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My Disney Vacation...

What follows is the saga of events that occurred while I was away on vacation at Disney World. For those of you new to the whole series of vacation posts I’ve done, I decided back in January to plan a Disney vacation, and I paid part of the way for my sister, Susan, and her husband, David, so they could come with me. I did tickets, ground transportation and accommodations, while they did flight and food for themselves (and sometimes me). So, here we have it.

It is hidden behind a cut to protect the innocent - and because it is about 6 pages long!

Saturday the 21st, our morning started bright and early. For Susan and David, it consisted of getting up at 3 am to get ready to come across the Bay Bridge to pick me up in Bowie to go to the airport. For me, it consisted of getting up at 4 am to be ready in time for their 5 am arrival. I set both of my alarms in order to make the 4 am wake up call, and once awake I pittered around on the computer for a bit, while waiting for them. When the time came for them to arrive, I started to tote my luggage downstairs and waited for them there. Off we went to BWI for their very first plane ride ever.

I walked them through what they needed to do, they got their tickets, and we passed security checks where David was seriously disappointed in airport security. He has MS and has several controlled substances he had permission to take on board, a doctor’s note was in his carry on. However, the most we got from security was – oh, I think there are ice packs in that bag. They didn’t bother to check the case, which clearly had syringes and liquid containers inside of it. Never opened it at all, or asked to see it. For all they knew, he could have had a cocktail in his case to blow up the plane, or needles of toxic injections that could kill people, though he didn’t. We went through easy peasey, despite still being at Code Orange security. If they are going to be this lax, security should be dropped a level or two.

Once we got to Florida, we spent about an hour waiting for our luggage to even show up. We found the Hertz shuttle and picked up the car we would be using. After seeing how much luggage we all had, I upgraded from a car to an SUV – and ended up driving a new Jeep Compass. It was a nice car, and were I not predisposed to hate Jeep, I’d consider trading in my Toyota for it – but I love my Toyota too much to insult it by getting yet another Jeep product.

After getting the car, and directions to Disney World in hand, we went to Magic Kingdom first, since Vacation Villages at Parkway would not allow us to check in until 4 pm. We arrived at Disney around noon, parked, and went into the park for our first squeeful day of vacation. Once there, David decided he was hungry and we made reservations at the Liberty Tree Tavern – a very good restaurant within the Magic Kingdom. Having about an hour to kill, we went to see the show at the Hall of Presidents before lunch, then went in to eat our vittles. The food was deliciously delightful, and we had great service. The only bad part was that the air conditioner was dripping water on David, confusing us about whether or not the rain that we were experiencing was actually coming into the restaurant or not.

We spent about five hours within the park, covering Fantasyland and Liberty Square, before we needed to head off and get to the hotel. David had medicine that needed refrigerated, so it was time to go. Not realizing our road, Arabian Nights Blvd, was so close, we passed our exit and took an adventurous ride through Kissimmee all the way to St. Cloud, until finally we stopped at a Circle K to figure out where we were. A very nice lady noticed me looking at the laminated maps they were selling, and offered to give us directions. I gave her the information, she noted that the road would not be on those maps, and went and got her very nice, very large map book and helped us out. It turns out we drove about an hour out of our way, and had to turn around. Much laughter ensued since both Susan and I missed the road, and an hour, and one Walmart trip to pick up some supplies, later, we were at the resort.

At check-in we were told we’d be getting a free continental breakfast, given that we were guests of owners, so we signed up for that. Our rooms were very nice. Mine had a large living room with an entertainment center, a full kitchen, a master bedroom with a Jacuzzi tub, and a master bath with a shower stall. Theirs had a smaller living room, a half kitchen, a normal bath room, and smaller bedroom. We both had our own balconies. It was a very nice living space for a week.

After we got settled, we went back to Magic Kingdom for another few hours, in order to catch Wishes, the bestest fireworks display ever, and do some more of the park. We covered Adventureland – and took a late night Jungle Cruise (which is absolutely awesome at night!) and hopped on a boat and rode with the Pirates of the Caribbean (my most favorite ride there aside from the Haunted Mansion and the two roller coasters, Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain.) That left Tomorrowland left for us to explore later in the week.

Sunday the 22nd, I had plans to meet with Beth and Liz, and potentially dpassmor, who ended up not being able to make it. We decided on lunch at Downtown Disney, and afterwards, David, Susan and I decided to go to MGM Studios (now Hollywood Studios, but I refuse to make the name change). Lunch with Beth and Liz was a blast. It was good to see them again after so many years of missing them at Firan Con, and they got along very well with Susan and David – which was nice. After lunch we did a bit of shopping together, where by I was convinced to get a pair of crocs after talking to Beth and Liz about theirs. I had a horrible blister already from my tennis shoes on Saturday’s adventures, and had hoped the crocs would be better. It was the best decision I ever made – no more blisters all week long! I also picked up a leather bag, which I ended up needing to return later because the clasp broke. Sadness. We said our goodbyes all too soon, and then it was just Susan, David and I left to our own devices, so we went to MGM to pass the rest of the time.

We walked around for a bit, and saw which of the Star Wars stars were visiting MGM that weekend – as it was one of the two days of Star Wars weekends we’d get to experience. We got to see the Star Wars characters do some Padawan training with kids, and I managed to get a semi-good shot of ‘Vader’ fighting with someone. I made Susan and David get on Star Tours first, without telling them what they were getting themselves into. I did not realize David almost passed out on the ride because of his MS – Susan did not tell me until afterwards. I was pretty sure where we were sitting would be fine. He has an issue where he will pass out if he looks up beyond a certain point. All in all, everything turned out okay, which was good. It started raining, again, almost as soon as we got out of Star Tours.

I swear, rain hated us all week because it hit us at every park we went to, including the water parks later in the week. The rain limited some of our options. The stunt shows, which are pretty amazing, were out of order since they required dry surfaces, so we had to bypass those. We ended up wandering around a bit, and to keep dry we went to see the Muppet 3-D (really 4-D) Show, which is always awesome. We tried to go onto the Backlot Tour afterwards, but the rain had closed the tour down for a bit, so we ended up sitting for awhile, getting something to drink. My feet were killing me at that time, so I sent Susan and David ahead on their own to explore a bit while I sat and rested. Armed with a phone, with the Backlot Tour reopened, I called them and we regrouped to go on the tour event, which is part walking and part ride.

From the Tour, we headed down to Sunset Boulevard in order to catch the rides there, and get set for Fantasmic, an amazing light show that they present every evening, weather permitting. Before Fantasmic, I jumped on the Tower of Terror, which Susan and David were too chicken to ride. Much stomach dropping, screaming and laughter ensued, as always. We then got settled for Fantasmic, and the show was absolutely amazing. They did stuff with the characters, and they projected part of the show off of mist they threw up from the water. They had fire burning off of the water, and various boats and characters riding along the water. Very interactive and very fun! I have some nice pictures from that. After Fantasmic was over, we went back to the resort to settle in for the night.

Monday the 23rd we hit Animal Kingdom. We went to Dinoland first, and hit the Primeval Whirl roller coaster, and then did Dinosaur – an indoor jeep ride that zaps you back in time to find a dinosaur a scientist wants to study. Very cool ride! Very bouncy too. From there, we went to Asia and ate at the Yak & Yeti Restaurant, then hit the Kali River Rapids ride – whereby we ended up getting very, very soaked. It seemed Susan and I drew the short straws because we kept hitting every wave/section where we would indeed get soaked. We ended the evening early, since the park closes early, by taking the Kilimanjaro Safari – an open jeep ride through their simulated safari, complete with lions, elephants, hippos and rhinos. No tigers and bears, sorry. We had a very cool giraffe walk very close to our jeep! I will post links of the pictures as soon as I get them up. Because they have animals to consider, there was no fireworks and/or light show at the park.

Tuesday the 24th we had breakfast with the resort people. It turned out the breakfast was a means for them to try and get us to purchase time share space. They schnookered us at the front desk. They didn’t tell us this would be a sales pitch. They just said – free continental breakfast. We should have known better really, but we weren’t thinking when we checked in. The sales lady became very rude and demanding of us when we demanded to know the bottom line price, and said we were not interested, and even went so far as to make me write a note about the advertising they were using to get people to go to their sales pitch since we were snowed, and had the audacity to tell me to start wrapping things up because I was running out of paper and couldn’t use the other side. She got the glare of death for that. I could have walked out, but I was trying to be the better person. I let them finish their attempts, and gladly did their exit interview where I told them how rude the sales lady was and how pushy we felt she was being after we said several times we had no interest in buying time share space.

After the horrible breakfast, I sent Susan and David to Epcot, while I prepared to have lunch with titaniumlily and Woody. Even though I had just seen both a month prior at Firan Con, it was good to see them both again. We met at Downtown Disney early in the day, and ‘did lunch’ at TGI Fridays. After lunch, I kidnapped them back to the condo, to continue my nice, relaxing day, and watched Take the Lead with them. By the time the movie was over, it was time to take them back to their car, and join up with Susan and David at Epcot again.

There, we did some shopping, and I could no longer resist the temptation and bought a Tigger stuffy that turned into a pillow. We stayed to watch their combination light show/fireworks display. Just as we were getting into place, it started to rain. Again. By this time, I was getting pretty well tired of the rain!! However, we muscled through it. We saved our spots, watched the show, and still had a blast, despite the rain.

Wednesday the 25th we decided to go to the first of two of Disney’s Water parks, Blizzard Beach. We spent the day lazing around the lazy river, just relaxing and soaking up the sun – as much as anyone can relax with water squirting out at you or falling down on you from various caves. We were in the water for some time before, you guessed it, yet another rain storm came through – this time with lots of lightning. The park closed for almost 3 hours, before they reopened it again. During that time we waited around, seeing if it would reopen, since we didn’t really want to go anywhere else for the day. I hate thunderstorms, passionately.

When we were able to go back into the water, all three of us went on Teamboat Springs, but there was a moment when Susan might not have finished climbing all the stairs to get on the water ride; she has a fear of heights and turned to look behind her, a bad mistake. Still, she made it to the top, and we managed to go down the fast paced family ride with lots of glee (at least on the part of both David and myself!). Then David and I rode some rapid ride together, and then we hit the lazy river one last time.

I think the highlight of our time at the park was when, after we completed everything we wanted to do, we got ice cream. I got an apple pie sunday, where they got the sand pail full of ice cream, that they shared. David had spent at least part of the afternoon wailing and whiling that he wanted one, so we finally got him one right before we left. Afterwards, we stopped at the Super Target, and I picked up some food to cook at the condo. I made my pepper steak for Wednesday night, saving my cheesy chicken for another evening – since both wear easy to cook and clean up after, which were my main goals.

Sometime Wednesday evening, paultucker called – though I missed the call. Much sadness when I found out the next morning….

Thursday the 26th, however that sadness was very much short lived. Something prompted me to check my phone for messages first thing in the morning, and when I did I was pleasantly surprised to find Paul’s voice message. I had been missing him something terribly during the week. Lots of little things were turning my mind to him, and I had commented several times to Susan and David how much I missed him, though I had tried to make sure I could IM him or talk to him some earlier in the week – given that we had net service, but it was limited to two floors of the building we were staying in. I immediately called him back on the off chance he was home, and he was! So, that was a bright start to my day.

We lounged around the hotel until about 11 am, and finally decided to head back to Magic Kingdom. We went to Tomorrowland to finish things up there. We ate lunch at Cosmic Ray’s Café, hit the Lilo and Stitch show, took a ride on the Skyway Express, and saw the Carosel of Progress, before yet another – more dangerous – set of storms chased us from the park. In truth, it was good to have an early day, where we could just sit back and relax. We went back to the resort, and Susan and I watched some of my DVDs, Love Actually and Two Weeks Notice. Somewhere in the evening, I cooked my cheesy chicken for them for dinner.

Friday the 27th, we went back to MGM studious in order to catch the Indiana Jones stunt show. We missed the first showing by the hair of our teeth, and decided to go get on the Greaet Movie Ride since we missed it the first time. We timed it just right. As soon as we got out of the movie ride, it was time to get seated for the second showing of the stunt show. We got to see much stunty goodness, and watch audience participants do their part. Afterwards, we went to the second of Disney’s water parks, Typhoon Lagoon. There, we spent about 4 or 5 hours just lazing around in the lazy river, doing nothing but lounging around the park and catching some rays of sun while we were able. I have a very nice tan line now, and my feet have the tan lines that prove it! We made it an early night, considering that we’d need to get packed for the next day, when we had to go home.

Before we got settled in for the night, though, I treated Susan and David to Charley’s Steakhouse for dinner, a somewhat pricy ala carte restaurant. The steaks there…. To die for. Very good. Very juicy. Very melty in your mouth. It was very much worth the price we paid for our dinner. I washed my clothes, packed, and spent some time online so I could get reverse directions back to Hertz, where I needed to drop off the car.

Saturday the 28th, we had to be up early enough to check out by 10. We drove back to Hertz, turned in the car and caught the shuttle to the airport. Given we had lots of time to kill, we had burgers at the Outback for lunch. Mine was somewhat too peppery so I didn’t like it, but was fully prepared to pay for it since I’d gotten a salad and had eaten a portion of the burger. They decided to comp my burger anyway, after I said I was fine and was willing to pay, which was very generous of them! The plane ride was without incident, and we all returned home safely.

Thus, concludes my Disney trip. It was a very needed, very nice, very relaxing trip, and I am all the more glad that I went.

Now, to plan for my next trip!


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 1st, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh, what an awesome vacation you had! It was really good seeing you again and Susan and David are great people. Funny! I still want an easter egg, heh! thanks for including us in your fun. :)
Jul. 2nd, 2008 03:53 pm (UTC)
Sounds like it was a very nice trip! I don't know if I could handle that much fun packed into one week. :D
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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