Time of Year: Fall
Travel Method: Personal Car, Rental Car
Resort: DL, Offsite
Ages Represented in Group: Elementary, Adult
WDW Experience Represented in Group: Rookie
Comments: Kathy, Jeff, and Stephen spent several days in the Orlando area. If you're planning to visit the area on a budget, this is the trip report for you. The family did a bunch of things to stretch their dollars...and had a great time in the parks.
Oct 3-9, 1998
The crew of this adventure:
Kathy- late 20 something and planner
Jeff-late 20 something & in dire need of a vacation
Stephen-Stephen 8 yr, first vacation
Planning took roughly 352 days. I read ALL the books and when we got our webtv, I found RADP & dozens of other helpful sites. We had 2 packages: 1/2 price hotel club at Bestwestern I-Drive for 2 nights and Alamo car, and the Magic card deal for the NikkiBird (HW 192) for 4 nights. Both costing $200 each. (w/o tax for NB, but it was only $14.07) The 1/2 price was a pain. It took 4 phone calls to get it right. Things like just not being correct when we got the print out, to the car only being for 3 days. (It was fixed at no additional charge) Finally, everyone here raved about DxL. So I decided to change a NB night to stay at DxL for $132.09. I was the only one of us who knew. 4 day value passes were purchased early April to avoid the price hike of AK. I liked the fact of the wild card day. ($142 adult/$113 child) HHN at USF (combo ticket) were purchased when they went on sale in Aug.( $61 adult/$50 child) second day is still going on, too. Air thru Delta last Nov. for $184. TOTAL before we even left: $1605.09
I feel we got some really good deals. We did end up paying regular price for some things, but this is a vacation and you can't get something for nothing all of the time. What we did pay full price for, (DxL) we felt it was worth every penny!
That said and done, On With The Show..... We left home Friday night for Indy ( about 2 hr drive) Motel 6 was the cheapest I could find at $44. Paper thin walls, but renovated. Oh well, up at 5:20 for a 7am flight. 10:20 arrival turned into a 10:00 arrival. Oh good, maybe we will get a jump on the Alamo lines. When we got to the atrium, Stephen eyes were huge. "It's soooo beautiful!" The shuttle was very helpful with the bags.I was WRONG about getting a jump on the lines! 6 rows of zig-zag lines! Jeff was waiting outside with Stephen. I did not even think about his license. A very nice woman sent her brother to find him. (not hard at 6'1, 198lbs., looong hair, and a harley hat) Found him and upgraded to a Cultass for $35. Off to I-Drive to drop off the bags. Oops, went the wrong way on I-Drive. I thought it wasn't as pretty as I remembered. Ok, we found the Best Western. After a 35 min. check in ( Yes, they are incredibly slow!) I opted to wait for a poolside room. They stowed our bags, we ate at Ponderosa. I like ours much better. Bigger selection, half the price, both have terrible steak. But kids eat free, and if you stick to the "bar", it's ok. Off to USF! Jeff and I love this park. (although we have never been to MGM) We do the no-wait lines from 2:00-5:30. At 5:30we ate at Monster Cafe.Yiiipeee! I love this place! 1313 Mockingbird Ln, the castle, the dungeon, an alien room.(go figure) I'm still singing " Be my Frankenstein" (Alice Cooper) and doing the Timewarp!( Rocky Horror) Great broccoli and cheese soup in a HUGE bowl, 2 personal pizzas, choc milk, and a drink refill for $18. The drink refill was in a twister bottle we bought for $5.50 earlier. At $1.65 a refill, it turned out to be a great deal. (yes, you can share) They also have 1/2 yards of beer for $10, $4.50 refills. They hold 2 cans of beer we found out when we got home. At 6:30 we started our rides again. Kong was open the whole time. There were creatures walking the streets. Skateboarders from hell, zombies, and chainsaw lunatics. The only thing the scared Stephen was an evil clown. I was starting to worry that we might have to leave. An "exec" told him they were not allowed to touch the kids and we just told him to say "boo" and it worked. Ok, now for Jaws in the dark. My ears must still have been plugged from the plane, because I didn't here the guide say no taping. I taped the whole ride and he didn't say anything to me.( we were in the first row of seats behind him) I started to get into the party mood saying I wanted to see the shark. He played like we were just going on a boat tour and had no clue about a shark. I acted like I was disappointed we would not see a shark. (bottom lip sticking out) After the ride I decided since I got "mouthy" about seeing the shark and had not had a drink( So, I was suckered into being embarrassed) It was time for me to have one. Jeff refilled his 1/2 yard and got me an absolute and soda. 12 oz glass was only $5. ( and only half of it was soda. No watered down drinks here) I got another strand of beads to add to my Mardi Gras collection. We took in the Kiss band. (My family are not dancers, so I danced alone) We saw the parade. Very short.( maybe 6 floats) Nothing like Mardi Gras, except the beads and coins. Around midnight we headed to the hotel and were asleep by 12:30.
Note: I am not a lush, and I rarely drink around our son. I did find that Absolute and soda make a great poolside drink, though. For anyone about to flame me, I only had one a day! Ok, 2 on Monday, but the second was an after dinner Bloody Mary.
Sunday we slept in 'til 9:00. Headed to WL for our 12:30 ps at WCC around 11:30. We've never been on property, so we gave ourselves plenty of time to get there. What a beautiful place! I got a refillable mug ( One of many!!!) and we took the self tour of the grounds. Jeff really liked it here. We walked out to the pool and took lots of landscape pictures. This is what I want our house to look like! (the feel is here, but the size and money come no where close to WL) Then off to Ocala to Don Garlitz. About an hour drive with $2.50 in tolls. There are lots of amusing billboards along the way. Jeffs favorite was the "nude girls", Then on the corner of the sign: eat here. If this offened anyone, I'm sorry. We got a good laugh out of it, though. Don Garltz has 2 buildings. One is a museum of racing cars, and the other is of antique cars. ($10 adult/$6 child for both buildings) Jeff swears DG was squealing the tires out front when we got there. 2 houses that we saw reside on the property with the attraction buildings, who knows. If you like drag racing or old cars, you coud spend the day here! 60 or more antiques dating from 1920 to 1960. (one FBI special make) There were 3 rooms for the race cars, 1 just for the motors. All in all, it was pretty interesting. After we got back to Orlando, we tried to go to Character Warehouse. 6:19, lots of cars still in the parking lot, but a woman said they were closed. Went back to the hotel and walked the south end of I-Drive. (This, is a ritual) On the way to FAO, we saw a camel standing on the sidewalk infront of the animal show place. (next to Race Rock) Point Orlando is a neat place. FAO is huge. 2 or 3 story Ragady Ann doll sitting out front.The store is well organzed. They will ship purchases for $9.99. ( alittle steap I thought) Darth Vadar, C3PO<and other animatronics are in the store, along with a pit to play with remote controle cars....Umm, test out remote controle cars. Nice selection of Thomas the Tank Engine merch. I expected the candy store to be bigger, though. ALL candy is $7.49 lb. ($3.99 half lb.) Bought a shirt with the FAO blocks on them and weird colored M&Ms for $13. We walked back up I-Drive to Pirates Cove minigolf, had a dollar off coupon, but the clerk gave us a better discount. Stephen ended up being free ($14 total, I think) (watch out for the cave... the ball IS going in the water!!) We walked across the street to Friendly's for takeout and across the parking lot to the room to change for the pool. (holding off on the food for now.) Down to the pool for what is to become our nightly swim. Just couldn't resist an absolute and soda for me and a beer for Jeff. 30 min. later we eat and go to bed.
Note: This is the day I had been waiting for, my day of surprises!
Jeff was up before the alarm at 8:00. We packed the car and checked out at 9:45. Two min. later (yes, 2 min.) we were off to DxL and PO in search of pressed pennies (so they think) before our 11:00ps at RF. At DxL we get our pennies and get in a line. Surprise!!!! (small grin comes across Jeffs face, I learned that this is a good thing. a small grin is just as good as an ear to ear smile) I had said something about wanting to stay here while we pressed our pennies. Our room is ready...#2543 (not renovated, but it's just fine) 2nd floor, smoking. This was my forth request, so we got what I had asked for. No parking lot view, pool 50 steps away, and no increase in the price for wooded view.We throw the bags in the room, quick tour, and we're off to RF in DD. Neat place that concrete jungle. Michelle was our server. She was very informative and personable. We started with the sampler app. Very good choice. The coconut chicken was good, but I loved the Chim-chim(or chi-chi,or cham-cham, you get the point I hope. I can't remember the spelling, but the taste was great.) It was this eggroll thing with southwest filling you dip in salsa. This is worth the two hr. drive to the nearest RF for me. $60 (including the $10 tip) and two hours later we shopped around, went to the lego store (outside only) and the Disney store. Stephen fannypack was not big enough for his wallet, so we got him an adult one. It is black leather with MM head on the front for $16. That is the going price for the fannypacks. He can use it this summer golfing, and I can use it when we go to the zoo. Drove back to the room and changed to go swimming around 2:00. I liked the pool. Plenty of shallow water (around 3 1/2 ft.) for the kids to play in one area, and 5 1/2 ft. in another area. I went down the slide first to see if Stephen could go down. There was quite an undertow, so we desided against it. There was plenty for him to do, though. Jeff went to the pool bar for a beer and.... an absolute and soda for me. ($9.50 + 2.50 tip) then it was off to the boat for PO around 3:00. Bob was our driver. He lived in Leo for 8 yrs. Leo is about 10 miles from our house.( Everyone in unison.....It's a small world after...) We thought it was kinda cool. We loved Dabloon Lagoon alot!!! Much livelier(sp) in the color scheme. A little busier,too. Stephen rented an alligator float for $5 hr. BTW, the undertow is not that bad here, plus the parents were putting their kids between their legs. I did not see this at DxL so I did not try it there. Stephen loved it!Everytime he sees the video, he can say "I did that!" I took lots of pictures of the area. (building 5, the Sassagoula...umm, is that right?, and the gators out front, too) I got my refillable mug (3 from WDW so far) and a shirt for Stephen. He needed it for the Cub's Den. I didn't want to go back to the room for just a shirt. (kind of a hike for one thing) We took the boat back, and drove to WL to drop Stephen off at the CD.Surprise!!!!!We were the first one's there. Got the beeper and back to the room to relax. We got dressed and picked Stephen up at 8:00 for an 8:15 ressie at Gullivers. Is this place hard to find because we are new, or is it because they are not Disney owned? The Swan is a big convention resort. If you want to know what is going on, go to Epcot. If you just want to here 10 different languages as you walk down a hallway, try this place. I felt terrible walking thru peoples "meetings". They were sitting on the couches with their charts holding the meeting of the hour. Very strange to me. Anyway, we were seated by the windows with a 5 ft wall for our view. (for us smokers I guess) Timon and Rafiki were great. Video and pictures from the time we got there until 10:00. (is anyone catching the fact it took us 2 hours at the sit down places?) Rafiki harrassed the manager STEPHEN and walked around with plate covers for MM ears. We had the prime rib, garlic mash, 3 beers, bloody mary, and a kids drink. Stephen ate at the CD. $74.04 - 50(coupon) + $23 tip. Well, it was late, and I didn't feel too bad about not using the pool by our building. Next time. I did feel bad, because my last surprise did not come thru. I wanted to see the Electric Water Pagent at WL. Oh well, maybe next time.
(Tues. our first WDW park) We were awakened by MM at 7:15 on the phone. Stephen knows it's a recording, and figures MM is like Santa...he has alot of "helpers". I am dreading leaving DxL. I want to live here! We pack the car and drive thru MGMs gates with our DxL parking pass at no charge. How can they read the dates that far away? We are about the 20th car here, and park behind the CM lot.(mystery?) We are 4 families away from the gate. YEAH! 8:30 we make a beeline for TOT only after a rational (yea right!) conversation with Jeff if he wanted to do it. I finally told him if he did not say the word NO, it ment yes! (shoulder shrug, I don't know, and yes = yes...no = no) They walked us to TOT. I like this. There is no standing for 25 min. only to lose your place when the rest of the crowd sprints to the ride. (from what I here) TOT and our house have something in common. The Dust! On a stagnet summer day, the traffic kicks that stuff up and covers our livingroom. I'll remember TOT every time I dust now. Stephen and I take the chicken exit and wait for Jeff. Ear to ear grin as he comes into the "room" with the monitors where we are waiting.They gave him the 3 drops and he just loved this ride! We mess around in the gift shop. I adore the Bates motel stuff at USF, and just have to start a new towel collection from TOT. Jeff gets a shirt and postcard, and Stephen gets an autograph book. We wondered into the Muppets, and I got a headache from the movie and glasses. There was a fuzzy spot right of center. I kept taking off the glasses to look for a smudge, nothing. Jeff said the same thing. Very entertaining show. I grew up on the muppets and loved the antics. ( Sit in the back or you'll miss the effects) Star Tours que was good, so was PeeWee's voice, but I was not visually fooled. No better than Hanna Barbera, and it's a kiddy ride. I was very upset that Roger Rabbit is now Goosebumps. I read about the RR store and thought it would be great. I'm not impressed with the change. We took the Back Lot tour. They are setting up for XMas now. Sit up front on this ride or you'll be confused about where things are, and who's house is who's. Around 11:00 we went to Pizza Planet. Stephen and I went in while Jeff went back to TOT to see if a missing bag was there. (this is not the begining of a wonderful day. Jeff and I NEVER argue,[ remember the yes=yes thing?] , we realize we are missing a bag when we see Kermit and Miss Piggy [no autograph book], and RR is gone) Jeff returned 20-30 min later. We have his pizza waiting for him since we have eatten already. Jeff said there was no package to be found, but the store replaced the missing items with out a second to lose. (I figured it was just gone) Disney Magic kicks in!!! (almost As Jeff eats, we see one of those lovely red cockroaches on the bricks behind his chair. It had white dots all over it. YUCK!! But, since we are outside, I can deal with it. So it's an exhibit that WDW got for free. That doesn't mean it is better or worse than the rest <G> We took in the 11:45 Indy show. I forgot about the well. More elaborate than USF. Jeff really liked it. We left to check in at the Nikki Bird around 12:30. Thru the bags in the room, and back by 1:15. We made great time! We took in mermaid and the parade. We found a great spot for the parade. Sat on Sid's stone wall until just before the start. There was a CM from TOT rope drop with a gong. If you could make a pretty sound, he gave you a fan. Before the parade, we talked to CM Trent from Columbus Indiana. He helped open the Disney store here in Ft. Wayne. We talked for about 30 min. He made our name badges for us. Stephen says "I Love MM" and mine says " CM Wannabe". If you don't see your name, ask! They will make it fior you, and print whatever you like under your name. Walked around, shopped, found characters, and hit more rides until 6:30. I had made ps for Sci-Fi at 7:30, but the others were getting hungry. No wait, but they were busy. Stephen asked his first question of the trip. ( to someone other than us)"Why are you wearing skates?" Stephen thought it was funny. He had chicken, Jeff had this huge burger with white cheese and bbq sauce. He loved it! They must be trying harder on the food here. Lots of people like their food now. I had dessert for the first time this week. CC cookie with icecream. (the monster?) Just remember that the cookies have nuts in them! I didn't know this and my tastebuds were not ready for it. MGM was closed now, so we went back to the NB to swim. All in all, I still like USF better. MGM, IMHO, needs a lot of updating. It just felt like it was "old". USF 3-D never gave me a headache and their streets don"t dead end. The streets are also much wider. Maybe I just felt too closed in? This is not a park we would spend an entire day in again. Maybe a hopper of LOS would be better. That way we could go somewhere else after we did the few things we liked and had missed this trip.
MK HERE WE COME!!! Up at 7:15, we want to be there for rope drop dontchaknow. At 8:30 the monorails start running. I thought we would wait at the gates. This is fine. A band helps open the monorails by playing a countdown. We're off!!!! We get to the castle and it is full already. Wait, there is a gap, and another, and another. 4th row back. Yiiipppeee!!! Fanatasy Land here we come. One note here, You can't understand the opening announcement in the castle. They walk us to Dumbo, but Stephen an I lose Jeff in the rush.(I don't think he was too happy. He got hit, literally, by the stroller bragade. I did manage to motion to him to go t the exit) 5th in line. Got the picture of Stephen and jumped in. That out of the way, we head for Splash MT.There was a CM standing by the right side, so everyone was going left. After we saw people going straight to the bend in the cave on the right, we followed. Stephen was scared after we were on. Too bad kiddo, can't get off now. I thought the first drop was worse than the big one. (stomach wise) Stephen liked everything but the big drop. (only because he knew how high up it was.) BTMRR was next with a 5 min. wait.Stephen loves trains, so he would have rode if it went into a firey pit never to return. Jeff and I thought it was a "fun" rollercoaster. HM about 7 min. we had to wait for the doors to open and we're in.This ride is great! I really like the horror genre. No gore, but spooky. We were told the ring is by the trash can as you exit. If that was it, the ring looked more like the hole where a gate would latch. ( but there are no gates) We had a good time looking for it, though. 1 hour wait for MM, so we looked around and took pictures of MM crops. We rode Barnstormer with no wait. We thought it was rougher than BTMRR. I got a head on shot of MM mailbox. It turned out great. Space Mt had a 40 min wait. We'll come back later. Walked past AE and noticed a very short line. 10 min. Baby Swap time! Jeff had a huge soda, so I went first. Jeff thought it was cheesey, I liked it. If we hadn't been telling Stephen this is Disney, the rides won't hurt you, I could have gotten into it more. There was too much "dark" for Stephen.We saw the Buzz ride, but didn't know it was open until later. 11:00 we ate at Cosmic Rays. Just remember the "hotdog" is actually sausage and you'll be fine. It was really good. 2 hotdog meals, 2 lg cokes, a kid's meal and choc milk for $18 was not bad at all. Pirates was next. Very good "show" ride. Lots of detail. I don't understand why WDW wants to be PC! It isn't like they can change the past! This is where a big chunk of our bank account went. I found a blue tank with MM,Goofy,Pluto,and Donald on it I just had to have. I don't know why,I just did. (I did get comments on it for the rest of the day.) Jeff found a pirate tank and other stuff. $58 total for us. Stephen bought a hat and hook for Halloween. We shopped our way to the lockers and a CM in the expensive athletics shop told us Buzz was open. Next stop SM for Jeff and Buzz for Stephen and me. We stopped at Mrs. Potts for a drink first and realized the parade would be over soon. Ok, another "just remember": milkshakes are really frosty's.(for those of you with a Wendy's near by) We found the best deal in WDW (next to the refil. mugs deal) Mrs, P has "milkshakes" for $2.10 (we were charged 2.25+ tax though) about 10 oz. It comes in a suv. plastic glass that has the castle on it! We make a beeline for Tommorrow land now.Buzz is realy neat! The place is done in dayglo colors. You get in the topless "doombuggy" ship the same way as the HM. (same principal, the ship goes 360 degees like the doombuggies) You shoot at the "Z"s and rack up points. Unfortunately at 3:15ish on Wed, the 7th, the ride broke down, not once, but twice. It will be great once the bugs are worked out. Stephen only had 100 pts., but had a blast getting them! We met up with Jeff and took the train to Toontown. I thought the train was just a point A to point B ride. There is quite alot to see. 1 1/2 hrs to MM. We'l come back as the last thing. Back to Front. land. I found 2 $20 candles that have a good home in Indiana now. Stephen and Jeff found the shootin arcade. They liked that the targets moved when hit. MM again and no luck! Oh well, Stephen didn't know what was there. Back to SplM and BTMRR for our last rides. Stephen was ok now. We shopped our way down Main St. and saw MM in the square. "Sorry mam, MMs been here all afternoon, this family is the last of the night." ( this CM was ready to go home!) Stephen cried HARD! I felt horrible! I was hoping the CM would take pity. No luck. We waited till MM left and waved. Back to the hotel and called CRO to try to get into Chef Mickey's. Anytime will do, I'll lose a day of our vacation so Stephen can meet MM! 20 min was not what I had expected, though. Tommorrow? 7:30am or 7:30 pm. that's it. PM is fine ,thankyou, thankyou, thankyou! I felt alittle better now. Stephen didn't have a clue incase MM suddely came down with the Quadalahara Flu.
This was our Nick day at USF. Used our 2nd day free AND early entry to do BTTF and ET. Stopped for breakfast at Beverlyhills Boulangerie. I think this was one of the best places we ate at. (surprised me) For about $5 you get a sub type sandwich, awsome red potato salad, muskmelon wedge, and more fruit. My throat had been killing me for the last couple of days, so the salad and fruit hit the spot! (We thought is was the air conditioner leaking into our room, only to find out now it was the plane ride and the cabin pressure.) The Nick buildng is huge from the outside. I guess it is all soundstages that you don"t get to see on the tour. We saw two of them, sat thru a mock game show for the kids, and talked to a guy who "works" in the gack labs. (can you sneeze and say "bs" at the same time?) I was not happy with the place. Stephen thought it was great, though. Then we tried to see the stunt show and missed the begining for the second year in a row! I felt bad, because it is one of Jeffs favorite things. I did manage to get a great shot of a guy falling off of a building in midair. We saw Hitch again. This is one of the best 3-Ds I've seen. Spent another chunk of our bank account here and then we left. Belz Mall here we come! They had lots of gingham dresses for about $15. (size S and M only) Not my size, I need a L or the top doesn't button. Oh well. Bought a MM "gloves, shorts, and shoes" shirt for 7.99, sweatshirt 14.99, tigger (like the MM) shirt 7.99, 6 golfball set(1997) 8.99, and a child hat for 2.99. All hats were 2.99! XMas items were out, and they had lots of silver frames cheap. ($2-5) Ran down to a luggage store to buy a cheap piece to take everything home in. I didn't feel too bad, because we only own a lg. weeled Marlboro duffle. We had to borrow from my Mom for the rest. It goes from a carryon to unzip 2Xs becoming a large duffle. (As large as Jeffs old navy sea bag. It was only $30! Not too bad.) Next we try HOB for lunch. Very quiet around 2pm. It is a really neat place! Blues artists on the ceiling with their DOB. The middle is set up like a temple (steapled ceiling with wood beams) with the stage as the "alter".The bar is a "shrine" to the Blues Bros." The motto: Help Ever, Hurt Never. The name is: BB Blues Bar; in memory of Jake Blues- Rest In Party. I loved this place. I kept expecting Dan to come out of the kitchen and to here John sitting at the bar asking for one, two,three more bottles of beer. Jeff needed to see if they had pitchers of beer, though. At $4 a glass it got expensive. (we're talking $16 worth of beer here, well...we are on vacation) 2 hrs. later, we try to get into Water Mania on 192. We got free passes with one of our packages. They were closing at 5:00, so we opted for the hotel pool instead. We'll try tommorow if we can find time. Later we got ready for Chef Mickey's. 7 minutes after leaving the NikkiBird we were at the Contemporary. After checking in on the 4th floor, I decided I do not care for this resort. Too many sharp angles and hard surfaces. I like "comfy". Jeff liked it though. I did not expect Chef Ms to be in the open. (or WCC at WL for that matter.) We were seated in the back room, though. PS for 7:30, we got there at 6:40 and were seated at 7:40. That's ok, I found a great "icecream" drink that tasted like a banana split for $5.50. (in a double tulip glass) Those drinks, that size run $8.50 here in town! We watched the pool, marina, and boats until our table was ready. For those of you who don't know this already, this is the character greeting of the century! MM,Min M, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Chip, and Dale are here. Donald kept to himself up front but the rest visited our table. Stephen finally got to meet MM. This made up for last night. I felt much better. Lots of peel and eat shrimp, primerib,salad, and kiddie food area. OH, Wait...... The dessert table! Choc. cheese cake with MM in it, petite fours (mini cakes), reg cheese cake with fruit toppings, and fruit for days! (three tiers of fruit alone) Lets not forget the 7 tubes of toppings for your icecream! (soft serve kind) And the guy who will show you how to turn a cupcake into MM in less than 10 seconds! 2 adults and 1 child was $54+ 8 tip. OK, this is for the parents: when you see kids flinging their napkins around in the air, it's OK. (I was waiting for the "beatings to begin" when I first saw this, until the music started and then I understood.) We finished around 9:00 and had time to get to WL for the EWP at 9:35. Very interesting. I liked the serpant the best. Jeff liked the fact WL had a beach, too. ( think he liked this place alot!) EWP was something I had planned for Monday, but Gulliver's took too long. I was really glad we got to see it. Back to NB and straight to bed.
We slept in today until around 9:00. We have a late check out at 1:00, so we have time to go to Water Mania. There were a couple of Brazillion groups there. (40+ people) The attendants don't like them very much. Too many people that clog up the lines, and they don't understand the instructions. They end up landing on each other and get hurt. ( guess it is too hard to sue from Brazil, which is probably a good thing!) Stephen liked the ship and the wave pool. Jeff did all the waterslides (paying for it for the next week when he sat down) I did the flumes, single, family, and double with Jeff. Ok place, but I was glad it was free. (except for that $4 they get you for to park! You've been warned) Back to the Nikki Bird and checked out around noon. (we are early) and off to Cape Canaveral. (less than $3 in tolls straight down 528) When you think you are there, it is another 15 min. drive making it a full hour. I, unfortunately, don't care for it. Jeff and Stephen liked the exibits in the Gallery. Jeff liked the rocket engines, too. Then off to Cocoa Beach,home for me! Boy, has it changed. Looked for Herbie K's, but we could not find it. (gone?) Beachbowl, gone. Brassie's, gone! (Now it's a post office) Most of the homes let the plants take over, even the house I used to live in! This is no longer my "home". Denny's ceiling fell onto our table. (I'm not kidding!) Don't eat there!!!! We went to the beach. There were jellyfish all over the beach. ( from Georges?) One was 3 ft across, it was HUGE! Around 5:45 we headed to Alamo to return the car. Car return was a snap, and they didn't rush us like Budget did last year. We got to the airport around 7:00. Delta's personel was disgruntled about something, and we could not check in until 8:05. Why do we have to be there an hour early when they are not ready? (just a question) Oh well, went to both Disney stores. Stephen bought a lime green MM embroidered shirt for 12.99 for "his Jean", my Mom.(marked down about 50%) He has a limegreen Nick shirt, so they can match colors when they golf. The flight to Indy was boring. We thought we had a screamer infront of us, but he went to sleep. (so did Stephen and I) We met my cousin at TGIF on 38th street for dinner, and drove home. We were at our door 30 min. earlier than I planned. (Boo-Hoo)
Things forgotten and points of interest:
First off, I forgot about the MK passport. They have them in all the shops. I guess they are like the ones in Epcot.
HHN at USF is great. Pay the extra $17 to stay the night. (2nd day free is still going on)We were told nights don't get busy until the end of the month. We walked onto all of the rides. That alone was worth the extra money.
WCC at WL seems to be livelier at night. (At least there was more noise when we were there for EWP)
Don Garlitz is a must for any drag racing fan. They have an annual pass for $5 more than the regular ticket. You could easily spend the day.
DxL is great. From the landscaping to the amenities. Nice places to eat, boat launch, bikes,multi pools. I didn't think I'd like PO, but after wandering from the pool to the food court, the place started to grow on me. I really liked the streets and the pool. My Mom loved the place, just from the pictures. Mom-in-law loved DxL from the pictures. I did like the pool bar better at DxL. More of a parrot head feeling. Very relaxing. I felt like getting a little roudier at PO because of the bright colors.
We did not care all that much for MGM. I think I stated my reasons very clearly in my earlier post. I will say, the CMs were more willing to stop and chat longer. Maybe because it was the slow season. I talked to a woman while I looked over 7 rolls of 1 hour developing. She did not care for MGM, either. I was at Target looking for a MM photo album when another woman started looking, too. We struck up a conversation just because of MM. She said she didn't care for MGM for the same reasons. I am starting t see a pattern.
What can I say about MK. We love it! After our 1 1/2 hour camando touring, we found it to be very relaxing there. No real crowds. Lots of corridores to avoid the people who were there. For some reason I exected dirt streets in Frontier land. I was not disappointed it was not that way. Buzz should be great when they get the bugs worked out. I felt the Barnstormer was rough compared to SplM.
Re-entry at MGM- we left to check into the NB. We had to run our passes thru the machine again. We have value passes. I hope we still have our 2days left. They told us it would not use our "wild card" day if we entered the same park twice in one day. I guess we will have to wait and see. I was very leery about the whole ordeal.
Character Warehouse is definately worth a visit if you buy shirts to remember your trips. Most Ts were $7-10.
If your in need of a character fix, Chef Mickeys is the place.
A note about the Disney roadways. The signs were very easy for ME to follow. I can't read a map to save my life and I was able to navigete by the signs for hubby. (ok, I can read a map, its the off ramps I have a problem with.)
If you stay on I-Drive, stay south of Sand Lake rd. Prettier there. The BW was great. Right in the middle of everything. $45 a night is what their sign said. If you go for too long of a walk, take the I-Ride back for .75. (kids free) The walk gets you ready for the parks.<g>
Staying at the NB was great location wise. Just make sure you get a renovated room. There is a free safe you set the combo to, frig, and micro. Large room, 3 pools and hot tubs. We spent a lot of time on proporty, and found it to be an ideal location. (less than 1 min. to world drive)
One of the best suvies (and cheapest) is a single blue MM head shaped coaster I got at DD. Every morning, I get up, get my soda, and set it on the coaster. It reminds me of our trip every morning.
I am now planning our 2nd trip to the World. I am using what I have already learned and things that I have found since we have gotten back. This trip we will spend more time at the resorts just relaxing.