View Full Version : Darla Rice - December 1997 - Old Key West Resort & Offsite DVC: Vero Beach

Trip Reports
02-22-2007, 12:37 PM
Darla Rice - December 1997 - Old Key West Resort & Offsite DVC: Vero Beach

Time of Year: Holiday Season
Travel Method: Plane, Rental Car
Resort: Disney's Vero Beach Resort/OKWR
Accommodations: Studio
Ages Represented in Group: Elementary, Adult
WDW Experience Represented in Group: Veteran
Comments: Darla and her son Steven visited Vero Beach and OKWR for a few days early in December. Besides having a nice stop by the ocean, the family also enjoyed the holiday goings-on at WDW.

Darla Rice -- December 1997 -- Vero Beach / Walt Disney World (VBR/OKWR)

November 29th

Well, It was a very long trip to Vero Beach. We started out at the 4:50, because there was fog in Pittsburgh and the plane could not reload in Pittsburgh and went directly to Cleveland. They didn't get any snacks for us and we were all asked if we wanted to wait an hour till they found someone to cater the flight, everyone agreed to bypass the snack and get the show on the road. So, we boarded the flight and we were on our way. We had a very uneventful flight, except the man sitting behind use was getting upset over Steven. I guess he was not use to having kids around and Steven was playing with his food try (we were in the first class seats a $15 upgrade, what the heck, we are on vacation). He kept opening it and closing it, he was getting a little restless, no food, a two hour flight, makes Steven a antsy boy. Funny thing is, I thought Steven was being pretty good and I was just telling him thank you for being so good. Steven thinks the guy got out of the wrong side of bed this morning, I have to agree with him. We didn't let this man spoil anything, the plane landed and we were off to the rental car place.

We expected to be in line at Alamo for at least 2 hours, must to my surprise, it took us only 10 minutes and we were on the road to Vero. Now, there is another story, we followed the directions on our reservation confirmation letter. The only thing is, I took Route 1 instead of A1A, dumb move on Mom's part, but we turned around and started heading up A1A. Let me tell you, Disney's Vero Beach Resort is hard to find at night. The road is very dark and there really isn't any warning. But, we finally found it an checked in. The Lobby Is Very nice and spacious. It kind of reminds me of the Yacht and Beach Club, there is a big Xmas tree with Ships and bows and bulbs in it. Very pretty. Then we were given our Room and it was on the 4 th floor (just want we requested) and it was facing the Ocean. The rooms are decorated beautifully, with pinks and purples and some blue. I also think this Inn Room is a little bigger than the Boardwalk Studio we stayed in last November or at least the same size.

Steven and I walked out onto the balcony, but it was too dark to see anything, you could see the white caps on the ocean, but Steven said he couldn't. So, I can't wait till it is light in the Morning and we can enjoy our view.

November 30 th


I'm sitting here enjoying my Foldger's for one (those singles for coffee, Harold told me about them, Thank you Harold, and they are great!) I do have to say that Vero is beautiful, but I am missing my Disney World's Old Key West. Sorry, I'm just a Disney Lover at heart, even though this is Disney, I still miss my Home away from Home.

Steven is sitting here watching the Disney Channel so I figured I had time to update my web page for a little bit anyway. Steven woke me this morning, I was tired! He said "Mom, I want to go and check out view out". So I told him to go ahead, he was so excited to see the ocean, even though this is his second time. And he started jumping up and down saying "Let's get dressed and go get shells". What could I do, I had to go. So we both hurried and got dress and got down to the beach as fast as we could in search of shells. Well, Steven searched for shells and I took pictures.

The tide was in this morning so there was only a little beach, but enough for Steven to find some shells, he is very happy now. He had both hands filled with them, and asked what he should do with them, I couldn't tell him exactly what I wanted him to do with them, but I told him to put them in his pocket. He took them over for a shower bath and then placed them in the pocket.

Then we decided to check out the pool and it is really nice. The Slide looks like a lot of fun, I hope I can talk Steven into going down it, he would not try out the one at Boardwalk, but that was a year ago. I know if he just tries it, he will like it. Well, he is starting to get bored with the Disney Channel and wants to go swimming now, So we are off to the pool. We should meet Chris (Dznymom) and her family today, we had meet last April and had a great time. Her boy Mitchell is close to Steven's age.


I did talk Steven into doing the slide and he loved it. He must have went up and down that slide about 10 times. Then we ran into Chris and Mitchell and Tim and Dznygram. We had a great time and we all went swimming, they even convinced me to do the slide, I had to do it twice, because it really is fun. I just stopped by to say hi and I'll post more later.

After cleaning up from our afternoon swim, we headed over to Chris's 2 bedroom unit. I love checking out the different units and I was surprised. I really liked it. It is a little smaller than the unit at Old Key West, but the coloring was nice and the 2 nd bedroom had a pull out sofa instead of the 2 queens, even though it was not a lock off. It also had the extra balcony. Kind of nice for Chris's Mother, she could close the door and be in her own room and fell like she was in a different place, sometimes a nice escape.

Steven and Mitchell hit it off again. But we got a little worried when there was a big fight over who brought the micro airplane. Both boys had one and both boys insisted that the plane was theirs. So, Chris settled the whole thing by throwing it over the balcony (I think I want Chris to come live with us), Steven was very upset and almost caused us to skip dinner with Chris and Family. But, after about 20 minutes, he calmed down and forgot about the whole thing. And the boys were happy again (I did have to tell him that if he got home and could not find his plane, we could go to the store and get another one). So we all went to Shutters for dinner and had a very good dinner. I like this place and they have kids meals too. They had pasta, pizza, steak, meatloaf, chicken…a lot of selection. We had to try their specialty drink too, I didn't want to, but Chris got one and she let me try it, and I just had to have one too. I can't remember what was in it but boy did it taste good. Chris can give more details when she returns.

After Dinner, everyone came up to our Inn room to check it out. We sat on the porch and listened to the waves of the ocean as Steven and Mitchell sat on the floor playing with their cars and trucks. DznyGram took Tim for a walk and back to the room. As we were sitting on the balcony we saw lights from a cruise ship (we think) way off in the distance. That was kind of neat.

This is our last night at Vero Beach then it is back home again (our Home away from Home) at Old Key West. I enjoyed out stay here, but I'm really excited about going back to our home. I think Steven really enjoyed having the ocean here, but not as much as he enjoyed having Mitchell here.

December 1 st

Well, this morning we woke up and started packing. I asked Steven if he would like to go the member social at Vero before heading to WDW and he said yes (ok, I kind of told them there would be other kids there and some kids game, hey, that is what the message said). So, we packed up, sat out on the balcony to enjoy the beautiful day (is it in the 70's and sunny) and the ocean breeze then we packed the car and headed over to the Member social. It is held in the beach cottage.

The beach cottage is beautiful, there is a swing and rocking chair on the porch (nice touch) and we checked in, got our name tags and were given a ticket for the door prize. We went through the whole cottage and it is huge. There are 4 balconies, one has the swing and rocking chair, one the picnic table, one lounge chairs, and the other no chairs (didn't understand that one). But, the cottage is decorated pretty much the same as the two bedroom, but in the master bedroom there are three full length windows looking out to the ocean. The bedrooms are all on the first floor and the living room kitchen was on the second floor. That is where the social was held too. They went through what there was to do at Vero and some other DVC stuff, then came he drawing for the Door prize (Chris and her Mom and boys also came to the social). They asked Steven to draw the winning ticket for a beach towel with Vero Beach on it. Steven draws the ticket, the CM reads the number off, and Chris yells "I Got it". So, Chris go the beautiful beach towel and has Steven to thank for it. Not bad, if I couldn't win it is nice to know the person that did win. Good for you Chris. I want to see you using that towel.

After that Steven and said our good byes to Chris and her family (they are going to OKW tomorrow) and we were on the road to WDW and our Home away from Home Old Key West. It took us about 1 hour and half to get to the Market place (Our First Stop). Steven had to check out the Lego store where he bought a small lego fire truck. Then we just walked around some and checked out the Xmas decorations there. It was around noon, so I talked Steven into grabbing something to eat there. He said he wasn't hungry, but Mom knows best. So we picked up a gyro and Chicken gyro from the little stand outside the World of Disney store. They were pretty good and just enough for lunch. Then Steven was ready to put his lego fire truck together, but it was pretty windy, so we decided to go and see if we could check in at Old Key West.

We arrived to a pretty full parking lot at the Hospitality House and I had to drive around for about 5 minutes before someone left. Once we got our parking spot we headed in to check in. There was only one person in front of us. Steven decided to go and watch the TV and put his Lego toy together while I checked in. I got my little package and resort cards and then got my Jolly Holiday's tickets for tomorrow night (4:45 show) and then they said to check back at 4:00pm for our room keys. Dang, I was hoping the room was ready. So I went to see how Steven was doing and he was not done putting together his truck, so I walked around the lobby looking at decorations (not many this year only a couple trees and some wreaths, but still pretty). Then I saw they had the park pamphlets at the key pickup counter, so I started gathering up one for each park. I laughingly told the key holder CM that I would check on my room being ready, but I know it isn't yet, he said what is your last name, we will check. Then he said we do have a room ready for you and sure enough he did. He said it is building 34 and right across from the turtle pond bus stop. Just what the doctor ordered. We are in a one-bedroom unit room number 3421. And when I was leaving, I hear a girl complaining because they closed the main pool today. I guess the main pool has some cracks on the bottom and they want to fix them before they really get bad. I was glad I requested near turtle pond, because that pool is ok.

We headed to our One-bedroom unit and it is in a great location. Steven turned that TV on the minute we got in, right to the Disney Channel. I went out on my porch and the view is satisfactory. We have a water view and a golf course view, not bad. I think we are going to head back to the Market place when I'm done posting this. Our tickets to the parks are not good till tomorrow.

Dec 1 st - Evening

Steven and I didn't do all that much tonight, we were kind of tired from traveling from Vero and doing the Market Place this morning, but we still ventured out. We went over to the Wilderness Lodge to see how it was decorated for Xmas. They had a huge tree in the lobby that was as tall as the 4 th floor with boats and teepees in among the ornaments. Really beautiful. They also had a gingerbread house display of a snow village. Steven wasn't impressed because there was not train. I have to take him over to the Yacht and Beach Club, hopefully they will have a train. I tried to talk Steven into eating at the Whispering Canyon, but he insisted that he was not hungry yet. So we went back to the market place to see if we could find a Xmas video of the parks, but there were none. Of course we had to visit the Lego store again so that Steven could get his Lego fix. He is trying to put his Lego Helicopter together now. When we got back we ordered Pizza from Pizza Hut, not exactly where I wanted to eat, but it works.

Steven said that tomorrow he would like to go to MGM, so I guess that is what we will do. He remembers they have a train right in front of the great movie ride and he can't wait to see it. That's my boy.

Dec 2 nd

The morning started out great. We got showered and ate our breakfast, I even enjoyed a cup of coffee out on my porch. Then we hop in our rental and headed over to MGM. There is some construction in front of MGM entrance so it took a little while for us to get parked. When we first arrived at Old Key West, they gave us a parking pass to put in our drivers dash board and the guard at MGM saw the pass and waved us right in. So we got a parking spot in row 42 (not bad) and walked to the MGM entrance. The bus stops were all decorated with ornaments and were very pretty, I'm almost sure they are lit up at night.

We got to the main gate and got right in, no problems with my AP and no problems with the room passes. Our first stop, of course, was to find the big train display under the Xmas tree. Much to our surprise it was not there. You should have seen Steven's face, he was so disappointed, but then I noticed that there was a train under another tree to the left of the main tree. When Steven saw this, he was in his glory, he headed right over to see the train and wanted his camera right away(I bought him his own throw away camera, and he is loving it). As we were standing there, the train jumped it's track, we didn't see it happen, but all of a sudden the first car was the only car on the track and the rest had fallen off around the bend. Steven went running over to a CM to explain what had happened and he went and got a maintenance man to fix it. The maintenance man did not come right away so Steven and I headed over to my favorite store the animator's store. I love this store because it has a lot of posters, figurines, and sketches. We looked around for a little bit and decided to buy us each a T-shirt, since I only packed 2 and it was in the mid 70s today.

After our light shopping I told Steven we were going to the Little Mermaid show. He said no, and I said Mom wants to so we are going. It was a 35 minute wait, but I still wanted to see it, it had been a couple years since I saw this one and I was glad to be seeing it again. Steven was antsy in line, but made it ok. Once inside Steven loved it and was glad that he had stood in line for it. When the water started coming down, he started smiling and said Mom I like this show.

After this show we headed over to Star Tours, I promised Steven since we did a Show Mom wanted, he could pick the next ride. One of his favorites is Star Tours and I'm beginning to like it too. We had no wait at all on this ride and went right on. And the ride only last 10 minutes so we were in and out so fast that we had time to catch the 11:45 show of Hunch Back. And we did, this time we were early enough that we got to see the Juggler. We had never caught his show before and I think Steve got a real big kick out of watching him. He is really entertaining. Then the show started, I love this play, I think MGM puts on a great Hunch Back show and no one should miss this one. When they had the Festival of Fools, we were right under the paper coming down, and boy did we get paper bells everywhere. Steven was having a great time picking the paper bells up and throwing them up in the air again. The older man behind Steven kept throwing them on Steven. We had a really good time and enjoyed the show a lot.

After Hunch Back I let Steven choose the next show again, his choice was Indiana Jones. So as we walked over to the Indiana Jones ride Steven spotted the ice cream stand. We had to stop for ice cream it was the afternoon. So I got Steven his Nestles Crunch bar and as we were getting the bar, a man who could not speak English was sad because he had dropped his Mickey bar. The man gave him a new bar and I was smiling. The man said don't laugh, that happens a lot. Just as he said that Steven tried to bite into his Crunch bar and it broke in half and fell to the ground. The man mad Steven bring it back and he game him another bar. I told him he did not have to do that , and he said no the bars should not break. I told Steven to be careful with the new one because they are frozen so solid that they break in half easy. He was careful, but it broke anyway, but at least this time Steven was holding both halves and was able to finish eating it.

We made it to Indian Jones and watched a great show. I love that guy with the loud shirt even though I've seen it about 5 times. After this, Steven and I started heading home, but the Hercules Parade was suppose to start in 10 minutes. So we walked close to the entrance and stood. This is when the trouble began. Steven doesn't like to wait and we had to wait for the parade. He started not listening and just being a 5 year old. After a while he told me that he did not want to see the Hercules Parade, I said you don't mean that, he said yes he did. So, as it was coming down the street, I took Steven by the hand and took him back the car. All the way out he kept saying Mom I was only kidding, I told him, who is laughing now? Things just went down hill after that. I think either Steven needed a nap or Mom just needed a break from watching a 5 year old. Either way we were both not very happy. Steven ended up losing the parks tomorrow, so we are going to spend the day here in the room, it is his punishment and I have to keep my promise or he will never listen to me. I guess tomorrow will be wash day.

I couldn't punish him tonight, because we had Jolly Holidays to go to. I told him if he was really good during the dinner and show, We would at least go to the Resorts and check out the decorations. Well, he blew it at dinner. He wasn't a rotten kid, he just wasn't listening and I can't stand that, so there will be no resort hopping tomorrow either. Tomorrow trip report may be very dull. I'll have to take pictures of my view.

Jolly Holidays was great. I enjoyed watching the show and watching Mickey and his Friend perform. The food was pretty good too. They served Turkey, Ham, mash Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Gravy, Veggies, and desert (a log cake, very good). They performed in a center stage with two side stages, so it looked like everyone had a good view. Lots of Xmas music and even snow. A lot of fun for the whole family.

Well that was it for today.

Dec 3 rd

Steven stayed in all day and he even took a nap from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm so he was well rested. While Steven napped, my friend Scott came over to get our extra pass ticket. He and his wife were staying at Dixie Landings for the same amount of time as Steven and I. Since we were not using the extra ticket (I have an AP), I offered it to them and they accepted. We had a nice long chat on my porch. I also showed off my unit to him too. He had taken the tour before I did and decided against DVC, isn't it funny, because he is the one that talked me into it. I don't think he knows that, but his talking about vacations with his family at WDW is what sold me on WDW in the first place. Thanks you Scott!

Since Steven was quiet for 2 hours (while taking his nap…lol), I decided we were going over to Yacht and Beach Club for dinner. We had reservations at Cape May. Before heading over to Yacht and Beach we pulled into the BoardWalk. Traffic in front of the BoardWalk was terrible, there is construction on the street out front and it was causing a real traffic jam, so we parked at BoardWalk and decided to walk over to the Yacht and Beach Club (Plus I missed the turn for Yacht and Beach). But, before we headed over to dinner we decided to check out the Xmas display at BoardWalk. They have decorations everywhere there, even outside. They had a huge Xmas tree and a nice chocolate display (which Steven really loved) that had a chocolate train but the train did not move. Really nice.

Then we walked over to the Yacht Club by way of the Dance Hall, if you go behind the Dance Hall there is a walk way right over to the Yacht and Beach Club and I think this way is much faster then going past ESPN. We went into the Yacht Club's main entrance and that is where they have the Gingerbread display. This display has two running trains in it, Steven really loved it. He also likes playing with the captains wheel to the left of the display (the one outside of the Gallery). As we were walking over to Beach club we passed the restaurant Gallery Club (I think that was the name, if someone knows it, Please correct me) and saw that they had a ship wreck Sundae that looked pretty good, so we decided to skip Cape May and eat there instead. Dinner was excellent. Steven had the Chicken Fingers (no surprise there, they were really good) and I had their special Grill Dish (Filet Mignon, Chicken, Potatoes and lemon Fish - Can't remember what kind of fish), but everything was excellent, a great meal. And then we ordered the ship wreck sundae which was really cute, but Steven did not like the dark chocolate that they put on it, so we just ate the ice cream. As we were enjoying our sundae, a woman came to our table and asked me if I get on AOL. I said yes, and she asked my name, and I said Darla. She said that she was Judy and her screen name is Backus1120 and that she use to be on-line a lot and that she remembered me from my picture on Mary's web page. I just can't believe the people I have meet from AOL, this is really great. We talked a little bit and then she had to get back to her meal. But, before she left, I made her pose for a Web site picture.

Then we went home to go to Gurgling Suitcase to meet our other AOL friends. Patti, Peggy and Helen were suppose to be there. When Steven and I arrived there was no one except us. We waited around a bit and Helen and Peggy showed up. We talked for a while then Peggy mentioned that they didn't even check in yet. They just got their room key, they were over at the Beach Club swimming. So, since Steven was with me anyway, we called it a night. It was really nice seeing Peggy and Helen again. We are going to meet tomorrow for lunch at Olivia's. Not bad for a day without the parks.

Dec 4 th

Today was a long day. We woke up around 7:00 am and got ready for the Magic Kingdom (today was early entry), but I looked out on our porch and it was pouring. So I ran up to the General Store and bought us both rain gear (I left our ponchos home, poor packing). So at about 8:30 we were off to Magic Kingdom. The rain really helps keep those crowds down. We didn't have to wait for any rides. We did the SnowWhite ride, Mr. Toads, Mickey's Toon Town Roller coaster (got to ride twice because there was no line), Grand Prix (Steven finally reach the pedals, boy was he happy, he drives much better when he also steps on the gas), Take Flight (Steven loves this ride), Jungle Cruise, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Not bad, it stopped raining at about 11:30.

We then started out the park, but had to stop at the candy store to get our chocolate covered pretzels, yum. Then we went to wait on the bus. We only had a 15 minute wait and we were off to OKW and to Olivia's to meet Peggy, Patti, and Helen. We meet at 1:00 pm and had a great lunch. It is so funny to meet people you have chatted with on-line, we never stopped talking. Peggy and Helen went to the DVC OKW meeting this morning and were telling us all about it. Peggy said she will fill everyone in when she gets back, but she did tell us some highlights. I would state them here, but I don't want to miss quote her, she said she will post her trip report around Dec 15 th. Lunch was great and relaxing. Patti's husband Mark took Steven with her daughter and friend to the Market Place and let us girls chat (just like on-line). After our nice lunch Peggy and Helen had to go and meet with their rep (I think this was the first time they were meeting).

Patti and I sat on a bench and waited for the kids to return. As we were sitting there chatting some more, Chris (Dznymom) and Mel (Dznygram) came along and found us. It was great meeting all our on-line friend again. Next October is going to be great. It is kind of funny, because Mark said he would take Steven (I've never meet him before) and I said ok and Steven went with no fuss, I felt like I've know Patti for a while since we have been chatting so long. We were waiting a while for the kids and then Chris mentioned that she meet Mark at the Mickey's Very Merry Un-birthday party. I had not made reservations for Steven, but they had some no-shows so they let Steven join the other kids. So we were at Olivia's chatting till 4:15 pm when the party was over. It was nice and relaxing. Thank you Mark for giving me a and Steven a break from one another.

Then we parted and went our own ways. But Patti has reservations next April the same time as Steven and I. I have not decided if I will keep those reservations or not, but Rich and Deb are going to be there too, so I just might. I have a lot of time to decide. Right now, I'm keeping them. Because another get together with Patti and her daughter, Rich and Deb and their daughters would be a really good time.

After that Steven and I went back to the room to rest before going over to MGM. At around 5:45 pm we jumped into our car and headed over to meet Scott and Maria Osborne (No relation to the Osborne's of the Osborne light display). But, they did buy the Xmas shirts, because it had Osborne on it, I thought that was kind of neat. We meet in front of the Great Movie ride. Scott is the one that used our extra ticket this trip, because I still have my annual pass from our October trip. Before heading over to the light display, we stop at Star Tours, just because we could, and road it once more. Then we headed over to the Osborne Lights, and there was snow coming down (soap suds, but it looked like snow) and that is where Maria found the Osborne shirts, she picked up matching ones for her and Scott. Then we went to the light display and there are a lot of lights on that street. Steven enjoyed walking around seeing all the lights, but it is kind of hard to keep track of him with so many people walking through the lights. I would have held his hand, but I was trying to take pictures. I'm glad Scott and Maria were there with us. We didn't lose him once, he was pretty good and stayed close to us. That was it for today, it was a lot of fun, much better than staying in the room all day.

Dec 5 th

This morning we took our time getting ready. We were heading over to EPCOT but I it wasn't early entry day, so we got going around 9:30. We walked to the Hospitality House (I had to return a video I rented last night - free rentals for members at OKW) and picked up the bus there. We meet two gentlemen that had just flown in this morning and where on the bus to EPCOT. They said they left their house at 3:00 am and could not believe that they would be at EPCOT before 10:00 am. Pretty neat.

The first thing we did in EPCOT is head for the big Ball (as Steven calls it), but the line was so long we figured we would hit that on the way out. So we went to take a picture of EPCOT's Xmas tree. They have the tree right where you walk into World Showcase. It is a beautiful day here today, but a little on the chilly side. But, I will take sunshine any day especially when I'm at WDW. After looking at the tree we headed over to Horizons, but there was a line there (there never is a line at Horizons), so Steven said Let's got to the Test Track, and I agreed. We went over and of course it is still not open, but we still sat in everyone of the GM cars they had on display, just because Steven loves pretending to drive. We then decided to do Horizons again and see if the line was any shorter and it was. So we walked right onto this ride. I still love the smell of oranges on that ride. After that we headed over for some lunch. We stopped at the Pizza and Pasta place and had Pizza and Pasta. Steven had his white spaghetti (he doesn't like the sauce on it for some reason) and I got the Pizza. After that we headed for Spaceship Earth. The line was short but wasn't moving very fast and once we got on the ride it stopped for us about 5 times. It actually took us a whole hour to stand in line and do the ride. Not a good day for Spaceship Earth.

After that we headed back to the room, I need Steven to get his nap in before tonight, we have tickets to the Mickey's Very Merry Xmas Party. So he is sleeping right now and I may even take a nap.

Dec 5 th - Mickey's Very Merry Xmas Party

After our afternoon nap we got ready for our AOL's Walt Birthday Bash at Chef Mickey's. Or dinner reservations were for 4:45 pm and I think there were suppose to be 100 of us. We drove over to the Contemporary and parked there. Then we went up and meet the other AOLer's Peggy and Helen were there and so were about 30 or so other AOLer's. All though not everyone showed (I think there were about 50 of us all together) we had a great time. Steven and I sat with Peggy and Helen. We got to meet Lizcakes, Backus1120, Duck Lite, and more, Can't remember all the screen names, but everyone was friendly and it was great talking with the people that you have been posting with. By the way, Peggy told me that the mash potatoes at Chef Mickeys were really great, so I had to go and try them out and she was right. They are made with parmesan cheese and were really good. And I had to try out the chocolate mouse cake and it was wonderful. Steven had a hot dog and cup cake (oh well) - he loves making those cup cakes with Goofy.

After dinner we all posed for a group picture and then we said our good byes and were off to the Grand Floridian. The MVMCP didn't start till 8:00 pm and it was only 6:00 pm. So Steven and I went up to the monorail to ride over to the Grand Floridian and Steven has been dying to sit up front, so when we got up to the plate form (there were too many people here, they had to stop the escalator because there was no where for people to stand) there was a CM standing there and Steven, of coursed, asked it he could ride the monorail. I also kept saying please, oh please, why can't he ride (I was only kidding around), but the CM for a minute thought I was serious, but then when he knew I was joking he started laughing and told me to behave. Well, Steven didn't get to ride up front then. We got the second monorail that came and went over to check out the Grand Floridians Xmas decorations. I must say the Grand Floridian is one of the most beautifully decorated resorts at WDW. I don't know which I liked better this or the Wilderness Lodge. The tree was so big at the Grand Floridian that I couldn't even fit it all In the camera. And those Gingerbread displays are amazing. There were also carolers in the lobby.

After seeing the decorations we headed over to the party. Steven spotted the truck on Main Street and didn't want to leave, so I said, ok, we will sit here and wait for the parade to begin. I wanted to go and find Kathy, but I couldn't leave Steven alone. I did find a cast member that told me that Kathy was working the ice cream parlor. After a half hour of playing on the truck Steven finally decided that he wanted to go on the rides (I didn't care which parade we saw, as long as we saw one). So we headed up the side of main street with the ice cream parlor. And sure enough there was Kathy and the parade was starting. So she told us to stand there and we would be right in front of the rope (thank you Kathy, you are the greatest). At first Steven didn't want to stay, but once the parade started, you couldn't get him to move. This parade is great, they have dancing Xmas trees, dancing rain deer , gingerbread, and a lot of floats. The Chip and Dale float had them making gingerbread cookies and I swear you could smell them. And at the end of the parade Santa came down the street and was asking all the boys and girls if they were good. Steven just says, Don't tell him Mommy…lol. After the parade we said good bye to Kathy and headed on some of the rides.

First stop was the Jungle Cruise. No wait at all and we had Lyle as our guide. He said Hi Steven and Darla (Oops, I forgot to remove our name tags) and Steven just looked puzzled because he knew us…lol. So I said Hi Lyle. He was a lot of fun and Steven really got into this ride, when Lyle said duck, Steven did.

After that we headed over to the Pirates, they were taking the family pictures there (it comes with the price of the MVMCP) but the line was too long, so we went and rode Pirates, still love this ride even though we were just on it. After the ride there were only a couple of people in line for the picture, so we got in line. The camera man had trouble getting Steven to keep his eyes open (he hates the flash), but then he finally got the picture and we were on our way again. Next stop, Grand Prix, Steven just had to drive that car one more time and he did. My neck is a little stiff, but we had a great time. Then we did the people mover, Steven loves this ride too. And then Carousel of Progress, Steven did not want to do this ride, Mom did, but Steven enjoyed it a lot. He listened to every word they said and asked me a lot of questions. Still one of my favorite rides. Then we had to do the Take Flight ride, Steven enjoys this one too, he likes the circus in the beginning. Then I asked Steven what he wanted to do next and he said, play on the truck, so we headed out (by the way, we missed the fireworks, we were on the Pirates ride, dah). On our way out we saw Kathy sitting on the side of main street for the second parade. We played on the truck a little bit and then headed home. Steven wanted to take the monorail, so I said ok, and as soon as we go to the gate, he asked the CM if he could ride up front. We got lucky there was no one in the front yet. Wouldn't you know the CM driving the Monorail was the same guy I had been teasing at the Contemporary about wanting to ride up front. He told me that he thought I was serious and he almost yelled at me, because he just had a bunch of people upset over the crowd waiting for the monorail at the Contemporary. He said he was so glad to see me grin, because then he knew I was just joking and he said he needed a good laugh after that. This made Steven's night. We got to the Contemporary and after a long search for our car we headed back to our Home Away from home.

Dec 6 th

This is out last day in our home away from home and in Walt Disney World. I'm sad to leave, but our plane does not take off till 6:30 pm so we still have time to do some parks. Steven says he wants to do MGM again, we missed the back lot tour and he wants to do that ride, so I said fine. After packing up my stuff, double checking the room and loading up the car, it was around 10:00 am, so we went up to the Hospitality House to park (I had to pick up my package from yesterday's shopping ), so we caught the bus to MGM there. We spend about half hour on that bus, construction around the entrance of MGM really slowed us down this morning. There was a women on the bus who had a map of MGM and she had 2 boys, she was asking them to find things on the map. Steven looked at me and asked if he could play the game too. The woman heard him and invited him to play too. At least the kids were amused while we were waiting to enter the parks, they didn't even notice that we were waiting, I think they were a little disappointed when we arrived because they couldn't search for things on the map anymore.

The very first thing we did when entering the park was to get our own map. Steven opens it and says, here is the Tram ride, we have to go there Mom, but before we went there, we had to stop at the Train set up at MGM again, Steven knows exactly where that is. While he was looking at the train, I noticed that they had Beauty and the Beast Xmas show going on in front of the Great Movie Ride, I tried to get close enough for a picture, but all the best spots were taken. They also chose special guest from the crowd to ride in a carriage down the street, it was really cute.

After this we headed for the Tram Ride. It was very cold out today and when they showed us the battle ships and how they do all the video taping of it, but they didn't have volunteers stand in and do the boat ride, they had dummies in the spot where volunteers usually are. I guess it was too cold to get anyone wet. I think the high today was only suppose to be 55 and I believe it, because we were really cold, except in the sun, it was like a blanket of warmth. Then we got on the Tram and headed to the Canyon. Steven and I were in a row with another couple. When they said the part about people getting wet and the left side (my side) the people would get soaked, Steven moved right up close to the man that was sitting next to him. Then when we got to the part where the water comes rushing down, Steven grabbed the man's arm and would not let go. He did not want to get wet and the man was really nice and just let him hang on. Steven is not shy at all, I wonder if he gets that from me. There are so many friendly people at WDW, you just can't help but talk to everyone. <VBG>

We had heard from our friends Maria and Scott that there were some trains set up at EPCOT (we knew about Germany, but not American Adventure), so I asked Steven if he wanted to head over to EPCOT to see the trains there, and of course he said yes! So we caught the boat to the BoardWalk, it was right there too, we didn't even have to wait, and it took off as soon as we boarded. We were going to walk from BoardWalk to EPCOT, but there boat to EPCOT was sitting there too and they let us just walk over to that boat. And that boat took off right away. I couldn't believe out luck, Disney was helping us see as much of WDW before we left for the airport, I couldn't have planned it better.

We arrived at EPCOT 6 minutes later and headed right for the American Adventure. They was Xmas trees set up in front and off to the side of the American Adventure. I think they may have Santa sitting there at times, but we didn't get a chance to stick around and see who sat in the big red chair. We looked for the train, but could not find it, finally we asked and the CM said that there was a small train set up inside, so we headed in, and sure enough there was a little Xmas village set up with a train going through it. We stayed there for a little while, then were heading over to Germany to see that train set. But as we were passing up Italy I asked Steven if he would like to get some white spaghetti and he said yes. So we stopped in at Alfredo's and checked if we could get lunch, and sure enough there was no problem and we were seated in 4 minutes. Lunch was great, I had Fettuccini Alfredo and Steven had his white spaghetti. They looked like they had the same menu for lunch as dinner, they use to give you better prices at lunch, I guess those days are gone. Lunch came to $20.14, not bad considering this is WDW. Steven was ready to leave because he wanted to check out those trains.

So off we went to Germany and check out the trains we did. We must have stayed there for an hour. We didn't have to leave for the airport until 3:00 pm so I just let him check them out. It was only 12:30 pm and I figured we could catch the bus around 2:30 pm. So I sat on the bench while he checked out every house every train, everything on that track. The man sitting next to me had a Old Key West hat on and I asked him if he was a member. He said yes, and needless to say, we just sat and talked about being members the whole time Steven was exploring. It was just like meeting anyone here on line, we just automatically hit if off. He was from California and only gets to WDW once a year, I told him it was our 4 th time in one year and he said you must have some points…lol, I have enough. It was a great way to pass the time. After a while his wife came over and they called his son to come over. His son's name was Steven and when they called for him, Steven (my son) looked up too and his son was standing right next to Steven and they were talking. It was kind of funny, because they meet each other over at the trains and we were talking over at the bench. See DVCers just flock together…lol.

It was getting close to 1:50 pm so I told Steven we better start heading back. On our way out Steven wanted to ride a ride, and he knew Mexico had a ride, so I told him ok, one last one before we leave. So we did Mexico, I haven't been on this ride for a long time and really enjoyed it. It was funny because just last night I was trying to remember which ride had movies of people at a bar in a pool and sure enough there the movie was in this Mexico ride. I kind of like not doing every single ride every single trip, it kind of makes it all new again when we haven't been on the ride for a couple of years.

After visiting Mexico we headed out. I remembered from the other day that buses at EPCOT run every half hour and there should be a bus at 2:30, so we started walking towards the exit, and it looked like we had 20 minutes to get to the bus stop. We made it in 15 minutes and it was a good thing too, because the bus was taking off 5 minutes early. It really helps remembering when the bus takes off, that way you know if you have time to do one more ride, I'd rather spend 20 minutes on a ride then 20 minutes waiting for the bus.

Well, we caught our flight at 7:00, we were suppose to leave at 6:30 pm, no bad. When we get our seats on the plane the little girl in front of us said hi. She said they have a long way to go. I'm like where are you going too? Because we were all going to Cleveland…lol, she said Sharpsville, PA. I said what? I didn't think I heard her right, because that is where I was born and raised. So here I am on the plane with my 5 year old and there is a single Mother sitting in front of me with me with her 7 year old girl and they were born and raised in Sharpsville Pa too and they still lived there. Needless to say, this trip went by really fast, we were talking about Disney and about our home town. The kids were getting along too. What a nice way to end our WDW trip.

I don't have any trips booked right now, but that will change on Monday, since I have to book my October trip. I called member services and got on the waiting list for a studio in April 1998, I really would like to take Steven on his spring break from school. I had a one-bedroom booked, but it really is too many points, so I cancelled that and am trying for the studio. I have my fingers crossed.

Darla Rice