A Family Vacation with Someone Else's Family!


#1

Hello all! I have been back from the world for just over a week and thought I would write a short Trip Report. I will keep it short since I don’t think I will post too many pictures…as the title of the thread indicates, this was a vacation with people who are not my family so I don’t want to post their pics all over the internet!

Here is how it all began:

I’ve lived with my two roommates, A & J for about three years. They are sisters who moved to the Boston area from Kansas. We took one trip to WDW together the first year we lived together and had a great time. When we got back, we started talking about taking another trip together along with their younger sister (who still lives in Kansas) and her daughter in a few years when she was old enough to appreciate it.

The original plan was to go to WDW NEXT year, near Christmas time to see the decorations, etc. But near the end of the summer this year, my roomies and I parted ways (amicably, I just moved home to save money towards buying a condo and they wanted to move to a different area of Boston) and wanted to do something fun as a last hurrah. This year is also A’s 30th birthday and she decided she would really love to to to WDW for her birthday. They talked to their sister back in Kansas and she was up for moving the trip up to this November.

As we planned, we added A&J’s mom and another sister (both also from Kansas). In all, we were a party of 7. We opted to stay at Pop Century to keep it as cheap as possible and we took advantage of free dining. We did upgrade to the Regular DDP though, instead of just taking the free CS DDP. I used Keith at Mouseketrips to book this vacation just because I wanted to make sure everything went smoothly booking two rooms with free dining and the upgrade, etc. He was great.


#2

Here is the breakdown:

WHEN - Thursday, November 12 thru Monday, November 16

WHERE - Pop Century Resort by way of Boston and Kansas

WHO - Me, my two former roomies(A&J), their mom©, their two sisters(H & T), their four year old niece (Z). It was a first trip for all but me and the two roomies.

PLANS - A first timer’s whirlwind tour of WDW, with a little Christmas magic and a birthday celebration thrown in!

DAY ONE:

A& J met me at my house around 5:15am to catch a cab to the airport. After risking our lives on a harrowing cab ride, we arrived at the airport, checked in without incident, made our way thru security and grabbed some breakfast. We lounged around a bit and by the time we made it to the gate, they were already boarding - YIKES! Flight was a little bumpy. A&J slept almost the whole time. I read magazines and tried to ignore the bumps. Also had a little drama when one of the other passengers SMOKED in the airplane bathroom. Nice. We landed in Orlando around 10:25, headed to the ME area, boarded our bus and were on our way to Pop.

The Kansas contingent was just getting on the plane in Kansas City while we were getting on our ME bus at MCO. Our room was ready at the Pop so we headed over there. We were in the 50s’s section in the building with the giant jukebox. It was a great location, a little bit of a walk to the main area but not too bad. The bowling pin pool was in referb and drained the whole time but we had no time for swimming anyway so it was no biggie. The room was super clean and in great shape. I was really pleased with Pop and would stay there again.

We freshened up and grabbed a bus to DTD. Shopped a bit while there and then grabbed some lunch at Earl of Sandwich. Just as we were finishing lunch we got a call from the Kansas crew that they were getting off the plane. Perfect timing! We headed to the bus stop and proceeded to wait and wait and wait for a bus back to the Pop. I am NOT a big complainer about bus wait times, I know that sometimes you have to wait but we waited about 30 minutes and it was COLD. The high that day was only about 58 I think. Plus we were anxious to get back to the resort to greet the Kansas crew.

A bus finally rolls up, we stop at Pleasure Island for a pick up and discover we are in the middle of the shift change for the drivers. Our bus driver had to gather up all his stuff and get off and the new driver gets on. They chat for a bit and then the new driver settles in. The way he was looking everything over so carefully made me worried that he had never actually driven a bus before. It was crazy. All in all, we sat at PI stop for another 10 minutes. He then proceeded to hit EVERY SINGLE RED LIGHT BETWEEN DTD and Pop. And if it appeared he wasn’t going to catch the red light, he would slow down as we approached each intersection to be sure the light was red by the time we got there. It was ridiculous. LOL

Finally, we get to Pop to discover that the Kansas crew got to Pop from the airport, checked in AND got to their room in less time than it took us to get to Pop from DTD. A little nuts. We had bad bus luck the rest of that day and the next morning, but good luck the rest of the trip so I won’t complain too much!

We let the Kansas crew grab some food in the food court and then set off for some fun now that we were all together!


#3

Sounds like a fun trip! Can’t wait to read more!


#4

Great start…besides the busses of course. Can’t wait to read more!


#5

Karen,
We had the bus mishap on our April trip, only it was for us to leave AK to get back to POFQ to catch Magical Express to go home. Waited 40 minutes for the bus to show, then the bus driver hit every single red light, and went at least 10 mph under the speed limit. When we told him that we were afraid of missing Magical express, I swear he slowed down even more! So, I know exactly how you felt!!! Anyways, we were there this trip almost the same time you were. We missed that one cold day, arriving on the 13th, and leaving on the 17th. Wasn’t the weather PERFECT!


#6

[QUOTE=bethishooked;1006207]Karen,
We had the bus mishap on our April trip, only it was for us to leave AK to get back to POFQ to catch Magical Express to go home. Waited 40 minutes for the bus to show, then the bus driver hit every single red light, and went at least 10 mph under the speed limit. When we told him that we were afraid of missing Magical express, I swear he slowed down even more! So, I know exactly how you felt!!! Anyways, we were there this trip almost the same time you were. We missed that one cold day, arriving on the 13th, and leaving on the 17th. Wasn’t the weather PERFECT![/QUOTE]

We were annoyed with it at first but then it just became funny. Of course, we weren’t rushing back to get to the airport so we could be way more relaxed about it!

And yes, other than that first cold day, the weather was just lovely!


#7

[QUOTE=KarenWDWCP;1006167]

Finally, we get to Pop to discover that the Kansas crew got to Pop from the airport, checked in AND got to their room in less time than it took us to get to Pop from DTD. A little nuts. We had bad bus luck the rest of that day and the next morning, but good luck the rest of the trip so I won’t complain too much!

We let the Kansas crew grab some food in the food court and then set off for some fun now that we were all together![/QUOTE]

It’s really frustrating to sit there and wait all that time and then someone gets there just in time and makes it. In the end, you’re right. It’s just luck. We were part of a driver switch once, too. I don’t think it was nearly as bad as yours but I remember being tired and every minute felt like 10.

But that’s Disney…It can wear down even the most seasoned veteran…lol


#8

We had decided to do Hollywood Studios on our first afternoon since it is a smaller park so less time would not be such a big issue and since Fantasmic was playing so infrequently while we were there and we didn’t want to miss that. Originally, Fantasmic was only playing at 6:30 on this day, but they added a second show about a week before we left for our trip.

We got off the bus at DHS, oohed and ahhed over the Christmas tree, made our way through bag check and were in the park. The little one, Z, had been talking about seeing Mickey Mouse since the first second we met up back at Pop so I asked her Mom, T, if she wanted to go wait in line to meet Mickey before doing anything else so we could get that out of the way. It was adorable how anytime we went anywhere - Pop Food Court, Bus Stop, Bus, DHS entry, Z would ask “Is Mickey here? Where’s Mickey?” We decided meeting Mickey was key, so we headed to the Animation area and got in line. We walked by some of the Incredibles on our way to Mickey and I thought that might stop Z in her tracks, but she was a little girl on a mission to meet Mickey, so we went straight to him.

The line was a bit long so I offered to go and see if there were still Fast Passes available for Toy Story Mania while they waited. I was not at all hopeful that there would be any FPs left, but I figured it was worth a shot. I left them in line and darted over to Pixar Place to discover that my instincts were right, no FPs and a 70 minute line. I knew we’d need to make plans to come back to DHS at another time if we wanted to ride Midway Mania.

I headed back to the Animation area just as they were the second group in line and Mickey had taken a little cheese break. When he came back, he worked the line, high fiving everyone and Z’s eyes got as big as saucers. So cute! I was standing on the ramp off to the side so I got some great shots looking down at all of them meeting Mickey.

Here is Mickey waiting for Z’s approach!


#9

After meeting Mickey, we headed out of the Animation building and headed to the Voyage of the Little Mermaid. We explained to Z it was a show about the Little Mermaid and she said “Oh, I want to go under water!” Her mom said “We are not going underwater, it is just a show.” All while I smiled secretly to myself. The second the show started with the water and under the ocean effects, every one of the first timers was oohing and ahhing. I LOVED it! LOL Needless to say, they enjoyed the show. As we were leaving, one of the Kansas crew, H, told me that the Little Mermaid is her favorite Disney movie ever and she didn’t think anything else we saw for the rest of the trip would top that show for her. I was psyched they were already having a good time!

We then decided to take a ride on the Great Movie Ride after much discussion over whether Z would be freaked out by the Alien scene. We decided to take a chance. Turns out, she was more scared by the gunshot noises in the gangster scene and could not have cared less about the Alien scene. She was a champ though and powered through. We learned that she was pretty much immediately calmed down if we just told her things were make believe and used that trick A LOT over the next few days! The entire Kansas contingent enjoyed the Wizard of Oz scene at the end, of course!

After the Great Movie Ride, we split up for a bit. J, T, Z and their mom took off in search of Mickey Ears for Z while A, H and I went to enjoy some thrills. The line for RnRC said 50 minutes and looked it. ToT was showing 30 minutes so we opted for that. The line turned out to be about 15 minutes (a trend throughout the trip of the outside boards showing longer times than the actual wait) and we enjoyed our 13 story drop. It was H’s first thrill ride and she was nervous but we talked her through it.

When we got off of ToT, I had a text from J that they had headed back to the Muppets area to catch the show there. We headed back and figured we would jump in if we got there in time, but we arrived just as it started so we just shopped a bit in the stores back there. We met them at the exit to Muppets which they enjoyed and decided to take in the Osborne Lights.

A is a huge Christmas fan and loves Christmas decorations so she was super excited for the Lights. It turns out that H is equally as elf-like as A so she was super excited too. The lights were AMAZING. It had been about 7 years since I had seen them and it was a completely different experience. It was chilly that day so it really felt like Christmas with the falling snow and the beautiful lights. We had a great time, dancing to the music and just enjoying the atmosphere.

Here are some pics I took:


#10

After the Lights, we headed back towards Sunset Blvd for Fantasmic. We decided to grab some food first. My original plan had been to grab the food outside the Amphitheater and then bring it in with us while we enjoyed the show. I had forgotten that with the dining plan, you get a side and dessert with CS meals so it was a ton of stuff to carry. Another man behind us in line said that a CM told him that the show would definitely NOT fill up and that he should enjoy his dinner outside and then head to the theater, there would be no trouble getting a seat.

We all got some combination of pizza or burgers, ate it at the tables at Sunset Ranch Market and then booked it to Fantasmic. It was not full and we snagged great seats on the right hand side of the theater. We did miss a minute or two of the opening but not too much.

I had been nervous that Z might be afraid of some of the effects in the show, but we once again employed our “It’s only make believe!” line and she was good. Plus she was so entranced by the “good” characters that the bad ones didn’t really phase her. She actually cheered like she was at a sporting event when the princesses came out on their boats. It was SO adorable! She kept yelling “Woo Hoo!” everytime she saw a new princess. I was laughing so hard!

The one drawback to the show was that it was really, really cold by this point, but I knew the fire breathing dragon was coming so I just held tight. I thought the dragon and the fire might scare Z but she was really calm about it. I just kept asking her if she thought Mickey could save the day and she was sure he could. When Sorcerer Mickey showed up on the top of the mountain she hooted and hollered like she was watching someone score the winning TD in the SuperBowl. It was hilarious! Then she realized that it was the SAME Mickey she had met earlier in the day and she was SO excited.

The whole walk out of the theater, she kept saying “Mickey saved our lives! The Mickey that I met saved our lives!” The rest of the family enjoyed the show as well.

We stopped at the 5 and Dime on our way out of the park to pick up Z’s embroidered Mickey ears. We shopped a bit more and then headed to the bus stop. We shopped for a bit in Everything Pop (the Kansas crew are all big shoppers), grabbed a drink and walked back to our rooms.

When we got back to the rooms, we realized that we had connecting rooms, a nice bonus as we hadn’t requested it. We hit the hay after a long day. A, J and I had been up since 4:30 or so and the Kansas crew had been traveling since 6:30. We all fell into bed around 10:30 with plans to meet for breakfast at 8:00 the next morning.


#11

Great TR Karen and love the pics


#12

I love your stories about little Z! My kids have always loved Fantasmic because they knew “Mickey was going to fight the bad guys.” Little kids at Disney are the BEST! I’m loving this TR. More please!:happy:


#13

Great trip report…I’m getting excited just reading it. I’m taking my boys in 151 days and reading your report is helping me to remember all the fun they are going to have:)


#14

Loved the shots of the lights…can’t wait to see more pictures and read more report.


#15

[QUOTE=KarenWDWCP;1006167]Here is the breakdown:

WHEN - Thursday, November 12 thru Monday, November 16

WHERE - Pop Century Resort by way of Boston and Kansas

WHO - Me, my two former roomies(A&J), their mom©, their two sisters(H & T), their four year old niece (Z). It was a first trip for all but me and the two roomies.

PLANS - A first timer’s whirlwind tour of WDW, with a little Christmas magic and a birthday celebration thrown in!

DAY ONE:

A& J met me at my house around 5:15am to catch a cab to the airport. After risking our lives on a harrowing cab ride, we arrived at the airport, checked in without incident, made our way thru security and grabbed some breakfast. We lounged around a bit and by the time we made it to the gate, they were already boarding - YIKES! Flight was a little bumpy. A&J slept almost the whole time. I read magazines and tried to ignore the bumps. Also had a little drama when one of the other passengers SMOKED in the airplane bathroom. Nice. We landed in Orlando around 10:25, headed to the ME area, boarded our bus and were on our way to Pop.

The Kansas contingent was just getting on the plane in Kansas City while we were getting on our ME bus at MCO. Our room was ready at the Pop so we headed over there. We were in the 50s’s section in the building with the giant jukebox. It was a great location, a little bit of a walk to the main area but not too bad. The bowling pin pool was in referb and drained the whole time but we had no time for swimming anyway so it was no biggie. The room was super clean and in great shape. I was really pleased with Pop and would stay there again.

We freshened up and grabbed a bus to DTD. Shopped a bit while there and then grabbed some lunch at Earl of Sandwich. Just as we were finishing lunch we got a call from the Kansas crew that they were getting off the plane. Perfect timing! We headed to the bus stop and proceeded to wait and wait and wait for a bus back to the Pop. I am NOT a big complainer about bus wait times, I know that sometimes you have to wait but we waited about 30 minutes and it was COLD. The high that day was only about 58 I think. Plus we were anxious to get back to the resort to greet the Kansas crew.

A bus finally rolls up, we stop at Pleasure Island for a pick up and discover we are in the middle of the shift change for the drivers. Our bus driver had to gather up all his stuff and get off and the new driver gets on. They chat for a bit and then the new driver settles in. The way he was looking everything over so carefully made me worried that he had never actually driven a bus before. It was crazy. All in all, we sat at PI stop for another 10 minutes. He then proceeded to hit EVERY SINGLE RED LIGHT BETWEEN DTD and Pop. And if it appeared he wasn’t going to catch the red light, he would slow down as we approached each intersection to be sure the light was red by the time we got there. It was ridiculous. LOL

Finally, we get to Pop to discover that the Kansas crew got to Pop from the airport, checked in AND got to their room in less time than it took us to get to Pop from DTD. A little nuts. We had bad bus luck the rest of that day and the next morning, but good luck the rest of the trip so I won’t complain too much!

We let the Kansas crew grab some food in the food court and then set off for some fun now that we were all together![/QUOTE]

hey, we were there at the same time in that same building. I did not see you. Small world.


#16

Day 2 - Friday, November 13

Our first full day was filled with activity. It was a big day because we had a character meal planned and tickets to MVMCP that night.

We met up for breakfast around 8:00 am. I learned on our first morning that getting everyone to meet at the agreed upon time was never an issue, however, eating and getting out of the resort in a timely manner was more difficult. My two former roomies are bigtime shoppers and when the three of us took a trip a few years back I actually had to split from them one afternoon because I couldn’t stand to spend another minute in a shop when I could be on a ride. I quickly learned that the rest of their family has the shopping bug as well. So even when we ate quickly, we were always waylaid by the merchandise side of Everything Pop.

This was also the day that Z was going to wear her Cinderella dress to the parks and to dinner and the party. She looked adorable. Her mom even put some glittery spray in her hair which she left a trail of everywhere she went. You could tell who she had been cuddled up with by the amount of glitter left behind on their clothes. We started calling it “Z Dust” instead of pixie dust.

We had some debate over what shoes Z should wear with her dress and in the end her mom ended up going back to the room to get her tennis shoes because she kept walking out of her flip flops. While we waited for her return, the DVC kiosk CM came over to give Z stickers and chat a bit. When he asked where we were from and we answered Kansas and Boston, he perked up and said “Oh, then you must have been rooting for the American League in the World Series!” I looked at his nametag, saw he was from NY and realized I was going to have to have a Yankees/Red Sox discussion. LOL When I told him that no, I had not been rooting for the American League, he feigned shock and asked why. He was really good natured about his teasing but it went on for a while. I tried to be gracious about it and not argue too much but it was hard. LOL Eventually J said “You are ruining her magic!” and we moved on to talking about the KU basketball team instead. Again, it wasn’t a real arguement, just good natured teasing which now makes for a good story. LOL

Finally, Z’s mom returned with her tennis shoes and we headed out to catch the bus to Animal Kingdom.


#17

We should have known it was going to be a great day from the second we got on the bus and the driver played the audio saying “Just a reminder for everyone to be on their best behavior on the motorcoach, we are riding with royalty today!” Z was grinning from ear to ear. That kind of royal princess treatment continued ALL DAY! I have always thought the little girls in princess dresses in the parks were cute but it always seemed like it would be such a hassle to tote them around all day all dolled up. Let me tell you, by the end of this day, we were all planning to buy adult sized princess dresses and wear them ourselves the rest of the trip! :laugh:

We got to the Animal Kingdom just before 10:00 or so. I decided that we should try to meet some characters at Camp Minnie Mickey while the first Festival of the Lion King show was happening and then catch the 2nd show ourselves before taking off for the rest of the park. I sent the rest of the group off in that direction and I took everyone’s Key to the World cards to get FPs for the safari.

When I got back to Camp Minnie Mickey, they had already met Donald in his holiday gear and were in line to see Thumper and Miss Bunny, a nice, unexpected surprise! Then we headed over to Minnie. She had to go get some cheese just before we got there so we were first in line following her cheese break. At that point, the lines were still just at the end of the path leading up to the gazebo, not on the path themselves because it was so quiet. Minnie came skipping down the path, grabbed Z’s hand and then skipped her right back up to the gazebos. So cute. In the end we met Minnie, Mickey and Goofy. Chip and Dale came out while we were there too but it was time to get a seat for Festival of the Lion King.

We headed in to the show and it was fabulous as usual. A couple of the crew said they liked it better than the full scale Broadway production of A Lion King (I tend to agree). After the show, we made a bathroom break before heading to Africa and the safari. I am not sure why I suddenly thought to count the number of Key to the World passes or FPs I was holding on to at that point but thank goodness I did. I counted 7 FPs and 6 KTTW cards. Uh Oh. And whose card was missing? MINE. After all my reminders to the first timers to hold onto their cards and be sure not to lose them, I had lost mine! :ohmy:

My first thought was that I had left it on top of the FP machine or IN the FP machine when getting the Safari FPs so we stopped there at our way to actually ride the safari. Sadly, my card was not there. The CM manning the machines told me to check with Guest Relations. I figured I would go on the safari first and then head that way. Everyone else was way more worked up about it than I was, but we didn’t have charging privileges on the room and I knew that even if it hadn’t been turned in, Disney would take care of it.

As we made our way down the FP line to the loading area, a CM asked Princess Z her name and if she was excited for the safari. Then she said “Well of course you are going to want to ride it again!” and gave us MORE FPs to return later. I am telling you, the princess dress was a real winner. :laugh: In the end we gave our freebie FPs away to a family entering the park when we were on our way out.

We had a great safari which everyone seemed to enjoy. Afterwards I sent them off on the Pangini Trail while I headed to Guest Relations to check on my card. It would have to happen that I would lose the card in AK of all places. I ALWAYS feel like I am just trudging around that place, walking for miles and doing very little and now I had to trudge all the way back to the front of the park. Sigh.

Anyway, my card had not been turned in at Guest Relations but the nice CM there, Todd, took care of it and cut me a new one. No big deal.

I trudged all the way BACK into the park and texted with the rest of the gang to make their way to Asia and I would meet them there. We met up and H, A and I decided to go off to try EE while everyone else headed to Dinoland for a snack and a ride on Triceratops Twirl or whatever it’s called.

The standby line for EE was about 30 minutes, but we waited more like 15. We had told H about the Yeti and what to expect EXCEPT for the part where you go backwards. She enjoyed it but said she thought once was enough. :happy:

We headed over to Dinoland ourselves and found everyone eating frozen bananas. We got some ice cream ourselves and did some shopping at Chester and Hesters. We took a few rides on Triceratops Spin (twirl? spin?) which Z LOVED.

After that, J, H, A and myself decided to give Dinosaur a whirl. A was unsure because she hates when things jump out at her and J was unsure because she hates dips and drops. When I explained to J how the vehicle operates, she thought she could handle it. Then I talked A through when she should close her eyes. That ride terrifies me as well but it also cracks me up. J ended up really liking it but A was all set with the scary dinos in her face.

After Dinosaur, we decided to walk back towards the entrance and head for the buses. We had a dinner date with Cinderella at the Grand Floridian at 4:55 and we didn’t want to be late!


#18

I had budgeted in a fair amount of time to get to the GF for dinner. It turned out to be a little TOO much time, mostly because when we got to the bus stop there was a GF bus waiting there.

We got to the GF a little after 4:00. They were still in the final stages of putting up the Gingerbread House (it was set to open about 3 days after we were there). Our Christmas elves, A and H oohed and ahhed over the Gingerbread House. I was a little disappointed that the giant tree wasn’t up yet but I knew that all the resorts would not be completely decorated during our trip.

We toured around the GF a bit which everyone enjoyed. We made Z pose for pics on the GF Lobby stairs and act like she was leaving her flip flop behind. IT was super cute in her Cinderella dress. We walked to the GF boat dock and showed Z the top of the castle across the lake which resulted in one of my favorite pictures from the trip.

Here is the Gingerbread House still under construction (note the ladder inside) and Z looking wistfully at Cinderella castle.


#19

Finally it was time to check in for dinner at 1900 Park Fare. I didn’t realize that our ADR was one of the earliest so we got to be there for the opening of the restaurant where they open the doors to reveal Cinderella and Prince Charming and then they lead everyone into the room. Way cute.

Our waitress explained how everything would work and how the characters work their way around the room. We were one of the last stops on the rotation which gave us time to eat before they started getting to us. The food was good for a buffet, service was good and the character interaction was great. The last time I did a character meal was in 2000 while on my CP so it had been a while for me. Our favorites were definitely Lady Tremaine and the Stepsisters. They were a riot!

After dinner, we grabbed the monorail to the MK to hit up the MVMCP. I was excited for the snow on Main Street and the holiday parade!