My First Trip Report (but our 5th trip to WDW)
December 16th – December 23rd, 2005
CAST: Me (Debbie 38), DH (Jimbo 38), DS (Trey 11) & DD (Shelby 11)
My Mom (Ev)
DH’s Mom (Helen) & Dad (Jimmy) and DH’s niece (Desi 15)
Let me start out by saying that this trip was very different from any we have taken before. First because we lost our Dad to cancer about 3 months ago and my Dsis’s family were not with us on this trip. I have NEVER taken a Disney trip without any of them, so I had mixed feelings throughout the trip. Feelings of nostalgia, remembering things we all had done together in the past; not being able to share the moment with all of them, knowing there was something (someone) missing the entire time. I am a very sentimental person and thought about Dad alot on this trip. We convinced my Mom to join us on this trip with us and I think it really helped her (all of us really) through this holiday. This is also the shortest trip we have ever taken to WDW!
Guess I’ll start at the beginning. As you may have read in another thread, I was not in the normal excited mood prior to our trip. I was in Panic Mode, all I could think is, “Why the heck did I plan a trip the week before Christmas and plan to come home on Christmas Eve??” I do 95% of the shopping and preparing for Christmas, I started early but it seems my plate kept getting fuller & fuller as the trip drew nearer. 2 kids to buy for secretly, the entire family on both sides too. Presents to wrap (DH did a lot of that for me tho, he’s such a sweetie!), teachers & scout leaders presents to make and deliver, cookies to bake with the kids, Christmas cards to prepare and mail…for some reason I decided to hand MAKE 65 Christmas cards this year (at Thanksgiving time…what WAS I thinking??) and get pictures made and sent out. Squeezing in the regular schedule of school, homework, sports, scouts, packing, family gatherings, social & work obligations & our traditional visits we do each year with our friends…oh and work at the bank every day too… I just didn’t see how it was all going to come together. But low and behold, it did! So Friday the 16th I took the day off from work,(I was near heart attack mode if I didn’t) took kids to school, gassed up the car, ran to Wal-Mart for last minute items, picked up my Mom’s luggage from her house, back to my house to clean (I want my house spotless when I leave…plus Dsis was coming on Christmas Eve day to make us Christmas dinner so it had to be perfect for company). Once I have the house clean, I take the luggage out and get everything loaded into the Suburban, take the dog to the boarder, go and pick up kids from school, gas up, meet my Dsis and get Mom from her, run back to the house so the kids can drop off school stuff and get their seats ready in the car with their games, pillows, etc. DH gets home from work, changes clothes, does a double check of the house and we’re headed down the road. I finally get to take a deep breath, relax and the excitement kicks in!! It’s about 6:30pm and we drive to Lafayette LA the first night. I think we stopped about 12:30. We try a few hotels, but there are no rooms to be found. We decided to try one more place before getting back on the highway, it has rooms available, but the catch is, there is NO hot water, the boiler is cracked/broken. By now it’s 1am and I really don’t care if there’s any water at all…plus they are only charging $34 per room because of the water situation. Hubby ok’s it and we get 2 rooms. Mom & DD take one, DH, DS & I take the other. We’re up and out of there by about 9:30 and drive on to Orlando and arrive at Old Key West at about 9pm FL time. Of the 1150 miles, I think we had rain for 1000 miles….so we’re tired and ready to get settled in. We check in, go to our room, which was in Building 18…the same building we had back in 2003 when we all (Us, Bdavis & my parents) stayed there, so there are some sentimental feelings there. Luckily, they placed us on the first floor right next door to my Din-laws. (they were able to leave Friday morning about 7am, so they got to Disney Saturday afternoon) So we assign beds, get much needed showers, unpack our bags and hit the hay. I think it’s after 12:00 when we finally get into bed.
Day 1 in the parks Sunday December 18th: We decided to sleep in this morning, knowing that tonight will be a late night. We have tickets to MVMCP and don’t want to miss a thing! Since it’s on the warm side today, but temps are expected to drop…plus it’s rainy we decide to drive to the Magic Kingdom so we can have access to coats, raingear, etc. So the 5 of us left our room around 10am and hop in the Suburban and head for MK. We were going to park at the TTC, but we followed a bus and missed the turn to the TTC so we decided to check out the Contemporary. They gave us a 3-hour pass to park and we head in to see the Gingerbread set up (as you will see, that’s one of our missions of this trip—to see all of the resort gingerbread/candy/chocolate displays). It’s just darling!! We take pictures and head for the monorail to go see the Poly’s display. It really looked so much bigger on TV, but it was cute all the same. We also checked out the chocolate Lilo & Stitch in the 1st restaurant. We head back to the Monorail & the kids ask the pilot if they can ride up front, they’re told YES and are so excited. I insist Mom rides up front with them & they all got Co-Pilot licenses. It was Mom’s first time EVER to ride up front and loved it! So I take a seat in the first car…which I have entirely to myself… something I really needed!! I hadn’t had ANY me time for almost 3 days…those few minutes helped! Ahhhhhh.
Now off to the Magic Kingdom we go, we did not get off at the GF since we have PS’s on Wednesday at 1900 Park Fare & will see the display at that time. Went through bag check, DH and kids go through the entry line while I take Mom to Guest Relations to activate her Annual Pass my Dsis had mailed to her in October. As we stood in a very long line, a CM came out to “work the line” for folks that were there to pick up tickets. I told her we only needed to activate a pass and she looked at it and said, wait over here and off she went. A couple of minutes later she was back with an activated pass and we were headed to the entry gates. It’s so nice to have a CM go that extra mile and start our trip off on the right foot! DH and kids are waiting for us so we can all enter through the tunnel and onto MainStreet together…. Here we are, it’s Christmas at Disney World…something none of us have ever done before!! The tree is so pretty and the garland and the music and characters. The trolley is nearby and the magic just hits me!! I’m so excited, I’m not sure what to do first!! We called my inlaws (they’re early risers and well, we’re not), and they meet us on MainStreet. We took several pictures on Main Street with the PhotoPass photographers and proceeded down Main Street USA!! Now some of this is a little fuzzy, so I hope I remember it in order. I had heard that the Time Keeper was open this week, so we went straight there because we were going to do it no matter how long it took in line! I couldn’t find it so I asked a CM, he said “sorry, it’s not open” they use it for Meet & Greets and Photo’s during MVMCP. He said it would be open on the 24th and 25th and after that, closed for good. How sad, we were so close…oh well, let’s see what else we can find. We walked towards Fantasyland from Tomorrowland, stopped at Pooh’s play area. It’s very cute (I’m a Pooh lover) and even though the twins are 11 yo, they still loved it!! We rode the Pooh ride, and wanted to get FP’s for Mickey’s PHMagic, but there was no wait….so we go straight in and see the show. I love it! I could really smell the hot apple pie this time, Mmmmm. Next we went to the Haunted Mansion, again…no line. It’s a walk on! Can this be??? I thought this week was going to be crowded…. Everyone was hungry at this point so we stopped at the Harbour House to eat, our 1st time, it was pretty good for counter service. Then off to IASW. My DM calls my uncle while on the ride (he was there w/us on our May/June trip and this ride/song drives him crazy) So we leave a message for him on the recorder while the dolls are singing…hehe The boats were stacked up at the end of the ride, so Mom decides to call him again…this time they answer and can hear it 1st hand. They thought it was funny that we’d called FROM the ride! Next we’re off to see the Country Bears, but stop first to visit Jessie & Woody at the Diamond Horseshoe, we take pic’s & get autographs…mom too!! Next we watched the Share A Dream parade from the DVC booth, we had a great view. Then we see the Christmas Country Bear show…it’s a walk in, no wait again, really cute and what a surprise, we had no idea they had a Christmas show!. And then after that we head to Pirates…again NO WAIT. I can hardly believe it!! It’s great!! I had read on DC that we could get wristbands for MVMCP at 4:00, so we asked a CM at PofC, he said it would be 5:00…but as we were walking towards the castle, I asked another CM and he told us exactly where to go to get them now!! The party was a surprise for my kids, they saw it on a Disney TV Special and asked if we could go…I told them if they wanted to spend $50 of their own money, we could…so it was left at that. Little did they know, I had ordered tickets way back in August and had them in hand!! So they were very excited when they found out.
So we got our wristbands and at 4:30 I said I was going to the car to get jackets, DH said he’d join me, and then DiLaws decided to go too and check out the Display at the Contemporary. DM took the 3 kids. They rode the PeopleMover, Buzz & Carousel of Progress. We walked over to the Cont., checked out the display, came out to get our coats and it started to pour!! My inlaws waited inside, we grabbed coats and bagged them up in a trash bag to keep them dry. Ran back into the resort, found the Inlaws & by then it stopped raining so we walked back to the MK…the car was ok too, no Tow sign or tire boot…so we left it there.
We met up again with Mom at 5:30, we got a bite to eat at Cosmic Rays (limited menu due to MVMCP). Then Dfil took the 2 girls to Space Mtn, while the rest of us rode Buzz, then we all went to the Twas the Night Before Christmas show. It was really, really good!! After that , went to get our free Pic’s taken. They were very accommodating. We were suppose to only get one pose, but we wanted 3….my inlaws & niece/my family & mom/entire group….they did it for us!! PLUS, We had pictures sitting in our mailbox when we got home from our trip! They turned out really good too! Then we had hot cocoa and cookies at the Plaza. Pretty yummy! We then decided to go to ToonTown and see what decorations were back there. Mickey and Minnie had their houses all decorated. The lights on the outside of the house were the oldfashion big bulbed style…but they were REALLY BIG! We went back & watched Holiday Wishes from the Walt & Mickey statue in front of the Castle…which was awesome. Mom didn’t get to see Wishes last time due to Dad’s illness… being too tired and having to go back to the room early…So she was REALLY impressed by the Holiday version…we were too! We then rode Peter Pan, it was just a short wait…maybe 15 minutes. Dfil sat to rest (bad back) while we rode this ride (he rode it earlier that morning before we got to the park) and Dmil went to tell him what our next plans were. Then we went to the Cinderella’s Carousel (no wait), Mom has ALWAYS wanted to ride a moving horse, but with her bad back/hip that gives her problems sometimes, she has always sat out. But we convinced her to just try it…DH (he’s 6’6”) said he’d help her up on the horse…but she found a low one and by the time he got to her, she was already on it…all by herself. She was pretty excited!!
Next we walked back up MainStreet near Casey’s and lined up to see the 10:45 Christmas Parade. It was SPECTACULAR!! The snow, the characters, the magic, the music…it was absolutely awesome! We caught it again during the day later in the week and I have to say nothing compares to the night time parade!!! We then gathered to see the Celebrate the Season show at 11:15, but it was cancelled due to weather…it had just begun lightly misting rain…we were pretty disappointed since we could have seen it earlier, but opted to ride a few rides. But no sense crying over spilled milk, we decided to make the most of our time. So off to the Race cars we went. DM, Dfil, & Dmil head to MainStreet to shop, so we take the 3 kids to ride the cars….again…you guessed it, with no wait. In fact when we got off, DS & DH did it again…me & the girls went to the teacups. And can you guess who we met up there? We were first in line….I guess you could say We WERE the line…and the MadHatter himself walked up and started chatting with us. We asked him to ride with us, but he said he had his tea waiting for him and he didn’t want it to get cold…you know how awful cold tea tastes? He told us to have fun and off he went …he was really cute! I had snapped a couple of pics of him and the girls and jumped on the ride. We each took our own teacup and just one other teacup was used by a lady & little girl. We walked down to the cars & DH & DS were just getting off , we headed to MainStreet, but stopped at the Plaza again for 2nd’s on Cookies and Cocoa…Did some shopping, bought some MVMCP pins, closed down the park and walked to the Contemporary & all 8 of us piled in the Suburban and headed to the Resort. I think it was 1:30ish when we fell into bed! What a GREAT 1st Day!!!
Side Note: We came to WDW this week with the thought that it was going to be more crowded than we’ve ever seen it, long lines, lots of people and said we’ll ride what we can but we’re here to take in the decorations and see Disney at Christmastime. We seemed to have covered A LOT of territory, back & forth across the park and rode Many of our favorite rides. Even though it got pretty cold this evening, we couldn’t have asked for a better 1st day!!! Everything was just perfect. In fact, I think the cold really enhanced the Christmas feeling!