Momo3's WDW Trip Report- August 3-10, 1997
We are from Northern Virginia. This is Momo3's family for the trip: Dado3, pop-pop, Aunty, and kids ages 9, 8, 3.5, and almost 2. Keep in mind as you read, our purpose wasn't to share quality family time, but to manage to survive vacationing together using one car....
We stayed one week at Westgate Lakes Resort time-share owned by pop-pop for the second year. It is a beautifully furnished 3 bedroom condo with 2 huge hot tubs, full kitchen, pool right outside our building, continental breakfast for 4 days, free kid-club, and a 6 mile away view of MK fireworks *L*. Aunt and son flew down. We drove down with pop-pop, and all will share our van for the week.
I did all the planning, and priority seating (PS). We chose to do one major park a year because our kids are young and cannot handle a week of pure Disney, yet. I have to admit I tried to take advantage of as much Disney service as possible, considering we're not staying at a Disney resort (apologies in advance to those who disapprove). I rationalize it by considering that the largest percentage of total dollars spent by Dado and I for this vacation went to Disney, anyway. We stayed at WDW on our honeymoon in 93 with our eldest son, and did it all, then.
We brought most of our food, and replenished at a nearby Publix. Some events took place with all 8 of us, but much of the report doesnt distinguish who was where, exactly.
Sun.- arrive, Whispering Canyon, hidden Mickey hunt, pick up Aunty from airport;
Mon.- Typhoon Lagoon (brought own lunch and dinner, and break for naps);
Tues.- Send kids to Sunnys Club and shop at Disney Village, lunch at Capn Jacks, dinner
at Flying Fish, bike ride on boardwalk;
Wed.- Olivia's for breakfast (pooh, tigger, eeyore);
Thurs.-Cocoa Beach for shuttle launch and swimming, dinner at 1900 Park Fare
Fri.- MGM Studios, TOT, Star Tours, and shows early, lunch at H&V cafeteria, leave
for naps, back for parade, Stunt Show, extraneous rides/shows, dinner @ Pizza Planet;
Sat.- return Aunty to airport, Stormalong Bay, Cape May Caf dinner, pack car;
Sun.- drive home.
Travel/ Arrival/ August 2-3, 1997
This was our first attempt to drive anywhere at night while kids sleep, and it was marvelous!!! It was a 14.5 hour drive according to AAA, and we made it in just that! This good timing allowed us to head for Whispering Canyon earlier than our 6:50 priority seating, but they seated us quickly anyway.
*The valet parking was ideal for us, since we dont mind tipping, and had a stroller and six people to unload. We used it at every resort offering it, and no one ever stopped us to ask for resort ID.*
We were in awe of Wilderness Lodge! No trip report could do it justice! The dinner was extremely fun for pop-pop, and my oldest, since they are very boisterous. It allowed us all to get into the Disney swing of things after the long trip. The Hidden Mickey list was tooo challenging for us, but it got us to look carefully at the theming. The most helpful, occupying activity was the table of Lincoln Logs in the waiting area, as it kept kids busy before AND during dinner. We got the kids into bed in good time, and I headed off to the airport to pick up my sis, and her 8 yr. old.
Day 2, Monday, August 4-
This was Typhoon Lagoon day. Pop-pop slept in. Aunty was startled awake by the Disney info channel, via timer on the big-screen TV, set at high-volume, in the living room sleep-sofa. (which Dado3 didn't reprogram till day 4) (he-he).
We ate a quick breakfast, I packed lunch and we arrived early so we'd get passes and hit shark reef before crowds did. I had to do shark reef by myself, as it turns out everyone else wanted to do the waves. Using our double stroller was great for lugging all the junk.
Before noon we met for lunch (easier said than done with everyone having sooo much fun), then Momo, Dado, and young kids headed back for naps. I warned others I would NOT come get them if a storm hit, so take cover! By 4 pm the storm arrived and closed the water, so they took cover, ate, and waited it out. We arrived back with our own dinner in tow at 5 pm, and the 8 yr old was asleep in a lounge, while Aunty and my oldest were still doing slides, with NO lines. The 3 of them had managed to go on every slide/attraction multiple times!!! We continued our floats on the castaway creek with the little ones, and generally enjoyed ourselves. Those misting lounges look hilarious.We headed out just after 8:00 PM. Later that night, Dado and I escaped to have desert at our resort's restaurant.
Tuesday, August 5, Day 3
We started the day with our complimentary continental breakfast by the pool at our resort. Then, we took oldest 3 to Sunnys Kid Club (free T-shirts too), and Momo, and sis (Aunty) go shopping at Downtown Disney.
I hadn't been there since the DVM in 93, and it had quite a different flavor. I had always avoided the Pantry, but went in for a peek, and couldn't tear myself away! Very Impressive. I love the marina there too. The BIG store was not my cup of tea. We have been to the Rainforest caf in our area, so it was no biggy either. We ate lunch at Capn Jacks where we had mediocre seafood.
We had PS at Flying Fish for 5:30, and ogled the Boardwalk as we walked in. What can I say? Excellent service (at least 2 wait-staff keeping kids corralled as well as serve), excellent food (waiter demanded Dado3 try something new), and a fun atmosphere with just the right touch of sophistication. The scavenger hunt pointed out some of the unique aspects of the decor which me may not have noticed otherwise.
Afterwards, we rented a bike which fit ALL 8 of us(2 wee ones in front basket). We rode for 12 minutes around the boardwalk, viewing what we could in the ensuing chaos . I had my first view of Stormalong! Dado3 was very impressed with BC. The gang fooled around a bit more, and I went off to see the gallery and take a look at Luna park.
That night, back at our resort, I was able to watch MK fireworks (6miles away) from our screened porch.
Wednesday, August 6, Day 4-
We had 7:30 PS for Olivias character breakfast at Old Key West to see Pooh. We had an exciting time getting pictures and hugs, but the baby cried every time a character came near. When 3.5 yr old got too antsy, I gave her band-aids to play with (it always works to keep her in her seat). So when the servers, and eeyore discovered she had Disney band-aids, they each had her put one on, and kiss the boo-boo. Also the character breakfast was a far cry from the one we attended in 93 at the Empress Lilly, thank goodness. No crowds, and plenty of just ok food.
We went home and splashed around in the hot tub, then I drove Aunty and son to Universal for a short day, stopping at Publix for milk, ice cream, diapers on the way home.
During our kid's naps, Dado3 and I drove to ASR, and Coronado Springs. The Pepper Market seemed ingenious, and we peeked in on the closed Mayan. We had no trouble getting through guards when we told them what we were doing. We also did a drive- by of Fantasia golf.
For dinner we picked Aunty up from Universal and went to Fishermans Cove at Westgate, where the service was sooo inferior. We made another early night of it, since the kids wake up at the same early hour no matter HOW late they go to bed!
Thursday, August 7, Day 5
This is launch day!!! Dado3 watches the NASA channel, so he had us psyched for this! There was a lot of traffic getting there, so we made it onto a public beach just in time to see a flame climb the sky, disappear, and the noise to follow. Then it was MORE waves and sand, sunscreen and tanning.
I mistakenly didnt make lunch, so we were at the mercy of the hungry beach crowds, but managed well enough. We walked the little ones, then loaded up to drive back just before a storm hit at 3 pm.
I decided I was not fixing dinner, and made PS for the evening from the car (that will cost a pretty penny from ma-bell). It was Whispering Canyon (for pop-pop to show Aunty), and we tried for Chef Mickey, but had to settle for 1900 Park Fare for 6pm seating, allowing for drop-off times between resorts. On the way to GF, we drove the behind-Magic Kingdom-road, and satisfied my curiosity after hearing other trip reports of this .
The GF lobby was rocking, and we had a blast gawking while I bought our one-day passes at guest services for MGM the next day.
This character dinner's food was indescribably good. Having prime rib in the same arena as pbj could only be done at Disney! We did the band-aid thing again with Minnie, and the organ was a hit! Once again we had at least 2 wait-staff at our beck and call. Afterwards we shopped at GF, where we let the kids pick out souvenirs
We headed back to WL to pick up the-rest-of-us, and headed back to turn in early.
Friday, August 8, Day 6
This was MGM Studios day for all 8 of us, using MY plan of attack. I tried to get the others to tour separately, since they are much slower paced folks than me and mine, but they wanted to stick with us.
We arrived by 8:30, after a cereal breakfast, and were dropped off at the handicap area (while Dado3 parked in the main lot). This gave us time to rent an electric chair because pop has knee problems when he walks all day. The kids found this a great novelty and took turns riding with him! We only used the wheelchair entrances to attractions that looked inaccessible, or where other wheelchairees were dashing for it......
My main goals were to get to TOT, VOTLM, and Star Tours early, eat at Pizza Planet, get autographs from Bucket O' Soldiers, watch the Stunt, HOND, and BATB shows, and see the Hercules parade. We missed Hunchback :-( because the kids were in lines for Woody and Buzz autographs, and there were NO soldiers that we saw. Also, the 3pm parade was sped up at the end, where we were, due to rain (our first time in the poncho parade!). But we did all the rest, and MORE. (Including our midday break for naps from noon to 3pm, back at Westgate).
Lunch at the cafeteria at H&V, as well as PP were horrible, compared to dining experiences we have had at sit-down restaurants. For 20 dollars more (party of 5) we could have rested, and eaten well. We found that fast food at Disney, in general, was way too slow, and not eatable. Even when it seems a lot to spend, dining will always be our preference from now on!
As for the lagging family members...they did strive to keep up. (I am not talking about walking slowly with small kids and wheelchairs, but about meandering rather than doing attractions.) They only got my goat once when they stopped for icecream just before lunch and held us up from doing STours. Also, pop got separated and disoriented exiting the stunt show. It was just before dinner and Dado3 had to hunt him out! ----Good thing its a small park----
Sorcery started just as we loaded up to drive back....................Not a bad view for 8 exhausted people:-)
Sat, August 9, Day 7
We lazed around in the morning, then it was time for Aunty and son to get back to the airport for a 1:30 flight to National. When I got back we lazed around some more, and made a PS at Cape May Cafe for dinner at 6:30. We decided to go early and play at Stormalong beforehand. We knew we would be asked for ID, and the card purchased at the GF for MGM did the trick. We had an immensely happy time there....... It is made for our family of slide, and sand lovers! We did a quick change and headed to Cape May buffet. It was yummy, but toooo crowded to enjoy. Theres nothing more irritating than a line for a buffet. I guess we were spoiled by early seatings at other meals. (Could it be that we were a little grouchy knowing this was our last hurrah for this trip?) We were still into the Disney mood, though, when we gave our oldest 5 bucks to spend on his own at the arcade while we finished eating! I didnt see him complaining! Whoopee!
Well, it was time, then, to head back and pack the car. We planned to leave at midnight again, for the ride home.
Sunday, August 10, Day 8
We didnt exactly get off like clockwork, as we had from home, so it was @1AM when we hit the interstate. We still made it home in less than 15 hours, but were reeeeaaaaal tired at the end, there..... The kids even took naps when we got home!! :-)
So ends another LOVELY Disney Week