Kaye Leszczynski -- May 2002 -- Walt Disney World (PORR)
- Jim - Husband 33, Frequent
- Kaye - Me 23, Frequent
- Dan - Brother In Law, 44, Infrequent 2 trips to Disneyland, 2 Trips to WDW
- Lodging - Port Orleans Riverside, (POR) Parterre Place
- 05/15/02 - 05/19/02
- Transportation - Plane (Midwest Express), and Rental Car (Budget Ford Ranger)
- Admission - Jim and I - 4 days remaining on 5 day Park Hopper Pass and 1 day remaining on Universal Studios 2 day 2 park passes. Dan 4 day Park Hopper Pass purchased at Disney Store with Disney Club Membership, and buying 2 day 2 park Universal Studios pass at Orlando International Airport.
05/15/02 - Arrived at airport at 1:00 p.m. a couple of hours early, no problems, were seated at the gate within 30 minutes. Left Milwaukee at 3:00, right on time. Arrived Orlando at 6:30 p.m. Shopped at the Disney Store at the airport (a tradition) and Dan purchased Universal Studios, 2 day 2 park passes at the Universal Store. When to get our luggage and timed everything just right, our luggage was just coming out, all of our luggage made it and that's always a good way to start a vacation. Headed next to the Budget Rental counter where we had reserved a Ford Ranger. It was a great deal, total including gas ended up being $178.00 unlimited miles.
Proceeded to POR - short line to check-in however we got the rudest cast member Ive ever come in contact with. Zero personality, when I requested Parterre Place again she asked if I had ever stayed there before. I told her no and she proceeded to ask why I requested that building. I told her this was an adult trip and we were under the impression it was a quieter building further away from the pool, children, etc. She then told me if I wanted to be away from children, I was in the wrong place! (And she wasnt joking) By this point we just wanted to get our key and get out!
The first thing we noticed was that our door needed painting - bad! That was a surprise, Disneys usually on top of things like that. Put a few things away and went back to the main building to get the refillable mugs (got to get those!) filled them up and headed to Downtown Disney.
We started on the West Side picking up the tickets at AMC. We ordered them online for the midnight showing of Star Wars Episode 2. (Jim is a HUGE Star Wars fan and we were thrilled to get to see it at midnight.) Proceeded over to Studio M to get a picture with Mickey. You get a discount with the Disney Club card (which by the way I think is a necessity if you are going to Disney World, with the various discounts you get at World of Disney and restaurants at Disney Downtown its very worth it). There was only one person ahead of us in line. This is a GREAT way to get a very good picture with Mickey and some one on one time with no one getting in your way. Did this last time with no line as well. It seems to either be a secret or just not popular, but I cant imagine why! The prices are reasonable and there are several packages to choose from. Its great to do right away, gets you in the Disney spirit. Theres nothing like seeing Mickey!
Then we were off to my FAVORITE spot at Downtown Disney.. The World of Disney. This is the place that I dream about when we are not at Disney, when I walk in I am always in awe! One thing I did notice this time however, was that other than the 100 years items there was not a lot of new things (coffee mugs, snow globes, candles, stuffed animals, etc) even though its been a year since we were here. We shop buying a stuffed animal (Kaa from the Jungle Book) for Housekeeping to play with (we love coming back from the parks and seeing what they have done!) A few t-shirts, etc $138.00 lighter we head out.
Now over to House of Blues for a very late supper! The food was good as always but after tasting Jims food I wished I had gotten that instead! I had the ribs (very good), Dan had the Elwood (he always has that and loves it) and Jim had the Po Boy (something he hadnt tried before and it was great!) Unfortunately we had to eat pretty fast because we wanted to get into the theater and get situated since it was sold out and we all wanted to be together! An hour later Jims in heaven and the musics coming up for Star Wars Episode 2. Great movie, we all loved it. The parking lot was crazy afterwards but we finally got back to the room around 3:00 a.m. Made a wake up call for a little later than we had originally planned so everyone wouldnt be exhausted and went to bed!
Day 2 - May 16, 2002 Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios
Since this is a Disney site I won't really get into the details of this part of the trip except to say that we had a great time! Feel free to email me if you have any questions about these parks.
This morning was when I started to notice some things about the room that I didn't like. Basically the room just wasn't in the kind of shape that I was accustomed to at Disney. I think it was badly in need of refurbishment so I was disappointed because we had really been looking forward to staying at this resort and I had high hopes about the room. It would make me hesitant to stay at this resort again unless I was assured of getting a recently refurbished room.
We went over to the main building to shop, after a day at Universal Studios where the shopping really isn't too great for me because I save all of my shopping for Disney so I was itching to spend some money! I bought several things including the MGM 100 years pin. (We already had the Magic Kingdom pin) Then on to fill up our refillable mugs and get a snack. Jim had chocolate cake, Dan had German Chocolate Cake and I had the Mickey Rice Krispy Treat on a stick. It was then back to the movie theater for Jim to see Star Wars Ep 2 again. Dan and I rested a while and then rode the boat over to Downtown Disney for some more shopping. The crowd at Rainforest Caf was unbelievable. I've eaten there before and thought even though the atmosphere is neat the food was average at best and can't imagine waiting in the kind of lines there for the food. I had my silhouette done at one of the vendors and her talent was unbelievable. She was done in about 5 minutes and it was great. Total approximately $20.00 including the frame which is an option. Went into some of the smaller shops like 3rs, Art Studio, and the 12 Days of Christmas. Dan bought a Haunted Mansion poster at the art studio. The 12 Days of Christmas' ornaments are incredible. I could have stayed there all day! But on to the BIG ONE - World of Disney. Bought more here, including Balo Bear. Jim wanted to give Housekeeping more to work with! (Today she had made the entire bed with Kaa in the middle, that had to take a good bit of time because the bed was perfect with the snake's head sticking out of the middle!) After shopping at the Marketplace we were getting ready to head to the West Side (Dan's a big fan of the Virgin Mega Store and Guitar Gallery) but it looked like rain so we decided to catch the next boat back. We were in luck - one was getting ready to go and we were the last ones on board. The boat ride is great - very peaceful and much more relaxing then trying to get out of the parking lot. Got back just in time to see the last 15 minutes of the Friends finale! Waited on Jim to get back from the movie and then headed down to the food court. I had pasta and meatballs, Dan had pizza, and Jim had a cold sandwich, jello, and potato salad. The food was good and the walk there and back was very nice. The grounds at POR are beautiful. It was almost 11:30 and time to go to bed, early day tomorrow!
Day 3 - May 17, 2002
Up at 6:30 to get ready for our Priority Seating at 8:10 at Crystal Palace. It's one of our favorite places to eat at Disney. The food is incredible! We miscalculated how long it would take us to get in and get through security and get to Crystal Palace so we were about 15 minutes late. In the morning the monorail stops at the Polynesian and Grand Floridian on the way to the Magic Kingdom, that combined with a small line at the security checkpoint factored in to that.
One new thing I noticed is that they actually check your name with a list to see if you do in fact have a Priority Seating for that morning. We were greeted by a crabby woman who apparently had no time for good mornings or other pleasantries and promptly told us to sit down and wait for our name to be called. 5 minutes later we were in and actually waited for about 10 minutes before our server showed up to take the drink orders. Our server Michael was very strange and the service was not what we had come to expect from several visits there. The food was still good however and Michael had gotten on our nerves so much that we decided to pay cash as opposed to charging to our room as usual just so we wouldn't have to deal with him! I had to go and find him (reading the paper in a corner) to give him the money. ( I always feel uncomfortable just leaving the cash on the table).
No time for rides, we were going to MGM. We had a great parking spot (front row in the parking lot) and we were going to be back tonight so we decided to catch the bus over to MGM. About a 15 minute wait for the bus and then we were off. Got through security quickly and then headed over to the Tower of Terror and Rockin' Roller Coaster. While the guys rode these rides I took the opportunity to shop and take some pictures. There are some great shops on this little "street." One of my favorites is the Villains Store lots of unique things there that you can't find elsewhere in the parks. Great ices at the store right beside them too! Got a drink and went over to the corner where the rides meet to wait for the guys.
After they got back we all headed to Star Tours, the line was long so the guys opted not to ride and we instead headed over to the Tatooine Traders, Jim's favorite. $200.00 later we were on our way over to the Backlot Tour. (We were planning to do The Great Movie Ride next but it was closed for refurbishment) We waited about 20 minutes, and sat through a VERY boring show about Pearl Harbor and since one group went in before we did, we got to see the "movie" TWICE! The Pearl Harbor show that they do at the beginning of the tour with a few of the audience members was neat and then on to the tour. It was time to get on the tram however there was a squirrel that would not get out of the way. He was very tame and unafraid of people. The cast member was doing everything in her power to get him out of the way but he didn't want to move. About 5 minutes later they got the squirrel out of the way we were on our way.
I haven't done this tour since the first time I came to MGM several years ago so I didn't remember much about it. The tour guide was really pushing the movie "Snow Dogs," she probably mentioned it 6 times during the tour. The best part is Catastrophe Canyon and all in all it's a really great ride. We walked through the AFI store and then went over to a nice table in the shade to have some cokes and eat ice cream. We had about 3 1/2 hours until our Priority Seating reservation and couldn't decide what to do. We talked about shopping more, back to the room, etc. Then it dawned on us.. EPCOT! We had previously planned on maybe going on Saturday. During all our many trips we had never been there. We had heard mixed reports and weren't sure that it was really for us. Instead of going back to the room we decided to run through Epcot and get an idea of what was there. I was a woman with a mission.. A kimono! That was the one souvenir that I wanted from Epcot.
So with our minds made up we headed over to the bus stop. The line wasn't very long, but we watched it seemed like every possible bus come and go before the TTC bus showed up. We were one of the first on and got seated, a few minutes later an upset mother got on and began screaming at another passenger (in the back of the bus) for breaking in line. Her husband was trying to quiet her but she would not be silenced she wanted everyone to know how she felt! I know that a long day in the park can make you a little crabby however, people need to relax sometimes. It's wrong to break in line but what's the point in screaming about it on a bus? Enough for my rant about crabby people at the happiest place on earth! We got to TTC and were second in line for the monorail which of course took forever to show up, since we were limited in the time we had. Then the monorail had to do a maintenance thing and went all around Epcot and stopped and started, etc. The ride over to Epcot is very nice, long enough to cool off especially since the monorail was virtually empty.
We got off and headed for World Showcase, quite a walk! We bypassed all of the other countries and headed for Japan the place we all wanted most to shop in. I found a kimono (Yeah!) and better yet it was on sale! We stopped in China and looked around, but didn't buy anything. By this time it was time to start heading for the exit and getting over to the Contemporary for our reservation, we had to switch monorails, etc. I wasn't crazy about Epcot, but to be totally honest we didn't ride anything nor did we see any of the shows so it's not really enough to base the ultimate verdict on Epcot. It's not something that I would necessarily plan a day for on our next vacation but would go if the situation presented itself again as it did today. Dan loved Epcot and can't wait to go back (he's going in September!) and Jim was undecided, he didn't think it was great but wouldn't mind going back and seeing more.
We made it back to TTC and switched over to the resort monorail and headed over to the Contemporary for our Priority Seating reservation at Chef Mickey's. I always miscalculate how much time it will take to get around from one place to another. We were a few minutes late for the reservation, however there was a huge line to check in so it didn't really matter. We checked in after about 10 minutes in line and then went over and had our picture taken, which of course I bought. After three parks in one day we look a little tired but I can never resist these pictures. After a few minutes more we were seated and it was time to eat! The food was great here, especially the parmesan mashed potatoes. We ate lots of food and the guys enjoyed the sundae bar. I was too stuffed from the other food to even make one trip, maybe next time! I thought that the atmosphere was great and the characters spent a good amount of time with everyone even us "big kids."
Now it was time to separate, Dan was going over to the resort and then to Downtown Disney and Jim and I headed over to the Magic Kingdom. The crowds seemed pretty light when we came in that was good since we didn't have a whole lot of time since the park was not open late. We decided to do some of the rides we had never done. It's amazing that we have gone to the Magic Kingdom so many times and there are still things we haven't done yet.
So it was off to Fantasyland first, we rode Snow White Adventures, which we thought was great, then over to Peter Pan's Flight the line was 40 minutes so we took a pass and jumped on It's A Small World. One note, about these rides, there were basically no lines just waiting for the next car however the employees seemed so disinterested. It was like being at Six Flags or a carnival, no hellos or smiles or anything just put you on the ride, you got the impression that they were really ready to go home! This was a big disappointment this trip. We ran into people like that the whole time! Or groups of the cast members at rides just standing around talking to each other and not paying attention to the guests at all. It's a Small World was OK, a little long but my 100 Years of Magic pins were going crazy, they were more interesting to all of the people around us then the ride! The mother in front of us loved them and was telling her kids that she was going to buy them each one after the ride. The pins went off the entire time all different colors and sequences. It was worth the cost of the pins just for that ride!
Then we headed over to the Pirates of the Caribbean, I wasn't crazy about the ride, but Jim liked it a lot. Our time was starting to get limited so we made a bee line over to our favorite ride. The Haunted Mansion. They really need more merchandise for this ride, like a T-SHIRT! The wait was of course "13 minutes" but more like 1 minute. There were very few people in there but still more than E-Ride nights. The ride was great as always, every time I see it I see something I don't remember.
We were so stuffed but tradition ruled and it was over to Casey's for a hot dog. We can't go to the Magic Kingdom without getting one and it was worth it to be miserably full. As always the hot dogs were unbelievable! Jim played the baseball pinball game and then we wandered down the street stopping in some of the shops on our way out of the park. The lines weren't really bad to get out and we headed over for another tradition. We always ride the boat out of the park. It was VERY crowded on the boat and we made our way to the other end to be close to the front when we arrived on the other side.
We went back to our very good parking spot from the morning. It was nice not to have to face the crowds waiting to get on trams. We went to Downtown Disney for a little more shopping and we noticed that they were showing Star Wars Episode 2 on a digital screen. All the shows for the night were sold out but there were still tickets available for the next morning's show. After shopping at the Virgin Megastore we decided to buy tickets for the 10:00 a.m. show, we took a chance and bought Dan a ticket as well just in case he wanted to see it too. Then picked up some frozen lemonade's from a little stand that was great! (It's one of the things I have really missed since I got home!)
Went back to the resort and met up with Dan who had no complaints about the bus transportation that he used to get around while we weren't together. Dan did want to go to see Star Wars on the digital screen so the plans for the morning were set and we all headed to bed.
Saturday May 18, 2002
Woke up around 8:30 and got ready to go to Downtown Disney. We enjoyed seeing the movie again on a digital screen, a great Star Wars/Disney memory. Two of our favorite things! We looked around a little more then headed over to the Boardwalk to look around and eat at ESPN caf. Jim and I hadn't been in a couple of years and Dan had never eaten there so we were looking forward to the food. There were not many people in the restaurant and the service was prompt and the server was very nice. The food was very good, we left stuffed! We headed back over to the hotel and rented one of the canopy boats, the attendants there were very nice and helpful.
It looked cloudy but we took a chance since this was our last full day. Sure enough after about 5 minutes on the water the rain came down hard! Luckily it only lasted about 5 minutes just enough to get us pretty wet for the remainder of our ride. We rode the boat all the way down to Downtown Disney and circled around and came back to the resort. It was a very nice ride, even though Jim was a little uneasy on the water since Dan was driving. J The view of the resort from the water is just great! We jumped back in the truck for a final Downtown Disney shopping trip. I finally bought a new Disney watch, one of the purchases I wanted to make for sure while I was here. Found a great deal on a silver watch with the Disney Club discount I got it for $22.00 and it was regularly $55.00. Nothing like a deal! We decided to eat our last meal at the Food Court of the resort.
Sunday May 19, 2002
We got up to rain this morning and were very thankful that it didn't rain on any of the days we were seeing the parks! After packing up the truck we went around to the front desk so that I could mail a few postcards before we left. It was so crowded that I was VERY thankful for Express Checkout. After mailing the postcards we were on the way to the airport. Watching all of the people at the bus stops in ponchos, I felt so sorry for them, what a dreary way to start a day at Walt Disney World. We were at the airport in no time, (Is it just me or does the trip to the airport go way faster than the trip from the airport to WDW?) and the line for Midwest Express was very short we checked in quickly and were at the security check point. Jim got randomly selected again. We picked up a hot dog and a pretzel to split and got situated at the gate. When it was time to board Jim got randomly selected again while Dan and I boarded the plane. The trip back was uneventful and before we knew it we were in Milwaukee again!
- Definitely buy the Disney Club Card!! It pays for itself at the World of Disney alone, not to mention the park tickets.
- Make sure that you are getting a refurbished room when you check in. It can make a big difference in your experience. It's your money so don't feel embarrassed to ask for the best room available!
- I suggest a rental car. If you shop around it's not hard to find a good deal and I feel like it pays for itself just in convenience and not having to depend on Disney Transportation. Also, its necessary if you plan on visiting sites off property.
- Try Chef Mickey's, great food and great atmosphere!
- Try Crystal Palace, the food is incredible and it's a beautiful restaurant.
Thanks for reading my report. Hope that it may be of some help to you, as the trip reports I read have definitely been to me!