Leslie's Keepin' it Fresh at Disney (or new experiences at WDW)


#1

Well, I have finally committed to writing a TR. Since joing MB almost 4 years ago, we have taken about a dozen trips. So, I have been remiss and I apologize for my laziness :blush:

Anyway, we arrived home tonight from a fast, five day trip. As the title implies, we decided to try new things on this trip. This was our 5th visit since last January, and my intuitive 12 year old suggested that we take this one with a different approach.

The cast:
me
DS 7
DS 12

Just us three- we left DH home. He can only handle one trip a year…

A short list of new experiences on this trip include a couple of behind the scenes tours, new restaurants (for us), Miyuki the candy lady, pearls at Japan, split reservation (Pop Century and Animal Kingdom Lodge), and concierge club at AKL. I promise to elaborate as the TR goes on.

It’s funny how so many little things happen on a trip that you don’t want to forget to include. My brain is spinning!


#2

Leslieh! Welcome back! I can’t wait to hear all about it! Were one of your kids chosen to get the candy from Miyuki in Japan? I can’t wait to hear about your AKL portion of the trip since that’s where we are staying in November! We stayed at POP last year for 10 days and really loved it! I think DS is going to be crushed we’re not staying there again this year. :laugh:


#3

DAY 1-

Part of what makes going to WDW so much great is that my kids are so funny and such good sports. But I have to say that when they bicker and push eachother’s buttons, it drives me crazy! So I wasn’t in the mood as I watched the weather report the morning of our departure day and snow was predicted! It rarely snows here in Charlotte, so I was pretty concerned.

Our flight was at 1:50. It started snowing around 12 noon. I drove leisurely to the airport in a light drizzle and we had no issues parking in long term ($3 a day) and getting thorugh security was a breeze. I had to laugh- usually those TSA guys don’t have too much of a personality. But the guy who searched our stuff said that we looked like we were on our way to Disney World. I asked how could he tell? He said that we looked too happy to be going anywhere else.

We didn’t check any bags, as I have a rule: If it doesn’t fit in a carry-on, it doesn’t go :laugh: So, we pack just what we need and nothing extra. It’s a great system (and easy since I have boys). We got to the gate very early- and already there were cancelled flights appearing on the board. I seriously thought that if our flight was cancelled, I would pay my $3, collect my car from long term parking and drive the 10 hours to WDW.

Fortunately, we took off about 2 hours late after the green de-icing stuff (which I haven’t seen since I left NY…) was sprayed all over us. The snow was getting thick and there was slush on the wings before they de-iced, so we were one of just a few planes to actually take off.

The flight was uneventful and we landed just before 5:00. We went down to Magical Express check in and HOLY COW! The line was LONG! I almost started to regret going MLK weekend. The line moved very quickly, and we soon got to the red carpet! After a few minutes, the bus loaded and there were only two seats left :angry: (we are three), so looking on the bright side, we then became the first people in line! After exactly 17 minutes (notice my excitement), another bus came, loaded up, and we were at Pop Century check-in by 6:00.


#4

Thanks, Kim! Yes, Miyuki made us an animal :ph34r: It’s a secret until day 3… The boys love Pop also, but really enjoyed AKL as well. I’ll fill in the AKL details on days 4 and 5.

Some things I don’t want to forget to mention later on: strange places to change diapers and the baby ducklings. Very odd, I know. But two really crazy stories…


#5

OH wow all is forgiven, in the lazy department, now that you are bringing us this wonderful report.

I am very excited to hear about AK concierge. I have booked myself into that for November :happy:


#6

Welcome back Leslie!! What a great start to the TR…I can’t wait for the rest! :happy:


#7

Thanks, and happy birthday! It was very exciting carrying the gold room key! I think my 12 year old was even more thrilled with the whole concierge concept :laugh: The CMs told my boys to leave their plates, garbage, etc on the table, but of course I was telling them to clean up after themselves (like I expect them to do at home).


#8

Welcome Back Leslie! Can’t wait to read the rest of the TR!!!


#9

Thanks! You might be the only person left awake- it’s after 11:30 here on the east coast!:laugh:


#10

:laugh: I know, I really need to start getting on here earlier…there’s never anybody around! Usually I start seeing lots of people by the time I go to bed (early AM West Coast time) because they’re all starting their day! :laugh:


#11

DAY 1- continued;

You know, at the end of our first day, I was thinking “this is the worst day I ever had at WDW”… trying to become more self-aware, I really explored this feeling I had:

1- We landed late (losing 2 precious hours of WDW time :ohmy: )
2- We “missed” the first ME bus (not really, but that’s how it felt at the time)
3- Pop was CROWDED and full (I never seem to get to go during “slow” times)
4- There was a monsoon when we arrived at MK for our first night (well, not a monsoon really, but a serious sideways raining thunderstorm)
5- No amount of poncho layering could possibly make the MK at all do-able in said storm
6- Our server at Chef Mickey’s gave us the wrong bill

But really, I was wrong. Simply, our first day was different than I had anticipated. It didn’t make it a “bad” day- just not what I had planned. I turned each negative thing around and started to think-

1- We were able to get out of Charlotte before the snow cancelled our flight
2- We were able to sit in the front seats on the ME bus, and met a nice family who sat behind us. (I told them about MB)
3- Pop was crowded, but everyone was pleasant and check-in went very quickly. The best part was our room location- we were in building 1 (1950’s) in a great location!! Ground floor, right next to Lady- close to the food court and the buses.
4- Even though it was raining sideways, :ohmy:, we made it to Chef Mickey’s on time for our first dinner of the trip.
5- We were tired from travelling, so we needed to sleep instead of staying out late at MK that night.
6- Chef Mickey’s was very good, and even though the service could have been better, I ordered a very delicious mango margarita.

So, day 1 was a great day in retrospect. I’ll attempt to post some photos…


#12

Something I have never seen before at WDW- the walkways in front of MK (outside of the gates) were flooded- during the “monsoon”, it was many inches deep. You couldn’t get to the park without submerging your feet completely up to at least your ankles if you were coming from the buses or boats. It was insane! If this picture attaches correctly, you will see my 7 year old walking on the curb and grabbing the railing to keep from falling in…


#13

Leslieh sorry about your first day but it sounds like you still had a great time


#14

Sure a great TR so far. I cant wait to read more!


#15

Cool. A TR. :happy:

I love how you turned the crummy day into a great day!!

Um, I’m ready for more (plus photos, of course) . . .


#16

I love how you turned lemons into lemonade. Besides, a bad day at WDW is still better than being anywhere else.

I can’t wait to see your pics and read the rest of you TR.


#17

Oh I am so excited to read your tr! I love all the different perspectives people have.

Couple of things…

  1. $3/day for long term parking??!! WOW. We pay $10/day for that. :pinch:

  2. That ME line always looks so long. Part of it is because people can not follow directions and have their entire party wait in line, instead of waiting in the designated area!!(Sorry, huge pet peeve of mine.)

  3. I love your recap of day one, its always how you choose to look at it, isn’t it? Sometimes when you step back and have a chance to think it over, it really helps.

  4. I think I would like to try that margarita!! :happy:


#18

Thanks everyone! I promise I will finish this report no matter what! I have a 27 minute lunch period now, so I’ll just add a few things right now.

Yes, $3 for long term at Charlotte airport is a bargain- the shuttles run constantly and you barely have to walk to get one. We’ve never waited more than 2 minutes.

I did put day one into perspective- how can I possibly complain when we are fortunate enough to be there? Honestly, I thought of the “Welcome to Holland” story (which is of course, much more serious), and it completely changed how I was feeling. (the story is about autism)

Anyway, I’m not able to attach photos right now, and I had no success last night. I’m going to try photobucket tonight- cross your fingers! My 372 MB pics are way too big- I used a 7 megapixel camera and the files are huge.

Other Day 1 random thoughts-

The reusable mugs are the same design as last year, but do not say 2007 (there is no date at all on the new mugs). I didn’t see anyone reusing any other mug with a different design! As crowded as Pop was, that was very interesting to me.

There were tons of unsupervised teenagers on the buses, at the resort food court, gift shop, etc. They were all perfectly well behaved and I was quite impressed (this was true of the whole week, by the way). Even the many foreign tour groups were pleasant and we had no problems whatsoever.

If you haven’t eaten at Chef Mickey’s, once you check in, you have your family photo taken (like you were getting on a cruise ship). We were soaking, dripping wet. :laugh: During dinner, a photographer comes to your table and tries to sell you the picture package. “Brandon” tried to convince how good we looked and what a great photo it was. He was such a cutie, and I hated turning him down, but honestly- it was an awful photo!

At Chef Mickey’s, those parmesan mashed potatoes are to die for!! They are about as sticky as sheetrock spackle, but oh so yummy! My older son ate the salmon and prime rib, which was excellent that night. He makes up for my little guy, who sticks to mac and cheese, mickey ravioli and chicken fingers (he didn’t eat $14 worth!) I had a little of everything. Overloaded on dessert- I think we had one of everything!

We used the DDE card for the 20% off of food and beverage, and the 18% gratuity was automatically added in (tip percent calculated on the whole bill, before the discount). I am a big tipper (I worked as a waitress during grad school). Service wasn’t that good (no drink refills and we were given the wrong bill), but I still left a couple of extra $ since he was obviously very busy and seemed to have too many tables. We only saw him three times, but what the heck :happy:

We hopped the monorail back to MK and got to the bus stop. Pop had the LONGEST line I have seen at a bus stop in a long time (we’re talking like 6 + buses full) :eek: . Every other resort was completely empty. I took photos of this too, but will try to attach them tonight.

I thought we would be there for a very long time. Wrong! Three buses pulled up at a time- we got on the second go around and truthfully- 6 buses of people loaded in a few minutes. It was great for everyone (since the monsoon was still blowing). It was amazing and efficient and WDW deserves a round of applause (which everyone at the bus stop gave them).

Back at the resort we got our usual mug of hot chocolate and wound down. I ordered a wake up for 7 am, and I’d say we were asleep by 10:30.:sleeping:


#19

Great TR looking forward to reading more!


#20

Totally enjoying the trip report. I wish you could have gotten some pictures to post. Better luck tonight. I can’t wait to see them.