FIrst a little history. After many years together, the birth of our first son in Oct 93 and the birth of twin boys in Dec 95 my mother in law offered to watch the kids so my husband and I could take our first vacation together. So in January we started planning. Mexico? No, Rick, my husband, 39 YO and a workaholic, gets bored easily and is not a beach person. Hawaii? No, Rick doesn't care to fly over an ocean. I know, (I being Laurie, a 40 YO stay at home mom) Walt Disney World!!! I had been to Disneyland as a child and to WDW in 89 for a day while I was in Orlando for a miserable 6 weeks at a Navy school so I had little memory of the trip and wanted to go again. I figured we could go now, do the adult stuff and later take the kids. Rick was hesitant ( he figured it was like Six Flags) but with the promise of golf he was willing.
Made reservations in Feb then started reading and looking up web sites and eventually stumbled on RADP. After writing to Brian Bennett, Rita Aero and assorted people, who all kindly wrote back, I changed our reservations 3 times and lengthened the stay. We settled on Wilderness Lodge.
Called 60 days early for golf tee times. Was pleased to learn from the person on the other end that if we were staying on property we could make tee times for as early as 9:00 AM for $45.00. Not bad.
I planned and planned but was afraid to commit. I was afraid I'd choose poorly but after some sage advice from Barb (thanks Barb) I wrote down a rough sketch and make a few priority seatings and calmed down.
Drove the kids down to their grandparents (a 2 hour drive) on Friday. Spent the day getting them settled and dispensing advice then headed back to Arlington (In Texas, between Dallas and Fort Worth) on Saturday morning. Got all set for the trip and since we were childless went to a movie. Stayed up til midnight I was so excited.
Woke up at 3:30 AM. Our ride was coming at 6:00. Oh well, I can sleep later.
Caught our flight on Delta which was almost on time. Arrived at Orlando and got our luggage and found Mears right away. Only 2 people ahead of me then a 5 minute wait for our van. I was feeling lucky! First stop CBR then Disney Insitute. I enjoyed the stops so I could get a glimpse of the hotels. Then on to WL. What a place. When we walked in both Rick and I were amazed. It is the most breathtaking place. Walked right up to the counter. It was 1:00 PM. Our room was ready!! The only hitch was the computer didn't have a record our LOS pass but it only took 5 minutes to clear up. Up to room #5002. Woods view. We could see the lake, the geyser and as we learned later if you leaned over the blacony and looked left you could see the MK fireworks. Went to Roaring Forks and got BBQ sandwiches, which Rick loved, being a Texan this was no small compliment, and our refillable mugs, the best value in WDW. Walked around and saw the boat was there for MK so we hopped on.
So here we are on Main street. It was not that crowded which had been my greatest fear. We went on Dreamflight, Carousel of Progress and TTA with no waits. The best part while walking around was Rick kept saying "This is amazing I had no idea." He likes it!!! Yea!!! Then we went by Alien Encounter. The wait was 20 minutes. I figured it wouldn't get shorter so we got in line. Started noticing all the tour groups. My thought was the girls must hate wearing the same thing as everyone else, Rick's thoughts were the girls sure don't wear much!! During the whole trip we never saw any rude behavior from them, no butting in line and never heard any singing or clapping from them. If it hadn't been for T-shirts and flags they would have blended in like everyone else. Here we had our first chance to talk to people in line. There were 2 Asian boys about 9 YO in front of us with their dads. The boys asked me to guess where they were originaly from I guessed Korea and I was right. Then they asked where they lived now. One of the dads had a t-shirt from Georgia so I guessed Georgia. Right again. Meanwhile one of the dads showed Rick his drivers license with his address. Rick told the boys he could guess their address and when he said it they were totally amazed. We spent the next 20 minutes guessing their favorite tennis shoe, drink, etc, etc. It was fun and made their day.
AE was lots of fun but I sure wouldn't have wanted to take the kids to it. Went to guest relations and got our lithograph and headed back to WL. There was our boat. No wait!!
We had planned to go to Pleasure Island for dinner and the clubs. Rick was starving and we were all set to go (it was 4:00 PM) when I happened to notice something on the table. Pleasure Island was closed till 9:00 PM for a private party. Am I glad I read that! So we went to Whispering Canyon and had a great time and a great dinner. Caught the boat again to MK. We went on Small World, Haunted Mansion and then hit BTTM. It was a 25 minute wait. How hot does the wait get in the middle of the day? It was dark when we waited and we were hot inside. It was a great ride and we loved riding it in the dark. On to the fireworks. We had a great view of Tinkerbell but couldn't see the fireworks.
We quickly went around and saw them. It brought tears to my eyes. I had never seen the fireworks before but it sure reminded me of my childhood, watching them on TV, sunday nights with my mom (who died when I was 12). We then went on Pirates and since the politically correct changes it wasn't nearly as much fun.
We went back to WL and I watched Letterman. I couldn't sleep even after only 3 hours sleep and being up for 20 hours.
Mickey woke us up at 7:00. Went to Roaring Forks for breakfast. It was just okay. One note. WDW only has Coke products for any first timers. Rick almost went crazy with no DR. Pepper for a week. But my drink is Diet COke so I was happy and with my refillable mug I was set. We went out to the valet and got a voucher for a Taxi to Lake Buena Vista. Resort guests are provided transportation to the golf courses. I caught a ride with Rick hoping to be dropped off at DVM. Turns out I really shouldn't have but the guy at the golf course gave the guy another voucher and he took me. I offered to pay but everyone said it was not a problem and was very nice about it. Did some shopping and used my AE discount. Searched for the Ty beannie babies that some people on RADP had mentioned getting but as it turned out none of the places had any more and wouldn't be getting any more so don't bother. The only disney bean bags I saw the whole trip were sebastion and flounder. Bought the 1997 Holiday Barbie at the Mattel store for a friend who every year at christmas goes crazy trying to find one. They had lots. Had a fabulous carrot cake cookie at the bakery. Waited 5 minutes for the bus and went to TTC. Caught the monorail to Contempory in search of beannie babies. The front was full so I sat in the next car. When the people in the front got off I asked if anyone else was waiting.
No!! I hopped in and got my Co-pilots license. Took the boat from Contemporary to WL (which was waiting) and went to the room.
When Rick returned he said golf was great. White sand, beautiful scenery, tees, pencils, etc at every hole. Comfort stations every 3 or 4 holes (bathrooms) and lots of drinking fountains. He didn't shoot well but he had fun. He golfed with a Japanese couple that was staying at the GF for a month. I would love to see their check out bill.
Rick and I Caught the bus to EPCOT and got right on Spaceship Earth. Went on HISTA after a 20 minute wait. That was great. I knew about the mice and it still surprised me. Had a Beaver tail in Canada then walked over to Yachtsman for dinner. I was disappointed. The waiter was so snooty and the steaks were okay. They are bigger and better in Texas!! We are sort of casual people and I didn't feel comfortable there. We then walked around the different worlds, saw the fireworks outside Japan. It was awesome. Then waited for the bus for 20 minutes. Our longest wait. Sat next to a lady who had a baby that looked just like our twins. Showed her a picture and she agreed. Thank goodness the bus was dark. I got very teary eyed missing my kids. It took everything on me not to cry. Got to WL, filled our mugs and off to bed.
Day 3- Tuesday
Wake up to Mickey then on to Whispering Canyon for breakfast. I loved this one.
I'm not a fan of scrambled eggs but theirs were great. Everyone was talking about the plane that hit the monorail. I was on the monorail shortly before it happened. I am so glad I was not stuck on it. We head to MK to experience the Space Mt. Marathon. I learned that the so called short cut in the unofficial guide is no longer valid. I asked a security guard about it and he said they drop that rope 10 minutes after the other one because when the paths converge it was creating quite a scene. We stood there and waited and this was the one time that Rick got frustrated. He thought it was crazy to stand there so when the rope dropped we walked and still had no wait to get on Space Mt. It looked to me that everyone was racing to Alien Encounter. The line was as long for that when we walked past as it was Sun afternoon at 3:00. With the lights up in Space Mt it is definitly a letdown. BTMR was definitly more exciting in the dark of night. Next was Splash Mountain and it was about a 25 minute wait. It was fun and we got wet which was welcome. We then saw the Hall of Presidents.
Oh my gosh. My native Texan husband had a field day. "once again they are saying that war was only over slavery when it was really over states rights" Yada Yada Yada. I've heard it a million times and now everyone in the audience has heard it! We went on the Liberty Square Riverboat to calm him down. At one of the shops in Liberty Square I found the Mickey Mouses that have a birth stone on it. I got 3 for my little boys (for me to wear!) and was very excited about them. When the CM found out we had left the boys at home I thought she was going to have us arrested. She was so disgusted that we even dared go to WDW without them, regardless of their ages. I finally left. To each their own.
We went back to WL and had lunch. Rick had a hamburger. He said the bun was so hard he could barely eat it. I had a Philly Cheese steak sandwich. It was great. We then went swimming and into the Jacuzzi. WL has both a hot and cold jacuzzi. The cold one felt great. Then after naps we were ready to go.
Originally we were going to spend the whole day at MK but since we went there Sunday we went back to EPCOT. Did the living seas. A woman in the elevator kept asking her husband if the elevator really went down. I had to laugh. Then we just wandered around the worlds. Both Rick and I had developed blisters and were not in the mood to do much. So we went back to WL and ate at Whispering Canyon. They sat the huge bear at our table and all the kids were jealous! My husband is a big meat eater and I don't eat a lot of meat but after 2 dinners at Whspering Canyon we were both dying for a big salad with Thousand Island and croutons. The food is good but big platters of meat can get a little tiresome.
The one thing I didn't tire of was the desserts. The first time we had Chocolate Cheesecake and it was to die for. Tonight it was Strawberry Peach Cobbler. If it would have had Blue Bell Ice cream instead of soft serve it would have been perfect. Watched the fireworks from our balcony then off to bed.
Day 4 - Wed.
Rick went golfing at Eagle Pines. Originally I was going to tour the WL but Rick (to my surprise) wanted to go too, so I postponed it. I went to MK to check out the shops a little and the Rice Krispie treats! Then to Epcot to plan a new itinerary for there. Then I went to The Grand Floridian. It is beautiful but I was glad to be at the WL. It did feel just like Newport. I've toured the mansions there and had the same feelings from the GF.
Rick returned from Golf. It turns out if you are golfing more than once they will keep your clubs and ship them to wherever you are golfing next. Rick sure wished someone had told him that on monday. Once again, the course was beautiful. He had met a man at the valet desk at WL that had just arrived that morning. He caught the same taxi and rented clubs and was able to go at the same time as Rick even though he had no tee time. I guess if you are alone it isn't to hard for them to squeeze you in. He also had twins but his were 8 YO.
After showers and naps we headed off to DVM and PI. We looked around a bit then went to the Rainforest Cafe. Some people were being told they would have an hour wait. We were told 10 min but they called our name as we were getting our ticket. We sat in the Gorilla room. The atmosphere was great and so was the food. Quesadillas were great. Rick had the Mojo bones and loved them. I had the Maya Pastalaya. After living 3 years in New Orleans I thought I was used to hot food. I guess TX has dulled my taste buds. It was SPICY. But great!
We walked around PI. I got the PH T-shirt for my flex feature then we caught the first show at Comedy Warehouse. They were great. Very talented.
Club wasn't opening until 9:00 so as we wondered around I saw one of the hair wrap stations. I've always wanted one so I told her to give me one fitting for a 40 YO mom on 3!! $20.00 dollars later we were ready to go. Rick says I look like a biker chick. I figure it will only last until one of my 20 mo old twins gives it a good yank. Adventures club was great fun. When Fletcher Hodges started sing his song about finding the box (clap clap) I knew the words and started singing. Samantha Sterling almost fell off the stage. We were sitting right next to the stage and she heard me and couldn't believe some one knew it.
The rest of the evening she told everyone I was 3 sheets to the wind and to watch out.
Day 5 - Thursday
Slept in then had a quick breakfast at Roaring Forks. Did the tour of WL. It was great, but I was a little sorry I took it. They tell you all the things that are fake and it kindof ruined the illusion. I had already guessed the cricket sounds weren't real (they turn them on at 9:00 PM) but having it confirmed sortof disappointed me. We then took the bus to MGM Disney Studios.
We had priority seating for 1:30 at PTC and it was only noon but we were seated in 5 minutes. Our waitress was kindof dull. Part of the problem was we were her only table in our room and the rest were in another so we couldn't really participate. But we loved watching "mom" whose tables were in our room. She was never out of character. I whispered to Rick if we should show her pictures of her grandkids and she heard me and scolded us for not even telling her we had kids. She was wonderful. As for the food. I'm sorry but we liked it. Rick had the fried chicken but the veggie was green beans which he is not fond of so he convinced me I had to eat them. I had the chicken salad and it was great.
We got our clean plate stickers then ordered dessert. Rick had apple pie and loved it and I had Smores. RIck told Sis he didn't like chocolate. When she brought mine out he took his fork to take a taste and she slapped his hand. Scared him to death and I had to laugh. Rick got the check and signed for it "Richard Johnson." We left and headed over to Indiana Jones. All of a sudden we hear Ricky Ricky. It was "mom" he had left his WL mug on the table and she brought it out to him and gave him a scolding but she did say we could stay out till midnight if we didn't tell our father. The funniest thing about it all was Rick was called Ricky when he was a kid so it really felt like his mom was calling him.
Waited 20 min for Indiana Jones. It was okay. Then to the Backstage tours. The only problem was the wait for the tram (our longest wait of the trip hour) then we were so far back that when the guide said anything it was a 5 minute delay before we were at that point and he would be talking about something else so it got confusing. On to Star Tours. 10 min wait. It was great. I tend to get motion sick but this one didn't bother me at all. Did the great movie ride then walking over to TOT I saw that Beauty and the Beast was going to start. I went to that while Rick did TOT. I did not want to do it.
He said there was no wait at all and really liked the ride except for all the teenage girls screaming. Did Star Tours again with no wait. We saw the Muppet ride next and then it started pouring rain. The only real significant rain our whole trip. We broke down and bought ponchos then went to Pizza Planet. For 2 minute pizza it wasn't bad. We still had 2 hours till the fireworks so we decided to go since it was still raining. Went back to WL and saw the water parade. It was kindof fun. Then up to the room to watch the fireworks and to bed.
Day 6- Friday.
Rick golfed at Magnolia. Was a little intimidated because Tiger Woods name is all over since he won there last year but Rick said it was definitly the best of the 3 he golfed at. I was hoping to meet up with Barb to tour Coronado Springs but left her # at home. So I took the bus and toured Fort Wilderness. The bus driver gave lots of info. He told me all the Wilderness homes are going to be revamped to look like log cabins. When we come back with the kids I want to stay here. I definitely want a kitchen and staying there will be the closest to camping my 3 kids will get. Oh no. I can't believe it I'm already planning my next trip!!!! Then I went to MK and had my picture taken with Pooh, Eyore, Goofy, and Tigger. I had on a shirt with all but Goofy on it so they were all giving me kisses!!! I loved it.
After taking our time we went to the Boardwalk for dinner at the ESPN club.
liked it but the TV remote button at our table didn't work so the waiter had to change the channel for us. For Rick this was unacceptable. I loved watching him being at the mercy of someone with control of the remote. Now he knows how I feel!!
We then decided to go to MK and see Spectromagic. We arrived at 8:00 PM and sat down on the curb right near the beginning of the parade route. It was a great parade. It was also great to be near the exit so we just hussled out when it was over and caught the boat to WL.
Day 7 - Sat
My notes get slim here as I was missing my kids so much I couldn't wait to get home! Express check out was great. We then went to Epcot to see Ellen and Body wars. Both were good. I liked Star Tours better. Saw the making of me and cried when the baby was born. I MISS MY KIDS! Went to Mexico and rode the ride it was nice. We checked on the times for the American Adventure. Decided we would go see Canada have lunch there then go back. Canadas film is great but I have a little complaint about Le Cellier. We were seated right away and our waitress took our order. Rick was having a steak with a salad appitizer and I was going to have the salad also and then have the Cheese soup when Rick had his steak. 30 minutes later my salad arrived and she brought Rick the soup. 30 minutes and it wasn't right. 10 minutes later Rick gets his salad. The food was good and the soup was fabulous but it took over an hour and a half for us to eat. Needless to say we missed The American adventure and were very disappointed. Oh well, next trip. Mears picked us up on time. We got our plane on time and it landed on time. We were home at 8:30 PM. I unpacked, caught up on RADP, read Barbs entry on her kids and cried and cried I MISS MY KIDS. Was up Sunday morning at 4:00 AM left at 5:00 for the 2 hour drive.
Now I'm happy. A week at WDW and I'm with my kids again.
Here are my final thoughts on our trip:
WL is great. Watch out for the wooden bed frames. I knocked my knee into them several times.
Weather was great. Not as hot as TX and about the same humidity. Didn't even rain that much.
Brazilian groups were fine. No rudeness, no pushiness, no singing.
Never saw any parents yelling at their kids and saw only a handful of kids crying. You could tell they were just tired.
We always went to a park the day after EE. I think it worked out great. The crowds were not what I had expected and we had very little waiting time.
Transportation was great. Very little waiting for busses or boats and only stood once when I gave my seat to a little girl that was so tired. The man next to me finally gave his seat to the girls father who tried to give it to me but I just said a little girl needs her father. When he sat down she laid her head in his lap and was asleep in seconds. It made me MISS MY KIDS.
I will never leave my kids for that long again and I will definitly take them to WDW whenever we go and for as long as they want to.
Missed a lot but you can't do everything. The one thing I did notice was after months of reading and planning when we got to the parks I was so overwhelmed I forgot a lot. If it's very important where you stand, sit and go for things take lots of notes with you.
I got 35 pressed pennies which I thought was pretty good since I didn't take a list and didn't look really hard for them.
My husband asked me what I was going to do now that our trip is over. Silly old guy. I'll plan our next trip to WDW with the kids. I already have a bunch of questions I need to ask!!!!
If you've read all this I can't believe it. I never dreamed I'd write this much. We had a great time and it all worked out close to perfect thanks to all you great folks at RADP. If you have any questions and want to E-Mail me feel free to.
TTFN, Laurie Johnson