in his mind to just go straight once we were on Buena Vista Drive and if I hadn't said anything now, we would have been going to the All Star complex! Maybe we are going to Disney World way too much if he's getting this confused. Nah I'll just have to keep him in line from now on.
We made really good time and were pulling into Pop Century around 11:30. The last time we were here, my driver's license wasn't good enough for the gate guard and Rich had to produce his since he was driving so we were both prepared. But not for what this guard asked. First, she needed the driver's license which Rich had. Now, the guard had the license in her hand. Then she asked for the last name and how to spell it. Um, can't you just look at the license? Rich paused for a while and then started spelling out our extremely complicated last name (N as in Nancy, i, k, l, e, w, S as in Sam, k, i). I mean, you hand over a driver's license with "Niklewski" as a last name and then you have to verify it's you? With your photo on there? And that last name? I think there might be 11 Niklewskis in the entire United States and maybe 50 in the entire world. Yeah, that's a name I would make up. We still laugh about it.
Rich went to get his newspaper (now knowing exactly where to find it) while I headed for the online check in. Which had a long line. But the first party waiting to be helped had six people and the second party had five. Rich was back with his newspaper before I was even at the counter. There were guests at the counters who were taking a very long time so either they didn't understand the concept of online check in or the Cast Members had called them over from the normal line. Several of the Cast Members were on the phone trying to make the guests happy so maybe the room requests weren't honored or the requests were honored but the room wasn't ready and the guest wanted a room right away. Either way, it annoys me as online check in should be a simple and quick process. Hand over your photo ID, the Cast Member gets your packet, gives you your room number (or assignment if it's not ready), and you leave. That's exactly what I did.
I had no special requests so I knew our room would be ready and it was. Room 6160 in the 70s section. Rich drove around to that parking lot and I suggested to him to park Maxx as close to the lake walkway as possible and as close to the buildings as possible. Rich was scanning for a space when I said "what about that one next to the silver car?" Rich said, "that's not a space." I said, "yes, it is." He pulled in and said, "it can't be a space, it's right next to the walkway." We actually had the perfect space to keep Maxx for the next two days and to unload. It was even under a tree. The trip was starting out pretty well.
We took a few small items until we knew the exact location of the room and the trip became even better. We are on the corner, facing the lake, on the first floor and the corner is the closer one to the parking lot! Perfect room for us.
Then things broke down a bit. When we went back to get the rest of the stuff, Rich said we'd have to make two more trips or we would be overloaded since the day was getting quite hot. However, after we were both comfortable with just two more things in Maxx, Rich decides to overload us. I was not a happy camper and I struggled with all this crap. When we got back to the room, Rich said it wasn't that bad for him. I snapped, "yeah, but did you ever think about me?" But we regrouped quickly. It really annoys me when Rich thinks I can carry things that are easy for him. I'm five foot nothing and weigh maybe 108 pounds. I ain't no Amazon!
We each had a beer while Rich checked out the new channel lineup which was quite nice to have more choices. After our beverages, we headed for the buses and the Studios. There were the usual wimps sitting back under the shade with one member of the party standing in the sunny queue line. Once the bus pulled up, the wimps ran up to join the one person. Even bus queues have line jumpers. Wimpy line jumpers, but line jumpers just the same.
This bus was set up a little differently and Rich and I were seated facing forward and there were two seats directly across from us facing our seats. Kind of weird but a young couple sat there and the woman said she liked our shirts and talked to us for a bit. I noticed the guy's 1st Visit pin so when we arrived at the Studios, I wished them a good time.
Getting into the Studios was really quick which surprised us. Then we saw Hollywood Boulevard was closed off for a Star Wars Weekend parade. There was a backstage area to the left of the stroller rental place that was open so we could cut through over to Sunset Boulevard which is exactly where we wanted to go anyway.
Twilight Zone's Fastpass was for about 1:30 but we went to check out Rock N Roller Coaster as well. That Fastpass was for 5:00 and there was no way we'd be here that long so back to Twilight Zone for that one. It was horrible but the time had moved to 1:35 but we managed to contain our disappointment. Then back over to Rock N Roller Coaster and their single riders line. Which didn't happen because it was way too long and no one was moving either in this line, the Fastpass return line, or the stand by line. So we headed to Darth's Mall (still loving that name).
I really liked this addition to the Star Wars Weekend. It's out of the way and it's huge. We were able to browse to our heart's content. I remarked to Rich about how crowded it used to be when the only Star Wars Weekend merchandise was crammed into Tatoonine Traders and if you just wanted to shop, you had to contend with the people exiting the attraction. We ended up getting a print of Donald Duck as Darth Maul, which was the logo art for the weekend, and had it shipped back to the resort. This was signed by the artist so a very nice memento. There were other items we would have loved to get but we haven't hit the lottery so maybe next year.
We still had time before Twilight Zone and I suggested just walking around with a beer. I am very happy to see Fairfax Faire now has a queue system instead of everyone picking a line. This needs to go in at all counter service places, not just the outside ones. Much more efficient. We got our beers and then stopped in at the candy store which is also the home to Nightmare Before Christmas merchandise that I always look at, never buy (I love the movie, Rich has watched it and there's singing in it, enough said). Our son, Chris (HUGE Stitch fan), had mentioned there is a Punk Rock Stitch Vinylmation now and since I know nothing about Vinylmation, I looked blindly at the selection. OK there's a music section here. Is that Stitch with a funny hair do? Yes, yes, it is! Score! I bought this and Rich carried it in his backpack for the rest of the day.
While I was checking out, my phone rang. I have each contact set up with a specific ring tone but this one was the default one. Then I knew what happened. I had just set up our granddaughter, Marlie, on the way down here but didn't assign a tone. Yep, it was her. I talked to her briefly and then said I would call her back as I think it's extremely rude to be yakking on your cell phone while checking out at a register. Once the transaction was completed, Rich and I moved outside and against the building and I called Marlie back.
Yesterday was Chris' birthday and Marlie's was just a week ago but she's celebrating it today. She had called to thank us for the $50 gift card we sent her for, get this Kindle books! I love when a 14 year old wants to read! OK, not the classics and the books are downloaded on an electronic device but at least she's reading. She was so excited to be able to get the newest vampire trilogy (Diaries, maybe?). Rich had a few things to say about her other birthday "gift" from her mother which was getting the top of her ear pierced. I should mention Rich is EXTREMELY conservative when it comes to personal appearance and double that for his only granddaughter. It was so nice to have this time with Marlie even though she was over 1,000 miles away. And a big thanks to her for taking the time to call us. Chris and Chandra, you are raising her right.
Our Fastpass was up for Twilight Zone so back over there. Now that I'm able to do the drop, this really gets my adrenaline going and today would be no exception. Once we were in the shaft, we went up. I hate the sequence. Well, I love it but it's the one that really unnerves me. Rich asked why I was shaking after and I told him to shut up. And I apologize for my language during the ride. Oh well, at least it was a word that gets uttered on TNT now and not one that is banned from the airwaves forever.
While we were waiting for our elevator, I noticed the Cast Member had facial hair. I pointed that out to Rich since this was our first encounter with the new policy. It doesn't bother me but I've noticed a trend towards beards and goatees in our society today. I'm thinking we are getting to be a very relaxed country. Although I wonder what would happen if women decided not to shave certain areas of their body. Something tells me men would be upset. But I'll move on.
Rich said he needed some food and a pretzel was suggested so we walked along Sunset Boulevard and then over to Pixar Place (Toy Story Mania was an obscene wait and, of course, all Fastpasses gone for the day) and back over to Streets of America where Rich got his pretzel that we shared on a bench that I thought was in the shade. After about 10 minutes, I couldn't even put my hand to the left because that bench was HOT! This is when my day started to go downhill and we still had hours to go. It was extremely hot and humid and there was no relief in sight. Ugh.
Rich and I talked about it after and I am spoiled. I live in an air conditioned house, my work place is like an icebox, I drive with air conditioning. I'm almost never out in the elements. Rich has been walking after work for months so he's used to the heat. I am not. So I melted today. Plan accordingly if you go to Disney World for the summer.
I wanted to experience the Star Wars things near, well, Star Tours. But that was not to be as the regular Studios parade was going to start so all the foot traffic was directed along where the ABC Commissary is and then out towards the hat. At this point, I was done with the Studios. There were so many other things I wanted to do but being forced twice to divert was a bit too much. Epcot, here we come.
We did see a lot of guests dressed as Star Wars characters and we liked Darth's Mall. But the special activities and the spontaneity from the past weekends we've experienced is gone. We couldn't even venture near Star Tours at all. That disappointed me and I'll have to plan accordingly next year. I didn't expect all the parade garbage going on. I guess you can tell we don't like parades (and you can rain on them if you want).
Since it was about 195 degrees, I told Rich we could take the boat all the way to Epcot. He laughed because I have never asked to do that. But it's my spoiled thing he was barely sweating and I was about ready to drop from being savaged by the evil sun. But then I looked over at the boat dock and a Friendship was already there and closed up its doors with still a line outside. Crap, we'll have to walk. But no the savior comes! Another boat coming down the canal! Yes! Rich insisted on the outside part which was nice and breezy and we deboated at the Yacht/Beach Club so Rich could get some walk in.
We had a quick entrance to Epcot and I knew Rich just wanted to walk around World Showcase so I grabbed a beer at the Promenade Refreshments while Rich did what I thought he would do which was a margarita in Mexico. I thought we could sit inside and enjoy the beverages but that was closed as it was near to dinner time at the restaurant. At this point, I needed to sit down and for that seat to be in the shade so I found a bench in Mexico and started to try to recoop my energy. I finally pulled out my phone and tried the Mobile Magic app I had downloaded and saw Mission:Space still had decent Fastpass times so suggested it to Rich. After our break, we headed off for that.
Note the Mobile Magic app was nice to check on things but I did not rely on it. We are more spontaneous people but it was convenient to check on Mission:Space now and it would come in handy tomorrow. I just dont see us pulling out the phone every hour to check on things. I guess when I'm at Disney World, I just want to live in that moment, not hours from now. Totally opposite from my day to day life so I think that sums it up.
When we reached Mission:Space, we saw the orange team only had a 10 minute wait so decided to do that instead of Fastpasses. However, we had a young soccer (actually football if you aren't from America) team clogging up the entrance. The coaches asked the Cast Member how many were in a "vehicle" and when told four could ride at a time, the coaches had to divvy up the group into groups of four and then send them in. We managed to squeak by them but were in the middle of the group. However, contrary to popular belief, these boys were very good (a little boisterous but they were about 12 years old and how many of us weren't jocular at that age?).
Gary Sinise is still looking good and we didn't have any soccer (football) kids on our mission so we returned to Earth quite nicely. We had some time until our dinner seating so Rich suggested Off Kilter and I knew we would have at least one sub since the planets were not aligned. Sure enough, the bagpiper was gone for the day. Rich chose to stand along the railing while I did the more sensible approach and sat down on a bench looking out towards the lagoon. I used to have actually watch this group but with the subs all the time, I can listen and be happy.
And I was happy. Oh, I was so happy. Off Kilter did their original song "A Girl Like You". This song always reminds me of Marlie and she had called earlier. I can say a few tears were shed by a 50 year old woman sitting on a bench in World Showcase. Marlie may not have a drop of Niklewski blood in her but she's all ours. I think when and if Marlie ever marries, I will be a blubbering fool. Standing next to an even worse blubbering fool named Rich.
After the set, it was time to head back to Germany and our dinner seating. We stopped in at the Heritage Manor gift shop in America and I am very sad to report the Presidential trivia is completely gone. It was a question written on a chalkboard and guests were encouraged to answer. I'm sure some little kid got the question wrong and his parents threatened to sue Disney for making their kid feel badly. But for those of us who really want to learn something, it's disappointing to see that gone.
We were still a bit early for the dinner seating and Rich said he would get a beer and then we could sit outside the Liberty Inn for a few minutes before continuing on. Little did I know this would become an issue for us. Since it was 156 degrees, I decided to take a break and go into the restroom to utilize my washcloth and cold water to wash myself down. While I was gone, Rich had the Squirrel Lady From Hell. I should warn everyone that Rich harms no living creatures. He helps turtles cross the road and I have been witness to him swerving to avoid worms. Seriously.
Before I left for the restroom Rich and I saw this harmless little squirrel (and I'm talking little like 6 ounces or so, maybe even smaller) looking around for food. She (and it was a she) was not aggressive, just inquisitive. Then I went to wash up and when I got back, Rich was peeved. He pointed out a "lady" sitting with her family (man and two kids) who had come over and chased the poor little squirrel! She said she didn't want the squirrel to get near her precious children (the squirrel was nowhere near their table at any time) and when Rich said the animal was harmless she turned to him and snapped "Mind your own business!" Meanwhile, Dad and kids were happily eating their food and ignoring Overreacting Squirrel Fearing Mom.
Rich and I talked about this after (and we still talk about the overreaction) and we then came up with several things he (or I) could have said to OSFM. But the best one was this from Rich "You think your 500 pounds against a 6 ounce squirrel will prove you are a good mother? Go for it!" Now, the "lady" was maybe 120 pounds but Rich's point was to shut her up. A freaking little squirrel and the woman goes all psycho on the poor thing. And I will point out, the squirrel wasn't fazed, she came back later. Wonder what the human "lady" pays for blood pressure meds.
On the way out of the seating area, Rich stopped to talk to a young guy who witnessed the Great Squirrel Encounter of 2012. The young guy said the kids are going to be scarred for life and will never trust another squirrel. Then it turns out the young guy is from Rabin Gap, GA! So we talked for a while about things. Poor guy is going to be going to college in Vermont so goodbye hot weather, hello snow!
There was a line for checking in at the Biergarten but it moved quickly although Rich had one of his encounters from his attire of the day. I had bought him an Atlanta Braves daypack since his other one was falling apart. He didn't realize it but the hat he chose to wear today was also Atlanta Braves. Now, Rich is a baseball fan and he does like the Braves but he's not a huge fan (he's Baltimore Orioles and American League all the way except for the Yankees and the Red Sox *ducks*). As for myself, I don't like our new hometown team for one certain player that will be gone after this year so maybe I can turn but for now, I don't follow them. There was a youngster in line with his parents who commented on Rich's accessories so while I was waiting my turn, I used my phone to find out what the Braves did that day. They lost. Hehehehe. I tried not to sound too pleased when I told the young man and his family (and Rich) the team had lost their seventh in a row.
I was finally helped and given a beeper so we waited on a bench until the thing buzzed just a few minutes later. I had planned the seating for 6:45 as I knew the band came on at 7:00 so we could get seated, get our beers, get a plate of food and then enjoy the entertainment. I was hoping for decent seatmates since you are seating at communal tables for eight guests. When I saw the family of five with whom we would be dining, I was a bit disappointed as it consisted of Mom, Dad, and three young boys (all under the age of twelve). But, the family turned out to be a great one and we enjoyed our time together very much. One of the boys was turning 10 years old so we all wished him well on his day. The family hadn't ever eaten at the Biergarten and after a slight hesitation the dad ordered a small beer while Rich and I did the liters as we know you can get a to go cup here. Then we all dug into the food. Rich did mostly meats while the only meat on my plate was a chicken wing and that I just nibbled at. I think having temps near the comfort zone of the devil might have had something to do with that. Although it didn't stop me from getting desserts right away. I think I could come here and just have desserts and feel like I get my money's worth.
The other family lives in New York although the dad is originally from Italy. I dunno I just considered them a typical American family. The three boys were very well behaved and Rich told the mom she should be proud of them. They were on the dining plan and wondered why we weren't. It's just too much food for us. And then I found out something and I'm not sure how this could have happened. The mom said they were also staying at Pop Century (in the 80s section) and that they were in a room for four but they had five people. None of the boys were younger than three but they were on the dining plan. I didn't think about this until later but how could that happen? I thought all members of the party had to have the same plan. I'm wondering if they just registered four people in the room, used whatever dining credits they had, and then paid out of pocket for the rest. Not sure what they did for extra magic hours. I didn't ask about anything and Rich just said "I'll bet the boys aren't happy about being crowded into a room", and that was all. The reason that whole conversation came up was because we were talking about the opening of Art of Animation and how family suites would be available. Not sure this family knew there were suites at All Stars.
But the dinner was excellent, the company great, and we stuffed ourselves silly. We left somewhere after 8:00 and I saw "our" Illuminations spot was already starting to get crowded. Rich wanted to do a walk around World Showcase but the beer and the food had me saying no. Rich has been walking every night at home and didn't feel he had gotten enough exercise for the day so he left to do that while I held down a spot for my favorite nighttime show.
I really don't like having to do this with only two people. I'm there alone and it just doesn't feel right. I know it's only one more person to join me but since I'm only one person standing there, some people think they can just nudge me aside. Fortunately, Rich was back in enough time before the show that no one intruded on our little space. I was going to record the entire performance but Rich agreed that I should just watch it this time since I hadn't seen it for a while. Maybe I'll record over Labor Day or Thanksgiving with the special holiday tag.
After the show (and I surprised myself by only tearing up, not actually dropping the tears), we headed out with the masses. This would be the first time I have exited Epcot for the buses after Illuminations. Rich had done it in January and said it was fine. I had to use the restroom and Rich said, "trust me, Norway won't be crowded" so we headed there. To find an almost completely empty women's restroom! There was another female and her daughter that walked in at the same time and the woman said it couldn't be the ladies' room as it was easy to get a stall! So big hint use Norway's restroom on the way out after Illuminations.
Then out to the buses and we headed straight for stop #12, Pop Century. As we were walking down the queue, which was fairly empty, I saw the sign. All Star Movies!? WTF? This has always been the Pop Century bus line! We turned around and I saw a Cast Member and asked what the heck was going on. He said they redid the bus stop last week to accommodate Art of Animation and the Pop Century bus was now over there "where the hordes of people are". Ugh. So we walked over there and determined this might be a closer bus stop. But there was a crowd of people so we waited our turn while a Disney bus was loaded to capacity. Oh well, there will be another one in twenty, er, no, zero minutes as another one pulled up immediately. And this was not a Disney bus! We traveled back to the resort in style with an offsite private bus. We had cushioned seats and everything. Whoo hoo! Yeah, staying for Illuminations and using "Disney" transport ain't such a bad thing.
On the bus, I texted Chris to let him know we were on the way back so we could to our fantasy NASCAR draft. Chris is definitely not into this NASCAR season as he's sitting in last place in our four team league and the races have been extremely boring. But we managed to connect and get a little enthusiasm from him (our daughter-in-law is in first place so maybe that had something to do with it). We'd connect again once back in the room. For the first time, we could do this draft for free with the new wi-fi available in the rooms. Rich hooked us up once we were at 6160 and I managed to do something other than fall asleep. After the draft, I hit snoozeland while Rich read the paper he bought earlier in the day. A very filling Disney day and I'm just not used to being on the go until 11:00 PM. Yes, I am a spoiled person. I have no idea when Rich came to bed and no alarm was set for tomorrow.
Day Three Sunday, May 27, 2012 Shut the Darn Curtain!
The only thing that really got us (me) up this morning was some kid running around outside on the second floor. He did it once and that was fine but then a second time that was even louder had me up. It was around 8:30 so that was OK but please parents, think about the effect your kids have on others. Yes, they are darling to you but at least tell them to stop or something. I got up and attempted to log into the internet with all that free wi-fi but it wasn't going to happen. I tried several times only to be denied with "system is busy" so there's your sign not to depend on Disney's access. So I worked on this magnificent trip report instead. Rich was up about an hour later.
We were in no hurry today and once Rich was awake and alive (Skillet reference there), I said I would take my shower and then go get a newspaper and see if the bridge over to Art of Animation was open. Much to my surprise, Rich said he wouldn't mind taking a walk as well so we both got ready and then headed out.
We took the walkway along the lake and I could see from a distance the bridge was still closed (it came down days after we left, drat it!). Rich saw some people over at Art of Animation and when we left later, the parking lot over there was packed so I chalked it up to a soft opening for Cast Members. We were privy to a soft opening for the Boardwalk way back in 1996 and enjoyed that a lot. Although I will wait quite a few years to stay at Art of Animation. We are just two people and I see a trend of dealing with family suites coming into play. Rich and I only need a simple room and I'm hoping Disney doesn't forget about us commoners for the next expansion. I will not pay extra for a suite with room I don't need. So I guess we will rely on All Stars and Pop Century from now on. I also will not pay any money for a moderate because of the bus system having multiple stops and the deluxes are way out of our price range at this point. Disney still has a loyal fan base in childless couples that they need to keep addressing. Cheap childless couples I will add.
Anyway, we walked around to Everything Pop and got Rich his Sunday newspaper. Yes, the man has to have a physical means of getting news every day. We are one of the last people on the planet to have a home subscription to our almost daily paper (they have shut down Monday and Tuesday editions). Did I ever mention Rich is extremely conservative in some aspects of his life?
Once back at the room, we grabbed our gear for the day and headed to Animal Kingdom. Rich had mentioned going Kali River Rapids and wore his *gross* sandals for the walk around Pop Century but in the room decided to change to his sneakers. For that, I was extremely grateful. Although his doesn't admit it, I think the sandals bother him. He claimed he was making the "sacrifice" for me but I think his nose grow a foot with that whopper.
Then off to the buses where we actually didn't have any cockroaches hiding back under the shade. We had to make the stop at Blizzard Beach and even though the temperatures were expected to be high, no one disembarked which surprised us. I have complained in the past about making the stop at Blizzard Beach on the way to Animal Kingdom and then again on the way back and am very happy to see the stop on the way back to the resort has been discontinued. Just didn't make sense. If you boarded the bus at Blizzard Beach to go back to the resort, you would have to go to Animal Kingdom which was fine but then you would return right back to Blizzard Beach and that part was just odd.
At Animal Kingdom, our bus left us off at one of the closest stops so that was nice. Getting into the park was quick and easy and once inside, I pulled out my phone (Rich rolled his eyes) and checked the Fastpass times. I really wanted to do Expedition Everest since that had been denied to me for years but Rich suggested a Fastpass for the Safari and then doing the single riders line for Everest. That made sense but it almost didn't work out. We made our way back to the Safari for the FastPass and discovered a mob! It was ridiculous and then we saw why. A family with one double side by side stroller and then a second stroller was in the Fastpass Distribution area. And since you can't take a double side by side stroller (it was a Disney one) through the exit of the Fastpass distribution area, the family had to come back to the entrance. But they had stopped to regroup and were clogging up everything. The entire entrance was down to a trickle of people being able to walk around this clueless family. It was like having a five lane highway down to one lane. But we made it around and got the Fastpasses and then headed over to Asia.
I had only done Expedition Everest twice before my accident and then once with Fastpass since getting medically cleared to ride again. I have never done the single riders line. I told Rich I would follow him but when he looked, the line was almost out the queue so he said it would take forever. That really disappointed me and I said something like "great, I won't be able to go on one of my favorite rides". And then things broke down between my husband and me. Now he was insisting we do the damn thing and I said if we didn't do it, that was fine. He kept insisting. If you were passing by me at that moment, you might have come back and said "this woman was having a really bad day" because I snapped "just STOP it, it's FINE!" I think I was more upset about walking for the past half hour and doing nothing. It also didn't help there seemed to be half the population of Florida in Animal Kingdom and we were fighting crowds everywhere we went.
But we regrouped quickly and my "outburst" was confined to about 30 seconds. So don't judge people harshly by what you overhear because it was 30 seconds of the entire weekend. Anyway, Rich suggested a lunch of egg rolls so we went back towards Africa to pick those up. Then we headed back over towards Flame Tree BBQ for a couple of beers and then finally sat down near the water at Flame Tree for our simple lunch. I think since 8:30 this morning, I had sat down for maybe fifteen minutes. At least the weather was slightly better as we had a cloud cover today so the temperatures weren't as blazing as yesterday.
We were sitting next to an extended family and the little girls were done with their food and wanting to go so they were playing around since they were bored. When the family left, the large double stroller (what is up with these huge things?) was wheeled out and one of the girls told her mother there was a penny on the ground. The mother said "it's just a penny, it doesn't matter" and then they all walked away. My mouth dropped open because a penny does matter. I pointed out the coin to Rich who scooped it up and that led to a discussion between the two of us as to whether the United States should stop minting the penny. Rich said it takes 1.2 cents to make the thing and that we taxpayers eat the extra cost. But can you imagine the United States without the penny? All the gas stations would have to round up (or down, yeah right, round down). I just can't see our society doing that. See what conversations you can have at Disney World?
The departing family has also left a mound of unused plastic utensils and while Rich and I were having the Great Penny Discussion of 2012, a crow came along and patiently picked up a plastic spoon from the pile and flew with it over to the railing where he placed it. We were loving this bit of nature and made comments about how it wasn't a squirrel that terrorized the family. Sometimes I think animals have more common sense than humans.
It was time for our Fastpass to the Safari so we pushed our way over there. We had come to the conclusion it was way too crowded at Animal Kingdom for our liking so we were just going to do the Safari and head out. The line for the Fastpass return looked to be just as long as the distribution line but I correctly thought it was because of the stroller drop off point. I really wish this attraction line had a huge sign saying something like "take your kids out of the stroller now because it's going to be taken to the side very shortly". I swear some parents act like their kids can't walk from this point to the boarding area. Once past the bottleneck, we breezed onto our jeep. We had a second person in the driver area and I think it was a supervisor rating our Cast Member. The Safari was OK but there weren't a ton of animals out and the driver missed several opportunities to inform us of the ones that were there. Maybe it was the presence of the second person but I wasn't that impressed with this trip. The second person had a clipboard and was writing things as we drove along but she was also talking to the driver so really don't know what the deal was. And when we were back from our Safari, the second person remarked that the driver was one inch off his mark so he had to back up the jeep. Kind of weird.
This was a our first ride with the elimination of the Little Red storyline and the driver informed us that the last part of the Safari was in a new area and there were rumors zebras would be introduced there. There was also a big construction vehicle in that area so I'm looking forward to the completion of this refurbishment.
Rich suggested another look at the Expedition Everest single riders line (still wanting to please me, the big dope) but I saw a Flights of Wonder show was going to be starting in about twenty minutes so offered that up (to please him since I'm a big dope). We got another beer each for the show and then found seats in the nearly empty right bleacher section which is becoming our favorite. And then we had the FOW up as usual. With every other Disney show, the doors are shut when the performance starts but that doesn't happen here. We had people pouring into the seats a full ten minutes after the host comes on the stage. Like Rich said, we miss half the show because of this. During the entire Guano Joe set up and the first two bird presentations, we had to contend with people walking all over the outdoor theatre. And to make matters worse, there was an announcement made at the start that "in order to make the experience better for fellow guests, please do not move around during the performance" but Disney didn't even follow their own policy! It was stupid and I have written a letter to Guest Relations about it. Shut the darn curtain before the show starts! The only reason I know for this to continue is because the theatre is outdoors so people can hear the presentation as they pass. The flood of people only stopped after the first bird flew into the audience.
BTW the host and Guano Joe both had facial hair. Rich about fell off the bench when our favorite Guano Joe showed up with a beard. Just doesn't seem to be the beard type. That's when Rich said he thinks the male Cast Members are revolting after having such a strict policy for so long. (And FYI, Rich's hair and mustache are groomed military style did I tell you he's conservative in some ways?).
After the show (of which we saw half of it uninterrupted), we headed to Expedition Everest and the single riders line which was still fairly long but Rich was insistent we do this. It really wasn't that bad and the seater person was really good. I think maybe it took ten minutes to get on the train. I was with a younger guy (I think, I'm horrible with ages but he looked younger than me but then again, most people at Disney World are younger than 50 years old). It was his first time on the ride and said "it can't be all that bad can it?" I told him I had survived before so that was comforting to me. The only bad thing was when I shoved my backpack into the netting, my sunglasses and lip balm were jarred loose so I had to lean forward after the restraints were locked and try to retrieve the items. The netting here really needs to be bigger. Rich had the same problem with his daypack since the new one is larger than his old one. Maybe in the future, I'll forgo the netting and just put the backpack at my feet and hope it doesn't fly out.
My seatmate was a pleasure. When we got to the part where the track "disappears", he thought we paused to wait our turn to take the plunge. I didn't say a word and when we went backwards, he absolutely loved it. He had no idea of what was going on and really enjoyed the ride. Once we were back, he said it was incredible and a lot more than what he imagined.
And that's why I loved Disney World. So many people think Expedition Everest is just that long ride up and then the drop back down. Those people have no idea what goes on inside the mountain or after the plunge. Same thing with Twilight Zone. It's much more than going up 13 stories and then coming back down to earth. If I could bottle up all that, I'd make a fortune.
That was about all we were going to do at Animal Kingdom. I thought we could do Kali River Rapids and would have welcomed it but Rich said it wasn't a must do and the stand by line was 60 minutes so we headed out. We saw It's Tough to be a Bug had a 10 minute wait but the line was at the end of the queue but Rich wondered if maybe that was due to a different queue with the branch of the tree falling down previously. We didn't bother to check it out though and just headed for the exit.
I love Animal Kingdom, I really do. It's my second favorite park but something today just seemed off. Don't know what it was. The crowds were heavier than usual although by the time we came off the Safari, they had thinned out a bit. Maybe it was the weather or my mood but it just wasn't a best visit I've ever had to this park. Oh well, we'll be here again in September.
We debated taking the bus to the front of Epcot or back to the Epcot resorts and I ruled in favor of the resorts. Mistake. A bus had just filled up and was pulling out when we arrived (we saw this from a distance but we don't run for Disney buses). When the next bus arrived (15 minutes later), we had to endure a driver change so it was almost a half hour until we were finally on our way.
We debussed at the Swan, the first stop on the multiple resort loop, and on the way to the International Gateway, I remarked I was a bit hungry. I only had one egg roll so Rich suggested the Boardwalk pizza place. I know it's called something else now but for us, it will always be the Boardwalk pizza place. I told Rich I just wanted a slice of cheese pizza and I saw his eyes get that twinkle which I know. I knew Rich would do two slices of pepperoni and while I don't mind that at all, I also knew he was looking at the price of the three slices versus the price of the full pie. But then I mentioned we would have to carry the leftovers around with us. Practicality won over frugality and we had our three slices a few minutes later.
It was getting close to 5:00 and I knew the inside place (Kouzzina's) was going to be opening up for dinner and we were sitting on their patio. I questioned Rich on what would happen if someone walked up to the outside pizza place at 4:55 and wanted to sit right next to the window. We had a Cast Member come out and make sure the area was all ready for the dinner crowd but he didn't say anything to us. We didn't stick around to see if we would have been nicely asked to leave the patio once the restaurant opened for dinner but it is something to think about. I think maybe the restaurant puts up a final barrier of flower pots to discourage anyone from the pizza window to sit on the patio. Disney rarely tells you not to do something. They just "discourage" you. Or ask you to "refrain" from doing something. At work, I made up a sign for my boss when he's really busy and doesn't want to be bothered. It says "please refrain from disturbing me at this time". I call it my Disney mentality sign. Other managers have "do not disturb!" signs. You figure out which one is nicer.
One of my intents with this visit to Epcot was for Rich to have a walk around World Showcase so that's what we did. When we made it around to Canada, Off Kilter had just started so we repeated what we did last night with Rich watching and me sitting on a bench looking out at the lagoon. This time, the bassist was missing and Rich said he didn't even recognize the sub. Sigh. The Off Kilter of our glory days is gone but not forgotten. I doubt there ever will be a sixth CD but I'll treasure the five we have.
After the set, we were almost done with Disney World for the quick weekend. Rich needed/wanted more candy from Mouse Gears so we stopped there on the way out for him to replenish his supply for work. Then we attempted to board Spaceship Earth as a salute to our grandson, Mitchell, who rode this six times in one week on our January trip. The little guy just loved this attraction. But the line was queued too long and we were tired so we headed back to the room for the NASCAR race. We knew the darn thing would be boring but I was hopeful my driver would at least finish decently.
At the bus stop, we went to the correct one this time and then were transported back to the resort. I had a bottle of champagne in our refrigerator (another really nice addition to the values) so Rich popped that open for me for the race. Which sucked. It was so boring, my driver did fine, but it just was a dud race again. NASCAR is having a very bad year for us fans. And it didn't help this is the longest race of the season so we had to endure until almost 11:00 PM. Then lights out for me and Rich didn't even read his newspaper. With all the heat and walking, I talked Rich into setting the alarm for 9:00 figuring we'd be up before then. No reason to get home except for the cats and I doubt they were laying around at home checking their watches and fretting about us.
We did have a message on the phone from Disney World informing us about the express check-out. I put it on speaker and then did a double take with the message. No more receipts hanging on the door! Yes! If you put an email address on the online check-in, you will now get a receipt sent to that email address! I love it! It saves on paper and it saves on a Cast Member having to put that paper receipt on your door before 8:00 AM.
Day Four Monday, May 28, 2012 Thank You For Your Service
Today should be a day of reflection and I found myself doing that all during the drive home. I can't thank those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for living in this wonderful country but I can thank those who are currently willing to make that choice to serve to protect our freedoms. And I can thank those who have served. So thank you Dad (Air Force); my late father-in-law, Ed (Army); my husband, Rich (Air Force); my sister, Sandy (Air Force and now Air Force Reserves); my nephew Wesley (active Marine). I am a patriotic sap, always have been and always will be and will never apologize for it. I can't bring myself to say "happy Memorial Day" because it shouldn't really be a happy occasion. Other than having the day off work.
I managed to wake up shortly after 8:00 or so. The heat and the walking around really had beaten me up and this is when I realized I am so spoiled with everything. The first Disney World trip of the year usually smacks me upside the head and 2012 did the same. Oh well, I'll recover eventually. I got ready and then did the packing while Rich showered. It took me three trips out to Maxx before Rich was done (remember, we unloaded with just two trips which was insane) and then we each took another load and then headed out of Pop Century for maybe the last time this year. We will be at All Star Sports for Labor Day and we haven't decided where for a five night stay over Thanksgiving. (I'm secretly pushing for a deluxe if the funds are there but Rich won't make a decision).
On our trip out to Maxx, Rich stopped along the walkway. He spied something hopping across the sidewalk and I looked to see this teeny tiny frog. I am talking about 1/4 of an inch frog! Rich stopped to make sure the little guy (it was really tiny, seriously) made it to the safety of the grass. As we were doing this, a group approached from behind and the woman said "excuse me, but do you need help?" I guess it was kind of strange to see two grown adults with luggage just staring at what seemed to be nothing on the ground. Once we pointed out the frog, the group was amazed we had stopped to help but thought it was nice. We all continued on and saw another small frog hopping along so Rich and I stopped again to make sure this guy was OK as well while the other group moved on. I guess you can understand why Rich was so upset the other night with the Overreacting Squirrel Mom from Hell. Yes, we help tiny frogs cross the sidewalk. We've also stopped the car and helped turtles cross the road.
We made our now normal stop on 429 at the Target and then got breakfast at McDonald's next door. We filled up Maxx with fuel once we were off the turnpike and then I can't tell you what happened until we reached Georgia. I fell asleep and Rich was kind enough not to bother me until we were at the border. We did our stop at the Toys R Us in Valdosta and then I had to wake up as I drove to near Macon for another fuel stop and then Rich took us home.
Another Disney World trip over and it was a good one. Next up Labor Day!
The only bad thing with this trip was the Squirrel Mom from Hell. That woman needs to get a grip on life if she's afraid a tiny squirrel is going to terrorize her children. But we had many other positive nature encounters. We saw a bunny at Epcot in the middle of the afternoon and rabbits aren't really accustomed to feeding out in the bright daylight. And the tiny frogs at Pop Century when we were leaving. Watching the crow at the Flame Tree BBQ was funny as well as he just needed to have that plastic spoon put on the railing.
Well, there was a second bad thing and that was the people still streaming into Flights of Wonder after the show started. Disney needs to stop this so the audience who is already seated isn't bothered.
Star Wars Weekend at the Studios was a bit aggravating as there were more parades and our access to certain areas were a bit limited during that time. But we had a good time at the park. We really liked Darth's Mall and hope that continues in the future. It was very nice to have all the merchandise in an out-of-the-way area and I can tell you it was very well attended so the location had no effect on the $$$ being taken in by Disney.
The weather on Saturday was beastly and I was definitely affected. Sunday was better with cloud cover but Rich thought it was hotter. We had no rain at all until our drive home Monday when we caught the remnants of Tropical Storm Beryl. Although I would have gladly welcomed some rain Saturday when I think the temperatures reached about 800 degrees.
This was our first trip with the Fastpass enforcement and we had absolutely no problems with it. In fact, it was more difficult to fill the time before our dining reservation than the hour window we had for the Fastpasses.
I used the smartphone app Mobile Magic a couple of times and it was nice but I'll only use it to determine if an attraction is out of Fastpasses or has a prohibitive return time. I'm not going to a person who walks around Disney World staring at a phone screen. I'd rather enjoy the real life around me.
The free wifi Saturday night was great but it was overloaded Sunday so there are still obstacles to overcome before I'm willing to say Disney has unlimited internet access. I don't need to be online when I'm on vacation so it wasn't a big deal for me and I won't count on it for the future. Having the refrigerator in the room was great, though. That perk I really appreciated. While the fridge didn't have a freezer compartment, it kept all our drinks nice and cold for the weekend.
I'm very glad we stayed onsite for the weekend even though it would have been cheaper offsite (there's no parking charge since we have annual passes). We are in at All Star Sports for Labor Day and are still discussing five nights at Thanksgiving. For that holiday, no discounts are available and I don't like paying rack rate but I think the convenience will win out.
Rich has been walking every evening after work and I think I might have to get my sorry butt out doing the same since his stamina was greatly improved this trip. I can easily walk during my lunch break but I seem to find reasons not to do so. After this trip, I think I've run out of excuses. Drat it!
The dinner at Biergarten was excellent and, best of all, free. Yeah, I deserved the gift card but it was such a nice gesture from my boss. Our company at the table was fantastic and we certainly got our "money's worth". This is one restaurant that we can do time and time again and not be bored. Of course, the liter beers don't hurt.
And even though we were 1,000 miles away, we connected with our little family with the phone call to Chris on his birthday and then Marlie calling us when she celebrated her special day. Chris, Marlie, and I also texted a couple times during the weekend. I always think of Chris, his wife, and his kids while we are at Disney World. It's just such a special place and I relived so many moments from our January trip. That's the power of family and there's no where on earth where it's stronger than at Disney World.
Now I just have to get through the summer and I'll be back at my Laughing Place.
06-09-2012 12:26 PM
Sheri. Lovely report as always. But I don't think I will ever be able to wrap my head around your willingness to drive SO FAR for just a weekend! In a few weeks we are having a 3 day weekend and the drive will be 90 minutes. Really that's my limit for less than 4 days away. I'm glad you can get on your thrill rides again too. That must feel good
Thanks for posting this trip report! I wish I lived close enough to go for a weekend trip... Our 5 1/2 hour flight makes it difficult for that... My son and I were there in May as well, and I found it way to hot, but I'm a Seattle whimp!!! I had been to WDW before, but that was before AK. I loved Expedition Everest, and I've decided that this is my absolute favorite rollercoaster. I read your January trip report too, but didn't comment. It's fun to see how different trips can be...
sheri thanks again for mentioning our men & women in uniform. please remember "they gave up all of their tomorrows for OUR TODAYS " . it has been very hot so far but the much needed rains have cooled thing down this summer. flyers need a goalie BAD
I guess the driving things is just what you are used to. I see you are from the UK and I was curious to compare your country's size to just my state of Georgia. The UK is 94,060 square miles while Georgia is 59,425 and that's just one state over here. Then I looked to see what the Atlanta metro area (which we are a part of) was and it's 8,376 square miles which is about the same size as our state of Massachusetts. So we are very used to driving distances. Rich's one way commute every day to work is slightly over an hour. It's just a fact of life in our country and especially in this area.
Originally Posted by scoobydooby
And we have the drive down pat now. We do two hour chunks and then stop for a break.
Yes, it was great to be able to do the thrill rides again. The first time I did one, I was nervous but I've never had any pain in the neck area, even right after the accident. I'm just darn glad I asked the doctor about it.
Yeah, flying 5-1/2 hours for a day and a half doesn't sound like a relaxing trip! I love Expedition Everest - it's a must do for me these days. I'm still trying to decide if that, Twilight Zone, or Splash Mountain is my favorite attraction.
Originally Posted by betsyrina
The military has had an effect on my family quite a bit. Rich served for 12 years and my sister and nephew are serving right now (she in the Air Force Reserves and he recently joined the Marines).
Originally Posted by relaaxedwheniamthere
Flyers need something. Getting tired of having to watch my husband's team of the Washington Capitals in the playoffs.
They are all great! I think I would rank them Splash, EE, and then a few other things and then Tower of Terror... And let me echo "relaxedwhenimthere"'s thank you for mentioning the real purpose of Memorial Day! It's so important to honor those who have served our country.
Originally Posted by disnut8
Thanks so much for another wonderful trip report. I love how you and Rich travel.
The older I get the more I seem to not care for the big thrill rides. I still ride them - of course - but maybe only once. So glad you got to ride them again in your happy place.
Just one note about Art of Animation. It is mostly suites, but The Little Mermaid section will be standard rooms just like Pop or All Stars. Looking forward to staying there in November myself.
Thanks for another great report!!
Yeah, I know Art of Animation will have standard rooms and I did check it out for our Thanksgiving trip. But, it's more expensive than All Stars or Pop Century. So I will wait until the prices come down or, if they don't, just alternate between the other values.
This is a treat. I just got done reading all of your trip reports from 2010 thru the great family trip of 2012 and here is another one.
After not having been to WDW since January of 2009, reading yours, Heidi's and Steve's reports are what keeps my fix alive.
Although it is still 9 months away, it looks like 3 trips next year. (Slap me I must be dreaming).
Until then Sheri, I will live vicariously through my holy trinity.
Sheri, thanks for another great report. The psycho squirrel mom story was pretty infuriating, but I'm glad you actually speak up when guests do something to annoy you, unlike me who will just sit there and stew and get mad.
So for my next trip this Fall, I'll have a rental car for the first time in several years. Can you give me the short list of your favorite offsite restaurants? I'm already thinking Flippers, but need some more ideas that are not nationwide chains I can get in CA. Thanks!
Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen!
Loved your report as always, Sheri!
DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013
Self-proclaimed Diz nut
MousePad Community Leader
Another great trip! Hey, if I lived within 12 hours, I'd be going EVERY time I could!!!
Working hard for that next WDW trip! December 2013